The 1700-1939 Book Club! discussion

The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter, #1)
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Past Group Reads > Kristin Lavransdatter 1: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset

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Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
This is for the discussion of Kristin Lavransdatter 1: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset.

Kristin Lavransdatter 1: The Wreath (20th-Century Classics)


Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 6 comments With this discussion coming up, I thought it was time to read this. I'm about 70 pages in and enjoying it so far!


Silver The story had a slow start for me as I found the writing style a bit hard to get used to, as well as all those long and difficult names at the beginning. But I am starting to become more adapted to the writing of the book and it is begining to grow on me. I am being drawn more into the story now and feeling less confused.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
I haven't started yet. I might write a little cheat sheet with the names to help me not get confused.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
I just started last night and agree with the slow start. I think this is to let us know how life was in the 14th century where Kristin lives.


message 6: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 6 comments Is there a schedule? I just got the book and would like to keep up.


message 7: by Jamie (last edited Jul 07, 2011 11:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
Since we normally only have a few people who join in on the book discussions we set the group read for two months and do not divide the book up into sections with different threads. Normally most people finish within the first month (to keep from being overwhelmed we do not do monthly reads). Just read at the pace that fits with your schedule and comment whenever. I try to keep from commenting on the last part of the book until closer to the end of the month. Once the group grows I will divide the book up and make a different threads (discussion) for each part. This will still allow everyone to read at their own pace and help with spoilers.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
I finished the first part of the book and am enjoying it. I think the story will pick up now that Kristin is older although some serious things have already happened. Has anyone else got this far?


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Jamie wrote: "I finished the first part of the book and am enjoying it. I think the story will pick up now that Kristin is older although some serious things have already happened. Has anyone else got this far?"
I am still waiting for the book from the library but am down to 6th on the list. I started out as 13th. It's great that the book is so popular.


Silver I have to say while I am enjoying the book, I cannot bring myself to really like Kristin. Though I cannot say I dislike her, but I have never got along well with those martyr type of heroines. They are so frustrating and irritating at times. You just want to scream at them to stop going around wallowing and simpering all of the time and doing everything "perfect" and "good"


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
Silver wrote: "I have to say while I am enjoying the book, I cannot bring myself to really like Kristin. Though I cannot say I dislike her, but I have never got along well with those martyr type of heroines. They..."

I know what you mean, I just want to scream people like that. I could never be like that because I am so blunt and selfish haha!


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) I just started it this morning!


Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 6 comments I've reached the point you're talking about, I think, Jamie. I'm not sure if I agree that Kristin is a martyr-type heroine--especially not once she gets older. There is a whole mentality about relationships played out here that fits the time period but feels extremely old-fashioned now. Not just arranged marriage but the bigger situation as a whole. Hope I'm not spoiling it for anyone!


Silver Well I think she is a Martyr in the fact that she seems to be one of those that never truly expresses any feelings about what she wants for herself. The only feeling she seems to have is her desire to please others. She never once (at least thus far) seems to really get angry or to make any attempt to stand up for herself. She has seemingly little or no will of her own. She just hangs her head feels sorry for herself and cries alone in her room, but as long as she can please the expatiations of others that is all that matters.

While she might not in fact actually have a lot of power to change her situation, she could still have a bit more spunk and rebellion about it. I do prefer those who do in fact try to fight against the status quo, and buck the system, even if they are not successful, rather than just bow their heads under its yolk.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
I'm not sure how women were looked at in this culture but women in the past were considered property so from an early age they learned not to question why they had to do something. I would say she is more self sacrificing than a martyr


Silver Jamie wrote: "I'm not sure how women were looked at in this culture but women in the past were considered property so from an early age they learned not to question why they had to do something. I would say she ..."

To me Self-Sacrificing and Martyr are the same thing. And while it is true that her behavior is what would have been typical for the time, there were always those who proved to be the exception to the true. Those that did question the way things were, and their positions in society as women, and those who were not willing to just accept things as they were.

Lady Aashild comes into mind here. She stood outside of society, and lived an unconventional life. And it is those who are the exceptions which for me make the more interesting characters.


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) I've finished it this morning, and I must say that I was a bit disappointed with it. I found it difficult to really care about Kristin. I just didn't find her very interesting, but I guess she's quite representative of young girls in the 14th century.


Silver *Possible Spoiler*

I find Kristin's seemingly sudden change in character/morality to be a bit difficult to beleive, as it seems to manifest itself completely out of nowhere.

