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Bill_T
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Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge

Is revenge or forgiveness a more "normal" human emotion? Why or why not? Does revenge ever do what it's intended to do?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read all or nearly all of Cage of Stars. If you haven't finished the novel yet, please be aware that this discussion 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.
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lepking
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/possible spoiler

There is in my opinion a world of difference in seeking revenge - something viewed as "getting even" and seeking justice. At Ronnie's age and her experience it was very difficult to see the difference. She saw revenge as being just. I believe that she was eventually able to see that her revenge against Scott would only bring pain to others she cared about.
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vivico1
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/possible spoiler

I agree lepking that there is a definate difference in revenge and justice. I think most often, right after an extreme wrong has been done to someone, revenge is really the stronger emotion. We often want to hurt others the way we feel hurt and that has nothing to do with justice. As to the question, which is more a "normal" human response, revenge or justice that requires a definition of "normal". I have a feeling too that that also depends on the culture. There are actually some cultures where revenge is seen as outside the whole human experience. Ironically enough, those cultures are what we would call the less developed ones, less modernized, more backwards.I wonder who is really the less developed culture. There are still cultures , few but there, along the Amazon river for example, that have not been touched much by "civilized" man but have less crime, infidelity, fighting, selfishness,etc than any "developed" country. We see them as an aberration instead of a viable culture, so it sooths our conscience to continue to destoy their homes, the rain forests for our use and put them in impoverished slums or just kill them. I digress. Which is more the "norm" lets say? Both are strong, both happen but revenge is not justice and even in small quarrels blown out of proportion that never get to a court, I have yet to see a person who got revenge on someone, then be happy in the way they thought. You know how you can tell? Cause they still cant let it go. They still talk about it, they still stew over it, they still look for anything time to get more revenge. Revenge is a toxic fuel to the heart, never feeding it, always taking from it, weakening it. Forgiveness is about letting go. You dont have to hug an abuser of any kind, or take them cookies, or be their best friend from then on. You dont even have to be around them. You just need to let them go, stop letting them live in your head rent free! Ultimately what we really want inside is to make peace with what has happened because there is more life to live and purpose. Justice is something I believe in. I may believe in forgiveness and it may take an entire lifetime to come to and you cant do it alone. But I also believe in justice. I believe in the death penalty, I believe in the courts and can only pray they do justice since often we see they dont. Beyond that, any other justice is left to God. Revenge doesnt heal. And some would say to me, well Vivian, but thats an oxymoron to say, I believe in forgiving but I believe in the death sentance. To me it is not. I dont know how i would feel about a person who murdered someone I love, I havent lived through it. I just know revenge will not bring me relief, but its not an oxymoron to believe in the death penalty and forgiveness, because I could come to a point in my life where I could tell a man on death row, I forgive him but I dont have to rob justice by opening the doors and letting him out, to have said i do forgive him. Revenge is a "human" response yes, forgiveness is a "spiritual" response and justice can be both.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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splash
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge

Of the two emotions I think revenge is the more "normal" one that people feel if they've suffered what Ronnie did. In her case revenge came more to the forefront because of the fact that she did not feel Scott Early had been justly punished. A short sentence in jail for taking the lives of two children would not seem fair to anyone. For Ronnie,who had felt responsible for their safekeeping and who witnessed the aftermath of the crime,it had to appear as a slap on the wrist. I think her outrage at his release and the fact that no one else felt her outrage led to her need for revenge. I'm not sure her age alone played a part in this. I think a lot of adults would have felt the same way and maybe acted upon those feelings with a violent ending. Whether or not revenge serves its purpose I'd have to say no. It may give a moment of instant gratification but in the end the emptiness of Ronnie's loss would still be there. I think justice may give closure but only time eases the pain of such a loss. Accepting the horror of what happened, having wonderful memories of those you've lost, being able to let go and move on are what matter.
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lepking
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure

You have touched on some very good points. I still have a problem with "closure". I don't really understand what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "there is a funeral?", "the trial is over?", "the jury/judge rendered a verdict?", "the offender is paroled?", "you have a career", "YOU die?" When is there ever really closure? Ronnie found ways to fill her days, her nights, her life, but I don't think she will ever close the book on what happened to her sisters. lepking
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vivico1
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure


lepking wrote:
You have touched on some very good points. I still have a problem with "closure". I don't really understand what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "there is a funeral?", "the trial is over?", "the jury/judge rendered a verdict?", "the offender is paroled?", "you have a career", "YOU die?" When is there ever really closure? Ronnie found ways to fill her days, her nights, her life, but I don't think she will ever close the book on what happened to her sisters. lepking


