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Heading Out to Wonderful
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How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Created: 06/03/12

Replies: 15

Posted Jun. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

"Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred." What does this mean in the book's context?


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
poornimaa

Join Date: 05/16/12

Posts: 37

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Childhood is the time when you trust the adults around you to make the right choices and later you realize, they were just human. Sam gets inadvertently (or not) hurt by Charlie -- so sad given it is Sam whom Charlie loves the most. Glimpses into the adult world where you know there are dark secrets but still don't know how to talk about them, make things worse. My heart just broke for Sam as he watches the drama unfold and tries to make sense of it all in his own limited world view.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

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RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

What a profound statement that is. As a child, we think adults are great and will be nice to us, and unless given a reason, we follow them and trust them. Children want to live in a world where everything is wonderful and adults will protect them. It is an age of innocence. We all find out that that is not the case. Given time, something will happen to change that thinking forever. It can be many things. In Sam's case, it was viewing adult activity that he should not have been exposed to. It was heartbreaking to feel Sam's emotion and his acting out.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
poornimaa

Join Date: 05/16/12

Posts: 37

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

That is so true, Terri. I also felt that the author did a great job in portraying Sam's feelings as he was privy to all those secrets. Kids just KNOW when something is taboo and so did Sam. Making him complicit in his lies was the worst sort of betrayal Charlie could have imposed on him even if it was unintentional.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
betht

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 5

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Both of you have nailed it, IMO. Goolrick's passages describing Sam's emotions were amazing. I was so ANGRY at Charlie for taking Sam along on his trysts - leaving him alone for hours with the dog; how could he not realize that such a sensitive child would get bored / want to explore / and end up being hurt somethow; emotionally or physically. The things Sam saw and experienced were such betrayals of his innocence and trust in Charlie. Broke my heart.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Christie

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 12

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Children are extremely impressionable, but very resilient, as well. I agree with Beth, Charlie should not have taken Sam along with him. Sam will be influenced by what he saw for the rest of his life (if this was a true story). I also agree...children shouldn't be subjected to what he was put through. BUT, this is fiction at it's best, and not a true story.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 47

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

This is actually what I see as the theme of the book. At the end when you realize it is Sam telling the story and you see how his life has turned out, this is truly the story of his life. Hew was scarred by his devotion to Charlie and what he felt his loyalty to a friend should be and then the trauma that ocurred because of this devotion was something he could never truly recover from. He carried Charlie and Sylvan with him throughout his life.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 55

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RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

I remember reading that Goolrick admitted that he was a victim of child abuse. Abuse can be of a physical or emotional nature. Therefore, I believe because of the impressionable nature of children, what happens to us physically or emotionally during those childhood years can affect our lives forever and leave permanent scars. There's no question in my mind that Sam's life was affected by his childhood experiences. Just take a look at his adult life. Someone in an earlier comment suggested that this was fiction, not a true story. Goolrick in an interview stated that his novel was actually based on a true story told to him in Europe. He stated that he had to retell this story, but it had to be set in Virginia with characters he could relate to. He succeeded


Posted Jun. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanj

Join Date: 06/18/11

Posts: 17

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

What struck me is how unfair it was of Charlie to make Sam promise not to tell. Sam took this promise so seriously and kept his word to Charlie. An abuser tells a child not to tell, and surely in this case Charlie's using Sam is emotional abuse.


Posted Jun. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

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RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

I did not realize the author was a victim of child abuse. That is a bit of information that would definitely affect his writing content.


Posted Jun. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kLorene17

Join Date: 12/04/11

Posts: 5

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Childhood is where we are formed...we are still clay and easily malleable...and it's a very true statement that none of us gets through it without some sort of damage. I loved that line and it really struck a cord with me.


Posted Jun. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Hulananni

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 19

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Knowing how easy it is to become overwhelmed by young children if you're not grounded yourself...must make it difficult to separate the past from the present. Yes, knowing the author was a victim of child abuse most certainly affected the writing in my opinion also.


Posted Jul. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gingerk

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 2

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

I also loved that line. Being exposed to adult things without the coping skills and then to have to keep secrets leaves the child to their own imaginings trying to make sense of the senseless to them. I think that anyone can relate to that line.


Posted Jul. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lolat

Join Date: 04/20/12

Posts: 4

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Good comments!!!! I think what struck me was the sense of betrayal and so like a child, loves Charlie and Sylvan in spite of it.


Posted Jul. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorisk

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 14

RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

Children are so easily influenced and are much more serious about life than we give them credit for.
Sam understood there were things going on he wasn't supposed to understand or pass on to others. Later he may have had guilt feelings that he didn't tell what was happening before the tragedy of the two lost lives.


Posted Aug. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 107

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RE: How do you interpret, "Childhood is the most dangerous place of all and nobody gets past it unscarred"?

I think Sam was put in a situation that was unfair. As others have said, children are very trusting of adults,too bad really that we often let them down when our own needs come first


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