Reply
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Cain's Demons

Cain is someone deeply troubled by inner demons. What are some of these demons and what part do they play in his character?
Stephanie
Author
MichaelCWhite
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎10-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons



Stephanie wrote:
Cain is someone deeply troubled by inner demons. What are some of these demons and what part do they play in his character?




Someone in the book club talked about Cain having a post-traumatic shock disorder, from his experiences in the Mexican War. His returning to the non-combatant world with war wounds, psychic wounds, and addicted to laudanum reminds me of many currents vets returning from Vietnam or the wars in the Middle East. I hadn't thought about Cain suffering from post-trauma, but I think this is an interesting way to see him. We like to think that war's psychological scars are something very modern. However, we know this isn't the case from lots of writers's works, including Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, and Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES. How does anyone else feel about Cain's war scars?

Michael


Learn more about
Soul Catcher
.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons



MichaelCWhite wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
Cain is someone deeply troubled by inner demons. What are some of these demons and what part do they play in his character?




Someone in the book club talked about Cain having a post-traumatic shock disorder, from his experiences in the Mexican War. His returning to the non-combatant world with war wounds, psychic wounds, and addicted to laudanum reminds me of many currents vets returning from Vietnam or the wars in the Middle East. I hadn't thought about Cain suffering from post-trauma, but I think this is an interesting way to see him. We like to think that war's psychological scars are something very modern. However, we know this isn't the case from lots of writers's works, including Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, and Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES. How does anyone else feel about Cain's war scars?

Michael




Of course thAT affected him. War is the same. The shock of killing around you, the aftermath of this. And the agnony of suffering from wounds yourself. The realization of war when you are faced with it. No one can imagine war, I can't, not the grusome reality of it, until you are faced with it. That alone, could make someone have post traumatic shock disorder. So he did react like a person dazed or numb. This made for a good dramatic novel.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons (A Modern-Day Equivalent of Combat Fatigue)

[ Edited ]
Apropos to Cain's war scars, I came across an interesting article about soldiers suffering from combat trauma. This ties in very nicely with the classical reference in SOUL CATCHER, where Cain signs up for the Mexican war, feeling like a modern-day Achilles going to battle for honor and glory in the Trojan War.

Although this article is about Vietnam veterans, I'm sure that Cain and many veterans of the Civil War era, suffered combat trauma as well.



Dr. Jonathan Shay, winner of the 2007 MacArthur Fellow Grant, uses literary parallels from Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY to treat combat trauma suffered by Vietnam war veterans.

He said that the classical Greek epics, both "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" perfectly encapsulated the mental damage of combat. He wrote "ACHILLES IN VIETNAM: COMBAT TRAUMA
AND THE UNDOING OF CHARACTER". It draws on the similarities between the Vietnam-era trauma of his patients and the stress of combat that Homer portrayed in his epic poem.

In it, Shay interspersed the story of Achilles with examples of his patients' losses and contentious relations with their commanders in Vietnam to illustrate some of the causes of the troops psychological wounds.

Shay, a psychiatrist at the Dept of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston said: "I was hearing elements of the story of Achilles over and over again." Achilles was mistreated by his commander who takes a girl, a prize-of-war, away from him. Achilles is tormented by the death of his best friend.

"As long as human beings go to war and try to come home from war, these {epics} will talk to us. They truly hold up all that is generic about going to war and coming home from war."

Here's the link:
Psychiatrist Treated Veterans Using Homer

Edited by Admin. for formatting only.

Message Edited by Jessica on 11-05-2007 11:02 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Author
MichaelCWhite
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎10-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons (A Modern-Day Equivalent of Combat Fatigue)

A wonderful discussion of "PTSD" or combat fatigue, or simply Achilles' wrath at having his war booty taken from him. Yes, Cain has that, as does most of the characters in Tim O'Brien or those in Hemingway's story collection, In Our Time. I really like the connection Dr. Shay makes between the ancient war experiences described in The Iliad, and those suffered in all wars since.

