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 Post subject: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:01 am 
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Let's discuss Beth. Did you like her character? Would you change anything about her?



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:27 am 
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I saw Beth as a role, rather than a character. Someone had to be a love interest, and a focus for Shandy's action, but the details of her character didn't really stand out for me. I was relieved when she showed moments of spunk, and when she showed some individuality, but she spent most of the time sort of "not really there", under the influence of magic. It was hard for me to feel much sympathy for her, and I was a little disappointed that Jack was such a pushover. (Can you see why I don't generally read romantic novels?)
I'm willing to change my mind on this - I wanted to like her, but actually didn't care about her much.


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:49 am 

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I completely agree, Buster. I think my feminist bones really don’t care for Beth Hurwood. She was about as objectified as you can get, and seemingly helpless. To her father she is an empty shell, waiting to hold his dead wife. To Leo Friend, she is a sexual plaything. To Thatch, she is useful only because she shed blood at the fountain and has access to the female aspects of magic. She spent nearly the entire novel in a drug and magic induced stupor, so that I didn’t really get a feel for her personality. I didn’t get to know her enough to feel strongly for her as a victim, and I had a hard time understanding why Shandy was willing to risk life and limb to rescue her based on a few very brief conversations he had with her when she was coherent. I figured either she was stunningly beautiful, or Shandy was really a “white knight” type of guy, drawn to helping victims. I really wanted to feel something for her as a victim, but I didn't quite get there. Mostly I wanted her to snap out of it and do something to help her own cause! I did really enjoy when she vomited on Leo Friend :grin: , even if she wasn’t in control of herself just then.


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:03 pm 
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I agree with most that has been posted here. I kept waiting for Beth to "wake up" and at least try to help herself. She was weak and seemed unable to do anything for herself. Was it because of drug induced/diet or just because her father cared nothing for her except to use her to regain his wife. Lots of unanswered questions.


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:19 pm 
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Not only was she rather dull, but she whined alot. :lol: Yeah, got to admit I am not sure why the character was sketched out the way she was. Yes, there was the need to create this cloud around her, the passivity we experienced, but even at those small points where she did sort of 'wake up' the connection between Shandy and Beth felt too muted. I guess what I would have liked was more mental imagery from Shandy. I didn't get much sense that he liked her, thought about her. It was mentioned but I didn't feel it in specific descriptions of what he thought, what he dreamed etc. She could have remained elusively unsubstantial but with passion from him I would have been much more interested in her as a character, as a point of focus for the book.



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:33 pm 
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It seems she's the distressing damsel, er, damself in distress for most of the story. (Couldn't resist mates.)
There wasn't much to go on for her appearance, though John/Jack had to tell himself not to be attracted to her. Apparently, she was a good looking young woman. Maybe we, the readers, were supposed to make up our own minds about her appearance? This was a young woman that spent time in some sort of isolated convent/school because her father didn't want her to meet any young men, perhaps?
Despite being drugged and weakened for most of the time, she had shown moments of resourcefulness when she was able to think clearly. Most of the people around Beth were in league with her father and his scheme so none of them would have helped her.
I guess I liked her enough that I did not want to see her a victim of her father's bizarre plan.



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Who can explain the chemistry between a man and a woman? There was obviously an attraction to her for Jack, and I don't think I have to completely understand it to appreciate and accept it. I think she has spent most of her life beaten down, her self-esteem under someone's grinding foot, and then with the magic and force being used against her, not to mention the weird mind-altering diet, I just can't find myself criticizing her for not rising up and defending herself. Maybe the fact that she needed Jack to take care of her and protect her was part of his attraction.

I really seem to have read Jack and Beth very differently from everyone else. :-/


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:54 pm 
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Good one, moviemom!

nebraska, I think it's important that we see things differently, makes for good discussion! Beside I bet there is more than one ONBCer that agrees with you. I kept hoping Beth would sort of wake up and have her feminist moment :lol: (okay maybe when she tried to convince Stede Bonnett to escape she showed some spunk) but it was not her character to do so, add in the drugs and the voodoo and she was stuck (or sort of a stick). I didn't dislike her, I don't think I knew her well enough other than to feel sort of neutral about her. I trusted Jack's instinct that there was a spark there and that's why he went to all the trouble, although he did seem like that sort of guy to begin with, rescuing the damsel in distress type or the distressing damsel!
:lol:



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:26 pm 
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I find myself pretty much in agreement here about Beth. I really didn’t pay much attention to her in the story. I was hoping she might step up more later with the remarks about the real magic power going with to the women but she really only seemed to loan it to Shandy.

