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The Survivors


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How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

Created: 01/28/21

Replies: 8

Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

After the storm, Kieran accepted that he was partly to blame for the deaths of his brother and Toby. How do you think this influenced the way he lived his life from that point on? How might the events of the novel change this, and what effect might they have on Kieran's future?


Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 140

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

Kieran's guilt shaped his life from the moment of the storm forward. He bore that burden every day, knowing that his decisions had led to the demise of his brother and friend. It kept him from visiting his parents and home. It drew him to the one person who understood tragedy of his past. And it drove him to swim to forget. His love, hobby and life were shaped by one decision. The events of the novel will release that burden, but still remain. It will bring him closer to his family and offer peace, but not completely. Closely held guilt does not disappear in the light of facts. It will take time to adjust to the new reality. But it does bring hope for his future and that of his daughter.


Posted Jan. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 187

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

Kieran was simply accepting the role everyone thought he played, which speaks volumes about how we see ourselves as society sees us. Kieran carried such a heavy burden, made worse by his parents' silent reproach, that he was the cause of his brother's accident. His discovery certainly helped him shed part of the burden but the work he had done on his own also helped him a great deal. The work Kieran did on figuring out what happened is an interesting parallel to the work he has done on himself over the years.


Posted Jan. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PKH

Join Date: 01/29/21

Posts: 34

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

I think Kieran's guilt influenced everything about his life. He knew when he was headed in a downward spiral and knew he had to actively fight it. His therapy helped him a lot in managing the situation. His discovery of the true events of the day will help ease his burden but he will still never get over it. Whether he was the cause of the deaths or not, he knows he should not have been there that day and he can't erase that.


Posted Jan. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 293

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

What is the saddest of all of this to me is that Kieran's parents allowed him to accept blame for what happened in the first place. As a result I did not like them AT ALL! I found it difficult to feel compassion for Brian as he suffered from dementia. It was even harder for me to empathize with Verity. Kieran was punished his entire life for what everyone referred to as a surprise storm- -how was he supposed to be the only one in town who knew what was going to happen that day???? Knowing that his parents blamed him drove him away from his home. Fortunately, he refused to be defined by that one event in his life AND what his parents believed about him. He worked hard to heal himself and found a loving, SUPPORTIVE partner. Kieran's parents actually lost two sons during the storm. They were just unable to see that.

**I had to go back and reread the part of the book where Kieran and Mia told Verity about what they had learned about the timeline and the backpack. I felt sick to my stomach reading what Verity said to her son. She had been keeping that inside for 12 years, but Kieran always knew how she really felt. I am astounded by his willingness to be so understanding and so forgiving. That tells me that Kieran has really taken his recovery from the trauma seriously and still values having his parents in his life (however much they will allow). I might have cut them loose, deciding that kind of toxicity was not healthy for me.


Posted Feb. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

Though it seems that Kieran may initially have left Evelyn Bay for his own good, when we watch his behavior around his parents it almost seems possible that he really felt he needed to leave for their good - so they did not have to see him or deal with him on a daily basis - especially since his father for certain blames him for Finn's death, and his mother, by her silence does as well. Leaving, however, has helped him, and through therapy he has learned ways to cope that allow him to return, to overlook their judgment, and help them prepare for their move.

Here Harper again uses irony so well - Verity, Kieran's mother's name, means truth. How long has she dealt with him in a less than truthful or honest way. As acstrine says above, she has withheld so much from him for far too long.


Posted Feb. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 108

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

It is tragic that Kieran’s family and friends thrust such guilt on him. He was a teen. Young people makes mistakes. The wrong focused guilt formed his adulthood. Fortunately, he was afforded absolution. But at what price? I felt as if Audrey was his anchor to life & The current world.


Posted Feb. 15, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyb

Join Date: 04/14/20

Posts: 46

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting that he was partly to blame for the deaths influenced the way he lived his life? How might the events of the novel change this?

Guilt seemed to guide his life from the day of the storm on; no thanks to his parents and the community for blaming him for the deaths. Therapy, a loving wife and a new baby has helped him move forward; as well as leaving his hometown but the guilt remained and Kieran did his best to deal with it. I’m not sure how learning the facts of what really happened will change the future of the characters as they’ve lived with guilt as a constant companion for much too long!


Posted Feb. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 261

RE: How do you think Kieran accepting ...

Kiernan definitely had 'survivors' guilt. Anyone involved in a death, especially of their own brother, would feel that way. Being in Evelyn Bay was a constant reminder - being with his parents was a constant reminder. He had to leave to even give himself a chance at a decent life. With the help of Mia and then their baby, along with professional help, it was the best thing Kiernan could do for himself. Knowing exactly what happened was no consolation. A death is a death and you will grieve that forever, especially if you feel you had a hand in it, regardless of what others say or any proof later given.


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