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Wordsmith
literature
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

SunItcloud wrote:

The way I understood it, she suffocated the baby first. I'm not sure I got it right, though.

 

Anna is crazed, sees a rabbit with a child's face. She nurses it, tells it that it isn't safe here, that it shouldn't have come. When she pulls the "fur skin" over the top of its head, I assume that it can no longer breathe.

 

I also wonder if there is a connection to Teodor's shedding of the "unfamiliar skin stinking of sweat and fear." (page 333) Does death bring all creatures to the same level? No longer separated by group, by skin, by fur, by clothing? Naked all! 

 

Page 299. Anna and the baby.

 

"How will you survive?" she asks the strange, magical creature. And she knows that something this beautiful cannot survive.

Its tiny fingers knead her breast. Anna pulls the fur skin over the top of its head. The baby squirms and mews.

"Shhh," Anna coos.
"I'll take you home."

___________________________________________________________________

 

I agree with you.  Anna did suffocate the baby.  She didn't believe she killed the baby because she believed the baby died the moment she conceived.  She is taking the baby home, back to her coyotes where she doesn't have to think who she is and what she has done.  She has always felt the coyotes were her friends and that was where she wanted to be.  At one point Anna was wondering how far back she would have to go to be reborn.

 

Wordsmith
literature
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Re: My thoughts:Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Amanda-Louise wrote:

 

Okay - this is a bit late, so much may have been said, but since I'm still in the process of catching up, I'll throw this on here and hope for the best!

 

One thing that really strikes me about Mitchell's voice is it's sense of calm.  No matter what she's writing about, it maintains it's same plodding tone.  I know plodding has negative connotations, but I couldn't think of a more fitting one.  So, one thing that this even tone does is let the reader experience honest feeling - I don't feel manipulated into feeling what is 'appropriate', 'expected' or what the author herself feels.  I'm also not able to see the puppetmaster which is so common in novels (to see) and very distracting.  I'm finding this book quite masterfully written.

 

I did find the letter between the family and the government very hard to follow and very distracting from the story.  I wonder if they are necessary.  How did other like them?  I suppose it's an easy and direct way to get across to the reader exactly what happened.

I'm so in awe by what happened to each family in the tragedy.  One was completely blown apart while one knitted closer.  Why didn't Maria take Anna's kids with her? 

 

I suspect that this story is one that played out many times in many variations during that time.

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Hi Amanda-Louise,

 

In one of my first posts to Shandi I told her I just loved her style of writing.  She says everything just the way she sees it, doesn't mince words.  

 

 

In my mind, I knew there was something else about her writing but I couldn't put my finger on it and it is her calmness in her writing.  She just takes you along, lets you make up your own mind and never manipilates your thoughts.

 

I found the letters between the family and the government to be very clear and direct whereas some of the other parts of the book I had to reread a couple of times.  The government was definitely objective in their view and could not be swayed.  I just love when the land office wrote "Suggest entry is liable to cancellation and neither party should hold claim.".

 

 

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

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


Wisteria-L wrote:

KathyS wrote:

Wisteria-L wrote:

I loved this book on so many levels because it was a story of the lives of people who are not perfect. Life is not perfect, and most family holiday gatherings will show how difficult getting together to socialize in a happy, non-stressed social event can be.

Shandi has written a story of what can happen when the extremes of those minor disagreements fester and continue unresolved.  In this story, who was to blame?  The eventuality was that no one really communicated, or loved each other enough as family to put the family (extended) first. I would have to say, the only one that did this was Maria, to the point as I mentioned before and so did Immortal Spirit, that she covered up for her brother. 

 

I knew from the beginning this was going to be a solemn book that would make us look at family. It was the picture and the description that said....


 

"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."


 

I also knew because as I said before, Shandi used the stark contrast of color a lot. 

Black, White and then red. Red often symbolic of blood. 

 

There was the blood from the mice in the beginning, blood from the rabbits...

If you reread the section about the photograph the only color they mention is white and they are all smiles. So that is the beginning before all the turmoil began. But it ended in a bath of red blood. 

