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2012 Book Discussions > The Corrections - At Sea (June 2012)

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message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Stuart | 19 comments Discussion on anything up through chapter four.


message 2: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Enid is a great character. I feel a lot of sympathy for her, even as I sympathize with her family members for finding that things she says drive them crazy. She means well, and tries so hard, but just has such a different outlook on the world from any of her children.


message 3: by Silver (new)

Silver I agree that Enid does appear my sympathetic within this chapter once we learn more about her background, and her marriage to Alfred, and just how horrid he was. But I have to say I still find her to be quite grating, and cannot bring myself to actually liking her.

Reading this I could not help but think of the movie Prozac Nation. I think it has become a pervasive part of modern American culture to want that quick fix, and just resolve all our problems by popping a pill. The whole idea of "correcting" ones personality by using medication also I thought had a faint ring of Brave New World.

I did wonder, is there any significance in Aslan the pill and the fact that Jonah was reading "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe?"


message 4: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) I'm sure there is. Aslan is the substitute for the divine in Lewis, I suspect Franzen uses it here as modern American using pills as God/religion.

Clearly, everybody is fatally flawed in this book. Everybody's flaws interacting with the flaws of others. I LOVED the At Sea section. For me it made the book. But in the end, the question is who is still capable of making a correction in their life? Are some too old to changed? Too entrenched? Too ill (Gary)?


message 5: by Silver (new)

Silver Will wrote: "I'm sure there is. Aslan is the substitute for the divine in Lewis, I suspect Franzen uses it here as modern American using pills as God/religion.

Clearly, everybody is fatally flawed in this book..."


I will admit that I could have done without the talking turd hallucinations. Some people really don't like graphic scenes of sex and gore, but I myself not a huge fan of graphic scenes on bodily functions.

But I loved the character of Sylvia and I thought her story was fascinating and I thought she was one of the most interesting people in the book.

On the question of the "corrections" I cannot help but to wonder, as both within this section and in the section dealing with Gary we are given the prospects of these personality altering drugs, that can make these corrections for us, and to me leave an aftertaste of dystopia. All human's are flaws, and while the flaws of the characters within this book I think are greatly exaggerated, as Enid herself questions the seller of Aslan, if we did all make these corrections, than wouldn't we all be the same?

Is it truly about making corrections, or leaning to accept ourselves and others for the flaws that we have?


message 6: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Like Silver, I also could have done without the talking turd hallucinations, particularly since they seemed to go on for far too long. I also found Sylvia's story interesting. I liked the juxtaposition of attitudes on the death penalty. Sylvia was hoping for some kind of closure or redemption from the execution of the man who murdered her daughter. At the same time, Robin was out participating in a candlelit vigil for the man who was about to be executed.


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