Author Topic: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book  (Read 3968 times)

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #80 on: November 21, 2016, 04:17:35 PM »
The Book Club Online is the oldest  book club on the Internet, begun in 1996, open to everyone.  We offer cordial discussions of one book a month,  24/7 and  enjoy the company of readers from all over the world.  Everyone is welcome.

Starting Monday, November 14

November Book Club Online

Two Old Women
by Velma Wallis

   

Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.

We are talking about the whole book (it's a short one) so please read as much as you want as we discuss.


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do the various people respond to the decision to leave the two old women?

How are the characters and dispositions of  Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak described?

How do Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak respond to what is happening to them

What do Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak do to survive?

How do their attitudes change?

What are some details of the story that especially strike you?

What do you think are some of the turning points in the story?

What are some phrases from the story that are meaningful for you?


Discussion Leaders: marcie, Ann, PatH, Barb

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #81 on: November 21, 2016, 04:22:43 PM »
Bellamarie, I don't think I had that much energy at 64, though I was still working in the lab.

The lamb had no skin or guts or hooves or head, thank goodness, but after having taken a comparative anatomy course, I dare say I could have skinned it.

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #82 on: November 21, 2016, 05:03:22 PM »
BARB: "To be loved is not the same as being valued." That is so true! Especially for elders. I have to remember that.

It's definitely true dealing with the public. Everyone gives you smiles, and that "isn't she cute" look, but then treats you as if you are a child, and have nothing valuable to contribute!

BELLAMARIE: how can I get that program for my son and his fiancée? they are busy planning every minute  detail of their wedding, but something came up about whether they were going to merge their finances or keep them separate, they looked completely startled and changed the subject.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #83 on: November 21, 2016, 09:42:46 PM »
JoanK.,  The program was for the older Apple computers, on what we then referred to as a floppy disk, and I bet they have similar ones in apps online.  I had to laugh when you said,

Quote
but something came up about whether they were going to merge their finances or keep them separate, they looked completely startled and changed the subject.

I was a facilitator in our Catholic church's pre cana program years ago, and we had many different topics to discuss with our engaged couples, merging incomes was one of the topics.  I can tell you that a few of our couples reacted just as you described your son and his fiance's reaction.  The couples had never even considered the thought of combining incomes.  Some commented they were keeping their own separate checking accounts.  I remember one couple actually got a bit upset once they began discussing it, because the girl insisted they were combining everything as one, just as they were becoming one in the marriage.  He did not like that point she made.  Sounds like your son and his fiance could use some pre cana classes with the church they plan to get married in.  Our church requires a six month notice, and the pre cana class is mandatory in order to marry in the church.   We also had a part of the day where they had a sheet of questions they filled out by themselves, then we all came together as a group and each one read a question and had to read their answer choice which was, Agree, Disagree, or Agree to disagree.  That was one of the funniest parts of the day, because these couples thought they knew each other pretty well, until this exercise.   :o
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #84 on: November 21, 2016, 11:07:16 PM »
I have so much respect for those of you who've shared your "survival" and living skills. Bellamarie, the Apple computer program you describe must have been very helpful to your students, even just to get them thinking about those issues. It's definitely easier to 'be prepared' during a time when you can address the issues while you don't actually have to carry out your plans. LOL. I think that I still have an old Apple IIe somewhere in my garage :-)

I thought it was interesting that near the end of the book we find that "At first, people wanted to help the old ones in any way they could, but the women would not allow too much assistance, for they enjoyed their newly found independence. So the People showed their respect for the two women by listening to what they had to say."





BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #85 on: November 22, 2016, 02:06:31 AM »
Golly marcie you chose again the very sentence that struck me - another spot in the story that really riveted me was where the two women negotiate terms after they were found. Somehow they could tell from the voice of the men that they could trust them and based on that trust plus the reality of the situation they call on the men's trust as they tell them of their food cache.

The women were wise to know that their food would be found and employed a trust bond to protect themselves - and then further, they have a sense of themselves and know, regardless of what happens they can survive. Out of that new found strength and belief in themselves that the men could sense they were able to strike a deal that heedful to their plight involved sharing but with boundaries.

They did not beg or ask for the protection of the men to assure that all they worked for would be respected and not greedily taken. Instead, their own new found strength, belief in their abilities, their self-respect set the tone that in turn was respected.

Reading that the men were in awe at their story of survival - I thought of the word awe - and realized setting out to be  awesome does not work - what works is, day by day do well the little things, the everyday things that bring security, build our physical strength, maintain ourselves and not to stop with the bare minimum but keep going till there is enough to share with others and that is what is awesome to others - probably because it is not expected just as the men are in awe that the two women not only survived but flourished. Elders, who they only knew as needing canes to walk, needed help with their night fires and complained insistently. 

