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Rachel-K
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Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Please be aware that all spoilers are welcome in this thread!

 

If we can post our last chapter threads here, it gives us one more week to talk about the entire novel in this thread without having to worry about spoilers. There is so much to talk about in looking back over the whole of Under This Unbroken Sky--please use these questions as far as they are useful, but also feel free to bring up what moves you most about this novel.

 

What is your impression of the land offices and officers that write the letters discussing Theo and Anna's dispute? What is their interpretation of this story?


In this heartbreaking chapter, we see, first Mysha, 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?


Has your impression or judgment of Theo changed entirely?

 

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?

 

We've talked quite a bit about animals--In what ways have the coyotes been characters in the novel?

 

What is this new Spring like for Maria's family?

 

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


rkubie wrote:


Has your impression or judgment of Theo changed entirely?

 


 


My opinion of Teodor hasn't changed.  I still respect and admire him.  I believe he is a man who has been pushed to the depths of despair and he feels like an utter failure to his family.  At a desparate moment like that, I wouldn't blame anyone for not thinking rationally.  Teodor has been through such hard times and his strength has been astounding...much more than I would ever be capable of handling in even the kindest of conditions.  This man was able to carry only so much burden and he snapped, through no fault of his own. 

 

I would also image he didn't think his death would impact his family, as his failure was so severe in his eyes.  He probably believed they would be better off without him, or he would be only a burden.  His hard work and honesty had been met with nothing but problems and roadblocks.  Each victory was met by heavy blows and he had managed to pick himself up so many times...this time, he just didn't have the strength.  It was a momentary lapse in judgement and a temporary weakness in an otherwise strong man.  I can't fault him for that.  I can only respect him for the many moments he picked himself up...the times he found the strength, and also for the beautiful man he was inside.  This character was a good man and he was a victim of terrible circumstances.

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

Well, I wasn't happy with the ending and could have done without all of the graphic violence, but I will try to make sense of what I am feeling as I answer these questions.

 

First, I will say that I still love Teodore. What he did was wrong on so many levels. The man was broken, probably more broken than any of us thought at first. Prison had changed him and I think he worked at getting his life back, but....  He couldn't get past his sister giving her baby to the wolves, and he couldn't get past thinking she was sending him back to jail. For what? A tiny bit of home-made brew that was for him to enjoy. Who knows what he would have done if he knew it was Petro? I don't think he would have killed him though. Something broke in him when he saw how easily his sister could kill her baby. I thought he was going to kill her right then, and he might have if the kids weren't there. Sadly, his family suffers the consequences. Lesya and Petro are sent to different places to live, and his children lost their father. Maria was tasked with bringing a new baby into the world and with taking her family to a new place to begin again. Pride can be both good and bad and I think we see both in Teodore and Maria.

 

The land dispute was interesting. It seemed like they were letting both parties know what was going on so that some resolution could happen. Something told me they didn't trust Stefan and that they hoped that blood ties would solve the dispute. Another wrong move!

 

I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I can't fathom how Anna could do what she did to her daughter. Yes, I know she was abused. She didn't want the baby. She felt a connection to the wolves that Stefan endangered. But, this precious baby. No excuse. I think it was murder and felt Teodore's rage with him. Amazing that Anna must have felt something after because while she kept saying that the baby had died before she was born (metaphorically), she wouldn't clean the box the baby had slept in. This part of the book made me cry and made me angry. 

 

I honestly felt no hope for Maria and her children as they left. She had no one to help her. Yes, she is a strong woman and probably made it with the help of her children, but without any real claim to land or family, what could she do? The only hope is the seed and the dirt that are taken along as they leave.

 

 

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
Posts: 11,832
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

[ Edited ]

Well I can say that the ending was totally surprising to me. Now to discuss it.

 

My impression of the letters between all the parties during the land squabble that in the end I still don't know how it would have turned out, but by the letters I think they tended to believe Teodor over Anna/Stefan. In the end though by the law Teodor wasn't allowed to own land as a ex-con, so I don't know.

 

The killing of Happiness showed me more of Leysa's strength, she loves this bird takes care of it and it betrays her by not only not doing it's job of laying eggs, but also by taking food out of the very mouths that feed it by breaking the other hen's eggs. So even though she loved the bird she knew that her duty was to her self and her family and Happiness had to go.

