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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 19:43 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Nowadays, photo frames can apparently be bought inscribed "the girls" for a photo of a particular friendship group. Women in their sixties are buying these to give to friends. Tough for friends excluded and no different from M-L's gang.


You're talking about friends within the group being excluded, right? That sort of thing doesn't usually end well. Friends outside the group, I'm not sure why they would expect such a gift.

Caroline wrote:
I don't actually mind ML's relativley benign dictatorship. The membership of the gang seems vastly fluid between different books with different people sometimes seeming to be in the gang and sometimes not, and those comments of Josette's about Jo being accept are one of the few times there even the vaguest suggestion of having to be "approved" to be friends with them. They don't don't seem to be a bullying cliquey unpleasant gang to me.

Yes, there are mentions of ML leading the gang by the nose, but surely what she actually does is set the tone for them. And no one but Mary W seems to actually mind, the rest of the various forms they are in all have their own friends.


I don't think they are bullies or unpleasant, but any group that talks about members and nonmembers is cliquey. Mary-Lou is a force for good, no doubt about it, but that doesn't change the fact she is the leader of a clique. I think there is an element of exclusivity with the Gang absent from other friendship groups. In what other group of friends do we see even vague suggestions about trials? Or mentions that so-and-so is friendly with a group, but not part of it? Edited to add: I have thought of one: In Challenges when Jane Carew's group tease her about being friendly with Evelyn Ross and whether the three of them are sufficient friends. I think there's something about how they aren't inclined to accept a fifth person to their coterie. However, before Mary-Lou's gang, I can't think of any. I think there are a few instances of these smaller cliques later on.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 20:09 
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Nobody has to walk over burning coals or swear to be Mary-Lou's liege lady or anything :lol:, but there are a few bits which are unusual by the standards of earlier CS books:
Quote:
By some means best known to herself, Mary-Lou had contrived to arrange that the Gang, which she headed herself, should go together. Josette Russell had begged that Jo Scott might be included for this one afternoon. The Gang were very exclusive on the whole, but so far as they had met her, they liked Jo, so Mary-Lou graciously gave consent.


Quote:
We all have to learn to do our own and the school has a gorgeous darkroom. Mary-Lou Trelawney who is our gang leader says that she’ll show me how to do it and help me so that I don’t make a mess of it.


Jack Lambert's gang is very much Jack's Gang, but I think this is the only time that "the Gang" is so specifically made out to be Mary-Lou's Gang, if that makes sense. Jo is the leader of the Quartette, and Margia is arguably the leader of the Quintette, but I can't imagine anyone ever referring to either of them as "our gang leader". I think it's the "graciously gave consent" bit that can be quite annoying, but, IME, most school gangs do have a leader.

Regarding narrowing the pool of girls, I was in a class of 28 at school, and 9 of them, including a very bossy leader, were in a gang, so that was almost a third of the class. Most other people were in twos or threes and it didn't cause a problem, but you were always conscious of the fact that there was this big gang there.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 20:35 
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This is also the book where Mary Lou, and by extension the Gang, begins to get preferential treatment from the staff.

In Bride, a little over a year before in School time, Hilda thoroughly squashes Mary Lou when she misbehaves in the assembly called to enquire into the wrecking of Bride's study.

In Kenya, when ML decides she wants to know whats going on with Sue and Leila, she strolls off and interrupts the Head's well earned moment of relaxation to ask.

Instead of sending her away with a flea in her ear and telling her she can find out when the rest of the school does, Hilda actually tells her. There was no earthly reason why Mary Lou shouldn't have waited. It wasn't any particular business of hers.

That was an instance, I think, when 'it's just Mary Lou' tips over into inappropriateness. And while it might have been amusing when Mary Lou was ten, it really isn't when she's turning fifteen.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 03:49 
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Caroline wrote:
Not to mention all the facebook mentions of various people being each other's "besties" - as in best friends. Always makes me wonder what their various other friends think of it.


I've actually had the same best friend - not a bestie as it's a little childish for a 57 year old - since I was 15 and, for better or worse, she and I still refer to each other and introduce each other as 'my best friend' as we did in 1976. It may be weird but it seems perfectly natural to us two and doesn't seem to upset anybody else.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 10:37 
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Alison H wrote:
Nobody has to walk over burning coals or swear to be Mary-Lou's liege lady or anything.


