Books Stephen King Recommends discussion

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Dec 2011 - Jan 2012 Group Read > Part III: The Last City (SPOILER ALERT)

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message 1: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Part III comments go here.


message 2: by Ann (last edited Jan 01, 2012 09:52AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Chapter 18 in my opinion is an effective story bridge, and raises some questions about the title of the part "The Last City"

by giving us a sense of the devastation in North America with the Part 3 title of The Last City - does Cronin refer to Philadelphia (at first I thought so) or the new place in CA behind the lights and the gates where the children end up?
We also get some year markers that help us understand how old Auntie is; we meet her as Ida Jackson at age 8 as she is taken to CA on the train and later in the year 1003 AV, now known as Auntie. And then part four appears to start in 92 AV and confuses us. ;)
We learn that the virus was different in other places, "flat out killing everyone" in most of North America - Europe too? We learn that lights, bright lights all night long around an enclosure can repel the jumps - as long as the lights stay on.
Where did all of the soldiers come from? They seem to be everywhere in force, then again if all that are left are in PA I guess they might not be so many.


message 3: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
How horrible to have to give up your child to try to give them a future. The long ride in the trains was reminiscent of the trains in WWII Germany taking victims to the concentration camps. At least this was for more hopeful reasons.

I agree, Ann, that the posted years was confusing at first.

I hadn't thought about the soldiers and there being so many of them... but yes, they were likely inside the borders and defending those same borders against the infected.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments It all just made me want to keep the lights on!


message 5: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Ann wrote: "It all just made me want to keep the lights on!"

lol


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Ann wrote: "Chapter 18 in my opinion is an effective story bridge, and raises some questions about the title of the part "The Last City"

by giving us a sense of the devastation in North America with the Par..."


I think Cronin meant for Philadelphia to be known as The Last City. I was trying to keep up with the years - but lost track. So is AV considered After Virals?????


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Debra wrote: "How horrible to have to give up your child to try to give them a future. The long ride in the trains was reminiscent of the trains in WWII Germany taking victims to the concentration camps. At le..."

I agree with you Debra, how very sad to give up your kids, I thought it was interesting that the took kids as young as 4 years old, of course I assume they were told someone would be on the trains to take care of them - but I didn't really see that.....


message 8: by Linda (last edited Jan 14, 2012 08:58AM) (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I also thought it was very interesting that the children were taken to California. Remember chapter 17 when Bob Saunders arrived at the cabin? He told Wolgast that he and his friends were trying to make it to California, how did everyone know that California was a "safe haven" or did I miss something???


message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Linda: I took AV to be "After Virals", and it could have Philadelphia as the Last City. :)
Why they wanted to go to California is a mystery.
Total speculation ...
unless the distance made them think it was safe or when news reports would not have indicated any issues there due to the different time zone and sunshine later in the day compared to the east coast or Central zone?
I had wondered about the California sunshine, and leaving to escape the jumps or virals by following the sun -- going towards California and attempting to avoid darkness, or at least delay it, time zone by time zone as the people might have fled west to the Pacific time Zone.


message 10: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I think I remember reading in Part II that California seceded from the union and were somewhat successful in the beginning at keeping many of the virals out. So, it would be presumed that California was somewhat safer than other states.

Good points, Ann, about following the sun - and California being sunnier, in general.

And, I also believe that Philadelphia was the "last city" to which Cronin was referring.

They occasionally refer to "first night" in the colony. This is a weird misnomer, as they are referring to their first night with the lights on. They celebrate First Night every year, like many of us celebrate New Year or Christmas.


message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments and isn't that just a grim thing to celebrate. I understand it, they certainly had reason to celebrate hat night. I suppose the yearly attention raised awareness of the diligence they must have.
Debra wrote: "They occasionally refer to "first night" in the colony. This is a weird misnomer, as they are referring to their first night with the lights on. They celebrate First Night every year, like many of us celebrate New Year or Christmas."


message 12: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Ann wrote: "and isn't that just a grim thing to celebrate. I understand it, they certainly had reason to celebrate hat night. I suppose the yearly attention raised awareness of the diligence they must have.
D..."


Yes, very grim indeed. I can't imagine living with that kind of ongoing fear.

And what about the poor children being raised to believe the world is care-free and then finding out at 8 years that it is not!?


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I know - I thought it was odd that they kept them in the Sanctuary. - How bizarre!!!!


message 14: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments I thought the duplicitous (and yes, bizarre) nature of that practice was just horrible. It certainly made for a rude awakening that you had been lied to.
Debra wrote: "And what about the poor children being raised to believe the world is care-free and then finding out at 8 years that it is not!? "


message 15: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
And can you imagine being a child and knowing deep in side that something wasn't right, like Michael did? He suspected all along. What a burden. That's why he wasn't happy for Sara when she turned 8 and left the Sanctuary.


message 16: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Quite a burden indeed, I suppose the intent was to protect, but I am not seeing it as positive. Why eight years old as the cutoff?


message 17: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
The cutoff age does seem arbitrary. I suppose they wanted a child to be old enough to do a job and 8 must have seemed old enough, I guess. It certainly doesn't seem old enough for the child not to suffer psychological damage from the trauma. I guess no age would be a good choice to avoid that.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I am in agreement with you Ann & Debra, 8 seems young to me. I think that will be a good question to ask Cronin, if we get an opportunity to meet him.


message 19: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I am in agreement with you Ann & Debra, 8 seems young to me. I think that will be a good question to ask Cronin, if we get an opportunity to meet him."

Yeah, I've got a few questions for Cronin, when I meet him. lol


Melissa ♥ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf (melissaseclecticbookshelf) I can only guess that maybe 8 was the age where children started having more questions and being more aware of their surroundings...maybe they tried to keep them in the sanctuary for longer in the past and it caused problems for all the children as some became older and more precocious. (Of course I'm just making all of that up)Why they did it to begin with as being separated from the parents just seems so cruel? Guess they hoped to give them some sort of "normal" childhood or they might not be able to function as productive members of society.


message 21: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Good point about the age of 8 being a good cut-off age. It does seem cruel though. What a trauma for the parents, and then for the children.


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments very cruel - and so odd that as soon as they came out of the sanctuary they were immediately put to work - 8 year olds with stressful jobs - odd.....


message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Eight year olds working; another sign of the regression of society. Years ago, in rural life anyway, that would have been normal.
Melissa- good point about eight being an age where it would be harder to keep them in the dark.


message 24: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, quite a regression. No child labor laws, anymore! lol


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