Author Topic: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion  (Read 3507 times)  

Offline 1131

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November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
« on: November 03, 2011, 10:04:40 pm »
Sorry about the late start on this.  It's 12 to 14 hour work days this week.  No matter what I will join the discussion on Saturday.  Feel free to start without me.

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    Offline splash883

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 03:16:56 am »
    imallbs:
    Sorry to hear about your crazy week!  I hope it gets better soon!
    I haven't deleted the library book from my Kindle so I can go back to it and reference anything we talk about.  I have a problem remembering details of a book if I have to discuss it at a later time.  Like I said in a previous post, Doc was a really good book.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  :)  Thanks for the recommendation!  Can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts.
    Blessings,
    Kelsey

    Offline 1131

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #2 on: November 06, 2011, 12:56:18 am »
    Well it looks like I missed Saturday, but not by much.  Ready to get started?  We can discuss anything we want in this thread.  If something needs to be broken off into a new thread, we will do it.  Don't feel like you have to stick to the questions or discussions I start. I like things that veer from the well trodden path.

    The only thing I new about Doc Holiday before reading the book was that he was a dentist, lived with a prostitute and fought at the O.K Corral.  I only know he fought at the O.K Corral because I watched M.A.S.H.  They had an episode where they watched My Darling Clementine which is at least partly about the O.K Corral.  I didn't know anything about Doc's reputation, or that of the other characters, before reading the book.

    This book had a lot of strong characters.  Did you know about any of the them before reading the book?  If you did, did your opinion change after reading the book?  Did you try to learn more about these people or the time and area they lived in?

    I read a lot of history, but not much of the old west.  When I finished the book I wanted more, so I did a little on-line reading about the Doc, Morg, Kate and Wyatt.  It was then that I learned about Doc's reputation for, as the author put it "being a bitter, bad-tempered drunk who killed without cause or conscience".  I had grown very fond of Doc and did not like that characterization at all.  I was quite insulted by what I read.
    This book had so many great characters, I could probably discuss them for hours.  Anyone game?

    Offline splash883

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #3 on: November 09, 2011, 07:49:50 am »
    "This book had a lot of strong characters.  Did you know about any of the them before reading the book?  If you did, did your opinion change after reading the book?  Did you try to learn more about these people or the time and area they lived in?"

    I only knew about some of them from old movies and such.  I had a surface knowledge, but that was it.  I loved getting into the details of the characters' personalities and the way the interacted with each other. 
    I haven't actually done research on the people, but have talked with a couple of my friends about the book.  There are a bunch of misrepresentations out there.  It's amazing how times have changed.  If that would've happened in our day, you can bet there'd be a ton of libel suits!  ::)

    Blessings,
    Kelsey

    Offline Margaret

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #4 on: November 09, 2011, 01:33:26 pm »
    I am about halfway through Doc and I am really enjoying it.  I have to confess that the only characters that I had even heard of before were Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Materson, and I did not know much more than their names. So I really do not know which parts of the story are pure fiction and which parts have some truth to them.  My favorite characters so far are the Earp brothers.

    The way the story is written makes me feel like a bystander in the town.  I can see what is going on with the characters, but I am unable to get into anyone's head.  Even Doc is revealed by his actions more than by his thoughts.  In a way that fits in with the whole concept (or at least my concept) of the American West - a place where men were doers rather than thinkers, and actions certainly spoke louder than thoughts.

    I do think I will be doing a bit of research on these characters after I finish the book, even if it is just a quick trip to Wikipedia.

    I noticed that one of Kate's aliases is Katie Elder.  I remember an old movie called The Sons of Katie Elder.  Does anyone know if it is the same person?
    Six kids, five grandchildren, and I am still in elementary school.

    Offline 1131

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 10:34:17 pm »
    I only knew about some of them from old movies and such.  I had a surface knowledge, but that was it.  I loved getting into the details of the characters' personalities and the way the interacted with each other. 
    I haven't actually done research on the people, but have talked with a couple of my friends about the book.  There are a bunch of misrepresentations out there.  It's amazing how times have changed.  If that would've happened in our day, you can bet there'd be a ton of libel suits!  ::)
    Blessings,Kelsey
    It is amazing how someone could get away with passing off fiction as true stories.   Russell was able to take characters that so many people think they know and change it all up.  I think thats one of the things I liked about the book.