 

Anna's murder of her baby really horrified me, even though I wasn't surprised by her action, what did surprise me was how she acted after, by cleaning herself and the house and everything. I wondered was she finally cleaning Stefan out of her life, but she still had his other children, so would they have been safe if she would have lived? And where did her insanity go, it seems she was the most lucid after the murder of the baby. But we also know from the past that Stefan would have probably made another appearance after his meager funds disappeared and he had no where else to go but home with his tail between his legs.

 

Teodor's killing of Anna was truly the most surprising events of the whole novel. I knew he would kill himself when he found out about the prison sentence he was facing because of his total loss of self from the first time, and by the way he said goodbye to his family that night. And I know he blamed Anna for that, but killing her, I just don't know what to think about it. I don't think it was premeditated, but I just don't know.

 

Did my opinion of him change, yes. I know he was a shell of his former self and if he had only ended his life I would still have thought him a hero of this story, but by taking some one else with him, that was unthinkable even if it was not planned. Yes it was the action of a desperate man, but a man who still could think on his own and knew the consequences would be devastating to everyone involved.

 

In the future I think Leysa and Maria and all of her children will come out of this. Leysa because she just does what ever is needed to go on. Maria and her family because she wouldn't have it any other way. I see Myron following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and becoming a farmer. And the girls all becoming good wives and mothers, yes even our dreamer Sophia. Little Ivan will follow his brother and Maria will care for them all into her old age and wonder if it could have been different, "Under this Unbroken Sky".

The New spring will bring a new future for Maria and her brood, a future that may look grim, but with determination and fortitude she'll conquer as well, just not here and just not completely whole. Petro I'm not sure about, he is becoming his father's son and I worry about him. I hope that his guardian will raise him right and he will grow up to be a good man, but I worry about that.

 

The coyotes have been characters in survival during the worst of times, showing some of our human characters the strength of will and showing others that there is hope even in the face of dire diversity.

 

The novel as a whole reminds me to a larger scale of Romeo and Juliet, not in the content but the fact that timing is everything. What if, Ivan hadn't said that Petro stole his hat, what if Teodor would have taken the moonshine to the party, what if Petro hadn't told the police where to find the stash, what if Anna hadn't threatened Teodor after he found the baby. What if what if what if.

It was such a tragically touching encounter with life as most of us will never know, to be strangers in our own home, to not know the language, to be considered outsiders to the point of humiliation, to withstand the hardships of time and the force of nature. 

Message Edited by dhaupt on 08-17-2009 10:15 AM
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booksJT
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I think the land offices and officers were not privy to what was really going on. It was a matter of who said what. I think they had a hard time determining who was telling the truth. They tried to by time hoping the families would settle the matter among themselves. Anna was so desperate to make her husband happy she turned her brother into the cops. I guess they thought he would leave on his own.

 

I don't understand what drove Anna to kill her own child because parents are supposed to protect their own. I think her excuse was that the child would not have survived anyway so she gave her to the wolves. Someone who was unstable as Anna needed to be locked up.

 

Theo was broken and fighting to protect all that he had worked far. I think the idea of him returning to prison is what set him off. He couldn't understand why his sister would betray him for her husband. Theo retaliated by killing her and himself. He must have thought she deserved to die for killing her own child and betraying him. Why he took his own life is not mystery once he killed his sister he had no other recourse. He knew going back to jail would hurt his family. But his death left them to defend for themselves anyway.

 

I think the outcome of the surviving characters will be good. Maria will move on with her kids. Anna's children will grow up to be respected adults. This is more than they would have had if Anna had survived.  

My impression of Theo hasn't changed. I respect and admire him because he was always trying to do right by his family and sister.

 

I think the surviving characters will find their way in life. The kids will become pillars of society.  Maria and her family will find new land and prosper in the future.

 

I think the coyotes respected the wild and untamed part of the country. They were to let them know to be careful at all times.

 

The new Spring for Maria and her family is a chance to start over. With the seed they took with them they would be planting new crops and a new future.

