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Evening in Paradise


"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives ...
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Discuss Evening in Paradise by Lucia Berlin:
"Our Brother's Keeper": Do you think we bear responsibility for our inaction, when we know someone we care about is making an error? Do you think Sara would have listened if others had expressed concern?

Created: 11/04/19

Replies: 3

Posted Nov. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1974

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"Our Brother's Keeper": Do you think we bear responsibility for our inaction, when we know someone we care about is making an error? Do you think Sara would have listened if others had expressed concern?

In "Our Brother's Keeper", both Sara's best friend and her ex-husband say they knew Sara's lover was bad news, and feel guilty about her death. Do you think we bear responsibility for our inaction, when we know someone we care about is making an error? Do you think Sara would have listened if others had expressed concern?


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 89

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RE: "Our Brother's Keeper": Do you think we bear responsibility for our inaction, when we know someone we care about is making an error? Do you think Sara would have listened if others had expressed concern?

Yes, I think we bear some responsibility for our inaction, although we all know not exactly how to say something. The other half is would they listen anyway? Not if they are very young. And only a slim maybe even at a later age. Usually the people who are in a position to say something are too close to the problem - like an ex and a best friend, right?


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 69

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RE:

I always feel worse if I don’t say something when I think someone is making a dangerous or unwise decision. I do know that once I have voiced my concern I need to let the person make their own decision. It does make me feel better, no matter whether my advice is listened to or not. In the case of Sara, the result may have been the same, but the author would not feel the guilt they carry by their inaction.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lole

Join Date: 11/30/19

Posts: 25

RE:

Berlin's last sentence here is portentous: "I have no alibi for the night of the crime". The day of the murder, the Narrator is impatient; she imposes her solutions on Sara; she is neither open nor available to her friend. The Narrator says she had no alibi, but too late feels she also had no excuse for not being truly present to Sara.

People become entrenched when they feel their decisions or actions are being judged or criticized. Better to open a conversation about the relationship when troubling signs first occur. This intervention might have been more useful at the time of the unkind words, the slap. But Sara forgave Leon, perhaps over and over, and the friends did too because they wanted to believe in love.

She might have been more receptive if a seed of uncertainty about the relationship had been planted by someone who loved her when trouble first began.


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