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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Even though I knew Stefan would be back , it is still so depressing that he is there ruining everyone's life. He is such a hateful character that I'm stressed just reading the passages where he is present. I feel so bad for Anna as she unable to say no to him. Even Teodor wants to believe he is a friend as he offers him whiskey knowing full well that that means trouble for all. This section of the book also shows that Petro is becoming mean like his father. The only way for all of them to be happy again is for Teodor to die. Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Sorry, at the end of my last post I said Teodor should die. But of course I meant Stefan. Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

On page 151 Anna is thinking of her son, Petro, "He is so light. His arms so thin. Anna looks down on her son, not sure if she should touch him. It's so much easier with the coyotes. They ask nothing of her." It is so sad that Anna is so weak she doesn't have the strength to be a mother. It is too much work for her to think like a mother and then those thoughts would link her to Stefan and that is too much to bear. I feel so bad for the children. This book is heartwrenching. Yvonne
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ladybug74
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

I imagine the Autumn season in any rural area is beautiful, as it is here in the Southern U.S. I can imagine the trees, the open fields, etc. If it wasn't for my allgergies, I could really enjoy the country life!

 

Theo and Maria's family is a very close family. They are all determined to survive as a family unit, despite all that their family has been through. Through Theo's imprisonment, the fire, the dust storm, and everything else that has happened to them, they have stuck together and made it through.  Even the young children work hard to help their family in any way that they can, which is impressive! It's difficult to imagine how tired Theo and Maria must be at the end of the day because they both work so hard to make ends meet and bring their family through these tragic circumstances. Through it all, there is such a strong sense of family and togetherness with them.

 

When comparing Theo's home and Stefan's home, I would defintiely prefer to be a member of Theo's immediate family or to live in his home. Stefan is lazy and rules his home like a dictator. I feel so horrible for his children, who have to struggle to do things that their parents should be doing. They have been a part of Theo's family when Stefan was away and have felt that love and togetherness, only to have it ripped away when their father returned home. I cannot imagine how depressing that must be. Theo expects his family members to work hard, but they do this as a family and look out for each other. His children seem to know that they are loved and that they can depend on thier parents and siblings. I found myself wishing that Theo and Maria would take away Stefan's children as I read this section of the book.

 

Anna and Stefan's family life is very dysfuncitonal. Both of them lay around and let their children try to do work that should be done by the adults in the household. In the very least, their parents should be helping them with these difficult chores, as Theo and Maria do with their children. Anna was severely depressed in the beginning of the book, but she had seemed to do much better when Maria encouraged her to be a part of her family and work along with them. All of this ended when Stefan came home, though. It's hard to believe she is laying around in bed with him when she hated him so badly earlier in the book. If this were to happen today in the U.S., their children would be taken away and Maria would probably be referred to counseling.

 

I do think Theo is proud, but not dangerously so. He did what he had to do to help his family survive. Nothing that he has done was any worse than Maria's meeting with the jailer earlier in the book when she basically traded herself for some grain for her family. Times were hard for this family and both of the adults did what they thought they had to do for their family. I admire the strength of both of the adults in this family, as well as all of the children in this book.

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nicole21WA
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

You know, both families seemed to be getting along pretty well without the husbands.  I see both women becoming weaker with the return of the men.  Maria isn't standing up for herself to her husband the way she did to the man she was selling goods to.  She wasn't willing to take his initial price, so why does she just go along with whatever Teodor wants?  It's frustrating for me.  Then there's Anna, who has completely lost any sense of herself with Stefan back in the picture.  That family is going through far too much food and money.  I know Anna needs to eat since she's pregnant and wasn't caring for the fetus the way she should've in the beginning, but these people need to seriously cut back or they are going to be out of food.  I foresee Stefan creating huge problems for Teodor as this land deal continues.

 

I haven't read ahead, so this is speculation not spoiler.  I predict that Stefan will kill Anna and Teodor will kill Stefan in revenge.  Then Teodor will kill himself rather than go back to prison.

