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IlanaSimons
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Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go

[ Edited ]
This is a discussion space for Parts 2-3 of the book.

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 02-02-200712:31 PM




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PaulK
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go

The book seems to take on a much different form in the middle of Part 3. Up to then the action jumped back and forth in time and characters popped in from nowhere. Now in Ch.3, Part 3 we get chronological summaries. Ch. 3 becomes Leonora's story and Ch. 4 gives the same treatment to Edward.
I could not understand why Edward was such a cad with unrelenting affairs one after the other. At least now you can see how they developed form a kiss on a train, to paying for a week with the Duke's mistress, to an affair with a junior officer's wife.
To me, the most interesting character is Leonora. She learns of all of Edward's affairs yet still is madly in love with him and dedicated to restoring his wealth that he threw away in Monte Carlo. Still in the background is Leonora's priest who advised she take Edward to Monte Carlo. I wonder if we will learn more of her advisor and what his role is.
In the last ch. of part 3 John says, I think for the third time, that this is a sad story and he clearly says it is because of Edward and Leonora. As others have discussed the saddest story may be John's. He is the one character who we know the least about. I see a comparison to the narrator of My Antonia. To me he was the weakest character in the book. He had close contact with some very strong, beautiful and interesting women yet nothing came of it. In my Antonia the women were strong and the men weak or weird. Edward, although a cad, is partly manipulated by Leonora and John is a complete mess with his wife not having relations with him but instead with two others. Anyone can walk over John.
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Areopagitica
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go

The third section of the novel proves that Ford is, indeed, a high-rate author, capable of creating a seemingly complicated plot but effectively connecting the various bits of information throughout the latter portions of the novel. Ford was fearless in introducing and scattering many details throughout the first part of the book, and in the third section I'm seeing how they are all cohesively coming into place. This includes Leonora, Nancy and Edward's backgrounds. However, I'm still disappointed at not having more background information on Florence's youth, particularly since she is a major player.
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go



Areopagitica wrote:
However, I'm still disappointed at not having more background information on Florence's youth, particularly since she is a major player.




But women were seen as unsubstantial nad treated like that.
I think it is absolutely necessary that the story fills out toward the end, it has to otherwise there would not be a book to talk about, just an assembly of fragments.

I wonder did you read any of FMF other books Areopagitica and if so what did you think and how do they compare?

ziki
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cosmotrotter
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go

A lot of his affairs are well explained by Dowell as reactions to other parts of his life. His wife, her treatment of him, his surroundings, his notions of himself. They seemed pretty often to spring from a misguided action, only becoming 'affairs of the heart' in retrospect or after having been incriminated as such... This is not to say that Edward is blameless for his actions, only to say that I think Dowell enmeshes his actions deeply into a net of career, social obligations, and personal relationships from which it is difficult for me to step back and say "he had a bunch of affairs". Though, in fact, I guess he did.



PaulK wrote:
The book seems to take on a much different form in the middle of Part 3. Up to then the action jumped back and forth in time and characters popped in from nowhere. Now in Ch.3, Part 3 we get chronological summaries. Ch. 3 becomes Leonora's story and Ch. 4 gives the same treatment to Edward.
I could not understand why Edward was such a cad with unrelenting affairs one after the other. At least now you can see how they developed form a kiss on a train, to paying for a week with the Duke's mistress, to an affair with a junior officer's wife.
To me, the most interesting character is Leonora. She learns of all of Edward's affairs yet still is madly in love with him and dedicated to restoring his wealth that he threw away in Monte Carlo. Still in the background is Leonora's priest who advised she take Edward to Monte Carlo. I wonder if we will learn more of her advisor and what his role is.
In the last ch. of part 3 John says, I think for the third time, that this is a sad story and he clearly says it is because of Edward and Leonora. As others have discussed the saddest story may be John's. He is the one character who we know the least about. I see a comparison to the narrator of My Antonia. To me he was the weakest character in the book. He had close contact with some very strong, beautiful and interesting women yet nothing came of it. In my Antonia the women were strong and the men weak or weird. Edward, although a cad, is partly manipulated by Leonora and John is a complete mess with his wife not having relations with him but instead with two others. Anyone can walk over John.


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Areopagitica
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go



ziki wrote:


Areopagitica wrote:
However, I'm still disappointed at not having more background information on Florence's youth, particularly since she is a major player.




But women were seen as unsubstantial nad treated like that.
I think it is absolutely necessary that the story fills out toward the end, it has to otherwise there would not be a book to talk about, just an assembly of fragments.

I wonder did you read any of FMF other books Areopagitica and if so what did you think and how do they compare?

ziki




I haven't read other books by Ford, although someday I hope to read his other great novel, "Parade's End," which likewise has been highly praised by readers.
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Areopagitica
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Re: Parts Two-Three: Discuss Plot and Theme as We Go

I assume that the reason why there is not much revealing information on Florence's youth/background, is due to the fact that her husband is the narrator. He really is not very passionate about his marriage and, therefore, he cannot possibly possess any intense emotions about her overall. I think that perhaps he does not know anything at all about her life prior to their marriage. IF he does not consider that to be essential to the story, he assumes his listeners feel the same way. As a result, we do not receive an unbiased, three-dimensional account of his wife.
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