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LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: The Cataclysm, Grandma and Grandfather, the truth



vivico1 wrote:
I would really like to discuss here, meeting one's ancestors and furthering the story of Grandma. I love that she comes to Peony and I like that she can now tell Peony the truth of the Cataclysm. If you have read that part, starts page 127 and have read about this aspect of what a woman's life was like then, lets talk about it here ok?

It was astounding to me what was expected of women, when the attack came. I can see protecting your children at the cost of your own life but save the husband at whatever cost and these men expected it???? When grandfather says to her,"My mouth wants to go on eating for a few more years. It is good of you to choose death, protect your chastity and save your husband and son." I wanted to scream with her. So ok all you married women, wanna speak up on this one? I am sure you are tired of a single woman ranting so tell me your thoughts on this and what would you have done? Why did she do it, when she despised him for it?




This is based on a true story. I read the account written by the man who said those immortal words. And boy, did they ever bother me. Of course, the women -- his wife and daughter-in-law in real life -- did exactly what he told them to do, because saving your husband and sons was the most important thing a woman could do. I thought how interesting it would be to write this true story from the women's point of view.
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING


LisaSee wrote:



Shao isn't being cruel. She's trying to help the family by putting away the "ugly thing." In those days, even if an unmarried daughter was lucky enough to get her tablet dotted, then the tablet would still be hidden away -- in a back room or in a special temple. the problem with these special temples is that they were usually where the tablets of prostitutes were kept. So "good" families just hid the tablet, if they bothered to make one at all.



WOW, I thought that if it was dotted, then it would be put in the ancestral hall and she would have those things offered up to her that would sustain here in the afterlife! Lisa, if the tablets were still hidden away and seen in the same way as a dead prostitute, (God help them in the afterlife, their families wont) does that mean she would still be a hungry ghost with a dotted tablet? I am lost again, if they dont do anything to honor her after dotting her tablet, why was it important to her for them to do so??
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: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING



vivico1 wrote:

LisaSee wrote:



Shao isn't being cruel. She's trying to help the family by putting away the "ugly thing." In those days, even if an unmarried daughter was lucky enough to get her tablet dotted, then the tablet would still be hidden away -- in a back room or in a special temple. the problem with these special temples is that they were usually where the tablets of prostitutes were kept. So "good" families just hid the tablet, if they bothered to make one at all.



WOW, I thought that if it was dotted, then it would be put in the ancestral hall and she would have those things offered up to her that would sustain here in the afterlife! Lisa, if the tablets were still hidden away and seen in the same way as a dead prostitute, (God help them in the afterlife, their families wont) does that mean she would still be a hungry ghost with a dotted tablet? I am lost again, if they dont do anything to honor her after dotting her tablet, why was it important to her for them to do so??




What happens if the tablet wasn't made at all, I think Lisa mentioned that? Would Peony just go on to the hereafter? Or remain a hungry ghost?
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING



vivico1 wrote:

LisaSee wrote:



Shao isn't being cruel. She's trying to help the family by putting away the "ugly thing." In those days, even if an unmarried daughter was lucky enough to get her tablet dotted, then the tablet would still be hidden away -- in a back room or in a special temple. the problem with these special temples is that they were usually where the tablets of prostitutes were kept. So "good" families just hid the tablet, if they bothered to make one at all.



WOW, I thought that if it was dotted, then it would be put in the ancestral hall and she would have those things offered up to her that would sustain here in the afterlife! Lisa, if the tablets were still hidden away and seen in the same way as a dead prostitute, (God help them in the afterlife, their families wont) does that mean she would still be a hungry ghost with a dotted tablet? I am lost again, if they dont do anything to honor her after dotting her tablet, why was it important to her for them to do so??




She wouldn't be a hungry ghost if her tablet was dotted but hidden away. And she would still get some of the families offerings, but they would be from a general pool as opposed to being just for her.
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING



kiakar wrote:
What happens if the tablet wasn't made at all, I think Lisa mentioned that? Would Peony just go on to the hereafter? Or remain a hungry ghost?




She'd a a hungry ghsot for sure.
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING


LisaSee wrote:


kiakar wrote:
What happens if the tablet wasn't made at all, I think Lisa mentioned that? Would Peony just go on to the hereafter? Or remain a hungry ghost?




