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The Ways We Hide


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The novel starts with Fenna's stage partner Charles trying to "improve" one of the tricks she designed. What did you think of this?

Created: 09/08/22

Replies: 16

Posted Sep. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

The novel starts with Fenna's stage partner Charles trying to "improve" one of the tricks she designed. What did you think of this?

The novel starts with Fenna's stage partner Charles trying to "improve" one of the tricks she designed. What did you think of this, and what did you think of her reaction, both immediately afterwards and later?


Posted Sep. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 154

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I thought it was an act to assert his dominance and denigrate her. It was designed to wrest any sense of control of the act from her. To put her in her place even though she is the originator of the act, the brains of the act and the one who trained him. It was a purposefully designed to exclude her from the details of the act she created. It made her not only an outsider of her own show but excluded her from the insider information of the stage crew. She was intentionally put on the outside. It was to put it mildly an insult. She gave him a dose of his own medicine and took that opportunity to showcase some of her own special talents. Of course, he didn’t like that either.
Neither of these individuals is very mature and each has very sensitive spots concerning their roles in the act. Charles has issues with his masculinity due to not being able to serve in the war, and of course he sees Fenna as a threat and someone to lash out upon. He also soothes that with drink. Fenna has issues with having to sublimate herself and her talents to a man to make the act work. She also can’t do many things due to her claustrophobia and PTSD.


Posted Sep. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ssh

Join Date: 02/04/14

Posts: 69

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I did not like this as the beginning of the story. Somehow it just was upsetting and alienating to me. It left me uneasy about both of their behaviors overall.


Posted Sep. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shirleyv

Join Date: 04/29/22

Posts: 9

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

Charles' arrogance in changing the trick and successfully upstaging Fenna could have failed just as easily as it was successful--this time. Illusion is the essence of the magic tricks, and coordination and timing create the illusion. I think Fenna's initial reaction of anger was justified. She had been afraid for his safety and his smirk mocked her fear. However, her revenge actions also could have caused the trick to go awry. I think that once they had lost their trust in each other, the doomed magic act was a logical outcome.


Posted Sep. 09, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 435

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

Their act really called for complete trust in your partner. Once it became apparent that Charles wanted to be the main star (which he pretty much was) and would involve stagehands in his deceptions Fenna really had no choice but to leave the act. It was foolish to try to retaliate because they now had lost the trust and would always be suspicious of one another.


Posted Sep. 10, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 303

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I didn’t mind it. For me it just set the stage for Fennas decisions moving forward


Posted Sep. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanw

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 56

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

Fenna was the "brains" of the act but I think Charles just felt that he should have a say so about what he did - he treated her as the assistant which she certainly was not. What would he have done if the trick would have gone the other way? She did have to go on to prove to herself and others that she could and would be the star of the act although her problem with being in tight areas did not help her either.


Posted Sep. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 90

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

Charles was definitely not my favorite character in this story, but I doubt the author wanted us to view him any differently. It was a power play that was probably exaggerated by traditional gender role issues, and it triggered the rest of the story. At first, I wasn't thrilled when he popped up again later on, but the exchange between them wasn't bad.


Posted Sep. 13, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I agree with the folks who said it was a power play, and both it and Fenna's response were childish. I did think, though, that with important reporters in the audience, the fact that Fenna's panic was real probably aided the performance.


Posted Sep. 14, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyb

Join Date: 04/14/20

Posts: 76

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I think performers are always in competition with each other for attention and the spotlight. I didn’t find it surprising that Charlie tried to take the lead. They were both young and men were usually in control/getting all the credit at that time. Also Fenna was limited in what she would try due to her traumatic experience at the Italian Hall.


Posted Sep. 18, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teachlz

Join Date: 07/28/16

Posts: 50

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I think that Charles felt entitled to more of the credit than Fenna had been giving him, and was asserting himself. It now was more of a power struggle.


Posted Sep. 18, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
linz

Join Date: 08/12/15

Posts: 111

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I agree with teachlz. I think that charles thought he was not being treated fairly by Fenna, and he was trying to show how much she needed him in the act. I think its not untypical of what we see with entertainment groups in real life. He was trying to say to her, "Look at me, I can do this!"


Posted Sep. 22, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
smallino

Join Date: 06/06/21

Posts: 49

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

You have to consider the era. Women were limited in positions and responsibilities. Charles headlining the act was indicative of the times. Women were assistants, men in charge. Fenna had to be frustrated with that and acted out. What woman can blame her.


Posted Sep. 22, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sooz

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 62

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

Charlie enjoyed upstaging Fenna and therefore scaring her as well. Her anger was justifiable in my opinion.


Posted Sep. 22, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JHSiess

Join Date: 06/12/22

Posts: 14

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I thought it was a highly effective plot device to establish a number of aspects, including the gender inequality of the time, and Fenna's core personality traits and characteristics. It also revealed problems in her professioanl relationship with Charlie, making the next aspects of the story more believable. Her reaction was palpable and believable.


Posted Sep. 26, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 294

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I was a bit confused about Fenna and Charlie's relationship. I realize she taught Charlie a lot but after he mastered it I wondered why he continued working with her. It was a man's world after all. Other than the fact that it provided Fenna the means to do magic, I guess it wasn't important to the next part of the story.


Posted Sep. 29, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 57

RE: The novel starts with Fenna's ...

I wasn't sure about this as the beginning of the novel, but it did influence the way I viewed both Charles (who I really, really didn't like) and wondered why Fenna allowed him to get away with his actions....but it sets up the rest of the novel in an interesting way.


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