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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 did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

Created: 09/01/18

Replies: 9

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 did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?


Posted Sep. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherynez

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 16

RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

I felt sorry for her having to ride the train alone to Chicago in those conditions. She was very vulnerable and naive.She decided not to become a nun and went back home instead of staying in Chicago because of her experiences on the train. I thought Sally was dramatic but I’m not suprised at her reaction considering she was young, naive and inexperienced.


Posted Sep. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
veronicaj

Join Date: 05/25/17

Posts: 13

RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

I was repelled. The experience was so vivid. My heart went out to Sally, who had been sheltered and now was undertaking a huge life change. The ugliness of the world was intensified in that cooped up train. She must have been traumatized and it certainly was a life altering experience.


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 167

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

In answering this, I have to refer back to a quote you use in asking another question: "God is fair. He knows the truth." Sally's life was entirely undeveloped. She hardly knew of the world other than the cloistered existence she experienced in the basement of the convent. It was only right that she should first choose to become a nun, but then because God "knows the truth" and that it was not the right life for her, He should expose her to a bit of reality to make her fully aware that she was not meant for that life. The train ride was almost overexposure for her - perhaps for that reason. To some extent it was almost funny - but truly it was cruel. McDermott is amazingly gifted at developing character - every level of character, even the unspoken thought that drives a character's action. The train scenes were hard to read, painful yet beautiful revelations about the face, heart, and soul of humanity.


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 59

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

Susie - I really like your response and think it was spot on. Sometimes we are put in situations to prove that we shouldn't go on a certain path. That was certainly the case with the train ride to Chicago. If it could have been any more eye opening to Sally that the path to nurse the sick and dealing with cruel people was not in her cards, I don't know how.


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 51

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

The life that Sally had lived was so one -dimensional and the role of being a nun had been so romanticized that the harsh, smelly train trip served as a much needed wake-up call. As it was happening, I was so worried that Sally would decide that serving this ugly life was indeed her fate. I was relieved that McDermott allowed Sally to be in touch with her feelings enough to return home and reject this idea.


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 148

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

I found this episode to be very effective in teaching Sally the reality of life. She live a 'cloistered' life to that point and had a very romantic view of the nuns and the convent life. Her meddle was being tested on that train ride and she, luckily, realized she did not have the fortitude for a life of sacrifice. She proved this many times in her reactions to the limited amount of nursing she was allowed to do and her interactions with others.


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

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 312

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

Sally had been so protected, really overprotected by her life in the convent. She certainly had no idea of what life was really like out there in the real world. McDermott painted a great picture of reality. People who ride the subway to work each day, would say the picture was accurate. It was Sally's view that was altered. When she saw real life, up close, she knew she could not face this everyday and knew being a nun, taking care of the elderly and poor was not for her.


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

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 59

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RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

I agree with everyone, Sally's life was so sheltered that she thought being a nun was her destiny until she encountered all the ugly and mean people on the train ride to Chicago. That is when the truth hit her in the face and she could not stand it, she also realized she was not a good care giver to the old poor, sick people. Sister Lucy knew it during her week of Sally's training.


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

Join Date: 02/10/16

Posts: 14

RE: How did you feel reading about Sally's experience on the train ride to Chicago? How was she changed by the events that occurred there? Could you relate to her revulsion or did you find her response dramatic?

I think losing the money was, perhaps, the thing that changed Sally's heart and mind. After all, she'd seen some moments of people in tough situations and people behaving badly. But money was something she hadn't handled much - it can be a reassuring, even empowering thing to have. And then to lose it so quickly - maybe that made her realize more fully what she'd be giving up to live in the convent.


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