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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

Both Vaclav and Karel have thoughts comparing their own natures to the qualities of the land they work. Do you see similar qualities between them?

 

They both seem serious, hard-nosed, and driven.

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Whiskerbiscuit73
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-13-2010

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  


I had to re-read this chapter and then went back and read it again after reading the chapter that followed it. I think it is very well written, very descriptive, but I did struggle with it- the meaning and relevancy. I am curious to see how this develops- as I assume that there is a correlation between the opossum caught in the owl's claws and the Father caught in the "claws" of the fence.

 

 

~Nicole

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reader76
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎02-05-2009

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

When people gather for races, there is a definite sense of excitement whether it be a race or dance.  It is social occasion, a break from hard working life.  Even the priest couldn't help himself and went to the race so he can observe hidden when Karel and Graciela was to compete.  There is a very strong sense of competitiveness among neighbors whether it be land or water propriety. 

 

Both Vaclav and Karel are hard people.  Hard and dry as the earth itself.  It takes hard and back breaking digging to get to the center of their inner being just like the earth where you have to work it continuously to grow anything.  They are loners and has a hard time sharing their feelings with one another. 

 

The descriptions of land and horses are very vivid and detailed giving a view of what they are like to the characters in the book. 

 

I guess I look as Father Carew as the horned owl looking at the race in the darkness keeping himself hidden so he is not caught giving into whim of race watching.  The prey represents the consequence of what happens to Father Carew of what he was doing?

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

That is a great comment....the claws of the owl and the claws of the fence! Both were trapped but only one got away...not the innocent opossum but the flawed pastor.

 


Whiskerbiscuit73 wrote:

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  


I had to re-read this chapter and then went back and read it again after reading the chapter that followed it. I think it is very well written, very descriptive, but I did struggle with it- the meaning and relevancy. I am curious to see how this develops- as I assume that there is a correlation between the opossum caught in the owl's claws and the Father caught in the "claws" of the fence.

 

 

~Nicole


 

Reader 4
rnjh00
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-07-2010

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

We find the crowd described almost as a character--at the races, and at the dance in Praha. What kind of personality does the group of townspeople have when they are gathered together in the scenes so far? 

 

I see them as a faceless, uniform mass all doing the same thing -- exchanging wagers while their whiskey bottles cool in the creek.  

 

Both Vaclav and Karel have thoughts comparing their own natures to the qualities of the land they work. Do you see similar qualities between them?

 

In a way, yes.  Although I get the impression that Karel feels he should be different than Vaclav, there is a strong pull for him to be the same.  Both are cold or have grown cold towards the ones they should love (Vaclav to his sons and Karel to Sophie).  We don't yet know everything that happens between Karel and Graciela, but I am beginning to sense that the separation between Karel and Graciela has a similar effect on Karel as the death of Vaclav's wife had on him.

 

How would you describe the backdrop of the natural world in the these scenes? Do we come to know the horses or the land as if they were characters? 

 

Machart's descriptiveness of the land is reminiscent of Steinbeck.  The land and the horses  characters in the story are important driving forces in the narrative.

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  

 

Again, the vivid description of the owl reminded me of Steinbeck's use of the turtle in The Grapes of Wrath.  I am not 100% certain if there is intended symbolism in Machart's use of the owl, but my impression was that, much like Karel, the opossum was not totally in control of his own destiny and that the stronger forces at play in the world (the owl) had wrenched him away from what might have been a "normal" life.  Similarly, the death of Karel's mother removed all sense of normalcy from his life before he ever really had a chance.  I am still trying to figure out Father Carew's place in the story.  I was confused by what occurred between Carew's injury and Karel's coming across the priest in the storm.  I am not sure if Karel actually saw something or interpreted something incorrectly.

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Whiskerbiscuit73
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

That is a great comment....the claws of the owl and the claws of the fence! Both were trapped but only one got away...not the innocent opossum but the flawed pastor.

