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Melissa_W
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THE WEIRD SISTERS: Chapters 1 through 5

Please use this thread for discussion of Chapters 1 though 5.

Melissa W.
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Melissa_W
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The royal "we" - Narration

What do you think of the "narrator" - the "we" of the sisters commenting on themselves?

 

It's one of my favorite things about this book, how the "we" scolds and comforts by turns.

Melissa W.
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Fozzie
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Re: The royal "we" - Narration


Melissa_W wrote:

What do you think of the "narrator" - the "we" of the sisters commenting on themselves?

 

 


I love the narrative voice!  I have been trying to think if I have ever read a book with a first person plural narrator (hope I got that right...), but I don't recall any.  I am wondering if it is always the same voice, or if one of the sisters is more dominate in one section or another.  I haven't been able to discern any difference.

 

As luck would have it, I just finished Chapter Five, so perfect timing!

 

I find myself wishing I knew a bit about Shakespeare and his stories.  I know I am not able to enjoy the intertwining of Shakespeare into the story as much without that knowledge.

Laura

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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

Fozzie, I'm glad you're enjoying the narrator! I have had some people tell me they hear one sister's voice more than others in places, but I think of that like listening to a choir - sometimes one voice stands out, sometimes another, but mostly you just hear them blended together.

 

I wrote a blog entry with some other books that use the first-person plural narrative voice here: http://www.eleanor-brown.com/blog/2011/11/8/infrequently-asked-questions-4-first-person-plural-narra...

 

Thank you so much for reading!

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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

I love "scolds and comforts by turns" - that's exactly how I think of it. It does make it easier to do that in the plural voice, I think. If it were one sister doing it, some of it would sound more harsh, I think. The Greek chorus softens the blow!

Melissa_W
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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

Sometimes I hear two sisters commenting on a third, like when they're discussing Rose's name and how Rosalind is searching for the one man who will paper the Forest of Arden with love poems or when they're "scolding" Bean.  That's more the other two commenting on the third.  But I don't really hear one sister narrating alone.  It's either three or two for me.


EleanorBrown wrote:

Fozzie, I'm glad you're enjoying the narrator! I have had some people tell me they hear one sister's voice more than others in places, but I think of that like listening to a choir - sometimes one voice stands out, sometimes another, but mostly you just hear them blended together.

 

I wrote a blog entry with some other books that use the first-person plural narrative voice here: http://www.eleanor-brown.com/blog/2011/11/8/infrequently-asked-questions-4-first-person-plural-narra...

 

Thank you so much for reading!


 

 

Melissa W.
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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

There are a number of quotes I have to look up because I don't remember the play (the nook is very handy for this - I can highlight a section then tell it to search Google).  But even with the source, i don't always understand why that quote...maybe we're not supposed to.


Fozzie wrote:

 

I find myself wishing I knew a bit about Shakespeare and his stories.  I know I am not able to enjoy the intertwining of Shakespeare into the story as much without that knowledge.


 

Melissa W.
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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

Melissa_W wrote:

Sometimes I hear two sisters commenting on a third, like when they're discussing Rose's name and how Rosalind is searching for the one man who will paper the Forest of Arden with love poems or when they're "scolding" Bean.  That's more the other two commenting on the third.  But I don't really hear one sister narrating alone.  It's either three or two for me.


I have been taking notice of the voice of the chorus, if you will, during the second section of reading, and there are times when it is definitely two sisters talking about the other one.

 

Laura

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Re: The royal "we" - Narration


EleanorBrown wrote:

 

 

I wrote a blog entry with some other books that use the first-person plural narrative voice here: http://www.eleanor-brown.com/blog/2011/11/8/infrequently-asked-questions-4-first-person-plural-narra...

 

 


I checked the list and I haven't read any of the books listed!  This narrative voice really must be new to me!  LOL!

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Re: The royal "we" - Narration

I've read The Virgin Suicides (which, IMO, is technically a plural narrator, but sometimes it feels like just one boy) and And Then We Came to the End (which is a bit "Office Space" at times, particularly when it came to the issues of whose chair is whose chair).

 

I haven't read A Rose for Emily - shocking since I've read most of Faulkner over the years!


Fozzie wrote:

EleanorBrown wrote:

 

 

I wrote a blog entry with some other books that use the first-person plural narrative voice here: http://www.eleanor-brown.com/blog/2011/11/8/infrequently-asked-questions-4-first-person-plural-narra...

