Hooray for Books and Reading discussion

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol  Jones-Campbell (cajonesdoa) | 690 comments Mod
3. The novel is framed by two spectacular fires. Why do you think the author chose to structure the novel this way? What effect does each fire have on the major characters and on the people of Manhattan and Brooklyn?


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 218 comments I no longer have the book but I recall the author saying she wanted to write a book that told the story of these two great catastrophes of the northeast. I knew nothing about either fire so I appreciated the education. When I think of the symbolism of fire I think of three things: destruction, cleansing and strengthening (as in steel, glass, etc). Sadly many animals and good people were destroyed. Evil was also destroyed - Sardie. When disasters occur though, unity and a coming together of community always happens.
Cleansing - physical and spiritual. Physical cleansings can wipe away the bad - both people, activities and even a reevaluation of morals. Cleansing offered a new start and perspective for Coralie, Maureen and Eddie to name a few.
Strengthening - strengthening and perspective is gained in the furnace of our afflictions.


message 3: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea | 562 comments Pam nailed it on the head! The factory fire sets up the death of Hannah for the lovers to meet. And the final fire makes it possible for their love to happen. Like a Phoenix from the ashes, Coralie and Eddie both change their fates to be with each other. And is it also significant that there was a fire in Jane Eyre that made love possible too? That theme keeps coming back.


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam | 218 comments Didn't see the fires as backdrops for E and C's Union, great perspective!


message 5: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments Previous comments include excellent points. I was aware of the Triangle fire, but hadn't heard of the Coney Island fire. I thought both represented the dangers of exploitation by the upper classes, which seemed to recur through the book.


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