Reply
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008

Re: Adults and Children


DSaff wrote:

Very true - falling in love with the idea of being in love.


thewanderingjew wrote:
I think symbolically, you may be right but I also think when Stefan raped Anna he put the final nail in the coffin. He was so abusive and such a drunk, i think that the marriage was doomed anyway.
Anna seems to have fallen in love with an idea of a man, not the man himself. She liked his uniform and the fact that he pursued her but she didn't really know who he was until her wedding night and that was tragic.

DSaff wrote:

Interesting question. Maybe Stefan was trying to protect Anna, and in shooting the animal, killed what was left of his marriage. While Stefan didn't want to be a farmer, instead wanting the priviledged life he had made for himself, I don't think he wanted to lose Anna. Now both of them are lost, neither caring for themselves or their children. sad


BarneyNoble wrote:
I am curious, and after reading many of the posts I think it may just be me but.....why does it seem so odd that Stefan would have shot the coyote?  They were on the frontier, a new land with wild, dangerous animals.  I think if I saw someone kneeling next to a coyote and their hand stretched out and its teeth showing, I would have done the same thing.  Really, how was he to know that she could communicate with them? This is the first sign that Anna is delusional and that she is from the very beginning.  I am not sure that her mental illness or her neglect /abuse of the children could be blamed on Stefan instead I think that she may have played a bigger part in Stefan’s absence.   This is not to excuse him from his neglect or abuse or any of the other nasty character traits he has, but I just can’t blame him for hers.   

 

 


 


 

 


...and I'm not sure Anna was in love.  I think she probably married Stefan to escape and if you think about it, if this is the case, she married Stefan for the wrong reasons-- to obtain a dream rather than for love and sharing a life with Stefan.  Stefan left to become a "gentleman farmer", have hired hands, and make lots of money...he dreamed of something completely different than what was the actuality of farm life in the frontier.  They both entered into their journeys under false pretenses, rather than facing the realities of what they were doing. Now they are both miserable. 

 

Just an observation, not a judgement by any means. :-)

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008

Re: Adults and Children


Sunltcloud wrote:

Elisant,

 

I agree with you about Anna. And as for her marrying Stefan, we have to take into consideration the time she was growing up in. She too was living under Stalin's "hunger offensive" and some women, under these conditions, tend to manipulate themselves into what they see as better positions. Marrying Stefan must have seemed to be a good idea at the time.

 

I remember my mother, after WWII, working in a French Hospital in Germany, where wounded soldiers were treated. My mother had the advantage of speaking fluent French; she was young and pretty; she needed to take care of her family (my grandmother, sick uncle, aunt, niece, me - my grandfather had been put in a camp, my father was absent) and she flirted with the officers. While we were pushed into a single room of our house, and the children were not allowed outside, my mother took chances, sometimes breaking the curfew, (an offense you could get shot for) bringing home whatever food she could hide in her blouse. She also rode the bug-infested trains during her days off to beg food from farmers in exchange for our silverware, good linen, and other remnants of a "reasonable life."

 

I'm mentioning these war-time memories, because in all that is happening in Maria's life and the lives of her family members, the survival instinct, the need to protect, the fear of the unknown, loneliness, guilt, frustration with self and others, are heightened by previous experiences. This is on top of normal differences in behaviour. And whatever betterment they all had expected from emigrating to Canada certainly didn't come to pass. Shandi Mitchell, in my opinion, did an excellent job weaving the past into this tale, without preaching, without even talking about old wounds. "Show, don't tell" at its very best!

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that some people are psychologically weaker than others. It doesn't mean they love less. Well, on the surface they might look like they don't love at all; maybe they feel they themselves are not worth loving; maybe they have lost hope. But who says love is only for the strong, the bright, the successful? Who says love doesn't shine a tiny light into the deep darkness of despair? 

 

Healthy relationships are a luxury of modern living, something we are aware of because we can afford to be. In hard times, for immigrants - that includes modern day immigrants - there is neither time nor money nor desire to dissect their own lives. There is only the need to succeed, to provide a better life for the children, to survive.    

 

Final point. I haven't researched this yet for the Ukraine; it is from remembering things I have read about customs and superstitions in the "old country." Children with deformities were sometimes thought of as harboring the devil. Sometimes they had spells on them. They were shunned.

 

So you take an unhappy, depressed woman, brought up in a desperate country, give her a husband who rapes her, gives her a child that contributes to her notion of not being whole, not being worthwhile, and you get Anna. 

