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Sailor Twain
"Starred Review. Absolutely not to be missed." - Booklist
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What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

Created: 04/18/14

Replies: 6

Posted Apr. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? Did you consider them malevolent or benevolent beings? How has their image evolved over time?


Posted Apr. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Dirtyolegardenhoe's Gravatar
Dirtyolegardenhoe

Join Date: 11/03/13

Posts: 11

RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

My knowledge of mermaids prior to reading Sailor Twain is the Disney version of The Little Mermaid and Splash the movie; and over time the mermaid image has become closely aligned with characters of the The Little Mermaid. This is how they are perceived in my household at least, as beautiful sweet benevolent cartoon characters.


"She is too fond of books, it has turned her brain." Louisa May Alcott
Posted Apr. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 279

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RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

I think that's one of the more interesting aspects of the book. Mermaids have been "Disney-fied" over the past 50 years. Originally they were not nice beings, instead known for drawing sailors to their doom with their songs. The author at first lures us to think that the mermaid is nice - that she fits this more modern version - but by the book's end she's much closer to the malevolent being depicted in mythology.


Posted Apr. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyea

Join Date: 09/22/13

Posts: 2

RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

They were not nice creatures Liked to lure sailors to their death. The younger generation probably sees them as charming young females like Ariel. I am not fond of either.


Posted May. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darshells

Join Date: 06/15/13

Posts: 6

RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

They have definitely been need up over time but that follows the tradition - grimm's fairy tales were originally pretty much adult "horror " stories.


Posted May. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 44

RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

From a trip to Germany I was familiar with the Lorelei, a siren or mermaid-like creature, who sat on a rock in a treacherous bend of the Rhine River luring sailors to their death with her enticing song. She had formerly been a human girl who threw herself into the river in despair over her lover's unfaithfulness. She died in the river and was transformed into the siren. Interestingly Lorelei is the name of the ship Twain captains.

I also remember the sirens from the Odyssey. Odysseus, knowing how irresistible and dangerous their song is, orders his men to stop their ears with wax then bind him securely to the mast so that he cannot follow them to his death. In Greek mythology, the sirens are part woman, part bird.

Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid depicts a different kind of mermaid, one who is not seen as a threat or danger to humans. She has simply fallen in love with a man and choses to give up her beautiful fish tail for a potion that will giver human legs so she can live on land and perhaps win his love and therefore an immortal soul. The price she has to pay for the potion is her beautiful voice as she will be forever mute, and the ceaseless pain she will endure when walking on her new legs. It's a lovely but very sad story and does not include singing and dancing fish :)


Posted May. 08, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathya

Join Date: 05/08/14

Posts: 3

RE: What did you know about mermaids before reading Sailor Twain? How has their image evolved over time?

When the mermaid first appeared I had the Disney version in my head and considered her a poor wounded creature. As the novel progressed I was reminded of the original mermaid tales and realized she had more in common with them than the Disney characters.


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