 

The last line of the book is 

"The children sway to its roll, their eyes fixed on the graying house and the prairies unfolding between them. "

 

I think the graying symbolizes a new start, the past is blurred....a combination of the stark black and white of the past. The are looking at the prairies unfolding...opening up creating distance between them. I see a hopeful future for this family where the fighting and evil will be gone from their lives. 

 

Just a different way to look at it. I see hope and bright light in the prairie grasses. 

 

 


 

Wisteria,

 

I love how you've actually analyized color in this story. 

 

For the most part, I'm an emotional reader.  But, I can take all that is said and break it down, picking it to its minutest degree.  But, in saying that [with this novel],  it had so much to say, by just feeling it;  I had to leave some of this discussion alone, just too much emotion for me to inhale. 

 

Colors exude feelings/emotions.  I tried not to get too close to some of those feelings, because they did hurt.  Color to me is like the background music in a movie.  It's generally subliminal, only to motivate the feelings of the audiance.  You're busy hearing (reading) the dialogue, but never notice the theme behind it....these words of color, and sounds of music, are only felt.

 

When you mentioned the last line of the book....using the word, "graying" the author did not use the word "gray"....reminded me of the extensive changing in the color pallete.  

 

In reality, there are only three colors that exist.   Yes, we can achieve the color gray by mixing black and white (although, white is not a color, it's the absence of color), but you can also achieve the color gray by mixing equal parts of the primary colors:  Blue, Red, Yellow. 

 

All of the colors that are mentioned in this story....from the blue of the sky, to the yellows of the grain, to the reds of the fire, or the shedding of the blood....you mix these together, and the music of the past becomes the "graying" on these soon to be distant lives, leaving this gray memory behind them as "The children sway to its roll....."  It fades....to the end...."graying".   And we hope the future will bring back the brightness of the colors, once more.

 

Kathy S.

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-20-2009 01:37 PM

Kathy, Thank you for your response.  I am also a very emotional and sensory reader. I live books through all my senses. It is what drives my reading, I know no other way to read. I am a musician, and I know what you mean about background music. Sometimes for me I have found background music cannot be in the background, because as a musician, I hear the music more than others do. This is not always a good thing.

Being sensitive to color as background and as an emotion can get me into trouble like you said.  Since I cannot read without experiencing all senses that an author evokes. Shandi spoke to me in color. I saw this thread all the way through her novel, and couldn't separate it from the text. It was like a huge symphonic work.  I couldn't get away from it. Without her use of color, I don't see this book as the same story. Well, let me say it has more depth with her use of color. 

 

 

 

I loved when you said this.....


 

"And we hope the future will bring back the brightness of the colors, once more."

 

 


or in my eyes.....at least the white that was present in the photograph in the beginning.

 

White light the symbol of healing and power. 

 


 

Exactly!  I think we're on the same pages. :smileyhappy:  How interesting....I play the piano, what instrument do you play?

 

I, too, believe that white, or light, is the symbol of healing and power.  At least a higher power...and I also believe that light is the symbol of learning, education, knowledge...wisdom.   

I think I'd classify this novel as one of the most sensory novels I've ever read....next to V.W., that is! 

 

I sculpt ceramic bookends for authors, and whatever the design I come up with, I encorporate a small stained glass window in each of them...which is to say, letting light in, expanding our minds through knowledge.  I'd love to make a set for this author, I've already visualized what they will look like.  I'm not always inspired, but this one did get my attention, big time!  But, we'll see.

Wordsmith
literature
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Myron and Maxim...

 

I keep thinking about Myron and the coyote's paw.  "If it isn't alive, then its spirit is still trapped here...He could fling the paw into the underbrush and run, but it wouldn't be enough.  It has to know that it was him, nobody else should be punished..Myron holds the paw up to the wilderness.  An offering.  Bows head and lowers eyes to show submission, crawls through snow, forgive me, forgive me.  Puts paw in the two intertwined populars.  Willing to sacrifice a hand for a hand.  The wind blows, snow falls.  The trees murmur softly "Go.  They say.  Go."

 

 

Maxim...

"A brown birthmark, like a pawprint, marks the top of his right hand."

