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Unsheltered


A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.
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When Thatcher sees the world "divided in two camps..." what is he observing? Which of the novel's characters are the former, and which are the latter? Where would you place yourself?

Created: 10/16/18

Replies: 2

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2754

When Thatcher sees the world

When Thatcher sees the world "divided in two camps..." what is he observing? Which of the novel's characters are the former, and which are the latter? Where would you place yourself?


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 304

RE: When Thatcher sees the world

I take that to be people who resist changing their minds when presented with "an inconvenient truth," and those who are open to it. The former rely on a fantasy of how things are, that they have received from authority figures, and which are reinforced by social conventions. They do this because they are invested in the fantasy, in one way or another -- power, privilege, or a sense of security, is at stake. They would rather not think for themselves, or look too closely at anything that might appear to challenge what they've chosen to believe, even afraid to look at the contradictions in their belief system that stitched right into it (claiming to be Christian, but ignoring the message of the prophets or Jesus, for example).

The latter think for themselves, and question authority figures and conventions based upon their powers of reason and their moral principles.They value honesty, reason, and the courage of their convictions. I think, I hope, I am among them, I try to be, at least.

A paradigm shift happens when people are willing to accept new facts that challenge their beliefs. In the novel, to take some significant characters, Rose and her mother, Landis, Cutler are among the resisters of change; Thatcher, Polly, Mary Treat, and the editor, Carruth are open to truth. In our time, the characters resisting truth are Nick and Zeke, vs. Tig; Willa is an interesting example of someone who is torn, who is truly struggling with the paradigm shift. She has a hard time letting go of her sense of entitlement to her prior liberal, professional lifestyle/mindset, and also accepting that her way is not the norm for others; she looks down at Jorge's family initially, just for being very different. In the end, she is able to shift her views. Iano doesn't seem to struggle either to resist or to embrace. He goes with the flow, not with authority but happen to live in whatever way it takes for him to pursue his passion, and look for ways to enjoy life, which makes him also open to change, even if not embracing it as Tig does. I think this is Kingsolver's way of highlighting that even for those of us not resisting our present day paradigm shift, we are all on a spectrum in how we respond.


Posted Nov. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AntoinetteC

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 26

RE: When Thatcher sees the world "divided in two camps..." what is he observing? Which of the novel's characters are the former, and which are the latter? Where would you place yourself?

I agree with JLPen77's analysis.

I'd place myself theoretically aligned with Tig but clinging on to my possessions like Willa--and a million miles opposed to the view points of the likes of Landis and Rose.


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