Michael


Learn more about
Soul Catcher
.
Frequent Contributor
ENG267
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-23-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons (A Modern-Day Equivalent of Combat Fatigue)

These are all good points regarding Cain's PTSD. However, I see him less psychologically wounded from his Mexican War experience than from his childhood trauma. He had a sick mother who died when he was young, and an emotionally unavailable father who was a stranger to him. Thus, he had a weak foundation from which to grow into a man. He sought escape from his physical world and emotional demons well before he went off to the war. His experiences there (the killing; his being wounded) seemed to me more like justifications for some of his life choices (the laudanum; basing his job on his personal economy instead of morality, etc.).
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons (A Modern-Day Equivalent of Combat Fatigue)

Can I say one thing about the laudanum and I will come back to the rest of this question later. I see that a lot of people have mentioned it. The unfortunate thing is, a lot of men got hooked on laudanum (and some women too) during this time as it was one of the most popular pain killers around and highly addictive. It would be like after having been giving morphine in the hospital today, you could just stop at any store or pharmacy with no Rx and pick it up after you got out. Alcohol and laudanum were the drugs of choice then and especially during the civil war. In a couple of the letters from that time period I have transcribed, I have seen it mentioned already too. And in one, speaking of morphine, the woman had an Rx for cough syrup and I actually got to see it, took it to the pharmacy here and they had a ball with this prescription that was over 100 years old, trying to make out what some of the ingredients were but the first was very clear and it was morphine. The mother kept this on hand for a little girl who had a cough all the time. I don't know exactly what point I am trying to make here lol, except I got the feeling from one or two posts that maybe some thought Cain just picked up this addiction on his own or let it become one. There were lots of drunkards and drug addicts walking around during this time and I really don't think many people would have said boo, to his use of laudanum, some may even had had some at there own house, which is why I was not surprised to see him ask one man at his home if he had any. Cain does have some demon's, how much of the alcohol and laudanum use was to cover them, well I know he figured out it numbed him from the thoughts, but its not why he started on it. He was given it enough, I am sure, when he was wounded to walk away from that war addicted. I was surprised actually that he did as well as he did without it for that period of time that he was without it and alcohol, very suprised that he was not going through withdrawals from both within just about 48 hours.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
MichaelCWhite
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎10-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons (A Modern-Day Equivalent of Combat Fatigue)

Regarding Cain and his laudanum use. I think Vivian's right, laudanum use was rampant back in the 19th century for all sorts of ills, and could had at any general store or from any traveling medicinal man (like the crookbac). Many soldiers returned from war addicted because it was considered a panecea. But Cain had his problems even before the Mexican War--as was pointed out, because of his mother's death, his distant father, his own wanderlust. So we might say that the war, rather than causing his problems, tended to exacerbate them. But in any case, Cain certainly had his issues, which many of you have pointed out.

Michael


Learn more about
Soul Catcher
.
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons

There is not doubt that Cain suffered psychological damage from the violence of war. The thing I noticed him reflecting on though was not so much any battle, but the end of the battle when the opposing side went from fallen American soldier to fallen American soldier and finished them off by stabbing them with a sword. Cain was spared and he often wondered why. Is this called survivor syndrome? Anyway, I am talking about the guilt that survivors of any catastrophic event have, wondering why they were not killed with the others. Why should I be spared, they question.

This survivor guilt comes into play again when Cain realizes that the Mexican woman he loved was killed in his absence. This is as big an emotional scar for him as any war scar is.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons


Fozzie wrote:
There is not doubt that Cain suffered psychological damage from the violence of war. The thing I noticed him reflecting on though was not so much any battle, but the end of the battle when the opposing side went from fallen American soldier to fallen American soldier and finished them off by stabbing them with a sword. Cain was spared and he often wondered why. Is this called survivor syndrome? Anyway, I am talking about the guilt that survivors of any catastrophic event have, wondering why they were not killed with the others. Why should I be spared, they question.

This survivor guilt comes into play again when Cain realizes that the Mexican woman he loved was killed in his absence. This is as big an emotional scar for him as any war scar is.