 

I look at the spot on Maxim's hand as the coyote's way of giving absolution to Myron.  Any thoughts?

 

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emmagrace
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

 kpatton wrote:


 

While reading some of the responses in this thread, I have two questions for the group.

 

Could Lesya's killing of Happiness be metaphorical for her inability to do anything to her mother?  Anna was someone who didn't want either or her children, Happiness wouldn't lay eggs.  Does Lesya know that Anna has tried to kill her unborn child as Happiness breaks the eggs of the other chickens?  The fact that Lesya killed Happiness and then didn't use the chicken for food had to mean something more than just being practical that she had a chicken that didn't lay and was breaking eggs.

 

Second question.  I was surprised and saddened that Maria didn't take Lesya and Petra into her family.  After all of the time the past two years while Teodor was in prison that she cared for them as if they were her own, and now she abandoned them.  Was anyone else surprised about this?


 

Excellent questions friend!

 

I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out why such a sweet child could do something so terrible to the chicken that she loved so much. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

 

I was wondering why Maria did not take the children as well! I was extremely surprised by that!!

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emmagrace
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

literature wrote:


Myron and Maxim...

 

I keep thinking about Myron and the coyote's paw.  "If it isn't alive, then its spirit is still trapped here...He could fling the paw into the underbrush and run, but it wouldn't be enough.  It has to know that it was him, nobody else should be punished..Myron holds the paw up to the wilderness.  An offering.  Bows head and lowers eyes to show submission, crawls through snow, forgive me, forgive me.  Puts paw in the two intertwined populars.  Willing to sacrifice a hand for a hand.  The wind blows, snow falls.  The trees murmur softly "Go.  They say.  Go."

 

 

Maxim...

"A brown birthmark, like a pawprint, marks the top of his right hand."

 

I look at the spot on Maxim's hand as the coyote's way of giving absolution to Myron.  Any thoughts?


 

Thank you! I was wondering the same thing. I thought that it was very interesting that the baby had a birthmark shaped like a brown paw.

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AnnJE
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Our author's description of Anna on page 289:  "What do you want me to say, Anna?"  Teodor asks.  "you made your choice."

It's his dismissal, his righteous condescension, his simple assessment of her life that infuriates Anna.  This man who has never been left, who has never been used like a whore, who has never doubted that someone loved him, who has never had his insides torn apart giving birth to yet another hopeless life.  What was her choice?

She had no choice the moment she was born.  She would marry, she would bear children, she would farm, she would be poor, she would sacrifice her desires for the good of her husband, her family, she would be obedient and selfless.  That was all that was offered.  That was her only choice.  And she tried to choose well:  she chose a life that would take her off the farm and into the city. She chose an officer.  She made the best choice to save herself, and she ended up here.

Heartbreaking - beautifully written.  It goes on to describe Anna as she is.  Such a sad story... 

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janv
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎10-15-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Poor Lesya.  Such a warmhearted girl burdened under so much weight.  Lesya kills Happiness because happiness doesn't exist in her world any longer.  She is a child shouldering responsibilities that many adults could not handle.  Her spirit is worn threadbare.  I think the arrival of the baby flipped a switch in her brain, and she realized that she would always be responsible for her mother and brother, plus this new "intruder" into her childhood - her life.

 

Anna had already tried to kill her baby in the womb.  I wasn't surprised that she killed it after it was born.  I believe that Anna was beyond depression and that her mental health was seriously compromised.  I also got the feeling that, in a sick way, Anna felt she was setting the baby free.  I think part of her truly believed the baby would be better off dead ... free.  Of course, SHE also felt free ... from the burden of another child, especially Stephan's child; free from a responsibility she didn't want.  I also think it gave her a sense of control to make this decision.  She had let Stephan control her life when he was around, and Maria and Theo control it when he was gone.  This was the only time she was ever really in control of anything.  Her behavior after the baby's death only strengthens my belief that she was seriously mentally ill by this point.

