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This Must Be the Place
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Early in the novel Phoebe describes her feeling of dissociation. Later Marithe describes a similar sensation. What connections (other than their shared fathers) did you see between the girls? Did you see similar parallels between other characters as well?

Created: 07/20/16

Replies: 5

Posted Jul. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1336

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Early in the novel Phoebe describes her feeling of dissociation. Later Marithe describes a similar sensation. What connections (other than their shared fathers) did you see between the girls? Did you see similar parallels between other characters as well?

On page 59, Phoebe describes her feeling of dissociation, "Like I've been cut down the middle and I'm in two places at once, or I'm getting radio interference from somewhere, or I'm just a shadow." On page 361, Marithe describes a similar sensation. What connections (other than their shared fathers) did you see between the girls? Did you see similar parallels between other characters as well?


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 33

Maraithe and her maturation

I would like to discuss the conversation that Marithe had with her mother at the age of 13, as she describes the feeling of being "disjointed," or not at one with herself.
I was very interested to hear Claudette's response that she would always have this feeling and that with it came wisdom. I think this must have been quite depressing for Marithe.
I wondered if her feelings were more the start of a mental illness. I certainly have never heard coming into teenage-hood described in this way and found it disturbing.


Posted Aug. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mary J

Join Date: 04/26/15

Posts: 37

Marithe and Phoebe and their dissociation

Dissociation of some kind is often caused by some type of childhood trauma and/or poor coping mechanisms in family structures. Both Marithe and Phoebe have been raised in such environments. Phoebe was raised without her father, Daniel, and was denied all communication by her mother. She had no idea that Daniel had made attempts to keep in touch. Marithe was also raised without her father and with a mother that had become a recluse. Her family structure was very unusual, living off the grid, etc. Neither one of them may have had a mental illness, but they were raised in unusual situations.


Posted Aug. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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RE: Marithe and Phoebe

I see this as Mary J describes it. While I think some of those feelings are normal as a young person is going through puberty and especially moving into young womanhood-- women get mixed messages about being "shadows" versus asserting their own will--I think for both Phoebe and Marithe this was exacerbated by their fragmented family situation. In one way or another, their father is absent, not there to affirm and support their emerging selves. It's important for either gender to be affirmed by both mother and father, or mother figure and father figure. Just having a strong mother (reclusive or not) isn't enough. Niall and Ari seem to have filled this role for their sisters to some degree. I know when my daughters lost their father, my stepsons did the same for them. All of the children in this book seemed to be good, loving and distinctive personalities, and I was glad when Daniel thanked Claudette at the end for doing a great job of holding them together.

It's interesting that we don't hear as much from Phoebe or Marithe as from Daniel's sons. So it's hard to know how much they might have in common besides physical appearance, and a largely absent father. There are hints that they might share their father's sensitivity to nuances and his inward reserve. Marithe seems a bit more outgoing than Phoebe, a bit freer and not as likely to go with a crowd she doesn't like, but of course she hasn't been put into any situation where that would be an option.

Niall and Ari both seem to have much in common: very smart, very comfortable with and insistent upon being their own unique selves, confident in ways Daniel is not, and yet like their father, very loving and good with children. Each of them, of course, has had to learn to live with a challenging, chronic physical problem.


Posted Aug. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

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Dissociation

This sense of dissociation is more common than most people are willing to admit. For the two girls, their admission could be a good indicator of a higher level of maturity - how many people are self aware enough to point out how they feel pretty distinctly at a fairly young age? The boys, while drawn more robustly, do not seem to show the same level of self-awareness.

The girls lives weren't very much different or more traumatic than most divorced kids today ... so I am not sure that divorce or an absent father is as much a cause of their feeling split as it may be that they inherited both his sense of other worldliness and the burden of somehow living while watching themselves live. Like Daniel, they hadn't found a way to piece the different words/feelings together into one coherent idea or thought ... and that left them floating. Unlike Daniel, I'd like to believe that they will find a way to make all the connections.

The feeling of being yourself, but not being yourself was experienced by almost all characters, with different manifestations. Claudette seemed to be the only person who was hell bent on fighting the sense that she could not come together as a whole person by insisting on living her life on her very own terms.

Throughout the book, so much was felt, but not spoken (or almost spoken, but swallowed) ... could it be that by not speaking what the soul is feeling a person will create some level of dissociation?


Posted Aug. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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RE:Disassociation

ylhoff, I think your comment, "....could it be that by not speaking what the soul is feeling a person will create some level of dissociation?"is right on the money. While young people, especially girls, and especially in situations of family upheaval or other traumas, may be most vulnerable, I think this is true for all of us, at any age, where we aren't able to communicate our feelings, or sometimes even sort them out, where we feel we have to play a role or uphold an image or appearance that may be seriously at odds with our souls.


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