Reply
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Faith and Hope

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

 

Inspired Wordsmith
chadadanielleKR
Posts: 367
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

Maria is wonderful: she never gives up. She certainly has Faith in God, but also in her husband, in her children and in the future. She is a very positive character who is always trying to make the best of everything. At the end of the book, she believes that she can counts on Myron, that's why she doesn't cry even though she feels like it and just leaves bravely so as to go to a new future for her children and herself.
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Faith and Hope

When Myron helped his mother pull the burlap sack of grain out from under the stoop, it gave me hope that the rest of this family would survive. I have no idea where they are heading as the cart rolls away with them and their belongings and I'm not sure they know where they are going either. But, I feel as long as they have Maria, she will find a way to protect them all. Maria is the strongest character I have had the privilege to encounter and I know she will do her best to start again.
April
Frequent Contributor
booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

I think Maria has a strong relationship with her faith. Maria believes her family has a future and doesn't want them to give up. I think if her faith wasn't as strong she would have never survived the tragedies in their life. I don't think Katya has a real understanding of what faith is. 

 

Maria has hope for the future. Maria realizes that her future is no longer there in the house that Theo built. That is why she is able to pack up and move on without shedding a tear.

 

After reading this heartbreaking story , I think that Maria's character makes everything seem hopeful. Her faith and her kids make her strong enough to carry on. I know that Maria is capable of restarting over. 

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

Faith to Maria is everything, she feels that it has never forsaken her even in her worst times and I think she'll keep her faith through the new spring and beyond.

Teodor's faith is intertwined with his pride, pride to provide for his family, pride to fulfill his promises to Maria, pride to overcome what happened to him in prison. But pride is a lonely bedfellow when you feel less than a man and it would have taken a better man than him to get through what was to come with the next prison sentence.

 

Maria never looses hope either.

 

Yes there is hope, and I think that Maria and her children will overcome what they must to not only survive but to flourish.

 

Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Faith and Hope

Faith - such a powerful word! Believing in the impossible, in the unseen. Maria had faith so strong that when she had the smallest doubt, she would pray and ask forgiveness. Maria also knew that she needed to do her part; that while God answered her prayers, there were things for her to do. So, she loved and cared for her family, praying for their safety. I think her faith kept her going when things were darkest - that is real faith!

 

Teodore is another story. Prison broke him in so many ways, one of which was leaving him with the feeling that God had forsaken him. After all, why else would someone have taken his farm three days shy of the time he could pay? Why else would he be in jail? Why was his family left to fend for themselves without him? Had he lived, I think Teodore would have regained his faith. I don't think it was totally gone, but rather pushed to the background. At the end, however, Teodore's need to take care of everything alone was his downfall. He couldn't bear to lose it all again. 

 

Katya didn't really understand faith. She believed that saving the host would save her family. At the end though, Katya can't find a way to help anymore. I believe that now she can follow her mother's example and learn about true faith.

 

 

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
Scribe
debbook
Posts: 1,823
Registered: ‎05-03-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

Maria's faith is strong but Teodor lost his faith long ago. He was not strong enough to continue and He let everyone down by what he did. But the end felt hopeful because of Maria and her ability to continue even though they have lost almost everything. If she did not have faith, she would have given up by now with so much to bear. I don't think Katya understands faith but she has it. She will learn from Maria.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
"bookmagic418.blogspot.com
Inspired Correspondent
mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

Maria's faith continues to make her stronger and she completely believes in God's power.

Katya has the innocence of a child and although her faith is strong it is in the form in which SHE understands.

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

Yes Maria will do her best to survive and keep her children safe and sound under ANY circumstances.

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

I saw hope in this story all the way through. Although some read through this and made comments about the continuous upheaval and trials and tribulations the characters encountered, I looked deeper and saw after each of those the tremendous love, strength and bravity that some portrayed. To me it was a Laura Ingalls Wilder type of adventure that constantly reminded me of family values and the joy simple things can bring. 

 

 


 

Inspired Correspondent
Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
Registered: ‎03-16-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

 


 

Katya understands her faith as a child would.  She's brought up to believe that the "dough" BECOMES Christ. So, she wants to Christ near her so He can help them when they need it. 

