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Topic: Discussion of Five Quarters of the Orange

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Subject: Discussion of Five Quarters of the Orange
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 7:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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K lets get started on this discussion. Question of the day numero uno is Framboise's mother loved all fruit -- except for oranges, which gave her migraines. Young Framboise exploited this to her advantage. Discuss Framboise's motivations. Was she cruel, or just acting on the impulses that often drive adolescents to commit cruel acts?

I think it was just a childish naivete that everything would be ok and it would just make their mother leave them be for a while. I remember when I was a kid the knowledge that I could freak my mom out was the coolest thing ever so I'd bring her fake snakes or make rattle noises. It really scared her to an extreme degree but I didn't think it would hurt her. I think this is sort of the same thing. I'm not quite done with the book though so we'll see if I change my mind once I am. I have about seventy pages left to read.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 5:23 PM ET
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I didn't read it so I'll be bowing out of this one. I'm gonna still read your answers though :)

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 6:03 PM ET
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I think at first it was retaliation.  Framboise discovered a way to make her mother pay for her lack of attention to Framboise and her obvious favoritism of the other two children.  She was acting on impulse, not just to be cruel, but to get satisfaction from her mother’s suffering.   Later, I think it became a method where Framboise had control, a way to get the upper hand in the constant battle with her mother so she could do as she pleased.  Up to that point she was just defiant, in every way she could think of, doing everything she could opposite to the way her mother wanted it done.  Using the orange was a better way to gain that control rather than the use of defiance.
 

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
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The set up of how the daughter felt...the brother and sister were favorites, set the tone.

I'll be honest, I haven't finished it, and I probably won't  But I'll be checking back here.  Maybe I'll figure out why I couldn't get into it.   I have the Historian, though at 600 pages I'm pretty sure I won't finish it.  I'm a slow reader.  ;^(

 

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 9:13 AM ET
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I haven't finished it either, still waiting for the shocker tragedy that sends Framboise away.  One thing I am finding difficult is that a nine-year-old would have such adult thought and insight.

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 1:11 PM ET
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I totally agree Carole I keep imagining her as at least a teen because it is too unbelievable that a 9 year old would be so conniving.
Date Posted: 5/2/2012 3:34 PM ET
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K, I finished it. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. I expected the ending to make the whole story make sense but it didn't really. It still had a bunch of unfilled holes. I think I would have enjoyed it more without the French and the dialect. I dislike dialect as much as I dislike the peppering of foreign words without translation. It distracts me and makes it harder to get into the story.
Date Posted: 5/2/2012 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
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I finished it last week. The beginning was hard for me. The end pulled it together. It wasn't a book I would pick out, but I'm trying new books.

Was Framboise cruel?

No, I think she just needed to have some control, respect, and appreciation in her life and felt this was her chance. The fact that she was the first to help her mother in the end attests to that fact.

Date Posted: 5/5/2012 6:37 PM ET
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How did you feel about the children's involvement with Tomas? Were they morally deficient? Do you think that the author judged the children's actions anywhere in the narrative? Discuss how the presence -- or lack -- of judgement affected the tone of the novel.

I don't think that they were morally deficient, well maybe Cassis was to a degree because he realised what was going on and kept doing it. I think it was just childhood naivete and a belief that everything will always turn out okay.

Date Posted: 5/5/2012 8:49 PM ET
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The children were just children, selfish and looking to amuse themselves.  Poor choices are a central theme throughout this book.  Since it is told from the adult point of view of one of the children, she did seem to realize that their actions were foolhardy, with tragic outcomes.  Secrets of the children, leading to lies and the ultimate act of sacrifice by her mother, as she believed herself to be guilty of a crime she didn’t commit.  Tomas death was an accident.  Yet by staging it as a murder, they were caught in a situation none could escape.

Date Posted: 5/6/2012 10:09 AM ET
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Ok here is my own question, was the relationship between Framboise and Tomas meant to be inappropriate at the time, or was she meant to be romanticizing him in adulthood and adding the quasi sexual tone to it in her memory? That is one of the biggest reasons this book was wonky feeling to me, I suppose with a little literary license a nine year old could be that cunning, but would she really be that mature about a relationship with a grown man?