 

 


I checked the list and I haven't read any of the books listed!  This narrative voice really must be new to me!  LOL!


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Quotations - not just the Bard's!

One of the things I love most about The Weird Sisters are the many turns of phrase Eleanor uses - insightful, witty, and just a little sarcastic at times.  I'll list out a few of my favorites here (and try to get them in their appropriate sections).

 

We weave in and out of words like tourists on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.  Put a book down in thekitchen to go to the bathroom and you might return to find it gone, replaced by another of equal interest.  We are indiscriminate. (p 24-25)

 

We have, while trapped in the car with our father behind the wheel, been subjected to extended remixes of the history of the word "weird" in Macbeth with a special encore set of Norse and Scottish Sources Used in Creating This Important Work.  These indignities we will spare you. (p 26 - this is actually one of my favorites)

 

See, we love one another.  We just don't happen to like one another very much. (p 27)

 

How can we explain what books and reading mean to our family, the gift of libraries, of pages?  (p 65 - this was the quote where I was like, "These are my people.")

 

And the companion quote that ends that little section:

 

...he was not a reader, and, well, let's just say that is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put. (p 66).

Melissa W.
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Names and provenance

This first section of the book gives much detail to the idea of names, and what it is like to have a name with "provenance" - Rosalind (searching for the one man who will love her), Bianca (the beautiful second/middle child), and Cordelia (the beloved baby of the family) - versus a name you simply don't like or doesn't fit you.

 

I found myself thinking a lot about my own name - Melissa.  Mom's told three different versions of how I got my name (one, from in a magazine, another from her roommate at the hospital, and the last from a name book - she's freely admitted that she always wanted a little boy named Christopher (what the second kid in our famiy got named) so I felt a bit short-changed) and, being a late-1970s kid, there were any number of "Melissa"s in my school.  The only names more common than mine were Jennifer and Amanda. 

 

I went by "Missy" until college because that's what my family called me (they still do - "Missy" gets a lot of mileage from six-year-old neices who can make "Auuuunnnnntt MEEEEEEESSSSEEEEEE!!!" last quite a while) meaning I endured thirteen years of versions of the "now, you listen here, missy" command [har, har, har, that's so funny] and nicknames of "Missy [rhymes-with-missy-starts-with-P]".  I went by Melissa after high school because it was too much work to tell professors and TAs and admissions counselors that I had a nickname I didn't much like (and provides a convenient measuring stick when I can't remember someone - if I'm called "Missy" that means I had to know them from before college).

 

How I wished for a more exotic name (and when you live in Iowa, anything not English/Germanic/Norse in origin is exotic).  But, Melissa is a pretty sturdy, solid, no-nonsense name.  And I'm pretty sturdy and solid.  Usually.

Melissa W.
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Re: Quotations - not just the Bard's!

And in a totally random aside, the description of the Barnwell Beanery on page 78 is an almost exact description of the Java House - the indie coffeehouse (with three branches around town and three kiosks in the UI hospital) in downtown Iowa City.

 

Which makes me wonder if there's a local, yokel coffee joint in almost every college town with old, mismatched furniture, old games, local art, and good coffee. *grin*

 

(and then the name of the Barnwell Beanery - named for both the college and town - reminds me of how nearly EVERYTHING in a college town is somehow named for either the school or its mascot)

Melissa W.
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Re: Quotations - not just the Bard's!

I forgot one:

 

...Rose, too, had stomped up the stars, taking her ill will with her like Pooh's little black rain cloud. (p 56)

 

Considering the Pooh Bear is from one of my favorite books ever he fits so well into a book that delves much into the detritus of childhood and growing up.

Melissa W.
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The Weird Sisters

At the end of Chapter 5, we've met Rose, Bean, and Cordy, and the problems they face/bring home with them.  Do you think they would have all ended up back home had their father not informed them (via a quote from Act 4, Scene 2 of Titus Andronicus) that their mother was sick?

Melissa W.
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Re: The Weird Sisters


Melissa_W wrote:

At the end of Chapter 5, we've met Rose, Bean, and Cordy, and the problems they face/bring home with them.  Do you think they would have all ended up back home had their father not informed them (via a quote from Act 4, Scene 2 of Titus Andronicus) that their mother was sick?


In the prologue, we are told, "We came home because we were failures.  ...  We said we came home because our mother was ill, because we needed a break, a momentary pause before setting off for the Next Big Thing.  But the truth was, we had failed, ..."

