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Unsheltered


A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.
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Discuss Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver:
is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Created: 11/07/18

Replies: 9

Posted Nov. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeb

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 16

is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Rose seems not to understand that in spite of her beauty and taste, she has married a poor man who cannot give her the luxury she craves. Were you surprised that a divorce was possible?


Posted Nov. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 206

Expert

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

I saw strong comparisons between Willa and Rose in the sense that janeb mentions. Willa seems to me to be bemoaning the fact that her husband is being overlooked and deserves so much more. She has given up her own career to go with her husband and it is not what he - or she - deserves. There were points in the novel when I felt that if I were married to Willa I would have to walk away. I felt her attitude was one reason Zeke stayed as far away as much as he did and was a reason her husband had so little to say - her negativity was overwhelming. After so much, it became hard for me to sympathize with either Rose or Willa.


Posted Nov. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
donnag

Join Date: 04/18/18

Posts: 6

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Rose and Polly both grew up with life's comforts. While Rose was a selfish, whining, immature young woman, her younger sister was rather mature and appreciative of non-materialistic things. I had very little sympathy for Rose. She was overbearing, close-minded, and intimidating. I also lost some respect for Thatcher in that relationship because he didn't stand up for himself.


Posted Nov. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
charleneds

Join Date: 03/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

I found Rose to be a very unappealing character. I felt no sympathy/empathy for her. She was out of touch with reality - her husband couldn't provide for her in the manner that she felt she was entitled to. She was insistent on staying in a house that was falling apart. I was actually relieved when she left Thatcher to be with her friend's brother - a superficial woman with a man who will appreciate having a beautiful wife who wanted nothing more than to be provided for. I was also very put out at her for forcing Polly to wear a corset and give up her childhood to find a suitable husband. She wasn't a good wife or a good sister.


Posted Nov. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 96

Expert

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

No - she was not a sympathetic character! She may have done everything society thought was "right" but was definitely not a good match for Thatcher - or vice versa.


Posted Nov. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Wicky

Join Date: 10/31/18

Posts: 7

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Yes, some (but she didn't make it easy!). Rose and her entire family have been through a lot. She lost her father and a lifestyle she was accustomed to. Her father's death and financial ruin dumped the whole family into a very precarious situation. Like Willa, she feels marooned in Vineland, a place she never thought she'd be. Rose feels a very heavy weight of responsibility both for her mother and for her little sister -- and that's a tough place to be at her young age. She feels the need to be the provider or ensure that the family has a provider, and she feels obligated to ensure that Polly is raised "properly" (as Rose sees it) in the almost total absence of maternal guidance and support.


Posted Nov. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RebeccaF

Join Date: 08/24/14

Posts: 24

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

I happened to see Kingsolver speak on Monday evening and one thing she said was “As a novelist you have to generate that absolute empathy” for every character. I think it is possible to feel sorry for Rose because you know all that she has been through (as Wicky says). She wants the security of material things and social standing, as so many people still do today.


Posted Nov. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lloster

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 7

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Yes, Janeb , I was also surprised that divorce was possible and seemed so easy. In such a rigid and traditional society, I wouldn't have expected it.


Posted Nov. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ErinJ

Join Date: 11/24/18

Posts: 3

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

I started out having sympathy for Rose for all the reasons Wicky mentioned, as well as for her grief in miscarrying, but I lost it as she refused to mature or acknowledge reality. Her inability to admit that her house was literally falling apart and hence perhaps her husband and the builders he consulted were, in fact, correct in their assessment of the construction flaws was absurd. Her temper tantrum in chapter 2 was maybe understandable, as she linked the house so closely with her memories of her father. I could sympathize with that. But by the time ceilings are falling in, cracks are appearing in walls, etc., I lost patience with her. She clung to an imaginary ideal of what her life SHOULD be like, which allowed no room for growth but instead fostered dissatisfaction and misery, and not just for herself. Her character worked pretty well, I thought, as an allegory for today's Trump supporters.


Posted Dec. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
windellh

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 25

RE: is there any sympathy for Rose who says she did everything right?

Rose may have done everything right in the social realm but not according those of us who also look at things from the perspective of the heart. Life seems disappointing when our treasures are but temporary. The most important things in life cannot be bought.


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