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 Post subject: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:42 am 
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Is Attica an allegory for something?

Is there a theme or moral to the story?



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Attica might represent human fears and all the bad things they bring with them. Fear seems to play an important role in the entire book. Mr. Grantham has fears about letting people move in above him, Chloe is afraid that Ben is not ambitious enough for her mother, the children have some apprehension in terms of each other. But even in a world like Attica, fear still plays a part. The wardrobe Atticans are fearful of the kids and become violent with them. The Katerfelto monster thrives on fear but is a hollow threat for those who face him. I guess the moral could be that nothing ideal exists out there, fear will always rear its ugly head. There's also fear the interloper or the outsider like the Removal Firm. The bortrekker says, "it was fear that had given rise to the Removal Firm and fear that kept them going. Fear, he was often heard to tell his two dancing rats, is a corrosive thing in itself when it leads to prejudice and irrational action." But Attica is also a quest tale for our young three. The journey for the watch becomes a trip into a better understanding of themselves and the heart of fear. It's their own little odyssey, the desire to reach home and be the better for it all.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:51 pm 
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Yes I think that Attica is allegory for the children (or reader) to find a deeper understanding of things they don't know how to accept. Example - Alex and Chloe dealing with their father's death and a new family situation. Jordy trying to find his role in the new family.

Yes to theme and moral too. Face your fears!! Nothing to fear but fear itself!
And as Dorothy said " There is no place like home".


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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:01 pm 
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Fear is an interesting idea, trygirl. That had not occurred to me at all even though I suggested yesterday that Katerfelto was about facing your fears.


ladylinn wrote:
Yes to theme and moral too. Face your fears!! Nothing to fear but fear itself!
And as Dorothy said " There is no place like home".

Funny, ladylinn, that was the thought that came to me when I read this from trygirl:
Quote:
It's their own little odyssey, the desire to reach home and be the better for it all.

And then I read on to see you typed it. :-O

I like your idea about finding a deeper understanding of things the kids (or we) don't know how to accept, like their father’s death and their new family. Could also be about learning how to accept others who are different from you.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Funny about fear...For our ancestors it was an acute necessary instinct for staying alive as it warned of the presence of danger. All about survival. That type of fear is biochemical. Then we get to emotional fear which I guess is individual. I guess Attica represents the spooky side of fear and it's challenges. But with courage and perhaps, love, you will reap a reward and come out to the better side. I've always wondered at the conflict between biochemical and emotional fear. What a human challenge that seems to affect most of us. Almost as though one part of us can't outgrow the other. Our intellect is amazing, but, can be misused to frighten the devil out of us. Sorry to get so heavy in my interpertation. Attica is a marvelous story helping children to understand fear and help them overcome anxieties in a very affectionate way.


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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:26 pm 
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I think it was about growing up, making changes, learning to accept life as it is but having the courage to face and change what can be changed.

It is also just a fun story to read. Knowing how from time to time we have almost over analyzed a thing or two, I wonder if Garry intended the story to have a moral or it it was meant to just be a good read.


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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:54 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
It is also just a fun story to read. Knowing how from time to time we have almost over analyzed a thing or two, I wonder if Garry intended the story to have a moral or it it was meant to just be a good read.

Could be that it was just meant to be a fun, exciting & creative story. Remember how we over-analyzed Glass Books? And we were certain the colors were symbolic…..but they weren’t.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:31 pm 
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I seem to always be terrible at finding an allegory. As for the theme, I liken it to a great adventure where three children thrown into a new family situation learn that they are a family. The courage, loyalty and friendship they have for each other is the basis for surviving the journey.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:53 pm 
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When we discussed the characters we all agreed what great role models they are for young readers. If I had to pick a theme it would be to believe in yourself and know that you are stronger than you think you are. You can overcome many obstacles, the journey may be difficult and scary at times but you can do it, believe in yourself and those that love you.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:07 pm 
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I was wondering if the attic was an allegory for the earth, a parallel world, as it were. This passage on pg. 241 made me think of the “intelligent designer”…..