Date Posted: 5/6/2012 11:37 AM ET
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Good question, Chris.  I think she was actually remembering what she was feeling at the time.  Remember that she started menstruating in the book, way too early.  If we assume a precocious puberty (an abnormally early sexual maturation), maybe she could have had some of those feelings.  But for me it was just too unreal, it would have been much more believable had she been 14-15 years old.  And there didn't seem to be a good reason for her not to be.  No, I just cannot buy that she had those kind of feelings for a grown man.

Date Posted: 5/6/2012 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
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I have been gone for awhile......moving my kids on and off campuses, then last night my daughter hit a deer.    She is fine but you know how this sort of stuff drains a person.

Date Posted: 5/8/2012 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Thought I'd post the next question since Chris gave them to us while we were reading. 

3. How is the title, Five Quarters of the Orange, manifested in the structure of the novel?

I do not have a clue what this relates to.  I went back and looked again for five (what... something, scenes, periods, times?)  in the novel, but nothing stood out.

I think the title refers to the cutting of the orange into five pieces, which allows Framboise to begin the manipulation of her mother, unwittingly bringing in the other three children into her web of deceit.  Five people, each a part of the whole tragedy that starts with an orange.

 

Date Posted: 5/8/2012 11:51 PM ET
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The structural element is found in the five sections of the book. They each have a theme beginning with "The Inheritance" and ending with "The Harvest" and each part of the book sets up a new element of the story. The Inheritance sets up what the children, especially Boise, got from their mother, not just possesions but physical and personality traits as well. The Harvest is the reaping of what they had sown in the proverbial meaning, in other words the outcome of their actions.

Date Posted: 5/9/2012 8:23 AM ET
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Good observation!!  I totally missed that.

Date Posted: 5/9/2012 2:32 PM ET
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3. How is the title, Five Quarters of the Orange, manifested in the structure of the novel? 

Hmmm....  Nothing occurred to me here. I guess I wasn't paying attention. Good job on that answer Chris.

 

.....moving my kids on and off campuses, then last night my daughter hit a deer. 

Last night a deer hit ME! OK, so I cut in front of him. I HAD the right of way! And did he have the decency to say he was sorry...No.

 



Last Edited on: 5/9/12 2:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2012 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Hope you guys have the right insurance coverage. We hit one once and wound up paying for it ourselves because we didn't have the right coverage.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 5/9/2012 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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Those darn wild animals, always getting in the way. They act like the own the place!

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 2:57 PM ET
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What do you think Old Mother symbolized? When Framboise finally caught Old Mother, what did she lose?

I think Old Mother was her childhood and when she caught it it was gone. At first I was going to say innocence but she was never really innocent through most of the story.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 5:20 PM ET
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Good answer, Chris.  I think you are right.

Certainly catching the big fish led to the death of Tomas, so she lost that.  She did get her wish, for Tomas to stay with her, but not the way she wanted it.  The book alludes to the capture of Old Mother as the realization of dreams, the granting of wishes, but that didn’t happen.   I still cannot believe that a nine-year-old would have the thoughts of running away with a grown man.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 9:09 PM ET
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Yeah the disconnect of being so mature at such a young age but being that naive as well just threw me completely off and made it hard to get into the book.

Date Posted: 5/15/2012 5:46 PM ET
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Back to hitting deer.....I've hit two, my husband has hit one, my daughter has now hit one, and that just leaves my son.  We live in a suburb of St. Paul, about a mile from a major shopping area, so it's not like we are in the middle of a forest.    I think it means the vegetables that the deer are eating out of gardens are quite adequate to keep the herd healthy.   I once saw 13 deer cross the street here.     We've all been extremely lucky that we didn't get hurt. 

Date Posted: 5/15/2012 8:37 PM ET
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Why do you think Framboise returned to Les Laveuses? Was there a part of her that wanted the truth revealed?

I think that is part of it but I think it was also her old defiance coming back up. Also she was trying to get closer to the old memories.

Dang Deb, I live in a pretty suburban place but I tend to drive in the middle of no where pretty often and I haven't encountered nearly that many deer at once.

Date Posted: 5/16/2012 6:25 PM ET
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Hey, where is everyone?  Looks like Chris and I are the only ones posting to the questions.

Why do you think Framboise returned to Les Laveuses? Was there a part of her that wanted the truth revealed?  I think Framboise wanted a do-over.  She wanted to live in the home of her childhood and this time have it be a happy time.   I don't think she really wanted the truth to be revealed, it was too terrifying to her when the possibility came up.

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