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Stephanie
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True Love?

In addition to the subject of slavery, Soul Catcher also becomes a love story about Cain and Rosetta. And yet, under the distorting effects of the slave system, can love really exist between two people, one white and one black?
Stephanie
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: True Love?



Stephanie wrote:
In addition to the subject of slavery, Soul Catcher also becomes a love story about Cain and Rosetta. And yet, under the distorting effects of the slave system, can love really exist between two people, one white and one black?




A good question. It strikes at the heart of slavery. Many slaves were actually quite fond of her masters, and after the war willingly stayed on what had been their prison cell because they didn't want to abandon those they'd been tied to their entire lives. And many slaves had "relationships" (I use this term loosely here) with their masters, as does Eberly with Rosetta (or Thomas Jefferson with his slave). However, given the unequal power relationship that exists within such unions, can these emotions be called love? Isn't love dependent on, to paraphrase Cain's favorite author, Milton, "free will." Does Eberly "love" Rosetta? Can Cain's feelings be categorized as love?

Michael


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kiakar
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Re: True Love?



MichaelCWhite wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
In addition to the subject of slavery, Soul Catcher also becomes a love story about Cain and Rosetta. And yet, under the distorting effects of the slave system, can love really exist between two people, one white and one black?




A good question. It strikes at the heart of slavery. Many slaves were actually quite fond of her masters, and after the war willingly stayed on what had been their prison cell because they didn't want to abandon those they'd been tied to their entire lives. And many slaves had "relationships" (I use this term loosely here) with their masters, as does Eberly with Rosetta (or Thomas Jefferson with his slave). However, given the unequal power relationship that exists within such unions, can these emotions be called love? Isn't love dependent on, to paraphrase Cain's favorite author, Milton, "free will." Does Eberly "love" Rosetta? Can Cain's feelings be categorized as love?

Michael




I feel it was just a great caring Cain had for Rosetta. Of course they saw problems in a relationship, even today there are problems in a interacial relationship, ones I am sure I can't see because I have never been in one. But truly, Cain had a hard crust surrounding him but he felt deeply about people especially those that suffered at the hand of others. And I feel Rosetta fit into this pattern greatly. Passion escalated feelings of longlasting love but faded when daylight set in. They realized that they only was involved in a great passion in their life and the better there life would be for it but the envolvement couldn't be forlonged as a permnant fixture in their life. It was a pernmanent chapter in their lives but not a everlasting chapter.
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IBIS
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Re: True Love?

[ Edited ]
This fascinating, and very difficult question, brought to my mind other related, and equally complex questions.

One question is who truly captured the heart and soul of whom?

Cain definitely captured the physical Rosetta, shackled her and forced her to return South. But as she herself tells him that, although her body belongs to Eberly by law, her heart and soul does not. Cain and Rosetta formed an emotional bond because they were caught in circumstances that revealed their innermost selves to each other.

True love means that someone else's welfare surpasses your own. To love someone is to be willing to lay down your life for their sake. Cain endangers his own life to rescue Rosetta from the blackbirders. Rosetta endangers her freedom when she returns with Mandy, the midwife, to heal Cain. They did not put themselves in harm's way merely because they were fond of each other.

Up to a point, how many of us consciously control with whom we fall in love? How much of one's "free will" is involved? There are infinite ways and reasons why we form emotional bonds with another human being. Throughout human history, various cultures created legal, economic and social inequalities among us.

Those inequalities are society-driven, not natural. The power balance may be skewed, but take Cain and Rosetta away from the context of the society they've been born into, and they are as equal as any man and woman. No matter what color their skin.

Because they are trapped in the society of pre-Civil War America, being in love is difficult enough. But acting on it and maintaining any kind of relationship, like running away to California, is doomed.

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-01-2007 11:40 AM
IBIS

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MichaelCWhite
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Re: True Love?

The more I hear about Cain and Rosetta's "relationship" the less certain I am about it. It was, for me, one of the most difficult parts to write in the novel, both because of the pressures and limitations set up by society in which they live, but also because of the complexities of Cain and Rosetta. I think, on the one hand, that Cain and Rosetta were united in situation that caused both to change. In some ways, this makes me think that while they may have been lovers, they were not IN love. However, as was pointed out, one definition of as least one form of love is that one person puts another before himself, including even the willingness to sacrifice one's life. Clearly Cain and Rosetta are willing to do this, and actually do it several times in the novel. Given this, I think there is a profound bond that has formed between the two, one that would qualify as love.