 


Thank you for sharing this, because the passage makes more sense when put in that context- guilty vs. innocent, fair vs. unfair, punishment vs. grace.  I think that reading the rest of the book with this in mind with help a lot!

 

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ssizemore
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

I too have been pondering the scene with Father Carew--especially the broken vial of holy water.  I think there was a clue in there--I will re-read it!

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DSaff
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

I have also been reminded of The Grapes of Wrath during my reading.  Thanks for pointing that out.  :smileyhappy:

 


rnjh00 wrote:

We find the crowd described almost as a character--at the races, and at the dance in Praha. What kind of personality does the group of townspeople have when they are gathered together in the scenes so far? 

 

I see them as a faceless, uniform mass all doing the same thing -- exchanging wagers while their whiskey bottles cool in the creek.  

 

Both Vaclav and Karel have thoughts comparing their own natures to the qualities of the land they work. Do you see similar qualities between them?

 

In a way, yes.  Although I get the impression that Karel feels he should be different than Vaclav, there is a strong pull for him to be the same.  Both are cold or have grown cold towards the ones they should love (Vaclav to his sons and Karel to Sophie).  We don't yet know everything that happens between Karel and Graciela, but I am beginning to sense that the separation between Karel and Graciela has a similar effect on Karel as the death of Vaclav's wife had on him.

 

How would you describe the backdrop of the natural world in the these scenes? Do we come to know the horses or the land as if they were characters? 

 

Machart's descriptiveness of the land is reminiscent of Steinbeck.  The land and the horses  characters in the story are important driving forces in the narrative.

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  

 

Again, the vivid description of the owl reminded me of Steinbeck's use of the turtle in The Grapes of Wrath.  I am not 100% certain if there is intended symbolism in Machart's use of the owl, but my impression was that, much like Karel, the opossum was not totally in control of his own destiny and that the stronger forces at play in the world (the owl) had wrenched him away from what might have been a "normal" life.  Similarly, the death of Karel's mother removed all sense of normalcy from his life before he ever really had a chance.  I am still trying to figure out Father Carew's place in the story.  I was confused by what occurred between Carew's injury and Karel's coming across the priest in the storm.  I am not sure if Karel actually saw something or interpreted something incorrectly.


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

"the Claws of the fence" sounds so deadly! Great point.  :smileyhappy:

 


Whiskerbiscuit73 wrote:

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  


I had to re-read this chapter and then went back and read it again after reading the chapter that followed it. I think it is very well written, very descriptive, but I did struggle with it- the meaning and relevancy. I am curious to see how this develops- as I assume that there is a correlation between the opossum caught in the owl's claws and the Father caught in the "claws" of the fence.

 

 

~Nicole


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

The broken vial reminded me of a saying I heard when I was young. "It's never right to do wrong to do right." This man truly believed he was wrong in watching the race which made him feel guilty and hide, and led to his mishap with the fence. Now, after doing something "wrong" how could he go baptize the babies? This took that opportunity away, blending with his blood. Redemption?


ssizemore wrote:

I too have been pondering the scene with Father Carew--especially the broken vial of holy water.  I think there was a clue in there--I will re-read it!


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People


BookWoman718 wrote:

deannafrances wrote:

I  started the book and after reading some of the comments in other sections, I was sure I was given the wrong book--so I was glad to see the previous posting that someone else finds the main character to be very unsympathic and noticed the cruelty in the book.  I also wonder about the fact in such harsh circumstances if it really would be possible to keep the horses only for racing and not use them on the farm for anything else.  It seems an overly luxurious indulgence.  I just can't imagine it--having lived in rural areas for the last 40 years of my life.


Apparently Vaclav has enriched himself by racing - winning large land holdings - far more than he would have had he used the horses for low margin farm work.  He pampers them only so long as he can profit by them;  once they have served that purpose, he has no compunction about gelding them and selling them off, or working them hard. 


I agree with deannafrances, that the main character is so unsympathetic.  To me, all the men in the book are very cruel and unsympathetic characters, at least from what I've read so far.  Maybe that will change.

