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Stephanie
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Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past

In many of Harlan Coben's novels, a recurrent theme is a character's past actions and their effect on present circumstances. The challenge of facing "the past" is of course a dominant issue in The Woods. How much is what Paul must go through a matter of facing what has never been truly faced before? Are there choices he could have made as a younger person that would not have left this hanging over him? Or was it all out of his control?


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Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past



Stephanie wrote:
In many of Harlan Coben's novels, a recurrent theme is a character's past actions and their effect on present circumstances. The challenge of facing "the past" is of course a dominant issue in The Woods. How much is what Paul must go through a matter of facing what has never been truly faced before? Are there choices he could have made as a younger person that would not have left this hanging over him? Or was it all out of his control?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have finished reading The Woods. If you have not finished reading the book, this thread may contain plot spoilers.

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Absolutely not, we live the past, we make the past. If we had lived it another way, then it would turn out another way. We make our past and therefore make our future. What transpires, defines us in the way we have lived our lives. God doesn't control our lives, but is always there in spirit to help guild us if we want guildance and he carries us through the storms. This is my thoughts on why life is what it is. Of course other people come in to play also in our lives and how it turns out. But in this story, Paul could have refused to meet Lucy or Lucy could have thought about what she was doing to the other girl by sitting her up for ridicule. But it happened the way it happened and all was made right in the end. Sometimes we do not see that all is right, but with God it is.
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vivico1
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past


kiakar wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
In many of Harlan Coben's novels, a recurrent theme is a character's past actions and their effect on present circumstances. The challenge of facing "the past" is of course a dominant issue in The Woods. How much is what Paul must go through a matter of facing what has never been truly faced before? Are there choices he could have made as a younger person that would not have left this hanging over him? Or was it all out of his control?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have finished reading The Woods. If you have not finished reading the book, this thread may contain plot spoilers.

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.




Absolutely not, we live the past, we make the past. If we had lived it another way, then it would turn out another way. We make our past and therefore make our future. What transpires, defines us in the way we have lived our lives. God doesn't control our lives, but is always there in spirit to help guild us if we want guildance and he carries us through the storms. This is my thoughts on why life is what it is. Of course other people come in to play also in our lives and how it turns out. But in this story, Paul could have refused to meet Lucy or Lucy could have thought about what she was doing to the other girl by sitting her up for ridicule. But it happened the way it happened and all was made right in the end. Sometimes we do not see that all is right, but with God it is.


They say hindsight is 20/20 but it also can create a great deal of guilt, some warranted, some not. There is not a simple answer in life, anymore than there is here for Paul. He goes over and over in his head, that if he hadn't left his post that night, his sister would be alive, the murders wouldnt have happened, his mother would be around, he and Lucy may have become an item. You can positively "what if" yourself to death!

Could anything he did make a difference? I am not sure I agree with you Kiakar. This guy, this killer was going to kill no matter what. And he had picked out who he wanted to kill already. If Paul and Lucy's actions had not helped allow him to do it, he would have found someone else or another way. And that, Paul could not have stopped. Who could have without knowing then about him what they know now? Who was to stop him? And his mom? He thought she left, his actions had nothing to do with it, that too very well could have happened anyway. Would he and Lucy be together? Who knows, it was a summer romance.

What he could do that could have helped HIM anyway, was to realise this. He tried to several times but it never really sank in. I think a lot of people around murders wonder for long long times ,WHAT IF? What it has done tho is show up in how he deals today. His sense of absolute right and wrong comes into play in a way you dont expect. This is something he has not dealt with but has to as you go along in the book and that is that, sometimes we just don't have control of situations. We can't make everything right, do everything right or expect it of others. He is having to face that clear to the end of the book. I think that is part of another thread tho, without going into detail.

Lucy is affected today too and afraid to be more than she is, or do more than she does. She carries guilt. Could she have done something different? Sure, but we are back at the killer, he was set and it was going to happen. These kids just got caught in the plans. The adult side of them has to let it all go. In the very end of the book, some of that letting go happens but they are affected by what did happened, (again for the other thread). And Kiakar, I disagree that all that happened was made right in the end. That is part of my bone to pick about the ending lol.

As I have mentioned I think before in another club, yes God doesn't control our lives but yes he is there to help us. That doesn't mean we don't have our agency, we can still choose what we do. We can make the best choices we can, with God's help, but that does not insulate us from crossing the path of someone who uses their agency for wrong or evil. Sometimes the most innocent people run across the path of some evil person like here, who uses his agency to take lives. God can't stop the bad people to help the good, because His son bought that agency to decide with his blood (the only reason here i don't call it "free agency" they way we often do, it was not free, it was paid for, for us). What he can do, is help those in the aftermath DEAL. Much of our life is about dealing with trials, and our choices make up our character. All of the survivors of that night have to deal with what happened and decide who they are going to be because of or inspite of it.
( Hey guys? forgive me for always writing such long thoughts.)
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past

I don't know if he could have avoided this completely if had done things differently. After all, there were too many variables - too many people & events involved that there is no guarantee it would have ended happily. Camille & Gil could have been implicated & sent to jail as accessories . . . even Lucy. There's so many things that could have gone so many ways, that it's impossible to say that just by Paul admitting he was in the woods with Lucy that night, everything would have been resolved.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Andeka
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past

Stephanie asked:

Are there choices he could have made as a younger person that would not have left this hanging over him? Or was it all out of his control?
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Life is full of lessons, and at 17 or 18 yrs old (whatever they were at camp), most people haven't had that many "life defining" moments/lessons yet. So - could Paul have been more responsible and stayed at his post? sure... but at that age, your actions don't have consequences yet (or so we think :smileywink: ) so his choice to run off into the woods with Lucy that night is what makes life fun and interesting. Life should be about having fun and being spontaneous and seizing the moment.

But after the brutal events unfolded, what else could Paul do? He's not Hiro who can turn back time (from Heros). If someone's going to plot a murder and carry it out, it's going to happen on somebody's watch. And unfortunatley, it happened on Paul's.
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Andeka
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The Burden of the Past

Stephanie asked:

How much of what Paul must go through a matter of facing what has never been truly faced before?

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I think what Paul is facing with the emergence of his past is the truth; the truth of what really happened that night and the truth behind the events that happened after that night (re: his mom, dad, and sister). And while it makes him face the pain all over again, it also serves to fill in the blanks and begin the closure process for him - a much needed thing in his life.

Until now, he's never been face to face with the truth.
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