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When Women Were Birds
"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder." - Ann...
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Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

Created: 03/08/13

Replies: 15

Posted Mar. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

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Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Williams's interpretations do you agree with?

Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's interpretations do you agree with?


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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christy

Join Date: 05/22/12

Posts: 41

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

Diane's journals were blank because Terry had to find out about her mother's most intimate thoughts by examining her own. This was a brilliant move on Diane's part that wouldn't necessarily 'work' with just anyone but she knew her own daughter well enough to let her write 'the story' of her memories. I wish I had thought of that!

Terry's many interpretations of her mother's journals are ALL ones I agree with because they can be ALL THINGS to Terry. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
eileenp

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 33

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I think that it was a way for Diane to actively reject one of the roles that was demanded of her by the Mormon Church, and she wanted to keep some of herself for herself. On that note, however, I agree with all of Williams' interpretations as they are all equally plausible. In any case, they were a wonderful gift to her daughter.


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

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RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I thought she wanted her daughter to follow her own path not necessarily have one set down for her. Sort of like saying make you own history. Your life does not have to be an extension of mine.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LReads

Join Date: 06/23/12

Posts: 27

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I don't remember where but at some point it states that she believes that every woman must find her own path and I think she wanted to encourage her daughter to find her own story and the journals were a challenge to do that. I also think that she was giving the message that she need not follow societie's expectations but ask herself questions and do what was right for her.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 244

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RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I think that Diane was trying to make a quiet statement against the mandate that she was suppose to keep a journal but I also think she was encouraging her daughter to follow her own path. It seemed that the relationship between Diane and her daughter was a good one and she may also have felt that she needed to give Terry all of the mothering she needed during her life and not leave a lot of her own musings and thoughts to muddle her daughter's choices.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Gin

Join Date: 10/21/12

Posts: 24

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

It is a puzzle to me that one of Williams' mother's dying wishes was to give her blank journals to her daughter and that she bound her daughter to not open them until she was gone. Clearly she was making a statement about something but at the time Williams found them blank, it was very hurtful. Williams has been trying to understand ever since and has come up with many possible stories. What was more interesting to me was that Mormon women are expected to keep journals and this was an act of defiance. Perhaps she was suggesting that Williams need not follow all the tenants of Mormons for women and ultimately, that's exactly what she did.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mystinamarie

Join Date: 12/19/12

Posts: 37

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I had two thoughts about why the journals were blank.

The first, is along the same lines of what "eileenp" said- that this was the mother's way of rejecting a Mormon church requirement that she didn't want to participate in. Almost like a secret rebellious act that nobody but her (and in the future, her daughter) would know she was partaking in. This is the theory I came up with while starting the book and reading it.

The second idea hit me towards the end of the book and grew in theory after finishing the book and "digesting" it awhile.
Williams' was very close to her mother and knew that the Mormon journals were meant for a woman to put her private thoughts and feelings, had been told about them her whole life.
It hit me that perhaps her mother was expressing to her that she hadn't left anything unsaid. Williams opening those journals was not going to mean a discovery of some strange woman she never knew. She wouldn't discover hidden thoughts of her mom's or learn about stifled desires or unmet dreams, etc. which would have changed her viewpoint of her mother and felt like she had been a stranger.
Instead, I think her mom was conveying that she TOLD Williams everything that was meant to be said. She didn't need to turn to a journal to express it in private. If she wanted to tell her daughter her hopes or dreams, how important she was, how much she loved her, etc. she DID that, while still living. It didn't need to be discovered, tucked away on yellowed pages, after she had died. She chose to say it all while still alive and give her daughter all of her, not tuck any of it away.

Just a theory, but it's one that stuck with me.


Posted Apr. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
eileenp

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 33

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

Mystinamarie, I really like your second idea. It's lovely, and it strikes me as consistent with both her mother's approach to life and the relationship that they shared.


Posted Apr. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 88

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RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

She was rejecting the Mormon church. She wanted her daughter to find herself and not be locked into the Mormon mandates.


Posted Apr. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 82

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RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

I believe this was Diane's passive way of rebelling against what was expected of her as a Mormon woman. She could do it secretively and still seem like she was complying. Terry mentions that her mother was a very private woman and this act of not writing satisfied her need to stay private. Her gift of the blank journals to Terry may have been an affirmation to Terry that she could, also, plot her own course.


Posted Apr. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
arielf

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 18

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

Terry indicates that her mother was a private person. While Diane confirmed to the Mormon rules/demands by having the journals, she rebelled by not writing anything in them. She was able to be her own person, but have people think she confirmed to the Mormon doctrine. I found this to be a shrewd way of rebelling. She left the journals for Terry, but she also left Terry the ability to interpret them as she so desired.


Posted Apr. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolynv

Join Date: 04/17/11

Posts: 8

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

Ok, am I the only silly one here? My first thought was that she had written them in invisible ink! ;) I agree with those that thought it was rebellion against the Morman church. But I loved mystinamarie's theory about letting her daughter know that nothing had been left unsaid between them. She was definitely sending a message to Terry.


Posted Apr. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolynv

Join Date: 04/17/11

Posts: 8

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

"You've been paid for by people who never even saw your face. Your mother's mother, your father's father. And so it behooves you to prepare yourself so you can pay for someone else yet to come. Whose name you'll never know. You just keep the good thing going." Maya Angelou

Maybe Terry's mother was saying 'your life as been paid for, I paid for it, now live it.'


Posted Apr. 18, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gigik

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 11

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

We are all so complex and to put words to our lives for a daughter to read can be limiting. What a wise mother. Questions to be answered would be those asked by the daughter. Those are the things I wish I had done....asked more questions of my mother while she was alive. Gigi


Posted May. 17, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
booksnob

Join Date: 11/12/11

Posts: 21

RE: Why do you think Diane's journals were blank? Which of Terry's's interpretations do you agree with?

In some ways I love that the journals are blank. It is left up to interpretation as to why. I have written in journals but I'm not sure I want anyone to read them, they are for me and not my descendants. I guess maybe Terry's mother never found her voice or in leaving the journals blank, her voice was shouting to those who would listen. What an interesting mystery.


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