 

Maria is constantly on her knees praying.  She has a deep faith that things will turn out. I think that keeps her going.  Maybe if Teodor had retained his faith, things would have turned out differently. But what Anna did would have affected anyone in the way it affected him. Maybe even worse. If there could be such a thing. 

 

The thing I find hopeful is that however hard things will be for Maria and her children, they will get by. Maria is a woman who is strong, determined, and full of love for her children. 

 

Contributor
LKD_726
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-16-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

I feel that Maria's faith is what sustained during all of her trials.  She also realizes that she must be strong and take care of her family.  To me, Maria is someone who is a survivor at all costs.  I believe that she will continue to be an example to her children. 

 

I think Theo lost his faith while in prison and struggled with Maria's faith after he returned to the family.  I think that he really wanted that part of his life to return but circumstances with Anna and Stefan broke him in the end.

 

I feel that in the end Maria never lost faith even after Theo's death and moving with the children to start a new life.  There was always the undercurrent of faith and hope throughout the book. 

Distinguished Correspondent
JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Faith and Hope


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

 


 By the end of the Spring and Summer, I had started to see Teodor as a Job figure – as if God were testing him with one calamity after another – fire, dust storm, mice in the granary, a broken ax.   Earlier, his says that he “knows there is no God.  A compassionate God wouldn’t  have tried to starve his family.  A just God wouldn’t have taken away everything he had built.  A merciful God wouldn’t have abandoned him in prison.”   The house is his church, and I think the view of the sky is his heaven.  As the story progresses, Teodor seems to struggle against the land and natural events as if he were the one being challenged to prove  to himself and to his family that righteousness and hard work is its own reward. 

Katya has lost her faith in Jesus during the fire.  Jesus did not protect them.  She ate the dough to protect herself. “She killed Jesus to protect herself.  Maybe Mama doesn’t know that Jesus is gone.”  “If she has killed Jesus, then that means God won’t want her now.”  She turns her fear to the power of fire and creates her own version of the Lord’s Prayer, replacing “who art in Heaven” with “who art in Fire”. 

Maria is a strange combination of faith and superstition.  In the morning she has a bad feeling that begins with two crows facing the house.  While waiting for Theodor to come home, she kneels and prays to the Virgin, but the picture is knocked against the wall by a gust of wind “decrying its sacrilegious use.”  At one point she is feeling self-pity for her situation, and “she prays it away.”  But in the end, her personal strength carries the day as she saves a bag of seed for their next life. Maria prays every night for the safety of her vegetables, but also asks Anna to make a scarecrow.  She combines her faith with her practical nature.   

 

I believe that eventually Katya will grow into a more mature faith, that the combined strength of Maria, Myron and Dania and the overall strength of the family will lead them to find a new life and hope for the future.

Jane M.
Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Faith and Hope

Where would we be without hope? Maria and her children are going to be okay! They have already survived so much! I believe that they will gather strength from these tragedies and with their faith they will be able to make it.

 

I believe that they/everyone suffers so that we can understand the trials of others and we can have compassion for them and help them even when we do not have much ourselves!

 

The only hope that I can see looking back through the story is that they are a strong and brave family and as long as they have each other, they still have reason to hope!

Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Faith and Hope

Jane, beautifully seen, and said!  :smileyhappy:

JaneM wrote:

rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

 


 By the end of the Spring and Summer, I had started to see Teodor as a Job figure – as if God were testing him with one calamity after another – fire, dust storm, mice in the granary, a broken ax.   Earlier, his says that he “knows there is no God.  A compassionate God wouldn’t  have tried to starve his family.  A just God wouldn’t have taken away everything he had built.  A merciful God wouldn’t have abandoned him in prison.”   The house is his church, and I think the view of the sky is his heaven.  As the story progresses, Teodor seems to struggle against the land and natural events as if he were the one being challenged to prove  to himself and to his family that righteousness and hard work is its own reward. 

