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Unsheltered


A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.
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Discuss Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver:
Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

Created: 10/16/18

Replies: 8

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1913

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Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

In what ways, if any, do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? What accounts for Tig's patience with him, despite their differences? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times? What's suggested by Willa's and Nick's argument taking place on the Walt Whitman Bridge?


Posted Oct. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 92

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RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient?

I think Nick is not only railing at what he perceives to be injustices in his world, he is railing against his physical collapse. Imagine the horror in depending on others to do even the most basic of tasks for you. I think his outrage correlates to the posturing we see on the traditional and social media.

I found Tig's relationship with him endearing. In many ways they are kindred spirits in their fighting against their current realities. Tig just chooses to articulate her fight in a more eloquent manner. It is Tig's love for her grandfather that helps her ignore his noise and focus on what he is really enduring.


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

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 21

RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

Comprehensible. A relative with dementia and various physical ailments was quite like Nick. Vulnerable to the changing physical conditions and aware that mental capacities were off, the individual railed against other family members, politics, and became prejudiced against healthcare workers who were of a different skin color. One could wonder if that prejudice had always bern there and hidden or new and an example of changing mental abilities or simply fear. One learns as Tig did when to argue and when to ignore. Patience is indeed the virtue needed to survive the caretaking of one “raging against the dying of the light”.


Posted Nov. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 283

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RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

I agree with you both, paulak and janeb, about the roots of Nick’s anger and Tig’s patience. What I find harder to understand is his bigotry—why he blames other races or other immigrants who have also been cheated the way he has. I have to assume it’s his need to feel superior to someone when he feels so bad about himself. Thr role of certain radio and TV stations who encourage his false notions and fthe bigotry come into play as well. I think he represents far too many people in this country who are easily misled by corporate metworks into blaming other victims instead of the billionaires who rewrote the economic rules to their own advantage, at Nick’s expense.

Willa’s refusal to listen to his hate radio is appropriate, but her efforts to reason with him obviously are never going to work, because bigotry isn’t based on reason, so Tig’s response of ignoring it is wiser.


Posted Nov. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthiad

Join Date: 11/25/12

Posts: 34

RE: Nick's anger

Nick's anger & irrational behavior is a reaction to his complete lack of control. He's dependent on others for everything and doesn't want to be burdensome. Other family members have problems of their own---- employment, cost of home repair, care of the baby -- they don't have sympathy for Nick's frustration.
Tig's patience is surely a blessing... maybe because she's not caught up in the other problems - altho
later she does want responsibility for Zeke.


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

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 7

RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

Nick is in a constant battle with his body, dependent on technology and other people for his very life. He worked hard with his hands to earn and keep his place in America and so spurns those he feels use the this wonderful system for their needs rather than working for it. He is between life (and how he remembers it) and his immenent death. His son and his son's wife need help which he is helpless to give. He is angry in his impotence.

Tig has witnessed a great deal of life in her short one. She watched her parents maintain their love during adversity, her brother run full bore into a life without real joy, the basest poverty among people who are capable of seeing joy in adversity. I see TIg as a savior figure in this book. Her patience with Nick shows her understanding of his position in the family now. She actually teaches Willa (her mother) to recognize and enjoy life without wealth. She nurtures her grandfather, her nephew and her family (with her cooking). She sees "Dusty" as a sign of the future.

I love the ironic
Walt Whitman Bridge locale as a site for Willa's and Nick's discussion. The old bridge metaphor is obvious - crossing from one generation into another or meeting in the middle. The naming of the Walt Whitman Bridge was historically very controversial. As a Transcendentalist, Whitman was a controversial poet, loving self and all people and their persona, shocking a more conservative sector of America. Willa would approve the Walt Whitman name on the bridge - Nick would not.


Posted Nov. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
charleneds

Join Date: 03/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

I think Nick's bigotry stemmed from needing to find people beneath him to feel better about himself. I find it easier to be patient with older people who grew up in a time when bigotry was acceptable than younger people in this day and age who have been given more perspective about diversity and cultural differences. Many people in Nick's generation were prejudiced against people different from them. Willa did the best she could by standing her ground and refusing to listen to his radio station - but there is no reasoning with the Nick's of the world.


Posted Nov. 27, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rco

Join Date: 11/04/18

Posts: 10

RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

Nick added a colorful but sad dimension to the book. I don't understand bigotry or people who blame others for their own problems and shortcomings. Tig was a saint with Nick. I think she understood and accepted his anger in a way others could not.


Posted Nov. 30, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
franee

Join Date: 01/22/15

Posts: 6

RE: Do you find Nick's bigotry and anger comprehensible? Why is Tig so patient? How do the family's conflicts relate to the polarization of present times?

Nick's anger, I believe, is based on his advancing age and inability to do the things he used to do. Times were different when he was able to care for himself and be independent. Maybe his bigotry is a substitution for longing for that time when he was healthy and able. In the past, while his wellness was intact so was a culture with bigotry. Maybe he is incapable of separating the two.
Tig, on the other hand is more than able to perceive the evolution of the culture and the faults of the past. She may be so patient b/c she knows she has some control over the future. She is young and able and involved in changing the mistakes of the past without anger but rather action.


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