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Begin: Dissecting Lord Foul's Bane, Chapters 1 & 2
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Lady Genni
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to Joan's abandonment....I would abandon my "things" before I would abandon my husband. If I were truely worried about my child I would send him to stay with his grandparents till I could work something out. I would research the disease and find out how I could protect my child with out deserting my husband. Even if TC had to live in a bubble...there could have been other ways of handeling the situation. That being said, Joan's desertion is part of what makes TC who he is. How could he sustain the paradoxes of his exhistance with Joan faithfully by his side?

Although I don't personally approve of Joan's actions, they are integral in creating who TC is and why he is that way.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitchwife, I think you're right about Joan's reaction to TC's illness.

(Hi, y'all. Been meaning to get here since Saturday, but life intervened....)

Anyhoo... I don't have the book with me here at work, but further along in the scene in the hospital room, as Joan breaks it to TC that he has leprosy, she blurts out that "it's CATCHING!" and that babies are most at risk -- which apparently is folklore that she's picked up, possibly from the hick doctors treating TC at the local hospital. It's not until TC attends the lectures at the leprosarium (the ones that haunt his dreams) that he hears that nobody knows how leprosy is spread, but it's not communicable in the same sense that a cold is communicable, and that in fact children are no more susceptible to catching the disease than anyone else. Of course, Joan's not there to hear those lectures -- she's already bailed on him.

I think y'all are right that Joan was scared witless by the folklore about leprosy, and piled a few clothes and the baby in the car as fast as she could and left. She wasn't thinking about how TC would get around -- she was thinking about protecting her baby. Anyhow, TC is able to *walk* into town -- it's only a couple of miles -- so if she thought about whether she was stranding him without wheels (which I doubt -- she was too panicked), she may have concluded that he wouldn't need the car.

As for whether she's shallow -- hmm. She has redeeming qualities -- she has a way with dumb animals, apparently she's an okay mother to Roger. But she doesn't stick by TC, and she doesn't try very hard to find out the truth about leprosy. I don't know that I'd call her a bitch -- just ignorant.

It sort of surprises me, but it doesn't surprise me, that once TC learns more about his disease himself, he doesn't contact Joan and try to explain the truth to her and talk her into coming back. The reason that it doesn't surprise me is that it's the same M.O. he uses in the Land: he keeps all his emotions bottled up inside and spouts bitter one-liners by way of explaining himself ("it's not that simple"; "don't touch me").

Danlo, I think your observation that TC loses both two fingers and two family members is bloody brilliant.

Sky, no-fault divorce was just coming into vogue in some of the more liberal parts of the USA in the '70s; if y'all are right that this takes place somewhere in Texas, Joan might have been able to cite irreconcilable differences, but I'm not sure about that. Texas is not that liberal....

One thing that strikes me about LFB, which somebody else also mentioned, is how straightforward the language is. Donaldson definitely developed his writing style as his career progressed. Here in the early going in LFB, we hear only an echo of those famous melodramatic similes we've grown to know and love later in the Chrons.

Rats! Gotta go home. I know there were more points I was going to make.... Later....
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dont mean to be a pessimist good Servants of the Land...but I dont see why Joan is so important here. I mean, after all, she isnt that important.
Well I suppose this IS a Dissection of the Land...but I dont see what was so thought-perplexing. I mean she was obviously afraid of not her husband, but his illness. She loved him, and he loved back(and then some) but she was too afraid to act upon her love. I bet someone has said about the same as I, but, ah well, I felt like posting.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great discussion/dissection! Smile As for Joan's importance, she's important to TC("duh!") Ah there's so much to post but to little time for me Sad I am more like the Creator (of the Land) now here. Sad
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:07 pm    Post subject: REPLY TO ALIANTHA Reply with quote

TC COULDN'T contact Joan to tell her the truth about his disease. She had taken off without a trace, and he literally didn't know where she was!
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:22 am    Post subject: REPLY TO LADY GENNI Reply with quote

