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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Strength and Weakness

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?
 

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blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness


rkubie wrote:

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?
 


 

The two men are quite opposite.  Stefan is not a farmer, a city boy, so to speak.  Earlier in his life he had great power as an officer and as such he commanded respect.  He is accustomed to this and he has an ability to convince others that he is still worthy.  He's convinced that he's still the officer and gentleman he used to be and he believes that everyone respects him.  He sees himself as a rich land owner with servants caring for the place.  He also sees himself as having many "friends", but they only tolerate him.  He is not a farmer and is much more adept at managing, than doing the actual labor involved in any particular endeavor.  He's also a big talker who brags about his conquests and plans for the future.  Stefan likes to impress people. Stefan's strength comes from his acqaintances and his lack of simple values, as he'll do anything to get what he wants.  This makes him very dangerous. He's known in town and has the ear of city officials.  He knows what needs to be done to make things happen and whether these things are above board, he cares not.   He's a loose cannon.  Because he is dangerous, he has an elemet of strength and he likes feeling like he is feared. Teodor returns to his family in a whirlwind of contempt and belittles everyone around him and cares for no one but himself.  Stefan has a wife who is unable to manage even the smallest of tasks due to her depression and he is ill-equipped to run a farm or raise children.

 

Teodor has the ability to live by his wits and is strong enough to start/run a farm.  He's a survivor.  His quiet strength makes him a leader with his family and he has earned their respect.  He doesn't feel the need to tell the world what he is doing; he just does what needs to be done.  Teodor survived a year in prison and came out without being a bitter, hard man that many might have become as a result of prison.  He picked up where he left off and respected his wife and son for managing so well in his absence.  He respects his family and they respect him, as well.  Teodor's strength is also in his family; they care for and protect each other. Teodor is also a smart man.  He knows how to plant crops, build, and care for the animals.  He has the survival skills necessary to make it in the frontier and a family strong enough and willing to help.

 

I don't really see the power struggle taking place in Myron, but I definitely see it in Petro.  Petro wants so badly to be like his father and he's beginning to show signs of devious behavior in his dealings with his cousin.  Petro cheats in order to win the things he wants.  He cares little for his cousin's feelings and desires only to steal what he wants.  Petro is a child that isn't allowing anyone to get close to him.  I see a wall around him and I also see him turning into his father.  I hope this isn't the case.
Suzi

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JoyZ
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-19-2007

Re: Strength and Weakness

We now see a difference with Teodor and Myron working together.  Teodor has become stronger and more self assured.  But that self assurance is also allowing him to feel a little too comfortable.  He has purchased new supplies, bought his land back, and even the government can't tell him what he can and can't do in his own home.  I love the strength of his family, how they interact compared to Stefan and Anna's family.  Where we once thought Teodor and Maria were poor, we now see that at least they aren't destitute like Anna and Stefan.  We also now see this difference in Ivan and Petro.  The competitiveness has now turned angry and harsh.  We see the strong influence Stefan has on his son.
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AliceLee428
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-09-2009

Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan threatens Teodor through Anna and his children----I think he uses them to get what he wants from Teodor's family.  He knows that Maria won't let them starve...because Maria cares about Anna, Lesya, and Petro, she enables Stefan to sit back and take, take, take.  Also, Anna owns the land that Teodor is farming.

 

Teodor has a nice home, a small amount of money saved, some moonshine, and a loving family.  Stefan is extremely envious of this, but he doesn't want to work for the same things himself.   He feels threatened because he knows in his heart that he does not measure up to Teodor.

 

Stefan is sly and cunning---will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.  I guess some might see this as a strength, but I see it as a character flaw.

 

Stefan sees himself as an entitled one.  He knows he is weak and that makes him angry.  He projects this onto his wife and others.

 

Theo is unable to express his feelings.  He also is so proud of his principles that he makes stupid mistakes at the expense of his family, even when he knows the consequences can be devastating (such as keeping moonshine at the house).

 

The youngest boys, Petro and Ivan are involved in a power struggle as well.  Petro uses his cunning to trick Ivan into giving him things.  Very similar to the adult men. 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Strength and Weakness


rkubie wrote:

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?
 


Stefan sees himself as an important person who has been defeated by sources outside himself. He doesn't assess himself clearly and therefore fails in all his endeavors, although, I didn't really find any evidence of any attempt by him to do anything productive. 

As an officer, he was impressed with his power and that seems to be what defines him, his image of himself as an important person. He has a highly inflated opinion of himself.

Teodor is defeated by the world because of his inability to navigate it within the rules. Language is a big barrier for him but he doesn't seem to make any attempt to become more fluent, rather he looks to his children to do that. He seems to be trying to transform Canada into the Ukraine and to continue to carry on life in the same way, farming, simply and happily. He believes hard work will ultimately pay off and he follows that path. Sometimes his pride gets in the way of common sense.

Stefan has no way to become powerful except by doing underhanded things and getting other people in trouble or hurting others. He does not like to work hard for any reward but rather wants to take it. He seems to have no common sense and acts on impulse, taking advantage of anyone he can, especially those weaker than himself.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Strength and Weakness


rkubie wrote:

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?
 


Stefan sees himself as an important person who has been defeated by sources outside himself. He doesn't assess himself clearly and therefore fails in all his endeavors, although, I didn't really find any evidence of any attempt by him to do anything productive. 

As an officer, he was impressed with his power and that seems to be what defines him, his image of himself as an important person. He has a highly inflated opinion of himself.

Teodor is defeated by the world because of his inability to navigate it within the rules. Language is a big barrier for him but he doesn't seem to make any attempt to become more fluent, rather he looks to his children to do that. He seems to be trying to transform Canada into the Ukraine and to continue to carry on life in the same way, farming, simply and happily. He believes hard work will ultimately pay off and he follows that path. Sometimes his pride gets in the way of common sense.

Stefan has no way to become powerful except by doing underhanded things and getting other people in trouble or hurting others. He does not like to work hard for any reward but rather wants to take it. He seems to have no common sense and acts on impulse, taking advantage of anyone he can, especially those weaker than himself.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Strength and Weakness


rkubie wrote:

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?
 


 

 

Ivan and Petro have such a "loving" relationship. They are like brothers but the competitiveness of Stefan shows itself in Petro who feels his father's abandonment acutely. He takes advantage of Ivan. He seems like a "little Stefan in training" at times, trying to take advantage of a situation, even unfairly. He seems a bit more devious than Ivan. Ivan seems to want to give the benefit of the doubt to Petro, he is more forgiving as Maria and Teodor are toward Anna.

The children are products of their environment. When Petro is with Teodor's family, he behaves differently. He is motivated to help and achieve through hard work, as is his sister,  Lesya. When Stefan is around, they try and hide from themselves and their father. With Teodor, they enjoy working together as "a family".

Stefan expects his children to take care of him as if they were the adults. Teodor tries to teach the children to become adults and sets the example.

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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan and Theo are the opposite ends  of other. One is laborer and the other is a manager. Stefan is used to being in charge of everything. In his past life he managed people and gave out instructions. Stefan thought he had friends but they only tolerated him. He convinced himself that he would be  a wealthy landowner without doing the work. His strength comes from him being a good manipulator of people. Stefan knows what to do when he wants to get something done.  Stefan strength is his weakness also.  He tries to manage  other people but he can't manage his family or  his land. He lacks the skills and knowledge of both. Stefan thinks he is entitled to take what he wants without consequences.

 

Theo on the other hand is skilled at manual labor. He is survivor and a leader. His shyness makes him a strong leader to his family. Theo survived prison and came out a better person. Theo's strong principles causes  him do stupid things at the expense of his family sometime( hiding home made liquor). He manages his land and makes it profitable. Theo's family has respect and love for him. He has the survival skills that are necessary to take care of his family in rural Canada.

 

Yes there is power struggle among the boys. Petro uses tricks to cheat Ivan out items that he wants. Petro is becoming more like his father who is a manipulator and thief.

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

Re: Strength and Weakness

There is a definite power struggle going on.

Teodor threatens Stefan with his amazing capability to not only survive after his incarceration but even thriving. I think Teodor could start with nothing but a few acres of land and still make something of it.

Stefan on the other hand holds power over Teodor, Teodor isn't allowed to own land, even though he secretly did through Anna, he's now considered a marked man by his time in prison. Stefan on the other hand is a sniveling conniving skunk who does what ever it takes to make himself look good. He works, but only to see a way to outsmart the people he works for. It was a very telling thing when Teodor and Myron went to sell the grain and Teodor had to say that he worked for Stefan just to get it sold.

Stefan sees himself as too good for everyday life, for general labor. He wants it to be the way it was when he was an important soldier, stealing from people.

 

The event between Ivan and Petro was so unfortunate, Petro looks up to his father so much and hears the things he's saying about Teodor and his cousins where Ivan only wants his friend and brother back, he wants things to be the way they were before the snake entered their garden. 

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MsReaderCP
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎07-10-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan can legally own the land which places Teo at his mercy somewhat.  How far can he move his horses and house away from him?

 

However Teo has what is more important that land and that is a close loving family and a life that he is happy with.  Teo wants the land.  Stefan does not. 

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Strength and Weakness

I have to say that this section was explosive. I really expected there to be a serious "accident." Teodore has land, love, and his health; all of which threaten Stefan. Stefan thinks a lot of himself and commands obedience, but he doesn't have the love of his family. Theo has everything Stefan wants, but stupidly lets his personality and booze strip from him. Stefan is the man of his family and as such can make decisions that threaten Teodore. He has worked too hard to let Stefan take it all away, yet he fears going back to jail.

 

I think Stefan is a strong man in one way - his control over his family. In this case, I would define strong as powerful. His abuse has pushed them into submission. That kind of strength needs to be taken away, and I am hoping that will happen before the end of the book.

 

Teodore is weak in his thoughts of going back to jail. He won't stand up to Stefan because of the threat and is even foolish enough to share his alcohol. He lets this weakness affect everything, most importantly his relationship with Maria. Something needs to happen to give him his confidence back.

 

Ivan and Petro are getting the brunt of the anger. They both want to be like their fathers and that leads to contests and the fight.  The contests that result in someone losing hats, mittens, or the penny show that they have seen their fathers value things over relationships.  They have not yet learned the balance. Winning is power and they desire it!

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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valorietucker
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎02-03-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness


rkubie wrote:

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?
 


 

I think Stefan is strong because he has a ruthlessness about him that makes him capable of doing anything to get what he wants.  He's not afraid to hurt people.  That is as much a bad thing as it is a good thing, but it has its good points nevertheless.  Stefan sees himself as much grander man than he is, popular and rich and worthy of all the attention and fortune that comes his way.  His son wants so much to impress him that he goes to great lengths and even neglects his friendships to do so.

 

Teodor is a good man at heart, but he has pride. 

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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan has control over Anna and Anna's name is on Teodor's land. Stefan also seems more familiar with the citizens of the town and the way they do business.

 

Teodor is a strong man who is skilled in so many ways. I think what threatens Stefan most when it comes to Teodor is the strong bond that Teodor has with his family. They do not have much and yet they are happy. This enables Teodor to work hard and do whatever it takes to take care of his beloved family.

 

I don't see Stefan as a strong man. Any man who abuses his family and leaves them to fend for themselves for long periods of time is a poor excuse of a man or human being for that matter. 

 

Stefan thinks that he is so much better than everyone else. He expects people to worship the ground that he walks on.

 

Theo's weakness seem to be his family.

 

I can see this power struggle taking shape in the boys! They are already beginning to fight like their fathers.

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pagese
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎05-01-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

  Theo has everything Stefan wants but doesn't want to work to get.  Stefan is sly and that threaten what Theo has.

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

   I don't think it really makes him a strong man, but Stefan will stop at nothing to get what he thinks is rightfully his.

 

How does Stefan see himself?

   I think he sees himself as powerful even though he has done nothing for it.  He think he deserves respect and obedience.

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

   I think Theo underestimated himself and what Stefan will do.

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?
   Petro idolizes his father.  He will do anything to keep him there and starts to imitate him.  Ivan wants to help his father in anyway he can.

 

 

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Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007

Re: Strength and Weakness


emmagrace wrote:

 

I don't see Stefan as a strong man. Any man who abuses his family and leaves them to fend for themselves for long periods of time is a poor excuse of a man or human being for that matter. 

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Right on, emmagrace!  I think that Stefan is a worthless bully who really should be shot!!  I can find no redeeming features in him at all; the closest to a nice thing that he has done is to give Petro an apple, and even that had a bruise on it.  In Stefan, I feel that Shandi has created the quintessential villain.  Enough said!

 

Joan

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pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I think of the strengths as the family ties.

Anna and Teodor - As Anna helped Teodor get the land. Anna also had his family move in with her while he was in prison. Maria helping Anna during her depression. Maria taking care of Anna and her children. Those family ties help fill in where the weaknesses were in these two families.

 

I think the weaknesses are more individual. Stefan is a weakness. His drinking and lack of interest in his children and his wife. Anna just doesn't deal well with her situation in the marriage or with her children. Teodor and how he deals with his prison time. 