 

Katya has lost her faith in Jesus during the fire.  Jesus did not protect them.  She ate the dough to protect herself. “She killed Jesus to protect herself.  Maybe Mama doesn’t know that Jesus is gone.”  “If she has killed Jesus, then that means God won’t want her now.”  She turns her fear to the power of fire and creates her own version of the Lord’s Prayer, replacing “who art in Heaven” with “who art in Fire”. 

 

Maria is a strange combination of faith and superstition.  In the morning she has a bad feeling that begins with two crows facing the house.  While waiting for Theodor to come home, she kneels and prays to the Virgin, but the picture is knocked against the wall by a gust of wind “decrying its sacrilegious use.”  At one point she is feeling self-pity for her situation, and “she prays it away.”  But in the end, her personal strength carries the day as she saves a bag of seed for their next life. Maria prays every night for the safety of her vegetables, but also asks Anna to make a scarecrow.  She combines her faith with her practical nature.   

 

I believe that eventually Katya will grow into a more mature faith, that the combined strength of Maria, Myron and Dania and the overall strength of the family will lead them to find a new life and hope for the future.


 

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Faith and Hope

[ Edited ]

Maria has a great deal of faith - to God, her religion, her family & her hope for the future.

She is very "faithful" and devoted to all of these. Katya has a strong faith but it is very simplistic and childish. Perhaps if Teodore had been able to retain or return to his faith he would have had more hope to go on. I was shocked at his actions because I would have thought that his wife's love & faith, as well as his love for her and his children would have given him the strength to endure.

 

I believe that Maria does have hope for the future. She finds it in her children.

 

It is true that this story is heartbreaking - but there is hope within its pages. This hope resides in the character of Maria and in the lessons that her faith, perseverance & resilience teach her children.

Message Edited by Deltadawn on 08-17-2009 09:32 PM
Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope

Very well said April.

 

When I read his passage, I thought, where would this family be without Maria.  She always managed to put away things, money, the grain, food, etc. to be used at a future time.  She always looked for ways to provide for her family.  Strength is a word I used to describe her very early on and it is definitely a word that I would use now that I have finished the book.


aprilh wrote:
When Myron helped his mother pull the burlap sack of grain out from under the stoop, it gave me hope that the rest of this family would survive. I have no idea where they are heading as the cart rolls away with them and their belongings and I'm not sure they know where they are going either. But, I feel as long as they have Maria, she will find a way to protect them all. Maria is the strongest character I have had the privilege to encounter and I know she will do her best to start again.


 

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Correspondent
bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008

Re: Faith and Hope

Well said, Deltadown!  I agree that Maria was a very resilient character and never gave up hope.  I think it was a combination of her practical nature and constant faith.  She continued to move forward and put one foot in front of the other, no matter what life threw in her path.  Despite the tragedies in the story, I had hope for the future, through Maria's eyes.

 

 

 


Deltadawn wrote:

Maria has a great deal of faith - to God, her religion, her family & her hope for the future.

She is very "faithful" and devoted to all of these. Katya has a strong faith but it is very simplistic and childish. Perhaps if Teodore had been able to retain or return to his faith he would have had more hope to go on. I was shocked at his actions because I would have thought that his wife's love & faith, as well as his love for her and his children would have given him the strength to endure.

 

I believe that Maria does have hope for the future. She finds it in her children.

 

It is true that this story is heartbreaking - but there is hope within its pages. This hope resides in the character of Maria and in the lessons that her faith, perseverance & resilience teach her children.

Message Edited by Deltadawn on 08-17-2009 09:32 PM

 

Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Faith and Hope


JaneM wrote:

 By the end of the Spring and Summer, I had started to see Teodor as a Job figure – as if God were testing him with one calamity after another – fire, dust storm, mice in the granary, a broken ax.   Earlier, his says that he “knows there is no God.  A compassionate God wouldn’t  have tried to starve his family.  A just God wouldn’t have taken away everything he had built.  A merciful God wouldn’t have abandoned him in prison.”   The house is his church, and I think the view of the sky is his heaven.  As the story progresses, Teodor seems to struggle against the land and natural events as if he were the one being challenged to prove  to himself and to his family that righteousness and hard work is its own reward. 

 

 

What a wonderful figure to compare Theo to! (Although Job is certainly more of a talker, isn't he?)  

 

I found both Maria and Theo to be extraordinary in the face of so many losses and battles, despite Theo's ultimate act. I wonder how Maria would have been able to cope if she had been faced with being taken away from her children? Her instinct for survival seems totally fused with making sure that she meets her children's daily needs, no matter what.

 

 

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

Re: Faith and Hope

Maria's faith is extremely strong and unquestionable.  Along with giving herself, she gives her cross necklace in order to save her family by acquiring the grain in the beginning.  She understands that faith is personal and is not attached to an object (the necklace).  I think she also respects Theodor's loss of faith even though she does not agree with it.  Maria also demonstrates her faith through example...not by trying to force it upon her children.  She prays on her knee for hours when Theodor leaves the house.  Maria never asks the children to join her, but they do.  Katya follows Maria's example to the extreme, taking her understanding of faith so literal that she tries to save her family with the bread dough--Christ.

 

I don't believe that regaining or retaining his own faith would have given Theodor hope to go on.  I think his final irrational act (killing Anna) was a moment of utter insanity and failure to rationalize/process the situation.  Theodor was so overwhelmed with anger and sadness that he could not even stand himself any more.  Either way, alive or dead, he was lost to his family and could do nothing to give them hope.

 

Maria is a character that will always have hope despite her dire circumstances.  She does not live just for herself, but for her children/family.

If she has no hope, she knows that her life is meaningless.  Maria's act of burying the grain is a prime example of her planning for a disaster so that there will always be hope.  I do believe that Maria and her family have hope for the future.  They would have given up long ago without it.

 

 


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

 

 


 

"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
Correspondent
CJINCA
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

 


Maria's faith is deep and sustains her.  I mean not only her religious faith, but also her faith in herself, in her ability to survive, in her ability to provide for her family.

 

Maria's instincts, her knowledge, her skills, her strength, her determination --  I am very hopeful that she will continue to transmit these to her children and that together they will be able to start again.

Frequent Contributor
Sheltiemama
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎06-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Faith and Hope


rkubie wrote:

 

What is Maria's relationship to her faith? How does Katya understand faith? Do you perceive any faith relationship in any of the other characters? Do you believe that if Theo might have retained his own faith, it could have given him enough hope to go on?

 

Maria obviously has very strong faith, but it's mixed with superstition. If I'm understanding the timeline correctly, Maria discovered Theo's body. She then went to the granary and brought back a sack of wheat to hide. When the children wake up the next morning, the first thing she tells them is to pray for their father's soul -- but they hadn't been informed of his death yet. She doesn't let her faith get in the way of practicality, though. While her family cherished that cross, she trades it -- along with herself -- for the horse, wagon and its contents. She gets over any guilt she felt about it because she did it to save her family.

 

Katya still has the faith of a child that may mature in time. Her beliefs were very touching. How much of a burden she took on in her mind.  

 

I see why Theo lost his faith. If things had worked out and his family had been able to make a decent living -- though they'd never be rich -- he might have regained some degree of it. But I think Theo's church was the land and the sky, the earth and the freedom. When he lost those things and was going to be sent back to his own personal hell -- the jail -- his soul was completely broken.

 

Maria's children have something of a faith relationship that has come from her example. But there is no faith of any kind -- in God, in happiness, in the future -- in Anna's household. 

 

 

 

Do you think that Maria has any hope for their future?

 

I think Maria may be among my most favorite fictional characters, and she'll stay with me. She had hope for their future combined with bravery and practicality. She personally made any future her family will have. I grinned from ear to ear when she opened that bag of wheat.

 

After having finished such a heartbreaking story, do you think you will look back to find anything hopeful in it? If so, what?

 

Heartbreaking is the right word. And I just knew that poor chicken wasn't going to make it until the end! I live in a rural area, and the story made me think of just how strong our ancestors had to be and how hope kept them going. I'm in awe of what they accomplished. The characters showed us just how strong -- and in some cases, weak -- the human spirit can be.