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Stephanie
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Later Chapters Discussion: Ultimate Responsibility

The legal case at the center of Paul Copeland's professional life during the events of The Woods presents powerful questions of personal responsibility and a parent's boundaries in ensuring their children have every opportunity in life. To what extent do those two themes tie back into the ultimate resolution of the mystery at the center of Paul's family?


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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Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Ultimate Responsibility



Stephanie wrote:
The legal case at the center of Paul Copeland's professional life during the events of The Woods presents powerful questions of personal responsibility and a parent's boundaries in ensuring their children have every opportunity in life. To what extent do those two themes tie back into the ultimate resolution of the mystery at the center of Paul's family?


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.




I think in both cases, the parents wanted to protect the children but went about it in the wrong way. All parents love their children, but its the way that love is directed that makes it a worthwhile thing. It was evident in these cases that parents went overboard to protect their children in which they shouldn't have but being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. We have to have alot of faith and trust in making decisions that define what our children become in life.And we have to deal with complete honesty and truth in dealing with the upbringing of our children also.
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Andeka
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Re: CONTAINS A SPOILER - Ultimate Responsibility


Stephanie wrote:
The legal case at the center of Paul Copeland's professional life during the events of The Woods presents powerful questions of personal responsibility and a parent's boundaries in ensuring their children have every opportunity in life. To what extent do those two themes tie back into the ultimate resolution of the mystery at the center of Paul's family?

--------------------------------------------------------

It was interesting to see what a parent would do to protect their children. First - you have the college kid's dad trying to buy their protection (which I'm sure he'd then find a way to make it a tax write-off; sleeze bags like that usually do). Then you have Ira - who misunderstands what he sees, when he sees Lucy covered in blood, and takes extreme measures to protect her; then you have Paul and Gil's mothers. They believed that because they were poor, no one would believe them, the truth would then never come out, and their children would be sent away to prison. So rather than risk that - they came up with Plan B.

It's sad that Paul and Gil's mothers thought that; but both families had histories that would make our society jump to conclusions without seeking the truth, because of pre-conceived notions and our tendency to stereo-type. So I think they did what any mother would do: protect their kids the best way they knew how.

~Ande
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vivico1
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Re: CONTAINS A SPOILER - Ultimate Responsibility

It is interesting, all the parents represented in this book and the extreme measures they ALL go to , to "protect" their children. I think a lot of it was too much. I think in society today, a lot of it is too much. The frat boys' parents protecting them at any cost for example. They hurt others "for their children's future success, not even their actual lives. What is this teaching them? That you can do anything you want as long as you dont get caught or as long as you have the money to take care of it? Gee, what wonderful adults they will turn out then huh? They need to be there for their boys, but they need to let their boys face the consequences of such horrible actions and then try to get them psychological help to deal with it, not financially make it go away.

I don't think Ira even asked Lucy why she was covered in blood did he? To even find out what she may or may not have done? It could have made a difference and he may not have had to murder for her. (So much happening in this book, I need to reread sections to make sure lol.)

Paul's dad, trying to shield him from what happened to his mother, only left Paul thinking his own dad thought he killed his sister. What a heavy burden Paul carried over that one. What a heavy loss he felt about his sister for so many years because of his father's choice to not tell him about her either.

Gil's parents, I can understand a bit more about doing what they did to protect the family and their son and at least he knew what they were doing, he had been around them. But in the end it did not save him.

In the end, the problem is, the parents all went too far to try to "protect" the kids and look where they all wound up, adults with guilt, unanswered questions, feelings of right and wrong about others that were formed from silent conspiracies. You cant make a child's world perfect, or the child. But you can be there for them to clear up the messes in our lives, help them learn the real lessons of values of their decisions. Dont take responsibility or the right to be in on their own life decisions from them. Responsibility is part of growing up and causes less problems to the psychi later on that not having to face it. It's not till Lucy and Paul learn all the truths that were hidden from them, that they can now start to piece together what the rest of their lives will be. In some ways, more was taken from them by this "protection", then given to them.
Vivian
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Andeka
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Re: CONTAINS A SPOILER - Ultimate Responsibility

In the case of the frat boys - I agree that the best thing the parents could do in that case is let them face the consequences of their actions - even if it means jail time. Some lessons are harder to learn than others, but if they don't learn THIS one, I think what they come away with is the thought that $$ can buy your way out of anything.

As for Ira - I got the sense he never asked Lucy about the blood either. So that's a big lesson in communication...

and Gil's parents... I think they did the only thing they could do given how we judge people in our society. Not sure I'm that ok about the settlement money they received, but I guess that was part of protecting their secret, huh? Not sure how to reconcile that one...
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Stephanie
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Re: CONTAINS A SPOILER - Ultimate Responsibility

I felt that the ending was just as uncomfortable as real life- someone said that the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense, but he didn't say that it has to have a perfect ending. Finding out that our cast of characters were human, made choices that we might not be happy with and created situations that perpetuated a lie... well, ain't that reality!
Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: CONTAINS A SPOILER - Ultimate Responsibility



Stephanie wrote:
I felt that the ending was just as uncomfortable as real life- someone said that the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense, but he didn't say that it has to have a perfect ending. Finding out that our cast of characters were human, made choices that we might not be happy with and created situations that perpetuated a lie... well, ain't that reality!





