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 Post subject: TPAOL Question #29 ~ Point and Purpose
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:17 am 
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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?



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:16 pm 
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Ah, this is a burning question for me, about the title! Of all the acts that take place between the people in this book the last word I think of is love! I'm guessing Meek wanted to show how easy it is to misuse that word, and how often people try to fit their deceptions, delusions, and ambitions into it.
In Sam's case, the concept of love seems particular skewed. Is it really possible to love the future? Hope, yes, but love? Even given all the types and kinds of love we listed here in the beginning, it just doesn't seem to fit. Love is much too hot and emotional a word to be used in the context of the future. How can anyone predict how they're going to feel in (or about) the future?
Obviously, Sam's take on the Present wasn't so good, so he decided to look to the Future to justify his acts, claiming that he had an inside scoop on what 'the people' did and did not want; what they were supposedly going to love. To me, that sounds like one huge cop-out. Another lie. An excuse for him not being able to (or not wanting to) take responsibility for his emotional life now.



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:02 pm 
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Samarin and Balashov both have rather twisted ideas of love. Samarin's love for the people allows him to justify his barbaric acts just as Balashov's love of God allows him to do the same. I think they both truly believed what they were doing and what they represented to future generations was worthwhile. Parlez, I agree that Meek wanted us to see how corrupt the word love can be and how it can be used to mask other intentions, on purpose or unknowingly.



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:56 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
In Sam's case, the concept of love seems particular skewed. Is it really possible to love the future? Hope, yes, but love? Even given all the types and kinds of love we listed here in the beginning, it just doesn't seem to fit. Love is much too hot and emotional a word to be used in the context of the future. How can anyone predict how they're going to feel in (or about) the future?


Interesting way of looking at it, Parlez! I don’t think I’ve ever contemplated whether one can love the future. I can see what you are saying. I had just never thought of it in those terms. I think one can plan to or assume that love will be there for certain people in our lives. But I think Samarin is referring to loving your offspring or fellow man enough in the present to try to make their future better. Does that make sense?



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:24 pm 
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Yes, Liz, what you say makes sense. Idealists believe in a utopian world and I'd say they 'love' the future they have in mind. Also, doing something now that would improve things for future generations might likewise be considered 'love' for that future time and for those future people. However, Samarin claims he's working on behalf of the people - on behalf of their lovely future - but I don't think he is, except maybe by default due to time and tide. He finds himself in a period of upheaval and chaos in his country and simply hops on the bandwagon. I think he's more attracted to contributing to the chaos than he is to creating a better future. In any case, he's not the first person to project his own personal agenda onto the so-called betterment of the masses, or to use them as an excuse for pretty disgusting behavior. The masses are always in need of bettering by those who presume to know best! But at no time in the story did I get the sense that Samarin was an altruist with a genuine love for the people or for his country or for the future. All of his acts seemed to me to be basically self-serving. So his line about the people's love for the future didn't ring true. In fact, I found it insulting - to 'the people'.



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:40 pm 

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Not much more to be added ladies...but you see it on the nightly news...suicide bombers...they do it for the love of their God; to covert the world to their way. On last night's news they played a video that a young man had put together of him packing an ornate trunk with old explosures & new stuff (the old stuff would no longer work for the original purpose, but would blow up just fine when mixed with plastic explosives). He was smiling as he packed and wired his stuff, loaded it in his car, and drove off...then later you see half a block disappear as he rammed it into one of our vehicles. They said, there is an unlimited supply of these young men, happy to be of service, and an unlimited supply of these old weapons.

You cannot reason with fanatics, and S & B were such men.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:40 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
Yes, Liz, what you say makes sense. Idealists believe in a utopian world and I'd say they 'love' the future they have in mind. Also, doing something now that would improve things for future generations might likewise be considered 'love' for that future time and for those future people. However, Samarin claims he's working on behalf of the people - on behalf of their lovely future - but I don't think he is, except maybe by default due to time and tide. He finds himself in a period of upheaval and chaos in his country and simply hops on the bandwagon. I think he's more attracted to contributing to the chaos than he is to creating a better future. In any case, he's not the first person to project his own personal agenda onto the so-called betterment of the masses, or to use them as an excuse for pretty disgusting behavior. The masses are always in need of bettering by those who presume to know best! But at no time in the story did I get the sense that Samarin was an altruist with a genuine love for the people or for his country or for the future. All of his acts seemed to me to be basically self-serving. So his line about the people's love for the future didn't ring true. In fact, I found it insulting - to 'the people'.


In the quote above he is trying to convince Anna that acts of evil (cannibalism) can be forgiven if they are done in the name of the love of the people—that doing the wrong thing for the right reason is OK. But I still haven’t decided for sure if I believe he believes this or whether it is an excuse to be evil.



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 Post subject: Re: TPAOL Question #29 ~ Point and Purpose
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:13 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
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?


Perhaps the point Meek is making is that man will use love as an excuse for anything, even the most vile acts.



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 Post subject: Re: TPAOL Question #29 ~ Point and Purpose
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:13 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
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?


Well, first, If Samarin had NOT comitted the crime, he would not have been able to save ... the people, and their future. The setting also adds to the title, being in the People's Russia, so to speak. The point he's trying to make? :-? If I follow the logic set up here, then : One person, although he may have committed a crime, is capable of saving the people. :eyebrow:



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:22 pm 
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Linda Lee, that is what I was thinking too. Depputante, I agree that he feels like he is saving the future with his sacrifices/crimes and therefore he is justified.