I also agree with Bookwoman718.  Vaclav is coddling the horses because he benefits from doing so.  Everything Vaclav does is for his own benefit.  Although it initially appeared to me to be unusual for him to not also use the horses for farm work, I realized he didn't because it benefitted him more to use them only for mating and racing.

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bookowlie
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

Vaclav's nature is very similar to the qualities of the land he works - harsh, unyielding, unforgiving, horrible and cruel.  His qualities reminded me of the way men act when they are in prison.  They become cold, soulless individuals who have the mentally of "only the fittest survive".

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Peppermill
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

[ Edited ]

How would you describe the backdrop of the natural world in the these scenes? Do we come to know the horses or the land as if they were characters?

 

Having just read The Return of the Native (Thomas Hardy) with the Classics board in August, where the almost universal view is that Egdon Heath is a strong character in the novel, I must say that I have less of that feel about the land in at least this first section of WoF.  Certainly the land has a strong presence, shaping the mentality of the men and women who live on it, draw sustenance therefrom, face wealth or poverty, lean into its weather.  It is the backdrop, the scene, the setting.  But, a character here I'm not ready to call it. 

 

(Challenging my own thinking, I pulled the following from Wikipedia:

 

"The study of a character requires an analysis of its relations with all of the other characters in the work.   The individual status of a character is defined through the network of oppositions (proairetic {sic}, pragmatic, linguistic, proxemic ) that it forms with the other characters.   The relation between characters and the action of the story shifts historically, often miming shifts in society and its ideas about human individuality, self-determination, and the social order.")

 

While we do get to "know" Whiskey and the stud that sired him, as well as a bit about other horses, again, they did not reach the point of being characters to me -- I don't expect to necessarily follow them through the plot, although they may be replaced by others.  There are relationships between them and their owners/handlers, but certainly not like those of Jack London's stories (Call of the Wild, White Fang) or those of Anna Sewell (Black Beauty) or Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit.

 

I was fascinated by the depiction of the moon and its light as it dipped in and out of sight during the fateful race -- the continuity and the movement synchronized with the action.  Also, the on-coming rain, its onslaught, the mud, the lightening and the thunder, the fading to drizzle.  Powerful settings and evocative backdrops for the action, I can almost picture the movie effects if they come into being and are faithful to the book.

 

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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mv5ocean
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People


Rachel-K wrote:

We find the crowd described almost as a character--at the races, and at the dance in Praha. What kind of personality does the group of townspeople have when they are gathered together in the scenes so far? 

The main thing I feel pertaining to the crowd is that their allegiance is with the winner at the moment. It seems as though there is no divided loyalty--they are for morality or greed or whatever seems to be the winning component.  They seem to be their simply for their own pleasure or excitement I guess is what I'm trying to convey.

 

Both Vaclav and Karel have thoughts comparing their own natures to the qualities of the land they work. Do you see similar qualities between them?

Unfortunately I do.  Although Vaclav used his sons as basically "the farm animals" and was a cruel man, I distinctly remember the scene in which Karel kicked his animal........not once but a second time just basically because he could.  That spoke volumes in terms of the son having a great tendency to become his father.  And Vaclav loved his wife but her death according to him brought him back to the man he was before her.  Karel slept with another women as his wife was giving birth so they don't put the thoughts of others into their decisions it is certain.

 

How would you describe the backdrop of the natural world in the these scenes? Do we come to know the horses or the land as if they were characters? 

The horses are definitely characters in that in this story their value is far and above relationships with family or friends or neighbors.

 

What do you make of the brief chapter from the perspective of the horned owl and it's infant opossum prey, that ends with Father Carew, who has injured himself while sneaking away from the horse race in the rain?  

I must say this section confused me and I had to read it 3 times and still wasn't sure.  Looked forward to the discussion on this topic and feel from reading the perception of others that I was right---this will have some meaning further along other than the obvious of the weakness aspect.


