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Rachel-K
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Early Chapters

Please use this thread to discuss the novel from the prologue through chapter 9.
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cindersue
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Re: Early Chapters


rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to discuss the novel from the prologue through chapter 9.




Kind of a broad question, at least for me. Can we break the chapters down a bit? Since I don't have the book with me now, what were the titles of the first chapters? Maybe that will refresh my memory.

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone. That would be the pits. :smileysad:
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters


cindersue wrote:

rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to discuss the novel from the prologue through chapter 9.




Kind of a broad question, at least for me. Can we break the chapters down a bit? Since I don't have the book with me now, what were the titles of the first chapters? Maybe that will refresh my memory.

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone. That would be the pits. :smileysad:


Here lies the problem I have with a LOT of books written today Cindersue, they have no chapter titles! Just numbers, and it makes it hard to find things you want to go back to. When we get to talk to authors, I really let them know how much I appreciate chapter titles! I will pm you and give you a tidbit abt the end of each chapter up to 9 so you will know what you can talk about and mayb meantion in here then on the subject heading, thru chapter 4 for example, ok? :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Rachel-K
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Re: Early Chapters

Yes, Cindersue, you're right--it is supposed to be a general heading to discuss the first third of the book.

The end of chapter 9 is where August, Marlena, and Jacob meet Rosie, if that helps.

But really this isn't intended to be a strict division, just a place where we might start gathering overall impressions and bringing up ideas that occur to us as we read--without giving away too much to others who are still somewhere in the first 100 pages.

Rachel
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cindersue
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Re: Early Chapters



rkubie wrote:
Yes, Cindersue, you're right--it is supposed to be a general heading to discuss the first third of the book.

The end of chapter 9 is where August, Marlena, and Jacob meet Rosie, if that helps.

But really this isn't intended to be a strict division, just a place where we might start gathering overall impressions and bringing up ideas that occur to us as we read--without giving away too much to others who are still somewhere in the first 100 pages.

Rachel




Thanks for the message. Viv sent me a brief sentence, too, since the chapters don't have titles.
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Peppermill
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Re: Early Chapters

Would somebody help me understand the parallels with the Biblical Jacob?

Thanks!
"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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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters


Peppermill wrote:
Would somebody help me understand the parallels with the Biblical Jacob?

Thanks!


Peppermill, I find it strange that Sara Gruen compares her Jacob and some other characters to the biblical Jacob. I wish she was here to explain. Here is the main part of the question in the back of the book for those who may not have the book anymore: "Sara Gruen has said that the "backbone" of her novel "parallels the biblical story of Jacob"......Jacob lies "back on the bank, resting my head on a flat stone" (page 23). In what other ways does WFE parallel the story of the biblical Jacob? How do the names of many of the characters reflect names of characters in the biblical account?

Beats the heck out of me!! LOLOL. OK, I see where she used basically one line (the above) that is like the verses in Genesis 28:10-11, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep."

OK, so one line. I can think of many other biblical characters that compare with Jacob more. Remember in the biblical story of Jacob, Esau, his twin brother sells him his birthright as the first son and so Jacob gets the blessing of the first son. He later journeys east looking for a wife and tells Laban he will work 7 years for him if he can then marry his daughter Rachel, but because of getting drunk on his wedding day (dont even get me going on Jacob gets what he deserves here, actually, I think he does, lol cause he is a righteous man worthy of the first born's blessings or God would not have granted them even if Esau sold it to him) anyway, Laban tricks him and marries him to Leah and then Jacob has to work another 7 years for him to be able to marry Rachel. He had 12 sons who became the heads of Israel, (the 12 tribes of Israel).