But I'd like to hear what others have to say on this subject.

Michael


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ENG267
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Re: True Love?

I've found myself with several different opinions on this subject.

Some of Cain and Rosetta's interactions seem natural and comfortable (e.g., when he asks her to scratch his back and when she tries on the new dress), so they have a connection between them, but that's certainly not love. (And does the physical attraction cause the connection? Or does the connection cause the physical attraction?)

Though love is partly about putting another's welfare above one's own, it's also about how one person makes the other feel. Rosetta makes Cain feel a variety of complicated emotions and he seems to become a better person for his experience with her. Does he feel like he's better for having known Rosetta? If so, does that mean he's in love with her? Cain makes Rosetta feel like a human being, deserving of dignity and respect, but she seems to already know that about herself. In other words, she doesn't seem to have been profoundly changed as a person by Cain, which makes me think she must not have been in love with him.

I agree with Michael that they were united in a situation that caused both to change, and they've formed a profound bond. I think they love each other, but are not IN love.
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vivico1
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Re: True Love?


ENG267 wrote:
I've found myself with several different opinions on this subject.

Some of Cain and Rosetta's interactions seem natural and comfortable (e.g., when he asks her to scratch his back and when she tries on the new dress), so they have a connection between them, but that's certainly not love. (And does the physical attraction cause the connection? Or does the connection cause the physical attraction?)

Though love is partly about putting another's welfare above one's own, it's also about how one person makes the other feel. Rosetta makes Cain feel a variety of complicated emotions and he seems to become a better person for his experience with her. Does he feel like he's better for having known Rosetta? If so, does that mean he's in love with her? Cain makes Rosetta feel like a human being, deserving of dignity and respect, but she seems to already know that about herself. In other words, she doesn't seem to have been profoundly changed as a person by Cain, which makes me think she must not have been in love with him.

I agree with Michael that they were united in a situation that caused both to change, and they've formed a profound bond. I think they love each other, but are not IN love.


I know a lot of people today, especially the youth, who say they are "in love" and get married and divorced several times, or other things, for a whole lot less of a connection than Cain and Rosetta had.
Vivian
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: True Love?

Your comments and questions about the nature of love are getting me to rethink both the nature of love and the relationship of Cain and Rosetta. First, I think that are lots of varieties of love--love for family, for friends, for ideals--and each can be said to have various characteristics. But I think here we are talking about that certain kind of love--romantic or love that involves passion. The love one has for one's spouse or partner. As I was writing the novel, I had in mind that sort of love. I wanted to make Cain not only see Rosetta as a human being, but eventually as a woman, one for whom he could feel that sort of romantic and passionate love. I think they have that, at least for a time. But given the oppressive power of the culture that they live in, the question is, can their "love" grow and develop into something deeper and more long lasting? I'd be happy to talk about the ending later (and the several endings I tried), but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's not there yet.

Michael


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Re: True Love?


MichaelCWhite wrote:
Your comments and questions about the nature of love are getting me to rethink both the nature of love and the relationship of Cain and Rosetta. First, I think that are lots of varieties of love--love for family, for friends, for ideals--and each can be said to have various characteristics. But I think here we are talking about that certain kind of love--romantic or love that involves passion. The love one has for one's spouse or partner. As I was writing the novel, I had in mind that sort of love. I wanted to make Cain not only see Rosetta as a human being, but eventually as a woman, one for whom he could feel that sort of romantic and passionate love. I think they have that, at least for a time. But given the oppressive power of the culture that they live in, the question is, can their "love" grow and develop into something deeper and more long lasting? I'd be happy to talk about the ending later (and the several endings I tried), but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's not there yet.

