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Rachel-K
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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?

 

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?

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

[ Edited ]

 

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?

 

 

 

 


 

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dhaupt
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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?

It was what I was hoping for, that one of them would light the peace pipe and the others would follow.

 

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

To me he was just a substitute for Vaclav

 

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?

That they all pull together no matter what in the face of danger, she was there with everyone else to show support to Graciela.

 

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

The pictures before of the townspeople was more like a spectator or maybe even a mob scene, this scene was a town of neighbors helping one of their own.

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Tarri
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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?

 

The reunion was tense, but also it felt right.

 

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

 

Villasenor is obviously a man who gets what he wants from everyone with whom he comes into contact.  His daughters' husbands have done exactly what he wanted since the wedding, because he held the purse strings and he is a man who expects compliance in all matters.  

 

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?

There is little difference in the scene at Thom's house than there would be in most small communities today.  During a crisis the woman gather in the house and keep busy, mostly by cooking.  I was not surprised to see Sophie and the children had arrived, but it was rather a shock to read how they got there. 

 

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

I thought the difference was men versus women, crisis versus entertainment.  I will be interested in the group's thoughts. 

 

 

 

 

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Atreyu59
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Final Chapters and Whole Novel

Describing the scene between the Skala brothers  . . . 

 

I have to say I fully expected more emotional involvement; to me this shows just how dis-functional the family turned out to be afterall.  Just by the way and manner in which Karel finds out and isn't so much as "moved" by the news somewhat lead me to understand just how "cold" each felt towards one another.

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Melissa_W
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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?

 

These are men who have been conditioned to avoid external emotional displays - I didn't expect them to all hug and cry, that's not like them.  All it took was a gesture, a nod.  I think the simple gesture of Karel coming to his brother's farm to offer help in a time of need was all it took to break the ice.  He understands now why his brothers got out of their father's house when given the opportunity.

 

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

 

In the book's narration, we don't have much opportunity to see Villasenor interact with Karel nor does it seem Karel directly interacts with him.  In the nature of small towns, everyone knows everyone else's business and so probably all managed to stay out of each others' way.  Villasenor's arrival at Thom's farm after the fire shows Karel that his brother's escaped from their father's thumb to be trapped under a father-in-law's; he realizes that his brother's are not living the easy life he supposes from looking at them from vantage of an outsider.

 

 

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CAG
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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 but as I thought about while I was reading it made sense to me-they seemed comfortable with one another. It was like they were expecting their brother to show up and things to be resolved in some way. Maybe this was what they all longed for, a peace.

 

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

 

Villasenor was as controlling and abusive as their father, maybe more so. We don't know if their father would have eased up his control over them had he lived. Villasenor didn't give them the right to be in charge of their own lives. I felt the brothers feared him and they didn't want to face his anger if they didn't do what he said. They certainly didn't escape much when they left their father and married Villasenor's daughters.

 

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 is just what people did. They reached out and helped each other when their was a need, especially the women. The women were in touch with one another and knew when someone needed help. It didn't matter what the relationship was with the men.

 

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

 

During the races the people were looking for an escape from their day to day lives. They would even urge on a fight if it seemed entertaining to them. However, when it came down to helping your neighbor in a crisis, they dropped everything, including grudges, and came to help.

 

 

 

 


 

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

Until I read these posts, I had not really considered the cruelty of Villasenor toward the characters in the book.  I guess I was very focused on Karel and his family.

Certainly Villasenor was cruel to his daughters in that he practically sells them to further his own interests.  Their husbands become his chattel too because they are beholden to him for their wealth.  All of them have to respond immediately when he asks them to.

I am not sure that he treats his men with cruelty.  He seems to respect them, possibly because they would not dare cross him.  He has no respect for the bankers, for Vaclav, or his sons.

Vaclav and Villasenor both exhibit cruelty, but in different ways and for different reasons.

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

I loved the scene where Karel walks up to his brothers and they find forgiveness in each other. It is like time hasn't passed, yet they are older and wiser. Family is important no matter what may have caused the rift. When you are facing huge losses, it is nice to know that your siblings are there. I didn't expect these boys to hug and jump around. Bruce wrote the reunion exactly as it should have been. Respectful, forgiving, honest. It is interesting to note that I think Karel's brothers respect the life he made for himself. They have followed him, watched him do it alone. Theirs was handed to them at a huge price. They traded their father for another tyrant in Villasenor.

