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Stewies_Mom
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎05-28-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

[ Edited ]

 

With Stefan's return, a power struggle is taking shape between the two men. What does each man have that threatens the other?    Stephen has the power of owning the woman who owns the land that Teodor depends on, but Teodor has the power of being a man.

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?  No.  He only ever shows a strength one time in the story.

 

How does Stefan see himself?  He sees himself as someone who deserves a grander living than he has earned.  I think the saying "You just haven't earned it yet, baby" describes him perfectly.  He deludes himself into thinking he should have a lifestyle befitting a rich man, and fancies himself as a landowner with men working for him.  He certainly has grandiose visions, he just isn't willing to work to attain them.

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?  The young boys also seem to have a power struggle between themselves.  Ivan is clearly the quicker-witted child, and isn't afraid to use his wits to overpower his cousin, but Petro is the more devious boy, taught by his fathers' actions.

Message Edited by Stewies_Mom on 08-10-2009 09:46 PM
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Stellaluna99
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-25-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness

[ Edited ]

As much as I dislike Stefan, I love that he is so well developed that I can hate him. Stefan is a rat and that's me being polite. I can't write what I really think of him. What is worse is that Stefan knows he is a rat. He may come across as arrogant, but I think that is him overcompensating for the lack of respect that he yearns for, yet doesn't do anything to earn. He makes promises and talks the talk, but ultimately is a worthless, lazy, waste of human organs. He wants everything for nothing and is a master manipulator, knowing his wife will do anything...typical abusive relationship.  He is one of those men that brags about his "connections", when in has reality, he has none and resorts to low level tactics to get what he wants.

The only thing that Stefan has that threatens Teodor is his control over Anna. Unfortunately, this control can undo everything that Teodor has worked for. In reverse, Teodor's ability to survive and his tenacity is what threatens Stefan. Teodr sees Stefan for who and what he is.

Message Edited by Stellaluna99 on 08-10-2009 09:53 PM
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ssizemore
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Could there be two characters more different than Teodor and StefanBoth have a great deal of pride and are heads of householdWhile Teodor's pride is in his family and his work, Stefan's pride is false pride in himself.

Stefan is a self-absorbed egotist who cares about no one but himselfHe is violent and manipulative, abusing Anna and his children in every day lifeOf course, his alcoholism is very evident and is a partial cause for this behaviorHe will o anything to get aheadWhile he sees himself as a man who knows the powerful authorities in the area, he uses that knowledge to become a "snitch" in an attempt to further his own plans.

Teodor is a loving father and husbandHe also will do most anything for his family's survival, but that does not include destroying someone elseHe served his term for the injustice done to him and his family faithfully waits for his returnBecause of this injustice, Teodor cannot claim the land that is his and must continue to wait until he can earn that claimStefan wants to destroy that opportunity and maintain control of land he has not workedI fear that Teodor will lose his patience (if he has any left at this point) and seek some kind of retribution on Stefan.

The children, of course, know nothing of the underlying cause of the dispute between their fathersThe younger boys defend their fathers and begin to reenact that behavior with each otherPetro is even taught how to defend one's claims in a manly way by Stefan, while unaware that Stefan is the one in the wrongThe boys had been such close friends that this rift is terribly painful to both of them.

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Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan and Theodor both have Anna's land in some fashion. With her land is the control over the crop and with that the control over the money. They are like a pack of animals and each man is struggling to be the Alpha Dog. Who is going to win Anna and the ulitmate goal of the land. When Stefan comes back, just like a dog, he has to spray his scent all around. He is arrogant and pompous and wants to be the master of all without having to do the work. 

Theodor will do the work, but wants no master above him. He wants to be the Alpha Dog to his own family, when Stefan comes back he is a threat to his pack.

 

Stefan is strong in one way ...his manipulative psychopathic control over everyone and anything.

 

Stefan sees himself as a BIG MAN, owed everything in life, the king, everyone works for him (Theodor, Anna, kids), he wants the world to see him as the Big Man in town so he acts like he is important and the big landowner. 

 

Theo's weakness is fear of going back to jail. Fear of loosing his ability to feed his family and fear of crop failure. His weakness is his love for his family which is not really a weakness, but it clouds his judgement in the way he handles Stefan. He lets Stefan bully him and submits to his abuse rather than risk making a scene.