Michael


I think you did achieve that Michael. It shows in the sense of the building sexual passsion between them but also that desire to save each other at their own peril. It also shows more than just that need for intimacy or release during dire circumstances in the two ways they first make love. First they throw themselves at each other finally, and that part I could see, and it was that release, that need to feel something with another human being, that sexual release of two people that is at the time more a need maybe than a real emotional feeling. But then, the second time, you describe how now they can take their time, Cain wants to drink her in before even touching her, he FEELS much more for her than just pure lust and she does too in the way they touch each other. I know people can love each other and become intimate during extreme situations too but I see them as two people who were slowly getting to know each other as people,starting to love what they saw, you hear it in Cain's thoughts about her even before they ever make love, and then did in fact fall in love. They would die for each other and if there had been a way to have a future together, they would have lived for each other. I think they made love and it just made them both realise that regardless of color, regardless of what whites had done to Rosetta before, regardless of what Cain had thought about negroes before or men laying with them, that they found that they were both two real people who fell in love and would do anything to protect each other for that. ****spoiler warning here**** And I will just say this much Michael, the ending you gave, was real (unfortunately lol) and real for two people in love. If there wasn't real love there and I do mean the romantic kind too, they may have taking the ending we are all wishing would have happened, just because they would have wanted to too regardless, but being in love, made them think realistically too about what was best for each other.
Vivian
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IBIS
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

At the end of SOUL CATCHER, Cain and Rosetta decide to go their separate ways.
Considering the complicated characters they were, and combined with the oppressive atmosphere of their times, this decision makes perfect sense.

They are creatures from two totally different worlds. Their worldviews and core values are as different as cheese from chalk. He is doomed by his fatalistic outlook, as she is blessed with a hopeful one.

p. 414 captures their relationship well: "..something had changed in her after what had happened in the cabin, as if all that bloodshed and death had brought the realization to her that whatever they'd had was over now, that they belonged to separate worlds, and that it was time for her to return to hers."

Despite his detesting the institution of slavery, he chooses to return South and fight for the Confederacy. He thinks of the Southern campaign, the entire enterprise as doomed. "Utterly, irrevocably doomed."

He identifies the South's fight, noble and doomed, like Lucifer's battle in PARADISE LOST.

What a flawed, scarred, complicated, maddeningly fatalistic anti-hero! Rosetta is better off without him.
IBIS

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vivico1
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****


IBIS wrote:
At the end of SOUL CATCHER, Cain and Rosetta decide to go their separate ways.
Considering the complicated characters they were, and combined with the oppressive atmosphere of their times, this decision makes perfect sense.

They are creatures from two totally different worlds. Their worldviews and core values are as different as cheese from chalk. He is doomed by his fatalistic outlook, as she is blessed with a hopeful one.

p. 414 captures their relationship well: "..something had changed in her after what had happened in the cabin, as if all that bloodshed and death had brought the realization to her that whatever they'd had was over now, that they belonged to separate worlds, and that it was time for her to return to hers."

Despite his detesting the institution of slavery, he chooses to return South and fight for the Confederacy. He thinks of the Southern campaign, the entire enterprise as doomed. "Utterly, irrevocably doomed."

He identifies the South's fight, noble and doomed, like Lucifer's battle in PARADISE LOST.

What a flawed, scarred, complicated, maddeningly fatalistic anti-hero! Rosetta is better off without him.


Well, now wait a minute. I dont know that Cain is really a fatalist. I think what he is, is a realist who has seen enough to know what would happen and what is going to happen in the South. A lot of Southerners went to war or back home knowing it would not go in their favor, but that wasnt fatalism, that was just the truth, they knew it but they did have a sense of belonging and an ideal of what it mean to be "Southern". Of course he is scarred, Rosetta wasnt? Who wasnt during this time? Flawed? Same question of us all. Quite frankly if it werent for the reality of the time, and much of that still exist today, I think Cain had found someone to really love and allow himself too and I think he would have done anything for Rosetta. Better off without him? He loved her enough to let her go (and I don't mean from going back to being a slave either). That takes a special caring kind of love, to let go of someone who makes you feel again and feel ok TO feel again. Nope, can't agree with you on this one :smileywink:. I think Rosetta would tell you the same about him.

