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Little Nothing


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Discuss Little Nothing by Marisa Silver:
Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Created: 08/09/17

Replies: 18

Posted Aug. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Agata and Vaclav have a complicated relationship with Pavla, both ashamed and deeply protective of her. Why do you think they try to change her in spite of the cost and pain incurred?


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 179

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I think they really believed she would have a better chance at happiness if she were more "normal." I believe they did it out of love, yet, could they not see that the "cures" were hurting her?


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 120

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

They were older parents and they were worried what would happen to her when they died. They obviously thought if they could change her body she would have better survival chances after they were gone.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 185

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I agree with both Marcia & Maggie. I also believe that their superstitious nature made them believe they were doing their best for their daughter and for themselves.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nanl

Join Date: 09/28/15

Posts: 23

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

From Pavla's birth, Agata and Vaclav are confused and disappointed by her dwarfism. Although they come to love her deeply, her "otherness" is always in their awareness. As they age, they recognize that after their deaths she will face a difficult existence so are willing to make her undergo these dreadful "treatments" to make her grow. They are governed by superstition and ignorance as well as love..


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyg

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 25

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I agree with all that's been said above. The stigma of "otherness" is particularly cruel in childhood and the impact can last a lifetime. Pavla's parents were willing to put Pavla at risk in order to spare her further torment and especially for the time that was fast approaching after they were gone.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 77

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Agata and Vaclav exhibited several motivations to change Pavla's drawfism. They wanted a better life for her. They wanted her to be capable of caring for them as they aged. They wanted the respect of their community for having a normal offspring. As we see in most family units, what is best for the child is purely in the eyes and experience of the parents.


Posted Aug. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 60

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Because life would have been easier for her and for them. They did what they believed was best. They didn't know any better.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 410

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I think they felt they had no choice but to try to make it possible for her to survive when they are gone. It was truly done out of love though it was awful and they knew it but were really trying their best for her.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bookbagbethy

Join Date: 03/01/17

Posts: 7

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Even though Pavla was being accepted into the town, school and father's business after years of disdain. It seems her parents would go to any lengths to have her be "normal". Thus, upsetting the balance that had been achieved.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 125

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

They want the best for their daughter and they are concerned that if she doesn't fit in with the population she will be harmed or killed. They feel the chance for happiness is worth the pain of the process.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 87

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I agree with the comments above. Remembering the time period of the story, being "different" had many more implications than in the current time period. In their class, even "normal" people had limited options. These few options, in the parents' opinion, were reduced to none for Pavla..so out of love they thought they were improving her life.


Posted Aug. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 259

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

In the story, it seems clear that they do this realizing that she is unlikely to marry, and when they are gone, what will become of her? So they do it out of love, but love that comes bound up in a lot of human errors: fear instead of faith; ignorance, relying on superstition instead of knowledge; egotistical belief that we know better and have the right to decide for another person, without consulting them; willingness to sacrifice time and effort on wishful thinking rather than on constructive action (like pouring money into lottery tickets instead of making changes through your own effort). Despite in some ways being stock characters of fairy tales, they are also very much like real people we recognize in our own setting. I'm impressed with how Marisa Silver pulled this off.


Posted Aug. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 39

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Wasn't that the saddest part of the book? They finally achieve a peaceful existence, Pavla is accepted in the community and happy, and they have change it all. As a parent, I can sort of understand their fear: when they are gone, who is going to look after and protect their child? However, to put your child through such painful and awful procedures...I know I wouldn't have the strength. I think the author does a great job of showing the reader the agony the parents are in and why they continue with the procedures. Plus, it wouldn't be much of a fairy tale if something dramatic and fantastic didn't happen.


Posted Aug. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 104

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I think they did it for both selfish & unselfish reasons. I think they wanted her to have a more normal life but I also think they were a bit embarrassed and maybe even a little ashamed of her condition. It's difficult for me to believe that a parent would put their child through that much pain & such torturous treatment unless they wanted her "fixed" for selfish reasons.


Posted Aug. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthiaa

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 78

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

They thought if she could be like others she would fit into the world and have a better life.


Posted Aug. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 330

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RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Agate and Vaclan had tried for a long time to have a child. When Pavla was first born they shunned her but eventually came to love and care for her despite her difference. They wanted the best for her and believed in the Dr that said he could help. As any parent, despite the cost and time involved, they did their best to improve her life.


Posted Sep. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janen

Join Date: 06/01/11

Posts: 49

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

I agree with most of the comments. They did it because they thought it would be better for her if she could have "fit" in. I wondered though wopiuld they have thought differently if she was a boy. I do believe that they would have. It was hard enough being a female during that time, at least that's what I got from the reading. They did pay a terrible price for doing what they did.


Posted Sep. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janicea

Join Date: 04/20/17

Posts: 10

RE: Why do you think Agata and Vaclav try to change Pavla in spite of the cost and pain incurred?

Agata and Vaclav were bullied and questioned by town residents for not having children (which unfortunately stills happens). When Pavla was born with dwarfism they are embarrassed and ashamed for not producing a so-called normal child. As Pavla grew into a functioning, bright young girl they began to be proud of Pavla. Still they wanted a child without defects and when offered hope and a solution from a self-proclaimed specialist doctor, they wanted to believe that their problems would be solved. As Agata and Vaclav were in the lower class and a doctor was considered to be in a higher class, knowledgeable, and only wanting to heal his patients, they succumbed to the false promises and false hope the doctor gave them, all for the desire to see their daughter become a normal child. The doctor was a con artist and the parents fell for it hook, line and sinker.


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