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Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Two Families


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?



These families seem to be polar opposites.   One family is driven by their unbreakable spirit and the others’ spirit is completely broken.

Teodor and Maria’s children look to their parents for support and guidance, while Anna and Stefan’s look to their Aunt and Uncle. 
Teodor and Maria’s children are self-sufficient and help with chores around the farm.  They do their chores out of respect and love for the family.  They are secure and confident children.  Anna and Stefan’s children are motivated out of fear and the need to prove their abilities to their parents.  Lesya wants to prove that she isn’t worthless and can help despite her disability and she has overcome so much.  Lesya is actually stronger than all of her family, in my opinion as she has been forced to become an adult at such a young age.  Petro is trying to impress his father and prove that he is worthy of his father’s love.  My fear is that Petro will become just like his father, rather than learn from his mistakes.  He seems to idolize Stefan and wants his father to acknowledge him, which has not happened yet.  I wonder if it ever will happen and if so…what will come of it?

The marriages are completely opposite, as well.  Teodor and Maria are bound together and work to help the family succeed.  Their love and faith overcome just about anything that falls before them, while Stefan and Anna have no bond except the fear of being alone.

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Two Families - Spring and Summer

Yes! at this point in the novel, I was completely sucked in by the characters. The love and respect this young man had for his father was amazing.  Shandi Mitchell has such a wonderful way of telling her story and showing so many things at once.  She was able to show me the son's love and respect for his father, while at the same time she was showing me how difficult things had been for Teodor in prison.  Another beautiful element of this part of the story is the tenderness between all the family members as they get to know each other again.  I just loved this.

 


DSaff wrote:

Wasn't it awesome how Myron kept looking out for his father? He not only let his father keep his dignity, but he also showed him a lot of respect. Myron seems to have grown up very quickly and knows the value of honor and dignity. He wants his father to see how much he has grown, to see the things he has done, but not at the expense of Teodore's pride.


JoyZ wrote:
Wow, such a lot of contrasts and contradictions between the two families and also the characters.  I thought DStaff summed it up very well.  I am also curious about Myron.  I think being the head of the family while his father was away puts him in an awkward position now that his father has returned.  I had wondered if maybe he had looked up to Stefan, as the only man around.  But, he did maintain his father's dignity as Teodor struggled with the plow. 

 

 


 

 

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Two Families


dhaupt wrote:

The children of Maria and Teodor are as well kept as possible have sunday clothes for Church and have loving parents, there is a continuity there even though as all siblings do they fight and bicker. Anna and Stephan's children are more like orphans that Maria and later Teodor care for while Anna is off finding her coyotes and Stephan is off who knows where.

 

The marriage between Maria and Teodor is a union, a partnership and there is love there.

There is no marriage between Anna and Stephan just on paper, there is no trust, no love only heartache and pain and betrayal.

 

The relationship between Anna and Maria are more like mother and daughter, Maria is the caretaker of Anna, the only spark I saw in Anna was during the big summer celebration dinner. 


I couldn't agree more.  The fact that Maria can manage to keep the children clean and dressed with so little is amazing.  She's pregnant and still manages to do so much.  As she keeps the children clean and with their Sunday clothes, she is instilling a dignity that could be missing otherwise, perhaps.  No matter how poor, they manage to maintain their dignity and care for each other.  Maria's family communicates...and they do it well.  Anna is trying to communicte with the coyotes, while she completely ignores her children and her own needs.  Anna is a woman who has completely lost the will to live and seems to be in survival mode...I hope she manages to survive at this rate.  She is a sad case and her children are suffering as a result.

 

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Inspired Correspondent
Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Two Families

I don't think that proximity is the best catalyst for friendship.  I live in Toronto and am not very good friends with my neighbour who has a daughter the same age as mine.  There are lots of people in this very large city, and I can make friends with whomever I wish.   I don't need to be friends with my neighbour solely due to proximity.

 

I was talking to my cousin at the cottage about this.  She lives about 9 hours due north of Toronto - way northern Ontario.  In addition, she lives in the bush.  So, she has a few neighbours and some of them have children for hers to play with.  However would she choose to be friends with them given a larger selection of friends?  No.  Therefore, even though they see each other quite a bit, they are not close.

 

Not sure if I'm coming across the way I mean to, or even if I'm making any sense.  I just don't think that proximity and isolation breed friendship necessarily. 

 

Amanda

 


m3girl wrote:

 

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.  


 

 
Inspired Contributor
LISA-BRYAN
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎12-16-2008
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Re: Two Families

Children are in many ways a direct reflection of their environment - that is their parents. 

 


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?


 

Lesya is an introvert much like her mother Anna.  She lives and functions quite well despite her disabiltity.  Petro is somewhat of an introvert; however, he has Ivan as a "brother-like" figure in his life.  When Stephan is around, everyone walks on eggshells.  Anna and Stephan's marriage is very disfunctional.  He is a poor excuse for a father, husband and human being.  Separation did not make their marriage stronger.

 

Myron has developed into the father-figure provider role in his father's absence.  Ivan is still a boy but is wanting to grow up fast and do things he has seen his father and Myron do.  Dania is much like her mother - a hard worker.  Sofia is a dreamer and a wanter of everything she does not have; she is never satisfied with what she does have - which will probably cause her problems later on in life.  Katya is such an innocent child who has a lot of misconceptions about things -- example - body of Christ.  I think she will remain in that child-like state her whole life -- it seems that she has a lower IQ and possibly is a bit mentally challenged - probably due to the tough pregnancy Maria had.  Maria and Theodor's marriage is strong -- they do everything for the family and their marriage.  Separation probably only made their marriage stronger.

 

Maria and Anna have a relationship due to marriage.  Anna opens up to Maria out of necessity.  Maria has such a big heart and wants to help everyone in need.  Maria makes sure Anna and her children are fed since Anna's good-for-nothing husband does not care about his wife and children.

Frequent Contributor
momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-11-2009

Re: Two Families

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?

 

The families are complete opposites. Maria & Teodore's children are brought up in a home filled with love, courage and the will to go on. We see Maria treating Anna's children as her own, demonstrating kindness to others. Myron's willingness to stay back rather than fell his father's pride is one example of how the children are picking up these traits.

 

Lesya & Petro are broken (physically & mentally) due to the abusive relationship existing between Anna & Stefan. We see Lesya retreat into herself, speaking more softly, becoming like a servant in her own home, fearing her father. We note that Petro makes fun of his mother and sister (relating them to animals). He believes this is what makes him a man. Children who see a father continuously leave--on his own accord. Petro believes that pleasing his father will make him stay this time.

 

I was really overwhelmed and saddened by the affect of Anna & Stefan's relationship and selfish natures on their children.

 

What is the relationship between Anna and Maria?

 
Anna & Maria's relationship reflects the relationship between mother & daughter rather than sister-in-laws. Maria is always taking care of her, and Anna accepts the help without a thank you. We really see the mother heart of Maria beating when she continues to want to care for Anna despite all the business over the letters, stating that "wars are always fought between men." She understands that when these wars occur, everyone gets hurt.
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Coral50
Posts: 160
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Two Families


leannenodell wrote:
I am only a few chapters into the book, but I can already tell that there is a difference between the characters of the two families. Maria and Teo love each other very much and even though they aren't very affectionate when he first returns, you can tell that there is a deep love between them. You also see Maria's love and devotion to her family and making sure that they are fed and taken care of. Anna's relationship with Stephen is not nearly as loving and because he raped her, she resents the children. I'm glad to see that Maria is helping Anna get back to "normal", but I'm worried about what the future holds for Anna. Her sanity seems to be on the edge of a blade.

 

I agree, and now that I have read further, I see more of the abused wife personality in Anne. Theo and Maria work together as a family unit; and Maria helps her sister-in-law (Anna), niece and nephew as much as possible.

Cora 

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

There is another issue that keeps Maria and Anna from being closer friends.   Anna feels superior because she and Stefan have the land, and Maria and family were taken in on welfare becuase Teodor was in prison.   Maria is "happy" to work as hard as needed to get work done and improve the land, Anna is looking for a different life.  She tried to help her brother, but the conflict with Stefan was too much for her to handle, and ultimately, she can't cultivate a friendship of any kind.

MG


Amanda-Louise wrote:

I don't think that proximity is the best catalyst for friendship.  I live in Toronto and am not very good friends with my neighbour who has a daughter the same age as mine.  There are lots of people in this very large city, and I can make friends with whomever I wish.   I don't need to be friends with my neighbour solely due to proximity.

 

I was talking to my cousin at the cottage about this.  She lives about 9 hours due north of Toronto - way northern Ontario.  In addition, she lives in the bush.  So, she has a few neighbours and some of them have children for hers to play with.  However would she choose to be friends with them given a larger selection of friends?  No.  Therefore, even though they see each other quite a bit, they are not close.

 

Not sure if I'm coming across the way I mean to, or even if I'm making any sense.  I just don't think that proximity and isolation breed friendship necessarily. 

 

Amanda

 


m3girl wrote:

 

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.  


 

 

 

Correspondent
CJINCA
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
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Re: Two Families

Anna is so beaten down and so withdrawn, I don't think she could interact at the level of 'friendship' (let alone 'adult' or 'parent'). 

 

Anna's almost complete passivity forces the others -- adults and children -- to take on her responsibilities.  Maria is helping Anna even though Anna cannot make a rational life-and-death decision for her family (for example, whether to salt the meat or eat it all or feed it to the coyotes).

 

There is not much room for 'friendship' there.

 


fordmg wrote:

There is another issue that keeps Maria and Anna from being closer friends.   Anna feels superior because she and Stefan have the land, and Maria and family were taken in on welfare becuase Teodor was in prison.   Maria is "happy" to work as hard as needed to get work done and improve the land, Anna is looking for a different life.  She tried to help her brother, but the conflict with Stefan was too much for her to handle, and ultimately, she can't cultivate a friendship of any kind.

MG


Amanda-Louise wrote:

I don't think that proximity is the best catalyst for friendship.  I live in Toronto and am not very good friends with my neighbour who has a daughter the same age as mine.  There are lots of people in this very large city, and I can make friends with whomever I wish.   I don't need to be friends with my neighbour solely due to proximity.

 

I was talking to my cousin at the cottage about this.  She lives about 9 hours due north of Toronto - way northern Ontario.  In addition, she lives in the bush.  So, she has a few neighbours and some of them have children for hers to play with.  However would she choose to be friends with them given a larger selection of friends?  No.  Therefore, even though they see each other quite a bit, they are not close.

 

Not sure if I'm coming across the way I mean to, or even if I'm making any sense.  I just don't think that proximity and isolation breed friendship necessarily. 

 

Amanda

 


m3girl wrote:

 

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.  


 

 

 


 

Contributor
annemd
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Two Families - Spring and Summer

Myron had some real depth to his character, even though he was only 13.

He had pride in his own growth and accomplishments, but sought not to eclipse his father, even though at the time his father was weakerThat kind of respectful empathy seems more a trait like his mother. Teodor had pride, strength, righteousness, fortitude, but not empathy.

AnneMD
Correspondent
PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
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Re: Two Families

Maria and her children are more upbeat. They play in the fields and are excited to work. The girls help their mother in the field and in the house without having to feel like they need to prove their abilities. On the other hand, Lesya feels like she needs to prove herself as a "normal" child. She tries to hide her deformed leg by doing her chores carefully so that her mother would see her as "normal". I feel that Lesya is not very happy most of the time because of her mothers depressing mood. Even though her mood had gotten better since she started helping in the garden, she still has depression in her soul, and Lesya feel it. 

 

So far, I have noticed that the marriage between Maria and Teodore is wonderful. She loves him and he loves her unconditionally. Since his arrival, Maria has put all of her effort towards making the family thrive, and it has been thriving excellently. From what I have read so far (just finished Spring), the relationship between Anna and Stefan in a very unhealthy one. I would not even call their relationship a marriage at this point because of the way Stefan ruined it. Anna does not even want the child growing in her womb because she knows it is part Stefan and she remembers how horrifically was conceived. They used to be happy, but visions were illusions between them two.

 

The relationship between Maria and Anna is like a mother and daughter. I see Maria caring for Anna as if she were one of her children.  When Anna would not get out of bed, Maria would send her food, wash her dishes and care for her children with no complaints. She encourages Anna to get out of the house and get fresh air. I feel that if it were not for Maria helping Anna, she would have slim chances of survival due to her deep depression.

"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
Frequent Contributor
dj5775
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎03-22-2009
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Re: Two Families

I love how close the children are being raised. Maria though seeming the more mother figure to the children while Anna dwells in her depression. It may be Anna's land but the households are seperate and distinct. Maria and her children maintaining the farm with help from Anna's children while she was in her home.

The marriages are very different. Maria and Teodore have love, respect, hardwork, and strength holding them together. Anna's marriage changed from day one, her husband not even in the picture now following abuse, drinking and the coyoyes incident. 

Maria mothers all the children and even Anna, she is too withdrawn and depressed to car for herself or her children.

ct
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bartzturkeymom
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
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Re: Two Families


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?


It is true that children learn what they live. Lesya lurks in the shadows of the barn when she wants to tell her uncle something, Petro is suspicious of Iva's motves in their little games because Ivan always wins.

 

Despite the fact that Maria's family is beholden to Anna's and seems to have nothing (especially with more mouths to feed), Anna's family has to take charity from them because Anna stays in bed and Stefan's money is all drunk or gambled away. Maria tries to take Lesya and Petro under wing, giving them work to do, correctng them, encouraging them.

 

Anna is a taker and Maria is a giver.  Maria is a nurturing mother, even treating Anna like a child, which gives Stefan ammunition in trying to separate Anna from Maria in his cruel abuses.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. - Edith Wharton