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Circling the Sun
An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged...
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How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

Created: 08/26/16

Replies: 22

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl -- her youngest child, and a girl -- in Africa?


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 35

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

This is a tough one. I don't know how any mother could rationalize leaving a child. From what we see later in the book though, Clara is obviously more interested in her life than her children's, I think she was just a self-absorbed person who reasoned that Beryl would be better suited to stay with her father. I thought it was really interesting how Beryl's own parenting situation ended up being so similar though. We start the book thinking that Clara went back to England since she couldn't imagine leaving her life in England and that's exactly why Beryl didn't stay with her child, she didn't want to abandon her own life in Africa.


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

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 26

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I don't think Clara rationalized anything. She was a very selfish woman whose only concern was herself and what was best for Clara which manifested itself again when years later she returned and expected Beryl to
care for her but when it turned out not to be to her liking she split again. What Rebecca said was true the
Pattern repeated itself in Beryl's life and there also appeared to be a bit of selfishness in all her relationships.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 108

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I first thought that Clara left because she couldn't handle the African farm life. I also thought she was concerned about Dickie's health and she felt Beryl was closer to her father and could handle the life there. Later we learn that Clara left for another man! How does one rationalize leaving a child for another man? I really don't think she cared about anyone but herself. She left the relationship with her daughter behind, only reaching out when she wanted her help. Then Beryl's help wasn't good enough for her and she took off again. Not a nice person!


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

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 14

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I'm in agreement with the sentiments already expressed. I suspect she might have expressed a rationalization to others, but for herself, she picked up and left one child for a man. She was completely self centered her entire life as far as I was concerned. I'm actually shocked she took her son, even if he was sickly. We see her for what she is when she returns and of course asks for help and is then not at all appreciative of it. At least at that point she leaves Beryl and becomes someone else's problem.


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

Join Date: 07/20/16

Posts: 13

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

There was no rationale to Clara leaving Beryl. She was acting on purely selfish motives. I agree with all above statements.


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

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 89

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I don't think she even bothered to rationalize this in her own mind. She was too selfish and her self-absorption
continued when she returned to Africa.


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

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 42

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

"I don't think she even bothered to rationalize this in her own mind. She was too selfish and her self-absorption continued when she returned to Africa."
My thoughts exactly. Thanks for doing the typing for me. :>)


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: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

Clara tells the adult Beryl that she was always the strongest of her siblings and stronger than Clara I assume. Clara wants to be taken care of in a certain way that she understands may not be what either of them wants and so she leaves Beryl her in Africa and doesn't contact Beryl again until she's able to help Clara.


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

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 35

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I can't even imagine! To take the little brother and leave the daughter in deepest Africa was unthinkable. I viewed Clara as a bit of a "ditz" who didn't know the meaning of the word "rational."


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

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 11

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

Clara was a mystery to me. I would have liked to hear more about her at the being of the book. She was a character that we could invent all types of senarios for her behavior.


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

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I think life for women in those times was very different. Clara didn't have a way to support her self and her children except through a man. It could be that she was very unhappy in Africa and her way out was a man who did not want her to bring both her children.


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

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I can't imagine. I found Clara the character with the least characterization, and so difficult to even guess her mindset. She's the one I could not build any empathy or feeling other than dislike for!


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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

Although, like everyone else I can find little sympathy for Clara's life choices, I think it is worth keeping in mind the context of the time where many children with parents in the colonies grew up far from their parents.

For example, my father (born 1926) was sent back from India at 8 years old to go to boarding school in England (with my uncle, who I think was 6 at the time). They were fortunate that they had a mass of cousins they could stay with in the "holidays" and thus actually probably had a much happier time of it than they would have with their parents, but those without family in England would end up having no where to go so they would spend all year at boarding school.

If Clara had taken Beryl back to England, I think it unlikely she would have had a close relationship with her. Most probably, Beryl would have been a hindrance to the new relationship and would have been shipped off to boarding school shortly afterwards, in which case society would have not batted an eyelid but Beryl would have been miserable. Whether Clara gave any consideration to Beryl's well being is debatable, but I think Beryl had a happier childhood in Kenya than she would have in England.


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

Join Date: 05/10/15

Posts: 4

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I found nothing to admire or even like about Clara, more so when she showed up in later years begging for help & showed no gratitude for Beryl's help.......a totally selfish, self-absorbed woman. Leaving one's child behind is a totally unthinkable act to me.


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

Join Date: 04/04/12

Posts: 17

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

Clara was worried about and interested in only Clara. She found Beryl to be much like her husband and didn't mind at all leaving her there.


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

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 76

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I don't think she thought about it at all. She was very self-involved and did not seem to care about Beryl's welfare in the least. Clara only communicated with her daughter when she needed something.


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

Join Date: 03/06/12

Posts: 13

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

A purely selfish action. Don't understand the thinking. As a mother and new grandmother, could never do that no matter the circumstances


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

Join Date: 05/31/15

Posts: 30

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I agree that it was a selfish move but I do think she told herself that Beryl preferred to stay with her father.


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

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

As others have said, I don't feel Clara rationalized her decision at all. For me, she is the least sympathetic character in the entire novel. When she comes back to Africa after the death of her second husband, she is portrayed as completely selfish, ungrateful, and unable to cope with the least bit of adversity. i found nothing to like about her, sorry to say.


Posted Sep. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 53

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RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

There was nothing in that act but selfishness. To take one child and leave the other? And to have no contact with her daughter during her formative years? There is no way to spin that as anything but selfish.


Posted Sep. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosemaryk

Join Date: 08/29/11

Posts: 36

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

She did it because she wanted to. She did not stop to analyze anything; she was accustomed to getting what she wanted.

As it turned out, of course, her daughter often behaved in a similar manner.

Years ago, I read Beryl Markham's supposed-autobiography (it is generally believed that she wrote only a small portion of it), and I was dismayed to find her so self-absorbed. In fact, I did not want to read another word about her.

However, I had really enjoyed Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, so I thought I would give this Circling the Sun book a chance. I loved the book, but am still not that much of a fan of Beryl.

Beryl's mother was selfish; it obviously ran in the family.


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

Join Date: 07/15/16

Posts: 7

RE: How do you think Clara rationalized leaving Beryl in Africa?

I agree, it was pure selfishness on Clara's part and there was no way to rationalize it.


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