 

Theo's weakness is being naive. He allows Stefan to manipulate him. Stefan's psycho behavior shows when he heads to the Theo's farm to confront Theo but then they end up drinking. Stefan backed down and  Theo offers him a drink like nothing bad is between them.  He lets his guard down. In this way he eventually is caught for being naive, since Stefan is the one who tells about his illegal spirits. 

 

The powerstruggle is definitely seen in the younger boys, just like father, like son. 

Wisteria,

"Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds a way into his heart."

The Shadow of the Wind,
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Strength and Weakness

Hi Wisteria,

 

Wow! Now that was a mouthful, but you pinned them both exactly.  I feel bad for Teodor because he is just trying to keep harmony for Anna and the children's sake.  Even though Teodor wants to be the alpha dog, it is not in his nature to hold it over anyone's head.  He believes in the family as a unit and wants nothing more than to prosper on the farm.  

 

A power struggle already exists between Ivan and Petro and as they grow older it will be another Stefan/Teodor type situation.  It is sad to think that what started out as innocent bets between two young boys will manifest itself into such an unhealthy situation.   If Stefan never returned, Petro would have had a much better chance in life having Teodor as his role model.

 

 __________________________________________________________________________________

Wisteria-L wrote:

"Stefan and Theodor both have Anna's land in some fashion. With her land is the control over the crop and with that the control over the money. They are like a pack of animals and each man is struggling to be the Alpha Dog. Who is going to win Anna and the ulitmate goal of the land. When Stefan comes back, just like a dog, he has to spray his scent all around. He is arrogant and pompous and wants to be the master of all without having to do the work. 

Theodor will do the work, but wants no master above him. He wants to be the Alpha Dog to his own family, when Stefan comes back he is a threat to his pack.

 

Stefan is strong in one way ...his manipulative psychopathic control over everyone and anything.

 

Stefan sees himself as a BIG MAN, owed everything in life, the king, everyone works for him (Theodor, Anna, kids), he wants the world to see him as the Big Man in town so he acts like he is important and the big landowner. 

 

Theo's weakness is fear of going back to jail. Fear of loosing his ability to feed his family and fear of crop failure. His weakness is his love for his family which is not really a weakness, but it clouds his judgement in the way he handles Stefan. He lets Stefan bully him and submits to his abuse rather than risk making a scene.

 

Theo's weakness is being naive. He allows Stefan to manipulate him. Stefan's psycho behavior shows when he heads to the Theo's farm to confront Theo but then they end up drinking. Stefan backed down and  Theo offers him a drink like nothing bad is between them.  He lets his guard down. In this way he eventually is caught for being naive, since Stefan is the one who tells about his illegal spirits. 

 

The powerstruggle is definitely seen in the younger boys, just like father, like son."


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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I love the "waste of human organs" statement. <grin>


Stellaluna99 wrote:

As much as I dislike Stefan, I love that he is so well developed that I can hate him. Stefan is a rat and that's me being polite. I can't write what I really think of him. What is worse is that Stefan knows he is a rat. He may come across as arrogant, but I think that is him overcompensating for the lack of respect that he yearns for, yet doesn't do anything to earn. He makes promises and talks the talk, but ultimately is a worthless, lazy, waste of human organs. He wants everything for nothing and is a master manipulator, knowing his wife will do anything...typical abusive relationship.  He is one of those men that brags about his "connections", when in has reality, he has none and resorts to low level tactics to get what he wants.

The only thing that Stefan has that threatens Teodor is his control over Anna. Unfortunately, this control can undo everything that Teodor has worked for. In reverse, Teodor's ability to survive and his tenacity is what threatens Stefan. Teodr sees Stefan for who and what he is.

Message Edited by Stellaluna99 on 08-10-2009 09:53 PM

 

 

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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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Sadly, Petro is becoming like his dad. :smileysad:


CathyB wrote:

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:


 

 

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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BooksRPam
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎12-05-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness

Strengths and weaknesses is such a strong theme in this book that it almost has a life of its own.  I think I could write a page or more just outlining the strengths and weaknesses of all the children for both families, the strengths and weaknesses of Teodor, and the STRENGTH, STRENGTH, STRENGTH of Maria.

 

But Anna!! Oh, my goodness. Anna.  I'm sorry.  I have tried to like her.  I have tried to see the good in her.  And, heaven knows, I have searched for some strength in Anna.  It's not there.  I dislike her even more than Stefan.  I've moved into Winter and won't say anything except that Anna definitely doesn't seem to be getting any more likeable.  Ugh!

Pam
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melisndav
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
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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?

 

I believe that with Stefan's return, Stefan is threatened by the fact that Teodor knows what he wants out of life.  Teodor is a family man, hard-working, and wants to provide better for his family.  Teodor's children look up to him and Maria stands behind her husband.  Anna does not want an abusive husband around nor does Stefan's children want him around.  Petro is confused about the imagery of how he sees his uncle Teodor with his family and then he sees the anger from Stefan.  I belive that Teodor feels threatened by Stefan as Stefan has want Teodor wants the most, his land. 

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?  No, any man that treats his wife and children the way that Stefan did, makes that man a coward.

 

How does Stefan see himself?  Like a king.

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?  He wants his land, very much.  He also still sees himself in prison.

 

Does this power struggle also begin to take shape in the youngest boys?  Yes, the boys that were raised like brothers started fighting more and more with each other upon Stefan's return.

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Stellaluna99
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I know what you mean about Anna!  You just want to shake her....ugh! lol

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literature
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Re: Strength and Weakness

 

BooksRPam wrote:

 

But Anna!! Oh, my goodness. Anna.  I'm sorry.  I have tried to like her.  I have tried to see the good in her.  And, heaven knows, I have searched for some strength in Anna.  It's not there.  I dislike her even more than Stefan.  I've moved into Winter and won't say anything except that Anna definitely doesn't seem to be getting any more likeable.  Ugh!

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Hi BooksRPam,

 

I've written against Anna a few times.  But in thumbing through the book again I did find (almost) two times that actually showed Anna as being a compassionate human.  Page 67, during the dinner feast "Anna squeezes Teodor's hand:  "This is for you."

 

The second place is somewhere during the beginning of the Fall chapter when Anna is knitting a pair of socks for Petro and she measures them against Petro.  Petro leans against her and she is surprised by the contact.  Petro then crawls up on her lap because he wants to hear the baby and Anna isn't sure if she should touch him.  This is where she almost shows some warmth.  But then she thinks how much easier it is with the coyotes because they ask nothing of you.

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

Re: Strength and Weakness


BooksRPam wrote:

Strengths and weaknesses is such a strong theme in this book that it almost has a life of its own.  I think I could write a page or more just outlining the strengths and weaknesses of all the children for both families, the strengths and weaknesses of Teodor, and the STRENGTH, STRENGTH, STRENGTH of Maria.

 

But Anna!! Oh, my goodness. Anna.  I'm sorry.  I have tried to like her.  I have tried to see the good in her.  And, heaven knows, I have searched for some strength in Anna.  It's not there.  I dislike her even more than Stefan.  I've moved into Winter and won't say anything except that Anna definitely doesn't seem to be getting any more likeable.  Ugh!


 

Why are you trying to like Anna?  What's there to like or dislike?  If you see a mentally ill person, do you feel you need to find something to like about them, or their illness? 

 

I'm not trying to make a judgment on you, so please forgive me if it sounds that way, but I just want you to distance yourself from her, and see and understand that she's not capable of making either good or wise choices in her life.  Her husband has broken her probably already fragile state, with his mental and physical abuse, and this author has taken us into places in Anna's mind that are not rational to us, but are to Anna.  We only need to see her as a human being that only has a minute amount of control of her life.  She has her moments of lucidity, but they are only fleeting.  I think we see those, and expect her to stay in those moments all of the time.  She can't bear to.

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joyfull
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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?

I think the power struggle has always been there for each man. I see it as an internal struggle of each man against their place in the world. It comes to the forefront when Teodor and Stephan are together. Each man is in a new area, out of the comfort zone of the old world, old ways.

Stephan struggle the most because of what is or isn't inside him. He is morally bankrupted but blames the rest of the world for his problems. He doesn't have the authority of the soldier he used to be. He doesn't have the backing of the old army that allowed him to take and do whatever he wanted. In the new country he is not valued. Another soldier in the same circumstances might have done better, but Stepan is ethically rotten and empty. He sees life only as it relates to him. He is unable to put his children's and his wife's welfare above or even equal to his own. His struggle is with himself.

But Teodor is a farmer. He farmed the land in the old country and he farms the good dirt in the new country. Teodor knows the laws of the harvest - you reap what you sow, you fertilize and take care of the land, and so forth. He lives by honest principles. Teodor's struggle is with those who want to keep him from working his land. Teodor struggles with Stephan because he sees him as someone who could take his land away and also harm the people he loves. It's a struggle between good and evil.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Margot
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cornwall
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I have not gotten very far yet, but Thedor's character is very complicated. She is developing him beautifully
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Sheltiemama
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Theo is the one with the ability to run a farm, build a house, etc. He also has a wife and children who love him instead of fearing him. He has real respect.

