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Topic: Roots Read-Along - Part 1 Discussion

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Subject: Roots Read-Along - Part 1 Discussion
Date Posted: 8/17/2007 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Part 1 covers chapters 1 through 33. (Approximately 150 pages.) Please post your thoughts/opinions in this thread once you've finished this section!

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
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I have been anxious to discuss this and I'm not even sure where to start!!  I was soooo fascinated with the descriptions of how the village society ran.  I also found the explanation of "what a slave is" to be interesting as well.  Definitely setting up for contrast later, I'm sure.  Oh, and I love how when they name a child, the child is the first one to hear its name. 

Someone jump in!!

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2006
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I found it interesting how much the author emphasizes the importance of tradition, pride, and protocol in the Mandinka society.  There seems to be a specific way to behave for each situation in the village life, which must have made it incredibly hard for them after being stolen and forced into lives where it would be impossible to follow these traditions and protocol. 

I'll be back to say more later!

Date Posted: 8/21/2007 6:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Oh I forgot! I'll get reading and then come discuss it.

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 6:52 AM ET
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I loved the nameing too. It does seem fitting that a child should be the first to know its name. I loved the relationship between Kunta and his father. At first it seems all the men are very cold but then through small actions I could see that they simply act differently than we as a society would act. When the nanny goat was killed and the poor kid was so worried that his father would punish him I felt so bad for him and then very relieved along with him that his father was understanding.

The culture surrounding marriage is a little Greek to me. Literally like Greek culture men around the age of 25-30 marrying girls of around 15 but what suprised me was the "friendships" a young man could have with a widow. I guess that needing permission for it was suprising to me.

The descriptions of the culture as a whole were fascinating. How the ages of children defined them into groups and they couldnt step outside of those groups. The treatment of women was a bit annoying to me at first being a woman but then I realized that it too was a cultural difference.

I couldnt help but think the moment he was alone in the mangroves that this was it. This was when he was going to be captured because this was when he was vulnerable and alone and he had been warned about it. I was rewarded with being sadly correct. I cant wait to see what happens next.

edited for spelling errors.



Last Edited on: 8/22/07 6:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2007 8:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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BTW does anyone have a pronunciation guide or know where one is. Some of the African words are a bit hard for me.

Date Posted: 8/23/2007 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
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Sure wish I had one! I'm really stumbling on some of these words!

There's not much response so far. Does anyone need more time to read? I know I've been behind and only gotten to about page 50. I could delay the start of the Part 2 discussion. I'd hate to see some folks quit because they fell behind at part 1.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 3:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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Well - I didn't think I was going to be able to participate in this discussion, but after reading the comments tonight, I picked up my book and here I am.   I've only read the first chapter - 13 pages - and already remember why I liked this book the first time I read it.

Some thoughts - and keep in mind that I'm probably at least a generation older than most of YOU.  lol

What struck me in the first chapter is the similairties between then and when my mother was a young women, and somewhat when I was a young woman.  The feeding of the breakfast brought this home especially.  The men were fed, then the children, then the women ate.  In my parents home it wasn't quite that distinct, but the men sure came first, the children second and the woman last.  I think this stayed about the same until women came out of the kitchen and went into the world. 

A male child was considered a blessing to his parents and to the families of his parents.  Is that so today??  Are men still 'overly' proud of their sons vs their daughters?  I see this at times, do you?  Do you see the man who shows such pride in the sons athletic acheivements?? Are they proud in the same way in their daughters maybe musical acheivements? 

Other things that are the same or very much so today: Porriage for breakfast - seems like whatever the society, there is hot cereal of some kind to start the day.   God - for those who believe - We still say like they did then "GOD IS Great" - one of the first prayers taught children still today - God is great, God is good, let us thank him. . . .

The reciting of the names of the forefathers.  When a child is given a family name we still follow back in history and remember Uncle John, and Great- grandfather John and oh yes, John who came over from England.   And we relate what they did and if they were honorable or not.  

Family life didn't seem as different back then as it did the same.          Is that because of MY particular family? 