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


DSaff wrote:

 

I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I can't fathom how Anna could do what she did to her daughter. Yes, I know she was abused. She didn't want the baby. She felt a connection to the wolves that Stefan endangered. But, this precious baby. No excuse. I think it was murder and felt Teodore's rage with him. Amazing that Anna must have felt something after because while she kept saying that the baby had died before she was born (metaphorically), she wouldn't clean the box the baby had slept in. This part of the book made me cry and made me angry. 

 

 


I totally agree with you.  Well said.

Pam
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nfam
Posts: 231
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

What a tremendously sad ending. I felt no hope for everyone. Maria was a wonderful character, but she lost everything. She and the children were heading out with no friends, no money, nothing into a very unfriendly environment. 

 

As for Teodor, I think he was an extremely prideful man who gave no thought to his family. All his emotion seemed to be tied up with his sister. What a strange pair they were. She was crazy enough to leave a perfectly healthy baby for the coyotes to devour. I must say, it rather turned my stomach. Teodor didn't think about his family. His pride was injured. He said it, the land was his identity, without it he felt he was nothing. As far as I could tell, throughout the book, he hardly ever thought about the children. Myron was begging for a chance to talk to his father, as a man. Maria wanted a husband to love her, but Teodor constantly did things to put them at risk. The liquor still bothers me. He knew the penalty and he was willing to take a chance with everyone's lives just to have a drink in his own home.

 

The description in the book was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the prairies, but the characters were rather ugly. Even the good characters like Maria and Lesya had a down side. I was shocked that Lesya killed Happiness and didn't even eat the hen. It was a savage, wasteful act. I grew up on a farm. We often ended up eating or selling our pets, but not savagely killing them and throwing them away. 

 

This was an immeasurably sad story. I'm still not sure I enjoyed it.  

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momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

The ending of the novel overturned my emotions. It made me think hard about my own sense of morality, made me question what I would do in such a desperate situation.

 

I was absolutely horrified when Anna left the baby out for the wolves. This part of the novel made me outraged and so sad. It was obvious that she wasn't so mentally unstable to believe that she had done the right thing; otherwise, she would not have lied to Teo that the baby was already dead. Sickening.

 

Although I don't condone what Teo did to his sister, I can understand why. She was so far gone, a shell--her continued existence would just mean more sorrow for Lyesa and Petro with recurring problems when Stefan would decide to return.

 

My opinion of Teo did change. In an act of desperation, we saw how broken he really was as he seemed to avenge his family by killing Anna and at the same time leaving his pregnant wife and children to fend for themselves. To me, this is cowardly. His actions do not affect him alone but his entire family. His pride allowed him to keep the brew, and he should have lived with the consequences of his actions.

 

I think the family will get by because they have done it once before, and now they are older and wiser. I feel for Lyesa and Petro and hope that everything works out better for them now that their parents (who just brought them down) are no longer in the picture. Although, this is very, very difficult for young children to understand or cope with. I especially hope for Lyesa, who is a fighter and wise beyond her years.

 

I must say that Ms. Mitchell's novel evoked many emotions. Her work is so well done that I was really caring for (and hating) her characters.

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Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

WOW! 

 

I was shocked at the ending. When Teodor killed Anna, that was a surprise. I was not expecting that at all. After realizing that what almost broke him was not seeing the sky and having to go back to prison, he just snapped. And Anna "giving" her baby to the coyotes was just horrible.

 

I was saddened that the family had to leave their house and would love to know what happened to them. I was hoping that Maria would take Petro and Lyesa.

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

I agree about the sadness. When Lesya killed Happiness, I went into shock. But, here was the anger this young girl had kept inside for so long. I think she was angry at her foot (should have been able to help her mother), mad at her father for leaving them with nothing, mad at her mother for not being present, mad at herself for not "being enough," mad at everyone. She exploded on the poor chicken, a chicken she had played with for so long. Yes, she made it look like it was about the broken eggs, but Lesya had lost so much in her life and this was her breaking point. At least she should have prepared the meat for them to eat. Her waste goes with what she accused her chicken of. So sad!!

 

I have had a hard time picking up other books since finishing this one. It left me so sad and angry that nothing seemed to fit. But, I just finished Natural Born Charmer and am starting The Help. whew!


nfam wrote:

What a tremendously sad ending. I felt no hope for everyone. Maria was a wonderful character, but she lost everything. She and the children were heading out with no friends, no money, nothing into a very unfriendly environment. 

