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Peppermill
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]

 


gackie wrote (excerpt):

 

How is this scene different from the picture we've had of larger gatherings of townspeople earlier in the novel--the races, for example?

 

This scene shows that the townspeople take care of their own and they are there for each other in a time of need.


 

One of the things that has bothered me almost from the beginning about this story is: where was the community after Karla died?

 

Maybe Hildi Knedlik was too young and too marginalized to have an influence.  Maybe Edna Janek didn't want to get involved with Vaclav.  Maybe Father Carew didn't know how to rally the forces of his parish.  Maybe Vaclav pushed everyone away.  Still, the dearth of "community" or "family" (grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, in-laws) in the early pages of the story did not ring quite true for me. 

 

Pepper

"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
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

When realization hits Karel that his mother loved his father, he began to look at things differently and a metamorphosis seemed to encompass his body.  Both Mrs. Knedlik and Mrs. Vrana shared stories with Karel of how gentle, happy and demonstrative his parents were with each other and “how his father wore a smile always when he was with her”.  

 

Karel realized he did miss his brothers, even though being together on the farm under their father’s rule was always trying and stressful, but he was missing their camaraderie.  He wondered if he could feel Thom’s pain the same way one twin could feel another twin’s pain.  He tried to close his eyes and imagine that he did feel Thom’s pain, but he couldn’t.  Karel didn’t think twice about going to Thom’s place and even told Father Carew to mention to Thom that he would be there so as not to surprise him and when he got to Thom’s farm and stood there with his brothers, it seemed natural.  Henry Kaspar had said to Karel “Your brother ain’t said a word that I’ve heard since we got here” and it occurred to Karel that this was the way the whole county must see them, as the family that everyone but they themselves recognized as such.”

 

Karel seemed to soften after his son was born.  He watched the father and son out in the field hunting together and turned back to go to his son.  He made sure he bonded with him; he held him close to his chest, touching him when he was sleeping and he dreamt of doing things side by side with him.  He was attentive to Sophie and the children when he took them home and very patiently described to Sophie what had transpired over the past couple of days.

 

Raymond's mother, Mrs. Knedlik, was Karel’s wet nurse and Raymond very conveniently kept reminding him that they have this in common, it made them like brothers.  I think this is where Karel becomes somewhat sympathetic toward Raymond, lets him walk out of his stable and The Wake of Forgiveness comes into play.  This, coupled with being with his brothers under, once again, trying conditions, had a domino effect and the act of  forgiveness strengthens even more.  Thom says to Karel “Let’s see if one of them will pour you a cup of coffee” and Stan says to Karel “It’s nothing says you can’t pay us a visit at our place some Sunday…and with a wink he ducked through the door and closed it gently behind him.”  The only question in my mind is does   Karel come to terms with the fact that he let Raymond walk away without turning him over to Thomas and was he banking on the fact that the two Mexicans would hunt him down and kill him?

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maxcat
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Rachel_K wrote:

 

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

I didn't know what to expect as the brothers parted ways and Karel hasn't seen them for 2 years. It was nice to know that they could get along but it took a tragedy to do it. I was confused about the fire as the Knedlick boys had come across a stable and barn with Karel's trailer there. I naturally thought it was Karel's barn being set on fire. It wasn't until Father Carew came along and found Karel and told him that Thom's stable and barn burnt to the ground.

I'm glad that the brothers got together even if it was a tragedy. Perhaps, one will think they will be more friendly as time goes on.

 

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

Villasenor has always been a thug and has henchmen with him to do his bidding. He's there at thom's place as his daughter, Graciela , is Thom's wife. I don't see any concern for their daughter who was dropped by Thom trying to flee the house when the fire began. He is just as cruel as Vaclav if not worse and he has his thumb pretty well pressed on Thom to do his bidding.

 

Karel's wife has already arrived at Thom house with their children. Why? What does the scene inside the household tell us about this community, about the lives of the women in this community?

 

I think back in those days, in a rural community, everyone knew everyone's business. If a fire destroys a barn, all the womenfolk gather and make food and tend to the injured. In modern days, it's not done anymore. People don't know their next door neighbor and choose not to know. Back in the 20's, people looked out for people and cared for them and their safety.

 

How is this scene different from the picture we've had of larger gatherings of townspeople earlier in the novel--the races, for example?

