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Melissa_W
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STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

Please use this thread for discussion of Chapters Seven - Nine of State of Wonder.

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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Fozzie
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I was amazed at the relationship Dr. Swenson had with the Lakashi people.  They obeyed her as if she was the boss.  I wonder how she went about building that type of relationship with them.  It must have taken years.  I bet a lot of the work had been done by Dr. Rapp.

 

Marina settles in quite well to the jungle.  I assume that having other Americans there and having a job to do makes things easier.  Still, I repeatedly found myself thinking that I could not live there.

 

I love getting to know Easter.  It is so sweet that he leaves Anders’ letters for Marina --- possessions from one of Easter’s most prized people to another of his prized people.

 

I mentioned in the first thread about how serious the book was.  Well, it is serious, but I found some things to chuckle at later in the book.  I chuckled when tourists came to observe the Jinta from a boat when Marina was with the Drs. Saturn and the tourists thought Marina was a native.  “Take my picture with this one.  She’s twice the size of the rest of them.” 

 

Did anyone else about fall out of your chair when you read that Dr. Swenson was pregnant?  That was a shocker!  “I am glad to have conducted this piece of research on myself because it makes me realize something I might not have otherwise taken into account; women past a certain age are simply not meant to carry children, and I can only imagine that we are not meant to bear them or to raise them with,” Dr. Swenson states to Marina.  That’s right!

 

Finding out some details about what was going on with the women in the village was fascinating.  Imagine eating tree bark right off a tree!  The whole scientific explanation was so interesting.

It was very ironic when Dr. Swenson talked Marina through a cesarean section on one of the native women.  But them Dr. Swenson wants Marina to stay to do her own C section!  Yikes!  How is Marina going to get out of that one?

 

I like the big moral dilemmas that are presented in the book.  Here’s one that Dr. Swenson explains to Marina on page 288.

“The people who need a malarial vaccine will never have the means to pay for it.  At the same time I will give them a drug that will, if anything, undermine the health of women and make them a truly obscene fortune.  Isn’t that a reasonable exchange?”

Is it a reasonable exchange?  Is it right to use money allocated for one purpose for a completely different purpose, hidden from the funders?

 

Once I got to this point, I couldn’t stop reading!

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I also think that, The way was paved by Dr. Rapp with the Lakashi people. So Dr. Swenson followed him from Africa, Indonesia, and till his death the Amazon. Dr. Swenson tells Marina how Dr. Rapp never interfered with the rhythm of the Lakashi lives. However he never had any problem naming various plants , insects, and trees, birds after himself. I wonder if Dr. Swenson modeled her own ethics and behavior on him ?  

 

I was shocked to learn that other Dr.s were working at the camp !  I thought Dr. Swenson was alone with her work. I can't get over the fact that Marina is walking around the jungle in flip flops, Yikes! I would have mesh hiking boots at the very least. Lol. I know it's both very hot & humid but still.

 

So Easter was left with the Lashaki as a toddler by another tribe. Most likely because he was sick.Then Dr. Swenson kinda of adopted him. She told Marina I am like a mother to him. Again the mother theme that runs through the book. I just don't see Dr. Swenson as maternal at all. I think the Lashaki fill that roll. Teacher yes, I can see Dr. Swenson as his teacher. Easter is bright and a willing student, he can learn a lot from her just like Marina had. I also liked how Anders was such a natural parent with Easter. I thought Easter loved Anders too, and keeps giving Marina his letters one at a time. He see's her as the same as Anders. I think he can feel what is missing and finds it again with Marina. He is very sweet. Who could not fall in love with this kid?  

 

 

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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

Oh yes I was shocked that Dr.Swenson is pregnant !  I think she said she was 70. What is she thinking, she will have to live till at least 90 to see them turn 20. Yikes! But she is doing it for scientific study. She thinks the Lankashi will raise he child for her. Marina is stunned, all she can say is "But you went to Radcliff " 

 

The fact that the tree bark has to be eaten everyday and no one wants to stop eating it. (Strange isn't it) Makes me think it may be addictive. I wonder how a drug that is addictive like that would affect the western worlds population. Some countries have low birth rates like Japan, & Germany. Even worse what about countries with already high birth rates, like India. 

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Fozzie
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine


optic_i wrote:

I also think that, The way was paved by Dr. Rapp with the Lakashi people. So Dr. Swenson followed him from Africa, Indonesia, and till his death the Amazon. Dr. Swenson tells Marina how Dr. Rapp never interfered with the rhythm of the Lakashi lives. However he never had any problem naming various plants , insects, and trees, birds after himself. I wonder if Dr. Swenson modeled her own ethics and behavior on him ?  

 

I was shocked to learn that other Dr.s were working at the camp !  I thought Dr. Swenson was alone with her work. I can't get over the fact that Marina is walking around the jungle in flip flops, Yikes! I would have mesh hiking boots at the very least. Lol. I know it's both very hot & humid but still.