 

And then Theo.  I was disappointed by his decision to commit suicide.  And I was surprised.  I knew the prospect of prison was too much for him, but I thought he might pack up his family and try to flee ... or flee alone and plan for his family to meet him sometime in the future.  I also didn't expect him to murder Anna, though I was less surprised by this act.  I can totally understand his feeling of hatred toward Anna, believing she was to blame for the final betrayal.  But again, I thought he would just escape.  I didn't anticipate his complete meltdown, though he had plenty of reasons to drive him to it. Maybe I thought Maria's strength would support him, and that his love for his family would win out over his fears.  I was surprised and a little disappointed at his suicide, but I CAN understand it.  A lesser man would have fallen much sooner.

 

I think that in the future Petro will follow in his father's footsteps.   I feel hopeful for Lesya.  She has endured a lifetime of difficulties in a short number of years, but she is resourceful and wise.  I think Maria will only grow more determined and confident.  She and Myron are both capable of holding down jobs, and maybe Sophia will be forced to grow up emotionally and care for the younger children. 

 

For me, the coyotes were mostly symbolic, representing freedom and independence and strength.  They were almost Anna's alter ego.  They always made me wonder if Anna was thinking "what if I were free like them ... of Stephan, of my deformed daughter, of a son who cherishes his father ... free of the unkind Canadian tundra, free of the poverty ... free to be wild again and unburdened ... free to be just Anna, with the future open wide up ahead" ...

 

The new Spring will be one of beginnings as all Springs are.  When one door closes, another opens ... I believe they will be walking into better times. 

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Tasses
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I anxiously awaited this thread to see wht everyone would say about the ending. This book is what I like to label a "Pancake Book." You walk away flat, burned and ready to lay down upon the floor and weep.

 

There are places for this type of novel, I'm not bashing it,  as they form a portrait of humanity at its base form. Death, despair, anguish are as much an ending as the happy Disneyesque ending.

 

The characters were a hodge-podge of the damaged. Stripped of humanity by the cold and barren land they inhabited. As to individaul characters: Theo = selfish. Lysha = heroine. Anna = mentally ill. Maria = left to clean up the mess, I don't imagine a spectacular ending for her (New Spring or no).

 

Honestly, one of the better First Look selections for this reader. 

See all my reviews at: Reading Rumpus and Many A Quaint & Curious Volume
Wordsmith
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

 

Tasses wrote:

I anxiously awaited this thread to see wht everyone would say about the ending. This book is what I like to label a "Pancake Book." You walk away flat, burned and ready to lay down upon the floor and weep.

 

There are places for this type of novel, I'm not bashing it,  as they form a portrait of humanity at its base form. Death, despair, anguish are as much an ending as the happy Disneyesque ending.

 

The characters were a hodge-podge of the damaged. Stripped of humanity by the cold and barren land they inhabited. As to individaul characters: Theo = selfish. Lysha = heroine. Anna = mentally ill. Maria = left to clean up the mess, I don't imagine a spectacular ending for her (New Spring or no).

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Hi Tasses,

 

I remember finishing the book while eating breakfast one morning and just sitting with my mouth open in astonishment.  I never expected quite that ending.  I happen to enjoy reading about how people survive and the history of the times and this is where I categorize this book.  There is a lot to learn about human nature in such situations and you have to give them credit at how they coped with theirs.  I have some thoughts on Teodor which I am going to put into a new post at lunchtime today.

 

But getting back to your post.  The times were hard, they were immigrants in a new world, had nothing and their world was filled with constant turmoil, but they felt they were better off than living in the Ukrain.  Let's put ourselves in their situation.  How would we fare?  We don't know because we never lived it nor will we. 

 

I look back at my life as a child, growing up in the tenaments of NYC and what we didn't have.  I grew up without air-conditioning or even an electric fan, no tv or phone until later on, only one pair of shoes per child, 6 people sharing one bathroom and hoping the coal truck came so we would have heat.  I remember times when there was no heat and we doubled up in twin beds so we would have the extra body and blanket  for warmth.  But that was the only life I knew so I accepted it.  But we always had food, which we didn't have to grow or kill.

 

If you read SunItcloud's scenario on their life later on, you will know that they all prospered!  That was great, SunItcloud.