 

When Villasenor arrived, I cringed. He is one of the characters I liked least and we can see here that the man is nothing without his control. He considers himself to have made it and has hired guns to prove it. He is a thug and I could see that the boys had no respect for the man who was their father-in-law. I think they feared him, mostly because he could take their wives and children away.

 

Bad news travels fast and communities come together in time of crisis. While we all know life was very harsh here, there was also a comradery that bound these people together. They needed each other and made sure they showed up when needed. The fire scene was so different from those of the races. Here the townspeople gathered as one to help one of their own. During the races, they wagered then waited for the winner. They would be split between the contestants. But here, they are working as one to put out the fire, care for the children, cook, clean, comfort......

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

 


Atreyu59 wrote:

Describing the scene between the Skala brothers  . . . 

 

I have to say I fully expected more emotional involvement; to me this shows just how dis-functional the family turned out to be afterall.  Just by the way and manner in which Karel finds out and isn't so much as "moved" by the news somewhat lead me to understand just how "cold" each felt towards one another.


As far as emotion goes, I think we have to remember the time period this takes place in. Men were expected to be "men". They could worry but they often turned their emotions into anger or would hold it in rather then to let anyone, especially other men, see them vulnurable in that way.

 

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

It's unfortunate that the last chapters were when I really began to enjoy this book. I think because there was more interaction between the characters. I also grew to like Karel. I think he is a good person, not perfect, but trying his hardest to not be the awful man his father was.

 

The moment he was with Graciela explains a lot. The only other woman in his life, his mother, left him when he was an infant, then he finds comfort in another woman's arms & in the same night she takes him, she rejects him. Yet he shows up at the church and defends her honor by demanding to know who hit her. I found a lot of respect for Karel during this time.

 

In the end, when he really looks at his son, when you see the possibility of the relationship he will have with his son and how you know he wants to be a better father for this little boy, you can't help but feel some warmth for him.

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

 


ssizemore wrote:

Until I read these posts, I had not really considered the cruelty of Villasenor toward the characters in the book.  I guess I was very focused on Karel and his family.

Certainly Villasenor was cruel to his daughters in that he practically sells them to further his own interests.  Their husbands become his chattel too because they are beholden to him for their wealth.  All of them have to respond immediately when he asks them to.

I am not sure that he treats his men with cruelty.  He seems to respect them, possibly because they would not dare cross him.  He has no respect for the bankers, for Vaclav, or his sons.

Vaclav and Villasenor both exhibit cruelty, but in different ways and for different reasons.


I did see the cruelty in Villasenor early on. The man practically sold his daughters off, he was very controlling, and Graciela's bruise the day of her wedding showed he could be abusive. The moment I especially liked was when Karel realized his brothers weren't the lucky ones after all. That by not getting one of the pretty girls that day, he retained his freedom. He had to deal with his father but in the end he was free to live his life how he wanted it. His brother's were now under the thumb of a controlling new father. If they dare to challenge him, who is to say what he would do. How violent or cruel he could become? They have land, wives, children and most likely won't want to take a chance of losing that, or even their own lives. As they stood around and Villasenor barked his commands & they jumped, flinched & obeyed it was if they were still all boys again.

 

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

I was disappointed in one aspect. I know some here expected there to be a moment when Vaclav would turn. We see him as a loving man, then we see him as a strict father, and then when they are older and he is unbelievably cruel. I think some of us expected something to happen that would have turned him from the strict father to the cruel one but that never happened. Maybe it happened slowly over time, maybe the moment was when the picture was destroyed, I'm not sure.

 

 

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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 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.

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

[ Edited ]

 


DSaff wrote (excerpt):

 

When Villasenor arrived, I cringed. He is one of the characters I liked least and we can see here that the man is nothing without his control. He considers himself to have made it and has hired guns to prove it. He is a thug and I could see that the boys had no respect for the man who was their father-in-law. I think they feared him, mostly because he could take their wives and children away.


 

 I found the three key older generation fathers to be fascinating foils to each other in the spinning of this story, Skala, Villasenor, and Knedlik.  The comparisons and contrasts of their marriages, of their relationships with their wives, of their treatment of their children, of the characters of their adult children, of their own lives, ...., are intriguing.

