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

Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Many of us have remarked on Shandi's striking writing style. Please share with the rest of the group some of your favorite scenes and passages by replying to this message!
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

There are so many scenes, it is hard to pick one, but this is one that has continued to stay with me:

 

During the fire, the family runs to the water. Katya is holding to her "Christ" with all her might.  She holds it over her head, praying that her family will be safe and all the while, the dough is dripping down her arm.  This scene was so poignent.  I felt so much for Katya from the moment she believed that the host was actually Christ and that he might some day be completely consumed. She was protecting her family the only way her innocent little mind knew how.  The child's faith was so beautiful and her love for her family was all-encompassing.  This scene made my heart stop. My fear was that her faith and innocence would disappear with the "Christ" that was melting in her scared little hand.  Everyone would lose a lot with the fire, but few would realize what Katya might be losing as a result of this awful ordeal. 

 

 

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: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

I like passages that show vulnerability. Internal struggle. Here are just a few of the many I could quote:

 

Anna Page 89

“She visited Teodor’s new house once, in the early morning, before the world had woken. It rose gray and empty from the twilight. Gaping holes for the door and window. The rafters in place, but the roof not closed in. The framework of the house not yet marred by life. Full of promise and possibility. She wandered through its interior, absorbing the smell of fresh-cut timer, the dew clinging to her dress, the swallows and chickadees announcing the light. The sun rising orange, scalloping the clouds red, and she felt sad. Sad that this house would lose its innocence.”

 

It is not the way a hopeful person would look at an unfinished house. Especially not a woman who is pregnant. But Anna, who is marred by life, sees life as the destroyer of promise and possibility. What I would smile about, wear and tear, the personal imprint of family life, makes Anna sad.

 

Lesya Page 113

“She feels Anna’s warm, rhythmic breath on her neck, the rise and fall of her chest. She examines her mother’s hand hanging loosely over her shoulder, across her chest. Her fingers are long and tapered, tanned a deep brown, the knuckles chapped. There is black dirt under her nails. On the thumb and index finger, alongside the nail, small ragged strips of skin have been chewed away, a nervous habit since childhood. Lesya brings her fingers close to their tips but doesn’t quite touch.”

 

How sad it must be for Lesya not to be able to be spontaneous in touching her mother’s finger tips. A child should be able to hug her mother, snuggle with her, feel safe. But Lesya knows instinctively that she must keep her distance, must allow Anna to withdraw. For her mother’s sake as well as for her own, she closes her eyes. Anna's moment of need for touch, for love, must not be acknowledged. How tragic that the child has to be the one to understand this.

 

Myron Page 203

“They look him straight in the eyes as he holds them down. You did this to me. He cracks their heads until their eyes empty. Sometimes it takes three or four blows, because his own eyes are closed. If he was rich and didn’t care how much a bullet cost, he’d shoot them, one shot behind the ears. Then he wouldn’t have to see their eyes.”

 

Poor Myron. He has to grow up so fast. He must kill rabbits without regard for his own feelings. He can’t stomp his foot down and say NO. he can't cry. He doesn’t have the luxury of a clean kill.

Imagining Myron sitting on the wall after he kills the rabbits breaks my heart. I think back to my children's early years. How they had funerals for their pets. How we tried to shield them from emotional pain when our dog was ill and had to be put to sleep.

 

Maria Page 201

“She gasps, terrified that she might have just conjured a curse. She spits over her left shoulder three times. She clutches her cross and gets down on her knees. She prays with all her might that Teodor is a good man, a good husband, a good father, and that she’s the one who should be punished for her sinful thoughts. She prays to the Blessed Virgin to keep her family safe, she opens her heart so that God can see how much love she has inside her and not to listen to her momentary weakness. She prays to bring him home safe.”

 

How tightly Maria controls her emotions. When she is angry with her husband because he went to town in a snow storm, she isn’t allowed to question his decisions. Not even in thought. Upbringing, religion, superstition, forbid her to let herself go. She stays on her knees until he comes home.

