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Rachel-K
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Three Seconds: Landscapes

How does the stark contrast between the main locations of the church tower, the prison, and the cemetery affect the atmosphere of the story in these chapters?
 
How are each of these locations described to us and what is your overall impression of each of these places?
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

The one thought that came to my mind when I read your question was the irony that Piet planted the means for his escape, high up in the tower at the church, a place for hope and life and also in a grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. Then he willingly goes to prison, a place where life is actually on hold.


To the prison, he sent what he needed to expose the drug dealers. He sent it to the officials in the prison who are supposed to uphold the law and we realize as we read that they also interpret it and break it.

 

It is so symbolic of his plight and the tightrope is on. Which side will he fall on, life or death? He has already chosen the duality of criminal and responsible citizen. Which will win?

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How does the stark contrast between the main locations of the church tower, the prison, and the cemetery affect the atmosphere of the story in these chapters?...edite by twj...
 

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

Great question Rachel about the contrast of the locations. Here's my feeling on that.

The church somewhere that is supposed to be a sanctuary is turned into a firing range for the sole purpose of taking a life.

The prison where reform and incarceration is supposed to be going on is turning out to be a city within a city where the inhabitants have far more power and reach than they should.

The cemetery is a place of pain for one character who's fighting demons of his own.

 

 

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

The one thought that came to my mind when I read your question was the irony that Piet planted the means for his escape, high up in the tower at the church, a place for hope and life and also in a grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. Then he willingly goes to prison, a place where life is actually on hold.


To the prison, he sent what he needed to expose the drug dealers. He sent it to the officials in the prison who are supposed to uphold the law and we realize as we read that they also interpret it and break it.

 

It is so symbolic of his plight and the tightrope is on. Which side will he fall on, life or death? He has already chosen the duality of criminal and responsible citizen. Which will win?

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How does the stark contrast between the main locations of the church tower, the prison, and the cemetery affect the atmosphere of the story in these chapters?...edite by twj...
 

 


 

Bold added.

 

He has already chosen the duality of criminal and responsible citizen.  Well put. A  conundrum for understanding this man.

 

grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. --


That is certainly how Grens seems to view it, but usually the life is "lost" long before -- a grave, a cemetery, can become a place for memorial, for memory, for honoring, yes, for grieving, but not necessarily with the intensity and denial Grens seems to have.

"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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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

The Church is sacred ,now its being used as a Main focal Point for Piet,he knows all of The Law Enforcement tactics Because of what he planted there a, receiver,which I am so glad he did..  The cemetery is making Grens a bit uncomfortable,but his emotions are not interfering with what he knows has to be done. The death of some..having the cemetery there as a reminder...When the Bomb is detonated....I have the visual in my head of the prison.And it does seem similar to a Prison upstate NY..Built around a Small town,complete with a Church.,Restaurants.etc.Which were not there when the Prison was built ..and quite a beautiful area I would pass it everyday on my way to work..When a prisoner has hostages,I am assuming the whole area is evacuated..Very tense for me...I think Anders and Borge have with very carefully planned chapters ,given us what we need to feel all of these emotions,that are felt so deeply,and dark...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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maxcat
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

The church tower should be a means of a life line for Piet as he carefully sets up in the tower with a direct look at a place in the prison. However, that lifeline may not come to be with Piet's situation.

The prison is a dull landscape made so for the prisoners. It's a holding place for people who have done time and wait and count the days until they are released.

The cemetery is a stark landscape, one of death and grief for Grens who is trying to come to terms with his grief for his wife.

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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elaine_hf
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

I think that all of these comments are right on the mark, but it seems to me that the symbols all get twisted. The church and bell tower are sacred and life-affirming, but they're turned into symbols of death with the presence of the gunman. The cemetery represents death, but by planting his phone, Piet turns it into a place full of hope. And the prison is life on hold, but potentially it means the future for Piet. The total atmosphere, for me, was very bleak and uncomfortable. Perhaps partly because the associations of the symbols with their normal meanings were broken. I didn't think I'd be cheering for someone in prison while hoping against someone in a bell tower... 

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JaneM
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

The church belltower reminds me of John Dunne's poem about death :

 

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

 

Later we know that the pastor is waiting to ring the bell to mourn a passing.  Death is everywhere is this bleak landscape, from the church, to the prison, to the graveyard.

