04-02-2009 10:59 AM
I just meandered thru all 3 pages (so far) of posts on this topic...very interesting and insightful.
I see Grace and Connie's relationship as conflicted.
[Made uneasy by conflicting impulses (The Free Dictionary)]
[Full of conflicting emotions or impulses (Dictionary.com)]
I see Grace as neglectful (in not remembering or downplaying such a huge event in Connie's life); certainly uninterested and self-absorbed. Is Grace a non-conformist "free spirit" or is she ditzy?
I think Sophia was eccentric; certainly making a statement to people of her day with no phone or electricity. Much like those who have no TV in our day.
I think Connie is the way she is in reaction to her mother.
As responsible and grounded and level-headed as we all have said Connie is, she still wanted, wished for, would have liked it a lot if her mom had remembered not only her big event but the magnitude of it.
I think Connie goes to Granna's house because she is responsible but also she cannot say no to her mother. She has yet to fully separate and individuate from her mother making her unable to say no and not suffer loss, if only emotionally. A comment by Liz on p.32 makes the point:
"So I suppose it's Grace's fault that you said yes...Really, Connie, this is your doing as well."
Liz calls her out on it! I think Liz is saying "own your stuff girlfriend!"
A question: is a healer and a witch the same thing?
I don't think Grace wants to grow old. Connie calling her Grace could be a sign of disrespect unless Grace has told Connie to call her Grace.
At this point I don't think Grace sent Connie to settle Granna's house for any other reason that it was inconvenient for Grace. Hope that's not too harsh. I am open to whatever may be coming!!! And I don't mind being proved wrong, that's just another way of changing!
I have to agree with pretty much everything you've said here. Great observations!
BTW...We have no "live" TV in our household. We only watch DVD's. No cell phone either. Ahh...I must be a modern eccentic!
In this day that's making a statement! More power to you!!!
04-02-2009 12:17 PM
What do you mean she knows about Sam?
When Connie was on the phone with her, Grace asked her something about the man she had met without Connie telling her that she had met someone. I just thought of it as mother's intuitioin at the time, but maybe there was more to it than that. Maybe Grace has "powers" of her own.
04-02-2009 12:19 PM
I agree Debs. I think Grace knows who and what she is. I also think that she sent Connie to her mother's house with the hopes that Connie will figure things out for herself and come to terms with what she is. If Grace just told Connie, she would probably not believe her.
Good point! I was thinking the same way. Maybe finding out more about herself and her family will actually bring Connie closer to Grace.
04-02-2009 01:04 PM
I have to say that in the early parts of the book, I felt a little bad for Connie. Without a lot of history and background, it seems as if Connie was a pretty okay kid. I am not suggesting that Connie was neglected, but it did pull at my heart strings when I "felt" how happy Connie was that her mom remembered her orals, just to be deflated when she realized that her mom was calling for something else. The orals were very important to Connie, and I think she wanted to believe that her mom cared enough to remember. Although the references to Grace's free spirit were clear, I admit that I too hoped Grace would come through.
04-02-2009 01:20 PM
Connie and her mother are so different that it's hard for them to have much of a relationship. I think they just don't know how to relate to each other, or really have anything to say to each other.
The mother-daughter relationships in the book are interesting to see. Grace and her mother didn't seem to have much in common with each other either.
Sophia seems very old fashioned! Also liked to garden. This was another part of the book that I thought was so predictable, it's pretty obvious what the deal is with Sophia when you start reading the descritions of the house and garden.
I didn't get much of a sense of Mercy and Deliverance's relationship this early.
Good points kren. I especially agree with your comment about the obviousness of Sophia when we read the descriptions of the house. There were a lot of things that I picked up right away that made me wonder why Connie didn't see it. But I guess, as some others have said, Connie is more rational and level-headed, so she didn't see what was right in front of her.
04-03-2009 10:44 AM
I have been thinking that Connie and Grace don't have much in common and almost seem like opposites. That puts a strain on the relationship. Connie is responsible and Grace is carefree. They don't see eye to eye on things.
Grace and Sophia seems to also not have alot in common and the relationship is strained. Sophia doesn't seem to approve of Grace's lifestyle which causes distance in their relationship.
I see history repeating itself between these 2 sets of mothers and daughters. I can't help but wonder if both sets have more in common as far as the gift of healing powers goes. Because the relationships are strained they really don't see what they have in common with each other. I'm interested in seeing how this all plays out.
