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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2017, 09:10 
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Being taken down a peg or two
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Victoria wrote:
(Slight pedantry: I believe that Joan swears without it being specified what she says and the "damn'" incident is actually Val Gardiner in "Redheads" - I am happy to be corrected on that)


You might be right - maybe Joan tells someone to go to hell. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2017, 17:06 
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I was thinking about this book earlier, its one I quite like.

I can understand Ros being confused as to why they are sending her,out of the blue, at 14,to a boarding school without asking her.And why is the teacher telling her, not her parents?

And would Joan really want to go to the CS just because Ros was, leaving her family and the infamous Vic behind.It appears it wasn't her parents deciding to send her but her wanting to go out of jealousy.

I do feel sorry for Joan though, yes she wasn't great in this book but she never gets any credit even in later books no matter what she does.Rosalie and Jo are quite unpleasant about her, its a credit to her that she sticks it out, being wise enough to take what is offered in order to get a better job.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 22:51 
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This is the book that moves the triplets to centre stage. When I was the right age for the books, I liked this sequence of books featuring the triplets and their friends. Those books felt quite contemporary to me, so I could imagine being part of that circle.

Leaving aside the bullying (and Joan really was very unpleasant at the start of the book) her character rang very true to me when I was in my teens; I knew girls just like her.

I'm not sure EBD intended it to be as simple as 'Joan doesn't know how to behave because she comes from a lower class background'. Mr Baker senior certainly knows how to behave. He comes across as very old school (and not at all uneducated; his letter has excellent grammar and vocabulary). I don't suppose he approved of Joan's goings on at all (and possibly disapproved of his daughter in law, who allowed it).

I wonder if that's why he took the initiative in contacting the school; he wanted to get Joan away from Vic Coles et al and thought that if he left it up to her parents, they'd never get around to doing anything about it. Possibly it was he who first put forward the idea of the girls going to a good school, and Joan said in that case, if she must, she wanted to go to the CS.

Re taking Joan after term has started, doesn't Hilda or someone wonder whether she might be left doing nothing at home if they ask her to wait until September?

If EBD was going to write Problem at all, and feature the triplets, I think it had to be this term. She evidently already had New Mistress planned, and that had to be an autumn term book, so Problem couldn't be the next autumn term book. And once Joan turned fifteen, she'd be wanting to leave school, not thinking about going to boarding school.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 14:52 
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Terrygo wrote:
And would Joan really want to go to the CS just because Ros was, leaving her family and the infamous Vic behind.It appears it wasn't her parents deciding to send her but her wanting to go out of jealousy.


I always thought it was her parents had decided to send her to a 'better' school (possibly boarding school - if they weren't too pleased about Vic Coles they may have preferred this) and she said she wanted to go to the same as Ros, so not that she chose to go away to school, but they decided to send her away and she picked which one


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 16:58 
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Joan tells Ros, when the latter is asked to look after on arrival, that she told her dad she wanted to come to the CS and no other - adding to herself that she intended to make sure the other girls knew all about Ros' background etc and that would take her down a peg or two. "She smiled to herself" as she thought all this. So it wasn't only jealousy that made her insist on this particular school, but a mean desire to hurt and destroy.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 21:29 
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The Bakers got criticised for spending their winnings, but, from what we hear, they spent most of the money on sending Joan and Pam to "good" schools and moving house to be nearer to Mr Baker's parents - hardly riotous living. Mrs Lilley told Ros straight after the news about the pools win that the Bakers had said that they were going to send Joan and Pam to private schools. So the Bakers were leaving Meadowfield anyway, and Joan was leaving her old school and her old friends anyway.

Joan thought she was really someone at their old school, whereas Ros was a nobody, and she probably got quite a nasty shock when Ros was chosen for the scholarship and her own name never even came into the equation. Now she'd got a chance to show that she was better than Ros after all. From Mr and Mrs Baker's viewpoint, it would make sense for Joan to want to go to the school where her old friend was, rather than somewhere where she wouldn't know anyone. It's interesting that Pam Baker went elsewhere, though - Joan obviously didn't praise the CS very highly.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 22:33 
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Alison H wrote:
Joan thought she was really someone at their old school, whereas Ros was a nobody, and she probably got quite a nasty shock when Ros was chosen for the scholarship and her own name never even came into the equation. Now she'd got a chance to show that she was better than Ros after all. From Mr and Mrs Baker's viewpoint, it would make sense for Joan to want to go to the school where her old friend was, rather than somewhere where she wouldn't know anyone. It's interesting that Pam Baker went elsewhere, though - Joan obviously didn't praise the CS very highly.
Maybe - I thought the money was already running a bit short by then, though; ISTR that we don't know whether they bought the house they moved to - many people in the UK rented at that date, even the better off.

Come to that, they probably shouldn't really have found the money for Joan to go to the Swiss CS (the English one would have been more sensible), but I get the impression that they wanted to give her her wish now that they could (and it was necessary for plot purposes, of course). I agree with some of the sympathy CBBers have for Joan, but she comes to the CS in order to continue to bully Ros, and I feel that she brings a lot of her troubles on herself.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 23:11 
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I've just been re-reading Challenge, and there are some similarities between Evelyn Ross and Joan. Evelyn is used to going out to dances and doing modern dancing, not ballroom dancing. Boys aren't mentioned, but presumably dance halls didn't hold sessions just for teenage girls. She also uses a lot of slang, and thinks it's ridiculous that Matron is so obsessive about everyone having to make their beds in a very particular way as approved of by her.

But, for the most part, she puts up, shuts up and gets on with it, because she realises that no-one's going to be impressed by a new girl slagging off the school and its ways. I think that's probably how plenty of people coming to the school as Seniors or Senior Middles, from schools with more modern and less institutionalised outlooks, must have felt. But Joan is too interested in trying to prove how cool she is.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Oct 2017, 10:13 
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I know this post is applying to later books, but... There is a great emphasis on forgiveness at the CS, It's a shame that this is not applied to Joan. She is never forgiven in the way that others are. At best she is tolerated. Others make bad starts at school, but it is rarely brought up in the same way as with Joan.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Problem for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 04:00 
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Alison H wrote:
I think that's probably how plenty of people coming to the school as Seniors or Senior Middles, from schools with more modern and less institutionalised outlooks, must have felt.


Maybe because of its location as well. Not like you could go to the town centre shopping mall every weekend or to a dance hall, and there is no boy's school nearby, so the girls are very isolated both physically and mentally.

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