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Circling the Sun
An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged...
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Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Created: 08/26/16

Replies: 23

Posted Aug. 26, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Karen and Beryl are two strong, iconoclastic women drawn to the same unobtainable man. Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?


Posted Aug. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rebecca L.

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 28

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I thought that this was one of the more interesting concepts in the book, that of her relationship with Denys and thereby her relationship with Karen. She does feel guilt for how she is betraying Karen by being with Denys but at the same time, she takes what she can of him just the same. I thought Beryl's concepts of love were interesting, that people only have so much love they can give out and if you try to take more than they can give then you are taking away pieces of them. Karen wanted more love than Denys could give her because Denys would reserve other pieces of himself to give away to other people, like Beryl. The whole community in Kenya though didn't seem to hold fidelity in high regard. They all seemed restless to me, always professing love for someone they weren't married to, but not being happy even after they were able to marry that person.


Posted Aug. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
monicap

Join Date: 05/17/16

Posts: 4

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think Beryl truly cared for and admired Karen and felt guilt for the affair. However, she was so obsessed with Denys, she put all that aside. BTW, am I the only one who was continually distracted by the odd spelling of his name?


Posted Aug. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 99

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Beryl only thought about Beryl. She wanted Denys and put that ahead of her so-called friendship with Karen. He really wasn't worth it as he seemed to have no loyalty to anything but his own pursuits. He seemed to have no trouble hopping into bed with Beryl when he was in a relationship with Karen. It seemed that there was a low level of morality in this place and timeframe.


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
stabs

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 14

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think that Denys was also pursuing Beryl, it was not just one sided. Morality was certainly not something that was rampant in Kenyan society at that time. Everyone we meet in the book is sleeping with someone who they are not married to. Denys was clearly not tied down with Karen and had not married her. He was clearly portrayed as a free spirit.

I do think Beryl thought of Karen as a friend, although I am certain at times it was difficult.


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kariner

Join Date: 07/20/16

Posts: 13

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

First f all, I don't think Of Karen and Beryl as friends. Karen viewed Beryl as inferior, always referring to her as a child. I think Beryl idolized Karen. She admired the way Karen ran her own place, made her own money and position in society. She was infatuated with him at first. When she realized the connection I feel Beryl's attraction to Denys was deepened because of her idolization towards Karen. Her pursuit of Denys was in part a way to be more like Karen and also a way to show she was not the inferior child Karen insinuated she was. Denys on the other hand was a player. He had no desire to be tied down by anyone. Beryl was ok with that. She didn't hold much stock in the forever after either. Beryl's foundation on love and marriage was built on lies and betrayal so how could she have done any different?


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 80

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Beryl was obsessed with Denys and wanted to be with him whenever possible even if it could potentially hurt others. Sometimes she could sustain a relationship with Karen because she admired her but she always felt guilty. They were both caught in Denys's web and couldn't extricate themselves. He was a man incapable of being faithful to anyone except his own needs and while the two women knew this they couldn't help their feelings for him.


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rebecca L.

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 28

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I've been reading the comments posted after me and I think Beryl's relationship with Karen was just amazingly complex. Beryl was able to compartmentalize her relationship with Denys and her relationship with Karen and act as if they were separate situations even though she knew how much Karen depended on Denys's affection. I don't necessarily agree that her attraction to Denys was based on her admiration for Karen though, her and Denys had a much deeper connection that started before she even knew he was involved with Karen.


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lorrainep

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 26

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I read somewhere that Dennys was no Robert Redford but he had some type of magnetism that attracted women to him where they became obsessed and only he mattered and life was empty when he wasn't in it.
Since Karen and Beryl had the same fever I'm sure they could relate to each other and maybe a little competition on who got more time.


Posted Aug. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 86

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I could understand why Beryl pursued Denys but I don't know how she continued to maintain her "friendship" with Karen. Beryl acted upon her physical desires and mentally overruled any emotional impact this would have on Karen and this is what I don't understand about her friendship with Karen.


Posted Aug. 31, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 35

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Denys had a magnetic attraction for women. Beryl was one of those attracted to him, as was Karen. I thought it unusual when Beryl initiated the first encounter with Denys even though she knew he and Karen were a couple. I think he was the love of her life - the one she couldn't have... As far as her friendship with Karen, I think it was a good friendship in that they genuinely liked each other. I didn't feel this mutual respect between them ever dwindled.


Posted Sep. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyh

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think that Beryl was shaped by the surprisingly loose attitudes towards marital fidelity in the Kenya colonial society. I think she admired Karen Blixen, but I don't think it bothered her too much to take what she could of Denys Finch Hatton. I expect that if she had had Denys to herself she ultimately would have been as unhappy with him as Karen was. And, I expect Denys would have been unhappy with her, since I doubt he would have given her the same freedom to be with others as he felt entitled to.


