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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
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Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Created: 06/22/14

Replies: 11

Posted Jun. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Irene stands on "suicide bridges" as a way to come to grips with her mortality. Is this a morbid behavior? Or is this a positive gesture, a way to come to grips with her mortality in a healthy, life-affirming way? If someone you knew had this habit, would you feel an intervention was needed?


Posted Jun. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

I'm uncomfortable with standing on suicide bridges. It strikes me as a cry for attention, not facing mortality.


Posted Jun. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 50

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Sometimes we have to do the thing that frightens us most in order to overcome it. I think the bridge thing was her way of reinforcing her strength and the fact that she chose not to jump.


Posted Jun. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 63

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Irene's suicide thoughts were concerning. Given her childhood she should seek treatment. Her 'attempts' and frequent thoughts scream for h e.l p. Irene suffers from some type of depression or such.


Posted Jun. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 33

RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Suicidal ideation is not a cry for attention, it is evidence of despair. Is standing on the bridge morbid? I don't know. I think she is just weighing her options, telling herself that her problems are temporary, not needful of such a final solution.


Posted Jul. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melindah

Join Date: 12/25/12

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

Neither morbid nor positive describes my reaction to her seeking suicide bridges. It reminds me of the character in *Looking for Alaska* who had a fascination with people's last words. I think Irene probably felt the need to face death on a regular basis in order to cope with her real life, to decide if real life was something she could continue to do. I think it is a desperate attempt to feel connected for Irene. Her difficulties as the child of an alcoholic were more than likely exacerbated by the first few years of acceptance and bliss for both she and Bernice (those years she blocked out). It would be interesting to see if she felt the need to continue the behavior once she and George began their life together.


Posted Jul. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 107

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

I think the bridge was her way of testing and dealing with the reality of her life. It was sort of her connection to what was real.


Posted Jul. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BJ

Join Date: 06/11/14

Posts: 13

RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

melindah, you wrote that Irene's problems "were more than likely exacerbated by the first few years of acceptance and bliss for both her and Bernice". I wondered what you meant?
Are you so positive that Irene's first few years were so blissful? Was Bernice so happy in those days? She still wasn't getting what she wanted from Sally...
And besides, is unhappiness worse ("exacerbated") if it follows happiness, rather than if it were constant unhappiness? You have definitely gotten me thinking, melindah.


Posted Jul. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 130

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

BJ: Actually I think it's pretty plain that both Sally and Irene were happy until Bernice started drinking & confessed her feelings to Sally when Irene was six. Irene had a breakthrough toward the end of the book and realized that the reason she couldn't remember anything before the fire was that she had been happy before that time, and hadn't truly been happy since. George also says that his mother changed when he was about six and was no longer a happy person.

Speaking to the question - I've heard before that people who are afraid of heights are actually afraid of wanting to fall, not so much the fall itself. George's belief that Irene is trying to get the better of her fears and that standing on bridges was actually a GOOD thing could therefore make sense. But personally, if someone I knew were exhibiting that type of behavior, I'd be very worried about them.


Posted Jul. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melindah

Join Date: 12/25/12

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

BJ, I realize this is a slightly different topic than the original question, but to answer your question, yes. I do think unhappiness is made worse when it follows true happiness - I also think the converse is true, happiness is made that much better when it follows unhappiness. It falls into the category of 'we don't know what we don't know' when we have only experienced one state. It is harder to appreciate what we have when we haven't been without - it is terrible to miss something we once had.


Posted Jul. 05, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 242

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RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

I feel that Irene uses the bridge thing as a way to get back on track. When she thinks she is not coping or doing what she should or measuring up to her own standards I think a trip to the bridge is how she sort of refocuses and determines that her life is really not that bad. It is sort of like being scared straight.


Posted Aug. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cb

Join Date: 03/19/14

Posts: 19

RE: Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?

I think Irene used the bridge to strengthen her resolve to not give in -as she sees her mother doing- to being knocked around by life. But I also think that flinging yourself against the darkness that tugs at you over and over and over may lead to the very thing you'd hoped to avoid.


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