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H is for Hawk
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What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

Created: 03/20/16

Replies: 10

Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

After living several days with her hawk in her flat, Helen observes, "I was turning into a hawk" (p85). What do you think she means?


Posted Apr. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I think that was her recognition, looking back, that she was losing her sense of connection with the human world out of her grief. Initially the hawk was a way to escape her grief and to feel closer to her father, reliving the happy outings of childhood. Grief is isolating, but as she "turned into a hawk" she took that even further, and started to see others as a threat, not a support, in her grief. She seems to have made choices that separated her more and more from her ordinary way of life -- she doesn't go into them in detail, but when she finally recognizes what's going on, and seeks help, she tells the psychoanalyst that she has lost her work and her home. She has clearly lost the balance between empathizing with her hawk enough to anticipate its needs as a skillful trainer, and letting the hawk's view of the human world become her own, full of potential threats best handled by "hooding" herself with her fantasy of being a wild hawk. This seems to become clearer for her when she takes part in her father's memorial service and experiences a sense that her loving nuclear family is supported by a larger, loving human family of colleagues and friends.


Posted Apr. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

JLPen77 says it quite well. I think she saw herself adopting or exhibiting behaviors - tension, paranoia, anxiety - that she saw as typical of her hawk, and this led her to withdraw from people.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanp

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 91

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

Her life revolved around Mabel. She became attuned to Mabel's thoughts and feelings. Things kept disappearing from her real life -her father -her job -her home. As her world emptied, Mabel filled the hole. Helen's outings with Mabel were full of thinking like the bird and anticipating her reactions.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethb

Join Date: 04/08/13

Posts: 20

RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

First, I was delighted to read that sentence as I was becoming increasingly irritated with her obsession for Mabel. Before she could utter that thought, she had to journey through her grief (and as we know there is no timetable nor are their guidelines) as best she could. But each day brought more withdrawal from reality and she lived through the hawk --- even to the point of anticipating how the hawk would react to a given situation. It was escapism to the highest level.


Posted Apr. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BarbMJ

Join Date: 10/10/14

Posts: 11

RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I agree with JLPen77 and laurap. Thankfully though Helen became a well-fed hawk so that she wasn't preying on or attacking others. She did fly off from all her friends and did a human version of sitting at a top of a tree watching the world around her by not interacting with those around her and abandoning her work and home.


Posted Apr. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 24

RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I think Helen felt 'safer' with Mabel as it enabled her to insulate from the human world and all its suffering, including the recent death of her father.


Posted Apr. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JAKL1

Join Date: 12/06/12

Posts: 55

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I total agree with this statement. While I was reading the book, the hawk felt like a pet to me. So with Helen spending all her time with physical and mentally energy 24/7, I think anyone would feel like they were turning into a hawk.


Posted Apr. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pattys

Join Date: 09/17/11

Posts: 9

RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I really appreciate BarbMJ's answer to this question. As I read the book and saw her pull away from friends, family and colleagues, I found myself wondering what would happen to her if Mabel died or somehow flew away and didn't come back. I knew the ending before I started reading, though, which may have been a good thing.


Posted Apr. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 229

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

Her explanation is the paragraph above: The hawk was everything I wanted to be . . . .


Posted Apr. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 111

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RE: What do you think Helen means when she says, "I was turning into a hawk."

I cannot put it better than JLPen77 & BarbMJ - well thought out - I will say "ditto".
Helen's progression through grief took her to a very low place of depression. With the hawk she could remain functional & not destructive. She was so isolated with her hawk but she began to see how this attachment was not healthy. She still had friends Stuart & ?Jennifer (I forget her name); she had books & interests; she had family & a memorial service...although she was consumed in the world of Mabel she could not escape into it totally.


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