Reply
Correspondent
bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

When does the war feel "real"?  To Frankie, the war feels real right from the start due to the nightly bombings, but especially when Billy's mom and Harriet are killed.  It feels real to Emma when Will decides to volunteer over there.

 

The war story that affected me the most in the beginning chapters was the description of the people leaving their homes at night and sleeping in the underground.  They couldn't even feel safe sleeping in their own homes.  Everyone effectively became homeless at nighttime.

 

Listening to the news via radio in the 40's didn't seem to hold the same intensity as getting news from tv and the internet in the present day.  I think the immediacy of 24/7 cable news and the internet plus photos and video makes people more aware of what's going on.  I think the radio probably had a more distant effect of making people feel what's was happening in the war was happening far away from their safe little existences in the U.S.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

I agree with a previous writer that said she thought Will was a coward.

 

I don't understand the view that Will was a coward at all. Will one or some of you who have that judgment please explain.

 

I certainly don't think of Will as a hero, either before or after his death, but a coward?

 

A sense of cupability, a sense of guilt, a sense of responsibililty - yes.  But, coward?  It sounds so negative for someone so clearly sensitive and attempting to be upright.  (Was his father also a coward?  What is cowardice, in the face of or despite the definitions below?)

 

Pepper

 

coward

Etymology: Middle English coward, cuard, from Old French coart, cuart, adj & noun, from coe, coue tail (from Latin cauda) + -art -ard; from the idea of a coward retreating to the tail end of an army, or from the idea of a frightened animal with its tail between its legs
: one who shows ignoble fear : a basely timid, easily frightened, and easily daunted person <a coward, irresolute, impulsive in any crisis -- Walter de la Mare> <is an arrant coward and shows the white feather at the slightest display of pluck in his antagonist -- John Burroughs>

 

cowardice

: the quality of a coward : ignoble timidity : fainthearted lack of courage; also : lack of resolution in the face of hostile sentiments of others <the mean between foolhardiness and cowardice -- G.L.Dickinson> <to abandon that logic was to abandon clearness of mind: it was mental cowardice -- F.M.Ford>

"coward, cowardice." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (26 Oct. 2009).

 


HannibalCat wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

quiltedturtle1 wrote:

I think the author has done a good job in these chapters of showing us how the war is personal to different characters in the book through her use of the radio and Frankie's broadcasts. We see how it affects each of the characters as they listen to her. Frankie ties them all together and she also gives us a look at what is going on in England.

 

As I read the first chapters, the story caught me and I could not wait to see what happened. The death of Maggie was heart wrenching.  It is interesting that Will is leaving Emma after being married such a short time. I questioned early in the book why she was coming to town alone on the bus when they had been married only 2 weeks before.

 


Great juxtaposition!   I wondered the same.  If we ever got an adequate understanding, I don't remember what it was just now.

I agree with a previous writer that said she thought Will was a coward. It also struck me that he was struck (no pun intended) by a taxi and killed. Somewhat of an ignominious way to die when he went over there to sort of be a hero. I don't really understand his motives. There was some good intentions, of course, but most of it seemed to be to escape from Maggie's death. He went to a place of death where none of the deaths could be blamed on him, and he didn't have to face the one death he felt responsible for. Why did he feel so responsible?

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Contributor
lindareadsLH
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)


Sunltcloud wrote:

 

I try to understand that "we want to protect ourselves from the pain and torture of knowing that war is going on around us" but cannot ever accept the fact that anybody would "take pleasure in knowing the wars are far away from us."
I take pleasure in sipping French roast at my local Barnes and Noble Coffee Shop. I take pleasure in plucking homegrown tomatoes from the vine. I take pleasure in listening to a local marimba group play music from Zimbabwe. Pleasure implies a state of gratification and gratification involves satisfaction. Of course I would be relieved that my loved ones escaped the impact of war, but how could I be gratified by the notion that the effects of war landed far away from me? Somebody else's family lives far away from me.
Immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Haiti, have families in those countries. One of my German mother's friends was married to a man from England. A part of my family has French roots. During my travels I have made connections with people in China and Morocco. My daughter has spent months in Vietnam. My number one hero lives in South Africa. Libya, Pakistan, India, Cuba...... I can't think of a single place enduring war, without being reminded that a mother is rocking her frightened baby to sleep while sirens wail or bombs fall or shock and awe light up the night. Not a single place where life is less valuable or death more acceptable than right here where I stand.

lindareadsLH wrote in part:

I enjoy stories of the World Wars because I am mature enought to want to know the kind of despair so many people lived in through these ordeals.  But is it real to us hearing about it over the news, then the radio and the newspaper?. I do not think it would have  seemed as real as it was to the ones that was in it of course. Being human, we want to protect ourselves from the pain and torture of knowing that war is going on around us and we take pleasure in knowing  the wars are far away from us.  That is, unless we have personally something invested in war zones such as people we love, our sons and so forth.