Frybabe

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #86 on: November 22, 2016, 07:58:23 AM »
Speaking of fires, Barb, I know about starting a fire with a flint and some finely shaved kindling or rubbing sticks together, but I doubt I would have thought of carting around embers in a kind of insulated bundle. I wonder if those bundles ever ignited or went out before they were needed again. I can imagine that one or the other did so now and again.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #87 on: November 22, 2016, 11:54:51 AM »
When I read the parts about deciding to share the food, again I thought of the reality show I watch called "Survivor."  This season a young millennial stole jars of food and buried them, he shared his stash with one of his trusted teammates.  When they came to tribal council it was revealed he had stolen the jars of food.  You can bet your bottom dollar the members voted him out, and he went home, ending his chance to win a half million dollars. It was also revealed the other teammate partook in the stash, so I would suppose he will be voted out next. 

Trust is enormous when you are out in a deserted place, and must use your skills to survive.  The returning members trusted the two women to be fair, and the two women knew it was vital for them to trust as well.   
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #88 on: November 22, 2016, 03:35:22 PM »
Seems to me Frybabe I saw a documentary of early man in Africa and they too carried embers to their next site - I too wonder how they did that without burning through the carrying device and if it hung on a belt of sorts if it was ever too hot against their skin.

Yes, Trust is an issue isn't it - I still have difficulty assessing whom to trust - do not seem to have that gene - I have been hornswoggled more times than I can count or want to count. I wish those who you cannot trust would at least have the courtesy of having a nefarious look about themselves - I have figured out that if they are too cloyingly attentive then watch it but there are so many other guises they use... oh well at my age there is no sense in feeling inadequate - I just keep my distance which does cut me off but that is all I know to do - for far too long I could not imagine anyone really taking advantage - that was something you read - it was not true - ha ha ha ha said as sardonically as you can muster.   

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #89 on: November 22, 2016, 05:31:37 PM »
BELLAMARIE: thank you for mentioning those classes. My son is not being married in the church they attend (too expensive) so the question didn't come up. I'll definitely suggest classes.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #90 on: November 23, 2016, 12:48:18 AM »
Frybabe,
Quote
My dilemma right now, for instance, is whether to borrow at a low interest rate, or pay cash from my investment account to get some necessary repairs done on the house. I dislike borrowing except for the house and car, but if I have a higher overall rate of return on my stocks (via dividends) than I pay out in interest on a loan, it may be worth borrowing over paying cash. [\quote]

My hubby and I are facing this same dilemma,  we don't like taking from our investments/savings, and interest rates are so low that it might be wise to take out a loan for the home repairs.  We have put things off, and plan to stay in our home, so it's time to get these things done.

JoanK.,  I would highly recommend all engaged couples to take some kind of pre cana classes.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #91 on: November 23, 2016, 02:49:04 AM »
ha I had fun with the concept of loan versus taking from savings and thought of the two women if they were thinking as if they were attempting to make that kind of decision - do we us our fish all dried and stored for winter to barter for more skins for our shelter or do we borrow the help of the tribe to lend us a big hide to secure our shelter and then promise to pay them back in fish for the next few years.

Frankly even thinking in those basics; fish caught, cleaned, dried and stored versus future catches it is not an easy decision is it. 

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #92 on: November 23, 2016, 11:02:30 AM »
Barb, yes, at the end when some of the men found the two women, the women were strong enough and wary enough to take charge of their own situation and to dictate the terms on which they would interact with The People. I guess I'd say that they had "qualified" trust. They figured out the details of what they would do and what they would not do. They were not going to be blindsided again.

Frybabe  you always notice the fine points of "technology" that I kind of skip over. It's interesting to think about transporting the embers. I like Alan Kay's (a computer scientist and Apple Fellow) definition of technology: "Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born."

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #93 on: November 23, 2016, 03:39:49 PM »
As well as the fire carriers, they cook the rabbits in birch containers.  How do you do that?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #94 on: November 23, 2016, 04:43:53 PM »
Few foods are cooked directly over a fire - you have to know your rocks so that you do not collect shale or limestone that will explode or split - you need granite rocks - place in a fire - nearby a pit is dug and the hot rocks are put in - pour a bit of water to create steam - place the birchbark container holding food on top and cover the entire thing - some use the birch bark like a paper sack and fold it over the food to be cooked - to cover it they may have used an animal skin or branches with lots of leaves tied together as a thick mat - takes about an hour according to how small you cut the meat. For a longer cook time just add more hot rocks. 

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #95 on: November 23, 2016, 09:31:05 PM »
Wow, Barbara. You know your stuff. :-)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #96 on: November 23, 2016, 10:18:26 PM »
A Girl Scout and later, fish cookouts out on the lake  ;)

Taking the suggestions from this discussion about teaching others our skills, I just made arrangements with my daughter as she was planning the Christmas visit - needed to know if the two boys would be home or working for their Dad and so we worked out timing, instead of going to town to see the shops or to a movie we will spend a day putting up some applesauce, marmalade and jalapeno apple jelly and bake a batch of cookies using a couple of my mother's old German recipes, oh yes, we will have orange and grapefruit sugar strips  - the boys can each bring home to their new apartment  some applesauce, marmalade and jelly and if there are any cookies or candied strips left - we can have fun - and - I can pass down some tradition going back generations that is seldom turned to today. Hurray - all from discussing a book  8)

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #97 on: November 24, 2016, 02:16:34 PM »
BARB: wonderful idea!

