Devotion ~ Question #8 Mourning

Devotion by ‎Patti Smith

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SnoopyDances
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Devotion ~ Question #8 Mourning

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:56 pm

"A few moments of self-interrogation forced me to acknowledge the strange remorse I felt following the writing of it. I wondered, since I had birthed my characters, if I was mourning them." (Devotion p. 28)

After reading Devotion, did you mourn for the characters?
What ending would you have written?

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nebraska
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Devotion ~ Question #8 Mourning

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:38 am

I can understand why Patti had a feeling of sadness when she had to leave the characters. She had lived intimately with them the entire time she was writing the story, as well as before and after the actual writing. I believe a writer invests much of his/her own soul in the characters he/she creates and it probably feels like the death of a part of oneself when the writing has ended.

I did not mourn her characters, I didn't feel that strong an attachment for them that I would miss them terribly. But I did really like Eugenie and if I had written her ending it would have been that she lived in her peaceful solitude and skated on that pond forever. She felt so free and so complete and so happy when she skated. I wanted that for her.

I do mourn characters at times. Prabu comes to mind, I was devastated when he died in Shantaram. I know it was a different form, being a long novel, with more character development than a short story. But I don't think that accounts for it. I am not sure what the difference was. Perhaps Prabaker being seen in first person through Lin's eyes, filtered through his love, made an emotional impact on me. I felt that Patti developed her characters quite well within the confines of a short story, but I was not so emotionally attached to them that I would mourn.

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Devotion ~ Question #8 Mourning

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:42 pm

Yeah, writers mourn their characters, even if they don't downright kill them off. There is always this desire to find some form of redemption for one's characters. But, for the most part, good stories require that writers be prepared to make their characters suffer, if not downright die. There's an old saying you run across in creative writing -- "kill your lovelies."

What ending would I have liked? I can't say that I empathized with either character but clearly, even though I read the entire story, I didn't see that final paragraph as her suicide. So I guess it was too subtle a death for me. And besides that, for me, it doesn't fit the character.

What did you think of the ending snoopy?
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Devotion ~ Question #8 Mourning

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:34 pm

Like Nebraska, I didn't really feel any attachment to the characters themselves and didn't really mourn their passing.

I found the story rather bleak. I suppose I was hoping that somehow the two would work out their childhood issues together and learn to love. I don't think either of them had ever experienced the love of family or friends or what true companionship means.

Given Patti's lead up in the first part of the book, the solemn nature of Ristuules and the cool, foggy weather of Modiano's Paris, I was anticipating a dark story, but still hoped for a message of growth...that we have grown and matured since the dark days of WWII and advanced to "brighter" days.

Maybe Patti feels that we, as a society, haven't yet experienced such growth.


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