Posted Sep. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 23

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think Beryl and Denys initially had one of those electrical connections that flared whenever they were in close proximity, but Denys was a man who could not be pinned down. Kenya in 20"s reminded me of the wild West in the 1890"s. Denys thrived on open spaces, changing landscapes and the adrenalin rush of facing danger. Beryl had some of the same attractions to Kenya, but Karen was attracted to Africa as an escape from a suffocating society in Denmark. Denys was like an exotic orchid to her. Something to be cultivated and contained.


Posted Sep. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Goodness flute4u, you said some of the exact thoughts that I have...chemistry between Beryl and Denys plus the attraction to not being tied down....a moral code learned from her upbringing in an environment similar to the wild west! We are like minded!


Posted Sep. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 71

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I cannot imagine making that decision but it was in keeping with Beryl's upbringing. She was raised in part by her friend's tribe and their beliefs about sex and relationships were much less judgmental than the colonial society's. Beryl suffered the disapproval of others for the decisions she made but she stayed true to herself and dealt with the consequences.


Posted Sep. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mary Louise

Join Date: 04/15/16

Posts: 4

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I'm not so sure Beryl actually "pursued" Denys. It seemed to me to be more of a overwhelming connection between the two. Denys was as much of a pursuer as Beryl was. They simply were so drawn to each other. Beryl was not underhanded about her desire; nor was Denys. She truthfully asked if she could come into his bed, and he accepted her. No games played. As for Beryl's friendship with Karen, yes, I do think think it was true. Karen Blixen was a very complicated woman in real life, as was Beryl, and I think they were both able to separate their relationships with Denys from their own with each other. These people were not having a high school romance. Jealousy and possessiveness did not enter into the situation.


Posted Sep. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elinors

Join Date: 09/06/16

Posts: 2

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Personally, no. However, in Kenya at that time, there didn't seem to be a great deal of belief in monogamous relationships. I think Beeyl considered Karen a friend and felt guilty enough that she and Denys were meeting secretly. I never quite could understand her lack of loyalty.


Posted Sep. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
debrav

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 24

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think she was brought up to live with her own rules -- both of her parents were selfish -- it seemed to me that they cared more about what they wanted than what was good for their children. I don't think that Beryl was capable of deep friendship, she did not appear to have many "women" friends -- two perhaps!


Posted Sep. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mary Louise

Join Date: 04/15/16

Posts: 4

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Beryl was capable of exceedingly deep friendships. Witness her friendship with D, with Cockie, etc. We have to remember the era and it's attitude towards women. Women, especially in a place like Kenya, were mostly useful as something to trade and use. No, she didn't have a BFF posse, because women, in order to survive, had to maintain their usefulness according to society, and that meant according to men. Women were pitted against each other and encouraged to mistrust other women and see them as rivals. That is what was so extraordinary about Beryl, and Karen Blixen. They were friends, and that friendship had nothing to do with Denys and their relationship with him. They respected each other as unique human beings, not satellites of the men in their lives. That is also what makes the real Beryl Markham such an exceptional woman for her time.


Posted Sep. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tracyd

Join Date: 05/31/15

Posts: 30

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I agree with Mary Louise. Denys and Beryl had such a deep connection on so many levels.


Posted Sep. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosemaryk

Join Date: 08/29/11

Posts: 36

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Beryl and Karen were not really friends. They were both too self-centered for that.

Denys just took advantage of the opportunities available to him.

I don't think true love was a factor with either duo.


Posted Sep. 14, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 147

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

Because of the way Beryl was raised and the time period, I think that Beryl thought her relationship with Denys and Karen's as two separate things. Beryl needed Denys, she did not have many people around her and she thought she could count on Denys.. It do not think Beryl was a woman who made good friends with other women, maybe if she had had her Mother, this may have been different. Also, yes the spelling of Denys name bothered me too


Posted Sep. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 53

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RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think Beryl and Karen had a true affection for one another, and perhaps Karen filled a mentor role that she had never had in her life. To me, Denys seemed little more than a pretty object to be adored by never owned. Both women were a part of a society with this attitude and nature. Although there may have been jealousy, they each had different attractions, charm and wealth versus youth and adventure, and were truly never in competition as each had their relationship with Denys when the other was not available.


Posted Oct. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeanniet

Join Date: 06/20/13

Posts: 27

RE: Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

I think Beryl knew that the only relationship she could have with Denys was as a mistress and it was worth it. She loved Denys and so did Karen. I think he had many other relationships while he was with Beryl and Karen and they both knew it. They wanted to be with him so bad, that it didn't matter. Denys set the standard for both women and they each knew that is how it was going to be. Neither of them particularly liked it. Both women wanted a monogamous relationship with Denys, but both of them knew it would never happen.


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