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 Strength of the ladies 
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Location: Newton-Conover Middle School- Newton, NC
As I read this book I was amazed at the strength of these ladies. I know that as we go along in life, many of the sterotypes of the past are being diminished, such as women as a weak sex, but I think this book amplifies this progress. As we discover the span of the womens' lives, including the Congonese women, we see that they are the ones who are resilient in the wake of adversity.

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Amy E. Wilson


Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:26 am
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Amy, I agree with you. I hadn't thought of this until I read your post but it is very true. The women of this book demonstrate great strength that has been brought out publicly through the years. Women are viewed more equally now than in the time of the book. The examples in this book show that the strength has always been present.


Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:20 am
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Another great book about strong, resilient women is Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith.


Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:07 am
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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a wonderful one too.


Mon Nov 17, 2003 8:07 am
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Yes, I agree, that was definitely a main theme in this book. It was interesting how the four women all evidenced their strength and ability to survive and adapt in different ways. I think the author had the best grasp of Leah, and didn't speak as much through the mother. I was definitely able to picture the mother, though, as if she were a real person. I knew she was going to snap at some point. I think my biggest surprise was Rachel's ability to make the best of her situation - who expected her to be able to ruthlessly hang on to a business? Of course, she had to trade on her looks to get there - "prostituting" herself. I was expecting that she would lose her South African business through the more recent upheavals there, but the author did not comment on that.

I thought of that movie (or mini-series) the Dollmaker as I read this book. Jane Fonda played in it - as an Appalachian woman transplanted to Detroit, whose husband was a clueless jerk, too. She "survived" after family tragedy, similar to this book - the death of the youngest child through an accident.

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Joyce Jarrard


Mon Nov 17, 2003 8:55 pm
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I also appreciated the strength of the ladies in the book, but did you feel that the mother was particularly strong? I felt sorry for her - her life's struggle against her husband's domineering ways seemed to me to be a losing battle. The girls however, they all seem to be strong in their own way and seem to foreshadow strong personalities in the future. Maybe this is all hogwash, but that's the tact I seemed to take with my reading.


Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:32 pm
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I have to agree that the strength exhibited by the women in this novel is amazing. Especially the mother. She is pulled in so many ways yet still is able to continue. I also have developed a better understanding of the feelings that my mother has talked about. Not having children, I think it is difficult sometimes to understand how deep a parents love can run, and how difficult some decisions can be.


Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:42 am
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Amy, I am sure you are right about the strength of these ladies. All the women displayed extraordinary willpower and strength under great hardship. The Price ladies and the Cogonese women, most of the time,worked together for their survival.
Let's take a look at the men. Nathan Price was trying to be too holy to God in such a way that nobody could possibly achieve or obtain that degree of faith. I am not degrading Nathan Price, I feel sorry for him not having self-control over his situation. Mr. Axelroot, I believe, was drinking and escaping from his own responsibilities. Brother Fowles was becoming too intimate with the village people. Most of the white men were troubled by their emotions and conflicts. Only the Congonese chief seemed to have it all together. Maybe the men believed so much was expected from them by everyone around them and the world they just couldn't live up to what they thought people thought they should be.


Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:43 pm
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John,
What do you mean FOwles was too intimate with the natives? I think he was the most balanced of them all. In fact, contrary to many, he knew how to think for himself.

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"But we shall rightly call a philosopher the man who is easily willing to learn every kind of knowledge, gladly turns to learning things. and is insatiable in this respect." Socrates


Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:02 pm
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