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Unsheltered


A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.
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In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

Created: 10/16/18

Replies: 6

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?


Posted Oct. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

I love Kingsolver's device of using the same words to end a chapter and to begin the next as she shifts between time periods, a whimsical device that illustrates the similarities between the two time periods she chose.


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

Join Date: 11/25/12

Posts: 34

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

Both couples - in each time frame - had done all the expected things.. Got an education, selected & pursued a career, had a family. With the exception of Mary Treat, now they are somewhat disappointed in the
outcome of their efforts. Questionable housing, shaky employment.


Posted Oct. 30, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyn

Join Date: 05/12/16

Posts: 27

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

I also appreciated the closing phrase of each chapter that serves as the title for the chapter that follows. Plus the title of chapter one contains the last words of the novel.


Posted Nov. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 69

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

I also loved the way Kingsolver used the last word or phrase of one chapter as the title for the next. I thought it was a structurally brilliant way of alternating between the narratives. I didn't notice the connection that nancyn points about between chapter one and the ending. That's even better because it makes it a circle, or a Mobius strip, instead of a straight (well, zig-zagging, but generally in one direction) line.

An interesting thing to me is that they both have the house falling down around them, but we find out that the modern house wasn't even the original structure. They find Dunwiddie bricks that couldn't have been in the house when Thatcher was there because he was gone before those bricks were made.

As we got closer to the end, I started thinking of the 1870s portion as being like the book Willa wants to write about Mary Treat. I know it's not actually that, because it focuses more on Thatcher Greenwood, but that's how it struck me.


Posted Nov. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 304

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

I loved the linking of last words/title of next chapter/end of book/back to title of chapter one. I loved the parallels: the two families are both in the same house (rebuilt/"remuddled"), the house is in bad shape, and they are both struggling with money in an economy with structured inequality. Both families in some way are challenged to confront a leading scientific debate of their day, and those debates are related: whether to accept the truth of Darwin's evolutionary science, in the 19th century, over biblical literalism; in our time, whether to take seriously the science of global warming, in time to prevent catastrophe on a global scale. Related to that larger issue, both families are connected by the Pine Barrens also, where Thatcher (with Mary) finds a thriving natural setting, but Willa and Iano find a damaged habitat due to Hurricane Sandy.

There's also an interesting parallel between Mary Treat as a woman and a writer, struggling to be taken seriously, and Willa, as an unemployed journalist who is left to cope with all of the family issues, when she longs to pursue her career. And a more general parallel between Landis as a petty dictator of a very hierarchical, exclusive community, who can't accept a free and independent press, literally getting away with murder; and what is going on today.


Posted Nov. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RebeccaF

Join Date: 08/24/14

Posts: 45

RE: In shifting between chapters, what changes did you notice in the characters' language, or the narrative tone? In what ways did you find the two separate narratives connected?

There is a definite shift in style as you move from the contemporary story line into the historical one. Kingsolver noted that she modeled the 1870s style on the work of George Eliot, specifically Middlemarch. This means you could put your finger on any page of the book and figure out which time period it's from, even without seeing any character names.


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