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Rachel-K
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Middle Chapters

Please use this space to discuss the novel from chapter ten through chapter 17.
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IBIS
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Re: Middle Chapters

[ Edited ]
The middle chapters showed the polar opposites that the circus represents. Here are large numbers of people, both performers and roustabouts, traveling together and sharing so much time together.

Their performances range from the most breath-takingly beautiful to sleazy and dehumanizing acts... on one hand, the beautiful equestrian acts with the lovely Marlena. It's breath-taking, especially with 12 horses that are snow-white (and some solid black) horses. The marvelous trapeze artists with split-second acrobatics.

On the other hand, you have the acts that can easily be called sleazy and freaky... the sideshows with the fat lady, the bearded lady, the man with his brother growing out of his stomach, and so on.

Whenever you force such a disparate group of people to live within close quarters, you're bound to see extremes of human behavior.... patches who are vicious peace-keepers, the redlighting of the sick and elderly who are thrown off the trains at nighttime, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, sometimes to their deaths...

Then you have amazing acts of kindness...like Camel risking his own security by trying to get Jacob a job with the circus. Or Kinko (Walter to his friends) who loves Queenie his dog... he helps to hide the dying Camel in their sleeping space, and takes care of Jacob after August stabs him.

All this tension and drama within the confines of a moving train circus!

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-02-2007 03:45 PM

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-02-2007 03:46 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
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Re: Middle Chapters



IBIS wrote:
The middle chapters showed the polar opposites that the circus represents. Here are large numbers of people, both performers and roustabouts, traveling together and sharing so much time together.

Their performances range from the most breath-takingly beautiful to sleazy and dehumanizing acts... on one hand, the beautiful equestrian acts with the lovely Marlena. It's breath-taking, especially with 12 horses that are snow-white (and some solid black) horses. The marvelous trapeze artists with split-second acrobatics.

On the other hand, you have the acts that can easily be called sleazy and freaky... the sideshows with the fat lady, the bearded lady, the man with his brother growing out of his stomach, and so on.

Whenever you force such a disparate group of people to live within close quarters, you're bound to see extremes of human behavior.... patches who are vicious peace-keepers, the redlighting of the sick and elderly who are thrown off the trains at nighttime, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, sometimes to their deaths...

Then you have amazing acts of kindness...like Camel risking his own security by trying to get Jacob a job with the circus. Or Kinko (Walter to his friends) who loves Queenie his dog... he helps to hide the dying Camel in their sleeping space, and takes care of Jacob after August stabs him.

All this tension and drama within the confines of a moving train circus!

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-02-2007 03:45 PM

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-02-2007 03:46 PM





You are right, IBIS; it is great drama throughout the train ride. Whenever I ride a train I might think about this circus train and what is going on in all those cars. And to visit a circus again after many years. This book opened up mounds of thoughts about the train and the circus.
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vivico1
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Re: Middle Chapters/ food and nutrition/ and money

Hey guys, I got a question. This falls about page 110 or so, so I will put it here. As Jacob talks about the hard things about being old and especially in a nursing home, he talks about the food. How bland everything is and how it looks bad and has no texture and we know or have seen what he is talking about. When Rosemary brought him some actual real fruit and he couldnt help but cry, that got to me.

I was wondering tho, I think a lot of nursing homes are like this and as he says, they are specialized diets which means bland food. Considering the comfort we feel in foods, and considering how important it is to keep the elderly interested in eating, do you think we do enough to make the foods for them more palatable, more enjoyable? Is it really about just a specialized diet, or would doing the work to make the food better, just boil down to..we dont want to spend the extra money? I just don't buy into the notion that good healthy foods with special needs like for diabetes and things, has to be bland and mushy. Think about the billion dollar industry out there to make "diet" foods more palatable for the younger Americans to lose weight and spend money on the books and DVDs and programs and foods for these diets. There are some great recipes out there tho for dieting with real flavor to keep you going on it, that dont cost an arm and a leg. So why can't we do this for our elderly? Jacob doesnt feel its right to be stuck with food he just eats to sustain himself, good grief, to think a man who has reached his age and wants to be involved in the world, is reduced to tantrums in the cafeteria, or crying over some fruit! And don't you think maybe Sara talks about this through Jacob enough to show even another way we dehumanize our old,or discharge what their desires are just because they are old?