 

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,836
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

My favorite passage is also my favorite scene and it's after Teodor returns from prison and the children are presented to him and when Ivan gets to him page 27: "He stands on tiptoe and squints as he peers into the man's eyes. He looks past the bloodshot white, past the blue and gray flecks, and looks directly into the black center. "It's him." he decrees and throws his arms around his father's neck as he climbs onto his lap and babbles about Petro, and the frog they found, and the cat that died, and the ice storm last year, ..."

It made me cry.

  

Inspired Contributor
skiibunny1213
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎03-16-2009

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

The first two paragraphs on page 303 are not only beautiful, but also in my opinion sum up the underlying message/theme of the entire story.  They are the most in-depth feelings we have gotten from Teodor for the entire book.  I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read the entire book yet so I will not quote it or say anymore - just go re-read it when you are done!!!

Frequent Contributor
booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Katya Pg 109 

 

One of my favorite lines, "Where's Christ?'' Katya is crying because she thinks her imaginary Christ ball has disappeared. Katya has a lot of faith she doesn't realize that it is only dough.

 

Lesya Pg 98

 

"It's big and strong, it might make a good brood hen." she adds,"It hasn't given up."

 

Lesya has found a chick with a handicap like her. She wants to keep it because it reminds of her own handicap. Lesya understands how it feels because of her distorted foot. She works extra hard to compensate for deformed foot.

Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

On page 90 when Anna is watching Teodor upon his arrival- "When they were young, they had no secrets between them.  Now they've lost the ability to speak to each other.  Afraid that through words, they will reveal too much.  Afraid that each will see into the other and know what is being hidden."

 

I find throughout the book there are so many of these types of lines that speak so much about the characters.

Contributor
mroet
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-25-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

My favorite scene in the book during the winter, when Teodor and Maria go out in the snow to play with the children.  That is the one moment when life (past, present and future) does not belong.  It is just a father, mother and children playing and experiencing.

 

I believe that one snapshot of a moment will live within the children forever.

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

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Skiibunny,

 I totally agree with you. I even posted some parts of that page in the thread about "Unbroken Sky," making sure I wrote "Spoiler Alert" above my message.


skiibunny1213 wrote:

The first two paragraphs on page 303 are not only beautiful, but also in my opinion sum up the underlying message/theme of the entire story.  They are the most in-depth feelings we have gotten from Teodor for the entire book.  I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read the entire book yet so I will not quote it or say anymore - just go re-read it when you are done!!!


 

Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

There are too many passages, lines, and scenes in this novel to choose from. If I have to pick on, I would pick the description of the photograph in the very beginning. It left me needing to find out what happened to this family. I especially liked the last two paragraphs:

 

"Within three years, this farm will be foreclosed. Two years later, one will die. Two others, of whom there is no photograph, will be murdered."

 

"But this day, in the moment right after the shutter clicks shut, this family takes a deep breath and smiles."

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

Favorite lines, passages and scenes? - Spoiler - Winter

I'm like Suzi, so many to quote!  Every line has meaning.  I'll give two areas that touched me.

The first was about Petro, after he took the heart stone from Ivan....

 

"Page 248 - Petro:

Rolls the heart stone between his thumb and forefinger, following the smooth curves.  A thin white quartz vein runs through the center of the rock.  He licks the stone and it shines awake.  The gray glistens brown and pink with undertones of blue.  The white sparkes like glass.  The wet spot evaporates, drying dull and flat.  He tucks the stone beneath his chin and lets it draw upon his heat.  He carries the stone everywhere, tucked in his front trouser pocket.  When he is with his father, his fingers worry against its smoothness.  He has trained himself not to jump when his father calls his name.  He feels his muscles twitch, but it materializes only as a small tic in his left eye that nobody else notices."