 

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ssizemore
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

That is where I was going with the broken vial---blood for redemption/water for baptism.  Thanks for that!

Sandy


DSaff wrote:

The broken vial reminded me of a saying I heard when I was young. "It's never right to do wrong to do right." This man truly believed he was wrong in watching the race which made him feel guilty and hide, and led to his mishap with the fence. Now, after doing something "wrong" how could he go baptize the babies? This took that opportunity away, blending with his blood. Redemption?


ssizemore wrote:

I too have been pondering the scene with Father Carew--especially the broken vial of holy water.  I think there was a clue in there--I will re-read it!


 


 

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nfam
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Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

For me, the land is probably the strongest character in the book. It's a hard land and it shapes the men and women who work it. It's a cruel land, not easy to make a living and, I believe, it's what makes the people cruel. We see that consistently from the way Vaclav treats his children, to the neighbors thrilling to the fight between the Skala family after the race. We also see it in the way Karel acts while his wife is having a baby. 

 

The land stays and forms the people. Nature shapes them as they mover across the the earth. It makes the story rather sad and difficult, but once you see that you see why the people are the way they are. 

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Bonnie_C
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎08-07-2009

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

I truly enjoyed the passage about the owl.  I thought it wonderfully depicted the harshness of nature and the true majesty of this bird of prey.  I however did not make any connection to the plight of Father Carew.  Again, I think this points out to me the benefit of participating in a book discussion.

 

After thinking about it, I guess I can say that the young opossum and Father Carew were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

I did question just how much Karel was able to see.  Unless he was very close, could he possibly have seen the broken vial and blood on the priest's shirt?  I know there was lightning, but it was raining and Karel had one eye almost totally swollen shut.

 

Bonnie

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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People


Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

Both Vaclav and Karel have thoughts comparing their own natures to the qualities of the land they work. Do you see similar qualities between them?

 

How would you describe the backdrop of the natural world in the these scenes? Do we come to know the horses or the land as if they were characters? 

 


Setting is always, for me, one of the more important elements of a book.  I am always a bit dissatified when an author can't deliver a strong sense of place.  That certainly isn't a problem with this book, but I think there is a distinction between a setting and a character.  A character has a personality which gives motive to his actions - or lack of actions.  The setting is the backdrop against which those actions take place, and may have a smaller or larger influence upon the character and his actions.   The hard land here is certainly a powerful element, but a character, no.   Horses in some books may become characters of a sort;  they, too, act against the background.  Other readers have mentioned examples;  one I think of is the injured and rebellious horse from "Horse Whisperer."  But I don't see that here, either.  These horses are worked, bought, sold, often misused, and occasionally treated with random kindness.  But the reader doesn't really come to 'know' them.  They are objects, a way to win a race, or to indulge in ostentation.  An owner might treat a fast car or a piece of jewelry in much the same way.   I don't see them as true characters.

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literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

 


DSaff wrote:

The broken vial reminded me of a saying I heard when I was young. "It's never right to do wrong to do right." This man truly believed he was wrong in watching the race which made him feel guilty and hide, and led to his mishap with the fence. Now, after doing something "wrong" how could he go baptize the babies? This took that opportunity away, blending with his blood. Redemption?


ssizemore wrote:

I too have been pondering the scene with Father Carew--especially the broken vial of holy water.  I think there was a clue in there--I will re-read it!


The broken vial of holy water redeems Father Carew.  He sinned by watching the horserace,  he is punished by the fence and then redeemed with the holy water.  I was curious as to why he placed (carried) the holy water where he did but obviously it had to be staged for the mishap.

 

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: The Land and People

Literature wrote [excerpt]:  The broken vial of holy water redeems Father Carew.

 

I don't understand.  Can someone explain the symbolism or the rite of redemption offered by the broken vial of holy water?  (There may be a Catholic rite here with which I am unfamiliar?)

 

Redemption/salvation

 

Redemption.

"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