Chocolat Question #1 ~ Theme and Message

by Joanne Harris

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 30, 2006 10:10 am

Wow! You guys are on a roll. Great answers so far! :cool: I think that the major theme is tolerance, like most of you, but to take it a little further and try to open your mind to different ways of looking at life or how to live one's life.

And welcome to all of our new discussion participants. I'm glad to see you here, Brasco's Baby, H2H, es & shayemimi. Welcome back, Betty Sue.
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Unread postby KYwoman » Tue May 30, 2006 10:20 am

Good start! I think most of the main themes have been touched upon so far and I agree that tolerance, acceptance, individuality, forgiveness are central.

I'll add the old notion of judge not, lest though be judged (people who live in glass houses thing). Also, that change should not always be feared and status quo isn't always best.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 30, 2006 10:24 am

Good morning, KY! Nice summation of the ideas so far. I would definitely add change to the list. :cool:
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Unread postby San » Tue May 30, 2006 10:28 am

I think one of the themes is that people who are different to you are not bad. Don't judge people too easy because of being different than you. Tolerance is something that comes to my mind also as a theme.
Religion is also something in the theme, but I can't find the right words for what I mean, maybe I come back later if I think of a way to say it.

I have not read the other answers so probably everything is said already.

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Unread postby H2H » Tue May 30, 2006 10:35 am

San wrote:I think one of the themes is that people who are different to you are not bad. Don't judge people too easy because of being different than you. Tolerance is something that comes to my mind also as a theme.
Religion is also something in the theme, but I can't find the right words for what I mean, maybe I come back later if I think of a way to say it.

I have not read the other answers so probably everything is said already.


There is a lot about religion as well. I think part of it and I don't know if this is jumping ahead...but there seems to be a lot about the "Christian way of living" when in fact...the priest was terribly intolerant which is not what my impression of true Chirstianity is supposed to be. Or any religion for that matter.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 30, 2006 10:38 am

San, I think that religious tolerance is also a big theme. It appears this town thinks that it is a Catholic town only. I think many small towns are like that. I even see it in my own town—but the focus there is on education, not religion.
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Unread postby es » Tue May 30, 2006 11:32 am

Liz wrote:San, I think that religious tolerance is also a big theme. It appears this town thinks that it is a Catholic town only. I think many small towns are like that. I even see it in my own town—but the focus there is on education, not religion.


I think even in the religions itself (I hope I dont defend someone by saying this) in most churches I hear that this believe is the only right one.
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Unread postby lizbet » Tue May 30, 2006 12:34 pm

morning all! there's something delightful about starting in on something - anything - new! :disco: it just so happens that not only am I starting in on this discussion which I have so looked forward to but after eight years of making do in my little studio apt. I've finally had tradesmen in to freshen things up and give things a facelift! Today I've got help and am starting to put things back where they belong! also we're having a heatwave here in southern ontario - it was 34 C yesterday :-O BEFORE the humidex and its supposed to be the same today - we lost power for 45 minutes last yesterday afternoon due to everyone using too much electricity trying to keep cool :-?

so - I'm just poking my head in to give my two cents worth and will have to come back later to see what the rest of you are thinking :cool:

''ALL OF US CHANGING. SPEEDING UP. LIKE AN OLD CLOCK BEING WOUND UP AFTER YEARS OF TELLING THE SAME TIME."

the book for me is about 'change' - in only seven weeks the seven weeks of Lent - seven main characters (Vianne, Anouk, Armande, her grandson, Guillaume, Josephine & Roux) all find their lives changing while three others (Reynaud, Muscat & Caroline) resist change and even leave their village & positions in it because of change in others - not sure wheither to say anything about the 'nature' of this change as Liz and DITHOT cautioned us at the beginning of this thread not to wander too far off - so I'll leave things vague and just say that I see CHOCOLAT as a tale of change! :goodvibes:

gotta go put my apartment back together again and try and keep cool while doing so! see you all here again tomorrow :eyebrow:
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Unread postby Bix » Tue May 30, 2006 12:44 pm

Excellent answers, all. One other message I got from the book is that you cannot run far enough and fast enough to outrun whatever it is you fear - in other words, you need to stand and face your demons in order to overcome them.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 30, 2006 12:51 pm

Lizbet, you are quite intuitive. We will be discussing that theme at a later date. :shhh:
93 degrees is pretty hot—especially if it is a sudden change. So try to keep cool.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 30, 2006 12:55 pm

Hi lizbet! :wave: Glad to year your apartment is taking shape. Hope you can stay cool. As Liz said, we will be discussing change and each of the characters individually as well. :cool:

Bix, I like that answer about running from fear and facing your demons. There are several characters in that situation in the story. :-O
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby cait » Tue May 30, 2006 1:13 pm

I agree with all of the themes that have been mentioned so far. I also think it's about connecting people and bringing everyone together. Vianne has a way of doing this through her chocolate. The chocolate is her way of understanding people and their personality.
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Unread postby fansmom » Tue May 30, 2006 2:06 pm

I would agree that the foremost message of the book is one of tolerance, but I think there's also a message of enjoying each day, of joie de vivre. Enjoy people as they are, and enjoy each day as it comes.

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Unread postby Endora » Tue May 30, 2006 2:24 pm

Perhaps it's a book about learning how to break the rules. By breaking the rules we free ourselves to a greater range of options, but we also open ourselves up to risk-physical risk in the case of Armande breaking the rules of her diabetes, social risk in the case of those consorting with the gypsies, and emotional risk in the case of Vianne letting Roux into her life. You could also say those breaking the lenten fast are putting themselves in spiritual danger, another significant risk as far as they were concerned.

Would you say they all gained by breaking the rules? Maybe, but they all seemed to lose to an extent too. Whether it was worth the risk, I don't know.

And from what has been said above about it being a book about tolerance-I would say it's more about the consequences of intolerance.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 30, 2006 2:47 pm

Cait, I like it when people try to understand me through chocolate! :chocolat: :lol:

Fansmom, I think tolerance is a very important part of the book. As far as joie de vivre, that seems to be a central theme as well --having it as well as the fear of it.

Endora, I thought it was worth the risk for the majority of them, but we will get into that a little deeper as we discuss each character. :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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