Book Talk Home | Search Book Talk | Login | RSS
Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
The Arsonist
One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.
More about this book
Author Biography

Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

Created: 07/27/14

Replies: 8

Posted Jul. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 504

Expert

Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

When Frankie describes her aid work in Africa, she asserts that it seemed like her parents had trouble listening, yet later on, when pressed by Bud to discuss it, she has trouble articulating her role in great detail. Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 63

Expert

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

I think Frankie is reluctant to discuss her work in depth because her motivations for that work are not as altruistic as those with whom she is conversing assume them to be. She fears revealing too much about herself and opening herself to questions. She is at heart Avery private person.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dona

Join Date: 06/03/14

Posts: 6

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

I agree with Laurap. Early in the book Frankie says that her motivation was to find a way to live in Africa. The work was a convenient means for her to be there.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 41

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

Frankie doesn't think her work is worthwhile and therefore she is not a "success." And perhaps she isn't in the money grubbing, power hungry sense of success, but the small successes are a success. Bud gets it, Frankie doesn't and I think that is why they will eventually drift apart. Not because they don't love each other but because Frankie will always be unhappy with "small success" and Bud has grown beyond "small successes" to see the bigger picture.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 41

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

On page 174 Frankie talks about feeling that her work may actually hurt the people she was trying to help. That feeding people means the farmers don't plant, that aid workers were prolonging conflicts, etc. What a sad way to see what you have spent 14 years doing.


Posted Jul. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyw

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 22

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

Frankie may feel that people so far removed from Africa and it's problems couldn't possibly understand the nature or importance of her work. And, sadly, most Americans do not care what is happening outside their own small sphere. Returning to the US from abroad is a huge shock--meaningless happenings can seem so major in our country.


Posted Aug. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

Thank you beckyh I totally agree. It made me think about the failings of HELPING Others. Frankie's desire to stay and revisit the work is to me an indication that she understands that the system is weak. The question of who we are helping with aid will stay with me for a long time. After graduating from college I was in VISTA for 2 years. It became apparent to me that it was an individuals dream that one or 2 of us were to initiate in a years time. Unless one could inspire the community or a group what was started would be lost. I feel for Frankie's struggle with social change


Posted Aug. 20, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 64

Expert

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

It seems to me that Frankie has such mixed feelings about her work, about whether she is really helping anyone or just prolonging their poverty and preventing them from developing self-sufficiency, that she can't believe anyone would understand. Since she herself isn't sure anymore about the work, it may be beyond her to imagine that talking about it to others could be in any way helpful. Talking about the work candidly might have been helpful to Frankie in bringing clarity to her own thoughts, but she denied herself that "luxury." Her own ambivalence keeps her mostly silent about the work.


Posted Aug. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeann

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 42

RE: Why do you think Frankie is hesitant to discuss her work at length? What assumptions does she think she faces from others about her work?

I was about to post the exact words..."mixed feelings" , "prolonging poverty",as juliaa used. And that Frankie thought she might be enabling the people that she was working with to stay dependent and not develop their on self-sufficiency. Juliaa, who posted right ahead of me, and I seem to have the same thoughts on this.
Frankie wasn't clear on her own feelings about her work in Africa, yet probably felt that people thought she was there for all the right reasons. Frankie's thoughts were mixed with feelings for the people, doubts about her work. Also, Frankie mentioned in the very beginning of the book that after she had been home awhile she would wonder whether being in Africa was an attempt to be away from her Mother. Whether that was the point of Africa for her. She had many doubts thoughtout the book, but she did have a strong pull towards the work in Africa as well.


Reply

Please login to post a response.