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Bill_T
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Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

A devout Mormon girl, Ronnie is still angry at her sisters' funeral. Why? Why is Ronnie's reaction to the events -- her rage -- so different from her parents' bleak grief? Is it her age? Is it a lack of faith?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of Cage of Stars, through the end of Chapter Seven. 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.
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

Regardless of religion, we all handle grief differently. Heck,all three left in this family are handling the grief differently. There are stages to grief that people go through at different times in different ways. Also, Ronnie is a very young girl. Her feelings are bound to be different that her parents out of experience too. I dont think it shows she lost her faith at all, its just with great tragedy, especially to the innocent, we can all have periods of wondering WHY? I think the longer any of us stay in the why mode, the more dangerous it becomes, and you get a forboding feeling about Ronnie's right from the prologue.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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JackieM01
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger is Grief

for some people.
I can remember the anger my sons felt at their father's funeral (14 years ago) when people told them he was "in a better place." they were very young then, 8 6, and 3; and they were offended that anyone would think their father was in "a better place" than with them.
In Ronnie's case, I wanted to portray a girl who resented strangers' appropriating the grief she felt. She wants there to be no mistake. Here sisters are THEIRS. People's outpouring of sympathy doesn't make Ruth or Becky anything but who they were.
Jackie M.
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lepking
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger is Grief

You are so on target - anger is grief. My daughter has so much anger that she literally has a book where she writes down every bad thing she hears that people do for revenge. Siblings struggle so differently (not less or more) than parents. Siblings feel that they should have died instead. They angonize over any little thing they might have said to make the other one feel badly. And then there is this thing people are always talking about called "closure." When you find out what constitutes "closure", tell me and Ronnie.
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger is Grief/ what we say or do


JackieM01 wrote:
for some people.
I can remember the anger my sons felt at their father's funeral (14 years ago) when people told them he was "in a better place." they were very young then, 8 6, and 3; and they were offended that anyone would think their father was in "a better place" than with them.
In Ronnie's case, I wanted to portray a girl who resented strangers' appropriating the grief she felt. She wants there to be no mistake. Here sisters are THEIRS. People's outpouring of sympathy doesn't make Ruth or Becky anything but who they were.
Jackie M.


When someone dies, regardless of faith, people really dont know what to say, they want to comfort but how? So they say things that are just trying to lift you, and lift them. It's like funerals. Funerals are not for the dead but for the living. They are suppose to help us grieve, console each other and help us deal. And many times they do and people are a little better at hearing "they are in a better place" at a funeral cause you want to know then that there is more.

Being in a position at one time in my church where i was involved with helping the families of several people who died over a couple of years,I think of one lady whose son of 26 dropped dead on her front porch and it was 3am and i was the first person she called (after the ambulance of course). I then called the Bishop and he called others that needed to be called. We tried to be there for her. I think the best thing we did initially was to just take a lot of the load off her of making the contacts for her that she did not ever expect in her life to have to make, to take phone calls and basically screen them for her and to organize the church family with how they could help, be it bringing in food, watching the house during the funeral or participating in any way she wanted us to. We did not do any of this without her knowledge or consent understand, but we "did" the things that just had to be done, that she could not handle. I think that did more for her than any words at that point. Then at the funeral, part of her family was from another religion and so our Bishop (thats what mormons call our ministers) got with the minister from the other church and put together a funeral service to help both sides of the family.

I really do understand Ronnie's feelings of, they are OURS, now leave us alone! And especially about the media and the questions on..how did this make you feel or what did you see or do. How morally inappropriate to do to a child or maybe anyone. But you also get to see how much it meant to Ronnie when later, trying to take care of the household herself, that one church sister's hug meant the world to her and how her and her husband's help "doing things" in the house, warmed Ronnie's heart.

You can't condemn people who dont know what to say and want so much to make you feel better but what does at that moment? Nor can you condemn Ronnie's outburst at them all for the attention that she didnt want and couldnt handle. Being human with each other is hard sometimes.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

Regardless of Roni's religion, she is fourteen, a very high voltage age. Anger and frustration seeps into young minds at this age and this goes on into their late teens. They do not accept things just because others do. They sometimes are harsh on forgiveness. And this age comes with alot of built up anger sometimes. This would have been hard for any age to forgive this soon as her parents did. Did they really forgive the man that did this, or try to uphold their religious teachings. Their had to be resentment and anger present in the parents, maybe they kept it hidden from others. Being human, losing children in this violet way, I can't see how anyone could forgive this quick. But of course, I am not them, maybe in rare cases this is possible.
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?/ or working it out

You know, i would have to go back and read when the parents actually decided what they did about forgiveness. We have been talking mostly like the parents forgave right off and Ronnies didn't but i dont think they did right off either. Ronnie's mom hid herself away for a long time, Ronnie had to play mom for some time to come, till she got used to it and I think then that role was hard to give back to mom. Papa didnt even stay home much at first, going for long walks alone. No one in this family at first was really sharing their grief. I didn't get the feeling that the parents were connecting with each other in their grief or forgiveness at first and not with Ronnie. I dont think it was just right away. It took time for them to even come together as husband and wife and figure out what it was going to take to get through this and then when you hear the mother describe what they did, that was even scary for her and suprising. I have reached a point of forgiveness for the man that harmed me terribly as a child for a long time. I don't wish him harm anymore, I hope he has a good life even, but that doesnt mean i want him in mine either and I dont think God thinks I have to. Have you been watching the news about the Amish this week. The ones who lost the 5 girls to murder? I have heard all week how they have forgiven and even reached out to the family of the murderer, knowing that they hurt too. I find that amazing and wonderful. Does it still hurt? I absolutely believe it does. Forgiveness doesnt necessarily mean you don't feel pain anymore, but you can give up anger and judgement and i truly think they have.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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hasenbein
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

When my Mother died 11/04/05 my three siblings and I reacted in completely different ways. One of my sisters wanted to know why we give God all the "credit" for good but don't "blame" Him for the bad. She's still struggling to come to any kind of acceptance that allows her to move on.

Ronnie is a young person, she is hitting the teen years, and she was actually there. I feel, in some ways, she's still operating in a black and white world and any grey makes absolutely no sense.

KathyH
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JackieM01
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The key to Ronnie is her age

She may be intelligent and intuitive and beyond her years in many ways. But she is a thirteen-year-old who ages in the book to seventeen and then to twenty-six. For a child of that age, all emotions are high emotions and for Ronnie, in particular, given her guilt, the proprietary nature of her grief would be ramped up: She could not defend Ruthie and Becky in life: She will in death. That is her motivating force for much of the book.
Jackie M.
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splash
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

I think Ronnie's anger is normal. Her being young makes it more difficult for her to accept what happens but I think anyone who suffers such a tragedy responds with anger at first. There's anger at the perpetrator, anger at one's God, anger at others because it happened to you instead of them. I think because of her age her anger as the first stage of her grief is displayed as rage. Her father handled his anger with his long walks and isolation. Her mother turned inward. Maybe as we get older it becomes easier to "accept the things we cannot change". To live with that kind of anger results in becoming another victim to the tragedy. Whether or not it is "normal" to be able to forgive someone who's caused such pain I'm not sure. I think for those who can do so may bring a kind of peace. I feel for most it would be merely a sense of accepting what has happened. I also think what magnifies Ronnie's anger is a sense of guilt. She failed to protect her sisters, or so she thought.
Her reaction to the sympathy of others can be attributed to her age. She felt by sharing her loss with strangers and even friends diminished her loss because so many wanted to share it. This was her family's loss, no one else should claim it; no one else could feel it the way she did. This led to her anger towards her parents as well. She couldn't understand why they accepted and let others intrude on their grief.
Concerning her religion, I don't think she found comfort in it. For Ronnie, as for most children, religion is incorporated into their way of life. This tragedy forced Ronnie to test the depths of her faith. I don't think she lost it or lacked it;it just got put on hold while she sorted out her feelings.
freedom
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lepking
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

Splash,
You are extremely insightful. lepking
lepking
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JackieM01
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Anger or Acceptance?

I'm ready to begin the middle of the book discussion but keep up with the others, too.
Jackie M.
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