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Fall On Your Knees

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by

Haley Inkpen

on 15 December 2014

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Transcript of Fall On Your Knees

Summary
Fall On Your Knees is a novel about the relationships between five generations of the Piper family who lives on Cape Breton Island. The family is full of
tragic lies
and
unspoken truths
that follow the four Piper sisters, Kathleen, Mercedes, Frances and Lily. Their lives are filled with
driving ambition, inescapable family bonds
and
forbidden love.

Meaning of character names
The characters names have been chosen very carefully.
Forbidden Love
Abuse
In this novel there are several types of abuse used to create the dark relationships between family members.
The types of abuse in the novel are;
Physical
Emotional
Mental
Sexual
Verbal
Economic
Racism
In this novel the main theme of racism is centered around James and Materia. When they first marry, James doesn't seem to mind the fact that Materia is "dark", however, as their relationship goes on, he begins to see her as an inbred cow and is constantly embarrassed of her colour. This sparks anger in James and makes him hate Materia even more which causes the six types of abuse previously mentioned.
Major Themes
Some of the major themes in this novel are;
Abuse
Racism
Forbidden Love
Ann-Marie MacDonald uses literary devices as a way of furthering the dark relationships within the Piper family.
The devices create stunning images of violence and help the reader understand the dark family relationships.
Fall On Your Knees
By: Ann-Marie MacDonald
Multimodal Presentation By:
Haley Inkpen

James:
means "
supplanter
"
Supplanter often refers to government and rulers of countries
This is saying that James is the ruler of the house.
Materia:
means "
of the human world
"
Kathleen:
means "
pure
"
Ironic because by the end of the book she isn't pure.
Mercedes:
means "
merciful
"
In the novel, Mercedes is very devoted to her religion. She believes that everything has religious meanings and that everyone should see things like she does.
Frances:
means "
free

one
"
This is a very fitting name for Frances, she is definitely the free one in the family.
She does whatever she wants and does not care about the consequences of her actions.
Lily:
means "
lily

flower
"
Flowers are delicate and so is Lily. Her leg does not work properly and she has delusions about her dead twin brother.
Ambrose:
means "
immortal
"
Ambrose is Lilys dead twin brother who she believes is her guardian angel.
This is a very appropriate name for him.
Teresa:
means "
harvester
"
Camille:
means "
perfect
"
This is ironic because in the novel Camille is seen as useless and anything but perfect by her father
Boutros:
means "
Rock
"
Form of the name Butrus which means Peter.


Physical Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Mental Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Verbal Abuse
Economic Abuse
In the novel there were many instances of physical abuse.
One of the first instances of abuse in the novel happened when Mrs. Luvovitz, the neighbour, was breastfeeding Kathleen because Materia could not. James dragged Materia down the stairs by the arm and forced her to feed the baby. As Materia was crying, James slapped her across the face for being emotional.
That was the beginning of the abuse but there was plenty more and it all seemed to happen to Frances.
This is perhaps due to the fact that Frances did not like to follow orders and always spoke her mind.
She was beaten multiple times by James for her witty remarks.
Emotional abuse consists of insults, put downs, being jealous and possessive and shaming you.
James manages to do all this and more to damage the emotional well being of Materia.
Example;

Other examples of physical abuse in the relationship between James and Materia.
In this novel the sexual abuse is in the form of incest.
The first time this happened was when James raped Kathleen in New York. He had been lusting after his own daughter for some time so he sent her off. But when he went to visit he could no longer control himself and it resulted in him raping and impregnating his own daughter which resulted in twins.
The second time there was an incestuous relationship in the Piper household it involved James again. This time, he raped a very young Frances while he was grieving the loss of Kathleen.
The economic abuse in this novel happened when James would not allow Materia to work playing the piano anymore because she was becoming famous and he got jealous. He told her she had to quit her job to stay at home and cook and clean and take care of kids.

James essentially makes Materia go crazy. He constantly puts her down and makes her feel worthless. So much so that she contemplates killing herself in the novel a few times. The abuse she has suffered has made her mentally unstable.
Yelling, shouting, swearing, continuously arguing, interrupting, talking over you, put downs, using loud and threatening language and tone to cause fear, name calling, intimidating you, mocking you, abusive language.
The Role of Dark Familial Relationships on the Development of the Individual

One of the major themes in the novel is forbidden love.
Forbidden love is defined as loving someone you can't have.
In this novel the forbidden love is between James and his eldest daughter Kathleen.
From the time that Kathleen was born, James was obsessed with her. He always had to be near her and be buying her nice things and be showing her off to people. This was slightly possessive of him but wasnt dangerous, yet.
As Kathleen grew up and became more overtly sexual, James began to lust after her.

The first time forbidden love appeared was after Kathleen scared James whilst he was tuning the piano. He hit her, which is an example of
physical
abuse, and then proceeded to hug her close after he realized what he had done. While he was hugging her he was thinking about her smell and her feel and how she would taste.




This resulted in him becoming aroused. He immediately ran away from this and soon after sent her away to New York where she could no longer tempt him.

The second time the theme of
forbidden love
appeared was when James went to retrieve Kathleen from New York due to an anonymous letter. He arrived to find Kathleen in bed with another woman which sparked anger and jealousy. James threw out the other woman, Rose, and then beat Kathleen, another example of physical abuse. Once he realized he had hurt her, he held her close once again and this time when he became aroused, he could not control himself and it resulted in him raping his very own daughter, which is an incestuous relationship. This rape caused Kathleen to become pregnant with her fathers child.
Forbidden
by Tabitha Suzuma
Forbidden
by Tabitha Suzuma is a story about a brother and a sister who fall in love. This relates to Fall On Your Knees because in both novels, it is forbidden love in the form of incest.
Forbidden
would also fit into The Role of Dark Familial Relationships and the Development of the Individual category.
Literary Devices
"He was a pit full of memory" (418). This
metaphor
highlights the fact that crazy James is tortured by the thoughts of how he has lived his life.
Symbolism
The presence of mines in this book is very symbolic: "'Then forget fighting and concentrate on schooling and you'll beat the lot of them, 'cause sweetheart, most of them are going nowhere but underground'" (MacDonald 357). Mines are dark, dangerous and cold. They provide no light, and if there is a problem, they are virtually inescapable. This pertains to the family life of the Pipers. The three girls, Mercedes, Frances and Lily, and before them, Maternia and Kathleen, are stuck in the mine of their home in Cape Breton. Because they are women in this time period, and because their father is who he is, they cannot escape.
There is a lot of fog
imagery
in certain chapters, both metaphorical and realistic: "It's as though a window has been left open inside his head, admitting a draft. He can't get to it to close it. But he can look out it, even though all he sees is fog. It rolls into his mind, obscuring his ease, setting him to shiver" (MacDonald 323). Fog represents unclarity, doubt and a kind of sinister presence. Most of the characters of this novel are going through a mental fog as they travel through a real one as well. Things happen quickly in the fog; one cannot see danger approaching, or an accident waiting to happen.
Allusions
are used to create a sense of darkness. When Mercedes is playing the piano after Lily breaks her doll: "Lily always wonders what happened to Clementine, the miner forty niner's daughter, 'lost and gone forever,' where?" (MacDonald 259). The main attraction in MacDonald's writing, I've concluded, is her ability to make comments in the voices of the innocent characters, but in that innocence allusion, a very eerie tone is set to the novel. She has a way of writing in this innocent, creepy way that is quite enthralling.
Development on the Individual
The dark familial relationships in the Piper family makes the individuals family members develop certain undesired qualities. For example, when Mercedes grows up she develops James' abusive personality which she demonstrates when she hits one of her students in class. She has a short temper from all the years of bottling everything up and so she now snaps on her students. This just shows the cycle of abuse. A child gets abused from their parent(s) as they grow up and once they are old enough, they begin a new cycle of being the abuser and not the abused.

Song: Never Again by Nickelback
In this song, it’s a scared, miserable kid singing about his dad (“‘Father’ is a name you haven’t earned yet”) repeatedly getting drunk and beating his mom (“She’s just a woman… haven’t you heard ‘Don’t hit a lady’?”). The singer is filled with cliche lyrics and impotent rage (“Kicking your ass would be a pleasure,” he thinks at Daddy Dearest), but like so many abuse victims in rock songs, mom eventually takes the situation and a weapon into her own hands and beats the kid to the punch, so to speak.
This relates to the novel because there is child abuse in it and the lyrics are things that the Piper children could be thinking as they see James beat up Materia.
The names should give a general sense to who the main characters in the novel are and what the characters represent.
Duality of mankind
Something the author explores in this novel is the duality of mankind. I noticed that the image of
purgatory
or an in between state has reoccurred throughout this novel:
"Finally, Mercedes is neither saint nor sinner. She is somewhere in between. She is why purgatory was invented"
(MacDonald 388) I feel like this quote speaks to the whole novel. Most of the characters are lost in a transition stage. They have many good qualities about them, but most possess a fatal flaw that eventually dooms them.
I think MacDonald is trying to say that the whole human race is in purgatory; we are neither here nor there. Life is not so black and white. And like this book, which goes on and on and on and every character has so many aspects that could of be left out completely, it is important to this theme that they are present, because they help shape our very detailed perception of these characters who are anything from the stereotypical "Good guys/Bad guys" roles.
I feel both
compassion
and
anger
towards almost everyone in this book.
References to good and evil are often made around the character Frances. The narrator comments that:
"Saints and satanic vessels tend to start out the same way"
(MacDonald 277). This
alliteration
helps to somewhat point a finger at Frances; she could have gone either way. It's also pointing out that many qualities, such as maybe leadership, authority, passion and ambition are shared between very good people and very bad people. Perhaps the line between good and evil is not so definite?
To Conclude...
The novel Fall On Your Knees fits into the role of dark familial relationships on the development on the individual category due to its main themes of
abuse, racism
and
forbidden love.
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