Now, knowing the story of Jacob of the bible, someone else is going to have to show me the parallels, cause I dont see them. I see him more as a Joseph maybe but I don't really get the connections here. Jacob of the bible didn't just walk away, he didnt lose his parents or homeland. I don't see what she means by the parallels in any of the names. I see Uncle Al as being somewhat like Laban, always tricking people into a deal for himself. I see the parallel of those working for the circus, lining up for their pay, only to be told they will get it the next time and so they have to labor longer. I dont see Rachel or Leah as paralleling Marlena. I see one line and a general theme, but thats common in a lot of stories. Forget the other names or people, I don't even see the parallel with Jacob himself! So this is all I know, maybe you guys can figure this one out.Sorry Peppermill.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Adult Children's means of living

I have a question for you guys. In the first couple of chapters, Jacob loses both of his parents at once, something none of us at any age would want to go through, then he finds out he has no inheritance or even home to come home too, its all gone, but the last of his schooling is paid up at least. I know he is in shock when he walks away from school, I can see it happening. My question is, he is a young man in his 20s with no means of support, he has relied on his parents support for school and everything, so yeah, he is in a haze of grief and trying to figure out what he is going to do. So, do you think its a lot the same today? I mean, are there too many young people out there in their 20s, going to school on mom and dad's money, no job while they are going that if both parents died today, they would be basically destitute? I wonder about that sometimes. I guess cause I worked since I was 13 and after highschool, I already had my own place and was working and saving to go to school. I worked the whole time I was in college and actually wound up working in that field instead of my major. I was pretty much on my own, with the help of some school loans at first and just getting on with it and I am not ancient lol, where this should just be more common then lol. I wonder sometimes if footing the bill for a young adult for everything "while they are getting an education" is actually doing them a disservice in the education of their life? I know families of both. Some have kids just eating them up and their savings having everything paid for them, and some have kids who are working full or part time while they are in school and full time when they are not. Isn't some of both important for both the parents and the youth? The parents not going bankrupt and the youth already knowing how to work and keep a job while they further their education? What do you think?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Catherine vs Marlena

In just a couple of short chapters, you get to know Jacob is 23, a virgin with raging hormones lol and Catherine at school gets him going, teasing him and knows it and he just is enamored of her. Then in a chapter he sees Marlena, and thinks its Catherine, or that she looks just like her and he is in love. So, as far as the love at first sight thing... does he fall for Marlena at first sight because she reminds him so much of Catherine who he never had and here is her double, in an outfit that shows more than he ever saw of Catherine too but only imagined, or is it really something else at this point? Or is he just a "hormonally challenged" 23 year old young man looking at eye candy who doesn't really fall in love at first sight but does as he comes to know her? Barbara, the "special attraction" for the men, good grief you could do a whole thread on her alone. I was so cracking up at the description of her dangling swinging "bobbles" shall we say lol. Ok, any men in here? lol I would love to hear from both sexes on this much of the story at least lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Peppermill
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Re: Early Chapters

Vivian -- thanks! You reassure me that I hadn't totally lost it! I hesitated to post the question, like (hehe) it should have been obvious!

I also appreciated your comments on carrying water to the elephant -- I never did find your explanation in the book itself.

vivico1 wrote:

Peppermill wrote:
Would somebody help me understand the parallels with the Biblical Jacob?

Thanks!


Peppermill, I find it strange that Sara Gruen compares her Jacob and some other characters to the biblical Jacob. I wish she was here to explain. Here is the main part of the question in the back of the book for those who may not have the book anymore: "Sara Gruen has said that the "backbone" of her novel "parallels the biblical story of Jacob"......Jacob lies "back on the bank, resting my head on a flat stone" (page 23). In what other ways does WFE parallel the story of the biblical Jacob? How do the names of many of the characters reflect names of characters in the biblical account?

Beats the heck out of me!! LOLOL. OK, I see where she used basically one line (the above) that is like the verses in Genesis 28:10-11, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep."