 

As for Teodor, I think he was an extremely prideful man who gave no thought to his family. All his emotion seemed to be tied up with his sister. What a strange pair they were. She was crazy enough to leave a perfectly healthy baby for the coyotes to devour. I must say, it rather turned my stomach. Teodor didn't think about his family. His pride was injured. He said it, the land was his identity, without it he felt he was nothing. As far as I could tell, throughout the book, he hardly ever thought about the children. Myron was begging for a chance to talk to his father, as a man. Maria wanted a husband to love her, but Teodor constantly did things to put them at risk. The liquor still bothers me. He knew the penalty and he was willing to take a chance with everyone's lives just to have a drink in his own home.

 

The description in the book was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the prairies, but the characters were rather ugly. Even the good characters like Maria and Lesya had a down side. I was shocked that Lesya killed Happiness and didn't even eat the hen. It was a savage, wasteful act. I grew up on a farm. We often ended up eating or selling our pets, but not savagely killing them and throwing them away. 

 

This was an immeasurably sad story. I'm still not sure I enjoyed it.  


 

 

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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fordmg
Posts: 546
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


nfam wrote:

What a tremendously sad ending. I felt no hope for everyone. Maria was a wonderful character, but she lost everything. She and the children were heading out with no friends, no money, nothing into a very unfriendly environment. 

 

As for Teodor, I think he was an extremely prideful man who gave no thought to his family. All his emotion seemed to be tied up with his sister. What a strange pair they were. She was crazy enough to leave a perfectly healthy baby for the coyotes to devour. I must say, it rather turned my stomach. Teodor didn't think about his family. His pride was injured. He said it, the land was his identity, without it he felt he was nothing. As far as I could tell, throughout the book, he hardly ever thought about the children. Myron was begging for a chance to talk to his father, as a man. Maria wanted a husband to love her, but Teodor constantly did things to put them at risk. The liquor still bothers me. He knew the penalty and he was willing to take a chance with everyone's lives just to have a drink in his own home.

 

The description in the book was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the prairies, but the characters were rather ugly. Even the good characters like Maria and Lesya had a down side. I was shocked that Lesya killed Happiness and didn't even eat the hen. It was a savage, wasteful act. I grew up on a farm. We often ended up eating or selling our pets, but not savagely killing them and throwing them away. 

 

This was an immeasurably sad story. I'm still not sure I enjoyed it.  


 

I don't really agree about Teodor.  He was a lost sole, and so was his family.  After he would have gone to prison for a year, his family would be gone.  They wouldn't have been allowed to stay on the land, they would be sent away anyway.   I agree that Anna was mentally ill.  She was totally out of touch with reality.  Teodor's committing suicide only worked because he killed Anna first.   If he had not done that, there is no telling what would have happened to the other children.   After he killed Anna, then he would be put away for life, so his own family was better without him.   Maria must have suspected, because she went after the bag of grain.   Myron will be trying to run a farm with his mother and sisters.   This truly is a sad story.  No one wins or gets ahead in this one.

MG

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Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


booksJT wrote:

I think the land offices and officers were not privy to what was really going on. It was a matter of who said what. I think they had a hard time determining who was telling the truth. They tried to by time hoping the families would settle the matter among themselves. Anna was so desperate to make her husband happy she turned her brother into the cops. I guess they thought he would leave on his own.

 

I don't understand what drove Anna to kill her own child because parents are supposed to protect their own. I think her excuse was that the child would not have survived anyway so she gave her to the wolves. Someone who was unstable as Anna needed to be locked up.

 

Theo was broken and fighting to protect all that he had worked far. I think the idea of him returning to prison is what set him off. He couldn't understand why his sister would betray him for her husband. Theo retaliated by killing her and himself. He must have thought she deserved to die for killing her own child and betraying him. Why he took his own life is not mystery once he killed his sister he had no other recourse. He knew going back to jail would hurt his family. But his death left them to defend for themselves anyway.

 

I think the outcome of the surviving characters will be good. Maria will move on with her kids. Anna's children will grow up to be respected adults. This is more than they would have had if Anna had survived.  

