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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:
'Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced.' Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

Created: 10/14/20

Replies: 4

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2332

"Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced." Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

Dr. Garrett reflects on the privileges granted the residents of Van Diemen's Land, saying, "It is my sense that, despite its hardships and limitations, living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced." In what ways do you think this is both true and not true for each of the characters in The Exiles? What are the limitations of these freedoms – which characters are allowed them, and why are others excluded? What does freedom mean to you today?


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

Join Date: 10/18/20

Posts: 10

RE: 'Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced.' Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

Having lived in Alaska for more than 45 years, I understand this concept. Having money, social status, where you went to college, etc. - are not as important here. You can totally reinvent yourself, and for the most part, people either don't care about your past, or are forgiving about your past. I think this is largely true for the characters in The Exiles, though not as true for Mathinna, who cannot hide her dark skin and her Aboriginal ancestry. This is also reflected in a similar situation in Alaska with those with Alaska Native heritage. Systemic racism still exists against much of this Indigenous population.


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

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 153

RE: 'Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced.' Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

Interesting comments by alaskareader above.
I agree that for most of the characters the taint of being a convict appears to lessen after a while, but definitely not for Mathinna, who cannot hide her native heritage. So sad and unfair for those who were the first inhabitants of the continent. It sounds as if Olive’s sexual choice needed to be hidden as well. In this political climate today, I don’t feel particularly free - I am surrounded by others of opposing viewpoints who are blatant about displaying and voicing their views when I have neither asked nor expressed interest. Very divisive.


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

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 86

RE: 'Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced.' Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

I think because it is a "new" world, there hasn't been enough time for social hierarchies to form. But eventually they will. It just seems to be human nature.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Why can't we all just get along?"
I feel free, but realize that feeling could be taken away at any time.


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

Join Date: 04/03/19

Posts: 30

RE: 'Living in a new world accords one certain freedoms. Social hierarchies are not as rigidly enforced.' Is this true for all the characters? What are the limitations of these freedoms? What does freedom mean to you today?

Perhpas, there are some freedoms in the new world, but it surely wasn't that way for poor Mathinna. I wonder what would have happened to Hazel and Ruby had the Dr. not saved them? Would she have been judged for being a single mother? I feel free, but there are limitations. I currently live in the South and it is surprising the amount of discrimination against latino people.


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