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Migrations


A breathtaking page-turner and an ode to our threatened world.
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Do you think Ennis was right to do what his wife asked? Is his inability to stay similar to Franny's?

Created: 08/05/21

Replies: 8

Posted Aug. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

Do you think Ennis was right to do what his wife asked? Is his inability to stay similar to Franny's?

When Ennis tells Franny about his wife, Saoirse, asking him to leave so he won't see her Huntington's disease progress, Franny is adamant: "You have to go back to your family. You don't understand how important it is." Do you think Ennis was right to do what his wife asked? Is his inability to stay similar to Franny's?


Posted Aug. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 124

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

Maybe. I had trouble understanding either of them, though Ennis seemed the more selfish, since his wife and children obviously needed him regardless of what she told him (which, by the way, was also selfish). When faced with Niall's need, Franny was prepared to stay. (Though not as early in the book as I would have supposed, which, of course, would have ruined the plot.)


Posted Aug. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rachelh

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 46

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

I found Ennis to be a very interesting and sympathetic character--ultimately I do think he took a cowardly approach by heeding his wife's wishes against his instinct, but even though I don't personally condone his actions, I find them understandable. I think sailing to the Arctic became a sort of trip of atonement for him, in a similar way to Franny.


Posted Aug. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mildas

Join Date: 05/11/16

Posts: 38

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

People are complex: They say one thing and mean another. Ennis's wife told him what he wanted to hear. She understood that the sea was his home. Ennis accepted his wife's decision because it was what he wanted. Ennis felt guilty because he understood that he was making a selfish decision. In an effort to atone, he helped Fanny in her Quest.


Posted Aug. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
michellem

Join Date: 03/12/14

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

I don't think he did the right thing. He needed to be more forceful with her and remind her their vow in marriage "in sickness and health".


Posted Aug. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 305

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

This is a tricky question for me only because we do not know what Ennis' marriage was like prior to his wife's diagnosis. It is quite possible that Ennis' wife created a routine in the home that worked best for her and the children given the amount of time Ennis was absent. Could his presence have created more stress in an already stressful situation if all of the sudden he was home? I wonder if Ennis had a habit of being emotionally uninvolved while home, only counting down the days until his return to sea. His wife knew she would already be dealing with a lot during her sickness, maybe she had no desire to deal with his moodiness on land. Maybe she wanted to keep some type of regular schedule going- -mom stays home, dad goes to work- -so things looked more normal for the children. His constant presence may have scared them; communicating to them that something was terribly, terribly wrong. She may not have been ready to deal with that.

Ennis obviously felt guilty. But I feel like he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. He did what his wife asked him to do. Soooo, he is selfish, uncaring, uninvolved, a jerk. If he had ignored her request and stayed, one could still say he is being selfish- -thinking about what he wants, not his wife. Was his wife trying to be manipulative? If so, why?

I don't think Ennis' wandering was the same as Franny's UNTIL this trip. His was related to his job. However, fear of his wife's deterioration and sole responsibility for his children drove him to run away rather than confront it. Having run away from so many people close to her while they were living, Franny had a different perspective now that they were all lost to her. She communicates the importance of physically being there to Ennis in her attempt to convince him to return. On the other side of not being present for her husband, her mother, and her grandmother, Franny sees the harm that did and can do. (She even took her own advice, ultimately, at the very end of the book when she fought to STAY.)


Posted Aug. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judithc

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 29

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

This is a hard question because we don’t know much about their marriage. Saoirse seemed to know Ennis couldn’t live without fishing and was gone most of the time anyway. She had already made the decision to leave the children with her parents. At the end of the book she was still alive.


Posted Sep. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia C

Join Date: 01/28/21

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

I do not think Ennis was right to leave his dying wife nor their children during such a traumatic time in their lives, but I understand that he was trying to fulfill the wishes of his dying wife. She didn't want his memories of her be those of her sickness and dying but of the robust love they had shared previously. She also didn't want him tied to the land when she knew he was attached to the sea.

I think his attachment to the sea and his inability to stay home was, in some way, similar to Franny's need to keep moving and not to stay in one place too long. What they most had in common was their love of and devotion to the oceans.


Posted Sep. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 114

RE: Do you think Ennis was right to do ...

I find it interesting that his wife didn't want their children to live with him. She took them to her parents. I have to assume that is where she was living out her final days also. Ennis honored her request while she was sick, but even at the point the story takes place, she is still very much alive. He says he wants to go back for his kids. But it seems first he needs to find something in himself that allows him to do that. Ennis is as tied to the sea as Franny is. He already knows that fishing as a career is at an end, so just like Franny he is searching for something in himself that will allow him to go on.


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