TDB&TB Question #20 ~ Favorite Chapters

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TDB&TB Question #20 ~ Favorite Chapters

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 24, 2008 11:25 am

Which was your favorite chapter? Why?
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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Betty Sue
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat May 24, 2008 2:44 pm

I think my favorite chapter was Through a Glass, Darkly because it recounted such a bittersweet day, Father's Day. Many of his days were bittersweet but the poignancy of the children really accented this one. Jean-Do reveled in their strength, athletic ability, and intelligence but was so frustrated that he could do little more than admire it. He hated having them witness his condition and hated not being able to carry on a bantering conversation with them or caress them and worried what effect all of this would have on them. He probably was concerned that they were forced too young to "put away childish things."
But I found the children surprisingly resilient, accepting and comforting around their father...perhaps because they saw "through a glass, darkly." Celeste is full of joy and hugs and kisses and cartwheels and songs. Theophile wipes away drool, plays Hangman patiently, asks how he's feeling.
Sylvie wept over their "shattered lives"...bittersweet again, as he must feel remorse and gratitude toward her.
And Jean-Do considers it a "wonderful" day, though they'd always considered Father's Day a "made-up holiday," and his "throat is tight, his hands are sunburned, and his bottom hurts from sitting on it too long." He worries about his children but also recognizes that each shows great promise, and that they love their father, no matter what his condition may be. He sees the symbol of infinity in his daughter's fish drawing; time goes on...and on...
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Unread postby Liz » Sat May 24, 2008 3:00 pm

Thanks for starting us off, Betty Sue. :cool:

My favorite chapter was "A Day in the Life" because I had been waiting to find out what actually happened that fateful day. Plus it had me from the beginning and didn't let me go until the end of the chapter. I also think it was cleverly written (which amazes me to no end). And while reading it I was intrigued by its possible symbolism.
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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Parlez
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Unread postby Parlez » Sat May 24, 2008 8:41 pm

My favorite chapter is Prayer. First because it reveals the diversity of Jean-Do's friends, who appear to be not only devoted to him but to various spiritual practices and rituals. Plus they're not ashamed to try to harness whatever spiritual aid they think might be helpful to him. And neither is he, as he assigns various of his body parts and afflictions to the array of talismans they bring to him and to the various intercessors they invoke. So even though Jean-Do doesn't appear to be a pious man himself he nevertheless seems to be open to spiritual intervention, solicitation and aid. The way he uses his sardonic wit to describe his attempts to 'organize all this spiritual energy' might make it look like he thinks it's all a joke, but then he reveals the bit about his hearing, assigned to the monks, and '...when seven brothers of the same order had their throats cut by Islamic fanatics, my ears hurt for several days.' That comment might also be seen as a joke, but I think underneath the irony or sarcasm or whatever, it reveals a man who's aware of metaphysical connections.

And, of course, the powerful last two lines of the chapter, about Celeste praying for her father every night; a ritual Jean-Do claims lets him 'set out for the kingdom of slumber with this wonderful talisman that shields me from harm.' (my italics). When I read that, I thought, how much more harm could come to this man?? Yet it shows, I think, his (and probably everyone's) ability to see their circumstances, whatever they may be, in the light of gratitude; to conclude that things actually could be worse and to be grateful for the status quo they've been able to maintain due to the help and love and intercession of others.
Also, for me, this is a lovely reflection on the difference between "health" and "well-being".
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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Unread postby gemini » Sat May 24, 2008 10:11 pm

Well, as its been long enough since I read this that I would have to read a bit of each to remember for a true answer. Instead I will tell you that its" Our Very Own Madonna" just because its the chapter I think about when I think of what he was like before. I enjoyed his trip with Josephine and their conversations around him reading the Serpentine. It impressed me enough to see what he saw in the book.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun May 25, 2008 11:27 am

I've been thinking about this one and have a hard time deciding. I think "A Day in the Life" would be my first choice because I was able to get a glimpse of what actually happened to him on the day of his stroke, but also because of his use of the song. There are several passages I marked in other chapters that were so beautifully written they are candidates as well. In "Bathtime" the passage about his old clothes and in the chapter "Prayer" where he talks about his daughter falling asleep at night and the bond he feels with her are so well written and poignant.
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 -
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Unread postby nebraska » Sun May 25, 2008 12:06 pm

I haven't been able to pick one. :banghead: Thumbing through my book, I see highlighted passages and notes in almost every chapter but not one stands out strongly from the rest for me; it was the book as a whole that moved me. I did like the picture of Jean-Do before the stroke in "Our Very Own Madonna" because it gave me a better look at the man he was before he was locked in and that gave a different meaning to the rest of it all. But I don't know that I could single it out as a favorite.

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Unread postby suec » Sun May 25, 2008 1:43 pm

I don't really have a firm favourite either. There are some that I like more than others. One is A Day in the Life, for reasons already stated by Liz and DIDHOT. I also love the fact that it is the last chapter. Very appropriate, I think, as is the way he signs off. I like the information we get about his former life, as well as how the accident happened.
I'll choose another, for the sake of variety, and that is Cinecitta, and that is mainly for the lighthouse and its lyrical beauty. But it paints clear pictue of his life there,a nd his strategies for coping with it, as well.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Liz » Sun May 25, 2008 3:25 pm

I agree with you two that it is not easy to choose, generally speaking. This question was easy for me because “A Day in the Life” is the only chapter that seems to stand out above the rest in its entirety for me. All of the other chapters have individual passages or elements within them that I really like. So it would be hard for me to choose between the rest of them.

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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