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Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

Created: 04/30/12

Replies: 9

Posted Apr. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 368

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Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

Grace’s father-in-law King often behaves badly, resenting and punishing vets who returned from the war. Can you sympathize with his heartbreak and loss nonetheless? What does the sexual advice he gives Grace say about the mores and beliefs of the era?


Posted May. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

King is a complex character. Of course I sympathize with his loss and I know people handle sorrow in lots of ways. His was to exert his power to thwart the ambitions of soldiers who wanted to make use of the GI Bill in order to earn a living and house their families. It goes against every bit of empathy I have to imagine someone could be like King. Then again, I've never been - and God willing never will - in his shoes. Do I really know how I would react? I'd like to think so but I can't really know that looking at him from the perspective of having three children living safely under my roof.

I figured out who he reminds me of. It was bugging me all day yesterday, then it popped into my head. It's Mr. Potter from 'It's a Wonderful Life.' Actually, a combination of the pharmacist, Mr. Gower and the evil banker figure of Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter had no compunction in trying to ruin George Bailey, either. King isn't the only sour, callous banker in fiction.


Posted May. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyw

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 13

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

Although King is heart broken at the loss of his son, I cannot empathize nor sympathize with his pompous, arrogant attitude. He, of all people, should have related to the struggles and anxieties of the returning veterans. As an affluent and wealthy man, King could have used his power and connections to alleviate everyday struggles of the veterans in his town. Compassion is a difficult characteristic for many people to exhibit.


Posted May. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shrogers

Join Date: 03/16/12

Posts: 2

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

I think this character is an example of the out-of-whack gender roles some men felt bound to during this time period. I am from the South and I see a lot of these type of men. Just the name King shows the standards to which he held himself. I pitied him even before his loss. It is this kind of person who can't handle any type of tragedy.


Posted May. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 114

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RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

I can sympathize with his loss, seeing all these boys come back when his did not. He probably thought they had much less to offer than did his wonderful son. So how dare they survive and not his! So he certainly was not going to give them something he didn't think they deserved.


Posted May. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

shrogers brings up a great point: character names. Sometimes authors use those to indicate what sort of person the character is.

Any other characters in the book you think were intentionally named according to their personalities?

I have to say, Babe is a shortened version I don't care for at all. It's suggestive of a pet name I can't take seriously. I'd definitely choose the long form "Bernadette" if that were my name. Or anything but "Babe." It doesn't seem to suit her personality to me. Anyone disagree?


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
malindan

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 34

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

I agree that King's name is an indication of the type of person his character is. While you feel for his loss it is difficult to manage more than the basic sympathy. His character is simply to weak to like in any real sense. The scene where he is in his car during the celebration best shows what a sad and weak individual he truely was.


Posted May. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Denise B-K

Join Date: 01/19/12

Posts: 26

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

Interesting how the words empathize and sympathize have been used in this thread of posts. With King I am capable of the former -- understanding his feelings, but not the latter -- agreement with his feelings.

King's thoughts on his son found on page 110 were that Charlie…
…was “better than he was”
…was “the best thing about him”
…“made him better, because Charlie filled him with love”
…was “the only selflessness he ever knew”
Believe King felt the death of his son as a loss of personal self-worth and he could not conceive of anything to alleviate this feeling. On page 108 he thinks about how he is incapable of recovering his loss via Charlie’s widow or his granddaughter Amy. King lacks the insight, taught to us by Oprah and countless self-help books, that his self-worth has to be internal not external.

King’s lack of self-worth may explain his appalling treatment of GI’s but it does not excuse it. Nor does it excuse him not comforting his wife, Dorothy, for her grief.


Posted May. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Santa Fe Cowgirl's Gravatar
Santa Fe Cowgirl

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 26

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

Just because his son did not come home from the war does not justify his treatment of returning vets. A very self-centered person!


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 35

RE: Can you sympathize with King's heartbreak and loss despite his poor treatment of returning vets?

I agree. He was not a good man to start off. The interesting question is shuffle brief talk with Jack.


Pegh

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