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vivico1
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Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

vivico1 wrote: You know what I think would be an interesting thread is one about Cain and his relationship to women. In many ways,there seems to be a pattern developing between his love for his dead mother and the women he comes into contact with. I will have to think on that one some more lol.

MichaelWhite wrote:
Vivian,
A great discussion topic, Cain's women. I've talked to and with groups about this subject, and will be interested in hearing what you all have to say.
Michael
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Here is where you can post your thoughts about the topic. There are several women in Cain's life, including some he just runs into for single encounters for different reasons. This is an end of book discussion, so feel free to talk about any or all of them and also be aware there may be spoilers here if you are not quite done with the book yet.
Vivian
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

This may be best discussed at the end of the book, but we have talked about some things close to the end and about the love of Cain and Rosetta, so I am going to go ahead and jump in here this week with some thoughts on the women in Cain's life.

There are several common threads I see in all these relationships so I will talk about some I remember right now. Maybe through conversation, someone will remind me of others I thought of.

First, I think how Cain viewed women, or came to love them was very much shaped by his relationship with his mother. He was just a young boy when she got sick and was dying. He loved her dearly. She was the kind one, while the father would be the stern one. She was the one he could talk to, when father had to just be listened to. I think too, he was at the tender age that boys are in love with their mothers. And u know what I mean, there is a time in a young boys life that he utterly adores his mother, he loves her, he wants to marry her when he grows up. Cain's mother is not described as a particularly pretty woman, actually a bit awkward and gangly but to Cain, she is "the most beautiful woman alive" pg 17. This has got to be a tremendously tough time to lose your mother, your love. His father moved out of the room with her and Cain took over taking care of her, in some ways he did become her husband. He wanted to care for her, give her anything she needed, save her. She taught him about great works of literature and the beauty in reading. Then when she died, his father did not let them go to the grave as he knew others did for visits. They were not even really allowed to mention her name, so he really never even got to grieve his mother's death. And one reoccurring theme begins with her, the way Cain looks at a woman's eyes, looks into them, what he sees in them. Sometimes I think he is looking for her in their eyes.

If Cain's mother was in a sense, his first love, his second at 16, was the redheaded Irish whore Eileen with the pretty green eyes. He didn't care that she made her living selling her body to other men, it "only made him love her all the more intensely. He wanted to save her, to carry her away." pg 73 Here again is a suffering woman, not the same way as his mother, but still someone who like his mother, he wanted to save. Men teased him about her but he didnt care. Also, side note, his mother had auburn hair and pretty eyes, Eileen has red hair (close) and pretty eyes. These are the two women who he thinks about when he is alone or wanting someone to think about.

I just thought of something, the neighbor girl who they all had plans for him to marry, but he was not in love with and knew it. When I think about the women he did love and think, why not her tho? Is it because they grew up together or is it maybe really because she needs saved from NOTHING. Cain needs to be needed by women. This girl will be ok regardless of him and she is, she marries his brother.

His next love, he is a bit older, has lived harder, has had the world, the Mexican War take its toll on him and now, ironically enough, he is the one saved. And by a young Indian girl, with beautiful coal black eyes like her hair. She and her grandma take him home, tend his wounds, bring him back to life and in more ways than one soon. She came to him, gave of herself to him, but as independent as she was, was still not well taken care of in the world itself. Their nights are more than just sex. "He was for the first time in his life, happy, content, in love." pg 131 He was doing the hard manual labor around their place that he had no desire for back at home, with a happy heart now and thinking he could stay. But he couldn't leave those men who needed him, he couldnt go through life being thought of as a deserter, tho as he says, he deserted home. So he leaves and comes back to be with her forever maybe, but its too late and she is dead and his guilt over leaving, never leaves him. I wonder how much guilt the little boy felt about losing his mother, being unable to save her when she died, as kids can, especially with a father who would not talk about her and he didn't know why. With this Indian girl, he found someone who saved him, whom he could protect but yet be more equal with in many ways but he could not save her when it counted. And he can not go to a grave to grieve her any more than he can his mother. Sometimes the laudanum may have eased his physical pains, and numbed his emotional ones or bring his loved ones to him in dreams, but sometimes even it could not stop the pains of dreams of remembrances of things he could not control and loves lost.

Now we have Rosetta. He doesn't talk to the slaves he captures and brings back. Good thing to do, it keeps them as property and no need to find out they were humans with feelings, that would complicate things terribly and now it does. Rosetta is a lot like the Indian girl (well and the whore too) in some ways. She can take care of herself, she is independent, she is not some Plantation owners daughter who was raised to hold a certain station, like the girl he could never love or marry. When I hear him talk about her eyes, I see his mother's. He is in awe at her abilities. I see Cain as drawn to that in women, their abilities he doesn't expect from women in their predicaments. His mother had abilities to show him things even in her illness that just made him adore her all the more.

