Welcome to the second official meeting of the Up and Writing Book Club. As per my earlier announcements, we’re discussing part one and part two of MELTING STONES by Tamora Pierce today. Thus, today’s list of discussion topics is shorter than usual to accommodate the inclusion of last week’s topics.
I see two main points of interest in chapters seven through eleven. The first being Pierce’s envisioning of the magical/spiritual side of volcano activity, and the second being the exploration of Evvy’s views on humanity.
I like Pierce’s decision to personify the volcano, and I think she made a good choice in portraying its spirits as impulsive, childlike, and energetic. It would be difficult to buy into volcano spirits who were slow and thoughtful like Luvo, since real volcanoes don’t seem all that sedate. Flare and Carnelian’s childlike nature also makes sense because they have no experience in the world yet, having spent the whole of their existence in the confines of the pool.
These chapters also reveal a lot about Evvy. The book has already established her cynicism about human nature, but the volcano crisis brings it out even stronger. She pretty much feels that life is every man for himself, and if she’s done her part in warning the people, she’s no longer obligated to help them or care about their survival.
Particularly revealing is the line in which she defends her attitude by saying “It’s not like they’re people we care about” (i.e. their friends back at Winding Circle). I find this so interesting because it seems to mirror a very common attitude in our culture. People are more likely to care about injustice or tragedy if it happens to someone they know, but they’re not as quick to offer sympathy or help to strangers.
This part of the story also introduces Rosethorn’s concept of the choice to be a builder or a destroyer, a theme which will continue to run throughout the book. It made me take a critical look at my own life and ask the same question. I wonder how each of us could choose building over destroying in our everyday lives?
All right. Including last week’s topics, we have more than enough to think about already, so I’ll stop here. Thoughts?