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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Middle Chapters: Fall


lmpmn wrote:

Can someone help me with this question?

 

Teodor went over to Anna's to give her the $10.00, right?  Stefan went outside so they could speak privately, and Ivan and Lesya witnessed what happened.  Later, Anna told Stefan that Teodor gave the money directly to the land office.  I'm assuming she lied to him and hid the money, but I don't remember anything mentioned again about what happened to the money for sure.  What do you all think?  Did Anna squirrel it away somewhere or did she tell the truth about Teodor giving it to the land office?


 

Teodor showed Anna the $10 and had her sign the note.  Then he took the money and paid it directly to the land agent.  That is why he was out in the snow storm.  He had to pay the money before Stefan came and tried to take it away from him.   So Anna didn't have the money directly.  If she did, Stefan would have taken it and the land would not be paid for at all.

MG

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ladybug74
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall


Fozzie wrote:

lmpmn wrote:

Can someone help me with this question?

 

Teodor went over to Anna's to give her the $10.00, right?  Stefan went outside so they could speak privately, and Ivan and Lesya witnessed what happened.  Later, Anna told Stefan that Teodor gave the money directly to the land office.  I'm assuming she lied to him and hid the money, but I don't remember anything mentioned again about what happened to the money for sure.  What do you all think?  Did Anna squirrel it away somewhere or did she tell the truth about Teodor giving it to the land office?


 

I assume that Anna hid the money.  I don't know how she could have gotten the money to the land office by herself.

I think it said that Teodor paid the money directly to the land office. He was very careful about how he did this so Stefan could not interfere.

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ladybug74
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall


Claire-Wachtel wrote:

Sheltiemama wrote:

The more I read, the more I was struck by the animal symbolism, too.


Sheltiemama, I also was struck by the animals in Shandi's writing. They almost become characters in their own right - - from Petro and Ivan's barn cat in the opening scenes, to Lesya's little chick, to Anna's coyotes, to Myron's rabbits. The Mykolayenko family members interact with the animals around them in such complex and fascinating ways. Some of the animals provide a means of survival (food, saleable goods); others, though part of the wild frontier, are nonetheless more than simple backdrop and seem to play a more menacing role.

 

How do you feel about Shandi's descriptions of animals? Are other people picking up on any animal symbolism in Shandi's writing?

 

And did you notice the tiny coyote on the book cover?


I felt a connection with Lesya when she saved the chick with the deformed foot. That chick was strong and determined just like Lesya and it had a personality of its own. It seemed like she had a stronger connection with this one because it was like her. I have chickens and I never realized before I started raising them that some do have their own personalities. I won't get off topic and tell about the personalities of my chickens, but you would be amazed at things that I have observed them doing.

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Paige_K
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

I'm seeing Anna as increasingly selfish focusing on her own pain, her own sorrow, her lost youth.  She seems both sad and desperate to me.  She really doesn't know what she wants other than to visit with her coyotes, everything else seems hazy and unreal to her.  Taking Stefan back after everything he's done just reinforces my belief that she's gone a bit off her nut.

 

I wish Lesya was Maria's daughter since her own mother can't be bothered with her.  She has a strength about her that may help her escape the miserable home she is growing up in.  I'm pulling for her! 

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biljounc63
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Ladybug74 wrote:
I think it said that Teodor paid the money directly to the land office. He was very careful about how he did this so Stefan could not interfere.

Don't forget that the note was thrown in the fire innocently by Katya. So now there is no physical proof that the debt was paid. There will more to this part of the story. 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
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spaced57
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Ok, now I'm confused about this.

I remember Teodor wanting the sister to write on paper their agreement with the land and the $10.00 and he used the kids to witness this.

 

I also then remember a small scene where the little girl gets up during the night when all were sleeping to throw pieces of "Jesus" into the fire and she sees a piece of paper on the counter near it and decides to throw it in the fire. Now, I beleive this was the proof, the paper that his sister signed. Later, Teodor tells he cannot find the paper for proof of their agreement.

