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optic_i
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Re: The Novel as a Whole

[ Edited ]

That is so true about Marina, Ryan. She is damaged from the tragic accident at John Hopkins. And has been avoiding dealing with patients and has closed herself off ever since.I also found myself creating an ending for Marina & Easter & Dr. Swenson. Somehow I felt they needed something better too. 

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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Ten - Eleven


Melissa_W wrote:

 

I wish she hadn't chosen such a rare - extremely rare, so rare that Marina actually comments on how rare it is (likely less than 1 in 100,000 live births, and more common in identical twins than singletons) - birth defect like sirenomelia.  In a book of fantastical happenings, did the reader really need yet another?  In an older woman, it would be far more common to have a birth defect from chormosomal abnormalities like Trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome).  I think it would have been better to have a more common cause of intrauterine demise rather than the spectacularly rare.

 


Good point about how the author could/chould have chosen a different birth defect.  Because it was such a rare defect, that's why I felt it must have some significance.

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: The Rapp/Swenson short story


Melissa_W wrote:

If your edition contained the Rapp/Swenson short story, what did you think of it?


Without rereading it again, I just remember that I liked it and was interested to learn the evolution of the book as a short story instead of the other way around.

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 Ten - Eleven


Melissa_W wrote:

 

I couldn't really tell from the last few pages if we're meant to understand Marina was pregnant.  At 42 it would be possible that she hadn't yet entered menopause but there was never any mention of Marina having a menstrual cycle or needing/deciding not to take birth control (unless I missed something).

 


streamsong wrote:

So we are to believe that Marina is carrying Anders' child.

 

 


I felt there was the suggestion of the possibility of pregnancy, but, given that Marina had been eating the bark, I thought it more likely than it normally would be.  I hope she wasn't.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Novel as a Whole


Ryan_G wrote:

I can't think about this book without being a little sad.  Marina is such an emotionally damaged character that I can't help but feel sorry for her.  She quit a promising career in gynecology/obstetrics after an accident left her doubting her ability.  She changes to pharmacology, a decision that will keep her from ever having to deal with patients, and ends up working for a pharmaceutical company where she studies cholesterol.  When the aerogram from Brazil comes and announces the death of Dr. Eckman in the jungles of the Amazon basin, Marina reacts to it but there is still an emotional disconnect.  She is the one that Mr. Fox takes with him to brake the news to the wife.  A wife Marina never got to know despite the length of time she worked with Dr. Eckman or how close they became in the lab.  Up to this point Marina has held everyone at arms length.  She can't even call her lover by his first name.  Throughout the book, she simply calls him Mr. Fox.

When Mr. Fox and Karen Eckman finally convince Marina to go down to Brazil to discover what happened to Anders, she must confront the past in order to deal with what is going on.  She never really wakes up as a person until she has been at the jungle lab for a few weeks.  She starts to make connections with the doctors, members of the Lakashi tribe that the researchers are studying, but most importantly with a young boy named Easter.  What cemented this idea in my head is that she starts using people's first names, they no longer  are just Dr. or Mr. or a number.  She even uses Mr. Fox's first name in a few letters back to him.  I don't think Marina is ever happier that when she was in the jungle, even though she tried everything she could to convince herself of the opposite.

It's that awakening of the human soul that makes the ending of this book so tragic for me.  While I guess you could call the ending a "happy" one, I'm not so sure about that.  The ending takes place at such a frantic pace that I don't think Marina is thinking anymore, she's just reacting and going with the flow.  She stops growing and almost becomes the stunted human being she was in the beginning.  I would like to think that Dr. Swenson's prediction of what Marina will do happens.  I would like to think that she will return to the research lab and take over for Dr. Swenson once she is gone.  I would like to think that the decision to leave someone behind to save someone else, will weigh on her mind and force her to go back.  I would like to think that actions of the last 15 pages don't have consequences that none of them saw coming.  I would like to think that Rapps falling into the river will simply disappear and not start a war between tribes.  I have so many hopes for what happens after the book ends, but I'm afraid some of those hopes will be dashed.  I have a sinking feeling that once Marina is back in Minnesota that she will find herself walling people off once again.  I think she will continue to make bad decisions for herself.  I hope she doesn't, I hope I'm wrong.  I hope in a few years, Dr. Marina Singh will be living the life she deserves.


Great analysis.  I hope Marina has changed.  I believe she saw Dr. Fox for who he was and that relationship is over.  I don't think she and Anders will have more than a work colleague relationship.  To me, that leaves Marina's life open to something new.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Ryan_G
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Re: The Novel as a Whole

I know what I want to happen after the book closes, but I'm almost positive, given how she was at the end, that she will do the opposite and go back to the way she was.


optic_i wrote:

That is so true about Marina, Ryan. She is damaged from the tragic accident at John Hopkins. And has been avoiding dealing with patients and has closed herself off ever since.I also found myself creating an ending for Marina & Easter & Dr. Swenson. Somehow I felt they needed something better too. 


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Ryan_G
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Re: The Novel as a Whole

I agree with you that I think her and Mr. Fox are over, but I think that's about the only positive she will get out of this.  I'm not convinced that she will change or that what happens in the last few pages will allow her to change, given her past behavior.


Fozzie wrote:

Great analysis.  I hope Marina has changed.  I believe she saw Dr. Fox for who he was and that relationship is over.  I don't think she and Anders will have more than a work colleague relationship.  To me, that leaves Marina's life open to something new.


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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chadadanielleKR
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Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: The Rapp/Swenson short story

I see.  I read a paperback edition which I bought in England via internet and which cost me 1 cent + postage fare! Actually the Rapp/Swenson affair is mentioned in the book but probably not with so many details as in the short story.

