Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Created: 08/26/16

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

Expert

When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds? How does motherhood spur her decision to exchange horse training for flying? Could you identify with this choice?


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 99

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I think Beryl loved her son but the combination of his health and her mother-in-law's control left her on the outside. She definitely tried during her time in England. Her situation was not an abandonment on her part as her own mother's had been. I think flying offered her a new release for her frustrations. She was always searching for a place to belong.


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

Join Date: 07/20/16

Posts: 13

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I don't think she intended on being her mother but in the end she did follow in mommy dearest's foot steps. It broke my heart when she let her over bearing mother in law take over. It is possible that part of Beryl thought the grandmother would be a much better mother figure than herself. Mrs. M obviously loved Mansfield and nurtured him way more than her mother did her. She may have thought Gervase would be better off.


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 86

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Yes, I think Beryl was in touch with her maternal limitations because she made a decision that meant her son received care and nurturing she couldn't commit to.


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

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 35

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Beryl did succeed in her determination not to act like her mother. She was forced to leave Gervase in the care of her mother-in-law; she had no choice. But at least she cared about Gervase and went to see him periodically. She knew that he would received the best care and would be loved and cared for by his grandmother. Her own mother abandoned her totally, and didn't reappear in her life until she needed help nearly 20 years later.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 28

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Unfortunately I think Beryl ended up with more similarities with her mother than she wanted. The whole situation with her son was entirely unfair and was a frustrating piece of the book for me but Beryl's son grew up separated from her in the same way that Beryl grew up separated from her mother. Yes the circumstances were different but I thought that Beryl leaving her son in London was also somewhat of a relief for her as much as it was a hardship. Did anyone else get that sense, that it was almost a relief to her to be going home alone?


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

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I think that Beryl's unconventional-for-the-time attitudes made it almost impossible for her settle for the life she would have had to live in exchange for staying with her son. I think she may have thought her only choices were to sacrifice herself entirely, or to leave her son and return to Africa. I guess it could have been a relief for her to go home alone in the sense that she knew he would be cared for and she could return to trying to live a life that could perceive valuable.


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

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 26

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Actually I think Beryl was very like her mother. Her mother left her because of a love for another man and, even though it wasn't said, Beryl did run into Denny's in London and followed him back to Africa and lived in his apartment. Like mother like daughter. Though it does appear she did spend quality time with her son without an ulterior motive


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

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I think this is the tragedy of the story. She was determined to keep her child, but only in so much as she could 'keep her self'. Many mothers, right or wrong by today's standards, give up everything to nurture their children. Beryl did not have a role model for that; she survived maternal abandonment, and she gave in to it.


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

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 71

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I think she had a good intentions but was thwarted in the end. She sacrificed a lot of herself when she was pregnant in order to try to be a good mother. It went her nature to be a free spirit but she did it for her child. In the end, staying in London under the control of her estranged husband's family was too much for her and she returned to Kenya.


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

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 24

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I don't think so -- but maybe I should take into consideration how society treated women at that time. I read her "real" book and she really does not say much about her son -- I felt that he was not an important part of her story from her own perspective.


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

Join Date: 09/06/16

Posts: 2

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

Absolutely not. I feel she gave up too easily, Putting herself and the love of Africa first. No matter her discomfort she should have fought for the right to have an influence on her son's upbringing.


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

Join Date: 05/31/15

Posts: 30

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

She tries, but circumstances are not on her side. If she truly meant to not follow in her mother's footsteps, Beryl should have stayed in London with Gervase. I don't think anyone would have been happy if she did that. I read a little bit about them and Gervase said that even he didn't see his mother often, he thought more of her than his father. So she must have been doing something right in those visits.


Posted Sep. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 63

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

I think that the story would have been different if Gervase didn't have so many physical issues. She knew that somehow she could take care of herself, sadly not this child. English life would not have suited her. The marriage was over. She was hated by the mother-in-law. She choose happiness & life for her & her child. Maybe she doesn't say much about Gervase in the "real book" because it is so painful.


Posted Sep. 16, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

RE: When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds?

As someone above said, "absolutely not." I'm a bit surprised by the question, in fact. Nothing in the narrative suggested to me that Beryl was determined to be anything but her own selfish self. She was dismayed to find herself pregnant; she even hinted to Mansfield that she'd as soon be rid of the baby when she said "If we have this baby..." She made only token resistance to leaving him in England. It was indeed best for baby Gervase to remain in England and get the care he needed, but it seemed to me, Beryl was just as glad to be rid of him so she could do what she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted. OTOH, this is, as the author reminds us "A work of fiction," so who knows if Beryl really did want to be different from her own mother. Sad to say, I didn't like Beryl very much based on this book.


Reply

Please login to post a response.