 

So Easter was left with the Lashaki as a toddler by another tribe. Most likely because he was sick.Then Dr. Swenson kinda of adopted him. She told Marina I am like a mother to him. Again the mother theme that runs through the book. I just don't see Dr. Swenson as maternal at all. I think the Lashaki fill that roll. Teacher yes, I can see Dr. Swenson as his teacher. Easter is bright and a willing student, he can learn a lot from her just like Marina had. I also liked how Anders was such a natural parent with Easter. I thought Easter loved Anders too, and keeps giving Marina his letters one at a time. He see's her as the same as Anders. I think he can feel what is missing and finds it again with Marina. He is very sweet. Who could not fall in love with this kid?  

 

 


That's a good question --- did Dr. Swenson model her behavior after Dr. Rapp?  We have no way of knowing.  I don't think Dr. Swenson is maternal at all either.  I guess that added to the shock of her being pregnant.

 

It is scary to think about walking around the jungle in flip flops, but Marina was limited to what was available in the general store.  Surely they had other shoes though...

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine


optic_i wrote:

Oh yes I was shocked that Dr.Swenson is pregnant !  I think she said she was 70. What is she thinking, she will have to live till at least 90 to see them turn 20. Yikes! But she is doing it for scientific study. She thinks the Lankashi will raise he child for her. Marina is stunned, all she can say is "But you went to Radcliff " 

 

The fact that the tree bark has to be eaten everyday and no one wants to stop eating it. (Strange isn't it) Makes me think it may be addictive. I wonder how a drug that is addictive like that would affect the western worlds population. Some countries have low birth rates like Japan, & Germany. Even worse what about countries with already high birth rates, like India. 


Yes, the tree bark must be addictive.  Can you imagine going to eat tree bark everyday?!?

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I know, I still have trouble picturing it. They walk to the trees and start chewing the bark, doesn't sound very  appealing. 

 

On pg.135 (Nook) Dr. Swenson is giving credit to Vogel & Mr.. Fox. She says it was difficult to get funding to do her work and she was flying the red eye back & forth from Brazil to John Hopkins and teaching ten years ago. There weren't any Pharmaceutical company's willing to fund until Vogel. However she is helping to developed a malaria drug with the other Doctors Saturn. So she will have something that will make them profits. Her "work " seems to be taking forever and she doesn't seem to believe in it anymore. (The right thing to do? Have much older women delay childbearing.) And yet she is pregnant herself at 70. She seems to be sending mixed messages. All the while saying Mr.Fox is bothering her and keeping her from her work. 

 

I just think she wants to stay there forever with her child & Easter & the Lakashi.It really is her home. 

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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

On the boat with Drs. Saturn going to a village. Marina learns about the affair Dr. Rapp & Dr, Swenson were having over the years when Dr, Saturn was at Harvard. He tells of the "Great Man" and how he spent 2 summers with Dr.Rapp and looks on that time as enlightening and how awesome he thought Dr. Rapp was. This is a sore point for for Mrs. Saturn and they start to argue about Dr. Rapp. She says she knows Mrs.Rapp too. That she still lives in Cambridge at 90, she also is angry that her husband's blind admiration for Dr.Rapp. She tells Marina that when her husband was 19, he was sick with a 105 fever and Dr.Rapp left him with a tribe because he was too busy to stop his work.And after a while he was helped  by another group to get him back home. (Sounds a lot like what happened to Anders) Only with Dr.Swenson this time and Anders did die.  

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Fozzie
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine


optic_i wrote:

I know, I still have trouble picturing it. They walk to the trees and start chewing the bark, doesn't sound very  appealing. 

 

On pg.135 (Nook) Dr. Swenson is giving credit to Vogel & Mr.. Fox. She says it was difficult to get funding to do her work and she was flying the red eye back & forth from Brazil to John Hopkins and teaching ten years ago. There weren't any Pharmaceutical company's willing to fund until Vogel. However she is helping to developed a malaria drug with the other Doctors Saturn. So she will have something that will make them profits. Her "work " seems to be taking forever and she doesn't seem to believe in it anymore. (The right thing to do? Have much older women delay childbearing.) And yet she is pregnant herself at 70. She seems to be sending mixed messages. All the while saying Mr.Fox is bothering her and keeping her from her work. 

 

I just think she wants to stay there forever with her child & Easter & the Lakashi.It really is her home. 


I agree that she was sending mixed messages.  She claims she doesn't want to stay there forever, yet she called it "home" earlier in the book.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine


optic_i wrote:

On the boat with Drs. Saturn going to a village. Marina learns about the affair Dr. Rapp & Dr, Swenson were having over the years when Dr, Saturn was at Harvard. He tells of the "Great Man" and how he spent 2 summers with Dr.Rapp and looks on that time as enlightening and how awesome he thought Dr. Rapp was. This is a sore point for for Mrs. Saturn and they start to argue about Dr. Rapp. She says she knows Mrs.Rapp too. That she still lives in Cambridge at 90, she also is angry that her husband's blind admiration for Dr.Rapp. She tells Marina that when her husband was 19, he was sick with a 105 fever and Dr.Rapp left him with a tribe because he was too busy to stop his work.And after a while he was helped  by another group to get him back home. (Sounds a lot like what happened to Anders) Only with Dr.Swenson this time and Anders did die.  


