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Mississippi Blood


New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of...
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Discuss Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles:
How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Created: 06/17/18

Replies: 20

Posted Jun. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Any family saga is bound to be filled with guilt. How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?


Posted Jun. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
robertaw

Join Date: 04/20/16

Posts: 18

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Guilt played a huge part in the life of Tom Cage, from the time he had an affair with Viola forward. The guilt kept piling up for him, especially when he learned that Lincoln was his son. I think guilt played more of a minor role for Penn.


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianeh

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 26

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I believe that Tom Cage was driven by guilt. Not only was he guilty of having the affair with Viola,but,when she asked him to join her, he couldn't because he couldn't face all of the difficulties that would result from such a union. The knowledge that he had a son with Viola added fuel to the fire.He also felt guilty because of Caitlin's death


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
g-demo

Join Date: 06/06/16

Posts: 4

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Guilt plays a huge part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage. The elder Cage keeps many guilty secrets while still trying to be a worthy physician and father. His grown son Penn is gradually finding out his father is not the man Penn has believed Tom Cage to be all his life. With the advent of Dr. Cages failing health he finds himself estranged from his son, who doesn't really know what is going on, but struggles to find a way to help his father while being angry with him and distraught. These secrets divide the family and ultimately end with Tom Cage going to prison.


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
g-demo

Join Date: 06/06/16

Posts: 4

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Guilt plays a huge part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage. The elder Cage keeps many guilty secrets while still trying to be a worthy physician and father. His grown son Penn is gradually finding out his father is not the man Penn has believed Tom Cage to be all his life. With the advent of Dr. Tom Cages' failing health he finds himself estranged from his son, who doesn't really know the extent of what is going on, but struggles to find a way to help his father while being angry with him and distraught. A half brother from the union of Tom Cage and Viola Turner doesn't help things. These secrets divide the family and ultimately end with Tom Cage going to prison.


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gdlenehan

Join Date: 06/22/11

Posts: 28

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Tom Cage is a flawed character who is consumed by guilt by the time he is on trial for Viola’s death. He is guilty of leading a double life with his wife and children as he becomes involved with his black nurse. He loves Viola but is not strong enough to give up his family. Then he feels even more guilt when he finds that he and Viola have a son that he can’t acknowledge. He realizes that he has abandoned both Viola and Lincoln.
Penn slowly discovers who his father really is throughout the story. Tom Cage is a good man but he has never been a perfect husband or father.


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyj

Join Date: 06/26/18

Posts: 8

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Guilt plays a major role for Tom Cage as it explains many of his actions in relation to Viola, Lincoln, and his family. Guilt plays a lesser role for Penn.


Posted Jun. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbf

Join Date: 11/29/17

Posts: 18

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Guilt is a major aspect of Tom's personality. His life is a lie as he outwardly plays town hero, but on a personal level is quite guilty of leading a less than admirable life. He is a bit of a sneak. He compromises his wife's integrity as she is forced to make a decision to stand strong and throw him out of the house or play the submissive southern wife. I dont like Tom as he forces her into these compromises.


Posted Jun. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianeh

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 26

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I agree with barbf. I ended up not liking Tom very well either. Many of his actions were, I felt, very selfish although he kept trying to justify them. Having said that, he did have many admirable qualities.


Posted Jun. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Oh my goodness, the guilt was its own character! Tom's life was carved out of guilt. His intentions were good and he wanted to protect the people he loved, but guilt was behind it all, and in the end it was his overwhelming feeling of guilt that sent him to prison, not a conviction. Penn felt guilty about Henry, Keisha Caitlyn, and Mrs. Booker, as well as his daughter, Annie. He put himself in danger so often and he worried about Annie if something were to happen to him. There were so many, many secrets in this book. Besides the huge ones in the past, the current-day daily lives of so many of the characters were filled with secrets. No one told anybody anything! Actions taken without someone else's knowledge often led to drastic consequences. Kaiser, Penn, Caitlyn, Walt, Tom all kept secrets from the people who should have been working together. This especially bothered me between Penn and Caitlyn. Guilt and Secrets were two additional characters in this book!


