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The Ninth Hour


A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
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Discuss The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott:
How does the work that the sisters choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs? Which are you most drawn to?

Created: 09/01/18

Replies: 3

Posted Sep. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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How does the work that the sisters choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs? Which are you most drawn to?

How does the work that Sisters Lucy, Jeanne and Illuminata choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs about God and faith, sin and human weakness? Which of the three are you most drawn to?


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 167

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RE: How does the work that the sisters choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs? Which are you most drawn to?

Sister Illuminata wanted to be a nun from a young age, but illness kept her from serving as she planned. As a result, she is to spend her days below ground, serving as the head laundress for the convent and the community it serves. She and her four irons keep all looking immaculate - on the exterior at least - and she practices spreading the gospel of her mother - acting as a mother - to Annie and Sally. Not the life she planned, but she is dedicated to it.

Sister Lucy is a business-like, no nonsense, hands on caretaker of those she is daily assigned to look after. She makes certain they are clean, dry, well fed, and their environment is neat, tidy, and comfortable. It is their physical needs she directs, and she has no time or interest in looking at the interior or what is beneath.

Sister Jeanne is young at heart and in spirit; she seems to be the most accepting of all of human nature and looks to balance the world of her daily world by believing that God is a fair God, and he has created the ability in humans to recognize fairness in all that we see and experience. "To everything there is a season, a time and purpose for everything under the Heavens" may have been her motto - she believes in hope and I liked her positive attitude a lot!


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

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 312

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RE: How does the work that the sisters choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs? Which are you most drawn to?

The three nuns were very different. Sister Illuminata adjusted herself to her work. She became a perfectionist and offered up her sacrifices. She spoke often about her mother and in a way became a mother to Annie and Sally. She preferred to stay downstairs and away from convent life.
Sister Lucy was a tough character. There were no ands, ifs, or buts. She moved in and did the job with little or no emotion. She was quick to size up a person and demand justice. She was almost mannish in her ways.
Sister Jeanne was the opposite of Sister Lucy. She was soft, gentle. I could almost hear her sing-song voice. Yet under it all, she did in Mrs. Costello. She spoke of God being a fair God, but I feel she protested too much. Maybe she was just hoping He was.
Of the Sisters, I was most drawn to Sr. St. Saviour. I wish there was more about her character. I felt she was truly caring about the people. She wished she made the rules of the church, and I wish she did too. She knew where Jim should be buried, and would have made it happen, except for the papers. She felt the church was wrong and she acted upon it.


Posted Oct. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
SD Reader

Join Date: 02/10/16

Posts: 14

RE: How does the work that the sisters choose suit their individual talents and personalities? How do they differ in their beliefs? Which are you most drawn to?

I really loved that the sisters were individuals. I think it's so easy to generalize and stereotype when it comes to both nuns and priests. Truth is, each one is human. And even though right now in our news we are hearing about the horrors of some bad priests, there are far more individual priests doing good work, living honorable lives of faith.


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