OK, so one line. I can think of many other biblical characters that compare with Jacob more. Remember in the biblical story of Jacob, Esau, his twin brother sells him his birthright as the first son and so Jacob gets the blessing of the first son. He later journeys east looking for a wife and tells Laban he will work 7 years for him if he can then marry his daughter Rachel, but because of getting drunk on his wedding day (dont even get me going on Jacob gets what he deserves here, actually, I think he does, lol cause he is a righteous man worthy of the first born's blessings or God would not have granted them even if Esau sold it to him) anyway, Laban tricks him and marries him to Leah and then Jacob has to work another 7 years for him to be able to marry Rachel. He had 12 sons who became the heads of Israel, (the 12 tribes of Israel).

Now, knowing the story of Jacob of the bible, someone else is going to have to show me the parallels, cause I dont see them. I see him more as a Joseph maybe but I don't really get the connections here. Jacob of the bible didn't just walk away, he didnt lose his parents or homeland. I don't see what she means by the parallels in any of the names. I see Uncle Al as being somewhat like Laban, always tricking people into a deal for himself. I see the parallel of those working for the circus, lining up for their pay, only to be told they will get it the next time and so they have to labor longer. I dont see Rachel or Leah as paralleling Marlena. I see one line and a general theme, but thats common in a lot of stories. Forget the other names or people, I don't even see the parallel with Jacob himself! So this is all I know, maybe you guys can figure this one out.Sorry Peppermill.

"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: Early Chapters

It is interesting to look for the parallels just after a Red Tent reading. I thought that because that *was* a fictional version of the story, perhaps I'd been put off the scent. But, honestly, I enjoy the writing so much in Water for Elephants, I don't feel too compelled to find a Biblical precedent. Surely we will get a reader who sees this aspect of the story clearly, and will point it out to us!
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters


rkubie wrote:
It is interesting to look for the parallels just after a Red Tent reading. I thought that because that *was* a fictional version of the story, perhaps I'd been put off the scent. But, honestly, I enjoy the writing so much in Water for Elephants, I don't feel too compelled to find a Biblical precedent. Surely we will get a reader who sees this aspect of the story clearly, and will point it out to us!


Maybe so, if not hey, there is a lot to this book besides trying to figure out a biblical parallel. That one really did make me go, huh?? And I am sorry, but the two of you who have mentioned "The Red Tent"...I dont know what that is, or what its about or what it has to do with this book, so now I am lost on two accounts on a book that I really thought was good on its own! LOL!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Fozzie
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Re: Adult Children's means of living



vivico1 wrote:
I wonder sometimes if footing the bill for a young adult for everything "while they are getting an education" is actually doing them a disservice in the education of their life? I know families of both. Some have kids just eating them up and their savings having everything paid for them, and some have kids who are working full or part time while they are in school and full time when they are not. Isn't some of both important for both the parents and the youth? The parents not going bankrupt and the youth already knowing how to work and keep a job while they further their education? What do you think?



These are good questions, with no right or wrong answers.

I think Jacob's situation, with his parents going bankrupt while putting him through school, is largely a function of the times. I dated the story of young Jacob to be 1930, right after the stock market crash. Times were very tough for many people. Jacob's Dad's customers couldn't pay him, yet he still provided care. Jacob was almost done with school and I am sure his parents thought that they would work their way out of financial troubles. They certainly didn't expect to die when they did. It was really unfortunate timing, with both the Depression and their unexpected deaths.

As for today, I think most students do work while going to college, at the minimum on breaks and during the summers. However, most do not support themselves, and often, those that do end up with crippling student loan debt. Personally, I would rather see parents try to pay for an undergraduate education for their children so that they can have a running start when they graduate and are not saddled with debt for years.

Back in 1989, I went out with a medical student a few times. I had been out of college a year, was working, and had a 1988 Honda Civic. He commented on how nice my car was. Well, I didn't find it too impressive, but upon discussing his comment further, he revealed that he had $80,000 of debt built up from medical school. Even though he would start earning money in a few months, he would be an intern for several years and would not be able to really pay any of the debt off for years and would be paying it off for years. I found the conversation to be very sobering.
Laura

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vivico1
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Re: Adult Children's means of living


Fozzie wrote:



These are good questions, with no right or wrong answers.



As for today, I think most students do work while going to college, at the minimum on breaks and during the summers. However, most do not support themselves, and often, those that do end up with crippling student loan debt. Personally, I would rather see parents try to pay for an undergraduate education for their children so that they can have a running start when they graduate and are not saddled with debt for years.

Back in 1989, I went out with a medical student a few times. I had been out of college a year, was working, and had a 1988 Honda Civic. He commented on how nice my car was. Well, I didn't find it too impressive, but upon discussing his comment further, he revealed that he had $80,000 of debt built up from medical school. Even though he would start earning money in a few months, he would be an intern for several years and would not be able to really pay any of the debt off for years and would be paying it off for years. I found the conversation to be very sobering.


Thats true Fozzie, but I have seen parents, especially when they have more than one child wanting to go to college, barely getting by and eating up their retirement funds to pay for a kid in college who ONLY works in the summer and thats a maybe. One of the biggest things I think is just flat nuts is paying hundreds of dollars a month for a kid to have a phone! Hey, they can at least pay for a phone themself if they want one. They will live with out a cell phone but they will find a way to get one and pay for it anyway if you don't. Paying for necessities is one thing and teaching that necessities come first, I think, is a darn good educational thing to do. I know you can come out of college in bad debt, but one shouldnt rely on loans only either. And a B.A. wont get you a lot these days, you can do more in less time with a trade school skill than with a B.A. I used to tell my friends when I was getting my B.A. in psych...I have to keep going on for my doctorate, all this really allows me to do is be an understanding waitress LOL! Its true.

What I think in this world of "I want it now and so make it quick", is that if students work while in school, maybe take fewer hours each semester to keep their grades up, (also very important) and if it takes an extra semester or even an extra year to finish, but you have less debt, are used to working, and parents arent drained, then you have your best deal. I know a few families that are literally going broke because they are footing the bill and the kids are then trying to rush it by taking 20+ hours a semester and don't do as well and are then home messing around during the summer anyway. I tried very hard not to take more than 12 hours per semester, thats the minimum to be considered full time for anything including a loan or grant, and went 6 hours in the summer and I was able to work then year around too and graduated in the same 4 years the 20+ people did. And why not go to school and work in the summer, you still have two intercessions, which would be like having two, two week vacations a year like later on in your career. I didn't have parents that could afford to help me out at all but I wanted that education. It worked out ok and I graduated with honors. I think its the beginning of very good work ethics too and learning to be a responsible adult. They want to be adults in every other way and in your 20s you should be. I think, personally anyway, that if you take on college as if it were your job now, not an extension of high school where you got mom and dad paying for your every needs, you will take on life and an "actual" job much better prepared. Don't get me wrong,if parents actually can afford to help their kids out and pay for school, without putting a financial strain on themselves, thats great, just make them buy the extras lol :smileywink:. If you can pay for their tuition, books, housing, food and want to, thats great. But they are needed to learn about other responsibilities too, so let them buy the phone, their clothes, their entertainment so they get some work experience during those years. If they dont work, hey, those are things (with the exception of ALL clothes lol) that they can live without, they may not like it, but they can. I think it wouldnt be long before they had some kind of job to pay for those things tho :smileywink:. So many employers today look at those things too when you do get out of school. And some will wind up helping you pay to further your education, if you stay with them or if your working in the field of your degree too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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fordmg
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Re: Early Chapters



vivico1 wrote:

Peppermill wrote:
Would somebody help me understand the parallels with the Biblical Jacob?

Thanks!


Peppermill, I find it strange that Sara Gruen compares her Jacob and some other characters to the biblical Jacob. I wish she was here to explain. Here is the main part of the question in the back of the book for those who may not have the book anymore: "Sara Gruen has said that the "backbone" of her novel "parallels the biblical story of Jacob"......Jacob lies "back on the bank, resting my head on a flat stone" (page 23). In what other ways does WFE parallel the story of the biblical Jacob? How do the names of many of the characters reflect names of characters in the biblical account?

Beats the heck out of me!! LOLOL. OK, I see where she used basically one line (the above) that is like the verses in Genesis 28:10-11, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep."

OK, so one line. I can think of many other biblical characters that compare with Jacob more. Remember in the biblical story of Jacob, Esau, his twin brother sells him his birthright as the first son and so Jacob gets the blessing of the first son. He later journeys east looking for a wife and tells Laban he will work 7 years for him if he can then marry his daughter Rachel, but because of getting drunk on his wedding day (dont even get me going on Jacob gets what he deserves here, actually, I think he does, lol cause he is a righteous man worthy of the first born's blessings or God would not have granted them even if Esau sold it to him) anyway, Laban tricks him and marries him to Leah and then Jacob has to work another 7 years for him to be able to marry Rachel. He had 12 sons who became the heads of Israel, (the 12 tribes of Israel).

Now, knowing the story of Jacob of the bible, someone else is going to have to show me the parallels, cause I dont see them. I see him more as a Joseph maybe but I don't really get the connections here. Jacob of the bible didn't just walk away, he didnt lose his parents or homeland. I don't see what she means by the parallels in any of the names. I see Uncle Al as being somewhat like Laban, always tricking people into a deal for himself. I see the parallel of those working for the circus, lining up for their pay, only to be told they will get it the next time and so they have to labor longer. I dont see Rachel or Leah as paralleling Marlena. I see one line and a general theme, but thats common in a lot of stories. Forget the other names or people, I don't even see the parallel with Jacob himself! So this is all I know, maybe you guys can figure this one out.Sorry Peppermill.




I am very familiar with the Jacob story from the Bible, and I never thought to make a biblical comparison with this story. It sounds like a stretch to me.
MG
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Sappho
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Re: Adult Children's means of living

What if Every Child reaches a mid life crisis between the ages of say 15 to twenty-two? At a particular moment that human being makes a conscious, or perhaps semi-conscious drastic decision which becomes the first real choice as to a desired life direction, however vaguely this might be articulated, or realized as truly a giant step made all by oneself.

What is great about Sara Gruen as a writer is that she carefully delineates for us this very vagueness of extreme youth by letting us stumble along with Jacob as he actually encounters his own (up until "now) haziness: in the hospital basement where he first realizes the death of his parents ..."I can't process this....'Are you ready? asks the coroner, moving between them. I swallow and nod." and then, of course he is not ready. And then, facing his exams:..."There are diagrams, numbers, lines and charts- strings of words with terminal punctuation at the end- some are periods,some question marks, and none of it makes sense.I wonder if it is even English. I try it in Polish, but that doesn't work either. It might as well be hieroglyphics." For Jacob, life as he understood it has no meaning whatever. And then, when he hears the train, and it rolls toward him and rushes by, "I snap out of my stupor. There are people on that train. It matters not a whit where it's going because wherever it is...(for him) there is no home to return to, no practice to join." Jacob, has reached the coming of age; There is no past, and the imagined future is an illusion.
Nothing lies before, nothing behind.

And only now can Jacob, or any child-youth reach out and take his first step, alone.

Sincerely, Colleen (introduced myself as "Sappho")
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Wrighty
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Re: Adult Children's means of living


vivico1 wrote:
Thats true Fozzie, but I have seen parents, especially when they have more than one child wanting to go to college, barely getting by and eating up their retirement funds to pay for a kid in college who ONLY works in the summer and thats a maybe.