 

Anna, I think, is the most complex character in the novel. I am watching her closely.   


Elisant wrote:

I agree that shooting the coyote was what most people in that time would have done.  I didn't find that fact strange at all. 

 

However, I don't think that Anna was suffering from any sort of mental illness before she married Stefan.  I believe that she is extremely depressed and that depression was caused by Stefan's abuse and neglect.  From the description of her before she married Stefan she seems, to me, to have been a carefree and happy young woman.  She began to have problems on their wedding night when he raped her for the first time.  The fact that she slept with a knife under her pillow to keep him away from her tells me that the rapes were a common occurance in their marriage.  

 

I beleive that Anna's mental health problems stem from Stefan directly. As for her neglect of her children, I get the feeling that they were born of rape as well.  Which, for me, explains why she ignores them and is so adamant in ending of her current pregnancy.  It isn't the best reason to neglect her children but, for me, it does explain why it is so hard for her to be good to them.  The part on page 113, where Lesya wakes up with a cramp in her foot and realizes that her mother is sleeping in their bed shows me that she does love her children, she just doesn't seem to know how to show it or what to do about it.

 

 


 


Sunltcloud,

 

This is such a beautiful post.  Your family sounds fascinating and you are so fortunate to have had them with you to share their beautiful stories.

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Adults and Children

 

 

 

I remember reading, and it took me a long time to find this info in the notes I took, where Stephan says "that he always hated the sound of coyotes.  It reminds him how far from civilization they are.  He was never meant to be a farmer".   I believe he killed the coyote not to save Anna from harm but because the coyotes reminded him time and time again where he was in life.  Stephan went on to say that he came back to be a gentleman farmer, hire hands to do his work.  Get enough money from the fields to get back to town.  He's worse off than before.  In town there was always someone to talk to about the old country. 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
I think symbolically, you may be right but I also think when Stefan raped Anna he put the final nail in the coffin. He was so abusive and such a drunk, i think that the marriage was doomed anyway.
Anna seems to have fallen in love with an idea of a man, not the man himself. She liked his uniform and the fact that he pursued her but she didn't really know who he was until her wedding night and that was tragic.

DSaff wrote:

Interesting question. Maybe Stefan was trying to protect Anna, and in shooting the animal, killed what was left of his marriage. While Stefan didn't want to be a farmer, instead wanting the priviledged life he had made for himself, I don't think he wanted to lose Anna. Now both of them are lost, neither caring for themselves or their children. sad


BarneyNoble wrote:
I am curious, and after reading many of the posts I think it may just be me but.....why does it seem so odd that Stefan would have shot the coyote?  They were on the frontier, a new land with wild, dangerous animals.  I think if I saw someone kneeling next to a coyote and their hand stretched out and its teeth showing, I would have done the same thing.  Really, how was he to know that she could communicate with them? This is the first sign that Anna is delusional and that she is from the very beginning.  I am not sure that her mental illness or her neglect /abuse of the children could be blamed on Stefan instead I think that she may have played a bigger part in Stefan’s absence.   This is not to excuse him from his neglect or abuse or any of the other nasty character traits he has, but I just can’t blame him for hers.   

 


...and I'm not sure Anna was in love.  I think she probably married Stefan to escape and if you think about it, if this is the case, she married Stefan for the wrong reasons-- to obtain a dream rather than for love and sharing a life with Stefan.  Stefan left to become a "gentleman farmer", have hired hands, and make lots of money...he dreamed of something completely different than what was the actuality of farm life in the frontier.  They both entered into their journeys under false pretenses, rather than facing the realities of what they were doing. Now they are both miserable. 

 


 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

This is a good way to look at this scene, especially since Stefan rarely did anying (if anything) for Anna.  At times, I think he would have rather she died.

 


literature wrote:

 

 

 

I remember reading, and it took me a long time to find this info in the notes I took, where Stephan says "that he always hated the sound of coyotes.  It reminds him how far from civilization they are.  He was never meant to be a farmer".   I believe he killed the coyote not to save Anna from harm but because the coyotes reminded him time and time again where he was in life.  Stephan went on to say that he came back to be a gentleman farmer, hire hands to do his work.  Get enough money from the fields to get back to town.  He's worse off than before.  In town there was always someone to talk to about the old country. 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
I think symbolically, you may be right but I also think when Stefan raped Anna he put the final nail in the coffin. He was so abusive and such a drunk, i think that the marriage was doomed anyway.
Anna seems to have fallen in love with an idea of a man, not the man himself. She liked his uniform and the fact that he pursued her but she didn't really know who he was until her wedding night and that was tragic.

