Login   Register     FAQ    Members

View unanswered posts   View active topics


Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 27 Jul 2017, 15:45

Forum rules


Please ensure that all posts are kept impersonal. Any posts involving an ad hominem attack will be edited or deleted. Please feel free to express your views, but expect that others may disagree with them. Please limit the use of the :oops: smiley as far as possible. Please do not PM another user to argue with them; if this happens, please can the recipient contact a mod. Language of gentlemen, chaps!



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 02:27 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 04 Jan 2012, 06:47
Posts: 130
Location: North Carolina, USA
I haven't seen a thread to discuss "Juniors of the Chalet School" by Katherine Bruce. I thought it was a nifty idea, and I liked how Bruce showed the juniors' feelings about Matron Webb and integrated them into the campaign against her.

Webb is a nasty piece of work in "Juniors." I was taken aback by how caustic and violent she is, yet still managed to keep her job as long as she did. Her cruelty to the Robin pushes Madge into firing her, but it's obvious in "Juniors" (and maybe even in "Princess") that Madge wants her gone long before that.

So why didn't Madge get rid of Matron before then? Was she giving Matron chances to redeem herself, as she often does for the girls? Was it for practical reasons -- the difficulty of obtaining a replacement? Was she building an airtight case to fire Matron? Were there legalities, social conventions or other reasons why Madge would keep Matron on as long as she did? And what did you all think of Bruce's take on Matron and "Juniors" in general?

_________________
"I -- I didn't think!" -- Carola Johnstone


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 07:58 
Offline
Lost!
Lost!

Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 00:07
Posts: 747
Location: Taiwan
Matron Webb's entire term time tenure is actually only two weeks long! (after she's fired, there's a reference to "the two brief weeks of her reign"). So that's a pretty quick firing, even for someone who is doing a terrible job.

I think, basically, locking Robin in and refusing to hand over the key was bad enough to warrant an immediate firing and escorting from the premises - she's even sent to a hotel for the night, to get rid of her as fast as possible. Before that, Madge was still hoping that she could be pressured into doing her job satisfactorily, and didn't want to have to do without a Matron for the term.

_________________


Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 13:07 
Offline
Learning the difference - can and may
Learning the difference - can and may
User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2006, 13:28
Posts: 801
Location: SE England
I think Madge decided quite early on that she wouldn't keep Matron beyond that term, didn't she? Even under present day employment law in the UK, she wouldn't need a reason to sack her when she'd only been there such a short time.

Elisaveta was very rude, but she was spot on when she said:
Quote:
'Matron hadn’t the – the instincts of a lady, or she wouldn’t have said such things – it was only canaille who spoke so.'

But Madge assumed she was a lady and would behave as such. It took her a while to realise she was mistaken.

Although the school's been operating for two years at this point, Madge hasn't encountered this kind of staff problem before. Her previous experience would have been with employing domestic staff back in Taverton. There, expectations and assumptions would have been much more clearcut and she'd have had no hesitation in dismissing a maid who was rude and rough.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 16:26 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7984
Location: Manchester
I do feel sorry for Madge there. She was trying to run the school, look after three children and plan her wedding, so, when the previous matron had to leave suddenly, she cut one corner by employing someone through an agency rather than doing interviews herself. And it all went pear-shaped on her. We've all been in situations like that - too much to do, too little time! Poor Madge.

ETA - IIRC, it was mentioned in the foreword or afterword to Champion that it would be difficult for anyone to write about Marilyn's time as Head Girl because, by that stage of the series, EBD was reluctant to show the school authorities making a mistake. That applies even more in the Swiss years. I think it's quite positive (if that isn't a contradiction in terms!) that we get to see Madge making a bad call. It doesn't mean that she's a bad headmistress or a bad person, just that everyone makes bad calls sometimes, especially when they're under a lot of pressure.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Last edited by Alison H on 29 Dec 2016, 16:41, edited 1 time in total.

Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 16:41 
Offline
Arguing with your guardian

Joined: 28 Sep 2016, 17:06
Posts: 3
Location: UK, Bradford
mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I haven't seen a thread to discuss "Juniors of the Chalet School" by Katherine Bruce. I thought it was a nifty idea, and I liked how Bruce showed the juniors' feelings about Matron Webb and integrated them into the campaign against her.

Webb is a nasty piece of work in "Juniors." I was taken aback by how caustic and violent she is, yet still managed to keep her job as long as she did. Her cruelty to the Robin pushes Madge into firing her, but it's obvious in "Juniors" (and maybe even in "Princess") that Madge wants her gone long before that.

So why didn't Madge get rid of Matron before then? Was she giving Matron chances to redeem herself, as she often does for the girls? Was it for practical reasons -- the difficulty of obtaining a sizzling hot play replacement? Was she building an airtight case to fire Matron? Were there legalities, social conventions or other reasons why Madge would keep Matron on as long as she did? And what did you all think of Bruce's take on Matron and "Juniors" in general?


Great questions. Cool book.

_________________
I'm not the sort of person you should put on speakerphone.


Last edited by Cristin J. Foster on 30 Dec 2016, 09:26, edited 1 time in total.

Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2016, 18:59 
Offline
Getting all your textbooks for lessons
User avatar

Joined: 20 Jan 2004, 12:53
Posts: 80
Location: swansea united kingdom
Oy! No spoilers!! Some of us haven't read it yet...........!!!

_________________
fio


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2016, 05:37 
Offline
Asked to help with the play
Asked to help with the play

Joined: 17 Nov 2011, 02:45
Posts: 891
The Matron Webb incident shows up what happens as small businesses develop.
For the first time. Madge is employing someone she doesn't know personally.
Matron Webb is unsuitable but she doesn't seem to have been told what the terms-and-conditions were before employment - Madge assumes she'll be all right (a rather typical "but every one knows" except for the people who do not). Bizarrely, when Madge has words with Webb, it doesn't occur to her to say "I'm employing you - do as I say" - Webb is allowed to continue on her own sweet way.

It has been pointed out elsewhere that Webb was suddenly out of a job and yes. current employment legislation allows that. It should be be borne in mind that Matron Webb might have given up a job for this one - current employment legislation is that a "job contract" only exists once you start a job. If you hand in your notice in one job and the new job disappears - tough!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2016, 07:22 
Offline
Having a say in the Sale theme
Having a say in the Sale theme
User avatar

Joined: 16 Jan 2004, 22:19
Posts: 3589
Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have been enjoying this immensely (the thread, obviously - I am also delighted that people are enjoying the book so much!) but wanted to put in here with a few points that I think people will find interesting (and which are all from Princess, so no spoilers here!):

Victoria wrote:
It has been pointed out elsewhere that Webb was suddenly out of a job and yes. current employment legislation allows that. It should be be borne in mind that Matron Webb might have given up a job for this one - current employment legislation is that a "job contract" only exists once you start a job. If you hand in your notice in one job and the new job disappears - tough!


1) Matron Webb's former place of employment actually closes down. We are told that "at her last school [Matron Webb] had gained a great ascendancy over the headmistress, and when that lady had given up she had found it hard to get another, as her age was against her."

2) One of the early criticisms when the editing began on this book was that Matron Webb was such an extreme character who did almost ridiculously bad things. It was very amusing to me that all of her worst excesses were actually the things invented by EBD and not my own invention.

mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
So why didn't Madge get rid of Matron before then? Was she giving Matron chances to redeem herself, as she often does for the girls? Was it for practical reasons -- the difficulty of obtaining a replacement?


These, and particularly the latter, seem to be the stated reasons. I doubt there was as much need for a paperwork trail as there is today and so felt no need to worry about that side of things. However there are a number of points during which Madge and Mademoiselle discussing the school doing without Matron.

JayB wrote:
I think Madge decided quite early on that she wouldn't keep Matron beyond that term, didn't she? Even under present day employment law in the UK, she wouldn't need a reason to sack her when she'd only been there such a short time.


3. She certainly does decide very early on! Even before term begins, Madge "was wondering whether it would be judicious to tell [Jo] that there was little likelihood of Matron’s staying after the one term" and after the reading-in-bed fiasco Madge "very nearly requested the woman to hand in her resignation then and there" but decides against it. After the girls imitate Matron's voice, Mademoiselle suggests "send[ing] her away at the half-term", to which Madge eventually agrees, but this is then overridden by the incident with locking Robin in.

Bring on your other points and questions, I'm happy to answer them! A spoiler warning is a good idea though (just colour your text white and then only people who want to read it can do so).

_________________
The writer's credo: 'Sometimes you've got to sacrifice the things you like' (Delta Goodrem - Born To Try)


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2016, 11:22 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 04 Jan 2012, 06:47
Posts: 130
Location: North Carolina, USA
I didn't think my post had spoilers; isn't everything I said documented in "Princess"? I'm happy to go back and white out whatever anyone wants.

_________________
"I -- I didn't think!" -- Carola Johnstone


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2016, 13:59 
Offline
Swept off by Matey to pack
Swept off by Matey to pack
User avatar

Joined: 13 Nov 2005, 11:17
Posts: 1121
Location: Cumbria
I think that any book discussion in Special Sixth can be expected to include details of the plot or "spoilers" if you like. They've always been open discussions.

With Mod hat on


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 15 Feb 2017, 20:40 
Offline
Buying your school uniform
User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2015, 21:28
Posts: 17
Location: Teesside
Just finished reading the book and absolutely loved it. The feel is just right and I love seeing some younger characters and their reactions for a change (as well as the fact that they are much loved characters that we don't get to see too much of for the rest of the Tirol years).


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Juniors of the Chalet School -- Madge and Matron Webb
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 13:13 
Offline
Discovering you have to be trilingual
User avatar

Joined: 07 Oct 2004, 12:14
Posts: 57
Location: Brisbane
I love 'Juniors', held me fascinated start to finish! The first Chalet book I ever had was 'Princess', and I still adore it, so I did wonder how Juniors would fit in with a book I know like the back of my hand! But the two fit together perfectly, and complement each other really well.
I love the way that Katherine has developed the personalities of the juniors so that they come across as real schoolgirls and not just as an anonymous crowd of babies. She has picked out personality traits that we can see in later books as the juniors grow up, and used those to give us a real feel for life in Le Petit Chalet. The interactions between the juniors and the older girls are interesting too, helps to build an overall picture of the school, rather than just seeing the senior part of it.

But to get back to Matron - she is portrayed very well, I believe. EBD had already created some really nasty character traits for her and Katherine has developed them further without going OTT. Quite apart from her spiteful and cruel side, Matron comes across as the worst kind of colonial English person of the period, with all her sneering about foreigners; its something we don't see much in the original series, but it was a very common attitude at the time and fits well with the rest of the plot. I often used to wish we had seen more of Matron in 'Princess' in order to get a better image of her personality and the reasons why she would never fit into the school, and I think Katherine has satisfied that yearning!

Maybe one reason why Madge did not get rid of Matron sooner was that she was simply unwilling to admit her (Madge's) failure? Most things had gone smoothly for the school up till then, willing pupils, intelligent and friendly staff, then suddenly she hits a wall with Matron. Perhaps she hoped things would improve, and didn't want to give up too quickly. And she has been shown later in the series to have a soft spot for the likes of Miss Bubb, who was also a disaster, so maybe she just didn't have it in her to be too hard-hearted and throw Matron out without giving her more chances.

_________________

'Well,call me Aunt Fanny on my tombstone!'

Rosalie in 'Theodora...'


Top | End
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 27 Jul 2017, 15:45

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group