TPAOL Question #29 ~ Point and Purpose

by James Meek

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dharma_bum
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:08 am

Meek intentionally stages Samarin’s transformation from pampered student to revolutionary “off-camera” leaving his personal motivations mysterious. It is through Anna’s narrative about her father that we learn of a pre-revolutionary ruling class living in comfort while children starved to death in streets, ignored by those who could afford to turn away.

I think Samarin saw his acts—the bank robberies and assassinations—as leveling the playing field. It’s ironic that Samarin almost commits the same act of evil Anna’s father witnessed in the name of love. I think what Meek is ultimately saying is that history is littered with people doing the wrong thing for the right reason and vise versa, but that it is almost always done in the name of love.

These lyrics came to mind:

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach.
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:38 am

Linda Lee, I got the impression he was already interested but maybe not as involved as Katya at first? Not sure.

dharma_bum, love the U2 reference!
:cool:
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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:02 am

Db, those lyrics are so fitting they give me chills. :-O
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:55 am

Samarin is a perfect example of his class - the educated elite - who tend to set things like revolution in motion and stoke the fires of upheaval and change while 'the people' end up paying the price for being the focus of all that brotherly love and attention. The fact that Sam uses the term 'the people' shows precisely how he feels about them - that they're a separate entity, not really part of his world nor he part of theirs. They're something to play with. He doesn't have to be invested in the outcome; in the end he knows the consequences will be their problem not his.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:49 pm

Ok Parlez,

I see what you're saying about Sam's detachment.
Taking it one step further,
Are you suggesting that the people are capable of love, but not the detached intellectual revolutionary, Sam ?

The subject in question:
On pg. 260, Samarin says, “What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people’s act of love to its future self.” Why do you think Meek chose the title of the book? What point is Meek trying to make about love with this book?


You know, this quote, it seems to me, is speaking to the reader, not to whom ever Sam is supposed to be talking to.

Nope, I stand my my statement then. Sam is talking about himself. He may have done an act of evil, but it was for the love of the people, the love of Russia, that he continued, survived out of the White Garden, did what he had to do. He ended up in a very odd way, saving the village, too. Had he not been there... the whole village would have been ruined and it's people dead. Sam loved, way too much for his own good. He could have settled down a couple of times.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:18 pm

Me thinks it's a tribute to Meek's skill in creating the character of Samarin that we, the readers, view him so differently. Angel or devil - which is he?! Is he a bored student-turned-radical looking for trouble or is he an idealist who's willing to do whatever it takes in order to save his country and his people? Is he worth defending as a hero or should he be hated as an evil criminal? Certainly his seductive personality is altogether unique, and I don't see anywhere in the text where there's conclusive evidence either way with him - which is just how he'd like it! In the end, we do what Samarin did throughout the story: we make him up as we go along!
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

savvy avi by mamabear

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:52 pm

You may be on to something, there, Parlez. We also never find out what happens to him. He's a mystery. :-?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:30 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Linda Lee, I got the impression he was already interested but maybe not as involved as Katya at first? Not sure.

dharma_bum, love the U2 reference!
:cool:


Originally, I thought his only interest was because he heard rumors of Katya's involvement and was trying to talk her out of it. (Pages 7 -9) Even the second time it's mentioned when he tries to take the bomb from her it seems his only interest in the revolution is to protect Katya. Then we don't see him for years and she is sent to the White Garden and he reappears as "the Destroyer."

Db, those lyrics fit the story perfectly.

Samarin certainly is a chameleon and as you say Liz an unsolved mystery.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:14 pm

Linda Lee wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Linda Lee, I got the impression he was already interested but maybe not as involved as Katya at first? Not sure.

dharma_bum, love the U2 reference!
:cool:


Originally, I thought his only interest was because he heard rumors of Katya's involvement and was trying to talk her out of it. (Pages 7 -9) Even the second time it's mentioned when he tries to take the bomb from her it seems his only interest in the revolution is to protect Katya. Then we don't see him for years and she is sent to the White Garden and he reappears as "the Destroyer."

Db, those lyrics fit the story perfectly.

Samarin certainly is a chameleon and as you say Liz an unsolved mystery.


Are you saying that Katya could be his real motivation--his love for her and vengence for her death? It is quite possible.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:55 pm

Are you saying that Katya could be his real motivation--his love for her and vengence for her death? It is quite possible.