Cain has a definite need to be needed. Maybe it makes up for what he feels he didnt do right in his life, his "failings" that eat at him. He wants to be the fallen angel who can rise again. He has a need for women who can love him back, even with his faults that to him dont seem that lovable. To be perhaps the unlovable but loved, how intoxicating is that. He really wasnt a man, when he was just a boy trying to hold on to his beloved mother and save her and what a burden that was for him growing into adulthood. He didn't want to be the man that his father and the girl he was engaged to wanted him to be. The war was a place to be a man for Cain, but when he felt he was a deserter, how could staying with the Indian girl cure his need to prove his manhood, so he had to go. But then that didnt work either and he didnt save the one he felt he could have if he had stayed. His worth, his manhood defeated again. He drinks, he gambles, he takes his laudanum and finds nothing that fills his need to find himself and all he is really good at is this slave catching business he is now hating.

Rosetta, comes to him at a time in his life when he is facing all those questions of his life, who is he, who will he be, who has he been. And she has those qualities he is so drawn too. Also, besides in some ways, the eyes, maybe even the slight build, the constant reminder that she is a mother because of her belly which he finds attractive for that reason I think, she reminds him of his own mother and what he loved in her. And she needs SAVED, from her past, from Eberly, from any white man or woman who would hurt her and she loves him.

I think Cain needs to be saved so much himself from his own traumas and feelings of unworthiness that he falls easily for those whom he feels he can save, if he can't save himself. Since he couldnt save his mother. But really each time, he sets himself up to fail by falling for the ones he does. I think he does love and deeply but he will never bring his mother back and the women he chooses, he can never bring back, not from their deaths, not from their lives.

Two little notes, yeah right huh LOL. I do like the way Cain pays attention to people's eyes, men's to know their intentions, women's he just falls into at times or thinks back to his mothers beautiful gray eyes. Also, he always mentions something about their mouths, not just that they had a nice smile or something, but the teeth, interesting. His mother had a toothy grin, the Indian girl had such white teeth against her brown skin, Rosetta has a bit of an overbit. He notices eyes and teeth. And the older women he runs into in the story, I think he treats them kind of like the old black woman who basically raised him, with respect, black or white.
Vivian
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Stephanie
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Vivian,

Great points about Cain being a "saver" and needing that ever since th loss of his mother in childhood. I've known a few like that, who only do well in relationships where they feel needed, and unfortunately, when the need is gone, so is the relationship, unless the parties have evolved past it.
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IBIS
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Vivian, I really enjoy your posts. Especially this one!

You've given Augustus Cain and his relationships with women a lot of thought! You dug deep into yourself, and you've added your very own incredible understanding to Cain's character. It sounds as if you've met men like him face to face.

I'm impressed by your keen insights. Thank you for sharing them with us.

IBIS
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


IBIS wrote:
Vivian, I really enjoy your posts. Especially this one!

You've given Augustus Cain and his relationships with women a lot of thought! You dug deep into yourself, and you've added your very own incredible understanding to Cain's character. It sounds as if you've met men like him face to face.

I'm impressed by your keen insights. Thank you for sharing them with us.

IBIS


Thanks IBIS. I may have met one or two. But also, I spent too much time in my own life being a saver, needing to be needed even more than needing to be loved maybe. That has changed, I hope, and now I want to be loved as an equal and be able to lean sometimes too, not try to be the rock all the time. I have also chased too many unobtainable romances, probably because they were in many ways, more romantic and exciting. Now I want real romances if any. Something with a future, or I ain't going down that road again lol :smileywink:
Vivian
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Wow! A very thorough analysis, Vivian.

I was struck by how Cain did not want to get emotionally and intellectually close with women. He kept his distance from women and let them approach him, with the exception of prostitutes, who I think he felt safe approaching because there was no expectation of emotional attachment or commitment. Given Cain's line of work, I do think he had to be an emotionally detached person. That then carried over into his personal life.
Laura

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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