 

These are the strengths and weaknesses that are the backbone of the book.

pen21

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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009

Re: Strength and Weakness

We see the power struggle between the two boys when they start arguing over Ivan's "treasures". Petro obviously recognizes the power of money when he tries to take the penny from Ivan.  The penny doesn't interest Ivan in the same way.  Stefan makes the comment when leaving Theo's house, "like father, like son" - insinuating that Theo has stolen something from him just as Ivan has stolen the hat from Petro.  Interestingly, Ivan finds the heart-shaped rock missing from his "treasures" after Petro leaves. Hmmm, like father, like son.

 

Petro has long wished for what Ivan has, in the form of his family, even though Maria and Theo treat Petro and his sister as though they are their own.  In just the few days Stefan is back, Petro quickly realizes his familiy will never be the same as his aunt's and uncle's.  He watches his father belittle and abuse his mother; he listens to his father belittle him for being scrawny.  I was sad to see the boys relationship take a turn for the worse.  In addition to being cousins, they were best friends.    What's worse is Petro saw where Maria put the whiskey.... 

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Plumberswife
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness

With Stephan, I think the power he has and feels that he has is from his past experience as a military officer. His self pride is evident to me and would seem to stem from his past. I also feel that he may be portraying himself as superior with a power over not only women but also those he sees himself as "above". For intance, Theo was a prisoner and according to law he was not allowed to own property. While Stephan was married to Theo's sister and she was allowed to own property, which by the way I did not undertand how that was possible in this context, that made him, Stephan, able to lord over Theo to that effect. Do you know what I am trying to say? There were definately power struggles between those two men, to me it seems that the more good Theo tried to do even in the face of his brother-in-law trying to break him, he still continued to set a good example for his family. Putting the children first, both his and his sisters spoke to the type of person he was. I feel that he was a very strong figure even in the face of adversity. Stephen was all about exuding power over everyone, making it look like he was an important figure. I would say that as his time at home he was able to tip the balance between the boy cousins and had things remained the same, I feel that those two youngsters would also be at odds with each other as their future progressed. I may post more on this later, I am just struggeling with words today I guess. I am truely enjoying this book though!
Plmbrswife
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CathyB
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎12-30-2006

Re: Strength and Weakness

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?

 

Stefan has the ownership of the land - this is what Teo wants.

 

Teo has the love & respect of his wife and children - happiness - something that Stefan wants.

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

Physically - yes.

Emotionally - no.

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

Stefan sees himself as a powerful man, a land owner who gives orders, someone who should be respected - especially by his wife and children. He feels that his needs should be met at all costs regardless of whether or not someone is hurt in the process or if those actions taken are ethical/leagal.

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

 

Theo's weaknesses are his pride, his need to be the provider for his family and his family. He is quick to act when any harm comes to his family. He is quick to anger but has learned to control his temper.

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?

 

Yes, each boy wants to be like his father. Petro has stolen from his cousin and tricked him into 'trading' things to get what he wants. He even taunts Ivan about the penny - insisting that money should be spent and not saved.He is becoming nasty like his dad. :smileysad:

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CathyB
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎12-30-2006

Re: Strength and Weakness


DSaff wrote:

I have to say that this section was explosive. I really expected there to be a serious "accident." Teodore has land, love, and his health; all of which threaten Stefan. Stefan thinks a lot of himself and commands obedience, but he doesn't have the love of his family. Theo has everything Stefan wants, but stupidly lets his personality and booze strip from him. Stefan is the man of his family and as such can make decisions that threaten Teodore. He has worked too hard to let Stefan take it all away, yet he fears going back to jail.

 

I think Stefan is a strong man in one way - his control over his family. In this case, I would define strong as powerful. His abuse has pushed them into submission. That kind of strength needs to be taken away, and I am hoping that will happen before the end of the book.

 

Teodore is weak in his thoughts of going back to jail. He won't stand up to Stefan because of the threat and is even foolish enough to share his alcohol. He lets this weakness affect everything, most importantly his relationship with Maria. Something needs to happen to give him his confidence back.

 

Ivan and Petro are getting the brunt of the anger. They both want to be like their fathers and that leads to contests and the fight.  The contests that result in someone losing hats, mittens, or the penny show that they have seen their fathers value things over relationships.  They have not yet learned the balance. Winning is power and they desire it!


Donna: Nice analysis of Teo's weaknesses. I didn't think of his fear of going back to jail.

 

Thanks!