04-03-2009 10:47 AM
04-03-2009 11:05 AM
04-03-2009 11:59 AM - edited 04-03-2009 12:04 PM
I like Grace...she reminds me a bit of..well...me.
Deliverance and Mercy...hmmm...I see a mother trying to raise a daughter to be mannerly and good and responsible. Responsible not only for her chores but for the powers that she has been given. Not too much on them yet.
One wonders what the mother/daughter dynamic would have been expected to be in the Puritan period. Theirs was such a rigid, stoic society. That added with the fact that the mortality rate of children was very high, would not encourage the emotional closeness some mothers enjoy with their children today.
You bring up an interesting question about the mother/daughter dynamic during that time. Mercy seemed to truly love and respect her mother. I don't want to spoil it for the people who haven't finished the book yet, but her actions later on reveal that she not only loves her mother as a mother, but relates to her on a deeply human (or should I say "witchy") level.
04-03-2009 02:00 PM
04-03-2009 03:14 PM
My first impression of the relationship between Connie and Grace is that of role reversal. Connie seems to be the more responsible one, and seems to be aggravated that her mother can't remember dates and events. Grace is the non-conformist, while Connie is trying to make it in the academic world, keeping her feet on the ground. As I kept reading, however, I wondered if Grace was letting Connie go in order to bring her back to her heritage. Grace is very comfortable being a free-spirit, while Connie seems to want to be tied down. I think that changes when she reaches her granna's house. It seems that Grace may have waited until now to give Connie the opportunity to explore. What is Grace hoping Connie will discover? Surely there is much more to come here!
The relationship between Grace and Sophie doesn't seem to have been a good one. Grace didn't visit her mother, and without a phone, I wonder if they kept in contact at all. Could Grace have been running away from her true self? That remains to be seen, but something is definitely amiss in their relationship. But, Grace seems better able to cope with an eccentric lifestyle than Connie is.
The next mother and daughter are Deliverance and Mercy. Mercy definitely has powers of some kind and I think Deliverance knows. Deliverance is trying to teach Mercy about being responsible (i.e. kitchen work), but I can't help thinking that Mercy is wise beyond her years. One quote really got me about the strength, or weakness, of Deliverance.
"Shhhhhhh, shhhhhh," the girl's father soothed, and Mercy looked up at her parents and reflected that she had never before seen her mother cry." pg. 106
I agree with this. But would like to add that maybe it's not so much that Grace is a free spirit but she has come to terms with things.
04-03-2009 03:58 PM
I think ClaudiaLuce brings up a unique idea---that Grace has manipulated Connie into the house in order to discover things about herself. Maybe she has become impatient with Connie not realizing the "talents" she has and feels the house and environment will lead her where she needs to go to find these.
Who knows? Maybe Grace has gifts also and it was really her that sent Arlo to find Connie. Connie was just too thick, so she had to go to the house! <grin>
I may have missed something, but I think it odd that Grace would not have been curious about the house all those years. Hmmm....maybe we'll find out that something happened there that precluded her return? How about it, you folks who've finished the book? Am I getting warm?!
04-03-2009 07:19 PM
I believe Grace is very much aware of herself and her "powers". She knows she's a witch. She has assigned her daughter, who she loves very much, to clean this house of her mother's so that Connie will be introduced into what she is...a witch.
Ohhh...I think you're right about that! It wasn't something that had occurred to me and I thought Grace was just be annoying making Connie clean the house when she should be working on her dissertation. But if Grace knows the family connection to the Salem trials and that her daughter needs a dissertation topic, it makes sense to have Connie clean the house to make some discoveries about herself.
04-03-2009 07:37 PM
I think this is a very good point. If Grace had asked Connie about the orals and also to go to Granna's house, Connie would have said NO. This is a reflection of the relationship Grace and Connie have with each other. So Grace "tricks" Connie to go to Marblehead knowing that Connie will discover things about herself. Grace is definitely a free spirit but her mother, Sophia, is definitely grounded in her time period. Grace wants Connie to "lighten up" and enjoy life more than she does. I think Grace also is sorry for the relationship she had with her mother. She wants Connie to feel better about herself and not be so serious. Did Grace know that Sam would be there when Connie went to the Church records office? I think Grace also wants Connie to know more about her Granna.
I found it very interesting Grace's reaction to Connie talking about Lemuel.
04-03-2009 08:29 PM
I agree with Maude40 that Connie wants to please her mom. Connie so tries to develop a relationship with her mom each and every time she talks with Grace. Connie always starts out the conversation calling Grace "mom" but soon becomes frustrated and switches to "Grace".