 

I thought Machart did an outstanding job of conveying part of what it must have meant to be Mexican/Spanish and powerfully "successful" at the turn of the century in that part of Texas, largely settled and run by Czech and Scotch-Irish Europeans.  One of my favorite passages is Villasenor's interactions as he leaves the bank after conducting his business with Lad Dvorak.  (pp. 9-10)

 

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JerseyAngel
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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.


I think I felt differently in regard to this. I don't think all of those years apart can suddenly be forgiven in one moment. The fact that they were comfortable with each other was a huge turning point One of the brothers, I think it was Stan, tells Karel that he should stop by on Sundays sometimes. As long as they have been apart, I think healing will take time but in this moment we see them begin the process of healing & forgiveness. I think in time, they will begin to be a family again. I had this vision of Karel & the brothers helping to rebuild Thom's barn at one point. Again, remembering the time they are in, men deal with emotion differently. They are more likely to bond again & forgive over hard work and simply by being together. Maybe eventually they will talk about the past but they may be just as happy to start a new beginning & leave the past behind. I just can't imagine there being big hugs and apologies.

 

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babzilla41
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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?

 

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?

 

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

 

 

 

 


I was at first surprised at how easily the brothers accepted Karel.  I thought that Thomas was going to blame Karel for the devastation when in fact they pretty much treated him like he had been coming to the farm every day for years.  I think the author was able to convey that time has no bounds when it comes to the relationships of brothers - especially brothers who suffered so much together at such a young age. 

 

I wasn't surprised with the way Villasenor treated Thomas and his brothers.  Villasenor had shown what kind of man he was early on in the book, i.e. his attempt at controlling his wife; the way he treated his daughters (physically abusing Graciela), etc.  I think what he did do, without being aware of it, was show Karel that the grass wasn't greener on their side of the fence.  For years Karel thought he was missing something; thought his brothers got the better end of the deal, when in fact Karel was the one brother who became a man in his own right.  His successes were his own - as were his failures.  He was able to take pride in his accomplishments.  His brothers were forever at the behest of another man, as they were as children.

 

Sophia beating Karel to Thom's house was only surprising in the way she arrived - via Elizka.  I'm sure over the years Sophia missed the chance to socialize with her sisters-in-law; the community of women was strong - they relied on each other to pull them through their dark, hard days.  Sophia, just delivering a child, must have felt the raw emotion of one mother to another when she heard of the injury Graciela's daughter suffered.  The thought of losing one of your children is beyond heart-breaking (although I suppose it was fairly common in that time period).The scene inside the house showed the women all banding together - to provide support to Graciela and Thom and to cook and bake and provide nourishment to all the men and their families.

 

I also think that by going to Thom's house without waiting for Karel,  Sophia shows Karel that she's her own woman; a woman he better not take lightly.  She's strong and demands respect in spite of the fact she's forgiven his transgressions in the past.

 

The scene is different from other gatherings in that everyone seems to be on the same "team".  All are praying for the daughter's recovery; all are devastated at the losses incurred.  No one seems to be taking "sides". 

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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?

 

It was very sad that it took something tragic to bring the brothers back together.  I had not expected a reunion of the brothers to happen this way.  In one sense, they tried to act like the years had not separated them, but on the other hand, it was an uneasy coming together.  I know these family situations are played out everyday in our lives, and we always wonder why exactly can't we get past this.  But I'm glad they were together in the end.  There was a lot of under the surface forgiveness going on with all of them.  There is real hope in the end that they are on the way to mending and that they can become a complete family again. 

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Clevegal42
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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 think the boys never really learned how to have a real sibling type relationship with each other, so it wasn't so much a "reunion" as "hey, I saw my brother today".  The three brothers are bonded with each other more so because they are all under their f-i-l's thumb, so I think it was rather telling that Karel went when his brother's child was hurt - they might not be close, they may not even care for each other much but they do have that love that is seen in families (like the expression "You're family, I have to love you but I don't have to like you").

 

 

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.

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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 didn't really expect the brothers to get along so well, but I am glad that they did.

 

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

I feel sorry for the brothers because they left on controlling father for another and have never known what it is like to make their own decisions.

 

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?

Sophie shows up at Thom's house to help them and that was just they way things were done back then.

 

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.