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Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil 
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Post Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Chapters 4 and 5 of Part I



Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
It is interesting here to see Arial through Dirk. Before Dirk, Arial seems to have little appeal as far as being an attractive woman, evidenced in the fact that she was so desperate for a marriage that she accepted a proposal from a man she did not love. Dirk's attraction to her gives her a new dimension. My perspective of her vigil was a desire for proof that he really was dead and with that evidence she could move forward knowing the depth of his disgust, but also knowing that the truth of it would never be known by any other.



Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:01 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I think 'the vigil' serves to develop Oates' theme, which I'm speculating has to do with the human soul and how it might play a part in love and marriage. Ariah goes through the vigil for a man she doesn't love and suffers physically and emotionally but she keeps going. She had to have a compelling reason for doing this. This could be explained as a reaction to the trauma of the wedding night and the suicide of her husband but I think there is more to it. She has talked about marriage as an exchange of souls and the 'soul' appears again later in the book at a critical moment with Dirk.

Dirk is becoming a central character and plays a key role in the vigil as a support person who evidently cares about her and is there to catch Ariah when she faints upon seeing and identifying her dead husband's body. I think this is more than romantic foreshadowing but is a transfer of 'her' (or her soul maybe) from one man to the other. I think its important for her to be sure of her husbands death so she can metaphorically retrieve her soul from this man that she did not love and who did not love her. Her rather hysterical laugh when she saw his body may have refected some relief but also a sense of regaining her soul, something in her mind she had given away in error. Her faint could have been provoked by trauma but also by feeling that she had gathered herself and become intact once again.

Lot of theorizing here that may turn out to be completely wrong ... but I am watching to see if 'soul' is developed as a theme as I read on.



Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:47 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Giselle,
I agree. The novel seems to definitely have something to do with souls and saving them.

We'll have to see how things work out for the characters later in the book.

In The Search we're introduced to Dirk as a man who can solve problems and is respected by his peers. It will be interesting to see what happens to him and his soul.



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Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:00 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I'm wondering how much further people have read ahead at this point? I've finished Part I but I am holding back on saying stuff so I don't ruin the story .. but I have a feeling that others have read further ahead too ... so maybe we should move on and complete Part I?



Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Folks,
Please feel free to jump in and discuss any chapters of the book that you may want. Now that we have it more segmented, the folks who have not read further along can just avoid the later chapter discussions if they don't want to know what happens.



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Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:41 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I'm about halfway through part 2.



Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:26 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I believe Ariah was in a state of disbelief in these chapters. The way she wandered around searching for Gilbert in the lobby showed her denial. I think she ran from the truth by going to the falls each day searching for his body.

I enjoyed seeing her through Dirk's pov. It made her more interesting and mysterious. The way he fell for her showed she must have some qualities that attracted him rather than just being the pathetic wife whose husband killed himself.

She had a quiet strength about her as she held her vigil. Dirk had to admire that about her, the way she held up on her own, leaning on no one, not even her family.

Dirk had to warn himself, you are not falling in love. It will be interesting to see where this goes.



Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:23 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Why do I get the feeling that Dirk is going to eventually go over the falls too? Am I nuts?


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Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:36 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Did anyone else pick up that Gilbert may have been in love with a man? Ariah mentions that she hopes one day she will be close enough to her husband to be able to call him the personal nickname of "Gill" just like Gilbert's male friend from school does. Gilbert does discribe this friend with affection and emotion. If this is true, Gilbert went over the falls because of love.



Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:19 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Quote:
Did anyone else pick up that Gilbert may have been in love with a man?


I don't think this was even a 'may' but a fact. He was a homosexual and this was the 50's and Gilbert was studying to be a minister, all things that made being a homosexual impossible. The man he was in love with was married and heterosexual and cared for him only as a good friend. Gilbert's marriage to Arial was a chance for him to try and be 'normal' and live a normal married life, but for him trying to have sex with woman who he did not love was what made it so disgusting to him. Perhaps if Arial could have known this she might have reacted differently to his suicide. It was not her so much as the truth about himself that he had to run from.



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Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:40 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I agree

realiz wrote:
Perhaps if Arial could have known this she might have reacted differently to his suicide. It was not her so much as the truth about himself that he had to run from.


I think she did know it. I think she knew it all along. Her reaction to the wedding, getting drunk, may reflect this knoweldge, but she still had some hope and belief. Ariah walks around in a daze after the suicide, not only because of the death, but maybe because everything she grew up to believe to be true went over the falls with Gilbert. Nothing was real to Ariah anymore, not even herself, she made herself a myth.



Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:06 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I agree. In a way what Arial was looking for was similar to Gilbert, only instead of running from someone she loved and wanted, she was trying to find that myth that she'd been brought up to believe in that marriage and finding a man was the key to happiness and success for a woman. But an important part of the myth was that man had to love you and desire you, even more so than how you felt about him.

She may not have known before the honeymoon as she was naive and inexperienced. Perhaps a part of her believed that some magic would happen (part of the myth) on that honeymoon night that would make everything work out.



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Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:02 am
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
I don't believe that Arial knew about Gilbert's sexual orientation. Their backgrounds were too protected for either of them to have much knowledge of homosexuality. Gilbert himself didn't even recognize it except as his own unique desire for his friend. She sensed that she had disgusted Gilbert during the honeymoon night but thought it was because her drunkenness and wantonness, not because of his sexual orientation.



Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:22 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Widow Bride: The Search, Widow Bride: The Vigil
Chris OConnor wrote:
Why do I get the feeling that Dirk is going to eventually go over the falls too? Am I nuts?


Chris, read on.



Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:23 pm
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