My impression of Theo hasn't changed. I respect and admire him because he was always trying to do right by his family and sister.

 

I think the surviving characters will find their way in life. The kids will become pillars of society.  Maria and her family will find new land and prosper in the future.

 

I think the coyotes respected the wild and untamed part of the country. They were to let them know to be careful at all times.

 

The new Spring for Maria and her family is a chance to start over. With the seed they took with them they would be planting new crops and a new future.


I don't think Anna's children will fare well in the future.  Petro is already turning into his father.  And Lyesa is just too "damaged" at this point. It's hard to imagine that they will turn out OK. 

 

Maria and the children will survive. Their shame is already putting a stain on the family when Maria writes in the bible that Teodor died of the flu. Myron has had to grow up way too fast already, but knowing his father was coming back. Now, this time it's different.  He is truly the man of the house and will have to help raise his brothers and sisters. 

 

All around, I think the surviving family members are scarred in ways that will come out in one way or another. 

 

Stefan was right in one thing. Leaving was the best thing he could ever do. 

 

 

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

I was hoping for a happier ending. I ended up being depressed and anxious. I guess that is a result of good writing :smileyhappy:

 

The outcome of Theo is heartbreaking. His spirit wasn't broken in prison even though they tried. It ended up being his own sister that broke him completely. Anna chose her good for nothing husband over Theo trying to please Stefan, and to see the baby being torn up by the coyotes...I couldn't even imagine. 

 

Anna was just nuts. I can't see how anyone could do that to their baby. She didn't care for anyone.

 

I think that Lesya killed her hen because she felt that was going to happen to her. She lived in fear and was unloved by everyone that she had contact with. Theo and Maria loved her but she wasn't allowed to be with them. 

 

What do I think is going to happen to the survivors?

I think that Petro is going to be just like Stefan. He wanted to be just like him. Lesya might have a better life, hopefully she will be safe at the church. 

 

Maria and the children will survive. All of the children have had to grow up way too fast. Myron is a young man even at 14. He knows how to take care of a place. They will find someway to make it. 

 

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

You can add my name to the list of those who thought the end was sad and surprising. I honestly didn't see the murder/suicide coming. I did have a hunch that Anna was going to do something to the new baby but not that. She had been trying to end the pregnancy from the beginning. I figured she must really have been demented. But then she seemed sane enough to call out to Teodor about the land. She was a very comples character.

 

Teodor's suicide seemed in character but not the murder of Anna. He has had a soft spot in his hear for her and her children up until she started signing those letters. I can see that the idea of going back  to prison would be the breaking point for Teodor. At that point he seemed to truly belief his family would be okay without him. For example, he thought about how Myron had the hands of a farmer and would continue on in his tradition. I certainly don't condone what Teodor did but I do understand the suicide.

 

I have also had a hard time reading anything else after completing this book. I thought maybe a fluffy romance - didn't work. I tried an historical novel - didn't work. I grabbed a non-fiction, a cookbook. That worked for several hours. I'm going to take one whole day off from reading any more fiction. That's very unusual for me but this book was very thought provoking, not to mention emotional. I need a break.

 

Margot



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Margot
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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

My heart is broken for these characters! There are so many thing to talk about in this novel and I do not know where to start!

 

I really appreciated the explanation of the photograph at the end of this novel. It was a nice finish. The photo in the beginning is what hooked me and the explanation was what I needed in the end!

 

I am a little disappointed in Theo. I had the impression that he was so much stronger than suicide. Did he think that he was doing the right thing for his family? I don't get it! I still really like his character however. I guess that everyone, no matter how strong, has their breaking point. I guess Theo had enough. I knew from the beginning that he would not go back to prison even if it was only for a year.

 

I am also disappointed in Petro. After all his aunt and uncle did for his family! I guess he blamed Theo for his father leaving and that is why he turned him in. He was confused and remembering his father as the one that cared for him when it was actually Theo.

 

I would like to make a prediction for Maria and her children. I believe that they will make a home somewhere new and they will be okay as long as they stay together. I think that Lesya will be okay. She has such a brave little soul. 