You are obviously a very nice person to put people above things. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't like that! I've seen so many divorces where "things" became a lot more important than the former spouse or even the children. Sad I think that this whole issue of the Thomas/Joan marriage probably can't be resolved on this forum (unless someone is lucky enough to run into Donaldson at a convention somewhere and asks him about it). I think that the people who have positive marriages or had parents with positive marriages are going to see the Covenant marriage as a happy one. The people who perhaps haven't seen as many happy marriages in their personal lives will perhaps see it as troubled. My marriage is happy, but my parents had the marriage from hell, so I'm kind of with the group who sees some problems brewing even before TC gets sick. I base this on Joan appearing to make most of the major decisions, and on her packing up the baby and going to visit unspecified relatives and leaving him behind with orders to "Get cracking on that book, Cowboy". Someone else asked "why so much talk about Joan"? Well, this particular post is on only the first two chapters, and she's a pretty important player in those. Can't wait until we get further into the book and can talk about the Lords and Giants and Bloodguard! All of this debate is pretty exciting. I've loved these books since I was a teenager, and don't know many other people who like them. So I love this group reread and debate! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:42 am    Post subject: Re: REPLY TO LADY GENNI Reply with quote

duchess of malfi wrote:
Can't wait until we get further into the book and can talk about the Lords and Giants and Bloodguard! All of this debate is pretty exciting. I've loved these books since I was a teenager, and don't know many other people who like them. So I love this group reread and debate! Very Happy

Ahh, duquesa, I agree wholly. I also have loved these stories, and have successfully passed that love on to my son, MisterA, who alerted me to this forum start-up. Hopefully, he will find time from his teaching to participate.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2002 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Guest -- he could have tried. Presumably he knew his in-laws' phone number, and phone numbers for her friends. Maybe they would have hung up on him, or maybe they didn't know where she was, either, but there's no indication that he even tried to call any of them -- he just locked himself away in his own misery. Which is so typical of our Tom....
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2002 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is so true, makes me wonder if he was suffering from depression, as well as leprosy. That very locking oneself in IS a classic symptom. Now adays the docs would probably give him Prozac or something, and we wouldn't get the same story!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a few more thoughts ...

Lady Genni wrote:

Quote:
It also shows us a side of TC we haven't seen yet in the story. The human side. He was willing to give this begger his ring. He offered to feed/cloth/house him. All of this from a man that has been absorbed with rage from the moment we meet him. It's an oportunity to see that leprosy hasn't rotted his core humanity. He has kindness/compassion still. That shows a lot about him as a person.


Yes! you are absolutely right. The act of giving the ring is significant and symbolic. SRD writes about the ring:
Quote:
It was an icon of himself. It reminded him of where he had been and where he was - of promises made and broken, companionship lost, helplessness - and of his vestigial humanity.


But Covenant doesn't just take off the ring and give it to the beggar, he "tears it off" and "drops it in the bowl". Is this a symbol of his need to let go of his past?

Another thing I noticed; isn't Donaldson sarcastic about the institution of justice? I gathered some quotes:
Quote:
Now he strode past the courthouse, it's old grey columns looking proud of their burden of justice and law ... Even its front steps were polished to guard against the stain of human need which prowled up and down them, seeking restitution. ... The gaping giant heads which which topped the courthouse looked oddly nauseated, as if they were about to vomit on him.

The man had been Joan's lawyer at the divorce - a short, fleshy individual full of the kind of bonhomie in which lawyers and ministers specialize.

Absently, he looked up the courthouse columns to the stone heads. They had careless eyes and a spasm of disgust carved into perpetual imminence, compelling and forever incomplete, on their lips.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I try to appreciate this decision from Joan's perspective and ofcourse I agree she was guilty of no 'legal indictment' .. but I still wonder regarding her moral culpability.

Ignorance is not a crime .. though ignorance itself can cause grievous harms .. and I think that TC suffered greatly because of the 'ignorance' of those around him .. including Joan.

It is not the rash-ness of her abandonment in its infancy .. but her following it through in application to the legal system for her divorce! A divorce is not settled overnight .. and as time passes one would think that Joan's resolve to 'amputate' herself from TC would also have levelled out ..

But as someone else said .. we could argue till the cows come home .. and not reach any definitive consensus regarding Joan.

I do not hate Joan .. I feel for very sorry for her .. I would never call her a 'bitch' .. nor do I find that vernacular an appropriate description. And without the dynamics of the TC-Joan-Leperosy relationship we wouldnt have the emotional connection with TC .. we wouldnt be able to empathise with his unique circumstances and experience.

SRD supplies a knowledge of the stigma associated with leperosy via Joan's and the townsfolks reactions to TC .. not to mention his stint in the Leperosaurium .. It is akin to any disease not popularly understood .. the elements of fear all form the basis of the ignorance which many use to engender hatred for innocent victims/sufferers of such diseases.

When I read these 2 chapters that introduce the chrons. I am moved to abhorrence at the treatment of the townsfolk and his own beloved companion's abandonment. At this point I immediately feel for this embittered victim of cruel chance

.. and hence the connection the author no doubt intended is established.

All fundamental to the story-teller/reader relationship.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Sky, you're right. SRD's intention with all this stuff about Joan and the leprosarium is intended to establish with the reader that TC is a victim, many times over. But his treatment of the beggar -- giving him his wedding ring, offering him a place to stay and a meal -- shows that despite the world's harsh treatment of TC, he is still a kind and generous human being at his core (that somehow still for TC, "there is also love in the world", if you will). This all makes him a sympathetic character to the reader.

And you're also right in that divorces take a long time -- at least six months. Even if Joan filed right away, presumably she would have at least *some* time to cool down and think it over.... It must have been a no-fault divorce state. I know that in Colorado, if one spouse files for divorce and says the marriage is "irretrievably broken", the divorce is basically granted automatically (as long as the waiting period has run, etc.).

Pitch, I think with SRD's description of the courthouse, he's describing TC's reaction to the institution of justice. And his reaction is understandable, I think, given that he was basically divorced from his wife against his will.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that SRD uses Joan and the leprosarium as a backdrop to help us understand TC. I think that trying to analyze her is taking "dissection" to the cellular level, and basically not necessary, except to provide the background color.

When I read these two chapters again, and I got to the part where he offered the ring and his house and the meal, I had the feeling it wasn't being generous; he was expressing an attitude or feeling that showed he didn't care about those things since nobody else, expecially Joan, cared for them either.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred - I think that was what I was trying to grapple with ...
Sure Joan bailed & maybe he was showing some generosity, but he was also showing the 'don't touch me' I don't care side..
Sounds kind of paradoxical...(is that a word?) Confused
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred, you are right, we are taking "dissection" to the cellular level, but isn't it fun? Smile
The truth is that sometimes I forget that it's just a story, I get into it so much that the protagonists become real to me. Embarassed

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh no .. are you suggesting TC is not real?? Wink Wink .. LOL ..

jk .. heh

.. but the Land is real .. this I cant deny Wink Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dear Earthblood, I believe paradoxical is a word, and you are quite correct in using it.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2002 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that when TC saw Lord Foul's eyes, LF was actually looking at him. We will learn later he is able to reach the real world to some degree. I think LF wanted to see for himself whom Drool would summon in order to plan better. Perhaps he was able to sense Creator's presence and so made the connection to Covenant. In any case Drool wouldn't have yet begun his summoning due to the time differences between Land and the real world.

It is a very good observation that the missing fingers represent Joan and Roger. Specifically, I think the little finger was Roger because he was small, and the ring finger was Joan because it corresponds with the finger wedding rings are kept in although it is in a different hand. I don't know if in America it is customary for widows and widowers to change their wedding rings to the right hand, but in any case, TC wouldn't have been able do that after the amputation. It might symbolise that TC is unable to mentally let go of his family.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2002 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well. I am a little late chiming in, but I just want to say that when I first read the first two chapters of the book, I was a bit surprised by the attitude of the townsfolk and Joan toward leprosy. It seemed so old-fashioned and 19th century, definitely not 1970.

Other than TC's missing fingers (which could have been due to anything, if you didn't know), Covenant shows no sign of being afflicted with a chronic disease, so how would everyone know to avoid him? I guess, small town gossip, which is a possibility mentioned above, and the fact that he was a famous author, so it may have been in the news. But I would have thought that citizens of the mid 20th century would be aware that leprosy was not the scourge of the past, that, in fact, it is not that contagious. As I said, a very old-fashioned and ignorant attitude.

Quote:
I'm a reader and I honestly think that TC is sexually obsessed with Joanie. There doesn't seem to be much else there on his part . He doesn't have a mature realtionship until he meets LA.


I was struck by this remark. I don't think there is any basis for coming to that conclusion. Reading the descriptions of Joan in the first chapters, and how TC thought about her, I had the impression that he loved her very much, and that there was a certain intimacy to their relationship. I didn't have the impression that it was superficial, as some seem to think. The truth is, we don't really have enough information to know the truth of what their relationship was.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2002 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me the Bible Belt itself is a thing of legend and the book account fits with the astonishing things I've heard about it. If there is someone who lived in the region in the seventies I would like to hear his or her opinion.

I'm from Finland and leprosy is very little known around here outside Bible stories. My mother, after asking about the book I was reading, had trouble believing there was leprosy in modern America and it was not just in Israel of 2000 years ago and similar places. Come to think of it, I had not heard about it either.
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