A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson--audiobook excerpt Download PDF. Even avid readers will be hard pressed to find another novel quite like Marilynne Robinson's luminous Housekeeping. Set in the remote, imaginary town of. Sep 11, PDF | This article analyzes home-space in Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping ( ). In this novel, Ruth shows that the house, which was.
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Winner of the Pen/Hemingway AwardA modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under. Read "Housekeeping A Novel" by Marilynne Robinson available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. Winner of the. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Their lives spun off the tilting world like thread off a Housekeeping: A Novel (Picador Modern Classics) by [ Robinson, Marilynne]. Audible Sample. Audible Sample. Playing Playing Loading.
Black Rock White City. See all Editorial Reviews. Joan Kirkby sees the novel as a rejection of "the patriarchal values that have dominated American culture and a return to values and modes of being that have been associated in myth and imagery with the province of the female" This site contains articles and stories about Bonner County, Idaho, including the town of Sandpoint. A History of Loneliness.
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Skip this list. Ratings and Book Reviews 0 6 star ratings 0 reviews. Overall rating 4. How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot.
Close Report a review At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information. Would you like us to take another look at this review? No, cancel Yes, report it Thanks! You've successfully reported this review. We appreciate your feedback. OK, close. Read aloud the ice-skating scene in Chapter 2. Begin on page What can you know about her from the sights and sounds she describes?
What holds her attention? What are her feelings about the lake, the town, and life in general? Each specific detail, word choice, or repetition constitutes a clue. If you prefer, students can work in small groups. EJ3 Homework Read Chapter 4 pp. Why does Sylvie's behavior during the flood make Ruthie and Lucille anxious?
What is Lucille's complaint during the flood? What is Sylvie's response? Characters The central character in a work of literature is called the protagonist.
The protagonist usually initiates the main action of the story and often overcomes a flaw, such as weakness or ignorance, to achieve a new understanding by the work's end.
A protagonist who acts with great honor or courage may be called a hero. An antihero is a protagonist lacking these qualities. Instead of being dignified, brave, idealistic, or purposeful, the antihero may be cowardly, self-interested, or weak. The protagonist s journey is enriched by encounters with characters who hold differing beliefs. One such character type, a foil, has traits that contrast with the protagonist s and highlight important features of the main character's personality.
The most important foil, the antagonist, opposes the protagonist, barring or complicating his or her success. The characters in Housekeeping share a house and a familial legacy. The dynamics of character interaction are especially rich when characters share family traits and sometimes act out intergenerational dramas. Although Ruthie is clearly the novel's protagonist, Lucille is often the instigator of action. She also serves as Ruthie's antagonist in later scenes, challenging her to reject Sylvie and "improve" herself.
For Ruthie, the truth and sorrow of her family is splintered across several generations. Discussion Activities Discuss the flood scene in Chapter 4. What do we learn about Ruthie, Lucille, and Sylvie? How does the family history shape the girls' expectations and suspicions about Sylvie? Read aloud and discuss the section on p.
Discuss the concept of family patterns. Writing Exercise Ruthie says, "Then, too, for whatever reasons, our whole family was standoffish. This was the fairest description of our best qualities, and the kindest description of our worst faults" p. Have students write several paragraphs analyzing this passage. Given the family history, what are some reasons why they might be "standoffish"? How can a character flaw also be a strength?
E] Homework Read Chapter 5 pp.
What is Sylvie doing when they encounter her at the shore? How do the girls react to what they've seen? How does Sylvie's housekeeping transform the house? Figurative Language Writers use figurative language such as imagery, similes, and metaphors to help the reader visualize and experience events and emotions in a story.
Imagery — a word or phrase that refers to sensory experience sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste — helps create a physical experience for the reader and adds immediacy to literary language. Some figurative language asks us to stretch our imaginations, finding the likeness in seemingly unrelated things.
Simile is a comparison of two things that initially seem quite different but are shown to have significant resemblance. Similes employ connective words, usually "like," "as," "than," or a verb such as "resembles. By asserting that a thing is something else, a metaphor creates a close association that underscores an important similarity between these two things.
Robinson's use of figurative language in Housekeeping is extensive and elemental. The language Ruth uses to describe her experiences is layered with images, similes, and metaphors that reveal her unique way of perceiving the world. Discussion Activities Sometimes authors develop, or extend, a metaphor beyond one sentence.
