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Inspired Correspondent
bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007

Re: Strength and Weakness

I am a little late posting, but hopefully I will catch up and I apologize for repeating anything anyone else has said.

 

Obviously there is a HUGE power struggle between Stefan and Teo.  Stefan is strong politically.  He has a lot of connections throughout the town, and connections to people higher up.  This is a big threat to Teo because Stefan can, at anytime, call on those connections and get Teo sent to jail again.  On the other hand I believe that Teo has an amazing family behind him and Stefan sees that, maybe even wants that.  Stefan knows that Teo has been taking care of his land and his family and does not like it or appreciate it.

 

Teo's biggest weakness is his pride.  This has hurt him time and time again.  When he got sent to jail it was because he wanted what was his, the grain.  I don't blame him for it, but that act put his family in jeoparady because it left them without a place to live and without food.  Teo's pride is again putting the family into jeoparady with the alcohol.  He is determined to keep it even though he may be sent to jail again.  He is not thinking clearly about protecting his family or himself.  I really hope that this is not his downfall in the end, but I have a feeling it will be.

 

We see this power struggle mainly between Ivan and Petro.  When Stefan and Petro went to Teo's house Petro teases Ivan.  He takes his things, the penny and hat, and he tells Ivan that people shouldn't take things that don't belong to them.  These are obviously the exact words that he heard Stefan say.

 

I hope that everything works out for the boys and Teo, but my feeling is that there is still a big section of the story left and there are more tragedies to come.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
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Paige_K
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-02-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Theodor is a man struggling to do the right thing while Stefan does what he pleases.  Again, Theodor is a good man, good husband, loving father.  Stefan is an oaf, lording over Theodor because it makes him feel superior.  Stefan is determined to be a man of importance, while Theodor just wants to live life and take care of his family. 

 

The boys do seem to be diverging and I sense a struggle coming, both boys wanting to see only the good in their tatos.  I wonder what will happen when reality intrudes on them.

 

 

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Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

What I see is ......
Stefan gains strength and power when he can put others down. He gains strength when he be-littles his family and in-laws.  When he feels strong and powerful I think he is less dangerous. I fear for his family when he feels weak.  If he feels strong he can carry his grandiose image in town and feel tall and powerful.   Stefan knows he can’t measure up as a husband, he can’t be a Teodor.   He is an abuser with an addictive personality who can’t even get out of bed. He has no idea how to be a father or a husband. When he sees Teodor, I think it enrages him.  He sees Teodor as never failing. He survived jail, he survived the fire, he survived the mice infestation. Teodor survives and his home is thriving.  When he succeeds in winning a “match” with Teodor or Anna this  success make his psychosis stronger.   He would rather have someone else work for him so that he can play cards and drink giving the world the image of a wealthy landowner.   He is a con artist with a psychopathic manipulative personality who may fool the town, but not his family.  Unfortunately, his strength is a negative energy that is dangerous to those around him, for they suffer so that he can feel strong.  Whatever game he plays in life, he must win. Winner takes all. 
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
MYK
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MYK
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎03-24-2009

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?

Teo had a strong family dedication. To his family..and his family..includes his sister, and her children, which threatens Stefan. who clearly shows no dedication or concern, other than for himself.The only reason he stops from hurting Teo's family, is for HIS utmost DESIRES>. The warmth and smell of food inside the cabin, then the booze. So he stops, becomes humble, for his own selfishness. Not that he does what he set out to do. Not that anything he has done proves his beliefs.

 

Are there ways that Stefan is a strong man? Yes. he is strong when it comes to satisfying his own desires.

How does Stefan see himself? An entrepreneur, a man who can earn respect through acts of violence.What are Theo's weaknesses? Language barrier. Animals. How he plays with the horse. Slips them more food.

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retromom
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan is a threat to Theo as Stefan's wife owns the land in which Theo lives on. By marriage this gives Stefan more rights than it does Theo. Stefan also seems to have the law under his thumb. He is a powerful man in a con-artist kind of way. Theo is really at Stefan's mercy.

 

Theo can be seen as a threat to Stefan as Theo knows how to homestead and take care of both families. That is something Stefan apparently know little about nor cares to do.

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness


bookloverjb85 wrote:

I am a little late posting, but hopefully I will catch up and I apologize for repeating anything anyone else has said.

 

Obviously there is a HUGE power struggle between Stefan and Teo.  Stefan is strong politically.  He has a lot of connections throughout the town, and connections to people higher up.  This is a big threat to Teo because Stefan can, at anytime, call on those connections and get Teo sent to jail again.  On the other hand I believe that Teo has an amazing family behind him and Stefan sees that, maybe even wants that.  Stefan knows that Teo has been taking care of his land and his family and does not like it or appreciate it.

 

Teo's biggest weakness is his pride.  This has hurt him time and time again.  When he got sent to jail it was because he wanted what was his, the grain.  I don't blame him for it, but that act put his family in jeoparady because it left them without a place to live and without food.  Teo's pride is again putting the family into jeoparady with the alcohol.  He is determined to keep it even though he may be sent to jail again.  He is not thinking clearly about protecting his family or himself.  I really hope that this is not his downfall in the end, but I have a feeling it will be.

 

We see this power struggle mainly between Ivan and Petro.  When Stefan and Petro went to Teo's house Petro teases Ivan.  He takes his things, the penny and hat, and he tells Ivan that people shouldn't take things that don't belong to them.  These are obviously the exact words that he heard Stefan say.

 

I hope that everything works out for the boys and Teo, but my feeling is that there is still a big section of the story left and there are more tragedies to come.


 

Stefan has contacts in town, but he is not respected.  He is only a big talker.  The authorities use him because he is willing to turn in neighbors and family.   They act on the info but they don't like him.  He would turn on anyone.

MG

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Lildove3
Posts: 96
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

   For strength hands down Theo has it and obviously, Stefan should take lessons

 

   from Theo. Theo is going places but Stefan should be coutning his lucky stars no

  

   one has killed him, if he keeps going the way he does he just might end up killed.

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nbmars
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎02-21-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

I totally agree with Wisteria-L on the source of Stefan's "strength" and anger.  Her comments are very astute.
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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Me too! Thought, "I oughta write that down." It's quite an insult!

 


DSaff wrote:

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

 

 


 

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jenniferu
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎07-16-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

 

Stefan has been able to get by on intimidation and influence but he can't make that work with Anna or Theo.  Stefan seems to see himself as being worthy, deserving and owed the best of what life has to offer --particularly around riches and status.   He is very focused and determined to get what he wants and is not against using others to help him along the way, no matter what the cost.  Theo on the other hand, is good, non-sophisticated and in many ways naive.  He feels that going to jail was done to him and that it might be done to him again.  He fears that happening but doesn't do anything to stop it from happening.

 

While Stefan takes action, Theo seems more unable to take action on those things that are not the standard tasks of working on the farm or around the house.  He did get Anna to sign the paper but did not go back and insist on it being redone when it was lost.   Stefan seemed to be destined to be eternally unhappy with his lot in life while Theo did not take the action to take control of his.

 

The kids were pawns in this ending up having to take sides and competing against each other as a result.  Stefan's kids would be looking for that positive reinforcement that would never come, at least not more than fleetingly.

Correspondent
bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008

Re: Strength and Weakness

Great post, Donna!  I agree that Ivan and Petro are learning from their fathers' conflicts that things, rather than relationships, represent power.  I thought these passages were very well-written, subtling showing the boys' little contests as a emulation of the fathers' power struggle.

Teodore's pride and personality changes due to being in prison affected his ability to stand up to Stefan.  Then again, it was difficult to win a power struggle against Stefan.  Stefan was overly confident and didn't care about his family, so that made him a little more fearless.  His emotional emptiness made him a formidable opponent in any power struggle.  Stefan would stop at nothing to get what he wants - he had no morals.

 


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!


 

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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Well said, thewanderingjew!  I agree that Teodore's pride can be his downfall.  He has found it hard to adapt to life in Canada and wants to continue to live the same way he did in the Ukraine.  I think this characterization of Teodore is similar to how many adult immigrants adapt, or not adapt, to a life in a new county.  Younger people tend to acclimate to a new country better, whether by being fluent in the new language or adapting to a new lifestyle and culture.
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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Oops!  I forgot to quote thewandergjew's post in my above post.

 

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:


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

Thank you  =)

bookowlie wrote:

Great post, Donna!  I agree that Ivan and Petro are learning from their fathers' conflicts that things, rather than relationships, represent power.  I thought these passages were very well-written, subtling showing the boys' little contests as a emulation of the fathers' power struggle.

Teodore's pride and personality changes due to being in prison affected his ability to stand up to Stefan.  Then again, it was difficult to win a power struggle against Stefan.  Stefan was overly confident and didn't care about his family, so that made him a little more fearless.  His emotional emptiness made him a formidable opponent in any power struggle.  Stefan would stop at nothing to get what he wants - he had no morals.

 


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!


 


 

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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misslynn
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-18-2009
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Re: Strength and Weakness

Stefan is strong in that he can go out into the "real world" and make it. He can come across as a worldly, knowledgeable person. He gains the respect of his wife and son. Stefan sees himself as helpless. That is what keeps him away.

 

Theo's weakness is that he believes he has certain rights. He feels like if he works hard, he should be able to indulge in some activities that are illegal. He also will not talk opening with Stefan. Maybe if tried to talk to him logically, they could work out something.  he is aslo not so kind to Lesya. He tries, but he views and treats her as a kind of freak. 

 

The youngest boys, Ivan and Petro, are better offf without the adults. When Theo is gone, they spend every minute together. Sure, they have moments where they don't get along, but they work it out. When the adults are around, they are forbidden to play together and their hearts and minds are filled with hate. Only at the end, do they play- only then it is too late.