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Rachel-K
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Fate and Control

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,827
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Fate and Control

There is NEVER a total lack of control and you are always responsible for whatever actions you deem necessary. Remember there is always a choice. Being backed against a wall doesn't gain approval for murder unless it's in self defense, the murder of an innocent is even worse.

Teodor had no choice but to go to prison the first time, through no fault of his own he was captured in his fate, what he did when he returned showed me that he had the strength to endure what happened until the next sentence loomed and then he showed us that he couldn't go through it again, he showed us that he wasn't as strong as we first thought, he showed us his cowardice by his suicide and murder of Anna, his cowardice to let Maria clean up the mess he didn't bother to think about he'd be leaving behind. 

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

Re: Fate and Control


rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?


 

As we talk about these characters, as to their respective choices, the word 'choices' is a tricky one to talk about.  We can divide the characters up into children and adults.  The children, for the most part, were governed by their parents choices.

 

For years, I had thought that everyone had choices in thier lives [and we do] and could make them willingly.  I've since changed my mind.  Yes, all of these characters had choices, but some characters were not able to make them.  Anna was one of them. 

 

We go through life trying to make good choices, learning from the bad ones we make.  And that's the key, to learn and apply.  Unfortunately, some characters, as in real life, will never learn from their bad choices.  Stepan was one of them.

 

If we talk about Teodor, he had the choice to destroy his sister's life, or not.  We saw that.  But, to him, he made [what looked like] the selfish choice.  We don't reallly know what went on in his heart to make the choices he did.  We can guess that he would rather die than to go back to prison, because he knew (we guess) that he would rather die from his own hand, than to die by someone else's.  His family would be alone, either way.  I only guessed at his great remorse, for killing his sister.  He was broken at that time he made that choice.  We don't always know what breaks a person.  Personalities are so complex.

 

I've talked about freedom, as others have, as it pertains to this story.  The freedom, which I included in both life, and death.  We can see that Anna made the choice to kill her child, but it was, to her, freedom both for the child, and for herself.  She was no longer capable of making good choices.  

 

Teodor, in the killing of Anna and himself, freed them both from something only they knew in their hearts.  It was wrong to take these lives, but in a way, seemed the only ending to this story.  We don't know what choice Maria made for her children, as to where they would go to live.  We only hope it was somewhere that was kinder, and gentler.  Maria made the choice to take the grain.  She knew, somehow, she would need it for their hope in the future.  Let's hope for the best.

 

The choices for Petro and Lesya were made for them.  I hope, in the years that followed, they would be better off for these choices the adults made for them.

 

Fate is a word, similar to the word, coincidence.  You either believe in it, or you don't.  Fate is something that no one person has control over, like nature, and all choices that govern us, outside of our own.  It's a melding pot of all choices and decisions, whether good or bad.

 

Kathy S.

 

 

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debbook
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Re: Fate and Control

I was a little confused about Teodor going to prison the first time for stealing his own grain. Wasn't he supposed to give that as payment for the land? If so, he made the choice to keep some, regardless of how unfair the law, he made the choice to make alcohol, even though he knew the consequences. Plus the fact that he didn't get rid of it when he knew that letch Stefan would turn him in, made me angry at Teodor,he played with his family's lives.  He made many choices that I don't agree with. It was selfish of him to leave his family the way he did. Petyr made the choice to turn in his uncle, though I don't think he knew the consequences.

What happens with the land, the fire, the harsh winters, that was fate. But Teodor made a choice to quit and Maria made a choice to go on, though for her it was not a choice but her only option. She would never do what Teodor did.

Anna made many poor choices but probably thought it was fate

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nfam
Posts: 231
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Re: Fate and Control

Everyone has a choice. Fate presents a scenario, the way the characters respond is up to their individual personalities. I felt that Teodor was a damaged person, not because of fate, but because of the way he responded to his situation. He didn't have to brew alcohol and put his family at risk. He didn't have to be so proud that he wouldn't allow his wife and children speak to their cousins. He set up the situation, and when he couldn't stand it anymore, he bailed out, leaving everyone else, particularly Maria, to pick up the pieces. 

