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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 14:23 
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JayB wrote:
I do think the school might have made more effort to accommodate Eustacia. They made special arrangements for musically talented pupils such as Margia, after all. I think one problem was that they didn't have anyone on the staff who was a specialist in Eustacia's subjects and thus able to understand what she needed. Latin was generally taught as a secondary subject by one or other of the Mdlles and I don't think they had anyone who did Classical Greek, or at least not at any level that would have been helpful to Eustacia. Eustacia might not have been genius level, but she was able and committed and Classics was going to be her life's work as much as music was Margia's or writing was Joey's. It's a pity the school didn't recognise that.


Even if they didn't have a mistress specialising in the subject, independent study could have been an option for her. She studied Classics at the Chalet School - to what extent, I do not know - so they could have let her drop some subjects and devote the extra time to studying by herself. She wasn't the type of girl who would spend the time playing around rather than working and, based on the tit-bits given about how advanced she was in the subjects, I'd say that, with access to books, she'd have been able to make a good deal of progress by herself.

Giving her the opportunity to do more advanced Maths was easier still, since they had mistresses for that subject.

The problem was that the school didn't take her specialities as seriously as they did others. They were more interested in remedying what they saw as deficiencies in her education, not to mention that the poor girl had to become fluent in French and German as a matter of priority.

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But putting her in a higher form would have brought her into closer contact with Joey, which I don't think would have helped.


It would have made for fiery few scenes but I'd say that, at the first sign that there might be fireworks, Mary Burnett would have had the sense to give somebody calmer and more patient the task of helping Eustacia get settled in.

I doubt it'd have been a perfect solution but the different dynamic could have been interesting, and potentially led to a different outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 15:17 
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Alison H wrote:
I think the families could have tried to find more suitable schools, both for Eustacia and Naomi. Eustacia needed somewhere that offered a traditional classical education, and there were plenty of schools offering that for girls in the 1920s. Naomi would have been better off somewhere where there wasn't so much emphasis on physical exercise, which she wasn't able to join in with. Unfortunately, both aunts just seem to have wanted their nieces out of their hair and jumped at any school recommended by friends - Mrs Cochrane in Stacie's case and Dr Chester in Naomi's - rather than looking around for somewhere more suited to the needs of the girls in question :( .


I'm not sure that's entirely fair -Eustacia's aunt did think the CS might be suited to Eustacia, not based on education but on helping her character, thinking the girls might go easier on her and not tease so much. She was wrong, but still, points for trying.

I think putting her with the sixth would swell her head even more. Maybe the fifth would have been a better compromise. But it would involve changing the premise of the story somewhat. EBD shows that her parents were a bit rubbish really, including with education which is why she thinks she's fantastic but actually she's not. If EBD wrote it so that she was actually academically further ahead she would have had to concede that her parents weren't a total loss after all.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 15:27 
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IIRC, she was well ahead of girls her own age in maths and classics, but behind them in other subjects, which put the school in a difficult position. They had similar problems with a lot of new girls, who'd been either educated at home or educated at small private schools which weren't working towards any sort of exam syllabus or standard goals - Yseult, at 16, was put in a form where the average age was 14 and some girls were only 12, but she wouldn't have been able to cope with any of the work in a higher form, so again the school was in a no-win situation.

There are references to some people being in one form for most subjects but another form for others, but that must have been a timetabling nightmare, and neither the girls nor the staff would have had that much time for extra coaching.

Having said which, if they could fit Margia's music into the timetable, then they could've sorted something out for Eustacia!

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 17:01 
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I agree that the school couldn't do much for Eustacia without setting precedents, but engaging a tutor for her Greek might have shown some compromise. I'm sure that a budding harpist would have had a master from Innsbruck if needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 17:03 
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Mel wrote:
I agree that the school couldn't do much for Eustacia without setting precedents, but engaging a tutor for her Greek might have shown some compromise. I'm sure that a budding harpist would have had a master from Innsbruck if needed.


Perhaps it would also depend on whether her guardians were prepared to pay for extras? With all those kids, maybe they couldn't afford to pay for a seperate master for Eustacia, whereas some of the others were obviously a lot more wealthy and could probably afford to pay for stuff like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 17:18 
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Didn't Eustacia have her own money, left by her parents? There couldn't have been any objection to some of it being spent on her education. It's not as if her father would have disapproved of her getting special tuition in Latin and Greek, after all.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 17:28 
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Eustacia is described as being well off, and that her guardians have access to a large sum for her maintenance and education. I can't see extras being a problem. It'd probably depend on how expensive a tutor would be.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 18:13 
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I don't suppose it'd have been more expensive than learning a musical instrument and lots of girls did that even if they weren't planning to continue with it seriously after leaving school.

