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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2017, 15:46 
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I think that was in Highland Twins.

I agree, it was sad to think that was how unmarried women were viewed in the 1940s. It must have lead to a lot of ill advised marriages as women, advancing through their twenties, panicked and decided any man was better than none.

Apart from Frieda's unfortunate remark, and Joey taking over a bit, I really like Simone's wedding as well. It was simple, 'all hands on deck', and had a really lovely community feel to it.

So much more romantic than the big, elaborate, no expense spared extravaganzas that so many young couples opt for today.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2017, 22:39 
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Simone's wedding was lovely and simple. There were also lots of little details like she was going to wear her silver dancing slippers and she had a new set of undies.

I don't like modern OTT weddings where the hen and stag "nights" can go on for days and I've even heard of people going to Las Vegas.

Simone's wedding somehow meant more.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 00:49 
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It's certainly nice to finish a book with a wedding - and (something I hadn't really realised before) Simone's is the only one of the Quartette's weddings we do see.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 02:08 
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This is one of the few books in the series I actually read as a child, so I have a particular soft spot for it. As others have said, it's so atmospheric, with the gardening and air raids and black-outs.

I actually quite like the Joey of the early war years - we see her maturing from her school-girl days in a believable way, but is not seen as perfect. For example, she takes just the right tone when meeting Gwensi for the first time, distracting her from her sulks and giving her something new to think about. That contrasts with her butting in with the Colonel and disrupting what was a genuine investigation into a potential military threat, which is classic tactless Joey.

With Joey and the CS, I think the school also provided a feeling of safety and comfort for her. She's had a lot of disruption and change in a short period of time, and is someone who is not keen on change in the first place, and somewhat emotionally fragile. It could be that spending time at the school helped her retreat back to a time in her life when she was happy and carefree.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 05:23 
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jennifer wrote:
That contrasts with her butting in with the Colonel and disrupting what was a genuine investigation into a potential military threat, which is classic tactless Joey.


And when she is actually told off for it, she says the Colonel is to blame because he dared to question them.

Quote:
I meant to madden him,’ was Jo’s unchristian remark. ‘He had a nerve, I must say, to go questioning the girls like that, let alone the Staff!


What was he supposed to do - just take their word for it? Let's say he does take their 'word' for it and later on it comes out that one of the girls was lying. He looks like a fool and has to start the investigation all over again.

And the school had no leg to stand on - they had already accepted a girl who turned out to be a Nazi spy.

Vintagejazz wrote:
I think the message it sends out is quite bleak and sad. It implies that unmarried women are not 'dear and sweet' or that teaching is somehow a 'second best' kind of life. The fact that she, herself, was an unmarried teacher makes the remark all the more depressing.


But that's why the comment is quite sad. It's how EBD regards her own life and how much she must have desperately wanted a husband and family. Her fantasy life is clearly seen in Joey's.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 11:18 
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Yes, I agree it was EBD projecting her own feelings.

But I hate to think of little girls reading it at the time and soaking in that message. Also, how were we supposed to view figures like Miss Annersley or Bill after that? They were both portrayed as kind, humane figures genuinely fond of the girls in their care and very much part of a community. It was, at best, a very mixed message and personally I really dislike it and wish her editors had removed it.

Definitely, her fantasy life seems to have been created in Joey's. She becomes more and more idealised as her family grows larger and larger, and is eventually allowed almost take over the series as Madge is shipped off to Canada and then Australia. This was where the series really dipped and I suppose demonstrates why an author has to be able to remove themselves somewhat from their writing and not become over involved with their characters.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 11:42 
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I can't remember if it's in this book, just after the actual events, or later on, but there's a scene in which Miss Wilson's talking in the staffroom about how she and Joey and Frieda were nearly drowned on the voyage from Guernsey to England, and says that it would have been a terrible tragedy if the other two had been killed but it wouldn't have mattered so much about her, because she was single and had no close living relatives. You would have expected all the other mistresses to exclaim about what a valued friend she was and how they'd all have been devastated if anything had happened to her ... but they don't :(. That's even sadder than the "too dear and sweet" incident.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 12:18 
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Enjoying posts here.

EBD did get too involved with the character of Joey. EBD was meant to be a larger than life character so, later on in the series, were Joey's reactions those of EBD?

