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 Post subject: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 03:03 
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Isn't it pretty obvious that Anne IS being a snob regarding Beth's classmates no matter what Janie says?

She sends Beth to a school with girls from a 'lower' class knowing that she will have no choice but to associate with them, Beth is picked up and taken there by her father every day to avoid 'contamination' and she is not allowed to go to her classmate's houses nor invite them home. She's basically ensuring her daughter will be picked on.

I can imagine Beth being horribly bullied throughout the day. And I bet she retaliated by repeating the attitudes that she picked up from her mother and saying she was "better" than them. I feel sorry for her just thinking about it.

But why does Janie say Anne is NOT being a snob?

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 04:29 
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I think it falls in the same category as statements that start "I'm not a racist but..."

In other words "Anne's not a snob, but the girls at the school are clearly inferior, and we don't want Beth to pick up low class habits."

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 08:12 
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I feel so sorry for Beth. It's no wonder that the other girls don't want to accept someone who is not allowed to go to their homes or invite them to her home, and who's dropped off and picked up at the door every day when everyone else walks or gets the bus.

It's similar to the attitude we get in Problem. The CS girls aren't snobs, perish the thought, but they look down on Joan so much that Mary-Lou feels that she has to try to give her a personality transplant.

The idea seems to be that we aren't snobs but everyone who doesn't share our outlook on life is wrong and bad. It's also, and the same thing happens in Problem, the idea that any girl who isn't from their sort of background is (unless they are the daughter of a former domestic servant who's been taught Proper Ways) only interested in boys and make-up and films.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 10:36 
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[quote]I think it falls in the same category as statements that start "I'm not a racist but..."
In other words "Anne's not a snob, but the girls at the school are clearly inferior, and we don't want Beth to pick up low class habits."[/quote]

Every time I hear the "I'm not a racist..." comment, I sigh and prepare to hear something incredibly racist. Recently a TV morning presenter in Australia made a horrible comment about Muslims in Australia and was slammed for it. She then proceeded to make things worse with an apology that included the words to the affect of 'I don't understand why I am being called racist'. Well, honey, if it walks like a duck...

But back to Anne. She had the choice not to send Beth to that school. But since she didn't why make things harder for her daughter? If she didn't want Janie to pay outright, then why not borrow the money? Why not downsize to a smaller home? Anything would be preferable than let one of her children suffer.

I actually want to write a drabble now in which the obliging distant cousin leaves her fortune to the local cat's society and Beth stays at her inferior school and eventually becomes a 'lower class' girl even as Nancy and Co go to the CS.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 12:09 
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What makes it strange is that the education is good at that school. It is similar to parents at that time not sending their daughter to an excellent Grammar School in case she mixed with the working classes, sending her instead to an inferior private school (such as The Margaret Roper!) where the girls ate daintily, wore pretty frocks and didn't talk about boys.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 13:18 
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It would have been doubly hard for Beth. She'd be an outsider at school, and not allowed to make friends, or socialize. But she was unhappy at home, too, between having to watch younger siblings and help out instead of playing, and Anne's absorption in Barbara, and negative attitude towards Beth. I was bullied badly at school at that age, and the one saving grace was that home was safe and supportive, so I had a refuge.

As far as snobbishness goes, I find in GO fiction there are two kinds of snobbishness. The first is economic snobbishness, and is generally frowned on - you're not supposed to look down on nice girls because their parents don't have money.

The second is cultural snobbishness, and that's absolutely fine - you can look down on someone because they have the wrong accent, or different tastes, culture, or priorities.

EJO shows it much more strongly than EBD. There's one book where Jen Robins is opening the villagers eyes to the wonders of knitting brightly coloured jumpers - the implication being that making pretty clothes just wouldn't occur to them on their own, without Jen's refined taste. The wisdom of wearing pretty yellow jumpers when you spend your day cooking, cleaning, managing livestock, changing diapers, and other messy jobs, without servants to do your laundry, isn't considered.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2016, 14:15 
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jennifer wrote:
There's one book where Jen Robins is opening the villagers eyes to the wonders of knitting brightly coloured jumpers - the implication being that making pretty clothes just wouldn't occur to them on their own, without Jen's refined taste. The wisdom of wearing pretty yellow jumpers when you spend your day cooking, cleaning, managing livestock, changing diapers, and other messy jobs, without servants to do your laundry, isn't considered.

This reminds me very much of a paragraph which comes, I am fairly sure in Mrs Mary Whitley's Every Girl's Book of Sport, Occupation and Pastime, written in 1897.

In it she urges the lucky girl with some time and money on her hands to not fail to appear amongst her lesser brethern who she has gathered together in a weekly working group. Mrs Whitley continues in this vein (apologies for not quoting accurately) - "their lives are so drab, so lacking in incident that this weekly meeting, which means so little to you, is of the greatest importance to them....."

Again the fact that such girls are frantically working to keep their families solvent is blissfully ignored....

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 10:21 
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[quote]But she was unhappy at home, too, between having to watch younger siblings and help out instead of playing, and Anne's absorption in Barbara, and negative attitude towards Beth.[/quote]

But horrible as Anne is, Peter has no idea what is going on with Beth until she is so sick he can no longer ignore it. Doesn't he have anything to do with these kids?

Since they no longer have a nanny then presumably they all have to eat together? No meal time conversation about how was school? Or during the daily drives, does he not bother to actually talk to his daughter?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 17:54 
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I've never read it but this all sounds awful. I've always hated the throwaway comment in Goes to It about Beth's previous school. And if the Chesters are so skint, how is it Beth gets to go to the CS?

It makes me sad EBD did this to such lovely characters as Peter and Anne - at least they're lovely in Maids.

jennifer wrote:
EJO shows it much more strongly than EBD. There's one book where Jen Robins is opening the villagers eyes to the wonders of knitting brightly coloured jumpers - the implication being that making pretty clothes just wouldn't occur to them on their own, without Jen's refined taste. The wisdom of wearing pretty yellow jumpers when you spend your day cooking, cleaning, managing livestock, changing diapers, and other messy jobs, without servants to do your laundry, isn't considered.


Yep. The scene where the disabled girl knits a jumper in lurid colours and everyone frets over how it will 'hurt' Jen because it's so awful looking, actually makes me violently angry every time I read it. :evil:

You know it would never happen with a middle class character. They'd never be so rude about a middle class character's gift.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 20:00 
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Joyce wrote:
Isn't it pretty obvious that Anne IS being a snob regarding Beth's classmates no matter what Janie says?
Cheers,
Joyce

Her overwhelming sin is probably supposed to be pride rather than snobbery (not much to put between them, if you ask me). But I think I'd rather believe that Anne is being a snob than the alternative (and how it comes over to me), which would be that she's taking her own frustration and disappointment out on her eldest daughter...


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 20:30 
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It annoys me that she lets Paul Ozanne pay the boys' school fees, because he's their godfather as well as their uncle, but won't accept Julian's offer to pay for Beth to go to a "better" school as he's only an uncle, not a godfather.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 21:02 
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Exactly - fishing for an excuse, or what?


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 05:08 
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[quote]And if the Chesters are so skint, how is it Beth gets to go to the CS?[/quote]

In a nutshell, Peter had a very large private income as well as what he made from being a doctor. Then the solicitor he invested his private fortune with, embezzled it and went on the run. When he was finally caught, he was jailed but refused to say how and where the money was. The man had also embezzled other people's money and Janie says some of the others were driven into real poverty and dire straits. Think of what Bernie Madoff did.

The Chester family had also been spending rather heavily with a new car, new rose bed and redoing the massive house etc so they had a lot of bills to cover. So there they are with a lot of bills to pay off and ONLY Peter's doctor income. The nanny, governess, maids and chauffeur are done away with but they keep a maid of all work who is apparently useless but cheap.

Despite this, it never occurs to them to simply sell the massive house and garden that must cost the earth to look after, and downsize to a modern house without a big garden.

