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Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker 
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I don't really see Ariah as naiive and dimwitted. Maybe a bit flighty and inexperienced with men, but then again this might be a put on. I'm reading the chapter where Dirk drives out to see her in Troy. They have an interesting reunion. Dirk's mother is certainly messed up. Their history of near-incest must impact on both of them. I think Oates is building up toward some larger revelations beyond this character stuff. There are things going on in the background, or perhaps baggage that they carry, which is affecting the characters behavior. They all seem oddly off balance.



Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:37 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Did anyone notice The Bride's comment that she had so hoped to marry that she would "exchange her soul" for an engagement ring? That's some pretty strong foreshadowing.



Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:05 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Wow, I'm impressed so far, great writing, inventive, unusual approach and I quite like the way it jumps back and forth in time and narration and viewing events through new eyes and in varying chronological sequences. The style is really interesting, actually quite brilliant, as are the characters. I felt so sorry for this sad, sad honeymoon couple, pushed together by expectation of what 'should' be, a reationship doomed before it ever got started, for even though they were getting married they really were not more than aquaintances. And what a dismal beginning, that honeymoon night, and a dismal end as it turns out.

I like the setting of Niagra falls. I've only ever seen the falls in pictures, but I think that I would find it quite uncomfortable to be close to them watching that powerful water surge over the abyss. The closest thing I can think of to this is when I've been in Hawaii and watched 30 foot waves crashing toward shore. The power of that much water does have a huge affect on a person.

I had thought I'd be behind in my reading, as I just got my book this weekend, but now I see I have moved quite far ahead. I'd better slow down.



Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
lindad_amato wrote:
Did anyone notice The Bride's comment that she had so hoped to marry that she would "exchange her soul" for an engagement ring? That's some pretty strong foreshadowing.

I did notice this comment and wondered if it was simply a measure of her desperation for marriage or had deeper meaning .. I suspect it is the latter.



Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I think Ariah was very suspicious when she didn't tell about the note. It's almost as if she could ignore it, it would go away. She was very driven, going to the falls day after day. I think she was trying to push the truth away by doing that. She was desperate to keep the truth away from everyone, including herself. I think she is somewhat naive, but not dimwitted.



Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:24 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I thought that Ariah just could not endure anyone knowing what had happened the night of the honeymoon and what the note gave away, this is why she could not bring herself to tell anyone of the note and why she cleaned the room of all evidence of the night she wanted to forget.



Last edited by realiz on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Or is she self-centered and willing to do anything to get what she wants?



Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
I looked back at her husband's parting note .. it is not necessarily a suicide note but it could be. In any case it categoricallly says that he did not love her. It would be embarrassing in the extreme for her to reveal this note and I think in this traumatic situation it is understandable that she got rid of it and denied its existence. Overall, I see Ariah as emotionally needy, which I guess is like self-centered but goes a little further.



Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:35 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Giselle,
I agree, she is very emotionally needy. However, I'm wondering if Oates is making more of a statement about the Soul. I suspect that there is more to Ariah's character than just neediness. There is too much of an emphasis on religion (the parents and Gilbert being a minister) for this to be a mere study of personality traits. I think that Oates in harkening back to an earlier time in literature. A time when religion played more of a role than it does in our current novels. Your thoughts?



Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Yes, the ‘soul’ is hovering in this novel as a theme that surfaces here and there and is developing gradually through the narrative. When I think of soul in religious terms concepts like condition of the soul, salvation and redemption come to mind. Other less religious ideas would be possession and also selling of one’s soul.

I wonder about what went through her mind during the search for Gilbert and her vigil. Perhaps she made a deal with God … or with the Devil .. :shock:



Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:34 pm
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 Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Hi guys :)

It's been a long time! I know you've been reading since September but I had a hard time finding this book in a library in my city. I'm good to join in now since I'm on a sick leave for a couple of days...

Just started reading today and it seems that I might get into this. There was only one sentence that simply made me frown but other that I'm fine for now.

lindad_amato wrote:
Did anyone notice The Bride's comment that she had so hoped to marry that she would "exchange her soul" for an engagement ring? That's some pretty strong foreshadowing.


Oh come on! Spoiler alert much?
Sorry, I do appreciate that some of us may be re-reading the book or even be far ahead in the novel already but please please keep in mind not to drop too much hints for us newcomers in the particular assigned topics :(


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Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:15 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Sorry about that. It wasn't meant to give anything away but more of a surmising. I'm glad you could join us and look forward to your comments.



Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:20 pm
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 Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Thank you for your understanding Lindad_Amato and I do apologize if I sounded a bit rough earlier.

I absolutely loved the paragraph how the Fall was calling out to Gilbert and how our character was pondering about the waterfall bringing peace to tortured souls since ancient times. I did find it poetic! I can understand why Niagara is so alluring and somewhat enchanting :)
Did anyone else notice that moments before his suicide Gil was annoyed with the Church bells being too noisy and invasive? Would you say it is a hint to his true (negative) feelings towards Catholic religion?

giselle wrote:
I did notice this comment [about the ring] and wondered if it was simply a measure of her desperation for marriage or had deeper meaning .. I suspect it is the latter.


I actually took it as a sign of society's pressure. Remember the part when it was mentioned that Ariah did not want to have children at all but she would assure her family otherwise anyway just for the sake of being a "good daughter"?
I resented the implication that a woman needs to be married by the age of 30 or else there's something seriously wrong with her :shock:


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"From childhood's hour I have not been as others were
I have not seen as others saw
I could not bring my passions from a common spring
From the same source I have not taken my sorrow
I could not awake my heart to joy at the same tone
And all I loved - I loved alone"

E.A.Poe


Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Another latecomer, just started the book today and I'm enjoying it so far. I'm surprised no one has mentioned some rather obvious clues that Gilbert is gay and that's the reason he jumped. Gilbert is the son of a minister, is a minister himself, marries the daughter of a minister, is gay, and it's 1950. No pressure, ay?



Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:54 pm
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Post Re: Part I: Gatekeeper's Testimony, The Bride, The Fossil-Seeker
Aqueda_Veronica wrote:
I resented the implication that a woman needs to be married by the age of 30 or else there's something seriously wrong with her :shock:

I share your resentment in that I think there is no basis for this silly belief whatsoever, but I think Oates does a great job of placing us back in 1950's America when this belief was widely held, actually not just in America but in western society generally. Throughout Oates invokes the 50's very well and I think this is a major strength of this novel.



Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:16 am
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