    I am about halfway through Doc and I am really enjoying it.  I have to confess that the only characters that I had even heard of before were Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Materson, and I did not know much more than their names. So I really do not know which parts of the story are pure fiction and which parts have some truth to them.  My favorite characters so far are the Earp brothers.
    The way the story is written makes me feel like a bystander in the town.  I can see what is going on with the characters, but I am unable to get into anyone's head.  Even Doc is revealed by his actions more than by his thoughts.  In a way that fits in with the whole concept (or at least my concept) of the American West - a place where men were doers rather than thinkers, and actions certainly spoke louder than thoughts.
    I do think I will be doing a bit of research on these characters after I finish the book, even if it is just a quick trip to Wikipedia.
    I noticed that one of Kate's aliases is Katie Elder.  I remember an old movie called The Sons of Katie Elder.  Does anyone know if it is the same person?
    Margaret, I understand what you are saying about being a bystander.  Russell seems to let us get to know the characters sloooooowly.   I think that towards the end of the book, I understood more about the characters Doc, Kate, Morg and Wyatt.  I also think that part of Doc is that he is enigmatic to even those who knew and loved him.  He doesnt come from their world and he really isnt a part of the world he left behind any more.   The only person who really understands that is Kate, which may explain why they stayed together.

    I did a quick internet search on Katie Elder.  According to the site TexasEscapes.com Katie Elder and Docs Kate are one and the same.  They have some other information about her here http://www.texasescapes.com/MaggieVanOstrand/Katie-Elder-Her-True-Story.htm

    Doc Holliday spent nearly all of his 36 years struggling with a series of life-threatening medical conditions.  He only survived as a child because of his mother and uncle.  Later, he needed others who cared about him enough to help him when he was sick.  How do you think this affected his personality and the ways that others saw him? 
    Russell describes him as a skilled and gentle dentist, an accomplished pianist, a loyal friend, and an educated man who was often generous, and habitually courteous. He was also easily offended, angered quickly, was a heavy drinker, a spendthrift, and a sarcastic snob.  How do you think you would have reacted to him in real life?  Would you have liked or disliked him?


    Docs personality had to have been shaped by his experiences and part of those experiences is that he was sick. He would never have ended up out west if he were well.  For a man so close to his family, that had to be very hard and would have shaped how he reacted to others.  Having lost so much, he put up walls to keep himself from getting hurt again.  He also fostered a public image of unpredictability to keep himself physically safe.  I wonder if the anger gave him the idea to protect himself that way or if he fostered the appearance anger as a protection and it became a large part of him.
    Given his public persona, I dont think I would have liked Doc.  I would probably been afraid of him.  He is someone I would have needed to get to know in order to get past the drinking, anger and snobbishness in order to like him and I dont think he would have let me get close enough to see that side of him.   Thats sad, because I would have missed knowing a wonderful, interesting man.

    Are there other major or minor characters, you thnk you might have liked or disliked?

    Offline splash883

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 04:06:39 pm »

    Doc Holliday spent nearly all of his 36 years struggling with a series of life-threatening medical conditions.  He only survived as a child because of his mother and uncle.  Later, he needed others who cared about him enough to help him when he was sick.  How do you think this affected his personality and the ways that others saw him? 
    Russell describes him as a skilled and gentle dentist, an accomplished pianist, a loyal friend, and an educated man who was often generous, and habitually courteous. He was also easily offended, angered quickly, was a heavy drinker, a spendthrift, and a sarcastic snob.  How do you think you would have reacted to him in real life?  Would you have liked or disliked him?



    Are there other major or minor characters, you thnk you might have liked or disliked?

    I think I would have ended up liking him.  He'd have rubbed me the wrong way in the beginning, but I think I would have be intrigued.  The other character I really liked was Morgan Earp.  He seemed like a genuine type of guy.  Wyatt was decent once you got past his gruffness.  The whole dental issue helped me to understand him.  I totally get the idea of him allowing people to think whatever they liked (like being afraid of him.)  It made his job a lot easier!

    ~Kelsey

    Offline 1131

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #7 on: November 13, 2011, 05:03:47 pm »
    I think I would have ended up liking him.  He'd have rubbed me the wrong way in the beginning, but I think I would have be intrigued.  The other character I really liked was Morgan Earp.  He seemed like a genuine type of guy.  Wyatt was decent once you got past his gruffness.  The whole dental issue helped me to understand him.  I totally get the idea of him allowing people to think whatever they liked (like being afraid of him.)  It made his job a lot easier!
    ~Kelsey
    Doc was intriguing; you could see that by how other characters reacted to him.  I think I would have shied away from him because I tend to give people their space.  And Doc seemed to want a lot of space.  
    Next to Doc, Morgan Earp was my favorite character.  He did seem genuine.  He cared about people.  It appeared that Morgan was the one who brought Doc into the family.  Wyatt was kind of into himself and I dont remember much about James.  Kate was hard to get to know and most of the other women were not given much page time.  

    What do you think about the relationship between Doc and his parents?  His aunt, uncles and cousins?  How did his relationships with them affect how he acted and how he treated others?