She would not give Arne the time of day nor even ask her father to postpone her marriage becasue of her rigid determination to obey her father's wishes and marry Simon in spite of the fact that it was not what she wanted to herself. Than she begged to be sent to a convent in place of her sister becasue of her shame of having her honor questioned, and to try and escape marriage.

But now that she is in the covenant (though only temporally and still engaged to Simon) she is running off having scandalous rendezvous with a man of whom she scarcely knows?


message 19: by Diane (new)

Diane Silver wrote: "Well I think she is a Martyr in the fact that she seems to be one of those that never truly expresses any feelings about what she wants for herself. The only feeling she seems to have is her desire..."
wow, I finally got the book from the library but am now wondering if it is worth spending time on it. If you had to do it over, would any of you still read it?


Silver Diane wrote: "Silver wrote: "Well I think she is a Martyr in the fact that she seems to be one of those that never truly expresses any feelings about what she wants for herself. The only feeling she seems to hav..."

I am enjoying the book on the whole, and though it is true Kristin is not my favorite, I do not hate her, and she does have her moments where I like her. It is not truly a bad book she is just a mite too submissive for my personal taste.

So I do not regret my reading of it and still plan to read the next book in the trilogy.


message 21: by Diane (new)

Diane Silver wrote: "Diane wrote: "Silver wrote: "Well I think she is a Martyr in the fact that she seems to be one of those that never truly expresses any feelings about what she wants for herself. The only feeling sh..."
thanks. I'm going to start it.


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) I really liked the last scene - the conversation between Kristin's parents.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
Sorry I am so far behind! I am going to try read more this week so I can discuss with you guys!


message 24: by Diane (new)

Diane I just finished Part 1 and am really enjoying it. I don't find her self-sacrificing at all. Reality was that girls in her position had arranged marriages. That was the way it was, she had grown up knowing that and, at least in the translation I am reading, she didn't seem particularly eager to marry either Arne or Simon just yet. She even told Arne that.


message 25: by Diane (new)

Diane I am curious about the influence a translator has on the mood of a book's story. I am reading the version translated by Charles Archer and I seem to be getting different vibes about Kristin and some of the situations seem very different. In particular, Silver's comments about Kristin begging to go into the convent. What have others of you read about that and what translator do you have?


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Silver wrote: "Well I think she is a Martyr in the fact that she seems to be one of those that never truly expresses any feelings about what she wants for herself. The only feeling she seems to hav..."

I feel the same way and am not sure if she is going to marry Simon or ask her parents to break the engagement which she wouldn't ask for Arne. Maybe she cares about social class a little like her parents.


Silver Jamie wrote: I feel the same way and am not sure if she is going to marry Simon or ask her parents to break the engagement which she wouldn't ask for Arne. Maybe she cares about social class a little like her parents.."

The more I am reading I do not know if it so much as a class issue for her but perhaps it may be in part that when she was friends with Arne she was still quite young and though she liked him better than Simon, I am not sure if in fact she truly loved Arne as well I think she did know what she could never get her parents to agree to allow her to marry Arne so she saw no reason to entertain false hope.

When she does leave for the convent, being away from her family I think she has more of a chance to truly explore exactly what it is she does want for herself, and she grows older than and starts to know her own mind more.

As the book progresses she does start to become more likable for me as she does begin to speak up a bit more for herself and in fact she becomes less submissive to the wishes and whims of other people.


Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 6 comments I finished this one, and was impressed with it overall. I don't really relate to Kristin, simply because her submissiveness isn't modern at all--I got a bit annoyed at her silly unhappiness at her own wedding--but Undset writing style is wonderful to read. I am interested to try something else of hers aside from this trilogy.


message 29: by Diane (new)

Diane I still don't think of Kristin as submissive. I think she had had a wonderful childhood with loving parents and, until she fell wildly, blindly in love with Erland, was simply respectful of her father's decisions. Too, don't forget, the only decent options open to women at that time were marriage or the convent and marrying for love wasn't the norm.
I think her behavior at the wedding reflected her shame at deceiving everyone and marrying in a manner not appropriate for pregnant women. There were also hints that she was starting so see that Erland's behavior wasn't all it should have been.
Kristin reminded me of Maryann in Sense and Sensibility. Both fell head over heels for an experienced, handsome womanizer and spurned the kind, loving but not so exciting guy.


Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 738 comments Mod
For anyone interested in reading book #2 of the trilogy we can start the discussion August 1st in the Side Reads folder. I may be a little late since I haven't finished book #1.


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