Posted Jul. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I agree that guilt has a significant role in this trilogy. When one is burdened with guilt, he pursues the truth. Oftentimes finding the truth leads to more agonizing realities. Both Penn and Tom Cage are burdened with guilt and truth: Tom is cognizant of his guilt/sin and seeks redemption through his incarceration, while Penn is still struggling with truth and its effects on his future as well as on the future of his family.


Posted Jul. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ednag

Join Date: 06/24/18

Posts: 1

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Tom was such an upstanding member of the community and had his foot in both white and black communities. The unmasking of Tom is a big part of the novel,especially in the courtroom. I think guilt
Played a big part in in the life of Tom and his decisions during the trial. He was unable to rise above his
guilt and enlist the help of his son. I think he could have been more trusting of Penn.
I think Penn was not as affected by guilt. Penn grew up in a different time.


Posted Jul. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

kdowney25 answers this question perfectly - guilt does almost become a real character in this trilogy - and I love the point that no one tells anyone anything. So true and so frustrating. If they all had just been honest from the beginning much of the angst here could have been avoided. I do believe the guilt of the father was greater than the guilt of the son, and I think perhaps that has something to do with the generational differences.


Posted Jul. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 13

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Tom had tremendous guilt and this resulted in his behavior throughout all three books. Conversely, Penn seemed to me to be a sociopath almost as bad as the psychopaths Klukkers. He just had more education and finesse than they did.


Posted Jul. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I sometimes think that the world runs on guilt. At least it’s a driving force — a central theme — in this trilogy. There are those who carry it and those who inflict it. I think Penn does both. Carrying guilt for his own sins but inflicting it on Tom for his sins. And after Lincoln enters the picture guilt irrevocably alters everybody’s life and conscience. Even the judge’s guilt (well, you can’t be blackmailed unless you feel guilty) vitally affects the outcome of Tom’s trial.


Posted Jul. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 37

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I, too, agree with kdowney25 in that guilt is its own character in the trilogy. I think it plays a role in all the Penn Cage books. I think a lot of action in the novels is driven by guilt and the need to atone defines the integrity of Penn and Tom. I think the root of Penn's guilt lies somewhere in the death of wife and for Tom, it goes back to his days in Korea. I think guilt led to behavior that got a lot of people either hurt or dead, just more heartache and loss.


Posted Jul. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothym

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 37

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Agree with the comments that it is a major factor in their behavior. By the final book in the trilogy, guilt is almost the total motive for Tom’s behavior.


Posted Jul. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 101

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

These books could not exist without Tom Cage's guilt. His guilt caused him to keep secrets from all his loved ones and friends. Mississippi Blood starts bring the truth to the surface. Penn fells some guilt concerning Lincoln but it did not consume his life.


Posted Jul. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

Tom really made some bad decisions and the era of the time, I think, piled the guilt on. Penn felt remorse for the pain and deaths that were all around him but he didn't carry guilt like his father did.


Posted Jul. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 44

RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

An alternative title for the trilogy could be Secrets & Lies in Mississippi. Til this trilogy l’d held the characters of Dr. Cage & Penn Cage in high regard... although the never ending enmity between Penn & Shad baffled me. While I believe there are no perfect heroes, my respect for Tom Cage plunged during this series to the point I stopped caring about him. Instead, I saved my empathy for Mrs. Cage, Annie, Caitlin, Henry, and the innocent victims of the Double Eagles. Henry is the true hero of this story in my humble opinion. Guilt is a major character in these novels, particularly as the motivator for Tom. Penn...not so much. I felt he acted more out of self righteousness.


Posted Jul. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

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RE: How does guilt play a part in the lives of Penn and Tom Cage, and how does it shape their behavior in the novel?

I feel that guilt was a huge part of Tom Cage. Yes, his guilt define his character. There is no question about the affair being wrong. Especially during a time when interracial romance was a death sentence. Jesus died for our sins. As Christians, only God can judge. Again, it his guilt that twines this stiry. He learn his lesson. Let not forget, he did not know Lincoln was his child. Again, it does not make it right. Tom paid the price for his sins by going to jail.


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