Wasn't Classics Miss Bubb's subject? Pity she wasn't around then. She and Eustacia would have been kindred spirits.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 23:10 
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Karita wrote:
I'm not sure that's entirely fair -Eustacia's aunt did think the CS might be suited to Eustacia, not based on education but on helping her character, thinking the girls might go easier on her and not tease so much. She was wrong, but still, points for trying.


I think the "no holidays" apart from summer part also helped make up her aunt's mind. She didn't say it but she agreed with one of her sons when he wanted Eustacia to go to a school without holidays.

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I think putting her with the sixth would swell her head even more. Maybe the fifth would have been a better compromise. But it would involve changing the premise of the story somewhat. EBD shows that her parents were a bit rubbish really, including with education which is why she thinks she's fantastic but actually she's not. If EBD wrote it so that she was actually academically further ahead she would have had to concede that her parents weren't a total loss after all.


EBD could still have written them as bad parents because they hothoused their daughter academically with no attention given to her social development.

Since Eustacia herself expected to be in the top form, would it have been a case of "be careful what you wish for" or could it have potentially led to a situation where it was easier for her to settle in at the Chalet School?


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2012, 23:31 
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Eustacia was "almost 14", and I think putting a 13-year-old in a form with girls of 17 and 18 would've caused a lot more problems, but I think that the way she's treated is very unhelpful. I don't think EBD wrote it this way unhelpfully, but the school seems to struggle for leadership during the period when Mlle is headmistress and Mary is head girl. In Rivals, Mlle does nothing about the feud, and Mary makes it worse by having a public slanging match with Elaine. In Eustacia, Mlle again does nothing, Mary calls some sort of school meeting which effectively consists of the whole school ganging up on Eustacia, and Nell Wilson a) tells Eustacia that if she were a boy she'd get a good thrashing for sneaking (surely not the best way of dealing with things!) and then tells Joey that it's her fault Eustacia's run away! &, in Exploits, Mlle tells Thekla that if Mrs Linton had died then she'd have been "a murderess".

It's hard to imagine that any of those situations would have got so bad with Madge or Hilda as headmistress, or with Mary-Lou or even Gisela as head girl. I can't imagine that EBD wanted to suggest that the school was suffering from weak leadership, but it shows very realistically how quickly things can go wrong when a strong leader leaves. The same thing happens later on: it's very hard to imagine Mary-Lou blaming Jane for being the victim of Jack's bullying, as Maeve does.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2012, 04:02 
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Based on Alison's points (and I think they are interesting ones) how do with think the school might have gone if either Madge had delayed her marriage for a few more years, or if Miss Annersley had been put into the position earlier? Consider the storylines that take place during this period:

Head Girl
Fight between Grizel and Deira (remembering that Madge does attempt to rectify this situation)
Robin and the madman
Cornelia and her bad behaviour leading her running away and being taken by the madman

Rivals
Various spats and open slanging matches between the two schools (Madge does get involved with this towards the end of term)

Eustacia
The struggles of Eustacia getting used to the school and vice versa

and Jo
Behaviour of the Quintet in Oberammergau
Discovery and adoption of Biddy

Camp
Conflict between Jo and Grizel

Exploits
The struggles of Thekla getting used to the school and vice versa

Lintons
The struggles of Joyce getting used to the school and vice versa

New House
The conflict of the Middles and Prefects versus Matron
Dispute between Anne and Jo

Jo Returns
Polly joining the school and later ringing the alarm bell

I'm not saying that these problems would not have happened if Madge had remained at the school, or if Hilda was in charge (if they did there would be no storylines!) but how might a different Head have handled them?

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2012, 13:32 
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Quote:
I can't imagine that EBD wanted to suggest that the school was suffering from weak leadership, but it shows very realistically how quickly things can go wrong when a strong leader leaves. The same thing happens later on...

Mary and Maeve were really just placeholders, keeping the HG's chair warm until Jo and Len respectively were old enough. Neither had been shown as having any particular leadership qualities on her way up the school. Jo Scott would have made a much better HG than Maeve. I'm not sure who could have been appointed instead of Mary. Who came between Grizel and Jo, age wise?

I think a lot of the incidents KB refers to are Middles being Middles, or Jo being Jo, and possibly would have happened anyway. I do think Hilda would have stopped the feud with the Saints before it started and handled the whole Thekla/Joyce situation more effectively.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2012, 00:24 
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It is interesting seeing the difference in the presentation of Mademoiselle as head - I've just been rereading earlier books as background for my Letter to Therese drabble, and it did strike me that Mademoiselle isn't mentioned much at all even when Madge had officially left.

