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The Women in the Castle


A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the...
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Discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck:
According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

Created: 02/10/18

Replies: 11

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

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According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?


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

Join Date: 07/28/14

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

I do not feel that Americans are quite as open as we were before 9-11. That said, America has not been hit as hard as Europe or other war torn countries have been.


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

Join Date: 08/07/11

Posts: 34

RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

Despite 9-11 and other challenges and tragedies, we haven't been knocked down and brought to our knees. I'm often amazed by what American people have endured to be Americans including my German ancestors who came to American to escape Hitler's persecution of Jewish people; my husband's Norwegian grandparents who spent a North Dakota winter in a tent on the prairie; my Polish grandfather and his family who were displaced from their homeland by Hitler; and the brave people in my family who have fought in every war on American soil and abroad. Most of us have these people in their families, these stories. Yes, we face the world with open arms but also open eyes. Some days I think we may be our own enemy.


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

Join Date: 03/11/15

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

We've had Pearl Harbor and 9/11 but we haven't fought a war with a foreign adversary on our own soil. We haven't suffered what so many countries have, so it is easier for us to open our arms. I hope we can keep it that way.


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

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

Yes and no.

We certainly have confidence. Our predominantly white, Anglo culture of tradition reflects the outlook of people who conquered and displaced the native peoples, and prevailed in a war of revolution. America has never been invaded or occupied by a foreign power following a defeat. Our major national tragedy, the Civil War, was self-inflicted. We have been attacked (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), yet while the loss of life was deeply felt, our way of life was never compromised-- at least, not by our enemies. We did that to ourselves with the assault on personal liberties called the Patriot Act, and our waging of war in the Middle East on false pretenses. The "war on terror" is a misnomer because the vast majority of Americans don't live in terror of a foreign enemy; Americans of color, though, have always lived and still live in terror of racial violence, some of it from our own government (i.e. police).

I'd like to think we face the world with open arms, and the America I grew up in (born in 1950, so I'm close to Martin's age) felt open to immigration for all people in a way that it no longer does with the rise to power of a white supremacist, nationalistic political movement. But as a student and a teacher of history I have learned that our openness is a myth, notwithstanding Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. We've had strict quotas on people from Asia, for example, in the late 19th century, and before that, public antagonism against immigrants from Ireland and Eastern Europe. Even during WW2, we limited the numbers of Jews fleeing Nazis in Europe. America embraced the eugenics movement that inspired Hitler as well. So I question the open arms.


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

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 13

RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

I agree that Americans haven't been knocked down like other countries have been except possibly the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We haven't had a foreign army taking us over on our soil. We've embraced open arms less since 9/11.


Posted Feb. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

Other than the Revolutionary War and, in a different way, 9/11 we've never had "the world" fight a war on our soil, so in that way, the world has not knocked us down. I do question, though, how open our arms are, both historically and at the current moment. Certainly the current battle over immigration policy suggests that many of us are not particularly open; our current president's "America First" trade policy suggests limitations on openness as well. As we look back over time, our negative reactions to various European immigrant groups (the Irish, Italians, Jews, Asians, and Eastern Europeans), our history of racism, our willingness to intern the Japanese during WW II, all suggest less than open attitudes. I think Martin gives us too much credit.


Posted Feb. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianac

Join Date: 04/02/13

Posts: 38

RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

There is an arrogance in American culture that perpetuates that myth.


Posted Feb. 21, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

I don't think this is completely true. Many immigrants faced discrimination in the past until they were assimilated and accepted and others at various times were unable to come. I think though that America in many ways was a more open society then than other countries. Through education and hard work, people were able to realize their dreams. I think today, however, we are a very divided country on immigration, dreamers, and many other issues. Not only are we not open with other countries, we are not open to discussion with other Americans to make our country better.


Posted Feb. 21, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paml

Join Date: 10/25/12

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't. yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

America in recent history hasn’t known an enemy in our country. We have not had actual war in our cities, so we do tend to be ignorant to what that actually means. I will never forget what a co-worker said to me one day , “that Americans can not even know what seeing your school mates be gunned down in front of you by a militia will do to you”. She had escaped from Iran, she left her husband, her family, her profession and all she had to escape the violence. And she is right, I have nothing to know what that is like. So in our naivety I believe we do face the world with open arms. However, most of us are too quick to judge others, never knowing what they have experienced.


Posted Feb. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
annettes

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 22

RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

It is true that America has not been hit hard by war as Europe has, but I think Pearl Harbor and 9-11 opened our eyes to how vulnerable we are and that has resulted in the lack of "open arms" to people of some foreign countries.


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

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 318

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RE: According to Martin, "Americans can face the world with open arms, Marianne had once said, because the world hasn't yet come to knock it down." Do you think this is true? Do you think it's ever been true in America's history?

I think historically any immigrant population coming to the US has faced discrimination. I can't think of any period in our country's history when racial & ethnic slurs of one sort or another weren't used by some segment of the population here. But, I also think that there are a lot of people in our country who DO try to welcome others with open arms, perhaps more than there ever have been.


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