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optic_i
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Re: The Rapp/Swenson short story

I have the e-book version of State or Wonder, and it doesn't have the short story. Too bad I would have liked to read it too.  

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optic_i
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Ten - Eleven


chadadanielleKR wrote:

As for me, I didn't think that Marina was meant to become pregnant: did she? I still wonder.  I enjoyed the book, reading about scientific researches conducted in the "middle of nowhere". I am disappointed to discover through your posts that the procedures were not very realistic. But nevertheless the book made me wonder about life as a Westerner among the Amazonian tribes.

I wonder how Dr. Eckman survived for three months with the Hummocca and I would have liked to read more about that.

I agree, the end of the book could have been better but I have been under the narrative's spell for quite a while: the Amazonian forest's spell!


That's a good point, finding out more about Ander's stay with the Hummocca tribe. I would want to know more about that too. Yes I was under the Amazon spell too !  I did enjoy this book, I really liked the premise of the Amazon and what is still a mystery to the western world. 

Melissa_W
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Re: The Rapp/Swenson short story

Optic and Danielle - I did manage to find the short story at the Wash Post link above :smileyhappy:  It should come up without subscribing (I'm not a subscriber and I was able to get to it).

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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optic_i
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Re: The Rapp/Swenson short story

Thanks Melissa, :smileyhappy: I was able to read it there too. 

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streamsong
Posts: 118
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Ten - Eleven

In the book, we are told that as soon as a woman became pregnant she no longer wanted to eat the bark--it happened within days which made the tribe members pregnancies seem very long since everyone knew about them almost from the start.

 

When Marina was packing to go home, the idea of takiing home the bark which she had stored away so carefully was repugnant to her--almost made her nauseous. Of course the events themselves may have made the plant  repellant to her, but I'm thinking the author was pointing to her being pregnant.--otherwise why tell us about it's early pregnancy indicator effects. I think at the close of the novel, Marina does not yet realize it--but we do.

 

I am in chlamydial research. Chlamydia has a lot of similarities. A vaccine for it will be be driven by first world sales, since in first world countries, it is a sexually transmitted disease that causes infertility. But in third world countries a different strain causes blinding trachoma among the very poor who can't afford or don't have access to the  few cents worth of antibiotics to cure it.

 

One of the main differences is that chlamydia does not have military research money behind it since antibiotics can cure it so easily. Since that is not the case with malaria and it affects soldiers in infested areas, there is military research interest and money behind its vaccine. Not just US military but Chinese, Africa--well you can imagine. A malaria vaccine with that much military interest would be a gold mine and there is LOTS of research going on. .Parasites are just incredibly hard to develop vaccines against. Intracellular parasites like malaria--that's even harder as the organism hides inside cells where antibodies can't get to them. (Chlamydia is an obligate intracellular bacteria).

 

Nevermind that what Patchett is describing is not a vaccine in any sense of the word, but some sort of prophylactic drug.

 

We'll see what happens with the Gates foundation pledge to eliminate malaria. They may actuallly end up contributing to additional military activity. No easy answers to that one. 

 

I'm having lots of fun debating the subject on LibraryThing. :cathappy:

 

Melissa_W
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Ten - Eleven

Good catch! :smileyhappy: I missed that.

 


streamsong wrote:

In the book, we are told that as soon as a woman became pregnant she no longer wanted to eat the bark--it happened within days which made the tribe members pregnancies seem very long since everyone knew about them almost from the start.

 

When Marina was packing to go home, the idea of takiing home the bark which she had stored away so carefully was repugnant to her--almost made her nauseous. Of course the events themselves may have made the plant  repellant to her, but I'm thinking the author was pointing to her being pregnant.--otherwise why tell us about it's early pregnancy indicator effects. I think at the close of the novel, Marina does not yet realize it--but we do.


This is very true.  Something only gets research dollars if it can be considered "important" to whatever country is going to fund it.


 

 

I am in chlamydial research. Chlamydia has a lot of similarities. A vaccine for it will be be driven by first world sales, since in first world countries, it is a sexually transmitted disease that causes infertility. But in third world countries a different strain causes blinding trachoma among the very poor who can't afford or don't have access to the  few cents worth of antibiotics to cure it.

 

One of the main differences is that chlamydia does not have military research money behind it since antibiotics can cure it so easily. Since that is not the case with malaria and it affects soldiers in infested areas, there is military research interest and money behind its vaccine. Not just US military but Chinese, Africa--well you can imagine. A malaria vaccine with that much military interest would be a gold mine and there is LOTS of research going on. .Parasites are just incredibly hard to develop vaccines against. Intracellular parasites like malaria--that's even harder as the organism hides inside cells where antibodies can't get to them. (Chlamydia is an obligate intracellular bacteria).

 

Nevermind that what Patchett is describing is not a vaccine in any sense of the word, but some sort of prophylactic drug.

 

We'll see what happens with the Gates foundation pledge to eliminate malaria. They may actuallly end up contributing to additional military activity. No easy answers to that one. 

 

I'm having lots of fun debating the subject on LibraryThing. :cathappy:

 


 

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
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: STATE OF WONDER: Chapters Ten - Eleven


streamsong wrote:

In the book, we are told that as soon as a woman became pregnant she no longer wanted to eat the bark--it happened within days which made the tribe members pregnancies seem very long since everyone knew about them almost from the start.

 

When Marina was packing to go home, the idea of takiing home the bark which she had stored away so carefully was repugnant to her--almost made her nauseous. Of course the events themselves may have made the plant  repellant to her, but I'm thinking the author was pointing to her being pregnant.--otherwise why tell us about it's early pregnancy indicator effects. I think at the close of the novel, Marina does not yet realize it--but we do.

 

 


An important detail!  Thanks for mentioning it.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.