 

I thought it was interesting that baby Maxim had a brown paw shaped birthmark on his right hand. Significant to the coyote's paw that was severed by the rabbit snare? Pretty cool.

 

I am interested to hear everyone's thoughts on these last chapters!

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I have been viewing this book as a classic tragedy from the first page on.  The story races to what seems to be a foregone conclusion that death will occur.  The nature of the deaths, the heartwrenching situations that each character finds himself or herself in, and their beliefs that no other option is possible makes us, the readers, tremble with anger, sadness and frustration.  Why couldn't it have been different?  Why couldn't Teodor have the courage to face one more year?  Why didn't Anna die during childbirth, leaving a healthy baby and possibly a while different outcome to the story?

 

But no, that is not their story.  It may be the one we wish we were reading, but it is not the story that Shandi presents to us.  Instead she spends 343 brilliant pages slowly building the case for the inevitability of the tragedy that we witness.

 

Of the 4 deaths, it is Leyna's killing of Happiness that upsets me the most.  She is a child who has been abused her entire life, finally finding a kindred spirit in a chicken also with a damaged foot, but a strong sense of survival.  Her reaction to the betrayal of the chicken that pecks into the eggs and destroys their food, is a passage from childhood and innocence to maturity and pessimism.  She will never regain her happiness, and will live the rest of her life in subservience to others, feeling a sense inadequacy and pain that extends beyond her crippled foot. 

 

Anna's baby literally never had a chance.  Conceived by rape, hated by her mother who did everything to destroy it before the birth, and ultimately killed (or sacrificed?) by that same mother who saw death as a better option than life.  And based on Anna's life, we can understand her viewpoint even while we don't condone her action.

 

Teodor, like Leyna, sees betrayal as sufficient cause for death.  He believes Anna has turned him into the police,  and when he combines that with his on-going anger at her for signing Stefan's letters, and her weakness at taking him back, he feels she has stolen from him the only thing he had a chance for - his land, the right to work it and provide for his family.  And for this, she must die.  Again, we can understand his viewpoint - as we have seen all along that he is a proud and righteous man - and that this will be his undoing. 

 

The other great tragedy is the way Petro has become his father - finding pleasure in the power demonstrated by his father in hitting women, and ultimately betraying his uncle by turning him into the police and setting off the final chain of events.  He will continue to justify his actions as Stefan did - recreating the memories until he believes he was only doing what was necessary, while building castles in the air of possibilities.  And I fear that unless something dramatic happens during his time with Josyp Petrenko that he will be the bad seed.

 

While this was not a happy story, it was beautifully written and will probably become a classic.  I thought Shandi might have named it Under This Unforgiving Sky.  The only constant in this story is nature, including the coyotes.  Nature has no hidden agenda, no promises, no loyalties, no greed - it simply is -- with all its power, beauty, darkness and disregard for the petty ambitions of humans. 

 

I am glad we are left with the hope for a new future for the survivors.  Maria will lead her children to safety and prosperity in a new place.

Jane M.
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ethel55
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

[ Edited ]

With all the death at the end, I don't know if I thought it just that Stefan got to just run off...

 

We had been seeing cracks in Anna's mind since the beginning of the story, her affinity for the wolves was worrying, but I sure didn't see that coming.

 

I think with Myron's help, the family will be able to resettle and perhaps farm again.

 

 

Message Edited by ethel55 on 08-17-2009 06:04 PM
Correspondent
scnole
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎11-15-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Just think of all Leysa - a 10 year old child - had to endure.    She was responsible for her family - cooking the meals - and was the one who helped deliver the baby.    I can't imagine any 10 year old child having to go through all she did.     She was angry with Happiness and killed her -  but she couldn't bring herself to cook or eat the chicken.    I felt so sorry for her.   She was the victim in that family.   

 


DSaff wrote:

I agree about the sadness. When Lesya killed Happiness, I went into shock. But, here was the anger this young girl had kept inside for so long. I think she was angry at her foot (should have been able to help her mother), mad at her father for leaving them with nothing, mad at her mother for not being present, mad at herself for not "being enough," mad at everyone. She exploded on the poor chicken, a chicken she had played with for so long. Yes, she made it look like it was about the broken eggs, but Lesya had lost so much in her life and this was her breaking point. At least she should have prepared the meat for them to eat. Her waste goes with what she accused her chicken of. So sad!!