 

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kpatton
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring



 

Wisteria,

 

I love how you've actually analyized color in this story. 

 

For the most part, I'm an emotional reader.  But, I can take all that is said and break it down, picking it to its minutest degree.  But, in saying that [with this novel],  it had so much to say, by just feeling it;  I had to leave some of this discussion alone, just too much emotion for me to inhale. 

 

Colors exude feelings/emotions.  I tried not to get too close to some of those feelings, because they did hurt.  Color to me is like the background music in a movie.  It's generally subliminal, only to motivate the feelings of the audiance.  You're busy hearing (reading) the dialogue, but never notice the theme behind it....these words of color, and sounds of music, are only felt.

 

When you mentioned the last line of the book....using the word, "graying" the author did not use the word "gray"....reminded me of the extensive changing in the color pallete.  

 

In reality, there are only three colors that exist.   Yes, we can achieve the color gray by mixing black and white (although, white is not a color, it's the absence of color), but you can also achieve the color gray by mixing equal parts of the primary colors:  Blue, Red, Yellow. 

 

All of the colors that are mentioned in this story....from the blue of the sky, to the yellows of the grain, to the reds of the fire, or the shedding of the blood....you mix these together, and the music of the past becomes the "graying" on these soon to be distant lives, leaving this gray memory behind them as "The children sway to its roll....."  It fades....to the end...."graying".   And we hope the future will bring back the brightness of the colors, once more.

 

Kathy S.

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-20-2009 01:37 PM

Kathy S,

I agree with you in that I am an emotional reader.  I have read most of the posts but not joined in with much of the discussion.  I appreciate reading other's insights and thoughts, but I want to savor this book as a story that I couldn't put down once I started, a story that continues to stay with me long after finishing it, a story whose characters came alive for me, and a story that was a truly amazing story.

Kathy 

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DSaff
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

But, suffocation doesn't explain the crying that Teodore heard. I don't have my book with me, but I thought it mentioned that he heard crying and thought a rabbit was in the second trap.


literature wrote:

SunItcloud wrote:

The way I understood it, she suffocated the baby first. I'm not sure I got it right, though.

 

Anna is crazed, sees a rabbit with a child's face. She nurses it, tells it that it isn't safe here, that it shouldn't have come. When she pulls the "fur skin" over the top of its head, I assume that it can no longer breathe.

 

I also wonder if there is a connection to Teodor's shedding of the "unfamiliar skin stinking of sweat and fear." (page 333) Does death bring all creatures to the same level? No longer separated by group, by skin, by fur, by clothing? Naked all! 

 

Page 299. Anna and the baby.

 

"How will you survive?" she asks the strange, magical creature. And she knows that something this beautiful cannot survive.

Its tiny fingers knead her breast. Anna pulls the fur skin over the top of its head. The baby squirms and mews.

"Shhh," Anna coos.
"I'll take you home."

___________________________________________________________________

 

I agree with you.  Anna did suffocate the baby.  She didn't believe she killed the baby because she believed the baby died the moment she conceived.  She is taking the baby home, back to her coyotes where she doesn't have to think who she is and what she has done.  She has always felt the coyotes were her friends and that was where she wanted to be.  At one point Anna was wondering how far back she would have to go to be reborn.

 


 

 

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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dhaupt
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


DSaff wrote:

But, suffocation doesn't explain the crying that Teodore heard. I don't have my book with me, but I thought it mentioned that he heard crying and thought a rabbit was in the second trap.


literature wrote:

SunItcloud wrote:

The way I understood it, she suffocated the baby first. I'm not sure I got it right, though.

 

Anna is crazed, sees a rabbit with a child's face. She nurses it, tells it that it isn't safe here, that it shouldn't have come. When she pulls the "fur skin" over the top of its head, I assume that it can no longer breathe.

 

I also wonder if there is a connection to Teodor's shedding of the "unfamiliar skin stinking of sweat and fear." (page 333) Does death bring all creatures to the same level? No longer separated by group, by skin, by fur, by clothing? Naked all! 

 

Page 299. Anna and the baby.

 

"How will you survive?" she asks the strange, magical creature. And she knows that something this beautiful cannot survive.