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 6:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I think so Cozi, maybe because of time and cultural differences you and I would see the world differently. I was raised to be independant and think for myself and take care of myself not to take care of other people before myself. I also see that as the way most of the women in my age group would have been raised. Women are no longer raised to be mothers and wives we are raised to be our own person. Men also are raised differently they are more and more taught to be fully independent and to take care of themselves and not need a woman to keep their house and bear their children. Shoot my brother is a better cook than I will ever be and he knows how to clean his stove.

I think thats why the society in the book seemed so foreign to me. Well other than it is foreign. Its so different than how I was raised. I do see a similarity between their culture and the culture of early American TV shows. For example Lucy and Desi slept in seperate beds. The men and women in the book had seperate huts. June Cleaver was a wife and mom first. I dont think her personality on TV was anything more than some guys wife and some kids mom.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2006
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I'm not able to read along, but I have read this before and I will be reading your discussions and when it peaks my memory, I'll comment on things as well. This is a great book and I truly loved it. I do like the descriptions of the families and the tribal traditions. Families are very important role in the upbringing of children and I think this is what society is missing today.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 14
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Well, I'm still waiting on my book to arrive (sat waiting for the PBS member for five days . . . don't they know I need to be reading this??  LOL) 

So, anyway, I will catch up when it arrives.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I've had enough  people say that they're behind in reading that I'm going to hold off on starting Part 2 until next Wednesday (the 29th). I think that will allow for a bit more discussion before the next part. (But don't hesitate to continue reading if you want!)

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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WoW now  I wish I was joining all of you in reading Roots.I have to go out later.I may see if I can get a copy.There is one copy in the system.I think I will be too far behind if I wait for that copy.

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
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I waiting for a copy to come too.I hope I am not too far behind when it comes.

Date Posted: 8/26/2007 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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So... I'm at about page 60 right now. Is it just me or is Haley's writing style totally dry dry dry? Really interesting material, but right now even at page 60, I'm really not feeling much of anything for Kunta Kinte. He just got his clothes and they just finished the harvest festival, and I'm wondering why I should care about this kid. (Well, it's not that bad, but I thought I'd really care more about him.... does that make sense?)

The traditions and other parts are very interesting, especially in light of my having recently finished Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. There are many similaries between her recounting of her Muslim family in Africa today and the tribes in Africa in Roots. I just wish it was a little less historical and a bit more lyrical. When I read it, I keep hearing James Earl Jones in his best narrator voice, nobly reciting the tribal history. What I'd prefer is something with more prose that will make these characters more heartfelt for me.

I wonder if my feelings will change in the next section?

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 12:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I didnt get that at all from the book but Im gonna hear JEJ narrating when I pick the book up again ;P

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
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Sorry, Chris. At least it's a good voice, and not SpongeBob! :)

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
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I like SpongeBob lol:)

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2006
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Don't worry.  I definitely began to feel more for Kunta after he goes through manhood training and tries to prove himself as an adult among his family and village.  

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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My book should be here tomorrow.I cannot wait to start reading

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I should add that I like SpongeBob, too! But somehow, "Roots Narrator" doesn't sound like a good job description for him! LOL!

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
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So, I got up to page 100 and I just can't get into this book. It's not holding my attention no matter how hard I try. I hope everyone has a great discussion, but I'm not interested enough to keep with it :(

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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My book is here.Now I hope I can catch up.Of to start reading.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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I am almost finished with Part 1.  I only have 3 chapters left. I am really enjoying this book.I will be back to post my thoughts when I have finished Part one.

 

How is everyone else enjoying  the book?



Last Edited on: 8/29/07 1:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/29/2007 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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It's starting to pick up a bit for me, though I'm still finding the style a bit dry. I'm at the section where Kunta is starting to watch over and care for his younger brother, and I'm seeing a lot of what my daughter is doing for her younger brother (though both of them are younger).

I'm going to start the thread for Part 2 right now. Please continue to discuss section 1 here if you haven't read part 2 yet.

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