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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Deena and the Baby

We never actually meet Deena (except maybe in one brief telephone exchange). What is her role here? What is her role in Manny's life? Did you develop feelings about her--and if so, what are they, and how did O'Nan accomplish this for you without actually introducing the character?
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Jessica
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Registered: ‎09-24-2006
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Re: Deena and the Baby



rkubie wrote:
We never actually meet Deena (except maybe in one brief telephone exchange). What is her role here? What is her role in Manny's life? Did you develop feelings about her--and if so, what are they, and how did O'Nan accomplish this for you without actually introducing the character?


It's interesting that you bring up Deena. I'm glad we never meet her. Manny needed to talk to Jackie (well, he tried...)  and get a few things off of his chest before the restaurant closed.
 
Manny is, in his heart, a good guy. Which is why he's 'doing the right thing' with Deena. Whether he's happy or not -- or will be in the future -- who knows? And maybe Deena feels the same way? We don't know too much about how she feels about Manny, do we?
 
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LucyintheOC
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Registered: ‎03-05-2008
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Re: Deena and the Baby

I don't think we needed to meet Deena. She is only important to the story in how Manny thinks about her and struggles with himself over "the question of Deena and baby." Regarding "doing the right thing", can I ask what that means to you? I got the feeling that he wanted to do the right thing, but he was really struggling with it and, to be honest, I feel like O'Nan wrote in ambivilence so that we really don't know exactly what he will do. It's true, in his work life he is very fastidious about doing things the right way and strives to do his job the best he can. But I don't think it necessarily follows that he will be the same in his personal life. He struggles with the fact he is with Deena; I think O'Nan presents this very cearly through the details he includes about him and her, when we listen in on his thoughts--especially when he talks about shutting down when she hints about marriage...and I think it's especially telling that he doesn't/doesn't like to spend the night at her place, that he puts off coming to her house as late as he can. I think he's feeling trapped and I think, in the end, because our society doesn't reward martyrdom like it used to, I think unless his feelings strengthen for her, she's going to be a single parent--not that he won't "do what's right" with respect to helping to raise his child--but I don't see marriage for them. I definitely think she's much more into him and wants much more from the relationship than he does.
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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Deena and the Baby

Interesting thoughts! I like questioning what, exactly, might be the right thing here. Does O'Nan even hint at what that might be? Staying in a loveless relationship to raise a child?  Those will be some long hours. Manny has already "had an affair" and isn't even married! I'm really curious about where "Deena and Manny" started. They just seem to have materialized without any real choices, don't they?
 
And I am very curious about Deena's feelings, but think it makes sense that we don't get any real peek into her life.
 
 
 
 
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LizzieAnn
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Deena and the Baby

I also don't think that we need to know Deena for this story.  It's the fact of Deena & the baby in relation to Manny that's more the focus than Deena herself.  I too wondered when Deena & Manny started.  For some reason, I thought it was after he & Jacquie had parted.


rkubie wrote:
Interesting thoughts! I like questioning what, exactly, might be the right thing here. Does O'Nan even hint at what that might be? Staying in a loveless relationship to raise a child?  Those will be some long hours. Manny has already "had an affair" and isn't even married! I'm really curious about where "Deena and Manny" started. They just seem to have materialized without any real choices, don't they?
 
And I am very curious about Deena's feelings, but think it makes sense that we don't get any real peek into her life.
 
 
 
 



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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Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Deena and the Baby

[ Edited ]


LizzieAnn wrote:
I also don't think that we need to know Deena for this story.  It's the fact of Deena & the baby in relation to Manny that's more the focus than Deena herself.  I too wondered when Deena & Manny started.  For some reason, I thought it was after he & Jacquie had parted.

 
 
 
 
Going back and looking at the beginning part, I think Deena and Manny were already together when he had an affair with Jacquie. Jacquie probably appeared to be exciting and glamorous to him as people you don't have obligations to will appear to be. He probably broke off with her after he found out Deena was pregnant. Also, I wonder if something along those lines happened with Jacquie.-----Page 23 "The morning they sat in the waiting room at the doctor's office, not talking."
             Librarian


Message Edited by Librarian on 03-11-2008 12:47 PM
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LucyintheOC
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Re: Deena and the Baby

I don't have the same impression about Manny and Deena. I somehow felt that they became an item after he and Jacquie broke up--which I think was Jacquie's doing, not Manny's. There was some mention that it was mutually decided, but I don't think Manny really wanted to end the relationship. And I didn't get the impression that Manny philandered. I thought he was faithful. He was into her and, at that time, still hopeful that she would care back for him equally as he cared for/loved her at some point. I think the pregnancy hastened the end of Jacquie and Manny.
 
Regarding the silence, I think there was an awful lot going on and sometimes, there just aren't any words to suit a moment--until later when time and emotional distance have a chance to come into play. I got the feeling Manny wanted to have that baby with Jacquie. I think that's a lot of what the silence was about between them. She didn't want commitment, and the tie/ties. Obviously, she didn't want this with Manny, whether she will ever want this with anyone else isn't part of the book. But this unwanted pregnancy was a huge tether that she just wasn't ready for and didn't want. While she enjoyed Manny's company, she just wasn't that into him. As for Manny, he was just the opposite. He wanted something permanent, ties with Jacquie. He have been a little blown away/overwhelmed initially at the news of becoming a father, he, most likely, had a lot going on internally when they were sitting in that waiting room. He probably felt, among other emotions, helpless. From what I remember reading (I've loaned the book out, so I can't go back to reference text), he didn't want her to rid herself of the child. But as a man, it wasn't, ultimately, his choice about what happened--and so he went along because he had to. But I bet at least a part of his heart, if not all of it, was breaking. Because I think he knew/sensed the handwriting on the wall...he knew this event was/would be the thing that move them in the direction that would bring the end between the two of them. Once she became pregnant and decided to terminate, I think he knew there was no going back for them either. She aborted the baby and the relationship aborted, whether self-aborted or deliberatly terminated it's all the same. No Jacquie and Manny.
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