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14abetancourt
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Registered: ‎10-05-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

1)

As a teenager self-image, looks, and pressures from society are problems that everyone has to deal with. I think, like normal teenagers, the characters in this novel a struggling to fit themselves into what is "in." No matter how much it might change them. They are trying to make themselves what everyone else thinks is cool or acceptable, if you will. No matter who you are or where you come from the pressures don't hold off. The boys, girls, rich, famous, and struggling alike all have found something about themsleves they want to change. While the charaters in the book are able to fool people that don't know them into believing their facade, those who do know them can see the truth, the fake behind the change. In the long run I'm sure these changes will not have much of an effect on their lives.

 

2)

Freedom is having the option to do various things with your time or your life...true freedom is having these choices and making the right one. When someone can make the right choices they are officially granted freedom from whomever may be watching  over them. Freedom is a trust, mostly in yourself.  Making bad chocies to follow the trend doesn't make someone free, it will only make them regret. I don't think any of the characters in this book have freedom yet, but I hope they find it. 

 

 

So far I think Vixen is a great read! I couldn't put it down, not even to finish my homework lol!!!   

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DaniLynn71
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-09-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

[ Edited ]

I think that the changes in appearance are each girls way of taking a step towards the person she wants to be inside. None of them are actually there yet, but their outer image is the first step.  Clara wants to be accepted by her family and avoid reform school, so she alters her appearance to conform to what her aunt and mother will approve of. Gloria wants to be whatever will get her out of her impending marriage, so she cuts her hair, knowing her fiance' will hate it. Lorriane wants what Gloria has, so she tries to be prettier and more fashionable than Gloria in an attempt to best her. 

 

I think what Jerome means about freedom is that Gloria is just playing make-believe. At this point, she may think she's free and grown up because she cut her hair, dressed up and snuck out of the house to enter a forbidden world, but really, she's not truly free because she's still sneaking around to do it.  She won't really be free until/unless she steps outside of her comfort zone when it really counts, not in secret.

 

 

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DanaLou15
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-05-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I have to say that I am really enjoying this book.  Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and the Roaring '20s are an interesting & fun time period.

 

Now to answer your questions:

1. I think each of these characters are trying to change their looks because they are unhappy with who others perceive them to be.  In the case of Gloria & Lorraine, the good girl and the faithful sidekick.  Gloria feels trapped by what society expects of her & the marriage.  Lorraine feels like she's in Gloria's shadow.  And Clara is hoping if others perceive her as boring & dowdy, no one will question closely her life before Chicago.  Right now, they are successful in fooling those close to them, but they are not fooling themselves.

 

2.  None of those things make one free.  They are holding secrets and you can't be truly free when you withhold an important part of yourself.  Freedom, in this case, means not being trapped by what others expect of you.  Yes, Gloria is sneaking off to a speakeasy and yes, she cut her hair.  However, she isn't strong enough to tell her mom that she doesn't really want to marry Bastian.  Maybe she doesn't quite realize it herself.  But, something has made her unhappy enough that she feels like she needs to sneak off at night to feel truly alive.

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Zia01
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

 


I_heart_you wrote:

 

 

2. Sneaking is the keyword here for me. Not only does it show how Gloria feels about her life (trapped), sneaking implies freedom... however fleeting. Freedom doesn't necessarily have to be a constant thing (does constant freedom really exist?). I think that freedom is really just moments in time where you aren't cumbered by responsibility or something holding you back. But at this point, I don't think they have freedom yet... because they aren't to the point of enjoying themselves. They are still thinking of the life they left behind. When they can put their tethers out of their minds and thoroughly enjoy the moment... they they will feel free.

 

I completely agree with this. I'm sure we can all, at one point in our lives, sympathize with these girls and wishing we had a day of freedom from our jobs, lives, responsibilities, etc...

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

I really like the way you phrased this. Thank you!

DanaLou15 wrote:

2.  None of those things make one free.  They are holding secrets and you can't be truly free when you withhold an important part of yourself.  

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

Great observation! I'm wondering why no one has mentioned financial independence as a measure of freedom?

DaniLynn71 wrote:

 

I think what Jerome means about freedom is that Gloria is just playing make-believe. At this point, she may think she's free and grown up because she cut her hair, dressed up and snuck out of the house to enter a forbidden world, but really, she's not truly free because she's still sneaking around to do it.  She won't really be free until/unless she steps outside of her comfort zone when it really counts, not in secret.

 

 


 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

One of the books Clara reads in Vixen is F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story collection Flappers and Philosophers. It includes his classic 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair,' which is about a girl making the daring decision to bob her hair for the first time. 'Bernice Bobs her Hair' was also made into a movie starring Shelley Duvall. I recommend both.

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

I'm so glad your enjoying the book and that it's changed your mind about the time period!

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MsTweet
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-25-2009

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

I'm finding Vixen a very easy read and am enjoying it so far, much more than I thought I would.

 

I haven't read all the replies but I'm sure I'm probably repeating others' comments...

 

1. Each of the characters seems to be trying to change their lives by manipulating their image. Gloria is a good girl interested in exploring the flapper lifestyle. Lorraine is her best friend who is jealous of Gloria and thinks she can get attention through a bad girl reputation and appearance. Then we have Clara who has a past living the high life as a flapper in New York City, but decides to adopt of the persona of 'Country Clara' when she comes to Chicago to help with Gloria's wedding. Why do you think each of these character is so interested in changing their looks? Do you think they are successful? Does changing their looks change their lives?

 

I think that the girls are young, esp Gloria and Lorraine, and are still trying to find themselves.  And it is during the Prohibition Era which I would imagine was an even more trying time to grow up.  While they are changing their looks, it is all superficial and not necessarily life changing.   As far as Clara is concerned, I don't think think she would have voluntarily chosen to be "Country Clara."  It is only an act to keep herself out of reform school.  I think she would have kept her own persona and looks had she had a choice, perhaps only a bit toned down for Chicago. 

 

 2. The other thing that really struck me about this first section of Vixen is Gloria's first meeting with Jerome, a black piano player at the Green Mill speakeasy."'You're here because you think it makes you free,'" he tells her. "'Unlike the rest of your little schoolgirl friends, sneaking out without Daddy's permission. Listening to the black man play his music and dirty your lily white hands... But you ain't free, kid. You wouldn't know how to be free if your life depended on it.'" I'm very interested in hearing about what you think regarding 'freedom' in this novel. Does sneaking off to a speakeasy, drinking illegal substances, or cutting one's hair make someone free? What constitutes freedom to you, and do any of the characters we've met so far have it?

 

No, definitely sneaking off to a speakeasy, drinking illegal substances, or cutting one's hair does not make one free.  How is one free if you do those things only to have to return to your restricted life once your fun is over?  Gloria is definitely not free because once she's had her fun, she steps back into the expected good girl role of a high school debutante, obedient daughter and loving fiancee. 

 

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

What do you think constitutes freedom for youth today?

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

I briefly thought about this myself and then forgot... does anyone know about the legal aspects or the customs from the era? Maybe this is something we should ask Jillian when she joins us next week.

literature wrote:

 

If Clara ran away during her senior year of high school, lived in NYC for a year, shouldn't she have been  emancipated already and legally responsible for herself and not necessarily under her parents's rules?

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

Thank you, Ms. Cozy! I love seeing the variety of responses to the book. Everyone has a slightly different take.

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

I'm wondering if anyone has read  Al Capone Does My Shirts? It's for slightly younger readers, but is a very interesting take on a child's adventures living on Alcatraz when Al Capone was incarcerated there.

 

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Sarah-W
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

 

Is is possible that Marcus' carefree image is as much of a disguise as 'Country Clara' or Gloria's bob?

maxcat wrote:

I think Marcus comes across as carefree and having the time of his life and doesn't have a worry in the world. He's a very loose character in the book and is wide open to anything happening.


 

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1archi1
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144


Sarah-W wrote:

Hello All, 

 

How are you enjoying Vixen so far?

 

To start things off, I thought I would comment that I noticed two things in this first section of Vixen and I'm very interested in hearing what you might think about them:

 

1. Each of the characters seems to be trying to change their lives by manipulating their image. Gloria is a good girl interested in exploring the flapper lifestyle. Lorraine is her best friend who is jealous of Gloria and thinks she can get attention through a bad girl reputation and appearance. Then we have Clara who has a past living the high life as a flapper in New York City, but decides to adopt of the persona of 'Country Clara' when she comes to Chicago to help with Gloria's wedding. Why do you think each of these character is so interested in changing their looks? Do you think they are successful? Does changing their looks change their lives?

 

I think, at some point in our lives, we want a change. Whether it is looks, jobs, daily life, etc.  Some people do not think twice about it, while others do.  As of right now I do not think that just because they are changing their looks they are changing their lives.  Well, maybe Gloria is but I don't think Lorraine or Clara are.  Clara still has whatever happened in her past, Lorraine seems to be changing her looks for all of the wrong reason and it doesn't seem to be helping her, and Gloria, well changing her look seems to be getting her exactly what she wants.  Granted she is having to sneak around to get it.  This is a very good book and very hard to put down. 
:smileyhappy:
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1archi1
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

[ Edited ]

 

2. The other thing that really struck me about this first section of Vixen is Gloria's first meeting with Jerome, a black piano player at the Green Mill speakeasy."'You're here because you think it makes you free,'" he tells her. "'Unlike the rest of your little schoolgirl friends, sneaking out without Daddy's permission. Listening to the black man play his music and dirty your lily white hands... But you ain't free, kid. You wouldn't know how to be free if your life depended on it.'" I'm very interested in hearing about what you think regarding 'freedom' in this novel. Does sneaking off to a speakeasy, drinking illegal substances, or cutting one's hair make someone free? What constitutes freedom to you, and do any of the characters we've met so far have it?

 

No I don't think drinking or cutting your hair or going to a speakeasy makes you free.  You still have the underlying problems you have always had.  Gloria is still engaged to a bad she doesn't seem to love, and any other problems.  Maybe to her she is free but it seems to me that she is causing more problems for herself.  I understand that she is rebelling and trying to get out from underneath her moms thumb and do her own thing, instead of being told what too do.  I get that, I think we all go thru it growing up, but I don't believe what she is doing is making her free.  As of right now I don't think any of the characters, we have met, are truly free.  They seem to be trying to be, as much as they know how, but I don't think they are there yet.

 

What are your thoughts about the first section of Vixen? What are your predictions (no spoilers, please!) about what might happen next?

 

OMG!!  My first thoughts of Vixen are I had to make myself put it down.  I didn't realize I had gone past pg 144.  I am very interested to see which girl was in the Prologe and I can't wait too see what happens in the next section.  I hope Gloria doesn't marry Sebastian.  I would like her to become the singer she wants to be not get locked into a loveless marriage.  I also would like to see Clara and Gloria become friends, I think they would have tons of fun together and would have each others back, unlike Lorraine.  I think I am going to continue on because what is going to happen is all I can think about :smileyhappy:


 

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

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

Gloria lives the life of a spoiled rich girl, never wanting for a thing, and oblivious to any other style of life. She was always expected to make the safe, good-girl choices. Even though she met Sebastian on her own, a business deal was concocted by her father with Sebastian for her hand in marriage, being strictly a marriage of convenience, love didn't enter into it. She couldn't remember, or never knew, the password to get into the Green Mill so falling back on the stereotyped spoiled rich girl tactics, she tries pouting when the password fails and even asks for a clue. The only clue here is that she is clueless.

 

Once inside, she asks for a glass of water and instead is given alcohol. It didn't take much for Jerome to notice her. Her attire was out of place, her makeup completely lacking and her actions awkward. She bunks into Maude and Maude purposely messes Gloria's hair and her make shift bob is gone. Gloria sums up her feelings by thinking “I feel like an ugly duckling” and wished Lorraine was there to know what to do and how to act. She was a time bomb waiting to explode and the speakeasy would provide that chance for her. She made up her mind then and there that her new role would be that of an alluring flapper. A flapper was what today's independent women called themselves and she was going to become one of them even though she knew all her mother's plans for her could could astray.

 

She was not happy with Sebastian, overlooked his conservative values because he was a prime bachelor, but was aware of an unsettling feeling inside her. She fantasizes about being with a strange man (Jerome) and he pressing his hands to her cheeks. The most affection Sebastian has shown Gloria were conservative little kisses when they part. Gloria's inner self is crying out for lovin' and comforting.

 

Gloria relates to the songs being played. When she departs Green Mills, the song “All Alone” was playing. “She hummed along as Marcus draped her coat over her shoulders. The melancholy music warmed the night air, and she could tell that something had begun to shift inside her, something unstoppable. Her life felt brighter now, more valuable than before. Even the piano seemed to be playing just for her.”

 

Back at the speakeasy again, another song hits home after her mother tells her that if she doesn't marry Sebastian, her father would not turn over her inheritance to her when she turns 18.  I lost the sunshine and roses, I lost the heavens of blue,I lost the beautiful rainbow, I lost the morning dew, I lost the angel who gave me summer, the whole winter too. I lost the gladness that turned into sadness, When I lost you. Gloria feels she lost Jerome and any potential they might have had. Gloria may not be able to verbalize her feelings but she easily  relate her emotions to musical lyrics.

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Karla1717
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I think both questions are tied together. By changing their apperances/attitudes, that is an easy way to be free.  Letting go of things that are holding you back, whether it is a past life, or just some hair can let you be who you really are inside, or who you want to be but can't.  So far, Clara is my favorite character.  I love that she was able to see into the scheme that Gloria and crew were pulling, and she can play along and manipulate the situation to suit her needs.  She is also definately the most mysterious, with the ominous notes she receives.  She seems the most "real" of all the characters. I can't wait for her to reveal her past to everyone. I hope it knocks Gloria and Lorraine off their pedestals.  Lorraine threw me for a loop, the way she showed up at the party at Gloria's house.  That seemed to be out of character, even after finding out about Gloria and Jerome.  I am curious to see how her character will play out. I am not sure how I feel about Gloria yet.  She is showing that she does have a wild streak, but is a little snotty. To me, she isn't coming across as the sweet, caring girl that I think she was written to be. That could be just because she is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life.  Overall, I think the book is well written, and am excited to read more!

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TudorRose
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎01-31-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

All the posts on what freedom means to each of us has been very interesting.  I don't think that freedom is as simple as being able to do what you want when you want.  All of us are constrained by our obligations to society, our jobs, families, spouses, children and friends.  Each role and obligation that we assume means that we are sacrificing a piece of our freedom.  To me, freedom means being able to choose for ourselves which freedoms we are willing to give up to honor our responsiblities.

Kimberly from Ohio

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