 

I know this is off topic, but I also think this quotation reflects well on Grens deliberations on responsibility for death, whether Annie's or others.

 

Jane M.
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OKC_NookJA
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

It struck me that after the shot from the church balcony, I think the next day, the minister had to get permission to enter the church and to prepare for a funeral. Possibly a funeral of someone dead contrasting to the death of Piet. The minister also asks if he can ring the "passing bell". Signifying the passing of Piet and Grens sadness that he had to be shot?

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 

I agree, a grave can be a place where one honors the memory of the person they still love. Death doesn't destroy the feelings one has, it just takes away the physical body.
Although a long time has passed, I still feel sadness when I visit my parent's graves. I still miss them although I know that, realistically, they could never still be alive today at the age they would be. The difference is that Grens can't cope with the grief he still feels. He needs to learn to manage it in a healthier way. Grieving is a process, and for some it is longer than for others; even after they learn to cope publicly, privately, it is often still hard.

Peppermill wrote:

 

edited by twj....

grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. --


That is certainly how Grens seems to view it, but usually the life is "lost" long before -- a grave, a cemetery, can become a place for memorial, for memory, for honoring, yes, for grieving, but not necessarily with the intensity and denial Grens seems to have.


 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?


I used to live in a town in Essex County, NJ. The prison, pictured below, was located there.

"It appeared that a good deal of the original prison structure had been abandoned long before the new additions by the deplorable condition of the interior. All in all it was an amazing place to visit, although it was creepy, depressing and sorrowful, it reassured me that I NEVER want to spend any time for any reason in a facility so harsh and severe. One look at this dungeon should've scared criminals to the straight and narrow and living here for a protracted period of time is, for me, unimaginable."


 


Vermontcozy wrote:

The Church is sacred ,now its being used as a Main focal Point for Piet,he knows all of The Law Enforcement tactics Because of what he planted there a, receiver,which I am so glad he did..  The cemetery is making Grens a bit uncomfortable,but his emotions are not interfering with what he knows has to be done. The death of some..having the cemetery there as a reminder...When the Bomb is detonated....I have the visual in my head of the prison.And it does seem similar to a Prison upstate NY..Built around a Small town,complete with a Church.,Restaurants.etc.Which were not there when the Prison was built ..and quite a beautiful area I would pass it everyday on my way to work..When a prisoner has hostages,I am assuming the whole area is evacuated..Very tense for me...I think Anders and Borge have with very carefully planned chapters ,given us what we need to feel all of these emotions,that are felt so deeply,and dark...


 

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

[ Edited ]

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

I agree, a grave can be a place where one honors the memory of the person they still love. Death doesn't destroy the feelings one has, it just takes away the physical body.
Although a long time has passed, I still feel sadness when I visit my parent's graves. I still miss them although I know that, realistically, they could never still be alive today at the age they would be. The difference is that Grens can't cope with the grief he still feels. He needs to learn to manage it in a healthier way. Grieving is a process, and for some it is longer than for others; even after they learn to cope publicly, privately, it is often still hard.

Peppermill wrote:

 

edited by twj....

grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. --


That is certainly how Grens seems to view it, but usually the life is "lost" long before -- a grave, a cemetery, can become a place for memorial, for memory, for honoring, yes, for grieving, but not necessarily with the intensity and denial Grens seems to have.



 

Well put, TWJ.

 

Perhaps part of my impatience with Grens is that he reminds me of one (sometimes) aspect of myself -- difficulty in being "reasonable" about grieving.  Amazing how much our feelings about fictional characters may be mirrors. (Yet, I doubt many who met me would see me as like Grens about grieving.)

"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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OKC_NookJA
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?


I forgot about that phone. Does anyone know what page that was on and if it was mentioned if that was put in the letter of instructions Piet left for Zofia?

 

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

[ Edited ]

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?

 


 No, she is not.  Wait...you'll find out more about it.  Fairly dramatic.

 

See p. 181 for its burial, OKC.

 

"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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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

Thank you, thank you. I hope he can retrieve it! Maybe that was part of Zofia's instructions.


Peppermill wrote:

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?

 


 No, she is not.  Wait...you'll find out more about it.  Fairly dramatic.

 

See p. 181 for its burial, OKC.

 


 

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes


thewanderingjew wrote:

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?


I used to live in a town in Essex County, NJ. The prison, pictured below, was located there.

