Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Twelve-Mile Straight


An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide

Discuss The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson:
Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Created: 07/11/18

Replies: 18

Posted Jul. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

Expert

Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity? 


Posted Jul. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 335

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

I think this is a very interesting question. On the one hand, I think it's always a mistake to hide the truth, but on the other, not knowing Nan's parentage made everyone's life easier... so I don't know! My gut feeling is that Oliver was in the wrong.


Posted Jul. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gretchenm

Join Date: 06/04/12

Posts: 17

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

No. All of his decisions were cloaked in good intentions, but he had a medical responsibility to foreclose what he knew. If we were talking about the present. But he was a doctor in a place and time where women weren’t regarded as equals in so many aspects.


Posted Jul. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 179

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Was it ethical? No. Considering the times and repercussions, I think it was kind to protect her. In today's world, it would be wrong.


Posted Jul. 18, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 197

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Right or wrong--he did it to protect her.


Posted Jul. 18, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 223

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

I think he was KIND to hide Nan's paternity. The truth would have troubled a number of people. But ethically, he should have told the truth.


Posted Jul. 18, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 124

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

I think it was best to keep it secret for the time period, not now.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurag

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 14

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Given the times and the return of Sterling, I think it was best for Nan.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
johnw

Join Date: 03/11/12

Posts: 50

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

When answering this question I thought about the era the story takes place versus today. When I view the question in this context - yes. Oliver was right to hide Nan's paternity to protect her.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 259

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

He only knows it was either George Wilson or Juke Jesup -- they both had the same blood type. He trusts his intuition -- but he also knows what it means for Nan to feel she is no longer fatherless, to enjoy her new relationship with the man she understands to be her father, compared to the horror of realizing she had been raped by her own father. He does the kind thing. In this case, it is the right thing; he can't claim to know the truth for certain, and he puts her feelings first.

This also allows Sterling to be true to his best self, by regaining a family. He too would be devastated by knowing the likely (not certain) truth.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 78

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Yes, considering the time and place he did what he thought was best for Nan.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 125

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Yes, the family dynamics were unsettling enough without adding Nan’s paternity to the situation.


Posted Jul. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
karenrn

Join Date: 08/29/13

Posts: 93

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Yes, he did the best thing for the time and circumstances.


Posted Jul. 21, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 39

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Hard call. Very paternalistic of him, but then that was the time. And yet the truth is always the best. He thought he was doing what was right, protecting everyone, but it wasn't his secret to keep.


Posted Jul. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 185

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Not right or wrong, just appropriate for the time period, place, and situation.


Posted Jul. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marymargaretf

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 39

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

In a college lit class many eons ago, we discussed the concept of “the saving lie” and I think in this case it is a lie of omission which Oliver chose in order to bring peace to Nan and Sterling. The truth would have been devastating for an already very fragile situation.


Posted Aug. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 35

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

i think he made the right decision as a physician, much as with lawyers, patient confidentiality is vitally important.


Posted Aug. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Taken in context to the era of time, it was the right thing to do.


Posted Aug. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

Expert

RE: Was Oliver right to hide Nan's paternity?

Taken in context to the era of time, it was the right thing to do.


Reply

Please login to post a response.