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Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker 
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Post Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Chapters 1, 2 and 3 of Part I



Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:54 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
So, The Falls starts off with what might have been the end of the story. How do you feel about this approach?
Even though we know what happens from the beginning did anyone get a sense of foreboding from Chap 2 and 3?



Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Worked ok for me - I liked the way the story was told. Opening with the gatekeeper's take on things.



Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:16 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Starting out with the anonymous man throwing himself over the falls was a good way to begin the story. We get right into the action. It also opens up all kinds of questions that make us want to read more.

The sense of foreboding was there in both Ariah's and Gilbert's chapters. In Ariah's chapter, she wakes up immediately knowing something is very wrong. As the chapter continues you can really feel her fear and her disgust with herself. She shows glimpses of how she wanted things to be such as seeing herself going down to find him sitting and sipping coffee, the way they would act like a normal couple. Her anguish is felt when she reads the note.

In his chapter, I love the mantra Run for you life. He kept thinking this although he was running to his death. The story really showed his disgust of her and how desperate he was.

I love the way she writes this novel. The touches of details that bring it alive.

I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing everyone's thoughts.



Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:56 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Hey .. finally have my book so I'll be joining this discussion soon .. :D



Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:37 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I don’t want to say too much because I will give away the story and others may not have read the upcoming chapters, but I think the gatekeeper somewhat resembles St. Peter and the Falls could symbolize the Pearly Gates … might be quite apt given that spraying water in bright sunshine has a gleaming, pearly look – of course, this could also be the River Styx and the Gates of Hell. The gatekeepers final words to the man (which he doesn’t hear) are: “Don’t do it! Mister! God damn ---“. There is ambiguity here - hell or heaven --- I think we'll see more of this theme.

I felt his ‘sockless’ flight was full of symbolism ... this isn’t just about not having time to put on his socks … this is about him leaving behind something that was once important to him, that he thought was essential to his life. Significant foreshadowing I think.



Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book, I'm getting sea-sick from all the back and forth plotlines.



Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:22 am
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Pegasus796 wrote:
I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book, I'm getting sea-sick from all the back and forth plotlines.

Keep going. It smooths out.



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Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:25 am
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Giselle,
I think you have a good point there about the socks. He lived such a rigid life that the lack of them shows how very disassociated and desperate he had become.

I think there is definitely a lot of foreshadowing in this chapter. We'll see what happens.



Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:28 am
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Pegasus796 wrote:
I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book, I'm getting sea-sick from all the back and forth plotlines.

This does make the story harder to follow, especially if you put the book down for a while and come back to it. In The Falls, I think Oates uses this technique to some advantage because the non-sequential narrative emphasizes the sate of mind of the main characters, perhaps confused, disoriented, stressed and leading lives that are fractured by events.



Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:25 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Giselle,
I hadn't thought of that while reading the chapters, but you make a very good point. These chapters set the stage for the state of mind in which Ariah will function going forward.



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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
In her comment Giselle mentioned that the characters' states of mind were "fractured". Did anyone notice the used of mirrors in The Bride? They are foggy, broken and Ariah is unable to look at herself in them. It's a great metaphor for her psyche.



Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:49 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
giselle wrote:
This does make the story harder to follow, especially if you put the book down for a while and come back to it. In The Falls, I think Oates uses this technique to some advantage because the non-sequential narrative emphasizes the sate of mind of the main characters, perhaps confused, disoriented, stressed and leading lives that are fractured by events.


I don't think it's particularly hard to follow as it's annoying. I respect that it is likely to add to the characters' frame of mind or possibly the disorienting effects of the falls. I do find it interesting that the fossil-seeker is the only Reverend who is rooted more to the ground than the sky. Perhaps the schism he experiences is a deep-seeded desire to become a scientist instead of a reverend. Perhaps he felt he had no control over his life and his only way to regain it was to cast himself into the mercy of the falls. I do love your notice of the socks and I have to agree. His approach to his clothes was merely as a facilitator towards his final destination.

Lindad:
I too noticed the setting of the room and how it reflected Ariah's state of mind. Her debilitating shyness was also evident in her approach to finding her husband's whereabouts. Instead of seeking him out, she timidly calls.



Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
lindad_amato wrote:
In her comment Giselle mentioned that the characters' states of mind were "fractured". Did anyone notice the used of mirrors in The Bride? They are foggy, broken and Ariah is unable to look at herself in them. It's a great metaphor for her psyche.

I did notice the mirrors and the metaphor. But then I think the reader is sometimes 'setup' to believe certain things. I may be off track but I am increasingly suspicious of Ariah. Is she a distraught woman who's husband committed suicide within 24 hours of their marriage? maybe .. but she didn't love the Reverend and apparently he did not love her. she does some stuff which is a bit suspicious, like denying the existence of a suicide note ... and then what is the real reason she becomes the widow-bride in such an obsessive way, to the point of making absolutely sure she is there to identify her husband's body? is she fractured, brittle, living in a fog like the mist of the falls ... or is she haunted by the possibility that he is still alive? these are just wild guesses, i really have no idea, only a vague suspicion.



Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:07 am
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
giselle wrote:
(Ariah) she does some stuff which is a bit suspicious, like denying the existence of a suicide note ... and then what is the real reason she becomes the widow-bride in such an obsessive way, to the point of making absolutely sure she is there to identify her husband's body? is she fractured, brittle, living in a fog like the mist of the falls ... or is she haunted by the possibility that he is still alive? these are just wild guesses, i really have no idea, only a vague suspicion.


I agree that this is by no means a sound, solid character. She's downright dimwitted and naive so far, but I do find it believable that she wouldn't immediately accept the death of her husband and that it would be such a haunting shock. She barely knew the man and he was exceptionally young, even for the era this is written for. From my experiences, her reaction is plausible and not defamatory to her character, in fact, I think it adds to her naivete.



Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:44 pm
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