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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Hanna

What do you make of our heroine? What has drawn her into this work? She is a tremendously strong-headed character--do you find her difficult to like, or sympathetic?

Does she remind you at all of the traditional "hard boiled" detective that is expected in many mystery novels?
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Hanna



rkubie wrote:
What do you make of our heroine? What has drawn her into this work? She is a tremendously strong-headed character--do you find her difficult to like, or sympathetic?

Does she remind you at all of the traditional "hard boiled" detective that is expected in many mystery novels?




So far, and I'm only on Chapter 3 mind you, I like her. She's a tough cookie who seems to want to be as professionally far away from her mother as possible. Hanna is a bit rebelious, wouldn't you say and may have some chip on her shoulder that we'll eventually discover.
Brooks, in my opinion does a great job in characterizing Hannah in a brief period of time. I liked the white gloves she wore for dinner w/her mother and their symbolism seemed to go right over her moms head.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Clare
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Registered: ‎12-12-2006
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Re: Hanna

You realize right away that Hannah because of her upbringing has some trust problems that would interfere with developing any close relationship. But enough good qualities are shown that you are interested in how her character develops.
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bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Hanna



rkubie wrote:
What do you make of our heroine? What has drawn her into this work? She is a tremendously strong-headed character--do you find her difficult to like, or sympathetic?

Does she remind you at all of the traditional "hard boiled" detective that is expected in many mystery novels?




I like Hanna. She wants to do a good job. I sympathize with her regarding her experience with her mother; but believe at this point that it is as much her fault as her mother's.
It seems to me that she reacts to her mother and seeks to do whatever the opposite would be of what her mother would want her to do; even if it is self destructive.

She appears to be a little promiscuous but I will reserve judgement (maybe we could call her a free thinker).

I think she misses having a father figure.

Bentley
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Hanna



bentley wrote:


rkubie wrote:
What do you make of our heroine? What has drawn her into this work? She is a tremendously strong-headed character--do you find her difficult to like, or sympathetic?

Does she remind you at all of the traditional "hard boiled" detective that is expected in many mystery novels?




I like Hanna. She wants to do a good job. I sympathize with her regarding her experience with her mother; but believe at this point that it is as much her fault as her mother's.
It seems to me that she reacts to her mother and seeks to do whatever the opposite would be of what her mother would want her to do; even if it is self destructive.

She appears to be a little promiscuous but I will reserve judgement (maybe we could call her a free thinker).

I think she misses having a father figure.

Bentley




Good point Bentley. In fact, I think she misses not having a family of any kind.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Hanna



Carmenere_lady wrote:


bentley wrote:


rkubie wrote:
What do you make of our heroine? What has drawn her into this work? She is a tremendously strong-headed character--do you find her difficult to like, or sympathetic?

Does she remind you at all of the traditional "hard boiled" detective that is expected in many mystery novels?




I like Hanna. She wants to do a good job. I sympathize with her regarding her experience with her mother; but believe at this point that it is as much her fault as her mother's.
It seems to me that she reacts to her mother and seeks to do whatever the opposite would be of what her mother would want her to do; even if it is self destructive.

She appears to be a little promiscuous but I will reserve judgement (maybe we could call her a free thinker).

I think she misses having a father figure.

Bentley




Good point Bentley. In fact, I think she misses not having a family of any kind.




Yes, it is so odd; how she has walled herself in emotionally or maybe I should say that she has set barriers up so that she does not get emotionally committed or vulnerable. Maybe she doesn't know what a normal male/female relationship looks like or a father/mother relationship since she never saw that either. It is almost like she has become her mother in terms of the ice maiden classification; but has become blinded by her contempt for her mother and I think borderline hatred.
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Rachel-K
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Re: Hanna

I really like hearing the comments about Hannah. Something that strikes me as interesting is that Brooks sets Hannah's story--her fury at her mother--against these stories of outrageous suffering and hardship. I'm not saying that Hannah's personal trials come across as lightweight--they really don't--but how is that so?
 
Doesn't it seem that we would reevaluate her story as we come upon these other stories and take hers less seriously in light of all that suffering? But somehow, I grow more moved by her, more engaged by her life.
 
Does anyone agree or totally disagree?
Rachel
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Fozzie
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Re: Hanna - SPOILER



bentley wrote:

Maybe she doesn't know what a normal male/female relationship looks like or a father/mother relationship since she never saw that either. It is almost like she has become her mother in terms of the ice maiden classification; but has become blinded by her contempt for her mother and I think borderline hatred.

SPOILER
 
Regarding the mother daughter relationship, I would say that the more I learned about Hanna's mother, the more sympathetic I became toward her.  I think she made some wrong decisions in raising Hanna, like spending very little time with her, belittling her career choice, and not telling her who her father is.  However, I think Hanna's mother (I can't remember her name) was trying to atone for killing her husband, an act which I think she regretted, by burying herself in her work, work that required her to distance herself emotionally from her patients.  This emotional distance then spilled over into the mother's life (or lack thereof) and affected Hanna.
 
Of course I picked it up.  I monitored him all that night.  I knew he was hemorrhaging.  I let it happen.  I knew he wouldn't want to wake up blind.  (pg. 345)
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Hanna



rkubie wrote:
Doesn't it seem that we would reevaluate her story as we come upon these other stories and take hers less seriously in light of all that suffering? But somehow, I grow more moved by her, more engaged by her life.
 
Does anyone agree or totally disagree?

You know, I don't remember my thoughts of Hanna's relationship with her mother being directly
related to the stories from history.  I was sure to link the present day Hanna stories with what was learned about the book historically.  Hmmm...now I have to think about you question, Rachel.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Hanna


rkubie wrote:
I really like hearing the comments about Hannah. Something that strikes me as interesting is that Brooks sets Hannah's story--her fury at her mother--against these stories of outrageous suffering and hardship. I'm not saying that Hannah's personal trials come across as lightweight--they really don't--but how is that so?

Doesn't it seem that we would reevaluate her story as we come upon these other stories and take hers less seriously in light of all that suffering? But somehow, I grow more moved by her, more engaged by her life.

Does anyone agree or totally disagree?
Rachel


Rachel -- much appreciated this comment, especially when I think about how much "little things" impacted each of those stories of suffering, from a mis-buttoned dress, to laundry, to gambling, to reading Winnie the Pooh in the hospital, to an unexpected accident, to mis-placed trust, to rescuing a drunken colleague....

An appropriate story to read during Lent?
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Rachel-K
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Re: Hanna

How interesting, Peppermill. To think whether to dismiss the little things as worldly, passing, and insignificant or instead to hold them up to the light to cherish them?
 
I think you're right that the book does this for us--even though it is a catalog of catastrophes--it is also a catalog of small significant moments. Very nice thought--thanks.
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Crystal8i8
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Re: Hanna



rkubie wrote:
How interesting, Peppermill. To think whether to dismiss the little things as worldly, passing, and insignificant or instead to hold them up to the light to cherish them?
 
I think you're right that the book does this for us--even though it is a catalog of catastrophes--it is also a catalog of small significant moments. Very nice thought--thanks.


As you put it, "a catalog of small significant moments"   What a perfect thing to say.  you are absolutely right in this regard.  To me these significant moments are a peek into the weaknesses of souls.  Everyone has weakness in their own life.  Is it meant to relate to ourselves in this way?  I think so.  I feel that everyone knows someone with one of these afflictions.  In this way it is human nature, it goes back through generations and hundreds of years.  Does that have a tendency to make me feel small, absolutely.  Does it make me feel less unique, yes.  However I am still unique and so are you, because we each capture our afflictions in different ways and different combinations.
The Butterfly Girl 8i8

"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors." - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Hanna


Crystal8i8 wrote:


rkubie wrote:
How interesting, Peppermill. To think whether to dismiss the little things as worldly, passing, and insignificant or instead to hold them up to the light to cherish them?
I think you're right that the book does this for us--even though it is a catalog of catastrophes--it is also a catalog of small significant moments. Very nice thought--thanks.


As you put it, "a catalog of small significant moments" What a perfect thing to say. you are absolutely right in this regard. To me these significant moments are a peek into the weaknesses of souls. Everyone has weakness in their own life. Is it meant to relate to ourselves in this way? I think so. I feel that everyone knows someone with one of these afflictions. In this way it is human nature, it goes back through generations and hundreds of years. Does that have a tendency to make me feel small, absolutely. Does it make me feel less unique, yes. However I am still unique and so are you, because we each capture our afflictions in different ways and different combinations.



May you also let them be a peak into the beauty and sacredness of souls -- at least I think the small moments can serve both ways. And we have free will to make the choice. (I have just been attending a series of lectures on suffering -- the pain is real, the accompanying angst may sometimes be a choice has been part of the message. I think Brooks gives us several examples, including especially her relationship with her mother. There is a view our parents have given us one gift which is ours to cherish -- life; all else is bonus. As I used to point out to my son, some of the disciplines surrounding karate say to honor a "good" mother and father is relatively easy; the honor to self may come from honoring "difficult" parents.)
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Hanna

Hi Peppermill,
 
I'd be curious to hear what those lectures are, if you'd PM me. I've read a bit about pain in a larger cultural context, but that sounds interesting.
 
Suffering in this novel is very closely observed, and I found, painful to read. But I also think it creates a very dramatic context for those other moments, that ordinary life feels very rich and precious in contrast.
 
Did anyone else have to put the book down for a bit during some of those Inquisition chapters?
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