 

I have had a hard time picking up other books since finishing this one. It left me so sad and angry that nothing seemed to fit. But, I just finished Natural Born Charmer and am starting The Help. whew!


nfam wrote:

What a tremendously sad ending. I felt no hope for everyone. Maria was a wonderful character, but she lost everything. She and the children were heading out with no friends, no money, nothing into a very unfriendly environment. 

 

As for Teodor, I think he was an extremely prideful man who gave no thought to his family. All his emotion seemed to be tied up with his sister. What a strange pair they were. She was crazy enough to leave a perfectly healthy baby for the coyotes to devour. I must say, it rather turned my stomach. Teodor didn't think about his family. His pride was injured. He said it, the land was his identity, without it he felt he was nothing. As far as I could tell, throughout the book, he hardly ever thought about the children. Myron was begging for a chance to talk to his father, as a man. Maria wanted a husband to love her, but Teodor constantly did things to put them at risk. The liquor still bothers me. He knew the penalty and he was willing to take a chance with everyone's lives just to have a drink in his own home.

 

The description in the book was interesting. I enjoyed reading about the prairies, but the characters were rather ugly. Even the good characters like Maria and Lesya had a down side. I was shocked that Lesya killed Happiness and didn't even eat the hen. It was a savage, wasteful act. I grew up on a farm. We often ended up eating or selling our pets, but not savagely killing them and throwing them away. 

 

This was an immeasurably sad story. I'm still not sure I enjoyed it.  


 

 


 

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

What an emotional roller-coaster! This novel sure kept me on my toes, but I loved every minute of it!

In my opinion Lesya, Anna and Teodor all killed because they felt they had no control over their lives. After helping her mother give birth to the new baby, Lesya's bad leg was shaking. She went out to the chicken coop and tried holding her hand over her leg, but when she let go, it would start shaking again. When she saw what Happiness had done by breaking the only two eggs in the nests, she snapped. Killing the bird was the only thing she had control over in that moment. The same goes for Anna. Stefan had impregnated her with a child she did not want and then leaves her again. After the baby is born, I felt that Anna thought she was actively taking control of the situation she was dealt by feeding her baby to the wolves. Teodor was enraged when he saw the wolves with Anna's baby. He confronted Anna, who didn't seem to have any remorse. (I'm surprised he didn't kill her right there.) When he hears he's going back to jail because he thinks Anna turned him in, he takes the situation under his control and shoots Anna and then himself. I don't agree that what any of these characters did was right. I think they justified their actions by thinking they were making a choice of what was happening in their lives instead of letting fate decide for them.

By the end of the novel, my feelings had really changed about Anna and Teodor. In the beginning I felt sorry for Anna for being abused by Stefan and let the fact that she was neglecting her children slide because of what she had been through. After she fed her own baby to the wolves (and the baby was still alive!) I was so angry at her I didn't feel all that bad when she died. I did feel bad for Lesya and Petro though, because their father up and left (thank heavens!), they had to witness the death of their mother and be separated from all they knew. Poor kids, I wish life would have turned out differently for them. As for Teodor, I was so impressed with him in the beginning of the novel. The way he came back from jail and worked so hard to get the farm up and running showed me how much he loved his family and wanted to provide for them. When he killed Anna and then himself, I was heartbroken. He wasn't the man I thought he was.  Killing himself and his sister solved nothing in the end. It only hurt the people who loved him the most.

April
Correspondent
meme1
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎12-17-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I'm not ready to analyze my answers to the questions except for what will happen to the characters.  Maria and her children will survive.  They have worked together before to provide and will again.  The only one who will be on the edge will be Sofia.  ~  Is Stefan gone for good?  Petro is too much like his father already;  he has accepted him as a role model so I don't see anything good for him whether Stefan comes back or stays away.  Lesya  is vulnerable.  She is not in a good situation; the only reason she was taken in was the gift that Maria provided.  If Stefan returns, her life will only be worse.

 

I felt that there were some loose ends - Stefan's return?  what happens to the land?  Or did I miss some details?



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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

meme

~~ Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

~~ Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain