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Stephanie
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Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice

The Woods begins in the first person, from the perspective of Paul Copeland. What does this method of narration allow us to learn about Paul? What does his voice, his manner of speaking, and what he privileges tell us about him? How is the effect of this part of the narration different from those parts of the story which focus on Lucy?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of The Woods, through the end of Chapter Ten. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.
Stephanie
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Andeka
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice

I really like this style of narration. I noticed right away that I felt very comfortable with Paul - like he's telling me this story over a couple of beers - and noticed that he describes things the way I'd also describe them, if telling the same story. I love his humor and wit!
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice

You know, I just finished a book in here written in the narrative of a girl speaking and one of the first things I thought about this book was, yeah this is a guy talking, they are so different. And that was cool. The way he talks, and thinks (that we read) makes me think he is very self assured in his abilities at his job, has a sense of humor too, but also that he is not so self assured about his personal life or who he is inside. I like this style of writing, it makes for interesting reading being in their head as you go along. I am not at chapter 10 yet to know about the Lucy stuff.

Stephanie, can i ask a question? I have been in three of these novel bookclubs now and they all have thread headings...early chapters...with a hint at what but some of us, our idea of whats early chapters and someone else's can be different and thats where we run into spoilers and that really sucks in reading a novel. I did notice that under your question you did put through chapter 10 and was grateful to see that but I was wondering, when new threads are started, can't they say ....early chapters 1-5 or 1-10 for example or that kind of note be before the question, so you dont read about someone or something before you read a part of what might be a spoiler or dont know how far in the book the question is about till after you have read the whole question? I just know ,for me, it would help if the threads in these clubs were a bit more specific than early chapters, or later chapters. I know there may always be spoilers but I dropped what would have been the 4th club because of a really huge spoiler someone wrote in one of the "early chapter" threads. Also, for me, I would know how far to read before i even open the question up at all. Is that possible? That really has been a problem for me in these clubs not knowing where "early ends". tyia
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice


vivico1 wrote:
You know, I just finished a book in here written in the narrative of a girl speaking and one of the first things I thought about this book was, yeah this is a guy talking, they are so different. And that was cool. The way he talks, and thinks (that we read) makes me think he is very self assured in his abilities at his job, has a sense of humor too, but also that he is not so self assured about his personal life or who he is inside. I like this style of writing, it makes for interesting reading being in their head as you go along. I am not at chapter 10 yet to know about the Lucy stuff.

Stephanie, can i ask a question? I have been in three of these novel bookclubs now and they all have thread headings...early chapters...with a hint at what but some of us, our idea of whats early chapters and someone else's can be different and thats where we run into spoilers and that really sucks in reading a novel. I did notice that under your question you did put through chapter 10 and was grateful to see that but I was wondering, when new threads are started, can't they say ....early chapters 1-5 or 1-10 for example or that kind of note be before the question, so you dont read about someone or something before you read a part of what might be a spoiler or dont know how far in the book the question is about till after you have read the whole question? I just know ,for me, it would help if the threads in these clubs were a bit more specific than early chapters, or later chapters. I know there may always be spoilers but I dropped what would have been the 4th club because of a really huge spoiler someone wrote in one of the "early chapter" threads. Also, for me, I would know how far to read before i even open the question up at all. Is that possible? That really has been a problem for me in these clubs not knowing where "early ends". tyia




I agree with Viv about the chapter numbers. Some books I've finished before I start the clubs and sometimes I read them as we go. I do like having the moderator's questions to think about but it's nice having the chapter numbers to go with it. It's too easy to slip and spoil it for someone else if there's no clear guidelines. Thanks!
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KathyS
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Paul's Voice - Prologue thru Chapter 5

Stephanie wrote:
The Woods begins in the first person, from the perspective of Paul Copeland. What does this method of narration allow us to learn about Paul? What does his voice, his manner of speaking, and what he privileges tell us about him? How is the effect of this part of the narration different from those parts of the story which focus on Lucy?
___________________________________________________________________________________

Learning from Paul, as a first person, narrative, brings us straight into the mind of the storyteller. Paul's perspectives will be his alone. This is his world and story we see, through his eyes. Paul's voice is a strong voice, and a revealing one.

In the Prologue I saw someone who had vulnerability, showing his relationship between himself and his father, as a young boy, and as a man. The author takes me right into questioning his secrets. Why the secret place?; Why the question his father had of him, not looking for assurance, but for guilt from him? More secrets.

Chapter one: I sense he is telling this story while looking back on it, and looking for answers. I hear a cynicism in his voice - his comparisons of "the wall of life and death, extraordinary beauty and mind-boggling ugliness, between the most innocent setting and a frightening bloodbath, is flimsy". I question why he views life this way.

Page 6 - He tells us he is the country prosecutor for Essex County. This tells me about his job. I find him observant. I find he values his job. I find he wants to help others. His sister's death leads him in this path.

Paul is someone who is looking for closure for everyone else, because he couldn't find it for himself, in regards to his sister's death.

Page 8 - I questioned his comparison of his wife to his sister-in-law, the "ugly sister". Was this his way of telling us - wishing it had been the sister that died, and not his wife? I don't like this comparison, because I don't know the answer.

Page 14 - He compares death to hope, an abusive mistress. The closure of his sister's death isn't found in hope. The unknowing is eating at him. It doesn't
leave his mind. I question why his mother left them.

Page 16 - I see he again compares life and death, with the birth of his daughter, to the death he sees while looking through a window pane.

Page 30, 31 - I see Paul with a sense of humor, a little at the expense of someone else.

Chapter 4 - Paul shows us he can create "separate universes" for himself. He can partition his life, not allowing interference from one part of his life, to interfere with another. Keeping business separate from personal.
He admits he has neither "strength nor bravery". Again, the vulnerability shown.

Chapter 5 - Paul shows us he's a good father.
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KathyS
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Lucy's Voice - Chapter 2, Page 20

Stephanie wrote:

How is the effect of this part of the narration different from those parts of the story which focus on Lucy?
_________________________________________________________________________________


After hearing the strong, first person, voice of Paul, we're lead into the voice of Lucy.

Page 20 - Introducing Lucy - I see Lucy's character not as easily revealed as Paul's is. The author has her reflecting on her students. She appears to be a conscientious and caring teacher, and observant in her views of her students. I question one of her students, Sylvia Potter....who is she? I question what a story, written by one of her students, has to do with her reaction to it. She's private in her reactions. More questions than answers, about Lucy. I see that she has secrets in her life that need to have answers.

Chapter 6 - Page 58 - The plot thickens -The connection of Paul and Lucy.
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice/lucy


Stephanie wrote:
The Woods begins in the first person, from the perspective of Paul Copeland. How is the effect of this part of the narration different from those parts of the story which focus on Lucy?




Switching from Paul's voice, narrative 1st person, to the parts about Lucy, third person is interesting. It makes her more mysterious, more unknown at first than Paul. When you read Paul's voice, you are inside his head, moving with him. When you read about Lucy, you are not sure about her and whats going on. Its good, makes you want to learn more about her and who she is and why she is suddenly in this book. The two styles blend well to remind you too, this is Paul's story , from his eyes, this is not Lucy's story. I think if all the main characters were in first person, that would be confusing. Lucy is part of Paul's story but she is not THIS story. Its a great way to handle the two different people in their places in the story.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice

I completely agree about spoilers, they're horrid! It's sometimes hard to put a number on the chapters, but I'll make every effort to see that we don't spoil the book for anyone. I think if you break the book apart into rough thirds, that should keep everyone clear.
Stephanie
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Stephanie
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Re: Lucy's Voice - Chapter 2, Page 20

I was wary of Lucy at first, wasn't sure who she was or what she was doing here in Paul's story. I already had a strong connection with him, and wasn't eager to "listen to" anyone else.

Anyone else have a similar reaction?
Stephanie
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vivico1
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Re: Lucy's Voice - Chapter 2, Page 20


Stephanie wrote:
I was wary of Lucy at first, wasn't sure who she was or what she was doing here in Paul's story. I already had a strong connection with him, and wasn't eager to "listen to" anyone else.

Anyone else have a similar reaction?


You just love his wicked sense of humor and style and dont want to go anywhere else :smileywink:lol. He is a strong personality, very interesting and intriguing. At first I didnt know where the story went with her first appearance and it changing out of narrative. I was apprenhensive about her too but when you find out in chapter 10 i think, who she is, then yeah I wanted her story too. I wont say more than that, i think thats where it ends up to 10.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice


Stephanie wrote:
I completely agree about spoilers, they're horrid! It's sometimes hard to put a number on the chapters, but I'll make every effort to see that we don't spoil the book for anyone. I think if you break the book apart into rough thirds, that should keep everyone clear.


Stephanie, you do have a chapter notice at the bottom of your first post here, it says through chapter 10. (and I was grateful for that) I was just wondering if in these clubs, the message subject could have that there. Like on this one it would be so far, "Early Chapters: 1 through 10, Paul's voice". Something like that. Its not too long either with the word discussion out of it, or even leave out early chapters, if you put which ones, like "chapters 1-10, Paul's voice". Thats how the old BNU had it posted and you knew before you read the question. That really cuts down on spoilers because if someone goes into something your not at yet, you havent even read the question yet if your not done with chapter 10.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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KathyS
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Re: Lucy's Voice - Chapter 2, Page 20



Stephanie wrote:
I was wary of Lucy at first, wasn't sure who she was or what she was doing here in Paul's story. I already had a strong connection with him, and wasn't eager to "listen to" anyone else.

Anyone else have a similar reaction?




Wary of Lucy? hmm...how can you be wary of someone you don't know yet? I was actually glad to find someone new come into the mix, adding more interest. Paul's character needs someone to break into his present situation, and I needed a new perspective. I knew it was just a matter of time before this happened. Lucy, being brought in slowly, gave Paul's strong character more balance.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice

I liked the first-person narration of Paul, as if he were talking to me. It helps me get to know him, like him, and understand him. He is sad, is wrestling with a lot both at home and work, is determined, has a strong sense of justice, tries to be honest & true, has questions, has anger, is lonely, and has feelings of guilt & remorse. He is also, to me, very likeable.

Lucy's story is told in the third-person, so we're more removed from her & her emotions. It's more difficult to get a reading on her.
Liz ♥ ♥


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kiakar
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Paul's Voice



LizzieAnn wrote:
I liked the first-person narration of Paul, as if he were talking to me. It helps me get to know him, like him, and understand him. He is sad, is wrestling with a lot both at home and work, is determined, has a strong sense of justice, tries to be honest & true, has questions, has anger, is lonely, and has feelings of guilt & remorse. He is also, to me, very likeable.

Lucy's story is told in the third-person, so we're more removed from her & her emotions. It's more difficult to get a reading on her.




Yes, I agree, You feel closer to the character that is written in first person. Its like you have personal contact with that person.
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KathyS
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Paul's Voice to Jane - Page 140

This is a very touching segment within chapter 15. When Paul is on his way back to the Indian restaurant, to talk to Raya. Why did he decide to make this detour, when he very rarely visits his wife's grave? Why now? His feelings of loneliness and abandonment come through his thoughts to us. His hopes and doubts. He wants to remarry, someday, but he doesn't allow himself hope.

I have the strange feeling that if he has hopes of finding his mother, his need to find her, maybe then those feelings of abandonment will lift off of his shoulders....and the abandonment he feels, by his wife, through her death, will be absolved. Then he may be able to allow himself to let someone back into his life. Just some thoughts.
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Stephanie
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Re: Paul's Voice to Jane - Page 140

Kathy,

Good thoughts. I wonder about Paul's feelings about his mother- where she went when she left, the guilt he must have felt. Boys have a tendency to want to take care of their mothers, don't you think?
Stephanie
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KathyS
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Re: Paul's Voice to Jane - Page 140



Stephanie wrote:
Kathy,

Good thoughts. I wonder about Paul's feelings about his mother- where she went when she left, the guilt he must have felt. Boys have a tendency to want to take care of their mothers, don't you think?


Speaking to your question----sons wanting to take care of their mothers. I have no sons, so I can't speak on that level, but when my brother was around my mother, he definately had a different relationship with her. Not necessarily a closeness or a wanting to take care of her, it was more that he had a higher tolerance than I had. So I can't speak for him, or from a really personal point of view.

I'm still hoping Paul's feelings will be resolved....reading on....
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kiakar
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Re: Paul's Voice to Jane - Page 140



KathyS wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
Kathy,

Good thoughts. I wonder about Paul's feelings about his mother- where she went when she left, the guilt he must have felt. Boys have a tendency to want to take care of their mothers, don't you think?


Speaking to your question----sons wanting to take care of their mothers. I have no sons, so I can't speak on that level, but when my brother was around my mother, he definately had a different relationship with her. Not necessarily a closeness or a wanting to take care of her, it was more that he had a higher tolerance than I had. So I can't speak for him, or from a really personal point of view.

I'm still hoping Paul's feelings will be resolved....reading on....




But I wonder what will it be like between Paul and his mother if they do meet? Will it be anger, pain and forgiveness from Paul to his Mom. Or will the Mom feel justified in having left him because of the tragedy. I like just wondering before I read the rest what will the end be like. Pondering is fun sometimes!
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Wrighty
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Paul and his mother


kiakar wrote:
But I wonder what will it be like between Paul and his mother if they do meet? Will it be anger, pain and forgiveness from Paul to his Mom. Or will the Mom feel justified in having left him because of the tragedy. I like just wondering before I read the rest what will the end be like. Pondering is fun sometimes!




Paul has had so many tragedies in his life, his emotions must all run together. It must be impossible to truly sort them out. If he ever does get to meet his mother he would have so much that he could unload on her. How do others think he would respond to her? Based on what we know of his personality do you think he would be angry for his losses, relieved to have his mother, sad for all they've missed, or something else?
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vivico1
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Re: Paul and his mother


Wrighty wrote:

kiakar wrote:
But I wonder what will it be like between Paul and his mother if they do meet? Will it be anger, pain and forgiveness from Paul to his Mom. Or will the Mom feel justified in having left him because of the tragedy. I like just wondering before I read the rest what will the end be like. Pondering is fun sometimes!




Paul has had so many tragedies in his life, his emotions must all run together. It must be impossible to truly sort them out. If he ever does get to meet his mother he would have so much that he could unload on her. How do others think he would respond to her? Based on what we know of his personality do you think he would be angry for his losses, relieved to have his mother, sad for all they've missed, or something else?


I think he would feel a bit of all of those. He is very strict on what is right, which is good for his profession but may be detrimental at times in his personal life so he could be hard on her, for a time anyway. Hes hurt by her actions for sure.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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