So, when he went to the office to pay, did he have proof then? Or did they turn him away for not having proof and that is when the letters began, that were written back and forth with the land office trying to sort out the situation that it wasn't Stephan that worked the land as Stephan told them, and made his son lie too, but actually Teodor? 

Obviously that trip Teodor made never resolved the land issue then?

So, my confusion is that I was led to believe he gave her the $10.00 and she just lied about that to Stephan knowing he would drink it up. And that she was suppose to go to the land office and pay it and do the paper work stating Teodor worked the land. But, obviously she didn't do this due to the abuse from Stephan. I wonder if it was because of Stephan was mad that she said she didn't have the $10 and that is when the beatings started and making the son turn on his mom too. She began to turn on her brother Teodor then.

But then later when he is suppose to be going to the land office, I thought it was just to give the proof of the letter that his sister signed and that it showed he had already paid the sister the $10.  If he went to the land office in the storm, why didn't that take care of the land issue then? Anyone have any ideas on this?

As you can see, I'm a little confused about this? I hope my question hasn't confused this more. 

 

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Ronrose
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Is it just me, or is anyone else concerned that the coyote is going to attack Anna?  I know the "Hollywood" ending would have the two becoming friendlier as the story goes on, but I have a definite feeling that the reality of life on the harsh plains of Canada would not lead to a fairytale ending for a pregnant woman and a half starved, wild animal.
MYK
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MYK
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

That's a good point..RE: anna & stefan. They are both very selfish In their own ways. Together they produced tow children that had noone to care about them. .I hadn't really sewn that together. How can that be denied??
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DSaff
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

It does seem like a perfect storm for disaster, doesn't it?


Ronrose wrote:
Is it just me, or is anyone else concerned that the coyote is going to attack Anna?  I know the "Hollywood" ending would have the two becoming friendlier as the story goes on, but I have a definite feeling that the reality of life on the harsh plains of Canada would not lead to a fairytale ending for a pregnant woman and a half starved, wild animal.

 

 

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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nicole21WA
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎03-22-2009
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Regarding the land issue:  It's driving me crazy too.  So I went back to the payment scene that pretty much starts on page 196.  Teodor clearly gives Anna the $10; I don't think he goes to the land office himself so papers were never filed to make it legal.  Toward the bottom of page 197 it says, "Teodor retrieves the ten dollars from his pocket."  A little bit later Anna worries about Stefan seeing the money because last time they had money, he took it and left.  So when Stefan comes back inside she lies to him and says that Teodor went to the land office.  What Anna ends up doing with the money is a mystery.  Hopefully she used it to buy some food!  But more than likely she didn't hide it well enough and Stefan spent it on alcohol and women.
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Readingrat
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

I won't say much about this section since I inadvertantly read ahead and don't want to give any spoilers away.  I do remember that my main feeling during this section was the dread that Stephan was just going to mess everything up.  I wasn't sure exactly what he was going to do or to whom, but I felt that he was definitely a timebomb waiting to explode and would injure whoever happened to be closest at the time.
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jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

First, I want to say I really like how this book is set up. I like how it is by seasons and since the land is one the most important characters in this book it seems appropriate to have it divided this way.

 

It is evident that Maria cares even more for her survival and the survival of her children when she tells Teodor that she will not wait for him if he gets in trouble again. In the Fall section we get a bigger glimpse of what Maria endured while waiting for Teodor to come back the first time around. She knows that Teodor's pride is going to cause the family trouble in the future and she makes it clear to him at this point that she will go on without him if he puts them in jeopardy. I agree with her, Teodor is dangerously proud and I do think it will have devastating consequences on his family by the time their story is told.

 

Teodor keeps going on regardless of all the hardships he continues to face - the fire, the rats, Stefan. We see him argue with the man he sells the grain to even though he is desperate he still refuses to take what is offered to him. Myron is even a bit taken aback by his father's strength and courage when facing this man even though he is also worried that his father will lose their chance at getting their money.

