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Amanda_R
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎09-25-2006
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Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters

The Kellaway and Butterfield families, though very different, also have some similarities. Compare and contrast the parental relationships, as well as the sibling relationships, within the two families.


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for the earlier chapters of Burning Bright.

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maxcat
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Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters

The Kellaways are from the country; they were invited to make chairs for the Astley Circus and to live in their row of homes in London. I feel that they are very much out of place, sort of like country bumpkins, if you will excuse the expression. The Kellaway children seem to get along and are curious about London. The father makes the chairs with Jem's help. The mother is very strict and critical and doesn't really want anything to do with the circus and wants to be back in the country. On the other side of the coin, you have the Butterfields who are citified and brought up to cheat and scrounge for every dollar they can find. Maggie is a troublemaker, I can just feel it as she befriends Jem. Her brother has a temper and I feel that at some point Jem and he will get into a fight big time. The father seems lazy and also up to no good as he tries to sell Jem's dad some black painted wood that he claims is ebonywood. Jem's dad is too smart for that kind of ruse. You really have a difference in cultures in this but and the surroundings are interesting as well. It's 1792 and London is in the Industrial Revolution. Am I right?
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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LizzieAnn
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters

The Kellaways are a close-knit family from the country - quiet, low-key, honest, and helpful. They truly care about one another & take care of each other. Jem watches out for & tries to protect Maisie. They all treat each other as well as they can and work together.

The Butterfields are city people - connivers, loud, opportunistic, and not always on the up-and-up. There's not much sense of family, and there seems to be little true caring of each other. Charlie is definitely a different kind of brother than Jem - he's cruel to Maggie and doesn't look out for her.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters



Amanda_R wrote:
The Kellaway and Butterfield families, though very different, also have some similarities. Compare and contrast the parental relationships, as well as the sibling relationships, within the two families.




Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for the earlier chapters of Burning Bright.






Again the families are exactly opposites also. And their envirnoment plays out like the difference in Jem and Maggie. Jem's family is somewhat hardworking and humble where Maggie's family wants a easy road and all they can muster up from whereever it comes from.
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TinaSChang
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters



LizzieAnn wrote:
The Kellaways are a close-knit family from the country - quiet, low-key, honest, and helpful. They truly care about one another & take care of each other. Jem watches out for & tries to protect Maisie. They all treat each other as well as they can and work together.

The Butterfields are city people - connivers, loud, opportunistic, and not always on the up-and-up. There's not much sense of family, and there seems to be little true caring of each other. Charlie is definitely a different kind of brother than Jem - he's cruel to Maggie and doesn't look out for her.




I don't feel this way at all. In fact I find the Kellaways to be out of touch with each other. The father hardly speaks to his family. Decisions are made which have uprooted them completely without the mother's agreement. The girls are watched after but seem to have no say in their lives. Maggie is independant and brought up to fend for herself. I found Maggie's interaction with her father in the pub caring and clever. Sure Jem is shocked by their vulgar language and horseplay, but it is not clear to me that the reader is supposed to see it this way.

I will see how the story unfolds but my first impressions of the families are not too positive or negative on either front, just different and in sharp contrast.
Tina S. Chang
Science and Math Fiction

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Wildflower
Posts: 212
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters



TinaSChang wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
The Kellaways are a close-knit family from the country - quiet, low-key, honest, and helpful. They truly care about one another & take care of each other. Jem watches out for & tries to protect Maisie. They all treat each other as well as they can and work together.

The Butterfields are city people - connivers, loud, opportunistic, and not always on the up-and-up. There's not much sense of family, and there seems to be little true caring of each other. Charlie is definitely a different kind of brother than Jem - he's cruel to Maggie and doesn't look out for her.




I don't feel this way at all. In fact I find the Kellaways to be out of touch with each other. The father hardly speaks to his family. Decisions are made which have uprooted them completely without the mother's agreement. The girls are watched after but seem to have no say in their lives. Maggie is independant and brought up to fend for herself. I found Maggie's interaction with her father in the pub caring and clever. Sure Jem is shocked by their vulgar language and horseplay, but it is not clear to me that the reader is supposed to see it this way.

I will see how the story unfolds but my first impressions of the families are not too positive or negative on either front, just different and in sharp contrast.




While I agree that the Kellaways are somewhat out of touch with each other, I think that this is because they are having trouble dealing with their grief and are tiptoeing around each other. I don't think it is because they don't care about or support each other. And I don't think that the move was done without Mrs. Kellaway's agreement. To quote her own thoughts:"Anne Kellaway had begun to regret their decision to move from Dorsetshire almost the moment the cart pulled away from their cottage...she knew that being in London was not going to take her mind from Tommy as she'd hoped it might...". This leads me to believe that she was willing to move at first, hoping it would maybe lessen her grief to be away from all the places she knew her son in.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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JulieZ
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters

I'm about half-way through the book right now, and I'm really enjoying it! There are two scenes that have particularly struck me with regard to the difference between the two families. (1) In the pub, Dick Butterfield thinks to himself that he wishes his children were more like Jem, not so jaded. (2) The scene when Bet Butterfield comes to the Kellaway's home. In this scene, Bet demonstrates both her shocking lack of concern for her daughter's whereabouts over the past two weeks, as well as her yearning to learn the delicate skill of button-making.

Both of these instances revealed that the Butterfields are not completely satisfied with their callous ways, and though I haven't seen them do anything to change this yet (indeed, they seem to be growing more brutal to Maggie as the book goes on), it is interesting to see this added dimension to their characters.
Julie
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kakhi
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters



Amanda_R wrote:
The Kellaway and Butterfield families, though very different, also have some similarities. Compare and contrast the parental relationships, as well as the sibling relationships, within the two families.




Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for the earlier chapters of Burning Bright.




The contrast in families makes me think of the idea that we are products of our environment. In the country the air and living conditions are cleaner and not crowded. The food is fresher and the people may be more honest and go to church. A wholesome way of life. In the city for ones without much life is hard and dirty and people are can be tougher and slyer. I am not that far into the book so I will be interested to see how the Kellaways respond to the city.
It does make me think of times I have seen an Amish family or a very rural family in Chicago. What a contrast.
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TinaSChang
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion Topic: Family Matters

I think that the readers are being unfair to the Calloways here. I felt they do care very much a bout each other but have very different standards of what that means. Yes, Maggie is sent to work, but apparently she is only sent to work as a preteen. If you read Blake's "Songs of Experience" you will see that it was commonplace for children to work from a very young age.

Maggie's mother is used to her independance and considers her to be pretty much an adult already and one with a good head on her shoulders. A more appropriate modern parallel is an 18 year old running away when her parents tell her go to college or get a job. The only reason Maggie's Mom comes looking for Maggie later is that she is concerned that she will lose Maggie and she is trying to catch up with her daughter before the girl has gone onto her own independant life without looking back.

The Butterfield family has a delayed concept of adulthood and this doesn't do them much good. They don't prepare their daughter for adult decisions or even recognize her as a woman.

I think when the readers reach the end of the story they will see that my perspective isn't completely out of place with the storyline.
Tina S. Chang
Science and Math Fiction

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