Yes, that is what I'm thinking, after rereading those sections.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:25 pm

I'm having a thought and rambling here a bit I'm sure. Samarin falls in love with Katya, dabbles in the revolutionary jargon as a young wealthy, intelligent man looking for a cause, journeys to her parents house, realizes how involved she is in the movement and decides to pursue that interest because of her. Katya is arrested and he goes on a quest to save her but finds she is already dead when he arrives. He has sacrificed his humanity in the act of cannabilism and now has to justify his reason for doing so and his anger. His mission then becomes to destroy the ruling class/government in whatever form because her devotion to that cause is what caused her to die. In effect, her dedication to the revolution caused her death so he must now create a state where there is no revolution/government, only the will of the people to be free. His quest starts as a personal vendetta but becomes one for the masses, or so he believes. Like I said rambling...
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 Linda Lee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:08 pm

I'm having a thought and rambling here a bit I'm sure. Samarin falls in love with Katya, dabbles in the revolutionary jargon as a young wealthy, intelligent man looking for a cause, journeys to her parents house, realizes how involved she is in the movement and decides to pursue that interest because of her.


I don't think he was looking for a cause, only trying to warn Katya, not to become involved. He says " ... I thought you'd be interested. I heard you intend to become a terrorist." Then later in the same conversation ' .... Listen to this part, Katya: " When a comrade gets into trouble, the revolutionary, in deciding whether they should be rescued or not, must think in not in terms of their personal feelings but only the good of the revolutionary cause. Therefore, they must balance on one hand, the usefulness of the comrade, and on the other, the amount of revolutionary energy that woud necessarily be expended on their deliverance, and must settle for the weightier consideration"'. Months later he takes the bomb from her, but she gets it back, is caught and arrested.
From there we speculate on how he gets involved because 8 years pass before we see him again.

Katya is arrested and he goes on a quest to save her but finds she is already dead when he arrives. He has sacrificed his humanity in the act of cannabilism and now has to justify his reason for doing so and his anger. His mission then becomes to destroy the ruling class/government in whatever form because her devotion to that cause is what caused her to die. In effect, her dedication to the revolution caused her death so he must now create a state where there is no revolution/government, only the will of the people to be free. His quest starts as a personal vendetta but becomes one for the masses, or so he believes. Like I said rambling...


From this point on I agree with your "rambling" ...as a probable scenario.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:31 pm

Linda Lee wrote: I don't think he was looking for a cause, only trying to warn Katya, not to become involved. He says " ... I thought you'd be interested. I heard you intend to become a terrorist." Then later in the same conversation ' .... Listen to this part, Katya: " When a comrade gets into trouble, the revolutionary, in deciding whether they should be rescued or not, must think in not in terms of their personal feelings but only the good of the revolutionary cause. Therefore, they must balance on one hand, the usefulness of the comrade, and on the other, the amount of revolutionary energy that woud necessarily be expended on their deliverance, and must settle for the weightier consideration"'. Months later he takes the bomb from her, but she gets it back, is caught and arrested.
From there we speculate on how he gets involved because 8 years pass before we see him again.


When I first read that passage I had it in my mind that he was pushing her, not trying to stop her. And that is because I expected him to do that. For some reason I felt he would be a revolutionary, so I put him in that role. :eyebrow:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:33 pm

Linda Lee wrote:
I don't think he was looking for a cause, only trying to warn Katya, not to become involved. He says " ... I thought you'd be interested. I heard you intend to become a terrorist." Then later in the same conversation ' .... Listen to this part, Katya: " When a comrade gets into trouble, the revolutionary, in deciding whether they should be rescued or not, must think in not in terms of their personal feelings but only the good of the revolutionary cause. Therefore, they must balance on one hand, the usefulness of the comrade, and on the other, the amount of revolutionary energy that woud necessarily be expended on their deliverance, and must settle for the weightier consideration"'. Months later he takes the bomb from her, but she gets it back, is caught and arrested.
From there we speculate on how he gets involved because 8 years pass before we see him again.


I think what I meant was not so much that he was looking for a cause but more that as a smart, bored, young, well educated, well-to-do young man he was looking for something...love maybe?...just something to engage his mind and interest. I'm not clear on what you mean by the quote. Do you think he is trying to warn her?
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 Linda Lee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:41 pm

Yes, I think he is warning her that she would be expendable.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown


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