Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Women in the Castle


A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck:
What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Created: 02/10/18

Replies: 13

Posted Feb. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1485

Expert

What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?


Posted Feb. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Janet Smith

Join Date: 07/28/14

Posts: 14

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Connie was a good and caring man. With Benita's background and all that she had been through, she was drawn to him as her protector or someone who would take care of her. I'm not really sure that she loved Connie. The same holds true for Herr Muller...although she knew she needed to warn Muller about the Russian soldiers. So, she did have feelings for him. Was glad Muller did not marry Benita.


Posted Feb. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyn

Join Date: 05/12/16

Posts: 8

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Benita called Connie her "prince." He would take her away from her poor family and boring small town and would give her a more desirable life. Did she love him? Yes, she was enamored by him. I think she truly loved Herr Mueller and I felt it was not Marianne that came between Mueller and Benita, but the past. Herr Mueller realized that Connie had been a hero and would not honor him to marry his former wife.


Posted Feb. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 37

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

I'm sure Benita saw Connie as a ticket to a better life, but that does not mean that she didn't love him. I think she did. I think she did love Muller and I think they could have been happy together. But perhaps the past was just too much for both of them.


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 205

Expert

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

I believe Benita thought she loved Connie, but "enamored" is a better word -- she loved the idea of him as a protector and her ticket to a better life-- she was lazy, apolitical, and her world didn't give her many resources for a woman to improve her lot, apart from marriage. She found Connie attractive and he flattered her ego, but once she was married she clearly made no effort to get to know him, and later she realizes she was cold. By the time she met Muller, Benita had been through horrors; she was vulnerable, in a way she hadn't been before, and I think she appreciated his decency first, then came to love him in her own way after she took a risk to warn him of the Russian soldier, perhaps her first unselfish action. She was more mature and more capable of a love that was in part unselfish, but again, she also saw Muller as a protector and a rescuer. I think she would have learned to love him more fully and unselfishly in time, as his war story shows he was a man of decency, though not of courage. Yes, he should have defied Marianne, but again, he lacked courage, and he convicted himself as much as Marianne did.


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianac

Join Date: 04/02/13

Posts: 38

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Benita was from a depressed, small town and he represented an opportunity for her to leave her small town to have a chance at a life she only dreamed about. I believe she loved Muller in her own way, and I feel he reciprocated her feelings in his own way. Yes, one or both of them would have been better served to "defy" Marianne and marry.


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherynez

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 13

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

I think Benita was impressed by Connie and thought she loved him. She saw him as her ticket out of town. She seemed to love Herr Muller. He should have defied Marianne and married Benita. I think she felt like she was trapped and in a hopeless situation after she went back to her hometown.


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ChloesMom

Join Date: 05/10/15

Posts: 5

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

I think Benita was charmed and carried away with everything Connie stood for,none of which she had. But I don’t think it was true love. I think she was very attracted to Mueller. Not sure marriage would have been an answer.


Posted Feb. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyb

Join Date: 02/17/18

Posts: 6

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

I think JLPen77 has a good bead on the dynamic. She did not fulfill her responsibility to be a loving wife to Connie (although his motive in choosing her is somewhat obscure). But her relation to Mueller was quite different. I think she could have had a good, or at least decent life, with him. He was a better match for her. And sadly, Marianne's interference doomed that relationship. It wasn't that he couldn't defy her, but she uncovered his feelings of guilt and unworthiness so he could not go ahead with the marriage to Benita. Benita did love him.


Posted Feb. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 196

Expert

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Benita saw Connie as a "Prince Charming" -- a protector and a provider of good and luxurious things. She felt he let her down by not continually adoring her. Her relationship with Muller was on a more equal playing field, but she still had some unreasonable expectations -- a lovely flat, nice clothes -- given the situation in post-war Germany. I'm not sure Muller would have gone through with the marriage even if Marianne had not intervened, given the reactions of his father and daughter, but I do think Marianne, however misguided, crystallized his thoughts.


Posted Feb. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 55

Expert

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

She saw Connie at first as her ticket out of her unhappy existence. She thought that he would provide her with a happy life so unlike the one she was living and because he did, I think she might have loved him for that.
I feel that she fell deeply in love with Muller and never got over the fact that he called off the marriage. I think that in ending the relationship, he wasn't so much defying Marianne, but as a result of her visit, he accepted that Benita, being the widow of a Hitler resister deserved a better man than a Nazi.


Posted Feb. 27, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jillw

Join Date: 02/15/18

Posts: 6

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Benita was drawn to Connie because he seemed to be living the type of lifestyle she wanted -- his life was exciting and took him places she currently could not go or even dream about. I think she loved in the way she felt she had to to to be able to experience the life she wanted. I think with Herr Muller Benita experienced tru love. I think Herr Muller should have defied Marianne but his mental state would not allow him to do so - his scars were too deep and his self-loathing too great


Posted Mar. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 61

Expert

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Connie gave Benita the attention that she longed for. She saw herself differently through Connie's eyes, and liked who she was when she was with him. They were enamored of each other. Benita's feelings for Herr Muller were strong, and I think it was more of a love relationship than what she and Connie initially had. I really believed they could have been happy together had not Marianne interfered. I don't think Herr Muller would have come to the conclusions he did without Marianne expressing her objection. Her sole objection was that he had been a Nazi. To Marianne, that was unforgivable, especially in light of the fact their husbands died because of their actions against Hitler.


Posted Mar. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 312

Expert

RE: What drew Benita to Connie? Do you think she loved him? What were her true feelings for Herr Muller? Should Herr Muller have defied Marianne and married Benita?

Oh, I think Benita was just a young silly girl infatuated with a handsome man who she thought could change her future. (Which he did... just not necessarily in a good way). I do think she loved Herr Muller, though, but I don't think it would have been a happy union had they ignored Marianne. He felt guilty about his past and consequently unworthy of her, and I think that eventually it would have impacted their marriage. It was too bad that they broke up, though, as I think Muller's little girl badly wanted a mother and I think that's a role Benita could have filled.


Reply

Please login to post a response.