I think a person has "closure" when they can get to a point in their lives where the tragedy that hit them, does not consume them anymore. Where they have a life that is no longer ruled by it. It doesnt mean you forget, closure isnt forgetting. Closure is like to "close" a deep wound. It has to have attention paid to it at first, a lot. It needs help. It may need stitches, something to hold it together for some time, till the wound heals and the stitches are no longer needed or disappear into the wound itself. It doesnt mean the wound never happened. As a matter of fact, there may be a big scar there for life. But the scar itself does not cause pain and one goes on with the rest of their lives, with new experiences, relationships and feelings. But the scar is still there so you look at it from time to time and remember. But even if there is pain left, its not the initiate pain of an open gash. And often, there is no physical pain anymore, but a memory that one was hurt once and you find yourself talking about it in new ways. Not the one who cries each time someone touched the open wound, or newly sutured wound, but now your the one who can talk about it and share with others your experiences. There may be loss there too still but not overwhelming loss that keeps you immobilized from life OR enjoyment OF life anymore! I think closure, just means coming to grips with the fact you will always have that scar there but you are finally passed the initial wound and breathing again, and it really is ok to breath again, you are betraying no one to be happy in your life! Closure does not mean forgetting, ever, or letting go of the person, it means that letting go of the pain that kepts the tragedy a continual one. When it stays a continual one, then there are really two tragedies, the person who died, and the person who will not live.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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lepking
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure

That was truly beautiful. Thank you. lepking
lepking
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kiakar
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure



lepking wrote:
You have touched on some very good points. I still have a problem with "closure". I don't really understand what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "there is a funeral?", "the trial is over?", "the jury/judge rendered a verdict?", "the offender is paroled?", "you have a career", "YOU die?" When is there ever really closure? Ronnie found ways to fill her days, her nights, her life, but I don't think she will ever close the book on what happened to her sisters. lepking




Maybe Lepking it just means something that you can live with. If its murder, if that person that did the crime, if he or she has been punished, maybe then we can relinquish some of that hate, our deceased wouldn't want us to dwell on it forever and not have some peace. Of course, once the wound is opened, there is no completely closing it, but at least maybe we can have peace knowing that justice was served to punish in someway the person that did this crime to you and your family. Time is the only thing that ever helps with the terrible agnony of hurt that you feel in your heart. So closure is just trying to gain back some peace in your heart and excepting that that is all that you can do for your love one. They are at peace and with God and to get closure I feel you have to believe that your loved one is happy and at peace theirself.
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kiakar
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure



vivico1 wrote:

lepking wrote:
You have touched on some very good points. I still have a problem with "closure". I don't really understand what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "there is a funeral?", "the trial is over?", "the jury/judge rendered a verdict?", "the offender is paroled?", "you have a career", "YOU die?" When is there ever really closure? Ronnie found ways to fill her days, her nights, her life, but I don't think she will ever close the book on what happened to her sisters. lepking


I think a person has "closure" when they can get to a point in their lives where the tragedy that hit them, does not consume them anymore. Where they have a life that is no longer ruled by it. It doesnt mean you forget, closure isnt forgetting. Closure is like to "close" a deep wound. It has to have attention paid to it at first, a lot. It needs help. It may need stitches, something to hold it together for some time, till the wound heals and the stitches are no longer needed or disappear into the wound itself. It doesnt mean the wound never happened. As a matter of fact, there may be a big scar there for life. But the scar itself does not cause pain and one goes on with the rest of their lives, with new experiences, relationships and feelings. But the scar is still there so you look at it from time to time and remember. But even if there is pain left, its not the initiate pain of an open gash. And often, there is no physical pain anymore, but a memory that one was hurt once and you find yourself talking about it in new ways. Not the one who cries each time someone touched the open wound, or newly sutured wound, but now your the one who can talk about it and share with others your experiences. There may be loss there too still but not overwhelming loss that keeps you immobilized from life OR enjoyment OF life anymore! I think closure, just means coming to grips with the fact you will always have that scar there but you are finally passed the initial wound and breathing again, and it really is ok to breath again, you are betraying no one to be happy in your life! Closure does not mean forgetting, ever, or letting go of the person, it means that letting go of the pain that kepts the tragedy a continual one. When it stays a continual one, then there are really two tragedies, the person who died, and the person who will not live.






Oh! Vivico1, I did not see your beautiful post to Lepkind. I included alot of the same things you did. Only you did it better. Linda
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Wrighty
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge/closure


kiakar wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

lepking wrote:
You have touched on some very good points. I still have a problem with "closure". I don't really understand what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "there is a funeral?", "the trial is over?", "the jury/judge rendered a verdict?", "the offender is paroled?", "you have a career", "YOU die?" When is there ever really closure? Ronnie found ways to fill her days, her nights, her life, but I don't think she will ever close the book on what happened to her sisters. lepking


I think a person has "closure" when they can get to a point in their lives where the tragedy that hit them, does not consume them anymore. Where they have a life that is no longer ruled by it. It doesnt mean you forget, closure isnt forgetting. Closure is like to "close" a deep wound. It has to have attention paid to it at first, a lot. It needs help. It may need stitches, something to hold it together for some time, till the wound heals and the stitches are no longer needed or disappear into the wound itself. It doesnt mean the wound never happened. As a matter of fact, there may be a big scar there for life. But the scar itself does not cause pain and one goes on with the rest of their lives, with new experiences, relationships and feelings. But the scar is still there so you look at it from time to time and remember. But even if there is pain left, its not the initiate pain of an open gash. And often, there is no physical pain anymore, but a memory that one was hurt once and you find yourself talking about it in new ways. Not the one who cries each time someone touched the open wound, or newly sutured wound, but now your the one who can talk about it and share with others your experiences. There may be loss there too still but not overwhelming loss that keeps you immobilized from life OR enjoyment OF life anymore! I think closure, just means coming to grips with the fact you will always have that scar there but you are finally passed the initial wound and breathing again, and it really is ok to breath again, you are betraying no one to be happy in your life! Closure does not mean forgetting, ever, or letting go of the person, it means that letting go of the pain that kepts the tragedy a continual one. When it stays a continual one, then there are really two tragedies, the person who died, and the person who will not live.






Oh! Vivico1, I did not see your beautiful post to Lepkind. I included alot of the same things you did. Only you did it better. Linda




Viv and Linda,

Wow! You both did such a wonderful job describing such a terrible thing. We are all wounded in some way but hopefully we heal enough to carry on.
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homereader
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge



Bill_T wrote:
Is revenge or forgiveness a more "normal" human emotion? Why or why not? Does revenge ever do what it's intended to do?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read all or nearly all of Cage of Stars. If you haven't finished the novel yet, please be aware that this discussion 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 revenge is a more common human emotion in response to a hurt. Forgiveness, I think, is something that has to be learned.
At least for me, I have learned that revenge serves no useful purpose. Forgiveness does. To a great extent, forgiveness frees the person who has been hurt.

Last week, I watched a film on "Forgiveness" at my church, which will be shown on PBS in the fall. The examples of forgiveness covered many and varied situations, the murder of the young Amish girls in their classroom, 911, and many more. It is a concept that was looked at accross many different cultures and religions. I guess what I got from the film, is that if you can bring yourself to forgive someone a wrong (intentional or unintentional), in the end you (the "victim" of the hurt) will be more at peace.

Revenge doesn't fix anything. If a person has been murdered, for example, what is to be gained by taking another's life? That just fuels the fire of anger and keeps the wounds open. Forgiveness is a way to get closure and move on, and hopefully find a way to have something positive come from a tragic loss.

Just my humble opinion......Janet aka homereader
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kiakar
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge

Revenge is bitter sweet. That does describe Revenge well. You are happy while you are revenging someone. But when its done, you are not satisfied, you feel no better. And most likely you have to be punished for the revenge you instilled on someone else. Pain of loss is undescribeable but at least with God's help, it gets bearable. Revenge does not help but forgiveness does. It takes awhile to except this state of mind. But it is alot better to forgive.
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JackieM01
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge



Bill_T wrote:
Is revenge or forgiveness a more "normal" human emotion? Why or why not? Does revenge ever do what it's intended to do?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read all or nearly all of Cage of Stars. If you haven't finished the novel yet, please be aware that this discussion 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 want to respond to all of the meditations about this important subject -- the crux of the novel. In my opinion, "revenge" (which I think of as a normal human, even a normal primate emotion) is supposed to lead to closure. In my experience, it rarely does. While it's logical to assume that seeing the person who did such grievous harm to us or our own brought to account for that would set the process of healing in motion, in my dealings with crime victims -- and in my own coming to terms with the lesser offenses done to me (among them, a big identity theft by a relative) the healing effects of revenge often can be an illusion. Except for a certain kind of person (Michael Corleone springs to mind) revenge, whether personal or ritual, can be a bridge to nowhere because concentrating on revenge often allows us to avoid concentrating on what we really need to do, which is to fully accept and try to mourn our loss without losing our minds. So, in this sense, I think that planning revenge, getting involved in a trial, a plot, a course of behavior can be a kind of self-protection from facing the truth that what is gone, is gone forever.

Jackie M.
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JackieM01
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge and beyong

But so many of you are absolutely right about forgiveness -- which is more the obverse than the opposite of revenge. It's a learned emotion and takes every bit of higher reasoning we have to accomplish it, if we hope to accomplish it in a genuine way.
Jackie M.
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lepking
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: Revenge and beyong

As I have listened to the newscasts at Va Tech, I found it quite insightful as one newscaster observed, that the students who witnessed the carnage seemed to be moving from reporter to reporter telling and retelling their experience. The newscaster commented that as long as they were telling about what happened, they didn't have to deal with the aftermath and what happens next with their lives. You brought out this behavior in Ronnie - as long as she dwelt on what happened, she didn't have to deal with moving on in her life. I found that to be true for about the first year after Lisa's death, my whole life and the lives of our family were caught up in what happened to her, and it wasn't until I started to take that and use it to help others that I realized that life goes on and we can go on as well. That doesn't mean that we forget, just that we use our experiences to make others' lives better. lepking
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