I do think Joey was EBD's ideal and led the life EBD thought she wanted for herself. Would EBD really have been happy though if she did have this life?

Miss Wilson's remarks are sad and even sadder that no-one disagreed.

I am of the opinion that we cannot be judged against anyone else. We all have our own role and own journey. We have a right just to "be". Miss Wilson's right to be here was as great as the right of Joey or Frieda.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 13:05 
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Alison H wrote:
I can't remember if it's in this book, just after the actual events, or later on, but there's a scene in which Miss Wilson's talking in the staffroom about how she and Joey and Frieda were nearly drowned on the voyage from Guernsey to England, and says that it would have been a terrible tragedy if the other two had been killed but it wouldn't have mattered so much about her, because she was single and had no close living relatives. You would have expected all the other mistresses to exclaim about what a valued friend she was and how they'd all have been devastated if anything had happened to her ... but they don't :(. That's even sadder than the "too dear and sweet" incident.


Doesn't Miss Wilson say something similar in Gay as well? It's been a while since I've read these ones.

Also, even the title "Goes to It" is very war-fitting as that was the spirit/sentiment that was being promoted.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 13:26 
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Alison H wrote:
I can't remember if it's in this book, just after the actual events, or later on, but there's a scene in which Miss Wilson's talking in the staffroom about how she and Joey and Frieda were nearly drowned on the voyage from Guernsey to England, and says that it would have been a terrible tragedy if the other two had been killed but it wouldn't have mattered so much about her, because she was single and had no close living relatives. You would have expected all the other mistresses to exclaim about what a valued friend she was and how they'd all have been devastated if anything had happened to her ... but they don't :(. That's even sadder than the "too dear and sweet" incident.


That happened earlier on in Goes To It and I agree, it's incredibly sad. EBD really seemed to place very little value on her life as a friend and an educator of the future generation.

Also, here we are, many years after her death, still reading her books and finding great enjoyment in discussing them through a medium that hadn't even been invented when EBD was alive.
She has made a significant impact, and proved you leave your footprint behind in many different ways.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 14:42 
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Love the comment about EMBD's legacy, Vintagejazz.
Vintagejazz wrote:
Yes, I agree it was EBD projecting her own feelings.

But I hate to think of little girls reading it at the time and soaking in that message. Also, how were we supposed to view figures like Miss Annersley or Bill after that? They were both portrayed as kind, humane figures genuinely fond of the girls in their care and very much part of a community. It was, at best, a very mixed message and personally I really dislike it and wish her editors had removed it.
Two problems with that, though. From what I can gather, children's books at that date were not edited for anything more than spelling and punctuation (though obviously anything totally unsuitable/ inappropriate as to subject matter wouldn't have been accepted in the first place). The bigger problem is that the editors would have been unlikely to see anything wrong with it anyway, as that was the prevailing view in society as a whole. Along with it went what for my money was an even worse one - if a young woman was inclined to be rebellious, sexually precocious or even just plain unconventional (think Elma Conroy II), the received wisdom in many families was that the best thing would be for her to marry (and have children, of course) as soon as possible. I hate to think how many unhappy marriages that may have led to, whereas from observation I think children have always been more mentally resilient about acting on what they read in fiction.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 15:03 
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Just to put forward an alternative point of view, does nobody think it's telling the End gives that line to Frieda rather than Joey? There's so much about how the Tyrolean girls are expected to return home to become wives and mothers after school in the early books, always contrasted against the British girls who are able to go on to careers, like Margia, Grizel or even Madge herself. The implication seems to be that the British girls are fortunate, because they have more freedom to choose their lives.

Is Frieda's remark not a recollection to that Middle Europe quaintness rather than EBD's own opinion? It would be a different thing if she had Joey or Madge say it, but Frieda saying it seems like a natural extension of the whole 'I will meet a good man and with my parents' blessing be a good wife' idea from the Austrian girls in the earlier books.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 15:31 
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JoJo89 wrote:
Just to put forward an alternative point of view, does nobody think it's telling the End gives that line to Frieda rather than Joey? There's so much about how the Tyrolean girls are expected to return home to become wives and mothers after school in the early books, always contrasted against the British girls who are able to go on to careers, like Margia, Grizel or even Madge herself. The implication seems to be that the British girls are fortunate, because they have more freedom to choose their lives.

