Book 2: The Visitor

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smelborp
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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by smelborp » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:49 am

This is in reference to all the similarities with Jake and Rachel. I don't believe that Jake would have turned into the "dark knight" as some referred to it because although he is similar Rachel and Jake have very different pasts and home life. For instance in Book 1 Jake has his brother that gives him the reason to fight. In book two we meet Rachels younger sisters. Why is her reason not to prevent her sisters from going through what Tom is going through. Isn't that reason enough. The fact that it takes a friend, a personal friend from childhood to bring her on board shows that she simply doesn't have the family connnection that Jake has. Her parents are divorced and her Mother is a busy lawyer with little time to concern herself with motherly duties like cooking and cleaning. Her Father loves her but doesn't see her that much and seems to be enjoying his success alone even though he says he misses his daughters. On the other side Jake has a very orderly home life. We witnessed one of his family dinners in book one and this was considered a regular activity with no TV. This gives me the feeling that Jakes home life is very strong. Jakes parents have displayed a since of teamwork in his own family. People depend on each other and communicate on a daily basis. Jake was even concerned he may let his brother down by not making the basketball team which shows his dedication to a family unit. Do you think Rachel would feel like she let down her family by not doing Gymnastics anymore. From what I gather they wouldn't even notice, especially given that she walks home on a regular enough basis to get Super human powers one week and the next week be nearly kidnapped by a low life. So my point to this is from the perspective of a person without a strong family unit, you become the person that you depend on. Rachel has gotten used to depending on Rachel, as the books continue it seems even though she thinks of herself as part of the team she thinks of herself as the girl that can do what needs to be done. This insinuates the fact that she doesn't believe other people can do what needs to be done. So back to my original point Jake would never feel like this because he has the ability to wrap his head around the fact that other people are dependable and he can count on them. So if Rachel would have been the leader she would have micromanaged and most likely screwed more things up in the long run. Just a thought.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by Menno » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:31 pm

Well...toward the very end, Jake kinda did turn into a dark knight. Or dark general, rather. He had a great willingness to sacrifice his friends and allies, something Rachel never really had.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by kebrennan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:27 pm

This is in reference to all the similarities with Jake and Rachel. I don't believe that Jake would have turned into the "dark knight" as some referred to it because although he is similar Rachel and Jake have very different pasts and home life. For instance in Book 1 Jake has his brother that gives him the reason to fight. In book two we meet Rachels younger sisters. Why is her reason not to prevent her sisters from going through what Tom is going through. Isn't that reason enough. The fact that it takes a friend, a personal friend from childhood to bring her on board shows that she simply doesn't have the family connnection that Jake has. Her parents are divorced and her Mother is a busy lawyer with little time to concern herself with motherly duties like cooking and cleaning. Her Father loves her but doesn't see her that much and seems to be enjoying his success alone even though he says he misses his daughters. On the other side Jake has a very orderly home life. We witnessed one of his family dinners in book one and this was considered a regular activity with no TV. This gives me the feeling that Jakes home life is very strong. Jakes parents have displayed a since of teamwork in his own family. People depend on each other and communicate on a daily basis. Jake was even concerned he may let his brother down by not making the basketball team which shows his dedication to a family unit. Do you think Rachel would feel like she let down her family by not doing Gymnastics anymore. From what I gather they wouldn't even notice, especially given that she walks home on a regular enough basis to get Super human powers one week and the next week be nearly kidnapped by a low life. So my point to this is from the perspective of a person without a strong family unit, you become the person that you depend on. Rachel has gotten used to depending on Rachel, as the books continue it seems even though she thinks of herself as part of the team she thinks of herself as the girl that can do what needs to be done. This insinuates the fact that she doesn't believe other people can do what needs to be done. So back to my original point Jake would never feel like this because he has the ability to wrap his head around the fact that other people are dependable and he can count on them. So if Rachel would have been the leader she would have micromanaged and most likely screwed more things up in the long run. Just a thought.
While I like the observation that Rachel is very self-contained and self-reliant, I don't think we can trace that to her childhood. Yes, her parents are divorced and her mother works a lot, but she seems to have a good relationship with both of them. There are plenty of kids from "traditional" homes who had crappy childhoods despite regular family dinners, and there are plenty of kids who were raised on Chinese takeout who had awesome relationships with their families. I guess I just resent the implication that she's somehow crippled by her homelife because her parents are divorced and her mother doesn't stay home and cook. And even if she didn't have great family support, it doesn't necessarily follow that she'd micromanage and be less effective. No one has more reason to doubt people than Marco, but he never has trouble trusting his comrades--or using them if the situation warrants it. I think her flaws as a leader could be the exact opposite: she'd hold everyone to the same high standard she sets for herself.