Laura, its called survivor's remorse. The "why me" questions after tragedies. The guilt of surviving can become so heavy that people have killed themselves because of it. To me its kind of the opposite reaction to those who survive a tragedy and realize it must be for a reason that I survived, and then go out and live like they never have before, or look for what they can contribute to the world and go for it. PTSD and survivor's remorse can be deadly. Even some rape victims have survivor's remorse. They feel they should have died fighting to the end, rather than "allowing" themselves to be raped, sometimes even those who DID fight as best they could. The problem is they don't realize that absolutely 100% of it wasn't their fault, so they carry guilt. Same thing with soldiers, same thing with a man I know who was suppose to be in the Murrah building at 9am the morning of the OKC bombing in the credit union which was completely gone and all dead. He has had difficulty dealing with survivor's remorse and why he was saved. Maybe because of Cain's survivor's remorse, he does have to become even more the "savior" to people or as Michael pointed out, even animals, than he even was as a child trying to save his beloved mother. And how do you settle down in one spot with so many demon's chasing you? When memories of past pains echo in the mere scenery around you? Even the laudanum drives you on as it numbs you into oblivious sleep, except when instead it brings back those demons in glorious color.
************* possible spoiler warning*****************
I think when Cain can finally save someone he loves, in a real and realistic way, he begins to save himself. He finds the meaning behind his own "why me" questions, he survived and helps someone else finally, to survive too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons-SPOILER



vivico1 wrote:

************* possible spoiler warning*****************
I think when Cain can finally save someone he loves, in a real and realistic way, he begins to save himself. He finds the meaning behind his own "why me" questions, he survived and helps someone else finally, to survive too.



Yes, I agree. That makes sense.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment

Many posts pointed out that Cain wanted to “save” others, so he could, in turn, “save” himself. But one thing that no one’s mentioned is that Cain is a character who becomes, as the novel progresses, very disillusioned... by his own actions, by the Southern culture and civilation that he loves, and by the “honor”code about slavery that he was taught from birth.

As a boy, Cain read tales of medieval knights, Nelson at Trafalgar, the bravery of Crockett and Bowie at the Alamo. (p.72) “….his imagined life would be filled with gallant and noble deeds and that it would not follow the dull routine of a farmer.”

His father raises him and his brother in the grand tradition of Roman civilization. (p.70) “His father had named his three boys after emperors, as if tempting the hand of fate toward greatness but perhaps merely bestowing on them greater prospects for failure.”

The first nail in his coffin is his mother's early death. His mother symbolized to him all the beauty and honor of genteel Southern women. But he can't save her, despite all his young boy efforts to comfort her.

He wants to save Eileen McDuffy in the same romantic vein as a Sir Lancelot or Sir Galahad. Unfortunately, other customers throw him out of the brothel on his ears. And he becomes a figure of ridicule.

He joins the Mexican war, like a modern-day Achilles, off to win fame and glory. Bravery in battle would rescue him, temporarily, at least, from a mundane life.

However, in the Buena Vista’s battle scenes, the harsh reality of war sets in. Fighting is not the dashing, heroic business that his youthful reading led him to believe. He is dangerously wounded, and is rescued by a young girl and an elderly woman.

By rescuing Cain, the girl and her grandmother are in mortal danger. To “save” her, he is reduced to a cold-blooded, vigilante murder of the Mexican priest, who is, unfortunately, defenselessly praying inside the church. The vengeance killing is neither glorious, nor heroic.

At the very end of the novel, in the cabin, even though Cain had the good intention to let Rosetta go free, and fought hard to save her; in the end, it was she, herself, who finally killed Eberly. With Eberly no longer a threat, Rosetta was free to go, and no longer needed to look over her shoulder.

In the epilogue, we see him join the Confederate army in what he himself sees as a doomed war effort. Throughout the novel, I saw what started out as an idealistic romantic young Southern boy slowly become disillusioned... how can he avoid seeing that his society is on the brink of its own destruction?

