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The Winter Soldier


A story of war and medicine, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history,...
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Discuss The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason:
Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

Created: 09/19/18

Replies: 8

Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

In the early and latter chapters of the novel, Lucius displays a profound lack of social grace, to the extent that he writes lists of "chatting topics" to help him when spontaneity eludes him. Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him, and in what way?


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

I do think that individuals can improve in social graces and small talk. There are classes in social skills offered to young students by Occupational Therapists and sometimes Speech and Language pathologists. While individuals that struggle with social graces can make great improvement, it would be unlikely that they would ever enjoy the situations that call for these skills.
I think that it is important that in the book, the personal relationships that Lucius values are ones that involved doing meaningful work with people over a long period of time. These people were able to see and value the best parts of Lucius.


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

I suppose it can be learned to a degree. I did wonder if this difficulty for him was an indicator that he might have some degree of Asperger’s but maybe that is over interpretion on my part.


Posted Sep. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

The fact that there is an organization called Toastmasters to try and help people feel comfortable about speaking to others indicates that some people must feel the practice helps - or I guess that group would no exists. Just like a sport or playing a musical interest or becoming a better reader, I think there can be some improvement if people think ahead of time about what they might discuss. Author Daniel Mason was very good at drawing the reader in to Lucius's discomfort.


Posted Sep. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

Being at heart, an introvert, I am also not great at small talk when it is either with people I don't know or in situations where I am not in control - i.e. parties. I very much felt his discomfort. I have learned a few catch phrases as he did to push myself past that discomfort.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 56

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

I do believe people can improve at small talk. Lucius did not really want to improve because he valued the real world more than the pretentious world of society. That did not protect him from feelings of discomfort in many social settings. Most people feel some discomfort in society although Lucius was more uncomfortable than average. That may at least in part have been because he was born into a very social leisure class in Vienna. His discomfort makes him a character with whom the reader identifies easily. Perhaps we all believe others are better than we are at small talk. We have certainly all been damaged, embarrased, even inwardly shy at some point in our lives.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

I suppose one can become proficient at small talk if one wants to put in valuable time on something that isn't important to them. There are some professions that require this skill if you are to advance in your field. How adept one becomes, I suspect, is how important it is to you to rub elbows in social settings with strangers etc


Posted Oct. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 66

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

One of the skills lost to the new generation of children is the art of conversation. Introverts have always found it difficult but a simple game of throw and catch can cure that. If someone throws you a ball catch it and throw it back. I can't remember the name of the author who wrote that but it is a skill that can be taught to children. If they have not been taught the skill of throwing back something then their conversation skills will be weak and their family is at fault. All the more important now that so few children engage in face to face conversation. Lucius's ways oif remembering what to say and what to ask by looking at the statues/paintings is brilliant. Bravo D. Mason!


Posted Oct. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 56

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RE: Do you think people can learn to become proficient at small-talk? Did you feel his discomfort when members of society helped or hurt him?

Yes. People can develop an ability to engage in small talk despite shyness or introversion. Just ask somebody an open ended question, show interest, and let the other person talk. I think Lucius ultimately would develop his ability to be in social situations over time. He wS still quite young at the start of the war & uncomfortable about his stutter.


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