 

Everyone had a choice. Anna and Teodor chose to not take responsibility for their situation and thereby put many other people at risk. I really didn't have any sympathy for these characters. They built walls and in the end the walls destroyed them. 

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booksJT
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Re: Fate and Control

We are always responsible for our actions and the choices we make. As adults we are the ones in charge of what goes on in our lives. To  murder someone when it is not in self defense is unforgivable. When he went to prison the first time it was a misunderstanding on his part. But to just to kill his sister because he thought she turned him in was wrong. I think he should have handled the situation much better than he did. Committing suicide makes him a selfish  coward. He left Maria to clean up the mess he made of his family and his sister's family. In the end he wasn't as strong as he was in the beginning. I also agree with another post that we have little control over fate.
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BooksRPam
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎12-05-2008

Re: Fate and Control

Each character in this tragic story lives in his/her own prison, whether by fate, outside elements beyond their own control, or a prison created by their own making.

 

Teodor, while actually enduring actual prison walls, continues to feel those walls long after he has been released.  I think Teodor was a frustrated man, only wanting to be able to take care of Maria and his children and make a home and farm for himself.  Unfortunately, he was oppressed by his brother-in-law and his cowed sister, making it impossible for Teodor to live a normal life.  He further has to fight against a living, breathing, merciless winter where "the crusted snow groans" and "the dry, cold air sucks the breath from their lungs."  His insistence on having the alcohol demonstrates his constant struggle to be his own man, futilely hoping that others will just mind their own business.

 

Teodor and Maria's children each have their own set of "prison bars" to beat against.  Myron (page 240) has his own OCD routine in place when he wakes up to somehow feel that he is in control of his fate.  Ivan is a prisoner to his fears (being so young, who wouldn't be?) and is so dependent on the reassurance of his family.  For example, on pages 242 and 243 when Ivan finds the rabbit, Ivan is terrified that when he looks around that Myron will be gone.  And, of course, I think everyone's written volumes about Katya's "Christ" ball.

 

Of course, a whole other set of prisoners live beyond the wall, Stefan selfishly thinking that everybody owes him something and that he deserves so much more, more money, a better wife, more obedient children, more respect.  The list goes on.  Anna definitely has mental problems, but I will not concede, especially after having read the book's finale, that she is not at all culpable for her actions.  Yes, she's depressed.  Yes, she's a battered wife.  Yes, she's had a snap from reality.  But I still am not convinced, as someone else mentioned in the Winter thread, that she should be totally let off the hook for the murder of her child.

 

And because of Stefan's and Anna's actions, their children are the saddest prisoners of all.  I can't imagine being trapped in that place that Stefan and Anna called a home.  "Hell" is a better term.  I grieve for Petro, who I fear will be his father when he grows up, and I grieve for Lesya.  She tried to be normal with her deformity.  She tried to be normal in an insane household.  When she killed Happiness, I think the author was showing us that Lesya's hope for happiness was destroyed also.

 

Finally, though Maria tried to keep control, too many things were going on around her to be able to accomplish that.  She was almost like the prison warden, trying to juggle her family and its problems, her sister's family, and trying to keep everything under control.  Impossible.

 

The only member of these families who wasn't a prisoner?  The newborn.  Never had a chance.

 

I agree with others who have said that this is easily the most tragic, depressing novel I've read in a long, long time.

Pam
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emmagrace
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Re: Fate and Control


dhaupt wrote:

 

There is NEVER a total lack of control and you are always responsible for whatever actions you deem necessary. Remember there is always a choice. Being backed against a wall doesn't gain approval for murder unless it's in self defense, the murder of an innocent is even worse.

Teodor had no choice but to go to prison the first time, through no fault of his own he was captured in his fate, what he did when he returned showed me that he had the strength to endure what happened until the next sentence loomed and then he showed us that he couldn't go through it again, he showed us that he wasn't as strong as we first thought, he showed us his cowardice by his suicide and murder of Anna, his cowardice to let Maria clean up the mess he didn't bother to think about he'd be leaving behind. 

 

 

Debbie

Nicely done! I am pretty sure that I could not have said it any better!!
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CathyB
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Re: Fate and Control

Like Neo in the Matrix, I don't believe in fate. I believe that everyone is in control of their own choices/decisions. I cannot excuse the behavior of any of them - each character must be held accountable for their actions. Everything that one does during the day is a choice and with each choice there is an outcome - good, bad or indifferent.

 

The characters have always had control over their own lives - they chose to leave the Ukraine, they chose to go/stay in Canada, some chose to get up in the morning, some chose not to, etc...

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

Choices and Control


rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?


 

I'm going to, obviously, be in the minority on this subject.  My further thoughts on this subject probably won't change anyone's minds....but I'll give it my best shot.

 

I totally disagree with some of these posts about TOTAL control over ones mind, and making sane and rational choices.  Go into the minds of these characters.  Feel what was written in their minds.  Do you think Teodor, if he were rational, wanted to leave his family, or kill his sister?  Knowing the choices he was making - We have to know that he loved them. 

 

Do you think Anna was ALWAYS in control of her self?  Do you believe she understood what she was doing when she did all of those insane, and horrid things?  We all are rational thinkers on this board, or at least I hope so, but we can't think that ALL people think the way we do, the way of rationality.

 

Do you know how many people are driven to murder by insanity?  Anna was beaten down, both physically, and mentally.   Obuse is internalized differently by each victim.  It was obvious that she was physically ill during her pregnancy, as well.  Every day her actions showed us, as she related to her kids, to her husband, and to Maria, and Teodor.  We don't know how long this was sustained before we met her.  Do you know what PPD does to the seemingly rational mind?  All of these elements compounded themselves over time, in Anna's physical and mental  state.  She was weak in all ways.

 

I was selected for jury duty, to be on a trial of a woman who killed her husband, and her defense was insanity.  I refused to take the stand, because I could not view the pictures of her dead husband.  I knew what it would do to me.  I knew I could not pronounce her guilty, either, because I knew what the mind goes through under extreme circumstances.  The evidence was pointing to those extreme conditions.  

 

All you have to do is read about the psychology of the mind, and know what obscure forms it can take, and where it goes, when you think they should be rational.  Unless you either live it, study it, or witness it, there is no way I can convince anyone of the inablitity these people had, to make the smart, and rational choice.  Yes, everyone makes a choice, but in what capacity of mind is it acceptable?

 

Anna and Teodor were cut from the same cloth.  I have no doubt, now.  Teodor didn't always think straight.  Maria showed us this with her strength.  He was subject to prison, something he barely survived the first time. There are some people who will die in this captive state. Teodor was the bread winner, he wanted freedom, with pride in himself, and his family, there is nothing worse than to subject yourself to an unreasonable and false amount of pride....as the saying goes, pride comes before the fall.  Teodor fell, and he broke. 

 

You may call him selfish, because most people view suicide as a selfish act, because they have no idea what it feels like to be in a depressed mind, without choices.  There is no rational control.  There is no rational choice.  They feel that there is NO choice at all, but to eradicate pain, which is the most unbearable pain one can ever experience.  I honestly don't know what Teodor, or Anna felt, because I didn't live their lives, but I tried to live in their minds, and I can make an educated guess, from all of what this author wrote about them, and from all that I know.

 

I think there are circumstance we can't always fathom in the human mind.  I don't excuse what was done, but I do try and understand that I can't set myself up as judge and jury of these minds.  I can't, in all honestly, say that these people were evil, or bad....just wrongly judged by the wrong choices they made.  They all needed help, something we were not privileged to witness.  We saw the distruction of lives, when no choices were present.

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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Fate and Control

Kathys wrote:


As we talk about these characters, as to their respective choices, the word 'choices' is a tricky one to talk about.  We can divide the characters up into children and adults.  The children, for the most part, were governed by their parents choices.

 

For years, I had thought that everyone had choices in thier lives [and we do] and could make them willingly.  I've since changed my mind.  Yes, all of these characters had choices, but some characters were not able to make them.  Anna was one of them. 

 

We go through life trying to make good choices, learning from the bad ones we make.  And that's the key, to learn and apply.  Unfortunately, some characters, as in real life, will never learn from their bad choices.  Stepan was one of them.

 

If we talk about Teodor, he had the choice to destroy his sister's life, or not.  We saw that.  But, to him, he made [what looked like] the selfish choice.  We don't reallly know what went on in his heart to make the choices he did.  We can guess that he would rather die than to go back to prison, because he knew (we guess) that he would rather die from his own hand, than to die by someone else's.  His family would be alone, either way.  I only guessed at his great remorse, for killing his sister.  He was broken at that time he made that choice.  We don't always know what breaks a person.  Personalities are so complex.

 

I've talked about freedom, as others have, as it pertains to this story.  The freedom, which I included in both life, and death.  We can see that Anna made the choice to kill her child, but it was, to her, freedom both for the child, and for herself.  She was no longer capable of making good choices.  

 

Teodor, in the killing of Anna and himself, freed them both from something only they knew in their hearts.  It was wrong to take these lives, but in a way, seemed the only ending to this story.  We don't know what choice Maria made for her children, as to where they would go to live.  We only hope it was somewhere that was kinder, and gentler.  Maria made the choice to take the grain.  She knew, somehow, she would need it for their hope in the future.  Let's hope for the best.

 

The choices for Petro and Lesya were made for them.  I hope, in the years that followed, they would be better off for these choices the adults made for them.

 

Fate is a word, similar to the word, coincidence.  You either believe in it, or you don't.  Fate is something that no one person has control over, like nature, and all choices that govern us, outside of our own.  It's a melding pot of all choices and decisions, whether good or bad.

 

Kathy S.


 

Excellent points my dear!

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Fate and Control

Somehow I had a different take on Teodor's killing of Anna. I don't think he killed her for turning him in (though it is the reason Myron would give. Petro sees him as a wild dog who ripped out his mother's heart and Petro thinks Teodor would kill them all.) I think Teodor killed his sister because she killed her baby. He killed himself because he didn't see any other solution that would benefit his family. He killed what he thought of as being bad in the family structure, which is Anna and himself. Stefan doesn't count because he is more or less an outsider.

 

I hope that Teodor took into consideration his wife's strength; in other words, he didn't desert her, he felt that she would be better equipped to handle the survival of his children than he himself. It is the only gift he has to give.

 

Then he reverts back to primeval/primitive animal instinct, ridding himself of all that is human.

 

I love that scene on page 333. I read it several times.

1. I read it as a factual account...."he takes off his leather jacket........"

2. I read it as magical realism...."clawing at the strings caked with snow and ice...." in which Teodor morphes from man to animal/coyote, skinning himself.....,

3. I read it as allegory; a symbolic offering for all the sins that have been committed.

4. I read it as spiritual renewal. He looks up. He gives his blood.

5. I read it as a testament to his character. He is an orderly man when it comes to worldly small detail. ....."He tucks the shoelaces inside and places the feet side by side on top of the man."

 

For me the sad endings are those of Lesya and Petro. Lesya the physically handicapped and Petro the one handicapped by his father's genes. At first I wished Maria had been able to take them with her, but realized that their father is still alive and could, once again, bring ugliness into everybody's lives. Maybe a totally different life will give them a chance to become whole. Josyp Petrenko, who takes Petro, is a good man.The church will be good for Lesya.


 

booksJT wrote:
We are always responsible for our actions and the choices we make. As adults we are the ones in charge of what goes on in our lives. To  murder someone when it is not in self defense is unforgivable. When he went to prison the first time it was a misunderstanding on his part. But to just to kill his sister because he thought she turned him in was wrong. I think he should have handled the situation much better than he did. Committing suicide makes him a selfish  coward. He left Maria to clean up the mess he made of his family and his sister's family. In the end he wasn't as strong as he was in the beginning. I also agree with another post that we have little control over fate.


 

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
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Re: Choices and Control

Well said, Kathy. While I don't totally agree with you because I believe we each have to be accountable for our own actions, you make your points well. Thank you for writing them so passionately. You made me want to read every word you wrote.  :smileywink:

 


KathyS wrote:

rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?


