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The Removes


A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of...
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Discuss The Removes by Tatjana Soli:
On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Created: 08/22/18

Replies: 16

Posted Aug. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

On the train trip to Dakota, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him and his soldiers, although it is clear he does this more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this incident says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?


Posted Sep. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Cynthia

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Notwithstanding Custer's affection for Eliza, he enjoyed the confrontation with the owner as it afforded the opportunity to employ a fight-fight-or-flight salvo. He was the commanding officer intimidating his enemy, with the backup of his loyal (and hungry) troops. He knew he couldn't possibly lose. It would be disingenuous of him to pretend otherwise, but he didn't have to. In spite of it, whether she was aware of his motivation or not, Eliza was happy. It probably felt like a personal win for her.


Posted Sep. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

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RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Custer may not have done it for the best of reasons, but he did defend his black cook's right to eat at the table like any other man and I have to respect that.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 104

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RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

It seemed hypocritcal to me that he would argue that his cook shouldn't be removed from the table while at the same time he was gallivanting around the West partaking in the US Govt's mission of removing the Native Americans from their own land.


Posted Sep. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
miriamb

Join Date: 05/29/18

Posts: 8

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Custer is in charge and he will always show this to his men. I thought this showed him in a good light but his treatment of other people (namely the Native Americans) was dreadful.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
phenkat

Join Date: 07/29/11

Posts: 7

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

He liked to make up his own rules. And be ornery and thoughtless.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

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Custer's Character

I hadn't really considered this in terms of Custer's character at the time I read it (primarily because I don't really think he had much). Custer liked to be in charge. Custer liked to win. Custer liked to have his own way. Custer didn't like to be inconvenienced or told no. I have no doubt he had a deep affection for Eliza, but I do doubt that Custer saw his standing up to the restaurant owner as a human rights issue. He was a showboat and liked to have an audience to witness his boldness. Custer seemed to believe he deserved money and fame and success. He liked to see his name in the paper. If he had truly been a man who concerned himself with the treatment of others and a man of character he 1)would not have cheated on his wife 2)would not have cheated on his wife with a woman who was part of the group he was pursuing, removing from their land, and killing 3)shown more empathy for those who had been kidnapped and recovered and 4)stopped his war on the Indians as soon as he began to develop an understanding and appreciation for the Indians' way of life. Was I supposed to like Custer more because he defended Eliza? Because I didn't.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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valeriec

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 26

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Whatever his base reason, I found it admirable.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 48

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Well first, did this really happen or is it fiction? If true, it seemed like it was an example of Custer always being the leader, the decision maker.


Posted Sep. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynj

Join Date: 08/07/11

Posts: 39

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

In general I thought the author rightfully portrayed both good and bad traits and actions of George Armstrong Custer's character. I assume that this is historical fiction so, of course, some of it including dialogue is fictionalized, while some of it is historically correct. The book made me want to do more research about Custer. It appeared that he was an obedient soldier and did as he was commanded to do while being trusted by his superiors to employ his judgement. He may have been fighting for somebody else's land, but isn't that what he was told to do? The book ran hot and cold with me, but one thing it did was pique my curiosity and change my opinion about Custer, in more than one direction. I had no idea he was a womanizer despite his seemingly true love for Libbie, and I can't admire that. Sending his cook out somewhere else to eat would have been far more expedient than taking any time to defend her. He must have been a fair man, and I think we saw that in many other instances. So...I have to be fair to him and say he was like all of us. He had mixed emotions, mixed behavior, good and bad character traits. I respected him more throughout the book and by the end of it than before I read it.


Posted Sep. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 30

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

This is an interesting insight into Custer’s character. He is first and foremost an officer in the military which assumes obedience to commands. He seems to be more annoyed that his command is not obeyed than to be defending the human rights of Eliza. The incident also illustrates how his military demeanor carries over into his public life. Only with Libbie does Custer show any empathy, love and accommodation that might make him a more sympathetic man.


Posted Sep. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 36

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

I think Eliza and Custer had a very strong bond and while it might have been that Custer did not want to be told what to do, I think he genuinely cared about her.


Posted Sep. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

Posts: 123

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RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

In general, Custer was an opportunist, someone with great hubris who sought power. I believe he truly thought Eliza should be served at the table but he also welcomed the potential conflict with the restaurant owner. I found his lack of a moral center deplorable. He was a gambler, a poseur, and cheated on Libbie whenever the opportunity presented itself. During war, he could just as easily been a Confederate. He had no true North Star.


Posted Sep. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 335

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RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Custer's character as portrayed by Soli continues to be a mystery to me. I keep coming back to his killing of a Confederate soldier simply because the man refused to stop. That was pretty cold-blooded, if you ask me. I also think about his treatment of Libbie, cheating on her and then more-or-less bragging about it in his letters to her. But on the other hand there are moments portrayed like this one that provide a different view of him, so it was difficult for me to really hone in on the type of man he was.


Posted Sep. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 9

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Custer as characterized by Soli was a man conflicted. On the one hand he was a cold blooded killer, a womanizer and a showboater who only seemed to be concerned with public approval and power. However, there were a few instances when he was shown to be somewhat compassionate. He had a long history with Eliza and I think he really cared about her. Hence his reason for insisting that she be allowed to eat at the same table as him.


Posted Sep. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 53

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RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

Even though I thought he was womanizer, powerful army officer and fully into hisself, I believe he really cared about her. They had a history together and his insisting on her being allowed to eat at the same table was his way of supporting her as she supported him on a daily basis when he was away from his wife and family. She had become his family.


Posted Oct. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 29

RE: On the train, Custer defends his black cook's right to eat at the same table as him, more for expediency than conviction. What do you think this says about Custer’s character? What do you think of his character in general?

I totally agree that he defended Eliza because of convenience rather than on moral ground. I think that it shows his self-centeredness and that he would take a stand on a controversial issue if it benefitted him. I honestly think his character was no better or no worse than the average man of his time. He was a product of his upbringing and his environment.


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