To Vivian and all who wrote about Cain and his "women." Much that I wrote about Cain, and as the novel as a whole, I intended. For instance, his love of his mother, how he adored her and thought her the most beautiful woman in the world, despite her physical flaws. The same was true for Eileen, the whore that he falls for her. I tried to create in Cain a sense of longing for female love--the understanding, nurturing, gentleness of such love, especially in a world such as his, filled with war and brutality and savagery. However, much of what Vivian writes--about Cain's looking into people's eyes, especially those of women, and of his need not only to BE saved, but to come to the salvation of others--all this is something I wasn't consciously aware of. At least not in the complicated way that Vivian discusses. But you are so right. Cain--as a lot of people--has a subconscious need to save things--his horse, his dying comrades in the Mexican war, the Indian girl, and, of course, most prominently, Rosetta. It is in saving others, that he can finally hope to save himself. He thinks of himself as a good man, but only who often takes the easiest road around a problem. But when push comes to shove, Cain usually chooses to do the right thing, which is usually about saving someone. Another example that springs to mind, is when he reluctantly shoots the dog to save the boy with the pails of milk.

To all--I think you've plunged deeper into Cain's psyche than I ever could--perhaps because I'm too close to Cain.

Wonderful stuff.
Michael


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ENG267
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

This has bugged me since I read it: I don't understand how Cain can love Pecosa (the Indian girl). How can he truly love someone with whom he, literally, can't communicate because they don't speak each other's language? I suppose several factors could have contributed to his falling in love with her: His mother died when he was young and, because she was sick, they didn't talk much. She connected with him emotionally through reading to him, but that's not the same as talking to each other. Dad was distant and uncommunicative. Cain had what seemed to be a cordial relationship with TJ, but not an emotionally close one. So I imagine if the people Cain was supposed to be closest to didn't communicate with him verbally, it makes sense that he wouldn't need verbal communication to fall in love. (Though much of his connection with Rosetta does result from their talks.) For Cain, at that point in his life when he was with Pecosa, was it only her nurturing him back to health, and his finding satisfaction in the farmwork he never wanted to do on the family plantation, that led him to believe he was in love with her? (I suppose the sex probably helped, too.) But if he had stayed on with her, I wonder how long it could have lasted?

Though I can use these and other clues from the text to conclude that words weren't the way to Cain's heart--at least during the time he was with Pecosa--I'm still unconvinced that he truly loved her.
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


ENG267 wrote:
This has bugged me since I read it: I don't understand how Cain can love Pecosa (the Indian girl). How can he truly love someone with whom he, literally, can't communicate because they don't speak each other's language? I suppose several factors could have contributed to his falling in love with her: His mother died when he was young and, because she was sick, they didn't talk much. She connected with him emotionally through reading to him, but that's not the same as talking to each other. Dad was distant and uncommunicative. Cain had what seemed to be a cordial relationship with TJ, but not an emotionally close one. So I imagine if the people Cain was supposed to be closest to didn't communicate with him verbally, it makes sense that he wouldn't need verbal communication to fall in love. (Though much of his connection with Rosetta does result from their talks.) For Cain, at that point in his life when he was with Pecosa, was it only her nurturing him back to health, and his finding satisfaction in the farmwork he never wanted to do on the family plantation, that led him to believe he was in love with her? (I suppose the sex probably helped, too.) But if he had stayed on with her, I wonder how long it could have lasted?

Though I can use these and other clues from the text to conclude that words weren't the way to Cain's heart--at least during the time he was with Pecosa--I'm still unconvinced that he truly loved her.


I know of a woman who fell in love with a man in Mexico, the feelings were there and because they were, and whatever else happens inside, they BOTH learned each others language in ONE month together. There is something to be said about love really being about feelings, otherwise how do you ever love a deaf mute or expect them to love you? What if they are blind to? Are they destined to never feel or have love? We fall in love for different reasons, we stay in love because of what we become together.
Vivian
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


vivico1 wrote:

ENG267 wrote:
This has bugged me since I read it: I don't understand how Cain can love Pecosa (the Indian girl). How can he truly love someone with whom he, literally, can't communicate because they don't speak each other's language?


I know of a woman who fell in love with a man in Mexico, the feelings were there and because they were, and whatever else happens inside, they BOTH learned each others language in ONE month together.



I hear what you are saying, ENG267. However, I know I have heard a similar story or two also, Vivian. Seems sappy, but love conquers all.
Laura

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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Not to make light of Cain's love, but I was thinking it might even be easier to love someone you can't understand! :smileyhappy:
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


Stephanie wrote:
Not to make light of Cain's love, but I was thinking it might even be easier to love someone you can't understand! :smileyhappy:


and thats why men love women hehehee :smileywink: just kidding, but they alway say they dont understand us.
Vivian
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Interesting discussions about love, in particular the women in Cain's life. Can one love without communicating with words. I know I would find it hard, because, at least in my writerly life, I used words to express characters and their motivations. But I think people can and do "fall in love" in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. We've heard at least since Shakespeare (see Romeo and Juliet at the first Capulet ball) of "love at first sight." And we know that many have fallen in love just by exchanging letters (those women who fall in love with death-row inmates, for example). So I think that Cain could fall in love with Pecosa without knowing her language or her, his.