Along with ML giving consent part, this is the part I have problems with:

Quote:
so I’ll just say this – and I know I’m speaking for all of us, Jo – we’re jolly proud to think you’re one of the Gang and we’re jolly proud to have you for a friend.”
“Hear hear!” the rest chorused while Jo stood there going red and white by turns and not very sure what to say or do.
...
Only Jo was left and Josette stayed with her. As they took the steps at a much more sedate pace, the latter said, “That’s good, Jo! Mary-Lou never says anything she doesn’t mean. You’re a full-blown member of the Gang now. You were sort of on trial, before.”


So basically ML decides who is or is not in the Gang. Usually groups become good friends organically because you just gell together, but there is no formal process of acceptance. The Crew later on which accepts Erica as one of them happens this way.

But because the Gang is so large (there are 12 members!) the leader has to decide who does or does not get to join. There is no initiation exactly but more a sense of 'you are one of us.'

mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
If this person had not been formally invited, what would have happened? Presumably nothing. What happens to girls who don't make the cut for the Gang?


It's an interesting question. One would hope both Vi and Josette would realise dropping Barbara or Jo would just be wrong. And they somehow manage to stoke a balance between being a Gang member as well as having friends outside the Gang.

Quote:
And Bruno annoys me so much in this book! We're presumably meant to find it hilarious that he escapes, runs wild and ruins poor Janet's big moment, which she must have spent ages practising for, but I do not!!


He's Joey's dog. Enough said. :D

But yes, it's insane she does not discipline him a bit more. He's a massive animal and several times we are told he jumps all over people which can cause problems especially if you are not expecting it. I love dogs but even so a big St Bernard jumping all over the place would be frightening.

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Last edited by Joyce on 16 Sep 2017, 02:37, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 12:55 
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Imagine the comments if Emerence or Joan had a dog which was allowed to run wild and wreck a school show!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2017, 13:20 
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I've been at dance shows where my performance has been interrupted by uncontrolled dogs or small children.

I find the dogs more forgivable than the children, frankly, but I think Janet merited some profuse apologies and the lushest and most indigestible of English Teas in consolation.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 01:44 
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There's a description in Barbara

Quote:
The whole Gang decided, in the main, most out-of-school affairs affecting the rest of their crowd, and Mary-Lou and Vi led the Gang by the nose.


which describes the level of influence that the Gang has outside of their immediate group. And there's a scene later in the book, on an outing where Mary-Lou is laid up in San

Quote:
For once, the Gang drifted off in couples instead of keeping together, so that Barbara and Vi; Christine and Catriona; Hilary and Lesley were all in different parts of the carriage; and Ruth Barnes had chummed up with Heather Clayton.

"That crowd miss their Mary-Lou," Miss o'Ryan murmured to Miss Wilmot as they gazed out of the window at the end-of-autumn landscape past which they were speeding. "She keeps them tied up when she's there. You know, some day, Mary-Lou is going to be Head Girl and won't she make them all toe the mark!"


So it's clear that the Gang has a great deal of influence, but also that the gang is mostly Mary-Lou's affair. And the mistresses approve of the situation and indulge it. They also let the whole gang go together on a walk, tacking on two add-ons to make up the numbers (who keep lagging behind the group for some reason. :roll: )

Without Mary-Lou's direct influence, the Gang is more a group like Tom and Bride's year - a loose mix of girls, with some particularly good friend pairs, that hangs out together but is not exclusive.

I do feel some sympathy for Joey and Bruno at this point, even though I'm not a fan of badly trained dogs. You just don't give people pets as gifts without checking first! She's got four pre-school kids, a new home to organize, and a writing career, so not having time to properly train an energetic St Bernard isn't that surprising. Madge took care of the details when it came to training Rufus, so Joey doesn't even have experience with this.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 07:58 
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I wonder how much it is ML's direct influence (as in, she wants them to be together therefore they are) and how much it is her popularity, in that the rest of the gang wants to be with her when she's there, and naturally gravitate in that direction, because she does make things happen...? Probably a bit of both.

And nice point about the mistresses facilitating this. The gang get to be together on walks, trips, becuase they ask and are given the OK, becuase the staff see them as a benign grouping, a force for good, whereas other characters might ask and not be indulged in the same way. How much of that is ML's "fault"?

Intersting list of couples, I'd forgotten about that. Add in ML and Verity, and there is a sense that the gang really is a group of those couple friendships which EBD doesn't generally favour. Much more so than the Bride-Tom group, anyway.