Its tiny fingers knead her breast. Anna pulls the fur skin over the top of its head. The baby squirms and mews.

"Shhh," Anna coos.
"I'll take you home."

___________________________________________________________________

 

I agree with you.  Anna did suffocate the baby.  She didn't believe she killed the baby because she believed the baby died the moment she conceived.  She is taking the baby home, back to her coyotes where she doesn't have to think who she is and what she has done.  She has always felt the coyotes were her friends and that was where she wanted to be.  At one point Anna was wondering how far back she would have to go to be reborn.

 


 

 


Hi Donna and Happy Friday everyone,
I have my book here and he didn't hear any noise on page 305 it says. " Teodor can see a dead rabbit at their feet." he's talking about the coyotes about half way down the page.

 

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BookBobBP
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Being around someone with mental illness Anna was very sick and the crazy things she did to all her children are unnatural but are part of mental illness.  I new she was going to do something horrible to that baby if Maria was not around.  I think if her Drunken husband had stayed away none of that horrible stuff would have happened. 
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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Chain of events: Crying, Teodor and Anna's death

[ Edited ]

On the bottom of page 299, Maria is awake, sitting in her rocking chair... thinking about her family, who are asleep...., she's thinking about how to ration the food to get them through the winter months....

 

Page 301....bottom of the page:  The chair creaks again.  The even sounds of her family's breathing continue undisturbed.  She worries too much.  She has to learn to trust.  Trust that her family will be taken care of.  Trust that this is their home now.  Maria leans forward in the chair. 

 

Top of page 302......She cocks her ear, unsure if she has heard anything.  She closes her eyes.  She listens past eh breath of her house, past the crackling of the fire, through the window's glass.

"Teodor?"  Maria shakes him awak.  "I hear a rabbit crying."

 

She wakes Teodor....he tells her she's imagined it....he doesn't hear anything....but goes to investigate.

Page 305...he discovers Anna's baby.

 

It's after the police come to their house that Teodor makes up his mind that he will kill himself...Page 326...after he kills Anna.

He tells everyone goodbye, in his own way, P.327.

Page 329:  The house is dark, but with his eyes shut he can see every child, every log, the blanket on the wall, the washbasin, shelves laden with preserves....Maria.  They are safe here.  He picks his jacket up from the floor. (the rifle is conceled in his jacket)  Yes, it was premeditated.  He'd made up his mind. 

 

After he shot Anna, the author enters the mind of Anna:  Page 332....If Anna could tell you, she would say that she couldn't sleep because of the wailing storm.  It sounded like a baby crying.  She had the lamp burning because she didn't want to be alone in the dark.  She doesn't know what made her look ourside, maybe the snow hitting the window, like fingers tapping.  She rubbed the ice from the pane and through the wind and snow's frenzied dance she thought she saw her brother......

 

Page 333....The author enters the mind of Teodor:  Teodor would have said that he saw his sister come to the window.  She looked at him and smiled.  Smiled as if none of it mattered.  He pulled the trigger.  He didn't hear it fire.  He didn't hear the children screaming.  He saw red on her white shirt.  He saw the question in her eyes.  Like she didn't know why.  He saw her shudder and crumple.

But, page 333: When Teodor stops running, he is no longer a man.  He has outrun himself. 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-21-2009 09:40 AM
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literature
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Okay, I've been doing some thinking about Maria hearing the baby crying and could the cries have come from Anna's house when she was stroking the baby during feeding?  These house were not air tight by any means and if sound could travel from possibly outside their house then why couldn't it travel from within?  Plus, Maria always had these feelings when something was going to happen and perhaps this just fit into her thinking then.  She had seen an indication that something was going to happen when she saw the two black birds (or am mixing this up with something that happened previously?).   

 

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

But, suffocation doesn't explain the crying that Teodore heard. I don't have my book with me, but I thought it mentioned that he heard crying and thought a rabbit was in the second trap.


literature wrote:

SunItcloud wrote:

The way I understood it, she suffocated the baby first. I'm not sure I got it right, though.