You are certainly right, Stephanie. Real life is not a fairy tale, its kind of like this story. We go on through life with the same problems and we deal with them the best we know how as we live on and on. Each day we learn how to make it that day with our problems and then along comes another day and another problem to add to the list.
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KathyS
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Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

Ugh! I just now finished reading the ending! My personal opinion of it was, between the sweaty palms and the rising blood pressure, all I can say is, if this is reality, it sucks! No, not the novel, just reality!

Responsibility? Who can assume responsiblity for any of this, it's all based on lies and secrets....I'm certainly not going to point fingers in any direction, for what these characters did, because I'm sure it would end up sticking in my own chest! If there was one more plot and character twist, I think I might expire! I'm glad I put the book down for a week, because the ending tension simply unnerved me.

Every one of these characters lived a lie within a lie. Call is reality, or call it fiction, these problems and situations of these characters became the hardest thing for me to sort out. Because even the wrong doings and lies were edged with truth. Reminded me of sitting in the jury box, and listening to a brilliant lawyer defending a murderer. You know you can't make a decision or a judgement, until you hear all sides.

I knew what I would do in some of these situations, to change the progression, in trying to resolve the conflicting puzzle pieces, but it was like walking through a maze and finding yourself back at the beginning again. Who did what to whom, where, when and why?????

The one thing I was thinking, at the end....yes, still thinking....when I read the last page - Why hadn't Lucy told her father, but then I thought....who am I, and who is Paul to judge? He absolved himself by saying he was young. Lucy was young too. Nothing but the domino effects happening here, when will it stop?..... I feel as though there may be a smidgen of hope of salvaging their relationship. Back to hope and forgiveness...again. An ending worthy of contemplation!

Kathy
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vivico1
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

[ Edited ]

KathyS wrote:
Ugh! I just now finished reading the ending! My personal opinion of it was, between the sweaty palms and the rising blood pressure, all I can say is, if this is reality, it sucks! No, not the novel, just reality!

If there was one more plot and character twist, I think I might expire! I'm glad I put the book down for a week, because the ending tension simply unnerved me.


I knew what I would do in some of these situations, to change the progression, in trying to resolve the conflicting puzzle pieces, but it was like walking through a maze and finding yourself back at the beginning again. Who did what to whom, where, when and why?????



Kathy


Kathy, I loved this book and I love suspense and drama. I will be reading more of Harlan's books I am sure. But if this book was that nerve racking and tension filled for you lol, do NOT read "THE ROAD", one of the other books in these bookclubs. (It was well worth the Pulitzer it won recently tho.)

Message Edited by vivico1 on 05-21-200706:11 PM

Vivian
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KathyS
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie



vivico1 wrote:

KathyS wrote:
Ugh! I just now finished reading the ending! My personal opinion of it was, between the sweaty palms and the rising blood pressure, all I can say is, if this is reality, it sucks! No, not the novel, just reality!

If there was one more plot and character twist, I think I might expire! I'm glad I put the book down for a week, because the ending tension simply unnerved me.


I knew what I would do in some of these situations, to change the progression, in trying to resolve the conflicting puzzle pieces, but it was like walking through a maze and finding yourself back at the beginning again. Who did what to whom, where, when and why?????



Kathy


Kathy, I loved this book and I love suspense and drama. I will be reading more of Harlan's books I am sure. But if this book was that nerve racking and tension filled for you lol, do NOT read "THE ROAD", one of the other books in these bookclubs. (It was well worth the Pulitzer it won recently tho.)

Message Edited by vivico1 on 05-21-200706:11 PM





I'm sorry, I forget to put happy smiles at the end of my 'nerve wracking' tension filled sentences.:-) So don't get me wrong, I LOVED all the suspense and drama in this novel, and I loved the story, the writing, and all the inbetween-the-lines' assumptions......that's why I write about it! LOL...but I don't make a steady diet out of these types of novels. I'm sure I'd be spending most of my time in the ER with high blood pressure!
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

That's just how I felt. How or why would Ira think his daughter was capable of such a thing? Wouldn't he have asked what happened? Wouldn't Lucy have told him. Unless, of course, he was trying to prevent her from being associated with the crime in any degree - as an accomplice, for example. I came away the impression that Ira thought Lucy was involved.



