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Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 4:43 PM


Zeedee asked:

Was there ever an actual discussion thread for The White Bone?
Perhaps I'll just throw in a question here.

Within the world of the book, did you come to believe in the "Safe Place"? That is, as you are reading, the characters are "real," but did you also accept the white bone as a real object or the Safe Place as an actual location that could be reached? Or was the myth created as a form of wishful thinking, a coping mechanism?

[There are no right or wrong answers to this question. I'm just curious what you thought as you were reading.]

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 4:46 PM

I got the impression that the "Safe Place" was one of the wildlife preserves and that the white bone turned out to be that rearview mirror that Date Bed found? I can see that the mirror definitely would have shone a lot brighter than a bone. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't perfectly clear that was it, but I also like that everything is not wrapped up in a little neat ball at the end.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 6:04 PM

I had the same reaction. Lots of lead up to different visions (like Date Bed and her vision of fruit, etc.) and then nothing. I was very caught up in it though. I have to say that I saw a picture of a poacher with an elephant down on and I got very pissed.

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 689)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 6:10 PM

One thing I didn't understand was meeting up with the "other elephants" which I assume were Indian elephants. Where would this have happened? Most of all the other action seemed to be within a plausible stretch to carry out, but I wasn't sure about this.

Papajensai  (Level: 201.5 - Posts: 1024)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 6:44 PM

While reading, I came to hope that the Safe Place existed in reality, possibly as a Game Sanctuary, and that the elephants would find it and live happily ever after. No such luck, I think it was part of the elephant religion which was needed to help them want to survive in the real world of drought, famine, loss, and human predation. Not to just give up. The "ending" was honest and bleak, didn't make me feel good like I wanted, but was probably the only way it could end that wouldn't ultimately be false.

and BTW:

is about a real elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. Bunny, one of the elephants there, came from the Evansville Indiana zoo a few years ago after living on concrete floors for 30 or 40 years. (I have family connections in Evansville, often took my kids to see Bunny many years ago.) Lots of happy endings here. My favorite: Jenny and Shirley had spent a few months in the same circus years ago, when Jenny was a young calf and Shirley was 30 years old. They were separated, and 22 years later both ended up at the sanctuary. They remembered each other, and the story of their reunion given on the website is amazing.

Papajensai  (Level: 201.5 - Posts: 1024)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 7:22 PM

I forgot one thing: did anyone think of Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" while reading this book? Something about the struggle to survive, the family bonds, the faith or hope for someplace better. Seemed to be some resonance there for me.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 7:46 PM

To me it all seemed like a thinly veiled allegory of Christianity and the hopes of getting into heaven, which may or may not exist.

Leeze83  (Level: 35.2 - Posts: 70)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 9:09 PM

I thought that the safe place existed (and i couldn't work out if it was the same place as when the We-family went into the dense bush where there were no humans), and that the physical white bone existed, but it didn't have any powers. Probably it may have led an elephant to the safe place once, but was just a coincidence.

** I'm having a hard time even now saying "The White Bone", just in case it does lose its' power because of me**

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Mon, 3rd Mar '08 11:00 PM

Wow RJ - that's a pretty emotional website. I've been sitting here blubbering for the last 20 minutes. I had no idea the singing rituals that were discussed in the White Bone were true. How amazing!

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Tue, 4th Mar '08 12:49 AM

Dammit. I just spent about 40 minutes reviewing this bloody book, and lost it all to a timeout.


Fudypatootie  (Level: 205.8 - Posts: 1302)
Tue, 4th Mar '08 11:30 AM

Fainodraino (my "little" brother) used to live in Hohenwald, near that elephant reserve.

Papajensai  (Level: 201.5 - Posts: 1024)
Tue, 4th Mar '08 1:44 PM

Try again, Smoke, I'd like to know what you think.

I think the book has a bigger impact in the light of what's actually known about elephant behavior, such as observations on the sanctuary website. The author is obviously knowledgable, and seemed to be translating "elephantese" into English. I don't think she overly anthropomorphized in the process, which was a criticism of "Watership Down" from years ago.

Papajensai  (Level: 201.5 - Posts: 1024)
Tue, 4th Mar '08 8:58 PM

Here's some video of the elephants at the sanctuary.

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