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The Atomic Weight of Love
In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from...
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Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

Created: 03/14/17

Replies: 15

Posted Mar. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1336

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Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Discuss Meridian's choice to let go of Clay and instead to stay with Alden. What does she mean when she says that leaving Alden "might change my definition of myself, were I to abandon the man who had, for most of my life, held my hand and set my course" (page 287)? Did she make the right decision?


Posted Mar. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think they both loved each other in different but equally sincere ways. The decision to stay with Alden was not surprising to me given the circumstances as it was hard for a women of those times to not feel overwhelming pressure to stay in a marriage. Also the fear of changing my definition of myself thing was a social pressure as well as a personal one. The dynamic of that marriage with regard to so many things such as the control of bank accounts, with whom and when they socialized, was so dominated by Alden that she probably feared that without him she would be lost and of course he reinforced that daily. His condescending interaction with her was hard for me to take but not uncommon in that era.


Posted Mar. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 62

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meridian in his own way but it wasn't the way that Meridian wanted to be loved. His role was more that of a provider & protector than of a true partner. But...I do think that he loved her the best way he knew how to love her & I think that most men during this time period loves this way. I think Meridian loved Alden as well. By the time of his sickness, it may not have been a romantic love that she felt for him...but...it was a form of love.


Posted Mar. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 271

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meridian as much as a man with that type of personality could love anyone. He was pretty controlling and condescending for my taste. I flipped out when the will was read and the money was doled out as it was. I wondered then if he set it up that way because he wanted to control her forever or was it because he wanted to be sure there would be money there. It certainly wasn't because he thought it would make her happy.
I think she started her relationship being totally enthralled with him. He was brilliant, older, handsome and he saw something in her. In the beginning he praised her intellectual abilit. She was just a kid, who wouldn't be flattered. The 20 yrs between them seemed like nothing. As they got older and that age difference meant a lot, I think she stayed with him out of loyalty, not love.
I think her staying with him until the end was the parallel between the


Posted Mar. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 163

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meredian as long as she met the conditions he considered important in a wife. He became angry when he felt "disrespected" or his authority was questioned. I think Meridian loved the Alden she knew in Chicago but was quite frustrated by the Alden who seemed to have lost respect for her as the marriage continued. She did, however, understand that he was somewhat a prisoner of his time and culture, so when he became ill she saw his need for her support. I believeink she doubted her ability to hold Clay, and that was a large part of the reason she allowed Alden's need to outweigh Clay's request that she accompany him to California -- but I think she made the correct decision for herself in the long run.


Posted Mar. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 60

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

They loved each other in their own way. Im not sure she made the right decision, if the time was different they might have lived together for awhile. As Meridian she aged in her 20s she was able to find herself and she knew she had much to offer. She lived in the time where women kept the home fires burning for the husband.


Posted Mar. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 67

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden and Meridian loved each other. I just think that Meridian got married too young and didn't have a clear picture of marriage. She was still learning about herself. Alden was set in his ways with no flexibilty. She later realized this wasn't the way she wanted to live but stayed. She did the right thing to stay with him at the end because he was dying. She still loved him at the end, just not romantically as others have stated.


Posted Mar. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
frizzo

Join Date: 02/27/17

Posts: 5

RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meridian but I think Meridian liked the idea of Alden. She admired his intelligence and she maybe even loved him in her own way but she came to resent him for all he made her give up.


Posted Mar. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 53

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meri the best was he could. They were from different generations and Alden appeared to have a very precise personality, with a high sense of what his responsibilities were as well as what Meri's role was in their marriage. Alden was a man after his time and acted in ways as a father authority rather than a modern husband.


Posted Mar. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 124

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think they loved each other as much as they were able. He thought by "taking care" of her he was showing his love. When Meridian gave up Clay to care for Alden, she made the only choice she would have been able to live with.


Posted Mar. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 70

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

Young love is always the best: discovery, excitement, tolerance, generosity. But as a couple grows old together, these may change to shared memories, complacency, annoyance, disappointment. It would appear in the end, all they had was mutual respect and that was enough.


Posted Mar. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 183

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I do think they loved each other in their own way and they were able to give each other what they needed at the time. I think Meridian made the only choice she could......the only one she could live with. I think it was the right one.


Posted Mar. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
poniesnpearls

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 30

RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

Love may have been there initially, although I think it was more infatuation on Meridian's part. She wanted someone to admire her intellect and recognize her potential as a scientist and she (thought she) found that in Alden. As time went on though, she became less enamored with his rigid approach to life and his view of her place in their relationship. I agree with some of the other comments that she made the decision to stay out of loyalty and respect.


Posted Mar. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 188

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think he loved her as a child or student. He appreciated her intelligence but was so caught up in his work that he was unable to encourage her in future research. in one way I think he knew she made a partner others would admire. Again, I think the author writes well about the time. Remember Jackie Kennedy stove to protect Camelot, Mrs Johnson gave up some of her plans to support LBJ. This was the time which I think the author shows well. This love was usual for its time and does not mean that it was any less. At least american could pursue the bird study and was not slaved to the house. I did wonder, though, why he tied up the money in a trust. It was disappointing that he find not think she was capable of looking after finances after his death. Did this mean he thought of her ad a dreamer with her bird, instead of practical.


Pegh
Posted Apr. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 183

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think Alden loved Meridian but I am not sure it was the love of a spouse. Their age difference troubled me from the beginning. He was looking for someone to take care of and be a reflection of himself. There didn't seem to ever be any passion or closeness. When Meridian changed, Alden didn't. The will should so much what he thought of her, just someone to care for and keep in check. I'm not sure that is true love. Meridian on the other hand loved Alden and sacrificed for him. She was too inexperienced, though, to understand what was missing between them in the beginning. She should true love with Clay because she loved him enough to know she had to let him be free and find his own way. Meridian was always the one capable of love, I don't think Alden was.


Posted Apr. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 78

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RE: Did Alden love Meridian? Did Meridian love Alden? How do you know? Did she make the right decision?

I think that they mistook a common passion and intelligence for love. In the beginning, Meridian chose Alden over the other suitor (flawed as he was) but it took a while! I agree that Alden's personality was too selfish to truly love Meridian in the way she needed and wanted to be loved.


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