The story of Dr. Rapp is very incomplete.  I wonder how much is completely true and how much has been altered, myabe not intentionally, over the years.  I am not quite sure what to make of anything about Dr. Rapp other than his research preceeded Dr. Swenson's, she worked with him, and had an affair with him.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine


Fozzie wrote:

optic_i wrote:

On the boat with Drs. Saturn going to a village. Marina learns about the affair Dr. Rapp & Dr, Swenson were having over the years when Dr, Saturn was at Harvard. He tells of the "Great Man" and how he spent 2 summers with Dr.Rapp and looks on that time as enlightening and how awesome he thought Dr. Rapp was. This is a sore point for for Mrs. Saturn and they start to argue about Dr. Rapp. She says she knows Mrs.Rapp too. That she still lives in Cambridge at 90, she also is angry that her husband's blind admiration for Dr.Rapp. She tells Marina that when her husband was 19, he was sick with a 105 fever and Dr.Rapp left him with a tribe because he was too busy to stop his work.And after a while he was helped  by another group to get him back home. (Sounds a lot like what happened to Anders) Only with Dr.Swenson this time and Anders did die.  


The story of Dr. Rapp is very incomplete.  I wonder how much is completely true and how much has been altered, myabe not intentionally, over the years.  I am not quite sure what to make of anything about Dr. Rapp other than his research preceeded Dr. Swenson's, she worked with him, and had an affair with him.


Yes that's true, Dr. Rapp died 9 yrs. ago in Cambridge. So much of this story seems to center on single minded devotion.. Good & Bad. On pg. 185. (Nook) Marina is thinking( Alan Saturn was wrong, Dr Rapp behaved badly, Nancy Saturn was right, such matters were worthy of judgment. She found herself siding with with Alan because there was much in his single minded devotion to a mentor that sounded a familiar note. In this life we love who we love. There were some stories in which facts were very nearly irrelevant.)   

 

I guess this is like saying love is blind. Either for a Mentor or Boss.  

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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I keep thinking about how Anders died. He was sick and getting worse each day. The only one with him was Easter. Everyone else was busy working. Including Mrs Saturn, who should have seen the signs. Although Easter is deaf he wasn't blind, and he felt love for Anders. As he does for Marina too. 

Melissa_W
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I actually wasn't very surprised to find Dr. Swenson was pregnant.  She was presented as such an odd character that I expected strange things from her.


Fozzie wrote:

I was amazed at the relationship Dr. Swenson had with the Lakashi people.  They obeyed her as if she was the boss.  I wonder how she went about building that type of relationship with them.  It must have taken years.  I bet a lot of the work had been done by Dr. Rapp.

 

Marina settles in quite well to the jungle.  I assume that having other Americans there and having a job to do makes things easier.  Still, I repeatedly found myself thinking that I could not live there.

 

I love getting to know Easter.  It is so sweet that he leaves Anders’ letters for Marina --- possessions from one of Easter’s most prized people to another of his prized people.

 

I mentioned in the first thread about how serious the book was.  Well, it is serious, but I found some things to chuckle at later in the book.  I chuckled when tourists came to observe the Jinta from a boat when Marina was with the Drs. Saturn and the tourists thought Marina was a native.  “Take my picture with this one.  She’s twice the size of the rest of them.” 

 

Did anyone else about fall out of your chair when you read that Dr. Swenson was pregnant?  That was a shocker!  “I am glad to have conducted this piece of research on myself because it makes me realize something I might not have otherwise taken into account; women past a certain age are simply not meant to carry children, and I can only imagine that we are not meant to bear them or to raise them with,” Dr. Swenson states to Marina.  That’s right!

 

Finding out some details about what was going on with the women in the village was fascinating.  Imagine eating tree bark right off a tree!  The whole scientific explanation was so interesting.

It was very ironic when Dr. Swenson talked Marina through a cesarean section on one of the native women.  But them Dr. Swenson wants Marina to stay to do her own C section!  Yikes!  How is Marina going to get out of that one?

 

I like the big moral dilemmas that are presented in the book.  Here’s one that Dr. Swenson explains to Marina on page 288.

“The people who need a malarial vaccine will never have the means to pay for it.  At the same time I will give them a drug that will, if anything, undermine the health of women and make them a truly obscene fortune.  Isn’t that a reasonable exchange?”

Is it a reasonable exchange?  Is it right to use money allocated for one purpose for a completely different purpose, hidden from the funders?

 

Once I got to this point, I couldn’t stop reading!


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Scribe
optic_i
Posts: 750
Registered: ‎06-26-2011

Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Seven - Nine

I really like how Dr. Swenson was written. Her voice was so clear in my mind. While she was pretending disinterest in what anyone had to say. She was a force to reckon with. She almost always knew what someone would say before they did.