 

 

When Petro had taken the stone from Ivan, I wanted him to give it back...but he kept it.  Now I know why.  The analogies are poignant.  This tells me that this is his own heart.  When he "licks" it, it shines...telling me if only his father would touch his own heart in this way, he would shine.  When left "drying" it becomes "dull and flat", ignored....Petro loved his father so much, and his father treated him like the dirt floor he walked on.

 

Page 249 through 252 - Petro witnesses his father's actions.  He's confused, he wants his father, he wants to be loved by him.  He resents his mother. "This is your fault", he screams at her.

 

"Petro slides the stone heart over his own heart.  He breathes in deep, watching it rise and fall.  Now he remembers where he found the stone.  It fell out of his chest the day he was born."

 

He wants to blame the world....This broke my heart.

 

The next section I loved, was the dream sequence of Anna.  Too long to quote.  It's on page 261 through page 265.  Writing becomes distinct and purposeful during these moments of the free thought process, when mixing reality with fantasy.  Bordering on 'fast fiction' writing.  This was complex, but, simply poetry in motion.  Reminds me of the dream sequences in two movies I love, Oklahoma and Carousel.

 

Kathy S.

Wordsmith
babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

One of my favorite parts is when Myron pulls the gun on Stefan.  How proud I was of him.  He definitely stepped up to protect his family and didn't feel the fear until after Stefan left the house.  I tend to forget just how young Myron really is - he is so responsible and hard working.  He looks for his father's approval and respect.  Several times we've read how Myron thinks about how it will be when his father takes him into his confidence.  I keep waiting for Theo to finally show his approval.
"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

So far, my favorite scene happens at Teodor and Maria's house when Teodor instructs the children to clap along with his singing and soon the whole family is dancing along. It showed such a happy time for that family. You could feel everyone's joy radiating off the page. Even though they had some rough times up to that point, the family was still able to let loose and have fun singing and dancing together. I only wish they could stay as happy and carefree as they were in that moment.
April
Correspondent
Stewies_Mom
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎05-28-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Spoken by Ivan, to the rest of the family, as well to himself, "It's Him".
Correspondent
scnole
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎11-15-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

One of my favorite passages is from page 201 " Think of us! Forget your pride, forget being right.  Being right sent you to jail.  Being right forced us to leave everything we knew.  Being right brought us here."

 

 

Inspired Contributor
BooksRPam
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎12-05-2008

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

As I said in an earlier post in the photographs thread, I thought it was very sad when we know that "This will be their only photograph together."

 

In the Fall section, the following sentences made me cry.

 

Page 187:  "He folds the page back up and slides it farther under the pillow.  Of all his children, she is the one he worries about the most.  She wants to be someone else."

 

I don't know who I cried for more, Katya, so disappointed in her life at such an early age, or the futility that Teodor must have felt.

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

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Page 23...

"Teodor sleeps for three days and three nights, unaware that on the first day little Katya gathers wildflowers for him andsets them in a corning jar beside the bed.  Or that on the second night, Ivan crawls in bed with hm and falls asleep nestled against his belly until Maria carries him back to his own bed.  He doesn't see Sofia place a spider on his hand and watch it crawl  up his arm across his chest until it disappears into the bedding.  He doesn't hear Dania, who is pressing his pants with a hot iron, burn her hand.  He doesn't know that Myron stops at the bed and stares down at him each morning on his way to chores before turning his back on him.  Or that his niece, Lesya, and nephew, Petro, touch his toes at Ivan's goading.  Or that Maria's been sleeping in a chair the last two nights because she doesn't want to risk waking him." (Each person individually shows their love and respect for Teodor.)

 

Page 38...

"Teodor wakes at dawn and gets dressed before even Maria has risen.  The room is full of the soft sound of sleep as he shuts the door.  The morning air is cool and dap, but the sky is clear.  a blush of red announces the imminent arrival of the sun.  Already the meadowlarks and sparrows are heralding the coming light.  A hundred, maybe even a thousand songs vying to be heard.  A hymn of thanks for having survived another day.  In the vast land that goes on as far as the eye can see.  Teodor is acutely aware that he is the only one witnessing this moment and he is grateful."  (Soon after his release from prison.  Teodor is taking in the moment.)