But all of this is helping me to better understand the nature of love, not only in my fiction, but in my life.

Michael


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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Though you folks would never know it from my original post about Cain and Pecosa, I'm actually a romantic. However, I also tend to analyze things to death--including love--and, apparently, even fictional love! I appreciate the insights that have been shared in response to that post. Very thought-provoking.

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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


Stephanie wrote:
Not to make light of Cain's love, but I was thinking it might even be easier to love someone you can't understand! :smileyhappy:



There are some great posts here. Viv, you were so thorough with your analysis of Cain. You really know your stuff! :smileyhappy:
The comment that Stephanie made about loving someone you can't understand made me think about the great loves in Cain's life. He did want to save people and to be saved by others but it also seemed like he fell in love with people that he couldn't have. Since he couldn't have these women he also seemed to idealize them. His mother died when he was young and he retained the best memories of her (as most of us do). He couldn't have Eileen McDuffy and considered her his first love. He seemed to love Pecosa but later he realized that he could never stay there because of the war. It was tragic that his leaving still did not keep Pecosa and her grandmother safe. It was a very similar situation with Rosetta, there relationship could not continue because of their race. The feelings were intense but they happened because of the circumstances. Cain knew that they couldn't really have a life together. Society wasn't accepting of interracial relationships. And looking back, Cain never saw any of these women again. They either died or he moved away from them. It was easy to idealize them in his mind after that. It makes me wonder if Cain loved only women he knew he couldn't have, if he sabotaged the relationships intentionally but unconsciously.
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


Wrighty wrote:

Stephanie wrote:
Not to make light of Cain's love, but I was thinking it might even be easier to love someone you can't understand! :smileyhappy:



There are some great posts here. Viv, you were so thorough with your analysis of Cain. You really know your stuff! :smileyhappy:
The comment that Stephanie made about loving someone you can't understand made me think about the great loves in Cain's life. He did want to save people and to be saved by others but it also seemed like he fell in love with people that he couldn't have. Since he couldn't have these women he also seemed to idealize them. His mother died when he was young and he retained the best memories of her (as most of us do). He couldn't have Eileen McDuffy and considered her his first love. He seemed to love Pecosa but later he realized that he could never stay there because of the war. It was tragic that his leaving still did not keep Pecosa and her grandmother safe. It was a very similar situation with Rosetta, there relationship could not continue because of their race. The feelings were intense but they happened because of the circumstances. Cain knew that they couldn't really have a life together. Society wasn't accepting of interracial relationships. And looking back, Cain never saw any of these women again. They either died or he moved away from them. It was easy to idealize them in his mind after that. It makes me wonder if Cain loved only women he knew he couldn't have, if he sabotaged the relationships intentionally but unconsciously.


You know, I thought about that wrighty, was he only falling for those he could never have, as some do,or was it something else. I am not sure but it seems like he does doesnt it. Altho, he could have had Eileen, if she wanted him, they could have just gone somewhere else, even at his age. The other option I thought might be the case is that it just has to do with his lifestyle in general. That, given what he does, where he goes, the company he keeps, these are the only women he really is going to run into to choose from if you think about it. Its not like he is settled anywhere and can go to socials or the local church or meet the farmers daughter where he lives. So, I am not sure its not more his circumstances that cause he to fall for the ones he does. You kinda have to choose from whats available at times. (Boy don't I know that out here where I live at my age LOL!). Its just like, if he were the settled farmer or business man in a town where there were activities to allow you to met people and date, would he have ever even meet these three women? I really did think of him choosing the unobtainable, seems like it, but thinking about his life, I think it may be more the latter.
Vivian
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

To all who have written so wisely and perceptivly about Cain and about his relationship with women, my thanks. If I do revisit Cain in another story down the road, your comments have given me greater insight into his complex inner workings, especially with women.

Michael


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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.


MichaelCWhite wrote:
To all who have written so wisely and perceptivly about Cain and about his relationship with women, my thanks. If I do revisit Cain in another story down the road, your comments have given me greater insight into his complex inner workings, especially with women.

Michael



It would be great to read about Cain again. I wonder if he could ever settle down with one woman. If he did, what would it take for him to get to that point in his life and could he ever be happy? Michael, you have created a very complex character but he is also a very believable man.
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Re: Cain's relationships with women. End of book discussion.

Thank you for your comments about Cain, Wrighty.

Michael


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