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Topic: *February RAL Discussion: Chapters 30-35*

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Subject: *February RAL Discussion: Chapters 30-35*
Date Posted: 1/27/2013 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Discuss!

OBVIOUS WARNING:  Since these are discussion threads, you can be certain there will be spoilers galore.  Your best bet is to stay away from a discussion thread until you've read the chapters it pertains to!  

Date Posted: 1/29/2013 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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How sad is the life of Martha. And how appalling, by today's standards, was the way we dealt with mental illness. I get frustrated with the lack of knowledge and understanding today, but only about 150 years ago, they treated mental illness with cold baths, isolation and other tortuous means.
Date Posted: 1/30/2013 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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Genie, I agree completely. We still - even in "modern" times aren't doing right by people with mental illness. We fear what we don't understand ... and I guess that's as true an axiom with mental illnesses as anything else.  ~Kelly

 

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Miss Martha is a tragic figure indeed.  Was it some mental illness that was in her from the start?  Was it the isolation of plantation life, the absence of her husband and her difficulty in keeping children alive that just wore her down?  Was it the drug addiction?  Probably a combination of all of them.  I was happy to see her rally for awhile.  Getting off the drugs definitely buoyed her.  When she stood up to Rankin, I cheered for her, and I liked the way she took Lavinia under her wing and began her education.  Then, of course, more tragedy, she's back on the drugs, and sliding back down.  I think removing her from the plantation and sticking her in the hopsital just sealed her fate. 

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I'm thinking it was a combination of everything.  It's amazing to me how opiates were given/prescribed/abused as a matter of course in daily life.  then again, now that I think about it a little more, not that surprising really...

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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 It's amazing to me how opiates were given/prescribed/abused as a matter of course in daily life. then again, now that I think about it a little more, not that surprising really...

Exactly.  All that has changed is the preferred medications.

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 6:14 PM ET
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>>All that has changed is the preferred medications.<< And the ease with which one can get them, and for little money. Of course, once the desire becomes an addiction, and the dependency requires more drugs, more often, then the money is no small potatoes. ... Opium addiction has been an ever-growing problem in society.
Date Posted: 2/7/2013 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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I've got a couple of discussion questions here -

What do you suppose happened to Mr. Boran after his disgusting behavior and the breaking of the engagement to Lavinia?  Found dead in the woods not far from a house of ill repute?  He appeared to have been drunk and fallen off his horse and hit his head on a rock.  He wasn't known to be a drinker so why was he drunk?  Did he take to the bottle out of shame and embarrassment after assaulting Lavinia?  Was he perhaps a closet drinker all along?  It's not surprising he had possibly been visiting a brothel - witness his lecherous ways with Lavinia.  Do you think, though, that possibly there was some foul play?  Perhaps involving Marshall?  I think the author makes some innuendo, and then Marshall is dismissive of the subject when Lavinia brings it up.  What do you think?

Second, why did Marshall want to marry Lavinia?  We know that she had developed somewhat of a crush on him, and I don't think that other than glimpses she ever saw the very dark side to his nature, and he had always been kind to her.  Plus he was her ticket to going back to Tall Oaks and being reunited with her family.  It's easy to understand given all of that and her naiveté why she married him.  But why did he choose her?  He probably did feel some tenderness to Lavinia, and maybe he was just too lazy to try to find another woman.  He obviously had a problem with intimacy (not surprising due to the abuse at the hands of his tutor), so it probably would've been difficult for him to court a woman.  It was easy to pull the wool over Lavinia's eyes.  However, another woman may have been a better choice for him.  At least for his darker side.  A rich, snooty girl from a slave-holding family may have shared his viewpoint on slaves, their proper place and their treatment.  Marshall knew Lavinia loved her family of slaves on the plantation.  Did he really think she would come around to his way of thinking?  Or did he just assume that she would always defer to him? 



Last Edited on: 2/8/13 10:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/7/2013 10:17 AM ET
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>>What do you suppose happen to Mr. Boran after his disgusting behavior and the breaking of the engagement to Lavinia? << I think Marshall killed him. I thought that immediately b/c the author makes it clear that Boran didn't frequent those establishments.
Date Posted: 2/7/2013 10:21 AM ET
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>> why did Marshall want to marry Lavinia?<< Good and difficult question. Marshall wasn't capable of feeling love at this point in the story, but he was very capable of self-delusion. I think he envisioned himself as lord/landowner and for this role he needed a wife. Lavinia's sweet nature suited him and he knew she could be easily cowed and controlled. Can you tell I didn't like this guy? LOL.
Date Posted: 2/7/2013 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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Wow I totally missed that about Marshall killing Boran.  I guess I thought he (Boran) was leading a secret decadent life and a pimp at the brothel did him in or something like that.  Marshall makes much more sense.

Date Posted: 2/7/2013 11:28 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 9/29/13 9:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2013 10:37 AM ET
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REK - You know, sometimes you just have to wonder at the amount of prescriptions the elderly take.  My grandma died in December.  She was just three days past her 97 birthday.  For the past several years, her health had been failing, but her mind was still sharp as ever.  She was on so many different meds, it was ridiculous!  Pills for this, pills for that, pills for the side effects that the other pills gave.  My god!  Right after Thanksgiving she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and put in the hospital.  Not long after she had a mini stroke.  The doctors said it was just a matter of time - their guess was probably just days.  She was moved back to her home and had hospice.   They took her off ALL of her medication.  The woman hung in there for 2 weeks!  She actually improved for a short while, and we thought the little gal would maybe rebound.  Crazy.  Part of me wonders if the removing of all the drugs from her systems helped her rally a bit.  Pills, pills, pills.  They seem to be the answer for everything!

Date Posted: 2/8/2013 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Why did Marshall marry Lavinia?  Good question.  I think because after his father’s death, he looked forward to his inheritance at Tall Oaks, and envisioned recreating the life he thought his parents had there, except now he’s in control.  He’ll replace his father, and Lavinia is easy for him to plug in as his Miss Martha.  She’s so pleasant and accommodating about everything, he doesn’t think she’ll surprise him in any way.   Marshall wasn’t very introspective, nor did he probably think much about what Lavinia thought or felt.  He’s not really capable of that.