I can't remeber the details, but only a couple of books ago, Hilary joins the gang after coming from the Tanswick CS, yes? Is there any mention of being on trial or passing the test (however euphamistic) in that book? Could we just consider that the passing the test bit was an abberation of EBD's rather than some great innovation of ML's? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 08:12 
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I think teachers letting friends be together is fair enough. Joey's Quartette are allowed to move into St Clare's together.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 14:59 
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Caroline wrote:
I wonder how much it is ML's direct influence (as in, she wants them to be together therefore they are) and how much it is her popularity, in that the rest of the gang wants to be with her when she's there, and naturally gravitate in that direction, because she does make things happen...? Probably a bit of both.

And nice point about the mistresses facilitating this. The gang get to be together on walks, trips, becuase they ask and are given the OK, becuase the staff see them as a benign grouping, a force for good, whereas other characters might ask and not be indulged in the same way. How much of that is ML's "fault"?

Intersting list of couples, I'd forgotten about that. Add in ML and Verity, and there is a sense that the gang really is a group of those couple friendships which EBD doesn't generally favour. Much more so than the Bride-Tom group, anyway.

I can't remeber the details, but only a couple of books ago, Hilary joins the gang after coming from the Tanswick CS, yes? Is there any mention of being on trial or passing the test (however euphamistic) in that book? Could we just consider that the passing the test bit was an abberation of EBD's rather than some great innovation of ML's? :D


Apologies for leaving in whole quote but on smartphone. I fully agree with last sentence! EBD was only rather clumsily making the point that Barbara and Jo were the "right kind of girl" . Of course there were lots of equally nice girls not in the gang who probably had no desire to be part of it.

As for letting the gang be part of the same group on excursions, why would anyone want to stop them? They were well behaved. Split up Margot and Emerence and other badly behaved people certainly but not the well behaved.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 17:36 
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Returning to what appears to be the oddity of Jo Scott being named after Joey Bettany despite Maisie Gomme not really knowing her....

Most of us have associations with names being "nice" or "nasty" based on the people we have known with that name even if we don't really know that person or only know them by repute.

I could see Maisie liking the name "Josephine" because of its association with Joey, someone of whom she would hear about from the people with whom Joey is friendly, and she's likely to know Joey by sight and to have seen her "in action" at things like the Sale.
She says she called Jo after Joey because she liked her but that doesn't imply that she knew her. After all people call their children after "celebs" of whom they have no personal knowledge.


It's also not uncommon to have as godparents people who may not be close friends of the family but who offer some advantage whether that's material or spiritual. (Historically, kings and queens tended to end up with a large number of godchildren as parents hoped for advancement at court). Equally, it was not uncommon for people to be called after a godparent or family member in the hope of some kind of advantage (think of Wanda von Eschenau being called after her Great-Aunt and going on to inherit her money). This doesn't quite apply here since Maisie was unlikely to have been thinking of the advantages of having someone living close to the CS when she named the baby but it does come into pay when Maisie is asking for help for Jo. If Joey were a godmother then it would be reasonable for her to act in loco parentis. Since she isn't, the best appeal Maisie can maketo her is as a honorary godmother. (Given we know that Maisie's not the brightest of people, it's also possible that, when needing help, she persuaded herself that she'd always thought of Joey that way)

I do find it peculiar that Jo calls Joey "Godmother" since it's an unusual form of address and Joey wasn't! However, it really is little different from being a "brevet aunt" and it may be that Jo, however chockful of commonsense, was feeling in need of a "close" adult in place of her parents and this was her way of displaying that she was special to Joey and not in the same relationship to Joey as the rest of her class.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 18:09 
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I could accept if Maisie named her daughter after Joey because she loved her novels and thought she was a great writer, with the fact they went to school together as a bonus. People do name their children after celebrities/artists/historical figures they admire. I could also accept Maisie having Josephine on a short list of baby names simply because she likes it and having pleasant memories of the charismatic, influential girl she went to school with. It's the fact she named her daughter after a specific person she hadn't known very long, didn't know very well and didn't communicate with for many years that baffles.

At this point in the series we know that many relatives and close friends have named their daughters for Joey. To me it feels like an intimate thing to do, the purview of people close to the person they are honouring. It feels so random coming from this relatively unknown character. At least it does fit with Maisie's flighty, not-quite-thinking-through characterization.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2017, 18:50 
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It's hardly likely to happen, but I'd find it quite creepy if I found out that a casual acquaintance from school, whom I'd long since lost touch with, had named her daughter after me!

IME, a lot of people name children after family members, but it's less common to name children after friends, but it happens a lot in CS-land. Joey names Len after Miss Wilson and Con after Miss Stewart, and I'd never noticed that she and Con Stewart were particularly friendly. Cornelia names one of her daughters after Mlle Lepattre, to whom she was close, and the other after Madge and Joey. I'd love to know what her husband thought about it :roll:. Elisaveta also names one daughter after Joey and another after Madge (and I think one of them has a middle name after Robin). Miss Carthew also names a daughter after Joey, which really is weird! Frieda and Simone each use Josephine as a middle name for one of their daughters (after Joey rudely tells Frieda that she's got enough kids named after her already), and it's not clear if Marie's Josefa is named after Joey or not ... but I presume so. I feel like there must be others whom I've missed!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 02:29 
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Victoria wrote:
maketo her is as a honorary godmother. (Given we know that Maisie's not the brightest of people, it's also possible that, when needing help, she persuaded herself that she'd always thought of Joey that way)


It's the fact that she's also obviously raised Jo to think of Joey as her godmother and therefore there's a special relationship, which is quite bizarre.

Jo even calls her Aunt Joey at their first meeting. Then calls her godmother forever after after that.

Joey doesn't mind, but if the daughter of someone I went to school with who I can barely remember suddenly showed up calling me Aunt and thinking we had a close relationship, I would wonder if she was touched.

Audrey25 wrote:
As for letting the gang be part of the same group on excursions, why would anyone want to stop them? They were well behaved. Split up Margot and Emerence and other badly behaved people certainly but not the well behaved.


It comes across as playing favourites. Miss Annersley allows a massive group of 11 to go off together but then has issues seconds later with two (!) girls being together. But it happens all the time in real life so why not at the CS?

Alison H wrote:
Miss Carthew also names a daughter after Joey, which really is weird!


We are told in Camp that she did that. But then years later the daughters show up and are called Margaret (after Madge?) and Susan. And it makes more sense for her to name her daughter after a close friend and colleague, than a teenager that she taught among dozens.

And WHY did Joey not name a single one of her daughters after her three closest friends or even middle names? Maybe she was keeping the names for the quads she kept threatening to have!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 04:37 
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With cliques, I think size can make a big difference even in a well meaning group. If you've got 5 out of 20 girls in the clique, it's a close group of friends embedded in the larger crowd. But when the clique comprises more than half the group, then it shifts from a group of friends who like being together, to a group that is excluding specific people, in practice even if not in intent.

So for the walk in Barbara, there's a bit point about the whole gang getting to go together, and then two girls are tacked on to the group to make the numbers work out. That's not necessarily all that fun for the two who aren't part of the gang.

It's only really in the first few Swiss books that the Gang goes from being a group of friends led by Mary-Lou, to an unstoppable force of nature. In the Briaval's books, they're much less tightly organized, and after Mary-Lou, they're split up in multiple forms, and so aren't together as much. Interestingly, the capitalization of Gang also occurs at about that point, from the gang to "The Gang".

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 10:30 
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Joyce wrote:
And WHY did Joey not name a single one of her daughters after her three closest friends or even middle names? Maybe she was keeping the names for the quads she kept threatening to have!


The triplets would have been the obvious ones to be named after her three friends - not the only British and Catholic schoolteachers she had (only one of whom is there for most of the triplets' childhoods).

In answer to a previous question, since Joey loved history, perhaps she did 'get on' with Con Stewart?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 11:27 
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Possibly it was indicative of the experiences Joey had had in the couple of years before the triplets were born - i.e. after she had left school. You can see in New CS her starting to build adult relationships with the staff, and Nell and Con were best friends at that time, I can imagine them chumming up whereas Hilda, being Head, couldn't.

Con was also a young married woman at the same time Joey was, they were both of the religion Joey was presumably thinking of joining, and Nell was there with Jo during the flight from Austria.

Grace Nalder is the odd one for me. I can see no link there...


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 14:21 
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Re the number of old girls who name their daughters after Joey.

Could they fill:

A - A whole school

B - A school year

or

C - A class.

I sometimes think in total it would be A!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 17 Sep 2017, 16:28 
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Joyce wrote:
.



Alison H wrote:
Miss Carthew also names a daughter after Joey, which really is weird!


We are told in Camp that she did that. But then years later the daughters show up and are called Margaret (after Madge?) and Susan. And it makes more sense for her to name her daughter after a close friend and colleague, than a teenager that she taught among dozens.



Margaret is Margaret Josephine after Madge and Jo.


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