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Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages 
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Post Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
Chapters 3 and 4 of Part III



Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:31 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
Are pilgrims and hostages the same? Do they both have to break free of some force to reach their full consciousness?



Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:53 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I think both Dirk (pilgrims) and Chandler (hostages) were trapped by forces that controlled them, limited them and in Dirk's case, killed him, and I think there is a real parallel between pilgrims and hostages. But in The Falls, the outcomes are different. Dirk fell prey, became the ultimate pilgrim, the suicidal 'swimmer'. Chandler survived and went on to overcome the forces in his life that held him hostage - the mystery of his disowned father, the pain of the Burnaby name, his difficult mother - and gained self-assurance and the chance to live successfully and happily. Some parallel between pilgrim and hostage, but different, even opposing outcomes.



Last edited by giselle on Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:24 am
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
The way it is written in the title, Pilgrims, Hostages, rather than Pilgrims and Hostages, sound more like the reference is to being both pilgrims and hostages. Pilgrims in discovery and growth but hostages of the past. I don't have my book with me now, and I am not sure which chapters this section refers to, but I would take it to mean that all the children were both pilgrims and hostages. I do not think these are parallel, but rather opposing situations.



Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:11 am
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
The chapters are seperate, Pilgrims then Hostages, and the first is a short chapter that deals with Dirk being spotted in the river as a 'swimmer' (maybe dead or maybe not) just before he goes over the falls, and the second is the chapter about Chandler as a volunteer responder to the hostage taking situaton and the emotional stuff he works through. I do see these as opposing at least the outcomes.

The parallel I was thinking of was in the concept of 'pilgrim' and 'hostage' rather than in the detail of this narrative, that is, the idea that pilgrims and hostages are 'held' by some sort of force, which could be physical or spiritual or a belief. And I agree that all the children could be seen as pilgrims and hostages, but I would add Ariah to that list as well and perhaps other characters, in fact I think Ariah is the central 'pilgrim' in this story.

To break free, to no longer be a pilgrim or hostage, this could be a spiritual journey of life.



Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:30 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I think that Oates is showing all of the characters as Pilgrims through life, who are sometimes Hostages to one thing or another; whether it be their own fears, a relationship or other outside influences. How, or if, they overcome the hostage situations throughout their pilgrimage determines the fullness or emptiness of their lives.



Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:54 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
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The chapters are seperate, Pilgrims then Hostages, and the first is a short chapter that deals with Dirk being spotted in the river as a 'swimmer' (maybe dead or maybe not) just before he goes over the falls, and the second is the chapter about Chandler as a volunteer responder to the hostage taking situaton and the emotional stuff he works through. I do see these as opposing at least the outcomes.


I guess I should have checked the contents of these separate chapters before responding. I had totally forgotten about the hostage taking incident when reading the comments here. I have moved on to two more novels since this one and my memory is not so good.



Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:14 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I think that the sight of Dirk's body rushing down the river is such a visual that seemed so sad. It was worse than just never finding a body.

Chandler seems to be missing a part of himself. He needs these crisis to enhance what he calls his small life. This hostage situation was a turning point for Chandler. From the moment of the gunshot, he will never be the same. Now that Melinda has told him to go, he is finding himself alone. He goes to Ariah to find solace and answers about his father. But he is not brave enough to ask. But he does say his father's name, something Ariah has forbidden. I think Chandler is disillusioned about his mother. When she tells him she would not accept the money, he saw her in a new light. Now he was not so sure about his mother and her actions.



Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:07 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
smileyface123123 wrote:
I think that the sight of Dirk's body rushing down the river is such a visual that seemed so sad. It was worse than just never finding a body.

Chandler seems to be missing a part of himself. He needs these crisis to enhance what he calls his small life. This hostage situation was a turning point for Chandler. From the moment of the gunshot, he will never be the same. Now that Melinda has told him to go, he is finding himself alone. He goes to Ariah to find solace and answers about his father. But he is not brave enough to ask. But he does say his father's name, something Ariah has forbidden. I think Chandler is disillusioned about his mother. When she tells him she would not accept the money, he saw her in a new light. Now he was not so sure about his mother and her actions.



In what sense do you think he is disillusioned about his mother? Do you think he has a hint that he may not be Dirk's son, or that he notices that she favors Royal? This Hostage situation does seem to be a turning point in Chandler's life. He seems to gain some self-assurance from it.



Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I think he finally sees her as she really is. That she is selfish in clinging to her twisted principles instead of doing what is right for the family. He sees her as the pathetic person she is. Sitting in her self made prison. He does not understand why she hates his father so much that she would not take his insurance money. This opens his eyes to how deluded she is when it comes to his father.



Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I completely agree with you. I find her a very unlikeable character. I asked Ms. Oates about this in the question forum. Maybe you'll have a question for her also.



Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
I found it odd that Chandler took the knowledge that Ariah had been married twice no further. I think he knew Dirk was not his real dad, but didn't want confirmation of it


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Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:38 am
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Post Re: Part III: Pilgrims, Hostages
heledd wrote:
I found it odd that Chandler took the knowledge that Ariah had been married twice no further. I think he knew Dirk was not his real dad, but didn't want confirmation of it


It seems that way. Also, the communication between the family members was so limited and Ariah so withdrawn that he may have felt uncomfortable bringing it up. He had to just find things out for himself.



Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:49 am
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