What is the source of the imagery Ruth uses? Why would she choose this metaphor to describe Fingerbone after the flood? What does Ruth mean by the statement, "Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy. Writing Exercise Figurative language can illuminate a complex idea or emotion, as when Ruth describes what it feels like to eat lunch alone at school: Ask students to remember a situation in which they experienced strong or mixed feelings that seemed difficult to put into words.
Write a paragraph about that situation using figurative language to describe their feelings. EJ Homework Read Chapter 6 pp. What do the woods represent to Ruthie and Lucille? How do their feelings differ? Symbols Symbols are persons, places, or things in a narrative that have significance beyond a literal understanding. The craft of storytelling depends on symbols to present ideas and point toward new meanings. Most frequently, a specific object will be used to refer to or symbolize a more abstract concept.
The repeated appearance of an object suggests a non-literal, or figurative, meaning attached to the object. Symbols are often found in the book's title, at the beginning and end of the story, within a profound action, or in the name or personality of a character.
The life of a novel is perpetuated by generations of readers interpreting and re-interpreting the main symbols. By identifying and understanding symbols, readers can reveal new interpretations of the novel. In Housekeeping, the lake and woods, the railroad bridge, and the house are charged with symbolic meaning for Ruth, who associates them consciously and subconsciously with the defining events of her past.
She haunts these places in search of self-knowledge, declaring that "everything must finally be made comprehensible" p. A place of mystery, "the lightless, airless waters" suggest the constant presence of death in life. Ruth's grandfather and mother plunge into it and die, yet, paradoxically, the lake elicits memories that keep the dead alive. Working with the students, analyze several descriptions of the lake including pp.
Discuss how and why the lake functions as a symbol in the novel. Writing Exercise Read aloud the scene depicting Sylvie on the bridge pp. Have students analyze and write a few paragraphs about why and how the bridge functions as a symbol in the novel.
Helpful prompts might include: Why are Ruthie and Lucille alarmed by Sylvie's presence on the bridge? What happened on the bridge earlier in the novel? What does Sylvie mean when she says, "I've always wondered what it would be like"? Do the bridge and lake, as symbols, relate to each other? Have volunteers share their finished pieces with the class.
EJ Homework Read Chapter 7 pp. Make a list of key events in the chapter, and note in detail Lucille's changes in attitude and behavior. Character Development Novels trace the development of characters who encounter a series of challenges. Most characters contain a complex balance of virtues and vices.
Internal and external forces require characters to question themselves, overcome fears, or reconsider dreams. The protagonist may undergo profound change. A close study of character development maps, in each character, the evolution of motivation, personality, and belief. The tension between a character's strengths and weaknesses keeps the reader guessing about what might happen next and the protagonists eventual success or failure.
In the earliest chapters of Housekeeping, Ruthie is always in the company of her younger sister, Lucille. The sisters are nearly inseparable; they exist as a single entity, Helen's orphaned girls, referred to by Lily and Nona as "poor things" p. But as they grow, the author reveals differences in their developing characters. Ruthie is accepting and reflective about the chaotic life that unfolds after her grandmothers death. Lucille is more critical and demanding. In an ironic reversal, Lucille and Ruthie, who as children had been "almost as a single consciousness" p.
Lucille challenges Ruthie's placid acceptance of Sylvie's ways and eventually moves out, destabilizing Ruthie's life once again. Discussion Activities Read and discuss Handout Three: Family Dynamics in Housekeeping. Analyze and discuss the dynamics of Sylvie, Ruthie, and Lucille's household. What does each character want from the others?
Do they change to accommodate each other? Writing Exercise Ask half the students to write a letter in Lucille's voice to Ruth, explaining why Lucille left home. Ask the other half to write a letter in Ruth's voice to Lucille, explaining why she should return home. EJ Homework Read Chapter 8 pp. What is the reason for the visit to the abandoned house in the valley?
What sensations, thoughts, and feelings does Ruthie experience there? Is the abandoned house similar to the Foster house? The Plot Unfolds The author crafts a plot structure to create expectations, increase suspense, and develop characters.
The pacing of events can make a novel either predictable or riveting. Foreshadowing and flashbacks allow the author to defy the constraints of time. Sometimes an author can confound a simple plot by telling stories within stories.