I can feel the emotion of frustration time and time again. Connie is unable to enjoy this mother-daughter relationship on terms she would enjoy.
It seemed obvious that even though Connie and her mother don't see each other often or even communicate very much , that Connie wanted to please Grace by doing the favor for her.
04-03-2009 11:51 PM
What is Connie's relationship like with her mother?
I think Connie's relationship with her mother is simply that they accept that the other one exists. I get the feeling that Connie doesn't approve of her mother's life and vice versa. Connie seems to be very pragmatic and logical where her mother seems to be very free and open. I think they clash, a lot. Connie's mother also seems to be self-absorbed, she doesn't even remember Connie's exam, she is so wrapped up in her own life. I think the reason this seems so foregin to me is that my mother is pretty good about remembering everything that I tell her is going on. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a mother that just doesn't seem to care. And I don't think it's that Connie's mother doesn't love her, there are just people that are so wrapped in their own lives that they can't, for whatever reason, worry about someone else's.
What can we make out about Connie's grandmother, Sophia, from her house?
So far I think the only thing that we can gather from Sophia is that she was pretty set in her ways. I think the fact that the house has never been updated, other than the addition of plumbing, shows that she is maybe stubborn. Plus the fact that Sophia disapproved of Grace's lifestyle so much that she lost contact with her daughter for quite some time.
I also get the sense that she may have been into magic, or herbal healing (Physiks, right?) due to the fact that she had all those canning jars and that Arlo dug up the mandrake, which Connie confess that there are legends surrounding the plant. Plus the fact that Sophia disapproved of Grace's lifestyle so much that she lost contact with her daughter for quite some time.
04-04-2009 10:05 PM
My first reaction to the grandmother-mother-daughter relationship was one of sadness. It seems so sad that each of them were so distant from each other. In my experience, grandmothers and granddaughters often form a bond that surpasses all sorts of problems between parents and children. But Connie was denied that special bond with Sophia.
I think Connie is aware of that disparity at least on a subconscious level. She wants to know more about Sophie and is therefore willing to spend the summer roaming through her old house and garden.
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04-05-2009 05:18 PM
I wonder if Grace is actually quite worried about Connie and her focus on academia to the exclusion of everything else. Grace is often trying to get Connie to connect with other aspects of her self. This is possibly why Grace does not express pride or approval of Connie's academic achievements - because it worries her. Also, Connie seems to feel a bit superior to her mother and dismissive of a lot of what she has to say. I think they both need to be a bit more balanced. Connie has deliberately fashioned her life to have no resemblance to Grace's life. Yet she does still wish for Grace's approval and understanding.
I have read on a bit further than I should have so I am not sure if I should say this or not, but I think that the journey Connie goes on in order to discover the book is also a journey that brings Connie a greater level of understanding of her mother.
04-05-2009 06:52 PM
I feel a little different about the relationship between Connie and Grace then others. I think that Connie expects to be the center of her mothers attention and when she's not she gets her feelings hurt and almost pouts like a little child. When Connie is returning the call to her mother, at first she feels "a rising warmth of affection", then when Grace seems to have forgotten about her orals, she becomes angry. It says " her voice devolving into the same stern, disappointed chill that it used to have when Connie was a teenager." Later, when Connie is thinking of calling Grace about something, she makes a comment about "assuming Grace was even home to answer the phone." I think Grace also has a life of her own, that doesn't always revolve around Connie. They don't live near each other and Connie is busy with her studies. Just because Grace is her mother, it doesn't mean she has to be totally involved in Connies life.
It is more logical for Connie to clean out her grandmothers house because she is so much closer than Grace is. But I think Grace has a motive for asking her to do it, too much time has passed since the house has been vacant for it just to be an issue of taxes.
04-05-2009 09:54 PM
I think Connie and Grace feel they are opposites and have little in common. I don't feel Grace was being selfish when she asked Connie to take care of the house. I saw it as being practical. Grace lived in New Mexico and would have to travel back East and live in the house and she was simply busy with her own life. Connie was nearby and could live there instead of paying rent somewhere.
Both Connie and Grace were wrapped up in their own lives. They were both impatient with each other. They both wanted each other to be more like themselves. Connie wanted her mother to be a little more responsible and traditional, while Grace wanted Connie to let loose a little bit and become more carefree.
My impression so far is very similar.
Perhaps the free-spirited Grace would already know that Connie would have the "strongest doctoral qualifying examination" that they had seen in recent memory at Harvard.