What skills we're learning! By the time we finish this discussion, we'll all be ready to go on Naked and Afraid.

Hope you all stored enough food to have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #98 on: November 24, 2016, 08:58:11 PM »
That is a wonderful project, Barb. The boys should be very glad to take home some of those goodies.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #99 on: November 24, 2016, 09:39:29 PM »
Oooops looks like I included my comment to Frybabe's quote inside the quote box.  That's what happens when I use my iPad instead of my computer.

Good comparison Barb, using the loan vs savings with The Two Women.

That's a nice thing you thought to do with your grandsons when they visit.  Be sure to take lots of pics.  We started a family tradition with our grandkids for Christmas break, they all come for a sleepover and we make our Christmas cookies.  We end up with more flour on our faces and floor since my hubby decided to add a Santa beard on himself so all the grandkids followed suit.  Oh how we laugh.  Each of the grandkids get to sift the flour using the very old sifter my hubby's mother used to use, and roll the dough and use the cookie cutters my Mom used.  We all decorate them and split them up so they can take their masterpieces home in the morning.  Passing down traditions is so important.  One more tradition is on Thanksgiving one or more grandchild mashes the potatoes using our wedding gift mixer that is now 45 years old and still going strong. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #100 on: November 24, 2016, 11:06:12 PM »
Those are great traditions, bellamarie. It sounds like you have lots of fun too.

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #101 on: November 27, 2016, 02:42:22 PM »
We've talked a lot about what the two women learned, but there is also a lesson the People learned.  They overcame their better feelings to leave the women behind in a spot where they were'nt finding food, and moved on.  But they didn't do much better elsewhere, and barely made it through the winter, losing some people.  Guilty consciences made them go back, and they found the women had been able to get rabbits and squirrels where they had not, then moved on and   accumulated a huge supply of food and fur.

It's as though nature was punishing the People for their behavior.  They now learned a new respect for the women, and vowed never to leave anyone behind again.

There are no permanent happy endings in such a cruel environment, but this is as close as it comes.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #102 on: November 27, 2016, 08:29:13 PM »
Yes, PatH.,  I agree, I did see the tribe reuniting, with new found respect for the elders, as a happy ending.

I Just went to the movie theater on Thanksgiving night with my three grandchildren ages, 5, 8, and 14, their parents (my son and his wife), my daughter in law's parents, and my hubby to see the movie "TROLLS."  The theme in this movie was you can find your own happiness from within, not from other people or things you consume, and also to stick together and never leave anyone behind.  The father troll said in the early part of the movie, "No trolls left behind!"  So he went back to save the youngest of the trolls from those who were going to eat the trolls, thinking that it would bring happiness into their lives.  Later in the movie the father has grown old, the daughter is now in the position to save the trolls who have been captured to be eaten, and says to her father she now must go to rescue them.  She repeats to him, "No trolls left behind!"

This movie made me think of the ending of this book, where they decide no one will be left behind.  Young and old, everyone is important, special and contributes some way in this world.  When you stick together you can conquer the trials and troubles in life, and you will find happiness inside yourself. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #103 on: November 28, 2016, 11:18:47 AM »
PatH and Bellamarie, thanks for bringing up the lessons that the People learned. It's a story that has something to tell us from both ends of the spectrum... the two individuals who had stopped contributing and had become a burden to the tribe and were abandoned and the People who had lost hope and who had abandoned the two women.

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #104 on: December 01, 2016, 09:49:50 PM »
Thank you everyone for participating in this discussion. I appreciate all of the thoughtful comments and the "lessons learned" that you shared.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #105 on: December 01, 2016, 10:53:11 PM »
Thanks Marcie - this story allowed me to do a lot of reflecting and some of the ideas that were shared are tucked in my brain to do something different with my life. Thanks again...

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #106 on: December 02, 2016, 10:19:51 AM »
Thank you. Marcie, for picking this book and leading the discussion.  It was an inspired choice; I would not have thought we could find so much in such a small book.  I think it spoke to all of us.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #107 on: December 02, 2016, 01:57:04 PM »
Thank you. Marcie, for picking this book and leading the discussion.  It was an inspired choice; I would not have thought we could find so much in such a small book.  I think it spoke to all of us.

I agree completely!

Frybabe

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #108 on: December 02, 2016, 03:48:40 PM »
This was a book I was not originally going to read. I'm glad I did; I would have missed something special. Thanks for putting it up for discussion.

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #109 on: December 03, 2016, 11:07:01 PM »
I think it was Barbara who first mentioned the book, so we have her to thank for it and all of you for finding inspiration in it to share with one another.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #110 on: December 04, 2016, 06:43:03 PM »
This was a book I was not originally going to read. I'm glad I did; I would have missed something special. Thanks for putting it up for discussion.

I considered not reading it because I thought it might be depressing.  Instead, it turned out to be positive and inspirational. 

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #111 on: December 05, 2016, 12:33:14 AM »
Thank you Marcie for leading the discussion, and Barb for suggesting the book.  It was thought provoking and motivational.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden