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Rachel-K
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Time and Nature

 

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Time and Nature

I don't know that I'd call the families relationship with the environment harmony, more like adaption to it. I feel that they learn from their new environment and adapt their home and fields and lives to survive it.

I feel hope and dread in equal numbers. Hope that Teodor's past prison term doesn't come back to haunt him, that Stefan doesn't cause trouble before Teodor can establish himself into the new community. Hope that Maria's faith and Teodor's tenacity will be enough to get them through what ever is to come.

Dread that Stefan has come back and what evil he has up his sleeve, dread that they'll face worse disasters than the fire, dread that there won't be enough food saved to get them through the winter.

I don't think the younger children have the same anxieties, but I can see them in Myron and Dania, even to some extent in Sophia and of course in Lesya because she's such an old wise soul. 

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momoftwinsMM
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Re: Time and Nature

I don't think that the family is necessarily living "in harmony" with nature, rather "using, working with" nature. Their livlihood and survival are dependant upon what they can yield from nature. This requires hard physical labour, including tilling/planting/gathering from the land, caring for and then taking from the animals etc.

 

As we can see from the fire, nature is not always on their side. Weather can be favourable at times and at times not.

 

I think the fire can be looked at in 2 ways: a cleansing/burning away of the chaff or destruction of what was prized. So it could be forshadowing of better or worse things to come. However, I feel that the fire provided a sense of foreboading since the family seemed to be faring so well before, so life will probably bring many hardships that stem from this fire.

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Wisteria-L
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Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Time and Nature

In the beginning Maria is very optimistic about her garden. She has her army of helpers work tirelessly each day pulling bugs off by hand and watching the little shoots work their way through the soil.

 

When they are ready she has plenty of time to do her canning and Anna helps her. She can't just take her time she must make sure the vegetables are fresh and complete the task in a reasonable time, but it is a hopeful time.

 

Maria is successful at the market and is able to negotiate a fair price, being a strong haggler and with her money buys the chickens.  All this is very hopeful for survival. 

 

Teodor must feel great because he finishes cultivating the farm and plants with enough time to get his crop in and then begin bulding his new home. This shows hope for his survival come winter. He must hurry by utilizing the daylight early morning til late at night, but he knows this is what a farmer does. 

 

There is one exact spot where Shandi writes about Teodor's thoughts... on page 108 when he "wades through the field of hip-deep, swaying wheat. He inhales its sweet, musty smell baking in the sun. ....Its beauty makes his chest hurt.

Clearly he loves his crops and feels close to them.  The must smell baking in the sun reminds me of baking bread in the oven. 

 

Later " he admires the perfectly symmetrical kernels....The grain crackles and snaps. He cups his hands, loosening his fingers, and gently blows

 

He thinks: "This year will be a good harvest. this year will be the year that he dreams again.

Then he looks at his home almost completed and, "feels the blood coursing through his body, tingling from his toes to his fingertips, the oxygen filling his lungs, his heart pumping against his chest, against the seeds- and he knows he will survive."

 

When Shandi writes this passage you know he feels alive, the crop gives oxygen to his blood, he thrives, it gives him the will and power to continue.  He is in sync with his crop. They are dependent on each other. They live because and for each other. 

 

This is a beautiful passage. After he says this the scene ends with this beautiful image:

"He wends his way back through the field, stepping softly, not wanting to crush a single stalk."

He loves his crop, his wheat and his labor and knows that he will survive and must protect the field of life at all costs. 

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
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MsReaderCP
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Re: Time and Nature

I think that for the most part the children rely on their parents and feel safe as long as their parents are around. Of course Anna is broken and so Ivan and Lesya are different.  Lesya knows she must work hard for her survival; she works hard first to please her uncle and then secondly to make her home with her parents work.  Ivan believes that because his home his not like his Uncles it must be because his Father is the missing link and so he does whatever he can to please him in order to make him stay.

 

Myron is older and he has felt like he had to be the man of the house when his father went to jail.  He continues to trap his rabbits and help to provide food for the family.