 


 

 


 

The fact is we are human beings, its not that we do not care about war and  of course we harbor sorrow and saddness for those affected by the horrors of a warwrenched country. But I firmly believe we are grateful the war, if it has to be war, is somewhere else and not in our front door. Do you feel no other country ,persons in that country, was grateful or glad they weren't here to witness 911. ? Of course most countries felt sorrow for the US and wished us well but they still were, deep within , glad that it didnt happen in their laps. I think that is just plain truth and I am sorry if you do not agree, its being human and of course it  is not  something we are definitely proud of but its so true.  Just my thoughts.

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

 


lindareadsLH wrote:

The fact is we are human beings, its not that we do not care about war and  of course we harbor sorrow and saddness for those affected by the horrors of a warwrenched country. But I firmly believe we are grateful the war, if it has to be war, is somewhere else and not in our front door. Do you feel no other country ,persons in that country, was grateful or glad they weren't here to witness 911. ? Of course most countries felt sorrow for the US and wished us well but they still were, deep within , glad that it didnt happen in their laps. I think that is just plain truth and I am sorry if you do not agree, its being human and of course it  is not  something we are definitely proud of but its so true.  Just my thoughts.


 

Sadly, part of what has been written is that many were glad when 9/11 happened in the US to the extent that they considered it an object lesson for Americans to comprehend the risks which they had been facing for years. 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Contributor
katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

From my point of view, the radio news DID make a huge impact on the listeners in the US. It convinced Will, for example, that he ought to volunteer as an MD to help the Londoners injured during the Blitz. His dialog when sharing the shelter with Frankie makes that pretty explicit, I think. It's hard to make a judgment about effectiveness of radio when we're so thoroughly indoctrinated with out visual media. I often find myself listening to rather than watching TV news.

No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Inspired Contributor
katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I don't think of Will as a coward at all. Voluntarily sharing the dangers of the blitz certainly requires courage. In my view, it was Will's lack of experience, coupled with his failure to get maggie to a hospital when he first recognized that something was wrong, that caused him to react so strongly to losing her. If I were Emma, I'd have insisted on accompanying him to London, instead of remaining resentfully at home. 

No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
B&N Bookseller
melissas
Posts: 392
Registered: ‎05-25-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Iris is an odd, yet fascinating person; I do not like Emma. Frankie's broadcasts bring the war to life.

For those of us from a much younger generation, it gives us real insight into the character of the time. I've always been intrigued by all perspectives of this time in history.

 


lmpmn wrote:

 

4.  Funny question:  On pg. 76-77 Iris is thinking to herself about her job, then the certificate lying in her drawer, then all of a sudden she's drawn back to a vision of her mother who she saw going down the hall with homemade douche in her hands.  What's up with that?  It seemed so random.  Any thoughts?


Perhaps it's a point of stark contrast: the certificate signifying chastity, the douche a sign of womanhood, or the act of, er, being un-chaste.

Inspired Contributor
drbjaded
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

It impacts us by the radio and the things happening on the radio.  We are listening to Frankie's broadcasts as if it's happening in our own living rooms.  I think the story that impacted me the most was when Harriet and Billy's mom were lost in the bombing. 

 

The war feels real when it impacts their lives.  When they hear about the bombings and people dying.  The war begins to impact even more when there is a possibility that the U.S. will enter the war soon.  It impacts the town a great deal when Will goes off to war.

 

I think the television impacts us more because we have a more vivid look at the war and not just hearing someone's voice.  It is more real because we can see and hear what is going on around us.  The war correspondents really bring the war to life with the sounds and pictures from the war area.

 

I don't think Frankie liked the stories she was given to report.  Harriet was more on the war beat to get stories done and her stories had a theme.  She was reporting on something close to her heart talking about the plight of the Jews and wanted the whole world to know about it.  Frankie worked more on what she saw and used her emotions more to correspond about the war.  She needed to look at the war from a neutral perspective but she had to fight for the stories she believed in. 

 

The small is very small.  They don't really seem to be preparing for the war.  They just kinda think it's not going to involve them.  That no one will invade the U.S.  There is the lone person atop the look out point waiting for subs to land and infiltrate the town because of the U.S. flag flying above the post office.

"You cannot love life until you live the life you love."
Frequent Contributor
dj5775
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎03-22-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I was very taken with the radio stories and I listened as I read. The reporters who relayed the news/stories then has to really get the picture in the listeners heads since that's how many got reports. The detail and description they use, the emotion, and the way they spoke were all they hadto get their stories out. The war touches each character in their own ways..first hand experiences, family/friends going overseas. I see Franklin as a quaint seaside town not unlike the rest of America, paying attention to the reports, looking out for on another.

ct