He half-admits that the grand tradition of the ante-bellum Southern culture he was born into was a fantasy after all.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment


IBIS wrote:
Many posts pointed out that Cain wanted to “save” others, so he could, in turn, “save” himself. But one thing that no one’s mentioned is that Cain is a character who becomes, as the novel progresses, very disillusioned... by his own actions, by the Southern culture and civilation that he loves, and by the “honor”code about slavery that he was taught from birth.

As a boy, Cain read tales of medieval knights, Nelson at Trafalgar, the bravery of Crockett and Bowie at the Alamo. (p.72) “….his imagined life would be filled with gallant and noble deeds and that it would not follow the dull routine of a farmer.”

His father raises him and his brother in the grand tradition of Roman civilization. (p.70) “His father had named his three boys after emperors, as if tempting the hand of fate toward greatness but perhaps merely bestowing on them greater prospects for failure.”

The first nail in his coffin is his mother's early death. His mother symbolized to him all the beauty and honor of genteel Southern women. But he can't save her, despite all his young boy efforts to comfort her.

He wants to save Eileen McDuffy in the same romantic vein as a Sir Lancelot or Sir Galahad. Unfortunately, other customers throw him out of the brothel on his ears. And he becomes a figure of ridicule.

He joins the Mexican war, like a modern-day Achilles, off to win fame and glory. Bravery in battle would rescue him, temporarily, at least, from a mundane life.

However, in the Buena Vista’s battle scenes, the harsh reality of war sets in. Fighting is not the dashing, heroic business that his youthful reading led him to believe. He is dangerously wounded, and is rescued by a young girl and an elderly woman.

By rescuing Cain, the girl and her grandmother are in mortal danger. To “save” her, he is reduced to a cold-blooded, vigilante murder of the Mexican priest, who is, unfortunately, defenselessly praying inside the church. The vengeance killing is neither glorious, nor heroic.

At the very end of the novel, in the cabin, even though Cain had the good intention to let Rosetta go free, and fought hard to save her; in the end, it was she, herself, who finally killed Eberly. With Eberly no longer a threat, Rosetta was free to go, and no longer needed to look over her shoulder.

In the epilogue, we see him join the Confederate army in what he himself sees as a doomed war effort. Throughout the novel, I saw what started out as an idealistic romantic young Southern boy slowly become disillusioned... how can he avoid seeing that his society is on the brink of its own destruction?

He half-admits that the grand tradition of the ante-bellum Southern culture he was born into was a fantasy after all.


He certainly was a southerner tipping at windmills at times, but as for returning to what was destined to fail, the South in the war that is, don't you feel a lot of southern boys and men did that? It was their identity and they were going to go down with the ship if it was going to happen. I think if the U.S. was in a war on our own soil with a power that was going to beat us down, most American's would do the same thing, even if we knew we were going to lose, and possible die.

So much of what you point out is true. Good points. One thing I was thinking tho, I don't think Cain was trying to save others to save himself, not consciously anyway, but I think he had a need to save, to make up for those he couldn't like his mother. I think that he is driven by that need which is a subconscious need to save oneself. The funny thing is, and this goes to show how people can vary in what they feel about what they read, I did not see Cain in the beginning as a idealistic romantic young man who slowly becomes disillusioned. I saw him as already disillusioned by something (didnt know enough of his life at first) that had him leading a hard life cause he didn't see much else for him to do. He may have had dreams but thats all they were. Thats how I saw him from the first of the book, a disillusioned beat up young man who slowly finds more to life than what he thought. Kind of the reverse huh? :smileywink: To me its the idealistic romantic young boy in him that would take him back to the Confederate Army and the South when he knew it was doomed.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment

[ Edited ]
Vivian, you bring up some good points. I'll try not to stay too long on my soap box (!)

I think the desire to "save" the women in his life varied on many levels. There was the social level, where he tries to "save" Eileen from a life of prostitution. His naivete is obvious since Eileen doesn't want to be saved.

To save himself, I meant that Cain hoped to find redemption... in order to save his soul. By choosing the moral choice of allowing Rosetta go free, he found redemption from the evil he did by catching slaves in his previous life.

Cain and his brother TJ definitely shared optimistic boyhoods since their reading diet consisted very heavily of romantic adventures and medieval heroics.

My biggest disappointment in the novel is the epilogue when Cain returns to fight for the South, even though he despised slavery and all it stood for. He spent the entire novel learning about the immoral institution of slavery, and he redeemed himself by helping to free Henry and Rosetta. Yet by turning around to fight for the side that would perpetuate such evil, it's as if he learned nothing at all.

It's as if all that he and Rosetta and Henry went through taught him nothing.

I mean that he had the choice of taking the moral stance, like perhaps joining some abolitionist effort. Or, staying out of it altogether and living in the territories that weren't part of the Union yet. It's not as if he had farmland to defend; or even a family to protect.

It's not the heroic way, I know. But these options would align better with the moral lessons he internalized in the past 400 pages.

A similar historical situation would be for a young German boy before WWII to form a deep emotional bond with a Jewish girl. When he finds out that the Nazis are destroying the moral core of his country by decimating Jews, he still decides to go and fight for Hitler because he was born a German, and had roots in German soil. It's as if he learned nothing at all.

Cain's choices were open to him. That's what free will is, as he learned from PARADISE LOST. It's not as if he was compelled by law to fight in a war that he knew was doomed.

He had many choices open to him. He was free and white. Yet he chose one that denied the valuable moral lessons that being with Rosetta taught him.

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-11-2007 10:28 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment


IBIS wrote:
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear but to "save" can be interpreted in several ways. For example, to save Eileen, I meant in the "chivalrous" way of the medieval knights, to rescue her from the life in the brothel.

To save himself, I meant that Cain hoped to find redemption... in order to save his soul. By choosing the moral choice of letting Rosetta go free, he hoped to find redemption from the immorality of catching slaves in his previous life.

My biggest disappointment in the novel is the epilogue when Cain returns to fight for the South, even though he despised slavery and all it stood for. By choosing to fight on the side of slavery, which he spent the entire novel learning was immoral, it's as if he learned nothing at all. It's as if all that he and Rosetta went through taught him nothing.

He had the choice of taking the moral stance and helping in a non-violent way, like perhaps joining some abolitionist effort. Or, staying out of it altogether and living in the territories that weren't part of the Union yet. Conscientious objection is not an anachronism. Many young men, along with runaway slaves, fled to Canada.

It's not the heroic way, I know, but at least his conscience would be clear.

A similar historical situation would be for young German boy before WWII to form a deep emotional bond with a Jewish girl. He finds out that the Nazis are destroying the moral core of his country by decimating Jews; despite all that, he still decides to go and fight for Hitler because he was born a German, and hadsroots in German soil. It's as if he learned nothing at all.

Cain's choices were open to him. That's what free will is, as he learned from PARADISE LOST. If he didn't want to fight opposite his brother and father, who most assuredly WOULD fight for the South, Cain could have stayed in the territories, and not fought at all. It's not as if he was compelled by law to fight in a war that he knew was doomed.

He had many choices open to him. He was free and white. Yet he chose one that denied all the moral lessons that being with Rosetta taught him.


I gotcha on the "save" part, I knew thats what you meant, I just thought when I read that, that someone might have thought I earlier meant he knew thats what he was doing, so wanted to clear that up :smileywink: . As for returning. Hey, a lot of German's had jewish friends, neighbors and wives or husbands! But the draw of the promises, the idea of the "Motherland", still had them joining up. I don't equate German soldiers with Hitler or Nazi's, some didnt even want to join the party. I just see them as soldiers, some good some bad, some serving while trying to follow their moral convictions as best they could, some taking advantage of the situation to do evil. I see the Confederate soldiers the same way, thats where the romantic idealism comes in, not before. This is "THE South", this is home,this is a fight for their way of life. Cain may have come away with new ideas but that doesnt mean he suddenly hated the South. Seeing Rosetta as someone who should be free, may not even change his views that slavery "in general" was not a bad thing.