 

Stefan has a wife who holds the deed to the land.

 

I really can't see that Stefan has any real strength left, except for the control he exercises over his family.

 

Stefan still sees himself as an officer, not a poor farmer. And he isn't even a farmer!

 

Theo's pride is his weakness. He doesn't always stop to consider how his actions could hurt his family.

 

Oh, yes, the boys are becoming more like their respective fathers, now that both have returned.

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Shapatm
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎04-25-2009

Re: Strength and Weakness

Teodor's sheer determination is a threat to Stefan.  He's still alive after serving his term in prison and actually able to function like a man.  He also have the love and respect of his family which Stefan will never have.  Stefan's cunning and deceit is a threat to Teodor.  Stefan is snake in the grass and Teodor knows it and doesn't trust his brother in law because of it. 

 

I wouldn't call Stefan a strong man by my definition of a strong man but I can see that you could call him that in a very loose sense of the word strong.  He's a man capable of making other people do what he wants because he uses their weaknesses against them.  He's only strong when he has some one strong than him behind him giving him license to use his cruelty. 

 

Stefan sees himself as a prince among men.  He should be respected, trusted, valued by him peers and community and most of all rich.  He shows this by what his promises Anna when they came to Canada.  He promised her "they would be treated with the respect and honor they deserved. They would be aristocracy.  They would be rich.  People would bow to them in the street." Even when things obviously haven't turned out quite how he expected them he doesn't give in.  He always appears to the cool customer and a macho man. The world owes him and he's going to make sure that everyone pays up when Stefan wants them to.

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Zeal
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Wow!  Very powerful, true statements!

 


Stellaluna99 wrote:

As much as I dislike Stefan, I love that he is so well developed that I can hate him. Stefan is a rat and that's me being polite. I can't write what I really think of him. What is worse is that Stefan knows he is a rat. He may come across as arrogant, but I think that is him overcompensating for the lack of respect that he yearns for, yet doesn't do anything to earn. He makes promises and talks the talk, but ultimately is a worthless, lazy, waste of human organs. He wants everything for nothing and is a master manipulator, knowing his wife will do anything...typical abusive relationship.  He is one of those men that brags about his "connections", when in has reality, he has none and resorts to low level tactics to get what he wants.

The only thing that Stefan has that threatens Teodor is his control over Anna. Unfortunately, this control can undo everything that Teodor has worked for. In reverse, Teodor's ability to survive and his tenacity is what threatens Stefan. Teodr sees Stefan for who and what he is.

Message Edited by Stellaluna99 on 08-10-2009 09:53 PM

 

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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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?

 

Stefan is a threat because he knows Theo does not own the land. Theo is a threat to Stefan because he is taking over the running of both families. He threatens Stefan's lazy selfish using lifestyle.

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man?

 

Stefan is strong in the lowest kind of way. A willingness to use and hurt people without guilt or shame.

 

How does Stefan see himself?

 

As someone who has not got the break he deserves.

 

What are Theo's weaknesses?

 

Theo refuses to look reality in the face and play the social/power games he needs to to keep himself and his family safe.

 

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

To me their stuggle is more innocent and Stefan has not had the horrible influence on his son he could have had if he was around more.  


 

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Ronrose
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Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan has the power of the law behind him. The land signed for by Anna, is his by rite of marriage. Theo has, with his family, worked on and improved the land. He had an agreement with Anna to buy the land from her, but Stefan tries to use the law to retain the land, keeping it away from Theo, who has had trouble with the law before.  Stefan is a quick thinker and a ruthless man, taking all he can get from others. Theo is a man who believes that a man is entitled to the fruits of his hard work. He is not a devious man, but rather an honest and straight thinker. These differences are what lead them on to a head to head conflict.
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libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I think Stefan feels that Teodor was trying to take his place with Anna and the children while he was gone. Even though he left them on their own, I don't think he liked the fact that it was Teodor who made sure that they had food, clothes, wood, etc.  I think this threatens Stephan and that is why he told Teodor that he was back and there was not need to come around anymore.  The fact that Teodor has been to prison is something that Stefan holds over his head. The threat that Teodor could find himself back in prison because of Stefan is always present.  A good example is when the police show up to search the house just two days after Teodor and Stefan drink the whiskey Teodor made.   

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"