I also think that even tho what he is reading is very much a similitude of his own life, to compare all he is or does, to the characters in Paradise Lost, is to lose some of who Cain is in this situation. It would be like comparing Shaw's Pygmalion to the later My Fair Lady. Yes they are very much the same, but something is different when it becomes a musical and Shaw's ending was definitely different, but My Fair Lady's ending was what people wanted in the musical. What I am saying is that Michael's choice of what Cain reads does give us insight into Cain's life and follow many things in it, but also, it stands alone as something OF its own, not a modern remake of Paradise Lost. Many many books have been written based on the theme of Paradise Lost but total comparison of each, tends to make one lose some of the flavor of the different book. I love the comparison, but I also love the differences that make the characters who they are in this particular story. Does any of this make sense? I guess too in a way, I am saying if you have not read Paradise Lost, you dont have to, to get this story, so dont feel left out anyone if you havent. Its really not a comparative study of the two books lol :smileywink: but the comparisons are there for the noting if you ever read both.
Vivian
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kiakar
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

Yes, Vivian I believe that you can love a person so much that you realize that person will not be happy because of circumstances in your relationship as with Cain and Rosetta.

He loved and respected Rosetta, she had been a slave and she needed to find herself and not be enslaved to a love that would be a unwelcome burden on her at this time. They were so different and needed different paths in their lives. I was surprised also that Cain went back to fight the civil war on the confederate side. But its true, its where you come from. There are roots there, this is what you know. He had different feelings than before but the south was still enbidden within him.
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

At this point, I just enjoy sitting back and hearing what you folks think about Cain and Rosetta, and their relationship. I would love for each of you to come to my lit class in the spring, where I'll be teaching Soul Catcher, so that I could listen in as you talked about Cain and Rosetta. But I did want to touch on the comparsion that was made about how they make love to each other differently those two times--the first a release of tremendous sexual tension, the second more tender and slow and intimate. That was a great point. And I hope this doesn't spoil the latter part of the book for anyone.

Michael


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ENG267
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

As for the difference between their two times together, for me, it boils down to: they have sex the first time; they make love the second.
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IBIS
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

ENG, your response made me laugh....thanks for the levity!
IBIS

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vivico1
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****


IBIS wrote:
ENG, your response made me laugh....thanks for the levity!


yeah but Eng said it succinctly and is right, one was sex, the other was making love and we all know the difference. lol :smileywink:
Vivian
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****

Bravo, Eng,

I couldn't have said it better. The first was sex, down and dirty, releasing the build up of all those tensions, the second was making love. Very good.

Michael


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Stephanie
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****



MichaelCWhite wrote:
At this point, I just enjoy sitting back and hearing what you folks think about Cain and Rosetta, and their relationship. I would love for each of you to come to my lit class in the spring, where I'll be teaching Soul Catcher, so that I could listen in as you talked about Cain and Rosetta. But I did want to touch on the comparsion that was made about how they make love to each other differently those two times--the first a release of tremendous sexual tension, the second more tender and slow and intimate. That was a great point. And I hope this doesn't spoil the latter part of the book for anyone.

Michael




Michael,

I would love to attend that class- I have a feeling you're going to enjoy yourself a great deal.
Stephanie
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Fozzie
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Re: True Love? ***SPOILER ALERT****



MichaelCWhite wrote:
At this point, I just enjoy sitting back and hearing what you folks think about Cain and Rosetta, and their relationship. I would love for each of you to come to my lit class in the spring, where I'll be teaching Soul Catcher, so that I could listen in as you talked about Cain and Rosetta.



I find it fascinating that you would teach a class on your own book. I think that would be difficult, as an author, to lay your work so open to criticism. Although, I guess that's what you do every time you write a book and publish it, isn't it?
Laura

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Fozzie
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Re: True Love? - SPOILERS END OF BOOK

SPOILERS END OF BOOK

I have no doubt in my mind that Cain and Rosetta were in love. Although their relationship began with them as enemies, it ended with them in love. Through the experiences they shared, they not only grew to understand each other, but, more importantly, to respect each other. Moreover, they were honest with each other. They helped each other through life and death situations, literally saving each other at the expense of their own safety. Just because, in the end, they felt that they could not build a life together does not mean that they were not in love, and did not continue to love each other for the rest of their lives.

By the way, I thought the ending was perfect. I couldn’t see them living happily ever after out West. That was just not realistic. However, I knew that they did love each other and could not imagine them having any sort of falling out. I thin it took as much courage for them to realize they could not make a life together and let each other go as it did for them to live through the experiences they did together.
Laura

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