 

I'm going to, obviously, be in the minority on this subject.  My further thoughts on this subject probably won't change anyone's minds....but I'll give it my best shot.

 

I totally disagree with some of these posts about TOTAL control over ones mind, and making sane and rational choices.  Go into the minds of these characters.  Feel what was written in their minds.  Do you think Teodor, if he were rational, wanted to leave his family, or kill his sister?  Knowing the choices he was making - We have to know that he loved them. 

 

Do you think Anna was ALWAYS in control of her self?  Do you believe she understood what she was doing when she did all of those insane, and horrid things?  We all are rational thinkers on this board, or at least I hope so, but we can't think that ALL people think the way we do, the way of rationality.

 

Do you know how many people are driven to murder by insanity?  Anna was beaten down, both physically, and mentally.   Obuse is internalized differently by each victim.  It was obvious that she was physically ill during her pregnancy, as well.  Every day her actions showed us, as she related to her kids, to her husband, and to Maria, and Teodor.  We don't know how long this was sustained before we met her.  Do you know what PPD does to the seemingly rational mind?  All of these elements compounded themselves over time, in Anna's physical and mental  state.  She was weak in all ways.

 

I was selected for jury duty, to be on a trial of a woman who killed her husband, and her defense was insanity.  I refused to take the stand, because I could not view the pictures of her dead husband.  I knew what it would do to me.  I knew I could not pronounce her guilty, either, because I knew what the mind goes through under extreme circumstances.  The evidence was pointing to those extreme conditions.  

 

All you have to do is read about the psychology of the mind, and know what obscure forms it can take, and where it goes, when you think they should be rational.  Unless you either live it, study it, or witness it, there is no way I can convince anyone of the inablitity these people had, to make the smart, and rational choice.  Yes, everyone makes a choice, but in what capacity of mind is it acceptable?

 

Anna and Teodor were cut from the same cloth.  I have no doubt, now.  Teodor didn't always think straight.  Maria showed us this with her strength.  He was subject to prison, something he barely survived the first time. There are some people who will die in this captive state. Teodor was the bread winner, he wanted freedom, with pride in himself, and his family, there is nothing worse than to subject yourself to an unreasonable and false amount of pride....as the saying goes, pride comes before the fall.  Teodor fell, and he broke. 

 

You may call him selfish, because most people view suicide as a selfish act, because they have no idea what it feels like to be in a depressed mind, without choices.  There is no rational control.  There is no rational choice.  They feel that there is NO choice at all, but to eradicate pain, which is the most unbearable pain one can ever experience.  I honestly don't know what Teodor, or Anna felt, because I didn't live their lives, but I tried to live in their minds, and I can make an educated guess, from all of what this author wrote about them, and from all that I know.

 

I think there are circumstance we can't always fathom in the human mind.  I don't excuse what was done, but I do try and understand that I can't set myself up as judge and jury of these minds.  I can't, in all honestly, say that these people were evil, or bad....just wrongly judged by the wrong choices they made.  They all needed help, something we were not privileged to witness.  We saw the distruction of lives, when no choices were present.


 

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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bud12
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎01-26-2009

Re: Fate and Control

Thoreau's essay on "Civil Disobedience" comes to mind when I think of Theodor. Of course Thoreau may have idealized prison life when he wrote that the mind can be free despite one's circumstances such as being in a prison cell. Seeing how all of these characters fared makes me realize how wrong Thoreau would be for these people. They could not escape their fate and were truly imprisonedjail cell or not!  Life had betrayed them time and again and they were truly trapped. Talking about the possibility of being free thinkers despite their circumstances makes no sense for them, and would seem demeaning, to say the least.
Jo
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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Choices and Control

Donna, thank you for reading and 'listening'.  That's a big step in understanding different view points.  I wasn't trying to offer excuses....just understanding....as I also agree with you.... that everyone has to be held accountable for their actions.  I don't disagree, at all, with this.  There are different ways, and laws, to approach the judgement of these people who committed these crimes.  I believe they have, or will be tried.
DSaff wrote:

Well said, Kathy. While I don't totally agree with you because I believe we each have to be accountable for our own actions, you make your points well. Thank you for writing them so passionately. You made me want to read every word you wrote.  :smileywink:

 


KathyS wrote:

rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?