DSaff wrote:

Interesting question. Maybe Stefan was trying to protect Anna, and in shooting the animal, killed what was left of his marriage. While Stefan didn't want to be a farmer, instead wanting the priviledged life he had made for himself, I don't think he wanted to lose Anna. Now both of them are lost, neither caring for themselves or their children. sad


BarneyNoble wrote:
I am curious, and after reading many of the posts I think it may just be me but.....why does it seem so odd that Stefan would have shot the coyote?  They were on the frontier, a new land with wild, dangerous animals.  I think if I saw someone kneeling next to a coyote and their hand stretched out and its teeth showing, I would have done the same thing.  Really, how was he to know that she could communicate with them? This is the first sign that Anna is delusional and that she is from the very beginning.  I am not sure that her mental illness or her neglect /abuse of the children could be blamed on Stefan instead I think that she may have played a bigger part in Stefan’s absence.   This is not to excuse him from his neglect or abuse or any of the other nasty character traits he has, but I just can’t blame him for hers.   

 


...and I'm not sure Anna was in love.  I think she probably married Stefan to escape and if you think about it, if this is the case, she married Stefan for the wrong reasons-- to obtain a dream rather than for love and sharing a life with Stefan.  Stefan left to become a "gentleman farmer", have hired hands, and make lots of money...he dreamed of something completely different than what was the actuality of farm life in the frontier.  They both entered into their journeys under false pretenses, rather than facing the realities of what they were doing. Now they are both miserable. 

 


 


 

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
Frequent Contributor
booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

I think overall the characters were brave and spirited.

 

The relationship that Mysha and Anna had with the coyote was strange. I wonder if the coyote was a substitute for a pet they couldn't afford.

 

My favorite characters are  Maria and Theo. I like them because  they overcome the misfortunes they have encountered in the beginning of the novel.  

 

Yes I did notice the kids don't have any toys. The kids get along like all other siblings. They fight and argue occasionally. The children make up there own games. They swim and chase mice and cats during the day before chores. I think they have a chance to be children because the parents make sure they have to play.

 

There is a close relationship with Maria and all the children. She makes sure Anna's kids are taken care of also. Maria is like a guardian angel for the kids. She keeps them under protective wings.

 

Maria's  eldest son and daughter will probably take after Theo. Anna's kids will not want take after their parents. There parents are not good role models.

 

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

Hi Zeal,

 

If Anna had a lot of money, then for sure Stefan would have wished her dead or worse!

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

This is a good way to look at this scene, especially since Stefan rarely did anying (if anything) for Anna.  At times, I think he would have rather she died.

 


literature wrote:

I remember reading, and it took me a long time to find this info in the notes I took, where Stephan says "that he always hated the sound of coyotes.  It reminds him how far from civilization they are.  He was never meant to be a farmer".   I believe he killed the coyote not to save Anna from harm but because the coyotes reminded him time and time again where he was in life.  Stephan went on to say that he came back to be a gentleman farmer, hire hands to do his work.  Get enough money from the fields to get back to town.  He's worse off than before.  In town there was always someone to talk to about the old country. 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
I think symbolically, you may be right but I also think when Stefan raped Anna he put the final nail in the coffin. He was so abusive and such a drunk, i think that the marriage was doomed anyway.
Anna seems to have fallen in love with an idea of a man, not the man himself. She liked his uniform and the fact that he pursued her but she didn't really know who he was until her wedding night and that was tragic.

DSaff wrote:

Interesting question. Maybe Stefan was trying to protect Anna, and in shooting the animal, killed what was left of his marriage. While Stefan didn't want to be a farmer, instead wanting the priviledged life he had made for himself, I don't think he wanted to lose Anna. Now both of them are lost, neither caring for themselves or their children. sad


BarneyNoble wrote:
I am curious, and after reading many of the posts I think it may just be me but.....why does it seem so odd that Stefan would have shot the coyote?  They were on the frontier, a new land with wild, dangerous animals.  I think if I saw someone kneeling next to a coyote and their hand stretched out and its teeth showing, I would have done the same thing.  Really, how was he to know that she could communicate with them? This is the first sign that Anna is delusional and that she is from the very beginning.  I am not sure that her mental illness or her neglect /abuse of the children could be blamed on Stefan instead I think that she may have played a bigger part in Stefan’s absence.   This is not to excuse him from his neglect or abuse or any of the other nasty character traits he has, but I just can’t blame him for hers.   