    Most of the women in the book were prostitutes at some time.  . Doc says thats because some man failed them.  What do you think?  Were there other alternatives open to women in the 1870s?  Do you think there were more (or different) opportunities for women in the east?

    In addition to prostitution, the book also deals with race, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse and gun violence just to name a few.  Have attitudes towards these issues changed since the 1870s?  If so, how have they changed?  Did your opinions towards any of these issues change while reading the book?

    Offline splash883

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 10:22:27 am »


    What do you think about the relationship between Doc and his parents?  His aunt, uncles and cousins?  How did his relationships with them affect how he acted and how he treated others?


    Because he was so close to his family, I think that it made it more difficult for him to leave Georgia.  It sounded like he was forever homesick for the things and culture that he grew up around.  I think his "politeness" was a cultural thing.  He definitely learned not to tolerate bullies, but there was an underlying courtesy always there.

    Most of the women in the book were prostitutes at some time.  . Doc says thats because some man failed them.  What do you think?  Were there other alternatives open to women in the 1870s?  Do you think there were more (or different) opportunities for women in the east?

    I don't necessarily believe that.  Sometimes it could be because that was the only way they could make enough money to support themselves.  A lot could have to do w/the "protection" issue.  I think it was unsafe for women without some sort of male protection.  I believe it was pretty much understood that an unattached woman was in for a load of problems going West.  If she really didn't have somewhere already set up to live and work, she would most likely be on the streets and taken advantage of.  There probably weren't many opportunities for unmarried women.



    In addition to prostitution, the book also deals with race, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse and gun violence just to name a few.  Have attitudes towards these issues changed since the 1870s?  If so, how have they changed?  Did your opinions towards any of these issues change while reading the book?

    The only changes I've seen are the laws allowing and disallowing certain things.  As far as my own opinions, nothing had really changed. 


    Offline splash883

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #9 on: November 18, 2011, 06:29:55 am »
    Something that has been on my mind: Kate was a real piece of work.  She was smart, ambitious, and could read people.  Only thing is, I didn't like her.  She was a complex character.  She stayed w/Doc and helped take care of him.  She vetted the visitors, scouted games, sometimes paid the bills when Doc couldn't.  There was just something so selfish about her that prevented me from liking her.  Anyone else?
    JMTC
    ~Kelsey

    Offline 1131

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 12:21:51 am »
    Something that has been on my mind: Kate was a real piece of work.  She was smart, ambitious, and could read people.  Only thing is, I didn't like her.  She was a complex character.  She stayed w/Doc and helped take care of him.  She vetted the visitors, scouted games, sometimes paid the bills when Doc couldn't.  There was just something so selfish about her that prevented me from liking her.  Anyone else?JMTC
    ~Kelsey

    I wanted to like Kate, but I didnt.  She is everything you said.  And she is the most like Doc.  But she lacked his empathy.   Even when she was helping him, she was thinking about herself.  Some of the ways she tried to help Doc actually hurt him.  Was she the only one that understood him?  I dont think so.  Morg understood him and I think China Joe did too.   But Kate was there for Doc at the end, no one else was. 

    I agree that Docs politeness was a reflection of his upbringing in Georgia.  Did he have to learn not to tolerate bullies after moving west?  Did that start during the war?  Before the war, he was pretty sheltered.  His mother and his uncle seemed to take special care of him, shelter him from some of the hardships he might otherwise have faced.  I think his relationship with them is what led to the feeling that women became prostitutes because some man failed them.  It must have been hard on him to have Kate continuing to work after they got together.

    Within the context of the story, I gained an understanding of the proliferation of gambling, prostitution, and gun violence.   My opinions on the subjects did not change.

    Offline 1131

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    Re: November 2011 - Doc General Discussion
    « Reply #11 on: November 20, 2011, 12:53:54 am »
    In the South, a gentleman is judged by the way he treats his inferiors. Whom did John Henry Holliday consider his inferiors? Do you think that changed when he went West? Whats the difference between courtesy and respect? What role does race play in the novel?

    I dont think Doc considered people his inferiors by virtue of sex, race, religion or profession.  He did not tolerate stupidity, lying or meanness.  His inferiors were people who hurt others for their own fame or monetary gain.  Doc would hurt people, I wouldnt want to get in the way of his temper, but it was more of a protection thing.

    Race was a large part of the book.  Doc didnt consider race when choosing his friends.  Sophie was Mulatto, Johnnie was black and Indian, China Joe was Chinese.  He even tolerated some white men.  He could be friends with gamblers, lawmen, prostitutes, businessmen and even a priest.  But race was important to the events of the book.  Docs reactions to the Civil War and Johnnies death were major parts of the story. 
     Doc lived by what he said about why he buried Johnnie Sanders.He didnt have anyone else so I took him for my own.  Kind of an old west version of Friends.

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