Is Frieda's remark not a recollection to that Middle Europe quaintness rather than EBD's own opinion? It would be a different thing if she had Joey or Madge say it, but Frieda saying it seems like a natural extension of the whole 'I will meet a good man and with my parents' blessing be a good wife' idea from the Austrian girls in the earlier books.


That's a good point. It makes the remark more palatable. I will remember your post next time I read it, and stay calm :)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 15:50 
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JoJo89 wrote:
There's so much about how the Tyrolean girls are expected to return home to become wives and mothers after school in the early books, always contrasted against the British girls who are able to go on to careers, like Margia, Grizel or even Madge herself. The implication seems to be that the British girls are fortunate, because they have more freedom to choose their lives. .


Was this what actually happened or is it something that EBD created? In real life, did middle class Austrian girls not work and marry young or did they go out to work or on to university? It would depend on their family's economic situation which may not have been too good following the Great War.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 20:52 
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I think EBD partly at any rate gave this line to Frieda because it was more in keeping with her personality.

In the same way, in Jo to the Rescue, Frieda says how much she likes the quiet English Sundays whilst Jo responds by saying she also likes the lively Tyrolean ones.

I do agree the legacy of EBD has been immense. The CS especially has given me such joy and pleasure and, in comfort reading, helped me through some of the bad times in my life.

Edited to add on - As tartan-belle said, also love the Go to title which is so in keeping with the spirit of the book. Such a shame Armada changed the paperback copy to CS At War.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 22:00 
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I think that sometimes EBD puts in a line to provoke thought and discussion, rather than a direct query or statement, which could have been thought too direct by her public.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2017, 01:52 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
But I hate to think of little girls reading it at the time and soaking in that message.


But even now we get that message esp from tabloid papers - you get headlines like "finally XXX got her man", XXX flaunting her engagement ring, "he finally proposed!" as if that is that is biggest achievement of her life.

Sadly, these are often talented, accomplished women but the entire focus is on their attempts to 'get a man'. It is exactly the same message but now it's even worse - you can be as beautiful, talented etc as you like but you are nothing without a man.

Alison H wrote:
You would have expected all the other mistresses to exclaim about what a valued friend she was and how they'd all have been devastated if anything had happened to her ... but they don't :(. That's even sadder than the "too dear and sweet" incident.


Just needed one person to say: "I would miss you more than if Joey had died. Can't stand her."

In all seriousness, you do get the impression EBD did not value single women just for themselves as human beings.

But then she also managed, perhaps subconsciously, to create several strong single female characters who are extraordinarily memorable.

So she did see value in them, perhaps because she was one herself, but she had imbued the ideas of her society so she repeated them but also on a subconscious level pushed back against the idea. It's as if she is saying via these characters "hang on, we do have worth."

Cheers,
Joyce

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Last edited by Joyce on 27 Apr 2017, 11:17, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2017, 08:57 
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Well, Mary-Lou herself (surely EBD's favourite character after Joey!) is still single at the series end... And what about Kathie Ferrars, the only mistress to have an actual book of her own? There's never any sign of a certain doctor for her.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2017, 13:36 
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Do you think that Mary-Lou being single was a nod to more modern times. When EBD was young, marriage was the ultimate prize for a woman. By the 1950/60s many women had proved themselves as worthy, important members of society in many fields of achievement. Her younger readers would have identified with girls wanting a career, not just 'being at home' until marriage. I also cannot imagine the man who could have tamed Mary-Lou, and maybe EBD felt the same!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Goes To It
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2017, 14:15 
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I hope so.

However, I'm more inclined to think that, after all the comments in Ruey about how doctors didn't marry young, EBD had either Rix or David lined up for Mary-Lou but was planning to wait another couple of years! If Mary-Lou did end up with one of them, I sincerely hope that it wasn't on the Platz, where I think she'd have been bored to tears and would have had little opportunity to carry on with her own work.

Biddy works for a few years, and travels to Australia as well, before marrying a doctor ... and, coming back to the wartime years, this is the only time when public exams are actually a big thing at the school. I think it's more in Highland Twins than Goes To It, but we do get people talking about exams and results, and it's the only part of the series where that happens. Maybe it's part of the series being so much more rooted in reality at this time than before or after.

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