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Part III: Our Lady, Voices 
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Post Part III: Our Lady, Voices
Chapters 5 and 6 of Family



Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:30 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
The 'voices' are an interesting part of this story ... particulary the voices that Juliet hears. I think at times its as if the characters are haunted or even possesed. Are the source of the voices memories, perhaps 'memories' that pre-date birth? I think Oates does a great job of featuring the stories of all three of Ariah's children and exploring who they are and how they handle their circumstances and strive toward self-reconciliation and reconciliation with their family and others.



Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:20 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
The Voices deals mostly with the daughter and her voices and religion is a factor again. This time it is Catholicism, instead of the family Protestantism. While she is not Catholic, The Lady affects her. Fortunately, she has a better outcome than her Mother or Father. What did you think of the daughter's life as it unfolded?



Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:31 am
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
I was relieved that her outcome did not turn out as her father's did. That would have been pretty disappointing. Her salvation came from a most unlikely character. I think that her need for unconditional love was met by him after growing up with such a sense of unworthiness.

I enjoyed the unfolding of all the lives of the three children and it gave much more insight into Aria and her relationships with each of them.



Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:22 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
lindad_amato wrote:
The Voices deals mostly with the daughter and her voices and religion is a factor again. This time it is Catholicism, instead of the family Protestantism. While she is not Catholic, The Lady affects her. Fortunately, she has a better outcome than her Mother or Father. What did you think of the daughter's life as it unfolded?

I'm beginning to see the whole story as a sort of 'pilgrimage', a pilgrimage to the Falls as a spiritual place. Plenty of reference to native beliefs in this regard, the voices, Our Lady and the characters lives (corporeal) have a centeredness around the Falls which matches the way that their spirit is drawn there (my theory only). The pilgrimage begins with Gilbert who 'runs for his life', we assume he is running away but he also seem to run toward the Falls. Ariah's vigil, Dirk's death, Royall's boat tours, Juliet's voices and near suicide and Ariah and Dirk take Chandler to the Falls right after birth with strange and uncomfortable closeness to Gilbert. The final family reconciliation happens at the falls too. So are all these people engaged in some kind of pilgrimage, a spiritual journey, to the Falls? We did start out by saying how the Falls tends to pull you toward it, so I'll venture the thought that Oates extrapolated from this common feeling.

I did not see too strong a link between the Falls and the Woman in Black though, nothing that approaches 'pilgrimage' so this sort of blows my theory a bit, It surprises me because I see her as a spirit, at least in the later part of the book and in the way she connects Royall and Dirk and so I wanted her 'sprit' to make that pilgrimage but I don't think she did.

I recall the news coverage of Love Canal in the 1970's, it was certainly a big story, and makes me wonder if there was a real person who Dirk Burnaby is modelled on?



Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
I saw the thesis of the book to be one of pilgrimage. I think Oates was expressing (through the contortions of the family) how every individual really needs to find her own way in life, find his own spirituality, or develop her own set of principles. Every character in the book was shown struggling to do this is some fashion, whether it was Dirk's vain mother, discovering that surgery did nothing for her, or Ariah's daughter, walking and seeking her own answers.
I very much enjoyed discussing this with those who participated and look forward to the next discussion. If anyone wants to do another Oates book anytime, I'm all for it.



Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
I felt sorry for Juliet. How alone she must have felt to have the compulsion to join her father in the falls. She was saved in more ways than one when Bud pulled her out of the falls. She ended up in a good place.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:25 am
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
smileyface123123 wrote:
I felt sorry for Juliet. How alone she must have felt to have the compulsion to join her father in the falls. She was saved in more ways than one when Bud pulled her out of the falls. She ended up in a good place.


Yes, Bud saves her in more ways than one. It is very interesting to watch how each of Ariah's children finds his/her own way through life.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:54 pm
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Post Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
lindad_amato wrote:
It is very interesting to watch how each of Ariah's children finds his/her own way through life.

I agree, this is interesting, and I think that the way that her children learned to listen to 'voices' other than their mother's voice, to listen to voices from inside themselves, an assertion of their spiritual voice, they came to understand that their mother's was not the only voice. There were times I was very frustrated with Ariah, for example, when Royall calls off his marriage and her resulting anger ... I thought this was a completely unreasonable and inappropriate response from Ariah, it was his marriage and she should support his decision but she was far too self-centered for that ... but ultimately he grew and matured and listened to his own voice and he learned to trust that voice.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:23 pm
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