Chocolat Question #4 ~ Vianne and Reynaud

by Joanne Harris

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Chocolat Question #4 ~ Vianne and Reynaud

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:46 am

Continuing from yesterday...

Pg. 39. Why is Reynaud a blank to Vianne?


Reynaud enters the chocolaterie...
"Monsieur.' I saw him eye the red ribbons with mistrust. 'Can I hlep you? I'm sure I know your favorites.' I lapsed into my sales banter automatically, but it was untrue. I have no idea of this man's tastes. He is a complete blank to me..."
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Unread postby lumineuse » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:54 am

Wow - that's an interesting question! Off the top of my head I can think of two possibilities. One is that his motivations are so foreign to her that she just can't read them. He is also actively resisting being read. But it could also be that he represents the fears that she is struggling to face within herself. It may be that seeing her own fears clearly and seeing him clearly are one and the same psychologically.

(did that make sense?)
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Unread postby es » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:56 am

tough one.

I think because his personalitie is buried beneath al his religious values.
those values arent his own but he needs them to face the world every dya.

also maybe the black man is only death,so a blank nothing to read in.

curious what every one feels about this one,greets,
es
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:59 am

It did make sense, Lumi, because what I was thinking was that she sees too much of herself in him (in the ways we've mentioned in yesterday's question). And It can be hard to look at yourself objectively.
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Unread postby Sioux » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:02 am

I've been struggling with this one. Very tough question.

My first thought was that she can't read him because she's afraid of him, or at least, what he represents. She forks her fingers at him under the counter, warding off the evil eye, I believe. That's a nervous gesture.

Everyone's responses so far are incredibly insightful, and I think, right on the money. I just can't articulate well this morning! :eyebrow:

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Unread postby QueenofKings » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:04 am

lumineuse wrote:Wow - that's an interesting question! Off the top of my head I can think of two possibilities. One is that his motivations are so foreign to her that she just can't read them. He is also actively resisting being read. But it could also be that he represents the fears that she is struggling to face within herself. It may be that seeing her own fears clearly and seeing him clearly are one and the same psychologically.

(did that make sense?)


Wow, like you mean that the fear cancels each other out? Cool thought.

I think that there is some merit in your thought that he is actively resisting being read. Or that he doesn't like anything. He's all in the negative. And especially since it's Lent and he isn't eating much of anything, let alone something pleasurable to eat, like, say, chocolate. And then, she can't be real, herself, with him either. She lapses into "sales banter" because of that. She's able to be herself with everyone else, no matter who they are, but not Reynaud.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:06 am

Well thought out answers! You guys always amaze me! :notworthy:
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Unread postby cait » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:08 am

Reynaud doesn't want to be read at all and he keeps himself completely closed off. He is so against what Vianne is doing, that his anger and refusal to be open makes him blank on the inside and out.

Even though the others in the town are hesitant and a little scared, they remain curious and tempted by Vianne's store and are able to be read. If you look the others, it's not that hard to see what they really want, where Reynaud is almost impossible.

Vianne and Reynaud are both stubborn. They don't understand each other or wish to try, which is evident from about the first moment they meet when Vianne sees nothing but a blank Reynaud.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:33 am

I think I like your answers better, but my first reaction to the question was that he was a blank because there was nothing there: no character, no morals, no good purpose, no truth. He was just a mixed-up, furious reaction to his past.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:33 am

I think all of you have good ideas :cool: I also think he hides his emotions therefore she can not read him at all.

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Unread postby KYwoman » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:08 am

I'm seeing this like you all. Reynaud has spent his life, not just during Lent, to deny himself, supress all thoughts/feelings other than the religious moral high ground he has chosen to live. His true self is not just hiding under the surface, like the other townspeople, but buried deeper. Therefore harder to 'read' and seen as a 'blank'. He works hard to conceal who he is to himself and others, outside of being the 'priest', and the roles/rituals that involves.

I also like the idea that Vianne may see some things in him that reflect the things in herself she does not like or fears.
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Unread postby Endora » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:02 pm

KYwoman wrote:I also like the idea that Vianne may see some things in him that reflect the things in herself she does not like or fears.


That's how I feel too. They're too close in certain aspects of their character. It may be that Vianne really means won't read, not can't read when she looks at him, so just draws a blank. Most of us are pretty good at hiding from the parts of us we don't like, if we constantly worried about what we see as our faults we would have a much harder life.
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Unread postby suec » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:02 pm

Perhaps she reads him better than she thinks she does. After all, she sees the old man and the fire; it's just that she doesn't know its significance. She doesn't realise what the fire means. After all, what else does this man have? Who does he have to talk to apart from the old man?As for not knowing his favourite - he doesn't know it either. I also think she may be influenced by her past too - her mother's fright when confessing to the priest, especially when he shapes up as being so disapproving of her.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:06 pm

I think all of your answers so far make sense and could be right. :cool: This could be a good question to ask Joanne Harris. :idea:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:55 pm

I agree with you, Liz, on both counts. :cool:

I'll be gone for a couple of days, Noodlemantras. I can't wait to read all your wonderful and insightful answers when I get back! Carry on!
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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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