 

Earlier, we see men gathered at races and betting on them and having a good time. Here, with tragedy, women come together to keep the mother occupied with cooking and tend to the injured. There were probably even quilting bees back then where women would congregate and make quilt squares and sew them together.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Peppermill
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]

 


Clevegal42 wrote (excerpt):

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

This one I couldn't figure out - I never could quite get what this guy's deal was.  I understood his desire to take over the town but I couldn't put my finger on the haste to marry off his daughters so quickly...and why that was his "reward" for his daughter winning the race.  Maybe I'm dense, but it seems to me like he loves his daughters but he doesn't quite know what to do with them - if he marries them off, he'll have boys around because that's what he knows, that's who he can interact with and he won't run the risk of making his daughters become too son-like.


 

Clevegal -- I appreciated what you wrote here.  A different aspect than those my mind had explored about Villasenor.

 

It seemed to me that, besides being rather a brute and domineering bully at times, Villasenor was another man, like Vaclav, in almost frontier days striving to survive and thrive without a wife.  But, his wife walked out on him, and after the umpteenth time he decided not to bring her back.  (Having seen the character of their daughter Graciela, I got a sense they had once been matches of spunk for each other.)  Still, she left him three daughters in his care.  Not surprising that he saw the easiest way of dealing with them was to marry them off.  Given that Vaclav accepts Villasenor's wager (on p. 28, although it isn't quite clear to me what the wager is -- seemed almost a "heads I win, tails you lose" offer, since Vaclav claimed not to want more land), Villasenor must have seen the Skala boys as better choices than the others that might have been available with a willing dowry of 200 acres per daughter.  Did he see already that these might be young men he could cower, as their father had done? 

"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
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CAG
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

 

I, once again, like what you have to say. I agree that in the end, most of the characters do fogive and let go, moving on with their life. I would love to read a sequel to this story.

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

Because of the prior scene with Villasenor, where he blamed Karel for the behavior of the Knedlik brothers, I thought that the brothers would be furious with Karel, assuming that he wanted his revenge and sent the Knedlik brothers to burn Thom out.
I think the fact that Karel's wife Sohpie appeared early on, softened their reactions because surely, she wouldn't have gotten up out of bed to be there had Karel been guilty in any way.
I think that family does come together in times of trouble, does forgive past wrongs and hurts. Squabbles, large and small, pale in the face of tragedy. What is important becomes more apparent and I think the brothers realized that their relationship was important.
Perhaps, in a sequel we will learn more about how they go forward. Maybe the brothers will come out from under the yoke of Villasenor, as well. When he arrives on the scene he is, as usual, authoritarian, self righteous and condescending.

They all deserve their freedom from the heavy hand of their cruel and demanding fathers. I think that when Karel lets Raymond go, he understands that he was also bound to his father and would never change if he did not allow him to escape and begin again. They were all the products of an abusive parent. One can only hope that the loss of his brother curtails his mean and bitter streak and that the tragedy that befell the Skalas will turn them around, as well.
In the last scene, most of the characters do move on and find a way to forgive each other. Isn't that the way it really should be? Aren't we told somewhere to turn the other cheek? After all, "vengeance is really not its own reward, virtue is".

Rachel-K wrote:

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

Karel's wife has already arrived at Thom house with their children. Why? What does the scene inside the household tell us about this community, about the lives of the women in this community?

 

 

 

 


 


 

CAG
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Bonnie_C
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

The Reunion:  I was a little nervous about the reunion of the Scala boys, thinking that Karel would be blamed for the actions of the Knedlik twins.  I thought the meeting was wonderfully done.  The response of the brothers was as I would imagine it to be between four men who had not spoken to each other in years but realized it was time to put the past behind.

 

Villasenor:  Witnessing the interactions between Villasenor and his brothers made Karel realize that while he has moved on and was a free man, his brothers were still being driven under the yoke of another tyrant.

 

Sophie and the women:  I got the feeling that Sophie may have already forged a relationship with the brothers prior to this.  Stan made the comment that Sophie was a fine woman and "nobody with any sense doesn't like her".  I think Sophie knows the importance of family.

 

The women in this story are the backbone of the community.  They are the fuel that keep the men going.  I absolutely love the line "If God had been a woman, she would have sent Adam from the garden all the same, but not without a cup of coffee".

 

Bonnie

 

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Tarri
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

 


ruthieWW wrote:

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

I held out hope that the brothers could find peace with one another, but I was disappointed. Even though I did not expect them to embrace and apologize for years of neglect. I did not expect them to SAY the words of forgiveness; because they had no teaching, no training, no example of how to interact with a loved one. They really did not know how to love. Just because they shared the same air space in a crowded room and seemed to endure simple pleasantries; does not mean that Forgiveness had enveloped their hearts. Perhaps the author intended for us to accept that fact, but I saw four brothers go through the motions of brotherly unity. The walls that separated these brothers from their father and from each other could not be torn down by the events that occurred. The last page seemed to infer that Karel had found his identity and was on the brink of freedom from guilt, blame and abuse. I hope that could be true. But that is not reality.


For me, that is what was meant by the Wake of Forgiveness and that the relationships will grow now that forgiveness is awakened.  Of course, I could be wrong.

 

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coffee_luvr
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

 



Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

I kind of did expect that the fire at Thom's barn would bring the boys together.

Their interaction tells us that their relationship was estranged but not sure anyone wanted that separation to continue. 

 

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

Pg 277...... It must have been, Karel realized, for them, like waking every morning, from colorful dreams of manhood to find that they were still, all of them, playing with sticks down in the grassy shadows on the bank of the creek.

The brothers never got away from a figure that was a tyrant and abusive.  The brothers would always have to toe the line to Villasenor's expectations and never be their own men where they could decide their actions.

 


 


 

Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara Tuchman
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JuneC
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Bonnie , you read my mind on all 3 of these discussion questons. 

 

I stil wonder how these men ended up as resonablely decent family men with  the background they had.  You clearly hit it right withthe statement that the woman are the backbone.

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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Going back to the scene where Whiskey falls on top of Vaclav. Vaclav was drunk, he had been riding Whiskey very hard and was aware of the horse's lame leg. Vaclav had kicked his three oldest sons out of the house and his youngest son worked the farm with him, but each of them working different jobs in different parts of the land. The land meant everything to Vaclav and he had lost too much of it in bets. He never got over losing his wife and had been pining away for her for years.  Karel came home late into the night, when he knew he wouldn't have to talk to his father. No social life, just chewing and spitting the tobacco and drinking whiskey.  Whiskey had lost all of the will but none of the instincts to run and Karel was keeping time for a race that his father never intended to be run in full.   Could Vaclav have finally succumb to the misery he lived in and ran Whiskey until he dropped?

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literature
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

In an earlier post I wrote to Bruce,

 

"I am keeping with the schedule so I do not know how Villasenor plays out in the rest of the book.  The only favor I ask of you is that if you write a sequel, or the second book in a trilogy, can he be described as maybe having wind blown hair, mud-caked boots, manure (polished or unpolished) ladden trousers, drivinging into town with the remnants of a dust storm covering his otherwise polished surry or even blessed by a passing covey...I still believe that he is keeping his distance from an previous past he's trying to avoid."

 

Well, Bruce, you made my day.  Villasenor became undone!

 

  • "Villasenor's Packard stood absent its sheen, the black paint chalked over with dust."
  • "Karel notices on the man's face the first suggestion of his vulnerability, an involuntary twitch in the fleshy lower lid of his eye".
  • Karel to Villasenor:  "You're one rotten son of a bitch...It's no wonder your wife up and left every time some other man came sniffing around."

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

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dclement04
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

I thought it would be more emotional but then again it didnt surprise me, it was intense though I thought.

 

 

Karel's wife has already arrived at Thom house with their children. Why? What does the scene inside the household tell us about this community, about the lives of the women in this community?

i think that this community backs each other up and they support each other so whenever there is something going on they show up to support one another.

 

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gackie
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

One of the things that has bothered me almost from the beginning about this story is: where was the community after Karla died?

 

Maybe Hildi Knedlik was too young and too marginalized to have an influence.  Maybe Edna Janek didn't want to get involved with Vaclav.  Maybe Father Carew didn't know how to rally the forces of his parish.  Maybe Vaclav pushed everyone away.  Still, the dearth of "community" or "family" (grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, in-laws) in the early pages of the story did not ring quite true for me. 

 

Pepper

 


 

I agree with you Pepper. It doesn't fit with the times.
One would think that the town folk would rally around this family and help them out more, but I can see how Vaclav could of pushed them away.

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gackie
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Something that I have had on my mind is when the boys were made to plow why didn't they rotate positions so that their necks wouldn't of been bent to one side permanently?

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Clevegal42
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel


gackie wrote:

One of the things that has bothered me almost from the beginning about this story is: where was the community after Karla died?

 

Maybe Hildi Knedlik was too young and too marginalized to have an influence.  Maybe Edna Janek didn't want to get involved with Vaclav.  Maybe Father Carew didn't know how to rally the forces of his parish.  Maybe Vaclav pushed everyone away.  Still, the dearth of "community" or "family" (grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, in-laws) in the early pages of the story did not ring quite true for me. 

 

Pepper

 


 

I agree with you Pepper. It doesn't fit with the times.
One would think that the town folk would rally around this family and help them out more, but I can see how Vaclav could of pushed them away.


I was thinking the same thing too - I'm assuming the community did rally for the family, but we don't know about it.  There were several points where it was mentioned that Vaclav was only softened when in the presence of his wife...without his wife he seemed like a miserable mean old man.  Since most of the focus of these earlier years was on the youngest I'm guessing the community had already given up on Vaclav by that point so Karel was never really aware of the help that the community tried to provide.

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Deltadawn
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

As others have indicated, I too feel that the reunion scene between the brothers was written just exactly right.  they are not the types to be emotional  - but their forgiveness was communicated in what they did say and in their gestures.

 

Again, I agree with the other readers who state that Villasenor was another form of a tyrant to the brothers. They have not really escaped - and are still yoked - to a different ruler in a different way - but yoked just the same.

 

Karel's wife is strong, caring, and forgiving. The women in the community have come together in a time of need (in this case, at least) - leading the way for the men to do the same.

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nfam
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

The reunion scene seemed exactly what you'd expect from four grown men who have been abused by their father and now their father-in-law. They suddenly realized that they are brothers. 

 

I found the stable fire extremely upsetting. The incredible cruelty shown animals in this book is unbelievable. I was surprised that none of the brothers or their wives mentioned the wonderful horses that had burned to death. No one seemed to care about the horses. I understand they were concerned about the child, but the tragedy of the horses seemed to pass them by. 

 

This came on top of the description of the way Vaclav treated Whiskey after the horse lost the race. I understand Vaclav's tenet that when anyone thing happens someone is to blame. He took out his upset on the horse the same way he took out his grief and anger about the loss of his wife on his sons. He seems a very disturbed person and not at all likable. It isn't surprising that the brothers had such difficult accepting Karel. 

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MSaff
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Hello Everyone,

 

  What I was surprised about in the scene between the Skala brothers at the fire scene, was that they appeared to be OK with each other.  Throughout the novel, I expected that the brothers were going to be at each other's throats because of how they had been treated by their father.  I was pleasantly surprised at the compassion shown during the fire scene. 

  If this had been a true story and a movie, I would expect that there would be a continuing of a healing process between the brothers. 

 

  Villasenor's arrival at the fire scene and his interactions with his daughter's husbands, reminded me of how their own father had treated them.  Why they would put themselves under the control of someone like Villasenor is beyond my comprehension.  Why set yourself up for another fall.  Karel had control over his life, in as much as he was the head of his household, had a loving wife and equally loving children.  Now Karel must straighten his own life out as far and the infidelity issue.  There is hope there. 

 

  I wasn't surprised to find that Sarah and the children had already arrived at Thom's house during the fire scene.  It appeared to me that this was a close knit community regardless of the in fighting.  When something happened to one person or family in the community, everyone came together to help the stricken family or person.  Any look out for the person or persons who caused the heartache. 

 


Rachel-K wrote:

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

Karel's wife has already arrived at Thom house with their children. Why? What does the scene inside the household tell us about this community, about the lives of the women in this community?

 

 

 


 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

--This is the kind of reunion that I would expect from the brothers.  It appears that they can sort of let bygones by bygones.  But they certainly aren't going to hug each other or show affection outright.  I think that the brothers will begin having some type of relationship again, but it will never be close.

 

 

 

What do you make of Villasenor's arrival and his interactions with his daughter's husbands?

 

--I really dislike Villasenor!  He reminds me of Vaclav and I feel sympathy for the now son-in-laws.  He is authoritarian and unkind in my eyes.

 

 

 

Karel's wife has already arrived at Thom house with their children. Why? What does the scene inside the household tell us about this community, about the lives of the women in this community?

 

--It shows that the women of the community have their own "circle" and relationship that is separate from the men.  Just as the men have their own as well. 

 

 

 

How is this scene different from the picture we've had of larger gatherings of townspeople earlier in the novel--the races, for example?

 

--It seems closer.  The races seemed almost like a mob-mentality to me.  The women seem to know each other and are closer than the men are to each other.

 

 

 

 

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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Describe the scene between the Skala brothers in the wake of the fire. Is this the reunion you expected between the boys? What does their interaction tell you about their history and their relationships to each other now?

 

I was surprised that they didn't ban Karel from the area. I had thought they would fully blame him. I was happy that they buried the hatchet.