"It appeared that a good deal of the original prison structure had been abandoned long before the new additions by the deplorable condition of the interior. All in all it was an amazing place to visit, although it was creepy, depressing and sorrowful, it reassured me that I NEVER want to spend any time for any reason in a facility so harsh and severe. One look at this dungeon should've scared criminals to the straight and narrow and living here for a protracted period of time is, for me, unimaginable."


 


Vermontcozy wrote:

The Church is sacred ,now its being used as a Main focal Point for Piet,he knows all of The Law Enforcement tactics Because of what he planted there a, receiver,which I am so glad he did..  The cemetery is making Grens a bit uncomfortable,but his emotions are not interfering with what he knows has to be done. The death of some..having the cemetery there as a reminder...When the Bomb is detonated....I have the visual in my head of the prison.And it does seem similar to a Prison upstate NY..Built around a Small town,complete with a Church.,Restaurants.etc.Which were not there when the Prison was built ..and quite a beautiful area I would pass it everyday on my way to work..When a prisoner has hostages,I am assuming the whole area is evacuated..Very tense for me...I think Anders and Borge have with very carefully planned chapters ,given us what we need to feel all of these emotions,that are felt so deeply,and dark...


 


Very dark,scary structures indeed,Twj..Grens tugs at our heart,he does remind us of what the grieving entails,,Different,but usually the same for most..Some repress some act out..But when a loved ones passes away.,there is always a missing part of the family..As for the phone,will not say..will try not to post any spoilers.Seems like "Three Seconds"  could be discussed into January..

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 

So, who is the antecedent of "he" in your post, TWJ?

thewanderingjew wrote:

Thank you, thank you. I hope he can retrieve it! Maybe that was part of Zofia's instructions.


Peppermill wrote:

thewanderingjew wrote:

I was wondering, when Zofia answers Piet's call, is she using the phone he buried? Does anyone know?


 No, she is not.  Wait...you'll find out more about it.  Fairly dramatic.

 

See p. 181 for its burial, OKC.



 

"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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Deltadawn
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 

So well put.

thewanderingjew wrote:

The one thought that came to my mind when I read your question was the irony that Piet planted the means for his escape, high up in the tower at the church, a place for hope and life and also in a grave at the cemetery, deep down in a place where life is lost. Then he willingly goes to prison, a place where life is actually on hold.


To the prison, he sent what he needed to expose the drug dealers. He sent it to the officials in the prison who are supposed to uphold the law and we realize as we read that they also interpret it and break it.

 

It is so symbolic of his plight and the tightrope is on. Which side will he fall on, life or death? He has already chosen the duality of criminal and responsible citizen. Which will win?

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How does the stark contrast between the main locations of the church tower, the prison, and the cemetery affect the atmosphere of the story in these chapters?...edite by twj...
 

 


 

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MomOf2Turds
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

 

How does the stark contrast between the main locations of the church tower, the prison, and the cemetery affect the atmosphere of the story in these chapters?
It is crazy how what these locations normally symbolize is totally changed.  The church tower, usually a place for reflection and peace, is turned into the place for the executioner to "stand" and mete out his "punishment."  It is also the place where all of Piet's hopes were put in case things went awry.  The prison, which is usually viewed as a place where all hope has been lost, holds hope for Piet to successfully get out and lead a "normal" life with his family.  The cemetery, which I believe is another place for reflection and memories and is also a place where things seem bleak, becomes another piece of the puzzle for Piet's hope when he buries the cell phone there.  His only link to Erik Wilson, his way out.  I also think that it helps Grens to feel a little more comfortable in a cemetery so that he can work up the courage to finally visit his wife's grave, which he has avoided for some time, a year and a half if I remember correctly.
 

 

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Landscapes

Vermont, I love this book and I can't hold back. It raises so many conflicting emotions and thoughts about each character; it is hard to figure them out, even after I learn more and more about them. So, I have gone on to read further to find out some answers. The book has so many twists and turns and I need to follow them! If I can post without spoilers I will be back, otherwise, I will be back on Monday!


Vermontcozy wrote:

Very dark,scary structures indeed,Twj..Grens tugs at our heart,he does remind us of what the grieving entails,,Different,but usually the same for most..Some repress some act out..But when a loved ones passes away.,there is always a missing part of the family..As for the phone,will not say..will try not to post any spoilers.Seems like "Three Seconds"  could be discussed into January..