Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Ninth Hour


A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Discuss The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott:
Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

Created: 09/01/18

Replies: 5

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

Expert

Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

Sister Jeanne teaches the Tierney children that "God wants us to know the truth in all things," yet there are many parts of their family story they do not know the truth about. Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold? How might Patrick and Sally each tell the story of the day they fell in love?


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 167

Expert

RE: Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

This is an intriguing question, and I really wish all of us who are answering here were sitting in a group so we could talk this aloud. There are bits and pieces of truth in many of the stories told here - yet none seems to be all truth. Is that because truth "is in the eye of the beholder?" Each of us sees life from a different perspective and as a result our truths will vary. Sister Jeanne is the primary teacher and cheerleader for truth - she reminds us of what God wants us to know - and yet she, like all the book's characters, is all too human. Everyone embellishes, withholds, lies - this is human nature. How Sally and Patrick will tell their story to future generations will be based on the perspective of each. As we are all unique, created in God's likeness, each reality/perspective will be unique and thus, true. And remember as you consider this, "God is fair."


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 45

RE: Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

I think everybody in the book in some way strays from the truth, whether through embellishment, omission, or outright lying. There are times where the truth coming out does no one any good, such as the newspaper reporting Jim’s death as a suicide. That was the truth but it also meant that he couldn’t be buried in the cemetery. Even Jeanne lies by helping to cover up the way in which Sally contributed to Mrs. Costello’s death.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 30

RE: Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

I think each character told the truth in a slightly slanted way to fit with the way they wanted things to be.


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

Join Date: 02/10/16

Posts: 14

RE: Who are the truth tellers in the book? Who lies, embellishes, or withholds the truth, and what do you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

This is an intriguing question - and I agree with susiej - a discussion of this topic would be fascinating. Everyone has their own slant (as cathyoc said) and motivations (like celiaarnoud said) - but I am especially curious when/why/how Sally would have passed on the story about the alum tea with Mrs. Costello - is that really something she would tell her family?


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 312

Expert

RE: Who are the truth tellers in the book you think about their reasons for doing so? How does the family's story change as it is told and retold?

I think every character in this book is slightly flawed in this matter. Like every human being there are some truths and there are some embellishments, maybe even some lies. No one is completely honest with themselves or others The book starts off with a whopper, when Sister St. Saviour takes on the laws of the Catholic Church (and with good reason). Sister is willing to lie in order to get a decent Catholic burial for Annie's husband. and the stories (lies) continue from there. Annie withholds the truth from Sally about her father's death, and her new relationship with Mr. Costello. They all think they have good reasons, that somehow they are protecting or helping the other person. Sister Jeanne teaches the children, that God wants us to know the truth in all things and she truly believes that "God knows the truth" as she expressed to Sally after the death of Mrs. Costello, but she never actually told Sally the entire truth, which had some serious effects on Sally for the rest of her life.


Reply

Please login to post a response.