KathyS wrote:

The one thing I was thinking, at the end....yes, still thinking....when I read the last page - Why hadn't Lucy told her father, but then I thought....who am I, and who is Paul to judge? He absolved himself by saying he was young. Lucy was young too. Nothing but the domino effects happening here, when will it stop?..... I feel as though there may be a smidgen of hope of salvaging their relationship. Back to hope and forgiveness...again. An ending worthy of contemplation!

Kathy


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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KathyS
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

[ Edited ]
And even as an adult, in her profession, why Lucy never cleared those cobwebs away, I'll never know. None of us will ever know, for that matter! LOL.....if she had guilt then, now it becomes ten score....enormous amount of guilt she must feel, when her father takes his life. I knew he had suspected her, once the facts started to surface. She could have prevented all of that. That's what I mean by lies, they always will perpetuate another, and another....until they all come tumbling down around you. Nobody escapes a lie. I mean nobody. Even if it is thought to be dead and buried. Lies have a way of surfacing when you least expect them. And Harlan certainly made them surface! LOL

Kathy S.

Message Edited by KathyS on 05-22-200712:58 PM

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Stephanie
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

I'm confused as to what you thought Lucy could clear up for Ira- Ira was protecting her because she was in the woods, had seen it, and somehow gotten herself covered in blood. She could tell what she saw, but Steubens had set up an alibi for himself, so who would believe her? She also took part in it- she coerced Paul away from his post, intentionally. Gil and Camille ran- they were gone, because they would have been considered accomplices. Steubens set them all up, he had planned it so they'd all be involved.

Or did I miss something else?
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vivico1
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie


Stephanie wrote:
I'm confused as to what you thought Lucy could clear up for Ira- Ira was protecting her because she was in the woods, had seen it, and somehow gotten herself covered in blood. She could tell what she saw, but Steubens had set up an alibi for himself, so who would believe her? She also took part in it- she coerced Paul away from his post, intentionally. Gil and Camille ran- they were gone, because they would have been considered accomplices. Steubens set them all up, he had planned it so they'd all be involved.

Or did I miss something else?


She could have said everything you just said to him, or that she didnt do anything, the blood was just from finding them when she shouldnt have been out there anyway. You made me raise a question tho, since I am already reading something else now, some details, I am not sure of now....Paul BELIEVED his dad thought he had something to do with his sister's death all his life. That's what he had been living with, but did Lucy KNOW her father suspected her?? Did she know he even had these feelings, to do anything about it anyway, till it was too late? He saw the blood on her, but did she know he had seen and what was said between them at that time? Now I cant remember lol. I just remember that being Paul's burden for so long..thinking his father thought he did it. I don't remember anything about Lucy believing her father thought she was involved, just that he did. I am beginning to think this is the most disfunctional GROUP of people I have run across LOL! NO ONE talks, its not just about lies, but silence! I am beginning to think that the Perez family is the most functional of them all...they knew what happened, from their son and at least all of them talked to each other and worked out what to do together and it was logical too actually. Anyway, did Lucy know that her father thought she was a part of it or not? What did she know about what he thought he knew? OK, I am going in circles now with this. I am sure the answer is shorter than this question LOL! Hey, if she knew her father believed this, would she have taken Paul to see Ira when Ira told her for him to come alone? I dont think so, that would have spoiled everything besides put Paul in danger and I dont think she would do that. I think Lucy's guilt was not anything about Ira, but her part in what played out that night.
Vivian
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie

....I am beginning to think that the Perez family is the most functional of them all...they knew what happened, from their son and at least all of them talked to each other and worked out what to do together and it was logical too actually.

Refresh my memory, didn't the Perez's tell Paul his sister was dead?
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Wrighty
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie


cindersue wrote:
....I am beginning to think that the Perez family is the most functional of them all...they knew what happened, from their son and at least all of them talked to each other and worked out what to do together and it was logical too actually.

Refresh my memory, didn't the Perez's tell Paul his sister was dead?




At the end of chapter 32 Gil's sister Glenda told Paul that Gil and his sister Camille were both alive. In Chapter 40 when Paul was in the hospital, Mrs. Perez was the one that told him how she and his mother helped hide Gil and Camille. She also told him about the problems between his mother and father.
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Re: Ending - Ultimate Responsibility - living within a lie


Wrighty wrote:

cindersue wrote:
....I am beginning to think that the Perez family is the most functional of them all...they knew what happened, from their son and at least all of them talked to each other and worked out what to do together and it was logical too actually.

Refresh my memory, didn't the Perez's tell Paul his sister was dead?




At the end of chapter 32 Gil's sister Glenda told Paul that Gil and his sister Camille were both alive. In Chapter 40 when Paul was in the hospital, Mrs. Perez was the one that told him how she and his mother helped hide Gil and Camille. She also told him about the problems between his mother and father.




Awww, that's right! :smileywink: I'll have to re-read the book! :smileyhappy: Thanks, Wrightly. Hope to see you next month. :smileywink:
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