What I see, at the end, is a man, who has lived a hard life all his life, lost a lot, and found something along the way too. He found love, he found out people are people and some are bad and some are good, regardless of their color. But he also bumped into reality, and since we are talking about how the book ended here now, so SPOILER folks if you havent figure it out all ready lol, he was realistic enough to know that they could never really make it together anywhere. Rosetta was free too and as much as she loved Cain, she found something important to her that could be real. Cain, having again lost something, goes back to what he knows, home. Its not that he didnt learn anything or learned something and then was immoral again about it. Its not that black and white. And given that he knew the south would lose, as many did, they fought on their side for the honor of the south, but then joined the Union and did other things after the war. This one guy I am transcribing letters about did just that very thing, he fought as a confederate, for home and honor during the war and after it was over, petitioned the war dept for a place in the Union Navy. If he knew things were coming to an end, he knew slavery was too, well lets say as an "institution" was too and he knew he would have to take another step from there too. Many people support their government, right or wrong, and for the South, this was their government, not DC. How many times are we hearing today, "I support our soldiers but not the war". How do you separate the two? And if you can, then you can for Cain too. I think Cain learned a lot and I think had he not gone back, in some ways, he would still be running all his life. Hey, even Rosetta didn't hate him for fighting for the Confederacy tho she certainly hated slavery. She was writing him, she still cared for him. I think she understood. Rosetta, lets face it, was one smart cookie anyway :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
MichaelCWhite
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎10-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment

Vivian, Ibis, Fozzie,

A wonderfully complex discussion of Cain, his past, his motives. It's extremely illuminating to hear about a writer's character, especially when so much of what is written is done from some subconscious intuitive level. I agree with all the comments about Cain wanting to save others, either on a conscious level (out of duty or code) or a subconscious level (he tried and failed to save his mother, the Indian girl, even Eileen). Regarding his fighting in the war, I can understand Ibis's concern regarding his falling back into an old morality. I myself debated that question back and forth for a long time. In fact, the ending you have is the four one that I wrote (the others varied in degrees of "happiness" or "moral change"). I finally settled for Cain returning because, although he is now keenly aware of the moral evil of slavery, he is fighting for his soil, his homeland, the place of his birth and where his mother is buried. Relatively few Southerners (proportionately) owned slaves during the Civil War. Most who volunteered to fight (and almost all able-bodied men did early in the war, unlike in the North where a draft was called for) did not own slaves. They were often dirt poor farmers who had nothing to do with slavery. But they saw themselves as, Cain's father taught him, Southerners, or Virginians or Georgians, and thought of their soil as Faulkner often reminds us as their birthright and their sacred honor. I envisioned Cain returning to fight not at all because he thinks slavery is right or should be defended (as he once did) but simply because his homeland has been invaded. It is of course a morally flawed, or at least questionable, choice. As you mentioned, Ibis, he does now realize that all of his decisions in life are of his own free will (Milton).

Michael


Learn more about
Soul Catcher
.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment

Michael,

Another author told me that she didn't see that her job was to give a moral assessment of any of the characters she created. It's her job to describe them as best she could. (Like Chekhov wrote to his brother - "It's not my job to tell you that horse thieves are bad people, it's my job to tell you what this horse thief is like.")

My response to your wonderful book is dual: emotional as well as intellectual. As his creator, a moral assessment of Cain is not your primary concern. You shouldn't have to justify what Cain's choices were. And I didn't mean to impy that I, as a reader, held you responsible for Cain's decisions. Much as I may disagree with them.

SOUL CATCHER has given us a complex character, and you've given me, one of millions of readers, the opportunity to observe him, and to understand him. My interpretation of his actions are my very own fallible attempts to learn from what you've described.

As they say, all misinterpretations about Cain's character, are my own.

Thank you for a marvelous reading experience.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment



IBIS wrote:
My biggest disappointment in the novel is the epilogue when Cain returns to fight for the South, even though he despised slavery and all it stood for. He spent the entire novel learning about the immoral institution of slavery, and he redeemed himself by helping to free Henry and Rosetta. Yet by turning around to fight for the side that would perpetuate such evil, it's as if he learned nothing at all.