 

From this, we learn that they used their mother's illness as an excuse.  Without the excuse, would they have come home?

 

I think Rose would have.  She was teaching college and seemed to have a legitimate job there.  Her personality also suggests that she liked routine and safety, so home would be compelling when her fiancé was over inEngland.

 

Bean’s situation is not as clear cut to me.  She is in big trouble.  Bean could have gone elsewhere to hide out.  I understand she could not stay in the city, but being without financial means, she would struggle.  However, at some point, she will have to face what she has done and start over again, somewhere.

 

I don’t think Cordy would have ended up back home if not for her mother’s illness.  Frankly, I am surprised that she came home, even with her mother being sick.  It is said that she relies on others to take care of her, but to survive as she has, she is, in a sense, able to take care of herself. 

 

I am looking forward to finding out how the sisters resolve their situations, if they do.

 

P.S.  Melissa, I am not ignoring your other posts.  I’ll be back in a couple of days.

 

Laura

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Re: The Weird Sisters

I agree.  I don't think Cordy would have come home, even with the pregnancy, without her father's summons.  She did seem fairly self sufficient.  I certainly wouldn't be able to handle that lifestyle, not knowing if you'll eat or be clean (ick).

 

I don't think Bean had anywhere else to go - I think she would have ended up back at home no matter what because she wouldn't have been able to find another job in NYC to support herself let alone pay back what she took. 

 

Rose is essentially the child who really never left. She never went very far away.  I feel like she's not realy coming "home" because she never quite left.

 

(and I know you'll get to them- that's the nice thing about the boards, the posts are always there :smileyhappy: )

 


Fozzie wrote:

Melissa_W wrote:

At the end of Chapter 5, we've met Rose, Bean, and Cordy, and the problems they face/bring home with them.  Do you think they would have all ended up back home had their father not informed them (via a quote from Act 4, Scene 2 of Titus Andronicus) that their mother was sick?


In the prologue, we are told, "We came home because we were failures.  ...  We said we came home because our mother was ill, because we needed a break, a momentary pause before setting off for the Next Big Thing.  But the truth was, we had failed, ..."

 

From this, we learn that they used their mother's illness as an excuse.  Without the excuse, would they have come home?

 

I think Rose would have.  She was teaching college and seemed to have a legitimate job there.  Her personality also suggests that she liked routine and safety, so home would be compelling when her fiancé was over inEngland.

 

Bean’s situation is not as clear cut to me.  She is in big trouble.  Bean could have gone elsewhere to hide out.  I understand she could not stay in the city, but being without financial means, she would struggle.  However, at some point, she will have to face what she has done and start over again, somewhere.

 

I don’t think Cordy would have ended up back home if not for her mother’s illness.  Frankly, I am surprised that she came home, even with her mother being sick.  It is said that she relies on others to take care of her, but to survive as she has, she is, in a sense, able to take care of herself. 

 

I am looking forward to finding out how the sisters resolve their situations, if they do.

 

P.S.  Melissa, I am not ignoring your other posts.  I’ll be back in a couple of days.

 


Melissa W.
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Re: Names and provenance

What did you think about the girls who only got called "Melissa"?

 

Redcatlady

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Re: Quotations - not just the Bard's!


Melissa_W wrote:

One of the things I love most about The Weird Sisters are the many turns of phrase Eleanor uses - insightful, witty, and just a little sarcastic at times.  I'll list out a few of my favorites here (and try to get them in their appropriate sections).

 


See, we love one another.  We just don't happen to like one another very much. (p 27)

 



Did you realize that all the ones you listed referred to reading or books, except this one!  LOL!  They are your kind of people.

 

Seriously, I loved all the witty phrases too.  After I have finished the book, I will see if I noted any.  I think most of my post its mark other things though.

Laura

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Re: Names and provenance


Melissa_W wrote:

This first section of the book gives much detail to the idea of names, and what it is like to have a name with "provenance" - Rosalind (searching for the one man who will love her), Bianca (the beautiful second/middle child), and Cordelia (the beloved baby of the family) - versus a name you simply don't like or doesn't fit you.

 

 



Thanks for sharing your history and thoughts on your name.

 

I was named after a song.

 

My first sister was supposed to be named Jill or Wendy, but when my paretns took a look at her, they knew those weren't the right names for her.  She was named Beth and my next sister was named Jill.  I took this story to heart though and refused to finalize a name for my children until I saw them first.

Laura

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