 

I'm going to, obviously, be in the minority on this subject.  My further thoughts on this subject probably won't change anyone's minds....but I'll give it my best shot.

 

I totally disagree with some of these posts about TOTAL control over ones mind, and making sane and rational choices.  Go into the minds of these characters.  Feel what was written in their minds.  Do you think Teodor, if he were rational, wanted to leave his family, or kill his sister?  Knowing the choices he was making - We have to know that he loved them. 

 

Do you think Anna was ALWAYS in control of her self?  Do you believe she understood what she was doing when she did all of those insane, and horrid things?  We all are rational thinkers on this board, or at least I hope so, but we can't think that ALL people think the way we do, the way of rationality.

 

Do you know how many people are driven to murder by insanity?  Anna was beaten down, both physically, and mentally.   Obuse is internalized differently by each victim.  It was obvious that she was physically ill during her pregnancy, as well.  Every day her actions showed us, as she related to her kids, to her husband, and to Maria, and Teodor.  We don't know how long this was sustained before we met her.  Do you know what PPD does to the seemingly rational mind?  All of these elements compounded themselves over time, in Anna's physical and mental  state.  She was weak in all ways.

 

I was selected for jury duty, to be on a trial of a woman who killed her husband, and her defense was insanity.  I refused to take the stand, because I could not view the pictures of her dead husband.  I knew what it would do to me.  I knew I could not pronounce her guilty, either, because I knew what the mind goes through under extreme circumstances.  The evidence was pointing to those extreme conditions.  

 

All you have to do is read about the psychology of the mind, and know what obscure forms it can take, and where it goes, when you think they should be rational.  Unless you either live it, study it, or witness it, there is no way I can convince anyone of the inablitity these people had, to make the smart, and rational choice.  Yes, everyone makes a choice, but in what capacity of mind is it acceptable?

 

Anna and Teodor were cut from the same cloth.  I have no doubt, now.  Teodor didn't always think straight.  Maria showed us this with her strength.  He was subject to prison, something he barely survived the first time. There are some people who will die in this captive state. Teodor was the bread winner, he wanted freedom, with pride in himself, and his family, there is nothing worse than to subject yourself to an unreasonable and false amount of pride....as the saying goes, pride comes before the fall.  Teodor fell, and he broke. 

 

You may call him selfish, because most people view suicide as a selfish act, because they have no idea what it feels like to be in a depressed mind, without choices.  There is no rational control.  There is no rational choice.  They feel that there is NO choice at all, but to eradicate pain, which is the most unbearable pain one can ever experience.  I honestly don't know what Teodor, or Anna felt, because I didn't live their lives, but I tried to live in their minds, and I can make an educated guess, from all of what this author wrote about them, and from all that I know.

 

I think there are circumstance we can't always fathom in the human mind.  I don't excuse what was done, but I do try and understand that I can't set myself up as judge and jury of these minds.  I can't, in all honestly, say that these people were evil, or bad....just wrongly judged by the wrong choices they made.  They all needed help, something we were not privileged to witness.  We saw the distruction of lives, when no choices were present.


 


 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Choices and Control


 

I think there are circumstance we can't always fathom in the human mind.  I don't excuse what was done, but I do try and understand that I can't set myself up as judge and jury of these minds.  I can't, in all honestly, say that these people were evil, or bad....just wrongly judged by the wrong choices they made.  They all needed help, something we were not privileged to witness.  We saw the distruction of lives, when no choices were present.


Thanks for your comments KathyS.  I do agree with you.

Jane M.