Anyway, Julian looks after Paul's school fees and Janie looks after Nancy's and they got Peter to agree to this while Anne was still laid up after giving birth to Barbara. But Beth was apparently the god-daughter of none of them, so they didn't include paying for her school fees.

By the time, Julian offered to pay for Beth as well, Anne was OK again and said no. The massive plot hole at this point is why only Beth? If Anne was so upset at her children being educated via charity then why not refuse for Nancy and Paul as well?

Anyway, Beth was left to go to a small private school where the middle class girls go and she is very unhappy.

A while later, in one of the most ridiculous plot contrivances ever, a distant cousin of Peter's dies and leaves him her fortune. So they no longer have to rely ONLY on his doctor's practice. The entire Chester, Ozanne and Lucy clan are enrolled for the CS and Beth and Anne go to Switzerland and travel through Europe in the middle of a war and reconcile.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 11:13 
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EBD's chronology is a bit odd here because Janie steps in - where Peter gets left the money and Anne takes Barbara off to Switzerland - is published more than 10 years later than CS in exile. It seems likely that she had written the back story to the Guernsey families much earlier, but probably her publishers wanted more Chalet School rather than more La Rochelle and with wartime paper restrictions it didn't come out till much later, and she probably revised it a bit to fit the '50s rather than 1940 when CS in exile was published.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 13:22 
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Joyce wrote:
A while later, in one of the most ridiculous plot contrivances ever, a distant cousin of Peter's dies and leaves him her fortune. So they no longer have to rely ONLY on his doctor's practice. The entire Chester, Ozanne and Lucy clan are enrolled for the CS and Beth and Anne go to Switzerland and travel through Europe in the middle of a war and reconcile.


:shock:

Thanks Joyce! Poor Beth - why were her godparents such slackers anyway??? Didn't they know their primary job is to pay expensive school fees?

Aargh the useless maid of all work character always makes me so mad. Exactly how easy did these (insert unprintable descriptive word of your choice here) think doing all the housework in a giant house was??? And if it was so easy, why didn't they just do it themselves?!?!?

To make matters worse, she's usually devoted to the ungrateful family who whine about how useless she is.

:evil: :evil: :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 17:31 
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I was always disappointed at the end of Janie Steps In that 'the very good school' that is opening on the island is in fact the Chalet School. I suppose the dates don't fit for it to make sense in the 1950s.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 18:25 
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Personally I always want to give Anne and Peter (Anne in particular) a good shake.

I get equally annoyed in "Maids of La Rochelle" when Elizabeth and Anne who are both of age are treated as helpless "girls".

The latter is probably a sign of the times but...

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2016, 18:27 
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Loryat wrote:
And if the Chesters are so skint, how is it Beth gets to go to the CS?



She would have gone originally as a daygirl, so the fees probably weren't all that high at first. It's only after they get the money, and after the move to England, that she has to board.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 02:10 
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With the useless servant thing, I think the Chesters were trying for champagne tastes on a beer budget. They wanted an Anna - someone who could effortlessly manage to keep a big house clean, cook lovely meals, do the laundry, and watch the younger kids in their spare time. What they were offering to pay, though, wasn't enough to hire even a basic competent servant, which were obviously available, as the rest of the family has no problems with domestic staff. So they, naturally, got staff who weren't competent to be hired even as an assistant in another home - one who was dishonest, and another who, by the sounds of it, likely had some sort of mental disability.

It's like a modern business that offers half of market rate, expects 60 hour work weeks, and is genuinely baffled as to why their turnover is so high and their employees so incompetent.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 03:38 
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[quote]With the useless servant thing, I think the Chesters were trying for champagne tastes on a beer budget.[/quote]

Yes!! They absolutely refused to face reality and come down from their upper middle class lifestyle to one more in keeping with their now much reduced income.

But Janie makes it sound as if it is one of the worse fates to every befall anyone to have to live off the income of a doctor's practice. It is one of the snobbiest passages in the entire series.

Cheers,
Joyce

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