She'd a a hungry ghsot for sure.


Lisa, I think one thing this book does do and I am sure you will appreciate this, is make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up about how we think of ourselves as women and our worth, all women's worth :smileywink: Tho, I am still concerned about those willing to "throw mama under the train" LOL. It will be interesting to see all the final views at the end of the book.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
LisaSee
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

I'd like to try and focus the discussion a bit and throw out some questions. Here's the first:

One thousand years ago, the poet Han Yun wrote, “All things not at peace will cry out.” What do you think he meant by that? And in what ways does this inspire Peony and the other women writers in the novel?
Author
LisaSee
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

This is a question that will concern the whole book, but maybe we can start thinking about it here.

Often what we hate most about ourselves – our weight, our tendency toward selfishness, our vanity, etc. – is what we are most critical of in others. Trace the progress of Peony’s relationship with Tan Ze – through life together in the Chen Family Villa and in the afterlife. In what ways are they alike, and how are they dissimilar? Why do they need each other, and how do they serve one another? Do you have similar symbiotic relationships in your life, and in what ways would you expect those relationships to change in death?
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

And here's one more question:

How do Peony’s experiences as a living girl and then as a hungry ghost parallel Liniang’s experiences in “The Peony Pavilion”?
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING



vivico1 wrote:

LisaSee wrote:


kiakar wrote:
What happens if the tablet wasn't made at all, I think Lisa mentioned that? Would Peony just go on to the hereafter? Or remain a hungry ghost?




She'd a a hungry ghsot for sure.


Lisa, I think one thing this book does do and I am sure you will appreciate this, is make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up about how we think of ourselves as women and our worth, all women's worth :smileywink: Tho, I am still concerned about those willing to "throw mama under the train" LOL. It will be interesting to see all the final views at the end of the book.




Yikes! Forgive my terrible typos in my earlier response.
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

I'd like to throw out some questions. I wrote some for Barnes & Noble, but I haven't seen any of them posted either this week or last. Anyway, I think it will help to get the discussion a bit more focused. Here's my first:

One thousand years ago, the poet Han Yun wrote, “All things not at peace will cry out.” What do you think he meant by that? And in what ways does this inspire Peony and the other women writers in the novel?
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

Here's another:

Often what we hate most about ourselves – our weight, our tendency toward selfishness, our vanity, etc. – is what we are most critical of in others. Trace the progress of Peony’s relationship with Tan Ze – through life together in the Chen Family Villa and in the afterlife. In what ways are they alike, and how are they dissimilar? Why do they need each other, and how do they serve one another? Do you have similar symbiotic relationships in your life, and in what ways would you expect those relationships to change in death?
Author
LisaSee
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

This question and my last one will help carry us through parts one and two:

How do Peony’s experiences as a living girl and then as a hungry ghost parallel Liniang’s experiences in “The Peony Pavilion”?
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING


LisaSee wrote:
I'd like to throw out some questions. I wrote some for Barnes & Noble, but I haven't seen any of them posted either this week or last. Anyway, I think it will help to get the discussion a bit more focused. Here's my first:

One thousand years ago, the poet Han Yun wrote, “All things not at peace will cry out.” What do you think he meant by that? And in what ways does this inspire Peony and the other women writers in the novel?


Thanks for the discussion questions Lisa, we have been waiting for a moderator to do the club, we have one listed. Some threads we would not have at all if it werent for us here and while waiting for some to finish, you can see we have gotten kinda stuck on just a couple of ideas. May I suggest to you that you mention to B&N that we really have had no moderator structure in here nor any of your questions posted by the one assigned? Actually, it would help us as readers too for B&N to know. Thank you for your patience and for the thought provoking questions.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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seagate
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

Thanks for writing that re: the questions. In the old days of the BN University, the moderator led the discussion. This is not being done in the update and I have felt I was out of order opening up with new areas of discussion. Thanks. Lisa for taking such an active part in this. Maybe now we'll get others to participate.
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING


seagate wrote:
Thanks for writing that re: the questions. In the old days of the BN University, the moderator led the discussion. This is not being done in the update and I have felt I was out of order opening up with new areas of discussion. Thanks. Lisa for taking such an active part in this. Maybe now we'll get others to participate.