 

The most evident of survival was the ending scenes of the Fall section where they are toasting to tomorrow and even more so when Myron runs Stefan off their property at gunpoint. Even if Teodor falls, Myron will be there to keep the family going.

 

Oh, that Stefan. I knew he was going to come back in and cause all kinds of trouble. I have to wonder how that last get together with Teodor and Stefan would have gone if Teodor had been aware of what Stefan had done to Anna before coming over. Poor Petro - he is caught between loyalty to his father, to his mother, and to his surrogate family that have been there for him while his father was running around. I have a feeling this will not be the last time that Petro will have to choose sides and stand up either for his father or the family that has taken care of him in his father's absence. Then there's Lesya. How sad is her life now that her father is back. She has been in the background since he arrived and I am guessing that is to allow the reader to feel how insignificant she is in her family now - even more so than before Stefan came back. Anna seems to have tried once again to practice magical thinking where Stefan is concerned and she has paid for it. I think that she is about to literally lose her mind.

 

This is all so heartbreaking and I can sense the impending doom as I read. I know we are in store for a lot more heartbreak before this is all over with.

What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried
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spaced57
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Thank You Nicole.

That is what I thought I read too.  

I still wonder why he went to the land office during the snow storm when he didn't have the paper from his sister since it was lost(burned)? And he gave the $10 to his sister as you clearly stated it said on page 197. So what would he have to give the land office when he made the trip? I've skimmed looking for it and still I cannot find a reason stated.

 

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spaced57
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall

Ok, this explains the  money then. But, still what good is giving the money to the land office if he has no proof from his sister anymore since the signed paper was destroyed?


libralady wrote:
Teodor took the money to town in the middle of a snow storm.  Maria was very angry with him.  She warned him that he could lose his way in storm.  "He could have waited until next week to pay.  He could have waited until the next spring...They could have used that money this year."  Maria ends up praying for his safe return.  She stays on her knees until she hears him laughing and throwing snowballs with the children.  Yet another example of his dangerous pride!
DSaff wrote:

I have just re-read pgs. 197 - 200, and it does look like Teodore took the money to town. I guess I thought Anna had hidden it in the tin when it was mentioned on pg. 198. Thanks for mentioning it, Cathy!  :smileyhappy:


CathyB wrote:

I thought the $10.00 display was a gesture and that Teo took the money back and brought it to the land office the next day - I don't have my book with me so, I may just be having false memories.

 


DSaff wrote:

Anna knows that if Stefan has money he will go to town and drink it away. She would once again be alone. I think her lie is just a way to hang on to him.


lmpmn wrote:

Can someone help me with this question?

 

Teodor went over to Anna's to give her the $10.00, right?  Stefan went outside so they could speak privately, and Ivan and Lesya witnessed what happened.  Later, Anna told Stefan that Teodor gave the money directly to the land office.  I'm assuming she lied to him and hid the money, but I don't remember anything mentioned again about what happened to the money for sure.  What do you all think?  Did Anna squirrel it away somewhere or did she tell the truth about Teodor giving it to the land office?





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Rachel-K
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Re: Middle Chapters: Fall


libralady wrote:
I think Teodor could be considered "dangerously proud".  I can see how Maria would think that.   I remember the passage where Teodor has gone off to town in the snow storm to pay for the land and how angry Maria is with him.  She is thinking, "Think of us.  Forget your pride, forget being right. Being right sent you to jail..."  In this instance it seems that Maria is blaming Teodor's pride and his "being right" for almost everything that has happened to them.  I think that it is this pride that has made it possible for Teodor to endure all of the hardships and setbacks and to continue to provide for his family and take care of his sister.  I can understand that it has put him in dangerous situations, but I feel that without it he may have given up and his family would have turned out to be like Anna and Stephan. 

Nice point, Libralady. The same character quality can work for him and against him, depending on the situation!