 


...and I'm not sure Anna was in love.  I think she probably married Stefan to escape and if you think about it, if this is the case, she married Stefan for the wrong reasons-- to obtain a dream rather than for love and sharing a life with Stefan.  Stefan left to become a "gentleman farmer", have hired hands, and make lots of money...he dreamed of something completely different than what was the actuality of farm life in the frontier.  They both entered into their journeys under false pretenses, rather than facing the realities of what they were doing. Now they are both miserable. 

Distinguished Correspondent
lmpmn
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎11-08-2006

Re: Adults and Children

These children have just grabbed onto my heart!  They're so innocent and naive to the world even though they live in such a harsh environment.

 

When (it was either Ivan or Petro) he went to the dead calf in the dump to bring it things it may like and talked and sang to it--it was so sweet.  You can really tell how much these people respected animals and nature.  Even tough Teodor is so loving with the horse, singing and whispering to it.  Lesya naming the coyotes she hears in the night and knowing where each one lives in relation to the land and the difference in their "voices" is so neat.

 

Also when they go swimming in the watering hole, they're shy at first and notice each other's differences, but they forget soon all about that and have fun splashing and playing together.

 

Each child's character is made so distinctively.  I've found in some books children are just kind of lumped together as one and have no real identity--but there are so many differences and nuances to each child in this story.  

Happiness is a warm blanket!
Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

Thanks, Suzi,

 

I do consider myself fortunate, and as most children brought up during war times, I have good and bad memories. The grown-ups tried their very best to allow us to be children. I remember my mother picking me up and carrying me piggy-back to the air raid shelter in the middle of the night. I loved the air raid shelter. The mothers were knitting, their voices low so as not to scare us, and those of us who couldn't sleep would play games. And the best part for a child like me who was always surrounded by adults - there were bunk beds and often two or three of us children would crawl into one together. We always picked the top bunk. What an adventure.

 

During the final days of the war there was a battle between French soldiers and German soldiers around our house. French in back. German in front. The next morning my mother didn't want me to open the curtains. But, of course, I did, and everything was gray outside. Dead chickens, still smoldering barn, charred trees...... I thought gray snow was flying through the air. Everything smelled like singed hair.  But eventually rain wahed away the ashes. Purple lilac replaced the smell of burnt fur. The fields grew a new green carpet.

 

The town chronicles tell me that in the night of April 25, 1945 twenty-five houses were destroyed, thirty-three heavily damaged by French artillery. Eighteen civilians died, sixty to seventy horses had to be buried.

 


blkeyesuzi wrote:


Sunltcloud wrote:

Elisant,

 

I agree with you about Anna. And as for her marrying Stefan, we have to take into consideration the time she was growing up in. She too was living under Stalin's "hunger offensive" and some women, under these conditions, tend to manipulate themselves into what they see as better positions. Marrying Stefan must have seemed to be a good idea at the time.

 

I remember my mother, after WWII, working in a French Hospital in Germany, where wounded soldiers were treated. My mother had the advantage of speaking fluent French; she was young and pretty; she needed to take care of her family (my grandmother, sick uncle, aunt, niece, me - my grandfather had been put in a camp, my father was absent) and she flirted with the officers. While we were pushed into a single room of our house, and the children were not allowed outside, my mother took chances, sometimes breaking the curfew, (an offense you could get shot for) bringing home whatever food she could hide in her blouse. She also rode the bug-infested trains during her days off to beg food from farmers in exchange for our silverware, good linen, and other remnants of a "reasonable life."

 

I'm mentioning these war-time memories, because in all that is happening in Maria's life and the lives of her family members, the survival instinct, the need to protect, the fear of the unknown, loneliness, guilt, frustration with self and others, are heightened by previous experiences. This is on top of normal differences in behaviour. And whatever betterment they all had expected from emigrating to Canada certainly didn't come to pass. Shandi Mitchell, in my opinion, did an excellent job weaving the past into this tale, without preaching, without even talking about old wounds. "Show, don't tell" at its very best!