Seagate, its not like the old B&N but at the same time, this is not right either. I have been in some bookclubs lately with lots of action but you have to have a mod doing their job, the author shouldnt have to. Our mod is missing in action and I have asked about this but no reply. If the mod is sick or something, its up to the Editor listed for the club then. One of the other bookclubs for the month had every thread from the beginning to the end of the book up, three days before the club started. With well defined marks as to where the questions were for in the book, meaning chapter headings or parts anyway and a whole lot of threads already there so you could join in anywhere you are at and know you are posting ok. Kind of like the old BNU. This one only had the welcomes, intros, whats your favorite passages,etc and that was it. I know you are done reading the book and a few in here who may not be posting are. Aside from Lisa's questions, which ty ty Lisa, you can go to the thread on part three and feel free to post ANY question there yourself and see who will answer. Its meant for the end of the book anyway. Anything you post in there shouldnt be a spoiler to anyone. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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“All things not at peace will cry out.”

You know, I think this statement can apply to so many things in life. When we are not at peace, with ourselves, with our families, with our society, with our world or whatever it may be, there is no sense of well-being, of rest, harmony or happiness.

Peony and the other women writers in the book, were not at peace with their lot in life and they did cry out, in the ways they could. Peony not eating was an outcry, maybe so was Ze's overeating. The women writers had many things to say about the opera, the things in life it meant to them, what women feel that they were not in general allowed to say, so they wrote it all out. For those who read what Peony and Ze have written at this point and later Yi, they could not believe a woman could have such thoughts, such depth of understanding, that surely it was Wu who had written what the three did together and he couldnt convince them otherwise. How ironic too that they could think women could not have these deep feelings and understanding about love, much less write them, that men could, considering we look to women more for that kind of writing today.

I think the statement, all things not at peace will cry out, speaks to all things. It even goes beyond our feelings or thoughts. If a physical body is not at peace, it will cry out, by showing pain so that you will acknowledge something is not in harmony in the body, something is wrong. If the spiritual self is not at peace, as we see in part II, it will cry out in a multitude of ways. They know this or they would not be so concerned about the spirits, be they good or bad.

I see the earth herself as not at peace with all we do to her, especially in the industrialized age. Now she cries out with great quakes and floods and winds and all kinds of pains brought on by how we have abused our atmosphere and changed the very nature of the weather itself. I think she cries out and would shake us off like fleas if she could. We have become as parasites instead of stewards of our own home.

A nation not at peace with itself will cry out in battle cries that divide it and pit brother against brother.

These women who wrote, were not at peace with the status quo and therefore not at peace within themselves and they cried out the only way they knew how, in writings. Is it any wonder that there was such a proliferance of female writers during this time and who were published?

All things seek peace and order and tranquility. People seek a sense of self. Things that are not at peace are in chaos, and chaos is never quiet.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

You know, in part II, I really started having questions about Peony's "goodness". When she was alive, she saw Ze as a spoiled selfish little girl. In part II, I was beginning to see Peony as the same thing. In life Ze was jealous of what she saw in Peony looking at Ren and then wanted him for herself. In Peony's death, she is jealous and angry at Ze for becoming Ren's wife and taking "her" place. As far as a symbiotic relationship between the two, hmm, ok, at first all I saw was Peony using Ze (and her body) to get closer to Ren, to try to get Ren to see her, to get Ren to feel her, to be with Ren. She used Ze's body to make love to Ren and put it all down to wanting to at least see him pleased and teaching Ze how. OK, look lady, stay OUT of my body, dont have me doing sexual things to any guy that I dont want to, I dont care how spoiled I am, this is MY body and this is as invasive as rape! Thats what I felt. Did Ze profit by this at all, well she did help her find ways to feel pleasure too and it did help along with the other things she was having Ze do, bring Ren closer to her, but I dont think she really cared. Peony had her write, taught her to write, to appreciate the Opera and write but she wanted it to be her words really and she was wearing Ze out! Ze figures out whats going on and tears up some of the writings, doesnt want the baby, sees it as Peony's. She is used up and in the end dies too and if anyone caused a death in this story, this one I did feel had Peony's hands all over it. This should not be a spoiler to anyone as this takes place in part II. I didnt really like Peony in this part at all. I saw her as selfish. But just as this is called part II, I saw this as part II of Peony's growing experience, because in the end, she did have to evaluate what she was doing and why. Life's lessons are hard and in this case, even after death.

Do I have any symbiotic relationships? I have had, but ones where we both had a say in what we were doing, we were friends, or more. We shared ideas and helped each other through good times and bad. We taught each other things that sometimes went unacknowledged at the time but later we always knew who it was that taught us that. We looked after each other because we loved each other. Or even in work situations we helped each other because we needed each others help and valued it. These are people I have loved and are a part of me and always will be. They are as necessary to me as any appendage on my body. What do I expect of those relationships after death? Like I said, they are a part of me, they WILL continue with me, just that simple. And no negative "users" I have known will come with me because they are not a part of me now, nor could I touch them negatively then either.


Lisa, this statements for you and I hope too, others will chip in on how it made them feel. I really hated that some who had passed on could have THIS much control of my life! This was possession! It was like, dang, no control here with the living if your a woman and you better darn well watch out for the dead too, cause they can use you and control you in even more ways than the living! I much prefered the ones who looked over the family and maybe helped out in whatever general ways they could. I do think my ancestors can see me from time to time and do care, I just dont think they can make me do things or else since this life for me, is my only one here, I will not learn for myself the things I need to know and be capable of, to carry into the next life. I know some people believe in possession in many religions, but for me, I think the dead have better things to do than to mess with this realm again, but on occassion to let us know they are there and we are still connected. I wont grant the dead power over me, especially when we so often have to fight for our own control in life.

One last thing, I will tell you honestly why this book and part II is very hard for me. It is about a woman's control of her own life, here and in the afterlife and here's why I have been so vocal. From the ages of 5-13, I was sexually abused and tortured, by more than one, which will mess with you emotionally too of course. I like who I am today but it hasnt been easy at times. I had no control over my life or my body for those tender years, so I really felt for Peony in part I. In part II, that she could then take control of another woman's body to do the things she wants to do, from death, that really was very hard for me and why I said what I did in the first paragraph. If in my belief system, I had no control here, even as an adult like I do now, and others could use my body after they died, to do with it what they would, I gotta tell ya, I think I would go mad, cause there would be no peace here and fear of the afterlife, so I couldnt even commit suicide to get out of either. So this is all very disturbing to me and after part II, all I could do is say, ok you know now Peony, what you were doing, take it and change it, you need to and I would really like to like you again lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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seagate
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING

You come through loud and clear. What a strong woman you have become because of your past. You learned from the horror you had to face.
Peony did act like a puppeteer. The road she took never gave her the time to face her problems and learn from them as yoo did. Operas frequently tend to be tragic. I am happy that the path you took had such great results. Thank you for sharing.
As I read the book I don't recall ever disliking Peony. I did have sympathy for her as she was so young .I excused her actions because of her age. As Lisa said ,she wrote to bring us along right into the story but it is difficult not to judge.
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vivico1
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Re: DISCUSSIONS FOR PART TWO (PAGE 96 THRU 198)DUTY OF THE DOTTING


seagate wrote:
You come through loud and clear. What a strong woman you have become because of your past. You learned from the horror you had to face.
Peony did act like a puppeteer. The road she took never gave her the time to face her problems and learn from them as yoo did. Operas frequently tend to be tragic. I am happy that the path you took had such great results. Thank you for sharing.
As I read the book I don't recall ever disliking Peony. I did have sympathy for her as she was so young .I excused her actions because of her age. As Lisa said ,she wrote to bring us along right into the story but it is difficult not to judge.


Thats true. But we do all feel things about people and we, in real life do make judgments about people, their character, their actions. Its how we decide who we hang out with and who we dont. Who we date and who we don't. Who we vote for and who we dont. So we do judge, we have to in some ways to decide what we will be or do. Maybe its that making judgments and being judgmental are two different things. I honestly by about half way through part II, started to dislike Peony because of her actions. I can't as easily put it down to, well she is young, even dead, she is young. This wasn't just pulling someones hair or tripping her because she cant see you. She was young, but she was marriage age and she did desire Ren. Having the idea that you can have what you want just because you feel you can or you think its right, may sometimes be put down to being spoiled but there are adults that feel this way too. As I said tho, by the end of part II,when she began to think about what all she had done, she at least sounded like she understood it was wrong and needed to change, so I was willing to hang in there with her in hopes to see that growth, and that can happen at any age.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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