We don't see many interactions with her sisters--because they're younger and aren't Controllers, they don't enter into the plot most of the time--but we have seen her go to Mama-Bear levels of protectiveness for both Cassie and Tobias. As a big sister myself, I tend to think those instincts started closer to home. And in #22 we see her seriously rattled when David threatens her family. As for why at this stage she didn't explicitly connect Jordan and Sara's well-being with the outcome of the war . . . well, she's thirteen, and teenagers never think that bad things can happen to them or the people they love. Jake had to face up to that because he had incontrovertible proof that the worst had happened. Not so for Rachel. Melissa's situation is the closest she's gotten to a reality check.

Also, Jake feeling like he'd let his brother down by not making the basketball team struck me as a sign that he, like so many of the kids I knew growing up, was struggling under the pressure to be perfect. I'd be concerned if Rachel felt the same way about her failures on the balance beam.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by kebrennan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:00 pm

Menno wrote:When she did the elephant morph to scare that creep away: Do you all think that was the best course of action? It was really bad for Animorph secrecy, but it's not like she really had other options. Well, if you wanna get real technical, it's not specified who was the faster runner, so we don't really know if running away was an option. But let's assume it wasn't. She couldn't have known that Chapman (or anyone) was just about to drive by. Perhaps the most ethical thing to do would have been to allow him to kidnap her, wait for him to drive to a place with no witnesses, and then morph elephant and kill him. Yeah, taking a life is real boo-hoo, but killing one lowlife seems a lot better than risking the Animorphs' secret, because after all there are billions of human (and other) lives which depend on the survival of the Animorphs.
Interesting question, but I suspect her response was largely emotional. Girls, especially at that age, are indoctrinated with a deep fear of the kidnapper in the bushes. Rachel shows signs of having gotten the same lectures I got--never walk alone, don't talk to strangers, if something feels off run toward the nearest populated location. A staple of those lectures is the idea that if the creep gets you in the car it's game over because he can take you wherever he wants and do whatever he wants. It would be pretty tough for her to overcome that for long enough to go "okay, now the creep is alone in an isolated location, so I can kill him now" (Especially this early in the series, before risking her life becomes an every-weekend sort of deal). Letting him take her could just as easily make things worse. What if he had chloroform in his trunk? What if he was a trafficker and took her to some place housing five of his buddies? Best case, he's a Ted Bundy-type and *maybe* she manages to kill him first.
In Chapter 6, why did they bring the cat carrier in the first place when Rachel was going to acquire the cat? Yes, it ended up being useful, but only because Rachel morphed a shrew to lure the cat out of a tree and then had to demorph before acquiring it, which they definitely were not planning on. To get the cat in the carrier, you have to catch it. If you catch it, you can just acquire it right then instead of going to the trouble of putting it in the cage. Further, Cassie laments that they did not think to use gloves, but if they had brought gloves, THEN bringing the cage might have made sense, if they were opting for a totally no-scratch operation.
I think the idea was to acquire the cat and go in for the spy mission all in the same evening. In that case, they could use the carrier to make sure Fluffer didn't waltz into the house while Rachel was doing her thing. But when they spread the mission over several nights, it became clear that catching the cat again was way more trouble than it was worth. :D If they wanted to get serious about the cat-wrangling, they should have brought a towel or small blanket; tossing that over Fluffer-kins gives them better control over his limbs and a shield between themselves and the sharp bits, but they can still touch and acquire him without having to fumble with taking the gloves off.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by kebrennan » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:56 pm

A few more random thoughts in no particular order:

Fear seems to be a big theme running through this book. It starts at the very beginning with Rachel's nervousness about flying and builds with each successive incident: the guys with the guns weren't as scary as the creep with the car who was less scary than riding home with Chapman which was easier than breaking into Chapman's basement and so on. So, we get to see a lot of Rachel's coping strategies--her favorite seems to be turning fear into anger. It all builds to the scariest thing that can happen in the series--being captured by Visser Three--at which point Rachel's coping mechanisms fail and she actually freezes with fear. She has to work through that to get away, thus giving us some of her character growth. But, the other Animorphs are largely unaware of this because all they see is Rachel getting angry over and over again and occasionally seeming "freaked." Thus, we get Marco's misconception that she has no fear and Rachel does nothing to disabuse him of the notion.

The construction site shows up more in this book than in most of the subsequent books. I like the thematic use, as we get the sense that the Ani's are in mourning. It sort of underlines the recency of the trauma they've been through. Not so sure about the Yeerks' use of the site, though. While it fits with the Yeerks' arrogance to make it a regular landing site, wouldn't you think they'd realize that's a bad idea? Considering that the last time they landed three ships on that site, they were seen by a bunch of humans who are still at large? And wouldn't someone say "gee, whatever happened to those meddling kids anyway?" But, no, Visser Three is huntin' wabbits Andalite bandits, so trifling details like the invasion's secrecy fall by the wayside.

Speaking of huntin' wabbits, V3 is taking every opportunity to compliment Andalite bravery. This is consistent with the first book and most of the subsequent books. V3 has respect bordering on reverence for the Andalites as a species, but consistently underestimates every other race. Part of this might be a deliberate attempt to talk up his reputation as the only Andalite-Controller and get even more grovelling out of his subordinates.

Jake gets his claws into Visser Three again--he's still the only Animorph to have physically hurt V3, and IIRC it'll stay that way until Ax pulls his rattlesnake stunt in #8. This might explain why V3 is so impressed by feline morphs both here and in #5. These two books foreshadow the eventual structure of the war as the Jake vs. Visser Three showdown (alluded to in #33 and capitalized on in the final story arc).

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by Menno » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:30 am

Why is the book called The Visitor? Who is the visitor? Probably not the Yeerks, because then it would be plural. Maybe Rachel, "visiting" Chapman's house? But "The Visitor" totally sounds like it's alluding to a visitor from outer space.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by kebrennan » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:41 pm

I think this early in the series they were just grasping for names that suggested aliens. Related: "The Predator" would have been a much better title for #3 and "The Encounter" would make more sense for #5.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by moonie_knifey » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:55 am

Generally, I don't like the titles in the whole series. And since they were often chosen by the editor after the book was written, they usually seem somehow not right.
It's even worse in the Polish translation, "The Visitor" was translated as "Przybysz", which really means a newcomer... It would be better for #4.
I never really bothered with the titles, I mostly identify the books by numbers because the titles just don't say anything about the content. I have an impression that any title could be given to any other book in the series and it wouldn't change anything.
I'm rubbish at explaining stuff. As a result, frustration eats my head.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by Menno » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:20 pm

kebrennan wrote:I think this early in the series they were just grasping for names that suggested aliens.
I figured that too, but I just had to ask. And I'm going to ask it about #3 and #5 too.
moonie_knifey wrote:Generally, I don't like the titles in the whole series. And since they were often chosen by the editor after the book was written, they usually seem somehow not right.
It's even worse in the Polish translation, "The Visitor" was translated as "Przybysz", which really means a newcomer... It would be better for #4.
I never really bothered with the titles, I mostly identify the books by numbers because the titles just don't say anything about the content. I have an impression that any title could be given to any other book in the series and it wouldn't change anything.
I could tell they were really running out of titles with #50 and #51.

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Re: Book 2: The Visitor

Post by Diana moon goddess » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:44 pm

moonie_knifey wrote:Generally, I don't like the titles in the whole series. And since they were often chosen by the editor after the book was written, they usually seem somehow not right.
It's even worse in the Polish translation, "The Visitor" was translated as "Przybysz", which really means a newcomer... It would be better for #4.
I never really bothered with the titles, I mostly identify the books by numbers because the titles just don't say anything about the content. I have an impression that any title could be given to any other book in the series and it wouldn't change anything.
hmm. i agree. it's hard keeping track of the names. but keeping track of the numbers is no small feat either.
but hey at least you're lucky you even get a translation. as far as i'm aware, animorphs has not been translated to Chinese, not that i would read it in Chinese. i'm sure the translations into Chinese would be even worse than into Polish. Cap and I will have fun trying to imagine what just how terrible and humorous the translations will be. :wall:

P.S. i'm having lots of fun trying to pronounce Przybysz and i really appreciate just how much Polish is phonetic. :D