Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dawn by V.C. Andrews

Dawn Longchamp lives with her mom, dad, and brother, Jimmy. As a child she is constantly packing up and moving in the middle of the night. When her dad gets a job as a janitor at a private school, they are both able to enroll there. Although she makes an enemy with Clara Sue Cutler, she is able to find enjoyment in singing, and with a boy, Phillip Cutler, Clara Sue's brother. Jimmy has a very hard time fitting in and finding any enjoyment at the school. After Dawn's mom gives birth to a baby girl, Fern, she becomes ill, and dies. A few days later her father is arrested for kidnapping, and Dawn soon learns that it was her that was kidnapped when she a baby. Jimmy, Fern, and Dawn are all split up, and Dawn is forced to live with her real family, the Cutlers. She is horrified to find out that Clara Sue is her sister, and her boyfriend, Phillip, is actually her brother. The Cutlers own a huge hotel and Grandmother Cutler, who basically runs the hotel, forces her to work as a chambermaid, telling her that she has to start at the bottom of the family business and work her way up, and tells her that she will be called by her "true" name, Eugenia. She reuses and tries to get help from her parents, but they are just as powerless and her when it comes to Grandmother Cutler. Clara Sue is infuriated that Dawn is her sister and tries everything get back at her and get her fired. Dawn's life is further brightened by a secret visit from Jimmy, helped by Philip. Jimmy confesses that he developed romantic feelings for Dawn a while ago, but never dared show them because he felt he was sick for thinking of her that way. Dawn admits the attraction is mutual, but they find it hard to overcome their upbringing as brother and sister. Clara Sue finds Jimmy in the basement at Cutler's Cove where Dawn was hiding him. She tells Grandmother Cutler, who goes to the police and has Jimmy taken back to his foster parents. Dawn is heart-broken that Jimmy has to leave and is furious with Clara Sue. Jealous of her obvious affection for Jimmy, Phillip corners Dawn in her bathroom and rapes her. Desperate to get out, Dawn visits her old nurse Mrs Dalton and learns that her 'kidnapping' was staged because Randolph was not her biological father and that Grandmother Cutler paid the Longchamps to take Dawn. Dawn confronts Grandmother Cutler about this, who confesses and makes Dawn a deal: if Dawn will go to a singing school in New York, she will get Ormand Longchamp, the man she thought was her real father, out of prison. Dawn agrees and the book ends will Dawn boarding a plane to go to New York.

1. Have you ever thought of what you life would be living with a different family? Do you think it would be fun to live with another family for a month and have to live by their rules and customs?
Then how would you feel if you found out that you had to live with them for the rest of your life with no contact to your previous life?

2. Dawn was unwanted because her biological mother had gotten pregnant by a man who was not her husband, and she would have grown up being hated by her mother and grandmother. Even though kidnapping is wrong, do you think that Dawn's parents did the right thing in taking the deal from Grandmother Cutler and raising Dawn as their own?

14 comments:

Hayley D 11/12 said...

1. No, I really never thought about how different my life would be if I lived with a different family, but I'm sure it would be difficult. I think that it could be fun to live with another family for a month but I definitely wouldn't like to suddenly live with them for the rest of my life. I would really struggle if I was told that I couldn't contact my previous family, that would be heartbreaking.
2. I'm not really sure if Dawn's parents made the right decision but it seems as though life with the Cutler's would be extremely horrible. They obviously weren't willing to fully accept her into the family. Either way, Dawn's life seems terrible and I feel so bad for her, due to the events that she has gone through.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I have thought what it would be like to live with another family and I think it would be fun for a short period of time. It would be fun to have diffrent rules and customs and live a diffrent life. Though it would be fun I would only want it for a short time because I would miss my real family and would not want to live the rest of my life without them. I like my customs and rules and wouldnt trade my family for anything.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

1. I have thought about living with a different family. I would like to live with someone else for a short period of time, as everyone else said. For example, I would love to be an exchange student. But that's only for a few months to the most being a year. I would be furious if I had to live with that family forever because I love my family now. Your family shapes you as a person, and then suddenly having to completely forget about the relationships you had with your previous family in order to be with a new one is a terrible thought. I would not be able to handle it.

Emily C. 13-14 said...

I agree with the fact that living with someone would be fun and i would love to be an exchange student like you Bojana but it would definitely be horrible to suddenly have to be living with them forever.
And Hayley i agree with your answer for the second one. it wasnt necessarily the right think but it was something that had to be done to make her life better.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

I agree with you and Hayley for the second one that it was not necessary to kidnap her but it was the way to make her life better. For question one, I actually have not thought about what my life would be like with a different family. I think it would be fun at first learning their ways; however, it would get frusterating trying to do everything their way. Once you live your life one way, it is hard to change your own ways. The way you live with your family now and their rules come natural anymore, but if you had to live with a different family, your body would keep going back to your previous rules. I would not feel very good if I had to live with a new family forever and not talk to my previous family and friends. I am very close with my family and if I could not talk to them ever again, I think i would be lost in this crazy world.

Matt P. 13-14 said...

I think that it would be fun to try new things with the new family, but I am a person who likes to follow a routine, so I don't know if I would like it very much. I would try all of the new things that the new family did on a regular basis, but in the end I think I'd want to return back to my own family. I would feel terrible if I discovered I would not be able to return to my family. I would miss them too much and I'd try my hardest to try to return to them.

Hannah L 13-14 said...

In response to your first question I think that life with another family could be interesting but I don't think I would ever really want to do that, maybe for a week but not for a month so if I had to live with that family for the rest of my life I think I would find it very difficult to not be able to contact anyone that I had previously had any sort of relationship with whether it be a family member or a friend.

To answer your second question I don't know if they did the right thing or not. On one hand it doesn't seem like she would truly fit in with her family, but on the other hand did her parents even really care that they were giving up their daughter? I think that I would feel so guilty if I did that to one of my kids and I don't think I could. So I guess I don't really think they did the right thing because even though she had a better life with them, so it seems, it wasn't really her life because she was growing up with a fake identity.

Emily C. 13-14 said...

Yeah for the second question it is hard to decide what the right thing to do would be. I agreww with you Hannah about feeling so guilty if i did that to one of my kids. But her mother and grandmother didn't care about giving her up because it was a reminder to the grandmother that Dawn's mother cheated on her son. Her father did not know about the plan and he was the only one who truely cared about her going missing but he was too under the control of his mother to help Dawn at all when she came back. So in a way i think it was the right thing to do because they didn't want her or care that they gave up her, but it also is unfair to Dawn that she is going up as a different person than she really is.

allie s 11-12 said...

I've never thought of how my life would be if I lived in someone elses house. But I'm not sure if i would be a fan of it. at first it would be fun and exciting but after awhile i would like to see my family and my friends. I would hate to find out i had to live with them. They could be nice and different but nothing beats your own family(in my life).

Im not sure if it was the right thing to do. I understand that the baby was not wanted but it seemed to cause many problems in the future of everyone in the families. like Hannah said she ended up living a fake life :)

CorinneS5/6 said...

Living with another family now wuold be fun for a while, but when I was younger I think it would ahve been miserable. You family and your environment shapes alot of who you are so living with someone else might make you a different person, and at a young age you are very sensitive to your environment.

I think that they did the right thing. If she would have been miserable for her whole life it would be better to raise her somewhere else. I do not think that family has to be biological and that in this case, Dawn's ignorance was her bliss.

Erika B 13-14 said...

Living with a different family would definitely be a new and interesting experience. As many of us have stated above, being a part of a different famliy would be fun, but only for a short period of time. I myself believe I would probably be homesick after a certain length of time passed. I feel that whoever you grow up with and whoever raises you is your family, biological or not. After a while, you would start to miss them, so even if someone had later in life moved in with their biological family, they would be sad to not have contact with the people who raised them in their so called previous life.

Dana D 11-12 said...

1. I think it would be interesting to live with another family for a while. My mother was an exchange student in South Africa when she was my age and she loved it. But I think that after a while the novelty would wear off and you would want the comfort of your own family and routine.

Steve S 13-14 said...

I have thought about this, living with someone elses family would be such a shock. I honestly probably could not do it just because my family is so much different from some of my friends. And the rest of my life? No way!

I think that they did the right thing because that is what they thought to be best for her

Mrs. Sherwood said...

Thread graded, closed