Oh Buster, I do have to defend my reading of romantic novels here. This wasn’t what I would call a romantic novel, it was an adventure story and Beth was the prize.



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:39 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
I just can't find myself criticizing her for not rising up and defending herself. Maybe the fact that she needed Jack to take care of her and protect her was part of his attraction.

I really seem to have read Jack and Beth very differently from everyone else. :-/
But that's ok! It would be very boring and nothing to discuss at all if all of us thought and said the same thing. Now when I look at Beth I am more kind of looking behind the woman's petticoat and simply wondering about the choices of the writer: as any character is an outgrowth of someone's vision, preferences, area of interest. What were they attempting to describe with this character. Why have her say this and not that? Definitely I am coming here and tacking out my 'words' from quite another angle.

With that in mind, I do get the feeling that Gemini has something here when she says
Quote:
This wasn’t what I would call a romantic novel, it was an adventure story and Beth was the prize.
This makes sense. Here a bunch of us us thinking "Ah, Shandy and his true love -- this should be interesting" :bigwink: Cuddled up with our winter blankets we open the pages with expectations of romance, sigh. And when that doesn't seem to be happening in the way we thought it would. Well, then we sit around and go: yeah, what was it with Beth anyway? :lol:

Gosh, the typos are legion :-O


Last edited by fireflydances on Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Quote:
gemini wrote: I was hoping she might step up more later with the remarks about the real magic power going with to the women but she really only seemed to loan it to Shandy.

Wouldn't that make an interesting starting point for a sequel? Now that Beth has gotten free of her stultifying bonds, maybe she actually has some sense and power of her own. (And maybe she'll stop whining, firefly - your mention of that cracked me up.)


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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:36 pm 
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:hatsoff: Thank you Buster! I do aim to entertain, I do.



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:34 pm 
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fireflydances wrote:
Here a bunch of us us thinking "Ah, Shandy and his true love -- this should be interesting" :bigwink: Cuddled up with our winter blankets we open the pages with expectations of romance, sigh. And when that doesn't seem to be happening in the way we thought it would. Well, then we sit around and go: yeah, what was it with Beth anyway? :lol:

I know, what was up with that girl?

I’m kind of on the fence. I agree with most of you that she was just sort of there….not much of a character because she was a victim of drugs, malnutrition and voodoo. And I didn’t really get why Jack was so enamored by her, except that he was probably attracted to her physically. Could also be he’s the kind of guy who needs to rescue the damsel in distress. There is the reality of the 18th Century attitude to consider also. I did feel sorry for her and realized that she was a victim. But still, I can’t really have an opinion of her because I don’t know that we really ever saw the real her. I actually found her rather annoying, but I don’t think I’m being fair.

Now on that sequel you mentioned, Buster. Why don’t you guys mull that one around? It just so happens that we’ll be asking a question very similar to that before the end of this discussion. So save your thoughts until then. :chill:



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 Post subject: Re: On Stranger Tides Question #6 ~ Beth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:17 pm 
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Buster wrote:
Quote:
gemini wrote: I was hoping she might step up more later with the remarks about the real magic power going with to the women but she really only seemed to loan it to Shandy.

Wouldn't that make an interesting starting point for a sequel? Now that Beth has gotten free of her stultifying bonds, maybe she actually has some sense and power of her own. (And maybe she'll stop whining, firefly - your mention of that cracked me up.)


When I put this book down the ideas for a sequel were flying through my mind. I read on another site in a Tim interview that he thought Beth and Jack went off to live their life and it would be boring. Whoa, not really. He commented that Beth was not immortal (somehow I missed that part). He ruined all my sequel plans. :lol:
edit to add....
oops I posted before I read your post liz but at least I didn't tell you my sequel.



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