In a conventional work of fiction, the peak of the story's conflict — the climax — is followed by the resolution, or denouement, in which the aftereffects of that climactic action are presented. A number of events the train disaster, the disappearances of Molly, Helen, and Sylvie occur before Ruthie s birth, yet they echo profoundly throughout the novel. The reader is always aware of the influence of the past on the unfolding plot. Just as the novel contains stories within stories, it also contains journeys within journeys, as Ruth visits and revisits symbolic places on her quest for meaning and self discovery.
Discussion and Writing Activities Use the filmmaking technique of storyboarding to map the plot of the first eight chapters. Have the students identify major plot elements. Use colored markers and a large sheet of paper from an easel pad for each plot turn.
Take turns drawing scenes stick figures are fine and writing short summary statements for each one. Ruth recounts her grandfather's death; Ruth recounts her grandmother's life as a widow; Helen commits suicide; Ruthie and Lucille grow up with their grandmother; Grandmother dies; Lily and Nona take up housekeeping. Ask the students to note stories within stories and subplots in boxes along the bottom of each page.
Number each element.
Display them in order around the room. EJ Homework Read Chapter 9 pp. Why do the ladies of Fingerbone come to the house? How does Sylvie characterize her relationship with Ruthie when she speaks to the ladies?
How does Sylvie's behavior change at the end of the chapter? Themes of the Novel Themes are the central, recurring subjects of a novel. As characters grapple with circumstances such as racism, class, or unrequited love, profound questions will arise in the readers mind about human life, social pressures, and societal expectations.
Classic themes include intellectual freedom versus censorship, the relationship between one's personal moral code and larger political justice, and spiritual faith versus rational considerations.
A novel often reconsiders these age-old debates by presenting them in new contexts or from new points of view. Discussion and Writing Activities Robinson announces the central theme of the book in the title: The theme is known from the outset, but her treatment of it quickly transcends all ordinary associations with the concept.
The novel might be described as a meditation on the meaning of housekeeping, from its most ordinary aspects to its farthest metaphorical potential: How does one make a home in the world? Explore this theme through the following questions and exercises: What does housekeeping mean to Grandmother Sylvia? What advice does she offer the girls Example: How do Lily and Nona view their housekeeping responsibilities? Review the descriptions of Sylvie's housekeeping including pp.
Have students create a collective list of her housekeeping habits. How do Sylvie's habits differ from traditional ideas of housekeeping? What sort of meals does she prefer p.
How does she disregard the traditional boundaries between indoors and outdoors? What insight can the reader gain about Sylvie's housekeeping from the stories she tells? How do the rituals of housekeeping relate to the keeping and nurturing of family and family bonds?
How does the author feel about the human project of "keeping house" in a world where all living things perish eventually? Work with students to create a list of other themes in the novel for example, abandonment, loneliness, and transience. Have students choose one theme and write a short essay describing how one or more characters express this theme in words and actions. Students should support their ideas with examples from the text. Why can Ruth no longer imagine going into the house p.
What insights does Ruth have in the orchard? Why do Ruth and Sylvie set the house on fire? What is Ruth's answer to her own question: With the greatest possible respect to Miss Robinson, this novel does not make my list, although it is a really quality work. It may be simply too sophisticated for me. Thank You This is a very intimate book about two girls who struggle to adapt to the death of their mother, and to life with the errant aunt who comes in to care for them. It is a lush journey through the eyes of one of the girls, who is drawn to her aunt's unconventional spirit and lust for adventure, even as the town circles with disapproval for a confrontation we know must come.
It is a slow read, with beautiful language that you must mull over and savor, and I was reminded of my own childhood as I was invited to inhabit the interior of Ruth so completely that I had the sensation I could follow the thoughts taking shape there. I bought this novel because the reviews were strong. However, I felt disappointed. I love lyrical poetic writing but this style was tedious for me.
To describe something and take up a long paragraph is something born out of Emerson or old world writers. Did the author want to depict that old world style? I don't know if it was more to stay with the era she was writing about but we know that is not necessary.
Perhaps she wanted to paint an ambience for the reader but still, it dragged on and left me tired. I think of lyrical writing like Simon Van Booy or Nial Williams, a lot of the Irish or Welsh writers who bring you into their captive secret place. That inspires me. I am trudging along with this book, hoping there is some redeeming quality that will undo my first impression.
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