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that some people are psychologically weaker than others. It doesn't mean they love less. Well, on the surface they might look like they don't love at all; maybe they feel they themselves are not worth loving; maybe they have lost hope. But who says love is only for the strong, the bright, the successful? Who says love doesn't shine a tiny light into the deep darkness of despair? 

 

Healthy relationships are a luxury of modern living, something we are aware of because we can afford to be. In hard times, for immigrants - that includes modern day immigrants - there is neither time nor money nor desire to dissect their own lives. There is only the need to succeed, to provide a better life for the children, to survive.    

 

Final point. I haven't researched this yet for the Ukraine; it is from remembering things I have read about customs and superstitions in the "old country." Children with deformities were sometimes thought of as harboring the devil. Sometimes they had spells on them. They were shunned.

 

So you take an unhappy, depressed woman, brought up in a desperate country, give her a husband who rapes her, gives her a child that contributes to her notion of not being whole, not being worthwhile, and you get Anna. 

 

Anna, I think, is the most complex character in the novel. I am watching her closely.   


Elisant wrote:

I agree that shooting the coyote was what most people in that time would have done.  I didn't find that fact strange at all. 

 

However, I don't think that Anna was suffering from any sort of mental illness before she married Stefan.  I believe that she is extremely depressed and that depression was caused by Stefan's abuse and neglect.  From the description of her before she married Stefan she seems, to me, to have been a carefree and happy young woman.  She began to have problems on their wedding night when he raped her for the first time.  The fact that she slept with a knife under her pillow to keep him away from her tells me that the rapes were a common occurance in their marriage.  

 

I beleive that Anna's mental health problems stem from Stefan directly. As for her neglect of her children, I get the feeling that they were born of rape as well.  Which, for me, explains why she ignores them and is so adamant in ending of her current pregnancy.  It isn't the best reason to neglect her children but, for me, it does explain why it is so hard for her to be good to them.  The part on page 113, where Lesya wakes up with a cramp in her foot and realizes that her mother is sleeping in their bed shows me that she does love her children, she just doesn't seem to know how to show it or what to do about it.

 

 


 


Sunltcloud,

 

This is such a beautiful post.  Your family sounds fascinating and you are so fortunate to have had them with you to share their beautiful stories.


 

Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children


Sunltcloud wrote:

Thanks, Suzi,

 

I do consider myself fortunate, and as most children brought up during war times, I have good and bad memories. The grown-ups tried their very best to allow us to be children. I remember my mother picking me up and carrying me piggy-back to the air raid shelter in the middle of the night. I loved the air raid shelter. The mothers were knitting, their voices low so as not to scare us, and those of us who couldn't sleep would play games. And the best part for a child like me who was always surrounded by adults - there were bunk beds and often two or three of us children would crawl into one together. We always picked the top bunk. What an adventure.

 

During the final days of the war there was a battle between French soldiers and German soldiers around our house. French in back. German in front. The next morning my mother didn't want me to open the curtains. But, of course, I did, and everything was gray outside. Dead chickens, still smoldering barn, charred trees...... I thought gray snow was flying through the air. Everything smelled like singed hair.  But eventually rain wahed away the ashes. Purple lilac replaced the smell of burnt fur. The fields grew a new green carpet.

 

The town chronicles tell me that in the night of April 25, 1945 twenty-five houses were destroyed, thirty-three heavily damaged by French artillery. Eighteen civilians died, sixty to seventy horses had to be buried.

 


 


Sunltcloud,

 

Have you ever considered writing your own novel? I'd certainly buy it! 

 

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Adults and Children

Suzi,

 

Thank you for your "vote of confidence."

I belong to a Memoir Writing Group and have documented all this. Have printed it out and given it to my children. This particular incident has been rewritten in the form of a letter to my granddaughter and has been included in a book entitled "Love, Grandma" by Grandmothers Against the War (an activist group.)

 

As for writing a novel, so much still to live, to explore, so little time. I find that, the older I get the more I want to write about things that are happening now. I'm more or less done with the past. In the last few years I have begun several novels but by the time I get to chapter ten or fifteen I'm done with the subject and something new comes up.

 

One of my favorite things now is to travel and retrace the steps of an artist and combine my travel experience with the artist's story. Two weeks ago I went to Victoria B.C. in search of Emily Carr, a painter and author, who lived most of her life there. Last year I read the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and flew to Guernsey.  Georgia O'Keeffe is another one of the people I "visited," in Abiquiu, New Mexico. And so on. I had planned on spending my 71st birthday in Prague with Kafka, but might have to wait til next year, due to family stuff.


blkeyesuzi wrote:

Sunltcloud,

 

Have you ever considered writing your own novel? I'd certainly buy it! 

 


 

Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children


Sunltcloud wrote:

Suzi,

 

Thank you for your "vote of confidence."

I belong to a Memoir Writing Group and have documented all this. Have printed it out and given it to my children. This particular incident has been rewritten in the form of a letter to my granddaughter and has been included in a book entitled "Love, Grandma" by Grandmothers Against the War (an activist group.)

 

As for writing a novel, so much still to live, to explore, so little time. I find that, the older I get the more I want to write about things that are happening now. I'm more or less done with the past. In the last few years I have begun several novels but by the time I get to chapter ten or fifteen I'm done with the subject and something new comes up.

 

One of my favorite things now is to travel and retrace the steps of an artist and combine my travel experience with the artist's story. Two weeks ago I went to Victoria B.C. in search of Emily Carr, a painter and author, who lived most of her life there. Last year I read the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and flew to Guernsey.  Georgia O'Keeffe is another one of the people I "visited," in Abiquiu, New Mexico. And so on. I had planned on spending my 71st birthday in Prague with Kafka, but might have to wait til next year, due to family stuff.


blkeyesuzi wrote:

Sunltcloud,

 

Have you ever considered writing your own novel? I'd certainly buy it! 

 


 


You're amazing!  Can I be you if/when I grow up??? LOL

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Inspired Contributor
Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Adults and Children

Lesya worries me. She lives in her own world taking care of her chickens. When she names the deformed chick "happiness" it nearly broke my heart. This chick was what brought Lesya happiness. Not her mom and dad, her siblings or anything else. This chick that was her twin, something she could take care of was happiness. Even though she was not taken care of by her own mother, Lesya became the caregiver to her mother. Her mother rejected Lesya as an infant and she cowers around Stefan.

 

Lesya is a withdrawn sullen little girl with low self esteem who works hard to overcome her deformity, but never forgets that she is different and only feels love from her chick "Happiness."

 

In direct contrast to Lesya, I believe Stefan is a bottom feeder, below pond scum and has no redeeming qualities. He is a user, a drunk, a useless shell of a man who I have no respect for. He objectivies women, he uses his children and wife and ignores their needs and pain. He is self-centered and cunning and wants to take from everyone. He is incapable of giving love, he is evil and belicose relishing in his ability to instill fear in anyone around him. 

Wisteria,

"Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds a way into his heart."

The Shadow of the Wind,
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Contributor
Christie62
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎07-10-2009

Re: Adults and Children

One thing that defines a "great book" for me is well-defined characters. Shandi has done a marvelous job of this, even differentiating all of the children. It is hard to sum them up in only one sentence, but I will give it a try:

 

Maria is a strong, determined woman, resolved to doing whatever needs to be done to keep her family intact, even if this means taking care of her sister-in-law's family in addition to her own.

Teodor is strong of spirit, focused on working for the future of his family, devoted to Maria and the children and creating a better life for all of them. I admire that he still is hopeful about the future even after all he has been through.

Dania is helpful, responsible, kind and thoughtful. She will make a fine wife and mother one day.

Myron is a hard-working young boy, who is very respectful of his parents. I was so touched by the scene when Teodor was struggling to lift the plow and Myron waited so Teodor wouldn't know he had seen him, thereby allowing him to hold on to his pride and dignity.

Sofia is vain and prideful, not satisfied with her lot in life, seems like no matter how much she is given it will never be enough for her.

Katya is a sweet little girl who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders -- she feels very responsible for the events that happen around her, very typical for a child of her age.

Ivan and Petro are too hard for me to separate!  They seem like typical little boys, competitive with each other but devoted friends/cousins.

Lesya has overcome obstacles throughout her life, including physical challenges and a dysfunctional family, but she makes the best of her situation. 

Anna -- as much as I wanted to dislike the character of Anna, I find myself pitying her. She clearly was not raised for hard work, it sounds like she was a pampered pet as a girl, and her marriage was supposed to be a good match. Sadly, things didn't turn out well for her, and I think that today she would be diagnosed with a mental illness. 

Stefan is just evil, a man who takes advantage of everyone he can.

 

 

I think that Anna sees the freedom and independence of the coyotes, and wishes that she had that in her own life. I think she would like to be more like them. Lesya cares for animals like she cares for everything else in her life. She was so proud to be given responsibility for the chickens!

 

I think that Maria is my favorite character so far.

 

 

 

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

Suzi,

 

I wouldn't bother with that growing up stuff too much. It's over-rated. I believed in C. S. Lewis who said: "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." I liked that and hurried to get there. Unfortunately they won't let me eat candy or chocolate anymore while I'm turning the pages. 


blkeyesuzi wrote:

Sunltcloud,

 Can I be you if/when I grow up??? LOL


 

Frequent Contributor
momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-11-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

I think that we are all so disillusioned with Sophia and Anna because they are dreaming of lives that are far from where they are. I don't think that there is anything wrong with longing for something more/different. Farming is not an easy life, and it is not for everyone. The main problem is how they deal with this inability to grasp their dreams. Anna's withdrawal from her family and suicidal tendencies are not a way to deal with these issues.  I am interested to know how Sophia deals with this. She seems quite bitter, but for the time being, she does what is asked of her.

 

Wordsmith
marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

I realized even doing adults works children still have their moments of childhood though violence moments which could not be part of children's lives are in the narrative. The moment children are eliminating the insects have most of the moments in the first part.

 

In the first part Teodor still didn't get his axis. He's still trying to feel the soil. Even his religiosity is lost. He's a man out of the time. It's like he had lost and never retrieved the time he stayed in priso. 

Inspired Contributor
LISA-BRYAN
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎12-16-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

1) Description of characters -- & 2) Anna's relationship with animals

 

Anna - depressed and lonely and mentally unstable; she seems to have a low self-esteem and that is probably why she relates to the coyotes more easily that to humans

 

Lesya - shy and wants to please others - also has a low self-esteem

 

Petro - at home he is shy but with Ivan he is energetic and playful

 

Stefan - uncaring and selfish

 

Teodorloyal and hardworker and courageous

 

Maria - loyal and hardworker and religious

 

Myron - mature beyond his years - but lacks understanding for others at times, hard worker

 

Dania - mature hard worker - cares about others

 

Sofia - lazy, ungrateful - always wants what she does not have

 

Ivan - energetic and playful - wants to grow up too fast at times

 

Katya - child-like innoncence - example body of Christ

 

 

3) Favorite Character -- Teodor

 

4) Toys

 

Children in this book as were children during the time period expected to work and their was little to no time for playWhat play they had was limited to swimming, running, playing in the snow -- if work was completed.

 

They seemed to invent games quite easily.

 

They were geographically isolated from other children and thus had little interaction with themWhen they were able to attend school, there was probably limited time for playing there as well, since school was more structured for learning and less for making sure everyone had a good self-esteem and are having a fun time -- as often happens in schools today.

 

5) Relationship with adults and children

 

Children and adults work side by side for the good of the familyThere is love but it is not demonstrated with hugs and kisses and spoiling with lavish giftsIt however, is demonstrated with providing a home, clothing, and foodThe children and adults work as a team.

 

6) Children taking after adults

 

Dania will  be much like MariaMyron will be much like TeodorHopefully Leysa and Petro will be much different from either of their parents.

 


rkubie wrote:

 


If you had to describe each of our characters so far with one brief sentence, could you do it?

 

What do you make to Anna and Mysha's relationship to animals?

 

Do you have a favorite character so far?

 

Did you notice that the children have no toys? How do they get along with each other? How do they play? Do they get much of a chance to be children?

 

What is the relationship between adults and children so far in this novel?

 

Do you see anyone of the children taking after either of their parents?


 

Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

My Favorite adult character is Maria & my favorite child is Lesya.  I feel that they both represent the strength in the face of adversity that most immigrants experienced when first coming to a new country.  They make the best of it and focus on the positive.
Wordsmith
Anna_Louise
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎06-17-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Adults and Children

Theo:  A good man and father, caring, loving, supportive, trying his best to take care of his family.

 

Maria:  The same way as Theo but much more in touch with what needs to be done for her husband and children along with her sister-in-law and her children.  Definately her heart is in the right place along with her humble roots of family.

 

Anna:  Broken, depressed, sick but trying desperately to survive after being abused by Stefan.

 

Lesya: Strong, determined to fit in and be normal.

 

As for the children needing toys, they lived in a different world where they had to be a working part of the family in order to survive.  They learned to enjoy nature and what God had given to them along with each other. 

 

Anna