Jane M.
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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fate and Control

Yes, Gisela, I totally agree with what you've stated.  According to Teodor, where it came to Anna, what good was her life to her children, I'm sure he had to have feared for them..... and what good was his own life, after committing this crime, to his family? He may, or may not have, realized rational thinking, at the moment he pulled the trigger....I don't know.  I absolutely don't condone these killings, but in these minds of Anna and Teodor, anything could be perceived, and possible.
Sunltcloud wrote:

Somehow I had a different take on Teodor's killing of Anna. I don't think he killed her for turning him in (though it is the reason Myron would give. Petro sees him as a wild dog who ripped out his mother's heart and Petro thinks Teodor would kill them all.) I think Teodor killed his sister because she killed her baby. He killed himself because he didn't see any other solution that would benefit his family. He killed what he thought of as being bad in the family structure, which is Anna and himself. Stefan doesn't count because he is more or less an outsider.

 

I hope that Teodor took into consideration his wife's strength; in other words, he didn't desert her, he felt that she would be better equipped to handle the survival of his children than he himself. It is the only gift he has to give.

 

Then he reverts back to primeval/primitive animal instinct, ridding himself of all that is human.

 

I love that scene on page 333. I read it several times.

1. I read it as a factual account...."he takes off his leather jacket........"

2. I read it as magical realism...."clawing at the strings caked with snow and ice...." in which Teodor morphes from man to animal/coyote, skinning himself.....,

3. I read it as allegory; a symbolic offering for all the sins that have been committed.

4. I read it as spiritual renewal. He looks up. He gives his blood.

5. I read it as a testament to his character. He is an orderly man when it comes to worldly small detail. ....."He tucks the shoelaces inside and places the feet side by side on top of the man."

 

For me the sad endings are those of Lesya and Petro. Lesya the physically handicapped and Petro the one handicapped by his father's genes. At first I wished Maria had been able to take them with her, but realized that their father is still alive and could, once again, bring ugliness into everybody's lives. Maybe a totally different life will give them a chance to become whole. Josyp Petrenko, who takes Petro, is a good man.The church will be good for Lesya.


 

booksJT wrote:
We are always responsible for our actions and the choices we make. As adults we are the ones in charge of what goes on in our lives. To  murder someone when it is not in self defense is unforgivable. When he went to prison the first time it was a misunderstanding on his part. But to just to kill his sister because he thought she turned him in was wrong. I think he should have handled the situation much better than he did. Committing suicide makes him a selfish  coward. He left Maria to clean up the mess he made of his family and his sister's family. In the end he wasn't as strong as he was in the beginning. I also agree with another post that we have little control over fate.


 


 

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Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Fate and Control

Everyone is accountable for their own actions, and there are ALWAYS choices!  Sometimes the choices we faces are extremely difficult, and we might even hesitate, scream, and/or wish that we didn't have to make any choice.  In the end, we are responsible.

 

I have always struggled with the question of "fate."  Does it really exist and to what degree?  Was it Anna's "fate" to be murdered due to her choice to commit murder?  Was it Theodor's "fate" to return to prison because of his pride in wanting to be able to have a drink in his own house?  Was it Petro's "fate" to become just like his despicable tato, Stefan, since he was abused and neglected by him his whole life?  I don't think any of these characters faced their "fate."  Petro made a conscious decision to inform the police about the whiskey hidden in Theodor's house just as Theodor made the choice to ignore Maria's pleading to get rid of the whiskey.  Anna could have made the choice to reach out to Maria and Theodor.  I am sure that they would have even raised the child for her.

 

The world is full of examples that illustrate an individual's ability to overcome their difficult circumstances.  Children of abuse break the cycle due to the choices that they make.  I had a student a few years ago whose father murdered her mother after years of abuse.  This teen was shipped 500 miles to a different state to live with relatives that she barely knew.  She was a straight "A" student, loved everyone, active in and out of school, and eventually established a written correspondence with her father in prison.  Her choices allowed her to overcome the abuse that she had witnessed her whole life, and she found a way to become a successful young adult in so many ways.  She could have gone the opposite direction and entered into an abusive relationship herself or suffered from severe depression, but she did not.  Fate?  I believe it was choice. 

 

 


rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways have the characters in Unbroken Sky had control over their own lives, and in what ways have their fates been controlled by larger forces? Do you hold each of them accountable--or do you tend to excuse some behavior by it seeming forced upon them by lack of choices?