 

There is such a great feeling of harmony with the environment when both families work on their garden.  Maria's feelings about the "life" of the garden and how that can provide life to Anna are some of the most beautiful parts of the novel.  They are giving to the land and they receive vast amounts of food.  Again beautiful and sensual writing - as teodor is plowing "..the land responds to his request to open.  Deep furrows boom upward aching to be seeded." (55)

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girlie0620
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Re: Time and Nature

I think as someone before me said, they adapt to the environment. They do what they have to do...and yet, maybe connect with it somehow-

I think hope is on their side- especially with Maria- she keeps pushing forward- encouraging her children. Michelle

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m3girl
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Re: Time and Nature

The family seems to struggle to be in harmony with their environment.  It's a harsh environment and so being in harmony may not be possible back then (and maybe not even today).  The harmony comes with living in and off of the land - being able to get the crop in on time and then harvested in the fall.  The children play outside almost year round and seem to enjoy the snowy days as much as the summer days - just doing different types of activities.

Once that Stephan returned - I lost hope with what will happen as I know he brings trouble.  I wished that he would have been shot accidently or intently that night he shows up and drinks the whiskey - he is no good.  A good antagonist!!

The children sense their parents anxieties as expected - but I doubt the younger ones actually have anxieties that overshadow the rest of their lives.  They seem to still have dreams.

Susan 

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fordmg
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Re: Time and Nature


dhaupt wrote:

I don't know that I'd call the families relationship with the environment harmony, more like adaption to it. I feel that they learn from their new environment and adapt their home and fields and lives to survive it.

I feel hope and dread in equal numbers. Hope that Teodor's past prison term doesn't come back to haunt him, that Stefan doesn't cause trouble before Teodor can establish himself into the new community. Hope that Maria's faith and Teodor's tenacity will be enough to get them through what ever is to come.

Dread that Stefan has come back and what evil he has up his sleeve, dread that they'll face worse disasters than the fire, dread that there won't be enough food saved to get them through the winter.

I don't think the younger children have the same anxieties, but I can see them in Myron and Dania, even to some extent in Sophia and of course in Lesya because she's such an old wise soul. 


 

Stefan has already caused damage to Teodor.  He called the police about the whisky.  It was well hidden so they didn't find it, but Stefan did not care what happened to Teo and Maria and children.  I see the next crisis coming when Katya burns the brown paper.  I think that is the signed paper from Anna about receiving the money for the extra lot of land.  No one knows this yet.  Ivan doesn't understand the fight between the two fathers.  He thinks maybe it is his fault, but he can't figure it out.  He has just lost his best friend, and can't deal with it.   Stefan is such a letch.  He is satisfied to let Teodor and family do all the work and just reap the rewards.  He doesn't even know enough to chop wood for the stove and thinks a child should be able to do it for him.  I suspect that he was kicked out of where ever he was in town and that is why he has come home.  No one but Petro is glad to see him.

MG

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valorietucker
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Re: Time and Nature


rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 


 

I think to a certain extend in order to work on and with the land, you have to understand it and work within itBut in the end, the Earth is unpredictableSure Teodor can predict the land to an extend to know how to maximize yield and keep the earth ready for planting, but he can't predict or stop, say, the fire that raged throughSo, they struggle against the unpredictable nature of the land, and that the land is much stronger than them.

 

I always felt a sense of dreadPeople like Teodor and his family are always living on the cusp of losing everythingIt's so easy for a fire or for one greedy person to take everything away that all you can do is hope for the best but dread something awful happening.

 

I think the younger kids don't quite understand what sort of life they have, and they do not have the same sense of worry or urgency that their parents doThe older they get, the more responsibility they have to take for helping to run the farm and family, the more they realize and the anxieties of survival fall on them.

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CathyB
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Re: Time and Nature

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

The struggle with nature - the fire, dust storm, col, the mice eating the harvest, the towns people taking advantage of them.

 

The harmony with nature is evidenced in the garden and original planting of wheat.

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

I feel more of a sense of dread - just waiting for that shoe to drop - as we know that three people will die. This sense of dread has increased with the return of Stefan - my chest tightens when he is around as I consider hime to be the evil villain in the story.

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 

No, the children may sense the anxiety at times but they don't live in it - they still dream and think of good things to come.

 

Myron - thinks of a girl he has kissed

Sofia- of becoming someone else, pretty clothes

Katya - preoccupied with jesus

Ivan - wants to play, gets excited over his boots, still a child

Dania -  ?

Leysa - finds comfort in her chicken - I was thinking that when she referenced the one chicken was not laying eggs and Theo noticed her spending time in the coup that she considered herself that chicken - I know it sounds strange but that was the impression that came to me as I read it

Petro - becoming like his father - he wants and takes what he wants (he stole the lucky rock from Ivan)

 

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emmagrace
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Re: Time and Nature

This family tries so hard to be happy in their environment. The do not have much at all, but they seem happy and the love they have for each other is undeniable. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong, goes wrong with this family.

 

I certainly feel a sense of dread where this family is concerned. I think what else could possibly go wrong. I remember the description of the photograph in the beginning of this novel and I know that things can certainly get worse for this unfortunate family.

 

The children share their parents anxiety! How could they not. It is hard for the parents to hide their struggles from their children. I think that they sense that their futures are uncertain! 

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ssizemore
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Re: Time and Nature

I am not sure that the families live in harmony with nature except that they are accepting of the disasters that nature portends.  The fire was a devastating event, as was the dust storm.  It seemed that just when the future was looking up, nature dealt a terrible blow.  They do, however, seem to know how to farm and trap and live off of the land.

 

I feel a sense of dread.  The Prologue is haunting in tone and foreshadowings.  I won't be surprised, though, if the events have a twist. 

 

The children know of the shortage of money and of the anxiety Maria feels for Anna's family.  With the return of Stefan, their anxiety could not help but grow.  Katya's concern that they will "run out of Jesus" certainly shows that she believes they might not survive.  She is concerned about this all the time.

 

What's next???

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KathyS
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Re: Time and Nature


rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 


 

The topic of 'time and nature' seems apropos for this family, and when reading each season, we, I think, link our own feelings into these seasons.  I know I do.  Working the land as this family is doing, brings them as close to nature as you can get.  Time is always of the essence.  Working is not a choice, but play time is.  They have to always think about what nature will give, and what nature will take away.  It becomes second nature to worry, when you know from experience what the odds may be.

 

Spring brings all the hope in the world, as I, myself, watch the flowers bloom; the trees bud and the fields flourish.  The birds and animals tell us when new life arrives, as well.  It means new beginnings; new adventures, and a renewal of hope for the chance you may not have gotten the year before. 

 

Fall can be beautiful, but warnings of winter are evident by this beauty.  To relax in it would take your mind off of the future months.  The harsher the climate, the more worry, especially as this family is just beginning their crops, another baby(s) on the way, adding worry about survival.  It definately is the survival of the fittest.  This family could not take their eyes off of time and nature for very long.  But when they did, for this reader, it is was a breathe of fresh air.  Even the mundane chores felt like a reprieve from the hardships they had to endure.  We didn't just witness their physical pain, but the mental stress permeated this story.  Dread was the primary action of this family, in this story.  Like I'd said, we did have moments of hope, as did this family...we lived right along side them.

 

The children were aware, for the most part, as they watched and waited for times to have a little fun in their life.  Far and few moments between.  The older the child, the more responsiblities, the better the understanding, but the young ones couldn't help but witness the tragedies, and their parents faces and actions.  They formed their own ways of dealing with anxiety and stress.  Sometimes ignoring situations, were the only answers for the childs mental acceptance.  And lashing out becomes another way of dealing with the anger that was felt.

 

Kathy S.

 

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Read-n-Rider
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Re: Time and Nature

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?


I feel a sense of dread for them because of the terms of the homesteading agreement.  They are to have 25 acres tilled by the end of 3 years.  This first year, they have worked only 6 acres, leaving 19 to be done in the next 2.  That means that they have to till, on average, almost 50 percent more land in each of those years than they did in this first one, and that is a tall order, under the best of circumstances.  Given Stefan's presence and the portent for disaster that that holds, what are their chances?

 

It was such a cruel twist when Katya threw the paper (I'm assuming it was the one giving them the right to the land) in the fire.  Shandi, how could you do that to them?  And, Rachel and Paul (or whoever was responsible!), it was also cruel to expect us to stop reading where you did.  I haven't gone on yet, but it has taken a lot of willpower not to!

 

Joan

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BooksRPam
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Re: Time and Nature

I feel Shandi shows the family's struggle with time and nature through the issue with Maria's mother's blanket. During a hot, carefree summer day the girls leave raspberries on the blanket.  While at the time it seemed such an unimportant detail to have to deal with among the excitement of the picnic and the fishing and the frolicking, time takes its toll and becomes an enormous tragedy.  Maria finds it months later covered in grass stains, red stains, mold, and mildew.  What started out as just a summer day with a borrowed blanket has now turned into a ruined blanket, a beloved treasure made by Maria's mother's own gnarled hands.

 

Dania takes it upon herself to defy time by trying to fight against both the mildew and mold accumulated over the months and also by trying to defy nature in her attempts to wash out time's effects on the blanket even though Dania's hands become "raw and cracked and "the front of her coat and sleeves had frozen."

Pam
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KathyS
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Harmony


KathyS wrote:

rkubie wrote:

 

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 


I think that some may have trouble using the word "harmony".  There is an over powering feeling that there is no harmony, in the literal sense of the word [as in two notes which are not at odds] but, becoming dissonant....always fighting against some catastrophe or another in their enviornment.  The feeling of being at odds with nature. 

 

But the harmony I felt was in the taking care of each other, and what is given to them by the land.  Accepting; making peace with nature.  You can't fight the enviornment.  You take it and make the best out of what you have.  This is how you become one; stretching and sharing the dollar, or the food, or the clothes, or the house.....doing what you have to do to get you through, harmoniously giving thanks in all things.

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KathyS
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Re: Time and Nature


BooksRPam wrote:

I feel Shandi shows the family's struggle with time and nature through the issue with Maria's mother's blanket. During a hot, carefree summer day the girls leave raspberries on the blanket.  While at the time it seemed such an unimportant detail to have to deal with among the excitement of the picnic and the fishing and the frolicking, time takes its toll and becomes an enormous tragedy.  Maria finds it months later covered in grass stains, red stains, mold, and mildew.  What started out as just a summer day with a borrowed blanket has now turned into a ruined blanket, a beloved treasure made by Maria's mother's own gnarled hands.

 

Dania takes it upon herself to defy time by trying to fight against both the mildew and mold accumulated over the months and also by trying to defy nature in her attempts to wash out time's effects on the blanket even though Dania's hands become "raw and cracked and "the front of her coat and sleeves had frozen."


 

Good analogy!
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Tarri
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Re: Time and Nature

For me, having grown up on a farm, the family does seem to be in harmony with the environment, because they know that if they work hard they will have enough.  Of course, their enough is just what they need to survive until the next season, when it all begins again.  They (the parents anyway) are prepared for hard work and going without, because they have chosen their path. 

 

The children, who are attending school in town, see what the town's children have and want more, but isn't this the way of the world.  Most people want what they don't have, especially children.  I think as the children get older, they may sense their parent's anxieties, but most children don't realize their family is just barely scraping by. 

 

I did feel that with each averted disaster that the family could survive whatever was thrown in their path.  I felt that because Maria had made it through the year her husband was in prison, there was no reason they couldn't survive this year with the garden and the crops.

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Sensitivemuse
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Re: Time and Nature

In what ways does this family seem in harmony with their environment, and in what ways do they struggling against it?

 

- I think in many ways they're doing what they can to survive in the environment. I don't really see them in harmony with it, it's more like they're working with it just to get by. Considering what they go through in the summer, I think they seem to be struggling with their environment.

 

Do you feel more a sense of hope that time is on their side, or a sense of dread that they are racing against time for survival?

 

- I think both. Ever since Stefan came though, it's more of a sense of dread. I considered him a bad omen.

 

Do the children share their parents anxieties about their survival?

 

- I'm not sure if the children do. Myron most I think because he's older and understands the situation they're in. 

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booksJT
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Re: Time and Nature

I don't think they are living in harmony with nature, the families are adapting the best way they can. Maria is the only one I consider who is living in  harmony with her environment. Maria has started her garden with the help of her children.

 

Working in that  environment at times is a struggle for the families because of the weather and possible fires. In the beginning they were able to plant crops. Then came the unexpected fire and the mice who damaged the wheat grains. Weather and time can be a friend or enemy sometimes.

 

I feel a sense of dread because they are racing against time for survival. The crops must be planted before they have another fire or a long winter. Also they must worry about whether or not Stefan will try and take what they have  already saved  and built. Stefan is out to get revenge against Theo because he thinks everything should be his.

 

The younger children have no sense of what is going on  in  their households. Only thing they care about is that their parents are doing the best to keep them from starving. The older children sense that the parents are struggling everyday. The children don't live with the anxieties everyday so they  still  dream and think about good things.