I know there are some of you with older folks in nursing homes, how about their food where they are? Is it getting any better out there? The last time I was visiting someone in a nursing home at lunch, it was just what Jacob described. Billions of dollars for tasty specialized foods for the younger "buyers" in our society. Is it just money.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Middle Chapters/ food and nutrition/ and money



vivico1 wrote:
Hey guys, I got a question. This falls about page 110 or so, so I will put it here. As Jacob talks about the hard things about being old and especially in a nursing home, he talks about the food. How bland everything is and how it looks bad and has no texture and we know or have seen what he is talking about. When Rosemary brought him some actual real fruit and he couldnt help but cry, that got to me.

I was wondering tho, I think a lot of nursing homes are like this and as he says, they are specialized diets which means bland food. Considering the comfort we feel in foods, and considering how important it is to keep the elderly interested in eating, do you think we do enough to make the foods for them more palatable, more enjoyable? Is it really about just a specialized diet, or would doing the work to make the food better, just boil down to..we dont want to spend the extra money? I just don't buy into the notion that good healthy foods with special needs like for diabetes and things, has to be bland and mushy. Think about the billion dollar industry out there to make "diet" foods more palatable for the younger Americans to lose weight and spend money on the books and DVDs and programs and foods for these diets. There are some great recipes out there tho for dieting with real flavor to keep you going on it, that dont cost an arm and a leg. So why can't we do this for our elderly? Jacob doesnt feel its right to be stuck with food he just eats to sustain himself, good grief, to think a man who has reached his age and wants to be involved in the world, is reduced to tantrums in the cafeteria, or crying over some fruit! And don't you think maybe Sara talks about this through Jacob enough to show even another way we dehumanize our old,or discharge what their desires are just because they are old?

I know there are some of you with older folks in nursing homes, how about their food where they are? Is it getting any better out there? The last time I was visiting someone in a nursing home at lunch, it was just what Jacob described. Billions of dollars for tasty specialized foods for the younger "buyers" in our society. Is it just money.




Viv, it could be about ability. Some people have swallowing problems even though I do not think Jacob had any. My aunt is in a nursing home and gets a regular diet and she gets food just like we eat and I mean good food. Beef, steak, pork chops and such. She even gets desserts and she is diabetic. I think the food part of nursing homes have changed, alot of them that is. The major problem I see with nursing homes is the staff availability. Homes owned by big business never have enought staff, that is hands on , on night shifts especially. How can we give big business the right to make a profit on our precious relatives's lives. The non profit nursing homes are 100% better. If only there was more to encourage them to open more homes. We have two that are run by the hospital symstoms. And they are really different from the profit making ones. And of course they have a waiting list.
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Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Middle Chapters/ food and nutrition/ and money


vivico1 wrote:
Considering the comfort we feel in foods, and considering how important it is to keep the elderly interested in eating, do you think we do enough to make the foods for them more palatable, more enjoyable?


I have a friend who is a dietitian in one of our two nursing homes. I know she does a fantastic job and she provides the same menus that she uses at her home for her family. She takes it very seriously. It's a small facility so I don't know if that makes it easier or harder to provide a good diet. I'm sure it also depends on how well the facility is run. There are good and bad places just like with everything.
Another service that we have that provides good meals to the elderly and shut-ins is "Meal on Wheels". Probably most communities have some variation of this. Good, nutritious meals are available weekdays for a small fee and they are delivered by volunteers. My grandmother and aunt often gets these meals and they eat so much better because of them. They also enjoy the company when the volunteers visit with them for a bit. It's a good program.
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