My own memory of Mademoiselle from previous reading of the books is of a strong caring head, but I'm now wondering where I got that from. Admittedly I have only reached a few books after Madege's marriage in rereading, but problems seem to be left to Madge or others to solve. Mademoiselle is barely mentioned, despite being one of Madge's main advisors in earlier books.

Saying that, I'm not quite sure how those situations woukd have differed with Madge as headmistress. By then the prefects were more involved, so perhaps even with her there things would have developed along similar lines.

Didn't Fiona Mc write a drabble as an AU where Madge remained headmistress? I only joined the board near the end of it though, so don't know too much about how things differed. I remember thinking it was an interesting idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2012, 16:46 
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I think it is in Jo Of and Lintons that Mademoiselle comes across as strong and caring; I certainly have a mental image of her being that. Partly, I think, the expulsion scene with Thekla - I know she telephones Madge first but it was still Madge's school at the time and she really did have the final say over who was and was not to be a pupil there. And she is sweet to Jo when Jo is so worried about the Robin (as, indeed, is Miss Annersley later, making her tea and everything).


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2012, 20:13 
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Mrs Redboots wrote:
I think it is in Jo Of and Lintons that Mademoiselle comes across as strong and caring; I certainly have a mental image of her being that. Partly, I think, the expulsion scene with Thekla - I know she telephones Madge first but it was still Madge's school at the time and she really did have the final say over who was and was not to be a pupil there. And she is sweet to Jo when Jo is so worried about the Robin (as, indeed, is Miss Annersley later, making her tea and everything).


Ah thats interesting, I think those two were two of the 4 or so that I actually owned rather than read at the library, so maybe that is why I feel that, I have read those books more often!!

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2012, 20:31 
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Beecharmer wrote:
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Ah thats interesting, I think those two were two of the 4 or so that I actually owned rather than read at the library, so maybe that is why I feel that, I have read those books more often!!


I would never have known the CS books as a child if it hadn't been for the library. It's also why I know the Tirolean and the later Swiss books best - those were the ones they had (because they were in print). Mind you, it's pretty odd reading Jo of followed by Future as your first two books!


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2012, 00:48 
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Noreen wrote:
Beecharmer wrote:
Quote:
Ah thats interesting, I think those two were two of the 4 or so that I actually owned rather than read at the library, so maybe that is why I feel that, I have read those books more often!!


I would never have known the CS books as a child if it hadn't been for the library. It's also why I know the Tirolean and the later Swiss books best - those were the ones they had (because they were in print). Mind you, it's pretty odd reading Jo of followed by Future as your first two books!


Less odd than me, I started with Reunion!

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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2012, 14:59 
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First I read was Jo to the rescue, then a couple of years later School at the Chalet, which I was surprised to find was part of the same series.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2012, 16:43 
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Oh this is such a brilliant topic! I'm another one who knew the first 4 books best because those were the ones they had at the library. I remember picking up a later one (don't remember which) where Miss Annersley was Head and all the characters were different, and abandoning it in complete disgust - my Tirolean CS world was shattered! Luckily I got over that later ;-)

So. What if Margot was the oldest triplet, and Len the youngest? Len wouldn't be so insufferable and the whole character of the Maynard family would be different.

What if Len decided her love for Reg beat any previous desire for Oxford and teaching (which, let's face it, she would inevitably have given up for all time the moment she got 'busy' in any case), and wanted to leave school whilst still in the Fifth - but Joey and Jack were understandably not keen on the idea, and so she runs away with him - horror all round?

What if Julie Lucy married her housemaster man at Barney's school, but then declared that she had no intention of dropping the idea of being a barrister? After all, we read all the way through ALL the books that she's wanted to do that since childhood, and yet 'Oh, that's off. She won't have time.'

What if there WAS attraction between Grizel and Jack Maynard, but Jack marries Joey anyway - and then he and Grizel embark on an affair?

What if Joey and/or Jack proved unable to have children? Joey turns to drink and is incarcerated in a deserted wing of the San in a Mrs Rochester-esque way; Jack marries...who??

What if the triplets were boys? When it comes to the new San starting in the Oberland, Joey and Jack stay behind in England where the boys are at school, and send the girls away from them instead...

So many many possibilities - someone fill in the potential consequences!!


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Chalet School Universe
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2012, 16:46 
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Reading those back, they all seem pretty anachronistic. But on the other hand, these things were quite common, just not in EBD's world...


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