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The Exiles


The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant ...
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Discuss The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline:
Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

Created: 10/14/20

Replies: 14

Posted Oct. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2356

Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time, or do you think she was doing the best she could to survive, under the circumstances? Do you feel there are people today who face similar challenges? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolynd

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 24

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

Wasn't surprised. Since she never really formed her own self after she went away from home. She was an object in the Franklin household and not encouraged to develop into her true person. Then she goes to the orphanage and that was on all counts soul sucking. If she didn't have an identity by then she was unlikely to develop in the orphanage. She was always told what to do and it was too late to figure it out when she finally had the chance. Drinking was not going to make her curious about finding anything out. Her story was the saddest of all for me.


Posted Oct. 17, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
oraj

Join Date: 05/10/18

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I was surprised and disappointed when the author chose this path for Mathinna. Choices were few for her in that setting but perhaps a journey beyond Tasmania would have been possible.


Posted Oct. 17, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
oraj

Join Date: 05/10/18

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

Her ability to lean French could have led her to seek the world where French was the key to communication. She would have had to receive help and references to reach beyond Tasmania.


Posted Oct. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Anne C.

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 34

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I wish her story had turned out differently! She was caught between several worlds: the world of her own native people, the world of the upper class of White society, and the world of the immigrants becoming the ancestors of modern day Australia. She did not really fit anywhere, and I think her realization of that fact led her to alcohol abuse and depression. She had no power to overcome the negative impressions of most of those around her, but at least she had that last time of contact with Hazel and Ruby to know someone did care about her.


Posted Oct. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 69

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I think Mathinna was very limited in her options due to her class and skin color. I think how much of your life you have control over depends on where you are born. For example, if you are born a female in parts of the Middle East, you will have much less control over your life then a female in the United States or Europe.


Posted Oct. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JillL

Join Date: 10/19/16

Posts: 24

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I don't think Mathinna would have had any other options, I think considering the situation she was lucky to end up where she did. I cannot imagine the damage the orphanage had done to her mentally and physically


Posted Oct. 21, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 87

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I don't think she had many options and the pull of alcohol was very strong. She is based on a real person and sadly this was her fate in real life as well. I thought the author might circle back to close the story for her, but it was a depressing end to her life. I think the only hope may have been for someone like Hazel and Ruby to care for her, but she may not have been open to that.


Posted Oct. 21, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 448

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

Mathinna's fate really bothered me a lot. She was very intelligent and talented, and I would have liked her to have tried to make more of her life. Although, of course, that's not how it works in the real world - intelligent, talented people end up in dire straights every day - so her fate was certainly realistic.

I think chance does play a pretty big role in one's success or failure in life. Some individuals can overcome the bad things that have happened to them, some not. In my misspent youth, for example, I recall driving while under the influence. I'm horrified about that now, and I realize how incredibly lucky I was to not have been arrested or worse. The same is true of some ill-advised sexual encounters when I was first exploring; I was very lucky not to have gotten pregnant. Either getting arrested or pregnant would have set my life on a completely different trajectory, so yes, I do think chance plays a big role.

I think, though, that we also have the ability to let a bad experience break us or to rise above it. Perhaps I'm naive and insolated by my skin color and middle-class financial status, but I've always felt that things would have to get really, really bad before I felt like I didn't have any options.


Posted Oct. 24, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Patricia Marie

Join Date: 10/24/20

Posts: 17

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I was hoping that Mathinna would have accepted Hazel's offer to stay with Dr. Dunne and Hazel and Ruby. Hazel was someone who really cared about her. And Mathinna was clearly bright - learning French and math easily - perhaps she could have learned Hazel's trade and worked at Dr. Dunne's clinic too.
Mathinna was a lost soul - lost between two cultures. She no longer "fit in" with her tribe after her parents/step-father died and didn't know anyone any longer. She said she didn't remember the language anymore. But surely she could have relearned it easily. And she didn't fit in with the Franklins at all. But I agree that her use of alcohol contributed to her feelings of displacement. Yes, her character had a depressing outcome.


Posted Oct. 24, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Patricia Marie

Join Date: 10/24/20

Posts: 17

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I will add that I believe some of our life choices are under our control but many are not. We have to figure out in life how to utilize and maximize those choices we can control to be happy and successful. Not always easy or as planned.


Posted Oct. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 160

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I agree with many above who said that her options were limited. Her skin color really limited her choices, unlike the female prisoners who could eventually overcome their situations. It’s deplorable that her life was taken away, and even when she returned much later, she found that nothing was left. She was left without a home, without a people, without options.


Posted Nov. 02, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 38

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I had a feeling Mathinna"s story wasn't going to end happily. She lost her identity, her home, and those who loved her. Once she got a taste of the drink, I knew it was downhill. I'm sure she used alcohol to fill all those missing voids. Adding her race and the time period into the mix, her choices were slim.

The latter part of the question is something that I ask myself often. I truly believe you are given chances/opportunities and how you handle those moments is how your life will unfold. Unfortunately, sometimes we can't see good opportunities when they are right in front of us.


Posted Nov. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 450

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I really had high hopes for Mathinna. I wanted Dr. Dunne and Hazel to provide her with a stable home until they could find her a better place in the world. Marthinna's story was certainly one of the most tragic.


Posted Nov. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerryp

Join Date: 08/04/20

Posts: 31

RE: Do you think that Mathinna had other options after leaving the orphanage for the second time? How much of the way one's life turns out is under our control, and how much is chance, in your opinion?

I did feel terrible for her, however she was so young, I don't believe she had much choice or even believed that she had a choice.


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