The water in the tank smelled fresh and clean. It was like being on the shore of a vast lake where sparkling mountain stream water came cascading into a natural basin and filled it. Instead of mountain streams, however, there were lagged water pipes which led from gutters up on the roof. When it reined in the outside world, as it seemed to be doing now, clean water gushed from the gutters, down the pipes and directly into the tank. In turn other pipes carried the excess away, to tanks all over Attica, where it was used in the inhabitants’ strange world, Thus there was a balance which maintained a safe surface level of the Attican lake.

‘Isn’t that something?’ whispered an awed Alex. ‘What a marvel of nature.’

This remark caused his sister to look at him sharply.

‘What do you mean, nature?’ she said. ‘This isn’t natural, Alex. This is an attic, built by someone.’

‘Yes,’ replied her younger brother, giving her a significant look, ‘but by who?’



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:17 am 
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For me I think it's about embracing life. Getting out there and getting on with it. Kind of buy the ticket, take the ride, if you will. Part of that is dealing with obstacles and fears and dangers and the children certainly have to demonstrate real courage on occasions. I like their adventurous spirits in the way they tackle Attica. It's also about coping with sorow and bitterness and so on. Best exemplified I think in the advice Amanda gives Alex about remembering the so many more happy moments with his dad rather than focusing on the moment he died. Sleep walk through your life? Use it or lose it, like the children nearly do when they sleep in that soul-collector's place. (For me, that is what that episode symbolises, as well as keeping your wits about you. And help).

There are people who have their own personal Atticas, in one form or another. People who are like the board-comber, who become almost invisible in the way they present themselves, or those who have withdrawn from relationships for fear of being hurt. People who seek escapism, in a variety of forms, as a refuge from real life. Or people who perhaps have just been drawn into solitary habits and thus have less social contact. A bit of escapism from time to time is great. But not if it interferes with living. Enjoying Attica is great as long as the children still want to go home afterwards. Apply that spirit of adventure to it.
This is just how I interpret it of course. It is not umcommon in children's literature to have the characters facing danger and adversity. It makes for a great story, for one thing. But I read some articles recently that this book happens to remind me of. Concerns about children being over-protected. Things like being driven everywhere by their parents and only playing outside in adult - designed and supervised playgrounds. There were points made about how that impairs creativity, adventurousness, problem-solving and socialising skills. Those ware qualities that the children bring to or have developed in their adventures.
I would say that engaging with others is definitely crucial to the story and not just in Attica. It is a lonely place with characters living solitary lives. Alex decides it's too lonely for him. But Mr Grantham is also solitary and brooding. He benefits greatly from his contact with Chloe and what happens as a result of sending her into Attica. So does the family down the trapdoor. That step mom was very lonely until Chloe steps in and turns around the family dynamic.
In fact, there’s a lot in the book about supporting and helping others. Another vital quality. So I do think it provides a valuable model for conduct in real life.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:44 am 
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suec wrote:

In fact, there’s a lot in the book about supporting and helping others. Another vital quality. So I do think it provides a valuable model for conduct in real life.


I totally agree, Suec. I especially like your idea here….

Quote:
There are people who have their own personal Atticas, in one form or another. People who are like the board-comber, who become almost invisible in the way they present themselves, or those who have withdrawn from relationships for fear of being hurt. People who seek escapism, in a variety of forms, as a refuge from real life. Or people who perhaps have just been drawn into solitary habits and thus have less social contact. A bit of escapism from time to time is great. But not if it interferes with living.


I think Jordy and Chloe agree that this is not for them right off. But Alex not so much (mostly because I think he wants to escape from life).

These are some really interesting insights, suec. And you are going to laugh when you read today’s question. :biggrin:



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:06 am 
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Liz, you're right, I did chuckle. But I am sorry for pre-empting the topic a little.



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 Post subject: Re: Attical Question #11 ~ Themes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:13 am 
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No worries, suec. It was a good segue. :ok:



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