 

Anna is crazed, sees a rabbit with a child's face. She nurses it, tells it that it isn't safe here, that it shouldn't have come. When she pulls the "fur skin" over the top of its head, I assume that it can no longer breathe.

 

I also wonder if there is a connection to Teodor's shedding of the "unfamiliar skin stinking of sweat and fear." (page 333) Does death bring all creatures to the same level? No longer separated by group, by skin, by fur, by clothing? Naked all! 

 

Page 299. Anna and the baby.

 

"How will you survive?" she asks the strange, magical creature. And she knows that something this beautiful cannot survive.

Its tiny fingers knead her breast. Anna pulls the fur skin over the top of its head. The baby squirms and mews.

"Shhh," Anna coos.
"I'll take you home."

___________________________________________________________________

 

I agree with you.  Anna did suffocate the baby.  She didn't believe she killed the baby because she believed the baby died the moment she conceived.  She is taking the baby home, back to her coyotes where she doesn't have to think who she is and what she has done.  She has always felt the coyotes were her friends and that was where she wanted to be.  At one point Anna was wondering how far back she would have to go to be reborn.

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Sunltcloud
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


literature wrote:

Myron and Maxim...

 

I keep thinking about Myron and the coyote's paw.  "If it isn't alive, then its spirit is still trapped here...He could fling the paw into the underbrush and run, but it wouldn't be enough.  It has to know that it was him, nobody else should be punished..Myron holds the paw up to the wilderness.  An offering.  Bows head and lowers eyes to show submission, crawls through snow, forgive me, forgive me.  Puts paw in the two intertwined populars.  Willing to sacrifice a hand for a hand.  The wind blows, snow falls.  The trees murmur softly "Go.  They say.  Go."

 

 

Maxim...

"A brown birthmark, like a pawprint, marks the top of his right hand."

 

I look at the spot on Maxim's hand as the coyote's way of giving absolution to Myron.  Any thoughts?

 


 

Literature,

 

I probably mentioned somewhere else that I rate movies by the number of times I get goose bumps. The more goose bump events, the better the movie. When I read your post about "absolution" a wave of goose bumps went through me. You are so right in my eyes. Absolution! And just thinking about the word makes me want to go a step further. The family needed absolution. The coyotes are an intricate part of the family. They are hunted by father and son; they are trusted by Anna, they are damaged by Myron, they incorporate the dead baby into their world(that's putting it mildly). Maybe Anna's dead baby manifests itself as part of the coyote family, putting a hand/paw on Maxim.

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Sunltcloud
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


literature wrote:

 

Tasses wrote:

I anxiously awaited this thread to see wht everyone would say about the ending. This book is what I like to label a "Pancake Book." You walk away flat, burned and ready to lay down upon the floor and weep.

 

There are places for this type of novel, I'm not bashing it,  as they form a portrait of humanity at its base form. Death, despair, anguish are as much an ending as the happy Disneyesque ending.

 

The characters were a hodge-podge of the damaged. Stripped of humanity by the cold and barren land they inhabited. As to individaul characters: Theo = selfish. Lysha = heroine. Anna = mentally ill. Maria = left to clean up the mess, I don't imagine a spectacular ending for her (New Spring or no).

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Hi Tasses,

 

I remember finishing the book while eating breakfast one morning and just sitting with my mouth open in astonishment.  I never expected quite that ending.  I happen to enjoy reading about how people survive and the history of the times and this is where I categorize this book.  There is a lot to learn about human nature in such situations and you have to give them credit at how they coped with theirs.  I have some thoughts on Teodor which I am going to put into a new post at lunchtime today.

 

But getting back to your post.  The times were hard, they were immigrants in a new world, had nothing and their world was filled with constant turmoil, but they felt they were better off than living in the Ukrain.  Let's put ourselves in their situation.  How would we fare?  We don't know because we never lived it nor will we. 

 

I look back at my life as a child, growing up in the tenaments of NYC and what we didn't have.  I grew up without air-conditioning or even an electric fan, no tv or phone until later on, only one pair of shoes per child, 6 people sharing one bathroom and hoping the coal truck came so we would have heat.  I remember times when there was no heat and we doubled up in twin beds so we would have the extra body and blanket  for warmth.  But that was the only life I knew so I accepted it.  But we always had food, which we didn't have to grow or kill.