It took me 12 years to pay back my student loans. I hope my kids will be able to pay theirs off quicker. We have our first child in college this year and next year we will have two. We are learning by trial and error but it's not easy. My parents helped us out where they could and we all worked summers and during school. My kids will have to do the same because there just isn't enough money to cover everything. My freshman has learned to eat lots of soup and cereal, knows where the Dollar Store is and knows who gives student discounts. There are so many variables involved in the cost, some states offer very cheap or free tuition to college (not mine), amounts of awards and scholarships earned, different maximum amts. for loans, huge differences in tuition (my friend pays $24,000./yr. for flight school for her son) and all of the extras that come along (my kid is playing a sport and we have to pay for the clothing for it, a spring trip, equipment - it's worse than high school!). It's hard not to go to school and it's hard to go. And all parents want their kids to do well and be successful and happy with their choices. My kids have to be because I've already told them they will be supporting us, and it's going to be sooner than they think! :smileywink:
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cindersue
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Re: Adult Children's means of living



Wrighty wrote:

vivico1 wrote:
Thats true Fozzie, but I have seen parents, especially when they have more than one child wanting to go to college, barely getting by and eating up their retirement funds to pay for a kid in college who ONLY works in the summer and thats a maybe.


It took me 12 years to pay back my student loans. I hope my kids will be able to pay theirs off quicker. We have our first child in college this year and next year we will have two. We are learning by trial and error but it's not easy. My parents helped us out where they could and we all worked summers and during school. My kids will have to do the same because there just isn't enough money to cover everything. My freshman has learned to eat lots of soup and cereal, knows where the Dollar Store is and knows who gives student discounts. There are so many variables involved in the cost, some states offer very cheap or free tuition to college (not mine), amounts of awards and scholarships earned, different maximum amts. for loans, huge differences in tuition (my friend pays $24,000./yr. for flight school for her son) and all of the extras that come along (my kid is playing a sport and we have to pay for the clothing for it, a spring trip, equipment - it's worse than high school!). It's hard not to go to school and it's hard to go. And all parents want their kids to do well and be successful and happy with their choices. My kids have to be because I've already told them they will be supporting us, and it's going to be sooner than they think! :smileywink:





The greatest gift my parents could give me was my education. I feel the same way towards my kids. :smileywink:
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Wrighty
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Re: Adult Children's means of living


cindersue wrote:
The greatest gift my parents could give me was my education. I feel the same way towards my kids. :smileywink:



That is a great gift and I know my parents would have done it for me if they could have. I definitely would do it for my kids too if I had it. There are plenty of ways the kids can contribute but it would be such a great way to start out if you didn't have all of those loans hanging over your head. I know my kids will manage just like we did but I wish it was different. I'm still waiting for my big lottery winnings so that could change any day now! :smileytongue:
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Sappho
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Re: Catherine vs Marlena

Hi,
Yeah funnier than heck, those grand t---ies. "Good Lawd!" If you're a girl, you can't imagine the lure.
If you are a guy, and can, you are a generality we hoped didn't exist! I for one, am so happy we can all talk about the very real differences between men/boys and women/girls, in an agreeable manner-(neither derogatory nor defensive.) Authors who manage this, without pressing their own issues help us laugh at our selves, and see both sides of the coin.
I believe we need that sense of humor in the world, more than ever. Not taking ourselves so very seriously, while not demeaning the rest of the human race either. No fair, going backwards...

Anyway, back to the point, a very telling one, as to Jacob's sudden switch from infatuation for Catherine, to the Vision? of Marlena... Well, that's an old one.(in life, and in Lit) Remember how Romeo goes from whining to his friends over losing the love of his life-they suggest a party to cheer him up- to beholding Juliet, and suddenly, she is the only one he can see...(not to quote or anything, I remember the main idea!)

I loved the way Jacob is struck by Marlena. What is she going to mean, in the coming story?
And I love the way that Catherine is forgotten totally. She didn't deserve him, anyway!

Sincerely, Colleen
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