I, too, was initially saddened to read that Cain returned to fight for the South. However, I do think I understood that he was somehow separating slavery from what he was fighting for. I think this section from the book helped me to clarify Cain's motivations in my mind:

"Once, in a card game at the International Hotel, an ill-mannered Texan, on a bad losing streak, asked Cain if he might put up as a wager his Negro valet. When Cain objected, saying that he didn't condone such a thing as betting a man, the Texan started to harangue him, called him a **bleep**-loving disgrace to his southern heritage. In the past Cain might have beaten the man silly, but instead, he gracefully acquiesced and permitted him to wager the slave. After winning the hand, Cain promptly gave the slave his freedom. No, it wasn't what the South was fighting for that stirred his heart and his allegiance. It was the simple fact that it was fighting, fighting for its very existence, for its way of life. So he bought passage on a steamer that took him back to Richmond." (pgs. 412-3)
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment


Fozzie wrote:


IBIS wrote:
My biggest disappointment in the novel is the epilogue when Cain returns to fight for the South, even though he despised slavery and all it stood for. He spent the entire novel learning about the immoral institution of slavery, and he redeemed himself by helping to free Henry and Rosetta. Yet by turning around to fight for the side that would perpetuate such evil, it's as if he learned nothing at all.





I, too, was initially saddened to read that Cain returned to fight for the South. However, I do think I understood that he was somehow separating slavery from what he was fighting for. I think this section from the book helped me to clarify Cain's motivations in my mind:

"Once, in a card game at the International Hotel, an ill-mannered Texan, on a bad losing streak, asked Cain if he might put up as a wager his Negro valet. When Cain objected, saying that he didn't condone such a thing as betting a man, the Texan started to harangue him, called him a **bleep**-loving disgrace to his southern heritage. In the past Cain might have beaten the man silly, but instead, he gracefully acquiesced and permitted him to wager the slave. After winning the hand, Cain promptly gave the slave his freedom. No, it wasn't what the South was fighting for that stirred his heart and his allegiance. It was the simple fact that it was fighting, fighting for its very existence, for its way of life. So he bought passage on a steamer that took him back to Richmond." (pgs. 412-3)


Good quote Laura and I think is really true of him and many a man during that time.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Cain's Demons -- Disillusionment



vivico1 wrote:

Fozzie wrote:


IBIS wrote:
My biggest disappointment in the novel is the epilogue when Cain returns to fight for the South, even though he despised slavery and all it stood for. He spent the entire novel learning about the immoral institution of slavery, and he redeemed himself by helping to free Henry and Rosetta. Yet by turning around to fight for the side that would perpetuate such evil, it's as if he learned nothing at all.





I, too, was initially saddened to read that Cain returned to fight for the South. However, I do think I understood that he was somehow separating slavery from what he was fighting for. I think this section from the book helped me to clarify Cain's motivations in my mind:

"Once, in a card game at the International Hotel, an ill-mannered Texan, on a bad losing streak, asked Cain if he might put up as a wager his Negro valet. When Cain objected, saying that he didn't condone such a thing as betting a man, the Texan started to harangue him, called him a **bleep**-loving disgrace to his southern heritage. In the past Cain might have beaten the man silly, but instead, he gracefully acquiesced and permitted him to wager the slave. After winning the hand, Cain promptly gave the slave his freedom. No, it wasn't what the South was fighting for that stirred his heart and his allegiance. It was the simple fact that it was fighting, fighting for its very existence, for its way of life. So he bought passage on a steamer that took him back to Richmond." (pgs. 412-3)


Good quote Laura and I think is really true of him and many a man during that time.





I do not understand why Cain went back to the South to fight the North. The war was about slavery. They were fighting against brothers and sisters that was in the other end or the other so why didn't they stick with what they believed. Why fight for something that you didnt have your heart in. It seems a person is sealed for disaster if his heart is not there with what he is doing.
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 268 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: