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Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Two Families

Shandi's ability to create two separate worlds within one is amazing.  The depth of the relationships within Maria and Teodor's marrage and lack of with Anna and Stefan is wonderful.  As others have said, Maria's marriage seems to be based on love and responsibility.  Anna's is a fantacy.  She married a dream that became a nightmare.  Typical of young infatuation. 

I am still a little confused about Teodor's prison sentence.  He managed to escape Ukraine, but was caught with grain in Canada?  So he was imprisoned in Canada?  That is what I don't understand.  Why not in the old country?  

Teodor is a strong man.  He comes home broken, and as soon as he starts to recouporate, takes on all responsibilites of both his and his sisters family.  He seems to treat all the children the same.   He must have a good relationship with Anna, his sister.  He doesn't show much emotion, but I think that is the way things were back in that time.  The hardships were such that there was no room for more.  If Teodor was emotional, he would not have been able to fight though the fire. 

Maria takes care of all children and her sister in law.  I think she is grateful to Anna for giving them a place to go when Teodor was in prison.  Otherwise her family would have had no place to go.  That must be an underlying feeling when she spends so much time taking care of Anna. 

I am not liking the character of Stefan, but there were many men like that. (still are I would guess)  He doesn't want to really do the dirty work.  He thinks he should have the good life that he enjoyed being a hot shot and taking what he wants.  He wants others to do for him, he won't do for himself.  That is the failure of Anna's choice in husbands.  She doesn't have a husband who knows how to survive on his own, he must live off others.

 

MG

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dclement04
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎09-30-2008
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Re: Two Families

The children, of course, seem to mark the differences between the two families most. How would you describe those differences?

 

I believe that the children fell very loved by Maria mostly and just considered themselves as siblings instead of just cousins because they do everything together and they bully and have fun just like young children should and their family has a good time with each other.

 

What are the marriages like?

 

Just like everyone else said you can definately see a difference in the two marriages. Teodor and Maria have a loving and understanding marriage. Teodor I think genuinely feels like he has to be the man in the family and protect his wife and kids as well as his sister's children. Maria I believe was shocked and quiet at first when Teodor returned but as the days went on I believe she was super excited to have her husband back and started to relax a little.

 

Anna and Stefan's marriage is another story and upsetting. Stefan's children even seem afraid of him and because he is an alcoholic and abusive I think that had a lot to do with how Anna acts now (very reserved and just drawn back from motherhood and from the rest of her family). I hope the story explains why she acts the way she does.  I am also wondering what is going on with her and the connection with the coyotes...anyone know about that?

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?

 

This relationship, like someone else said before, sounds like a mother daughter relationship instead of a sister-in-law relationship. Anna seems more motherly taking care of all the children where as Anna just seems withdrawn. Maria seems to just let her be and handle everything.

 

 

Happy reading! :smileywink:

Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Two Families


Tasses wrote:

You make two good points:

 

1. I also wondered what Anna & Theodor's childhood must have been like and how they formed different ways of coping. Though, I've finished the book and won't spoil it for others... I'll simply ponder that perhaps they aren't so different afterall.

 

2. And I again wondered about Anna and Maria's relationship if it were happening in modern times. It seems we don't have the same responsibiltites to one another as they did back then. We stick people in homes or institutions, whereas in the past, people took care of people. They had no choice. Family was family, not someone we saw once or twice ayear.


Tasses,

I agree with your comment about how families were different then.  My husband's family grew up in a small town with several families of cousins.  When they were at someone's house that parent disciplined them, fed them and they all went home at the end of the day.  I know it's not quite the same but families were very different then.

Kathy

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Two Families - Spring and Summer


DSaff wrote:

 

While all of the characters are worth watching, I am waiting to see how Myron turns out. He has been the man of the house while Teodore is away. Now, he is second again. He wants to prove himself but he also want to make his father proud. He has become a man while his father has been away. Will Teodore get that? Will there be a show-down? More hooks to keep me reading. :smileyhappy:

 

_______________________________________________________


I am very curious about how Myron will develop, too, for the same reasons.   It will be very interesting. I was moved with how he was so sensitive not to hurt his father's pride - but at the same time, he did want to demonstrate his own strength. When his first thoughts upon seeing his father were, "I can take him," I was happily surprised by that sensitivity & respect for his dad.

 

I'm very impressed with Lesya's perseverance & resilience, despite the negligence of her parents. Her connection with the little chick is very touching.

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Two Families

The children, of course, seem to mark the differences between the two families most. How would you describe those differences?

 

The difference between the children in each of the families is the difference between parents providing guidance, routine and continuity in life.  Maria basically sets the ground rules, while Teodor works the farm and this works for the two of them as a team, setting the example for their children that everyone is a part of the team in order to survive.  Anna and Stephan have no rules, provide no guidance, Stephan isn't always around, and this shows in their children's attitude.  Their children feel very comfortable around Maria and Teodor and join in along with their daily routines.

 

What are the marriages like?

Maria/Teodor have a marriage based on love and respect while the only thing binding Anna/Stephan's marriage is a legal document.  There is no love or respect and Stephan only stays for what money he can get from the family.

 

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?

Maria is a responsible and naturally maternal person and takes care of her own family plus Anna's family.  Since Anna only exists in life, she allows this of Maria or anyone else who will take care of her.

 

 

 

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Shadowwolf36
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-16-2008
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Re: Two Families


fordmg wrote:

Shandi's ability to create two separate worlds within one is amazing.  The depth of the relationships within Maria and Teodor's marrage and lack of with Anna and Stefan is wonderful.  As others have said, Maria's marriage seems to be based on love and responsibility.  Anna's is a fantacy.  She married a dream that became a nightmare.  Typical of young infatuation. 

I am still a little confused about Teodor's prison sentence.  He managed to escape Ukraine, but was caught with grain in Canada?  So he was imprisoned in Canada?  That is what I don't understand.  Why not in the old country?  

MG


I completely agree with your post....as for the prison sentence...if I read, remember and understand correctly, he did plant a harvest in Canada and 3 weeks shy of his paying off the "loan" from the government, they came in and confiscated everything...he stole the grain in Canada....he did not get caught leaving and/or stealing from the Ukraine... I could however be wrong...I don't have the book in front of me to check the facts...

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Two Families

I had a problem with the prison sentence too. At first, probably automatically, I assumed that he had been imprisoned in the Ukraine and later followed his wife and children to Canada and to his sister's farm. But then I reread a couple of things that cleared it for me. The prison scene was in Canada, after he stole his own grain.

 

The paragraph that had confused me is on page 76. The whole page is about the village in the Ukraine; at the bottom of the page, in the same paragraph Maria's crucifix is explained (given to her by her mother the day of their escape) and, further down is says: "When Teodor was sent to prison, Maria traded the crucifix for the wagonload of grain that the police had confiscated."

 

 

Not until I reread the previous page and the following page, and the page where their first home in Canada is described, (page 15) their arrival on Canadian soil, did I understand clearly about the prison sentence. And then the prologue made sense too. The picture was taken the first winter after their arrival, then, within the next three years the farm was taken away, Teodor went to prison, Maria took her children to Anna's farm, and the story of the four seasons begins.....

 


Shadowwolf36 wrote:


fordmg wrote:

Shandi's ability to create two separate worlds within one is amazing.  The depth of the relationships within Maria and Teodor's marrage and lack of with Anna and Stefan is wonderful.  As others have said, Maria's marriage seems to be based on love and responsibility.  Anna's is a fantacy.  She married a dream that became a nightmare.  Typical of young infatuation. 

I am still a little confused about Teodor's prison sentence.  He managed to escape Ukraine, but was caught with grain in Canada?  So he was imprisoned in Canada?  That is what I don't understand.  Why not in the old country?  

MG


I completely agree with your post....as for the prison sentence...if I read, remember and understand correctly, he did plant a harvest in Canada and 3 weeks shy of his paying off the "loan" from the government, they came in and confiscated everything...he stole the grain in Canada....he did not get caught leaving and/or stealing from the Ukraine... I could however be wrong...I don't have the book in front of me to check the facts...


 

Frequent Contributor
Sheltiemama
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎06-01-2009

Re: Two Families

Even though Maria's children work hard, they are still allowed to be children and have parents who love them. Anna's children have to walk on eggshells. It feels like they're always under a black cloud or a shadow. And they have to try to take care of their mother. Lesya, especially, is fond of Maria.

 

Maria's marriage is very good. They loved each other deeply, and you get the sense they're a team and in this together. Anna's marriage is understandably broken.

 

Anna is like another child for Maria to take care of. I'm curious to see what happens with Anna's baby.

Contributor
edelweissAM
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-31-2009

Re: Two Families

Maria's children have one very important gift;they know they are loved and wanted. Maria even tells her unborn child how much she loves and wants him.

Anna's children have no parent to rely on and have no haven in their lives except Maria.  Anna's children have to sense the difference between the two families and resent the fact that they will never have that kind of love from their parents.

Maria has a real marriage. There is love, support and respect. Even when they disagree,they work together to do what is needed. Anna is in abusive relationship and her mental problems pull her farther and farther from reality. There is no love, respect or support in her relationship.

 Maria treats Anna like a hurt child and tries to help her as best she can.  I think Anna is suffering under the illusion that Maria owes Anna everything.

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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Two Families


Sunltcloud wrote:

I had a problem with the prison sentence too. At first, probably automatically, I assumed that he had been imprisoned in the Ukraine and later followed his wife and children to Canada and to his sister's farm. But then I reread a couple of things that cleared it for me. The prison scene was in Canada, after he stole his own grain.

 

The paragraph that had confused me is on page 76. The whole page is about the village in the Ukraine; at the bottom of the page, in the same paragraph Maria's crucifix is explained (given to her by her mother the day of their escape) and, further down is says: "When Teodor was sent to prison, Maria traded the crucifix for the wagonload of grain that the police had confiscated."

 

 

Not until I reread the previous page and the following page, and the page where their first home in Canada is described, (page 15) their arrival on Canadian soil, did I understand clearly about the prison sentence. And then the prologue made sense too. The picture was taken the first winter after their arrival, then, within the next three years the farm was taken away, Teodor went to prison, Maria took her children to Anna's farm, and the story of the four seasons begins.....

 


Oh, thanks,  this explains alot.  I get a clearer picture now. 
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BookBobBP
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎04-30-2009
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Re: Two Families - Spring and Summer

Looking at Anna you see someone who is suffering from some kind of mental illness.  I think Maria is the only one who understands what is happening to Anna.   That is why Maria does her best to make sure Anna's children needs are met.  

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jbnie
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Two Families

The children may mark the differences between the two families, but I think that it is the number of children in each family that that also make a difference. In Anna family neither Petro or Lesya has siblings that they can relate anything to. They have cousins of course but a cousin is not he same as a brother or a sister. Maria's children have brothers and sisters to do all of the things that brothers and sisters do to each other.

 

The marriages reminded me of the story of the ant and the grasshopper.Maria was always planning ahead, making sue that everyone got what they needed. Anna gave no though to the present or the future. Lesya seems to look to Maria for the guidance that her Mother is not giving her.

 

Maris seems to understand that Anna is broken and does her best to take care of her.While Maria does not make excuses for Anna, she never judges her and that is a wonderful thing. Everyone needs a friend who accepts them for what they are and are not. THis quality makes a Maria a special person.

 

Jane


rkubie wrote:

The children, of course, seem to mark the differences between the two families most. How would you describe those differences?

 

What are the marriages like?

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?


 

Correspondent
m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Two Families

The children do reflect their parents.  While Maria raises her family in a loving environment that expects and respects hard work and teaches that you have to work for what you have...

 

Anna seems to be so beaten and detached from her family - no doubt due to what's happened between her and her husband.  Still even with him being gone for long periods of time - his son is growing up to be just like him.  Too bad.

 

I'm unsure why Anna and Maria are not better friends.  After all, they lived out there in the middle of nowhere for a long time together - when both of the men were away.  I'm surprised Anna doesn't tell Maria about what her husband is up to and also why Maria doesn't seem to want to know too much about what is up with Anna.  I'm sure I'll get more and figure out more as I continue to read on...

 

It's a well written and intriguing story.

Susan 

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Anna_Louise
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎06-17-2009
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Re: Two Families

The two families are as different as day and night.  Day being Maria and Teodor's family in that there is love, support, care and a genuine trust of each other.  Night being Anna and Stephan's family where there is only darkness in their relationship and with their children. 

 

Maria seems to be the caretaker of both families in Teodor's absence and even when he returns, she still seems to the primary caretaker.

 

Anna

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Randie_CC
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-27-2009
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Re: Two Families

First, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book.  I had some misgivings about the subject matter, but once I started reading it I couldn't put it down.

 

The children are so difference.  You see how Anna's two children really look to Maria as a surrogate Mother.  There is also how adult and parent like Anna's oldest daughter is in the novel, and how hard she tries to earn Maria's approval by working hard.

 

The two marriages are very different.  In Maria and Teo's marriage their love and respect for each other shine through.  Yes, they face difficulties, but they work together to face those difficulties.  Both of them accept the difficulties in their life and don't pretend that life is different than it is. 

Anna and Stephan have a very different life.  They both wish for a life so different from the one they have.  Stephen has gone off and Anna is punishing herself.

 

Anna and Maria have a complex relationship.  On one hand, without Anna, Maria's family would be much worse off.  However, now without Maria I wonder how Anna's family would survive.  Anna cannot see beyond herself, and without Maria's love for family, Anna's life would be much worse.

 

Again, let me say, I really enjoyed this book!

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shelley727
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-30-2007
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Re: Two Families

Maria & Teodore's children come from a loving hard working family with values.  The mother & father respect & love each other--the children see that. 

 

Anna & Stephen's children are from an abusive family.  The father is a drunk and abusive to their mother.  The children are afraid of him.  Once he left Anna fell apart and doesn't take care of the children.  Petro & Leysa look their aunt & uncle for love, stability, values, & family.  I think the children are all more like brother/sisters then cousins.  Thinking back to my family--my cousins lived across the street from us.  We never did ANYHING  without them and didn't want to either.  If we were at their house my aunt fed us, bathed us, disciplined us like we were her own and vise versa.  It's not like that anymore.  Doesn't seem like that anyway. 

Fortunately for Petro & Leysa they have their asunt & uncle to look after them when their mother can't.

 

I feel the relationship between Anna & Maria is more of a mother/daughter relationship.  Anna relies on Maria for sooo much and Maria knows that Anna isn't able to fend for herself or her kids due to her instability.  She really looks after her like she is her own daughter.  Hopefully we read further Anna will be able to look after herself and her kids.   

Shelley
Contributor
dleigh
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-05-2009

Re: Two Families

The children, of course, seem to mark the differences between the two families most. How would you describe those differences?

 

I think that both Petro and Leysa are marked by their parents - Leysa was born with more than a crippled foot - she was also born with a crippled mom who has difficulty loving her as she is - Anna sees Leysa's deformity as a punishment for sin. Petro too seems to be suffering from some type of internal deformity - within the spring and summer parts of the story he comes across as a trouble maker who is constantly feeling jealous or pushing Ivan to get into trouble.  Neither child is feeling accepted or loved for who they are - and Anna appears quite incapable of giving them the love they need.  I truly felt sorry for these children when Maria & Teodor move into the new house - I wondered if Anna was going to abuse or neglect these children without her brother & sis-in-law to watch over them.

 

What are the marriages like?

Maria & Teodor seems to have a loving relationship - especially in regards to how much they love their children and their family.  I think that Teodor's inability to communicate following his time in prison is a result of the traumas and injustice he felt while in prison - he seems to be suffering from PTSD (& I probably would too if I had witnessed some of the injustices that he witnessed).

 

Anna & Stephan seems to be in an unloving and abusive relationship. Anna feels that she is constantly being punished for sins that she & Stephan have committed.  Stephan also appears to be an alcoholic - so he us unable to care for his family properly.

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?

I feel like their relationship is pretty typical for sisters-in-law who have to take care of each other & their families to survivable seems to be the mother figure in this relationship - and she seems to have to take care of Anna during her depression.  It does make me wonder what the difference between the two newborns will be!

 

 

 

 
DH
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kren250
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎01-01-2009
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Re: Two Families

Maria and Teodor are steady, hard working, responsible. They have aspirations and are working towards achieving them, despite set backs. They don't give up.

 

Stefan is a loser, and it appears he was even back in the Ukraine. It's a shame Anna got saddled with him as a husband. He's unreliable, likes to drink, no sense of responsibility. Anna seems to be insane, with the two kids and Maria being the ones to keep the Anna/Stefan household running.

 

Maria and Tedor have a good marriage, if somewhat subdued (because of circumstances, and living in a one room shack with five kids;-). Stefan and Anna have a horrible marriage.

 

Anna and Maria's relationship seems a bit strained. I think Maria feels she has to just let Anna be since Anna was generous enough to let them live there and loan them money for the homestead.

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Two Families

Good Afternoon Everyone,

 

The children, of course, seems to mark the differences between the two families most.  How would you describe those differences?

 

  I am personally seeing this as one family.  Anna and her children have been through a lot, as Stefan, Lesya and Petro’s father brutally attacked their mother and as a result of his raping her, has left her with yet a future mouth to feed and child to care for.  Both Lesya and Petro are fighters and have been since their births. 

  Now as for Maria and Teodor’s children, they are doers.  They are each given a responsibility and they go about doing what they need to.  Myron, the eldest son had to assume the responsibility of man of the house upon his fathers’ imprisonment.  Now that his father is out of prison and back with his family, Myron, wants to show his father that he can provide or at least assistance in providing for their family. 

 

What are the marriages like?

 

  There is no marriage between Anna and Stefan, as a result of the brutality of Stefan and subsequent separation.  Anna has nothing to do with Stefan and from what I recall, Stefan only saw Lesya once, in this section of reading.  At best, Lesya was polite when she saw him, but you can sense the fear she has for him. 

  Teodor and Maria have a strong marriage.  Yes it has been tested because of the prison time Teodor had to endure, but upon his release, Maria is giving him the time and space needed to bring him back to his fullest.  They are in love and I can only see their love growing throughout the novel.

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?

 

  These two women have an extremely close relationship.  They have had to endure hardships unimaginable to most, and it appears that they will continue to grow closer.  Anna confides in Maria in everything and Maria continues to keep those confidences.

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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Sheltiemama
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎06-01-2009
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Re: Two Families

I hope Anna comes roaring back, too.

shelley727 wrote:

 

 

 

 Hopefully we read further Anna will be able to look after herself and her kids.