 

 

Page 67...(at the harvest feast)

"The two families sat around Anna's table dressed in their best clothes, hair combed, fingernails scrubbed, blooming wolf willow in a Mason jar vase, the delicate procelain pitcher glistening with condensation, and the table laden with glorious food--they could be mistaken for a well-to-do English family.  Anna squeezes Teodor's hand:  This is for you." (Anna is living in her fantasy world dream of the finer things in life.  Anna even shows some compassion for Teodor.)

 

Page 97...(when Dania and Maria go into town to sell some of the produce and Mr. Hardy offers them a very low price.)

"They're not for sale," sayd Dania.  "Mama says we're going to  La Coney.  They pay a good price there."  "That's ten miles away," Hardy sputters, watching his profit preparing to leave.  Lesya  makes a big show of draping her cloth over the radishes.  They had looked in Hardy's front window when they arrived in town.  Jostled between the brooms and advertising signs her Gillette razors was a motley display of limp, dried up carrots, overripe tomatoes, and generally paltry produce.  "She says, You're right.  Ten  miles is too far to go.  We'll go to the hotel, sell directly to the restaurant.  She says to say thank you for the good idea, Mr. Hardy."  And with that Maria makes three dollars and fifty cents for her wares."  (Dania has learned bartering and being self-assured very well from her mother.) 

 

I tried to keep within the assigned chapters so as not give away any spoilers.

 

 

 

Contributor
JeniferKAllison
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

Debbie, this is one of my favorites as well.  Could you just see that sweet little boy looking so deep for the recongizable spark in his fathers eyes?  What beautiful imagery! 

 

Quoting dhaupt

 

My favorite passage is also my favorite scene and it's after Teodor returns from prison and the children are presented to him and when Ivan gets to him page 27: "He stands on tiptoe and squints as he peers into the man's eyes. He looks past the bloodshot white, past the blue and gray flecks, and looks directly into the black center. "It's him." he decrees and throws his arms around his father's neck as he climbs onto his lap and babbles about Petro, and the frog they found, and the cat that died, and the ice storm last year, ..."

It made me cry.

 

Contributor
JeniferKAllison
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

I believe you mean Sofia here, not Katya.  Sofia is the one with the advertisement under her pillow. Katya wakes as "tato" tucks her in and confessing stealing her mothers blanket (which she did not do, btw) and asks if she must go to jail now, too.  It breaks his heart, it broke mine as well.  

 

Quoting BooksRPam:

Page 187:  "He folds the page back up and slides it farther under the pillow.  Of all his children, she is the one he worries about the most.  She wants to be someone else."

 

I don't know who I cried for more, Katya, so disappointed in her life at such an early age, or the futility that Teodor must have felt.

Inspired Contributor
Popper19
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎07-24-2007

Re: Favorite lines, passages and scenes?

I think I held my breath through the whole fire scene - especially when we were with Katya. Pg 124

 

"Slithering toward her, thin golden streaks, curling and uncurling.  A tightening in her lungs remind her that she can't swim.  Her dress hem touches the water and she instinctively lifts it up.  The snakes reach the water and keep coming.  Katya stumbles backward to her waist, her chest.  The snakes float on the surface, their heads arched up, their tails and bodies propelling them forward.  The water ripples behind them.  Katya stops when the water reaches her neck.  The snakes' heads level with hers, she raises her hand and holds up the doughy ball of Christ.  A white paste oozes between her fingers, drips down her arm, and spills into the water.  Jesus dissolving all around her.  The brigade of snakes part and dart past her ears, their tiny wake lapping against her chin." 

 

I thought she was going to drown and I truly felt her terror.  It may not be my "favorite" scene from the book, but it's the one that sticks with me the most.  I truly feel like I'm right there with the characters when I'm reading this book.