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Unsheltered


A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.
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Which of the challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear? What is the foundation of her successful relationship with Iano? How has marriage changed, or not changed, since the time of Rose and Thatcher?

Created: 10/16/18

Replies: 3

Posted Oct. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

Which of the challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear? What is the foundation of her successful relationship with Iano? How has marriage changed, or not changed, since the time of Rose and Thatcher?

Which of the many challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear, and why? What do you see as the foundation of her successful relationship with Iano? How has marriage changed, or not changed, since the time of Rose and Thatcher?


Posted Oct. 31, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 317

RE: Which of the challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear? Etc.

Willa seems to worry more about their financial instability, the house, the children, including their grandson, and she takes more of the daily responsibility for managing the household in general, including stretching the money, and handling the many needs of her difficult, gravely ill father-in-law. While this could be due to her unemployment, Willa's situation seems typical of women historically (down to my generation and hers, the baby boomers). For us, in some ways things weren't that much changed from the era of Rose and Thatcher-- despite an increase in numbers and tolerance of women working outside the home, compared to Rose's era, it was still viewed and treated as an aberration, a personal choice for women. Men were expected to bring home the bacon, and the extent of their domestic responsibility was a matter of choice for them, and applauded as though they were saints. I think this is changing (based on my grown children and stepchildren). A good thing! It strikes me that younger adults today have marriages where both partners have to work, and expect to work, so both are equally engaged in managing their households, their families. This is seen as normal in society at large.

Whether they both worry equally, or bring the same emotions and attitudes to these roles, I can't say. Iano is available to Willa emotionally, and not unobservant, he's a useful confidante and counterweight, but he strikes me as living happily in his own bubble, doing the work he loves, unconcerned about their future, not seeking to find something better however hard that might be, because he's content.

Still, Willa does have his support, love and gratitude, and draws strength from their shared sense of humor and their history together. And gradually through the course of the novel, she gets active, practical help from Tig--eventually, important insight as well, critical to Willa's ability to make that paradigm shift and embrace her life.

One challenge that seems to be truly private is her insecurity/jealousy over Iano's constant contact and popularity with female students (and his one-time infidelity), though at one point she does bring this up with him and is reassured. Another is her insecurity over her own worth in the world, having lost her job. Her pursuit of their house's history, while it has an economic motivation, I think is also about validating herself as an unemployed journalist -- and like Mary Treat, she finds an unexpected companion who shares her interest, in the historical society director Christopher Hawk.


Posted Nov. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bill and jackie

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 16

RE: Which of the challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear? What is the foundation of her successful relationship with Iano? How has marriage changed, or not changed, since the time of Rose and Thatcher?

Well said JLPen77! I agree with everything you brought into this discussion. One difference in the marriages of Rose and Thatcher and Willa and Iano is the richness of their sexual relationships. Both marriages had an enjoyable and healthy sexual component but because of the conventions of the times, Rose and Thatcher's sexual life was always behind closed doors and retained a child breeding component. Willa and Iano always had an impromptu and rich sex life before and after child bearing.

The marital relationships were alike in that Thatcher and Rose and Willa and Iano didn't have similar interests. The difference is that Thatcher couldn't begin to understand Rose's interest in her past life and her desire for social standing when there was such pleasure to be had in scholarship. Iano and Willa didn't really share the same interests currently. He was beginning his new teaching position and Willa was dealing with the ruined house and economic instability as well as taking care of a baby and trying to oversee her grown children. They shared the care and feeding of Nick to a point. The difference between the couples is that Rose and Thatcher made no attempt at creating a unified life while Willa and Iano didn't have to think about it. They were there for each other if and when needed.


Posted Nov. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
franee

Join Date: 01/22/15

Posts: 6

RE: Which of the challenges confronting Willa are hers alone to bear? What is the foundation of her successful relationship with Iano? How has marriage changed, or not changed, since the time of Rose and Thatcher?

Willa takes on the traditional role of "caregiver" while her journalism is put on the back burner. She is more invested in the trials and tribulations of a family where she has internalized the aspects of suicide and ageing. In the book, Willa seems to be the one who had a very emotional response to the death of her grandson's mother as Zeke didn't have much time to mourn the loss. She is also the one who often takes on the antics of Nick to which she seems to have more of an emotional response than that of the rest of the family. Are these behaviors assigned to her b/c she is the "lady of the house"? She has a limited view of the world with regards to her family while her dtr has a more worldly global view. She appears to be the "glue" that keeps everything running.


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