Why does Kim have difficulty writing about characters with real emotions and flaws?
Kim is writing a novel about what is essentially a business agreement rather than a romance because it is the kind of relationship she would feel safe in herself. If there was some kind of contract that guaranteed she would not be hurt in a relationship then she would feel more inclined to get involved in it. Unfortunately her ambivalence towards romance is carrying over onto her characters and they are very one-dimensional, perfectly nice people who lack depth or history. It is as if by avoiding putting her characters through any terrible experiences Kim is also avoiding putting herself in danger of further heartbreak as well, shielding her characters from what she has been through herself.
Why is Zeke immediately drawn to Kim?
Zeke is immediately drawn to Kim partly because of an unexplained chemistry and partly because she seems to be less superficial than the people he is trying to avoid having in his life. He is drawn to her character when she not only notices that a fellow workshop attendee is deaf and having trouble hearing despite using two hearing aids, but also interrupts the workshop leader and offers to change seats. He is also attracted to her distaste for the enormous amounts of money being spent on sparkling water for the bathtub by a wildly successful author - Kim feels it is a waste when so many people are without water. Zeke is attracted to Kim because she is a person who could help him remain the family focused person he used to be before global success turned him into someone caught up in the moment and someone rather selfish and insular.
How does the author create a feeling of Christmas spirit throughout the novel despite the fact his main character associates Christmas with her mother's suicide?
The author uses rich descriptions to paint a picture of beautiful decorations and rich garlands as well as describing the excited Christmas crowds and general bustling at the Mistletoe Inn. The snow also creates a Christmassy feel and reminds the reader of the holiday song that begins "the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful"; the fireplace at the Mistletoe Inn is warming and festive for the chilly guests coming on from the snow. There are more Christmas references during Kim and Zeke's trip to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Zeke tells Kim to really describe everything that she sees, hears and smells. She does so which also enables the reader to do so, evoking such a traditional and enjoyable picture that the negative feelings Kin has about the holiday do not infringe on the Reader's appreciation of the Christmassy feel of the novel.
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