Parlez, I felt like Samarin was dedicated to the cause of bettering the future, or what he thought that future should be, not just the current cause of the Bolsheviks. His cause was utopian as you say. He is definitely trying to justify his individual actions but he does seem passionate about "the people" and I think that is what makes him scary. Just as you mentioned, Charlene, the parallel with the suicide bombers. Their total dedication to a cause above all else. And I think that is what Meek is warning us about...blinding love in any form can be dangerous.

On pg. 359 when Balashov asks him what it serves to be so cruel Samarin says:
Quote:
"It doesn't serve. I don't serve. You know that. I'm a manifestation. Of the present anger, and the future love."


And on pg. 259 when he is justifying his ideas to Anna:

Quote:
Supposing a man, the cannibal, knew that the fate of the world rested on whether he escaped from prison or not. Suppose this. He’s a man so dedicated to the happiness of the future world that he sets himself to destroy all the corrupt and cruel functionaries he can, and break the offices they fester in , till he’s destroyed himself. Suppose he’s realised that politics, even revolution, is too gentle, it only shuffles people and offices a little. It isn’t that he sees the whole ugly torturing tribe of bureaucrats and aristocrats and money-grubbers who make the people suffer. It’s that they fall to him and his kind like a town falls to a mudslide. He’s not a destroyer, he is destruction, leaving those good people who remain to build a better world on the ruins. To say he’s the embodiment of the will of the people is feeble, a joke, as if they elected him. He is the will of the people. He’s the hundred thousand curses they utter every day against their enslavement. To hold such a man to the same standards as ordinary men would be strange, like putting wolves on trial for killing elk, or trying to shoot the wind. You can pity the innocent man he butchers, if he is innocent. But the fact that food comes in the form of a man is accidental damage. It’s without malice. What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people’s act of love to its future self. Even to call him a cannibal is mistaken. He’s the storm the people summoned, against which not all good people find shelter in time.’



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 Post subject: Re: TPAOL Question #29 ~ Point and Purpose
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:08 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
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?


well kids, like I said before Samarin is one goofy guy . . ."the people's act of love to the future self"? He is justifying his action by confusing it with love of HIS future self. I say horse pucky!
Why did Meek choose this title?
One might wonder about Meek. Does he have any concept of love? There sure isn't a lot of love in this book. . . one does find some. .( which we discussed before ). . . perhaps the clue here are the very words:
THE PEOPLE'S ( That would be all these characters involved in this book )
ACT OF LOVE ( Ah Ha! maybe here he is saying that they are trying to act out love, not be in or show love. Most the character's actions didn't show much love - as I see it . So acting out love could only mean a bunch of very strange people out in Siberia convincing themselves that whatever they are doing is acting out love).
I for one, saw that title and thought , oh, this could be interesting. Put the word LOVE in a title and see people's reactions. Somewhere I think one of you gals came up with a better title.

Lady Jill



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:28 pm 
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Deep Breath :-/ as someone who still hopes to read this book again (even though WEGG is sitting on her nightstand, unopened)........

I am going purely on gut feeling from a first reading of TPAOL ...... I found Samarin to be a very charismatic character.....maybe that was put in my mind before I ever actually read the book..... and without a second reading to change my emotional attachment, I still find Samarin to be charismatic, compelling, attractive........seductive.

As to the quote.......One of the things I have come to believe over the last few years .......well, perhaps it is more a case of dis-believe....is a disillusionment with organized religion. It seems that eventually the purpose becomes more about the organization than about religion. The same might be said about a revolution........eventually, the revolution takes on a life of its own independent of its purpose. I think this is where Samarin is caught up, in a "revolution" for its own sake, which overtakes and overwhelms and overshadows the original meaning of it all. I think that may be the "point" of the story..........

Meeks picked one phrase out of many....I don't know if it was because he thought that phrase encapsulated the meaning of the book or because it it just was a cool phrase to put on a book jacket.......

I am not sure Meeks had a "point" in this book. He worked as a journalist in Russia for several years. He observed a lot of history and culture, and I think he attempted to create a story that demonstrated those things. I am not sure he meant to give us a moral viewpoint; I think he leaves that up to us.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:13 am 
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You ladies have pretty much covered every aspect of Samarin but I might as well chime in too.

I think Samarin thought that his acts of evil done to a single person for a better cause were acts of love for the future of all people. He was rationalizing away his guilt. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason.

Actually The title confuses me also. The people's Act of Love. Does this mean one or several? People's is plural but not Act. Is the title only referring to Samarin or to Balashov. Balashov certainly did what he did for love. If I recall one of our tidbits we came up with quite a few types of love.



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:23 am 
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nebraska wrote:
I am going purely on gut feeling from a first reading of TPAOL ...... I found Samarin to be a very charismatic character.....maybe that was put in my mind before I ever actually read the book..... and without a second reading to change my emotional attachment, I still find Samarin to be charismatic, compelling, attractive........seductive.


Was he ever! I sensed he would be such a character in the first chapter. And he almost had me during the scenes with Katya. From the tunnel on I found myself trying to resist his seductiveness.

Quote:
As to the quote.......One of the things I have come to believe over the last few years .......well, perhaps it is more a case of dis-believe....is a disillusionment with organized religion. It seems that eventually the purpose becomes more about the organization than about religion. The same might be said about a revolution........eventually, the revolution takes on a life of its own independent of its purpose. I think this is where Samarin is caught up, in a "revolution" for its own sake, which overtakes and overwhelms and overshadows the original meaning of it all. I think that may be the "point" of the story..........


I think that's what it is with Samarin too, Nebraska. He is caught up in the idea of revolution and the purity of it all. He is too caught up in the Catechism of a Revolutionary--taking it much too seriously--not wanting to let his feelings for women and children interfere with his goal.



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:31 am 
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Just a thought, didn't Samarin originally become a part of the revolution only because of his love for Katya?



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