 

"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
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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Fate and Control

I think it's very interesting that many of the characters feel they have a sense of control over their destiny, and in fact, feel responsible for the tragedies that occur.

 

Teodor feels that he can control fate through righteousness and hard work.  A man has a right to have a drink in his own house, regardless of the consequences.  His sister's actions justify his own action in killing her.  He is in control and doling out appropriate punishment.

 

Whereas Anna  is the perfect example of someone who feels she has no control.  “She had no choice the moment she was born.” And she projects this same belief on her newborn, thinking that the best thing she can do for her is let her die and avoid the suffering of life. 

 

Anna’s disassociation from life builds throughout the story until she ends up in bed, willing herself to oblivion with sleep.  I don’t know whether edema from her pregnancy adds to her depression or if the edema is a natural consequence of failure to move about, exercise and take care of her family.    But in any case, killing her child shows her one attempt to control not only her own destiny, but that of her child as well.

 

Ivan feels that the family feud is due to his actions by causing Theodor to hit Stefan and Myron to fire the gun.

 

Myron, like Ivan, feels responsibility for the bad situation.  He assigns mystical importance to the coyote paw, thinking that returning it will provide forgiveness.  He holds it out and “braces himself for his sacrifice.  A hand for a hand.”

 

Maria is the bystander, watching the action play out, continually picking up the pieces of the tattered lives around her, wishing that prayer would solve her problems, while knowing deep inside that she must take control of her life and that of her children as best she can.  She is the survivor.

 

Jane M.

 

 

 

Jane M.
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CJINCA
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Re: Fate and Control

Interesting idea of self-sacrifice here -- in practical terms, especially, since Teodor is a convict and there is no way he and Maria can own any land.  I wonder if now Maria or Myron could (somehow?)...

Sunltcloud wrote:

Somehow I had a different take on Teodor's killing of Anna. I don't think he killed her for turning him in (though it is the reason Myron would give. Petro sees him as a wild dog who ripped out his mother's heart and Petro thinks Teodor would kill them all.) I think Teodor killed his sister because she killed her baby. He killed himself because he didn't see any other solution that would benefit his family. He killed what he thought of as being bad in the family structure, which is Anna and himself. Stefan doesn't count because he is more or less an outsider.

 

I hope that Teodor took into consideration his wife's strength; in other words, he didn't desert her, he felt that she would be better equipped to handle the survival of his children than he himself. It is the only gift he has to give.

 

Then he reverts back to primeval/primitive animal instinct, ridding himself of all that is human.

 

I love that scene on page 333. I read it several times.

1. I read it as a factual account...."he takes off his leather jacket........"

2. I read it as magical realism...."clawing at the strings caked with snow and ice...." in which Teodor morphes from man to animal/coyote, skinning himself.....,

3. I read it as allegory; a symbolic offering for all the sins that have been committed.

4. I read it as spiritual renewal. He looks up. He gives his blood.

5. I read it as a testament to his character. He is an orderly man when it comes to worldly small detail. ....."He tucks the shoelaces inside and places the feet side by side on top of the man."

 

For me the sad endings are those of Lesya and Petro. Lesya the physically handicapped and Petro the one handicapped by his father's genes. At first I wished Maria had been able to take them with her, but realized that their father is still alive and could, once again, bring ugliness into everybody's lives. Maybe a totally different life will give them a chance to become whole. Josyp Petrenko, who takes Petro, is a good man.The church will be good for Lesya.


 

booksJT wrote:
We are always responsible for our actions and the choices we make. As adults we are the ones in charge of what goes on in our lives. To  murder someone when it is not in self defense is unforgivable. When he went to prison the first time it was a misunderstanding on his part. But to just to kill his sister because he thought she turned him in was wrong. I think he should have handled the situation much better than he did. Committing suicide makes him a selfish  coward. He left Maria to clean up the mess he made of his family and his sister's family. In the end he wasn't as strong as he was in the beginning. I also agree with another post that we have little control over fate.