 

If you read SunItcloud's scenario on their life later on, you will know that they all prospered!  That was great, SunItcloud.

 


 

I, like others, read a certain way. Some hear the music, some see the colors, some weep, some pick apart sentences, some pace themselves, some read without stopping, some do a little of all of it and more. I would like to be able to read like wisteria; she describes reading with all her senses, but it only happens for me at key points. It's a goose bump thing; I'll know when I have been sucked into a story by the goose bumps - for good and bad events, or even minor sentences that strike me at the time. The ending of this story was a glorious event to me and it reverberated with such strength that I had to stay with the characters for a little while. I just couldn't let them run into the future without knowing a little bit more, even if somebody (Anna's ghost, I think) told me a few lies. I can live with that.
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Fozzie
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

[ Edited ]

In this heartbreaking chapter, we see, first Lesya, then Anna, then Theo break down and kill. Can you talk about what has driven each of them to do it? How is it possible that they are each capable of it? Are they each aware of what they are doing?

 

I could never have predicted the outcome of this story. I was shocked when Lesya killed her chick. When I read that she had killed it on the same day that Anna’s baby “disappeared,” at least I understood the trigger that caused her actions. “You have a job. You have a duty. You don’t get to live for free.” Lesya realized the frailty of life, the way in which she may be considered disposable if Anna decided that Lesya was no longer useful and Lesya took out those feelings on her chick. I found the scene to be scary and sad at the same time.

 

I was not surprised that Anna killed her baby. In essence, she had made attempts on its life while it was in the womb. The description of what Theo sees was outstanding and heartbreaking.

 

I knew that Theodor could no go back to prison. We see that as he paced in the animal stalls. Consequently, I am not surprised that he killed himself rather than go to prison. However, I was shocked that he killed Anna. He blamed her for sending him back to prison, and since he couldn’t bear to go back to prison, maybe he considered killing her an “eye for an eye” type of thing --- she killed him by turning him in and so he would kill her too.

 

Shandi’s superb writing skills are evident in the way she lets the reader know how wrong Theo’s assumption that Anna turned him in is. On page 332, Petro thinks to himself, “He didn’t mean to see the secret in the wall, but Ivan stole his hat.” Of course, then we, the readers, rethink the scene where Petro talks to policemen driving down the road and rework what really happened in our own minds. Too bad that Theo didn’t have the same information we readers were able to deduce.

 

Do you feel you have any sense for the possible outcome of any of the surviving characters? Is there anyone you might make a prediction for?

 

The ending was ultimately uplifting. The remaining family will survive.

Message Edited by Fozzie on 08-21-2009 01:09 PM
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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literature
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

TEODOR:

 

Shandi was setting the stage for Teodor from the very beginning.  All the clues were there.

 

  • Believed in life now, not the promised land
  • Didn't believe in God b/c then he wouldn't have gone to prison and God wouldn't have abondoned him
  • The fire burned a part of him away 

 

  • Staying alive requires remembering what it means to be alive
  • In prison they took away the sky; he was confined in a cell
  • Now he doesn't feel small in the vastness
  • "THIS IS WHERE THEY'LL BURY HIM.  UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY"

 

At the end:

  • "A man should be able to have a drink in his own house."  He knew automatic 1 yr sentence
  • On pg 314 "If he sits long enough he can make himself disappear, empty his mind, no more thoughts."
  • Just sits, becomes a rock, just exists and does not feel
  • When he leaves, he waves a farmer's goodbye just like he did to his father

 

Little by little, life was being chiseled away from him.  I believe he could withstand the obstacles handed him by nature but between Anna killing the baby and then being turned in, he was completely deflated.

 

I don't know what Teodor was thinking when he offered Stephan drink.  He knew that Stephan had no scrupples and he had already managed to turn Anna against her own brother.  I was terribly disappointed in Teordor's final action.  He had no desire to go on any longer.  However, it does take a lot of courage to take your own life.