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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2017, 17:11 
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I liked this book as a child, but does anyone else read the caning scene as an adult and feel upset?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2017, 18:10 
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As someone with a difficult father who is never wrong :roll: , this one always strikes a chord with me. I like that Richenda and her father meet somewhere in the middle and that later Ricki still has ambitions to work with Chinese ceramics. I think she's the more sympathetic character because of her age -- you expect teenagers to be stroppy, but her dad should have grown out of it by now!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 01:27 
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NanaG wrote:
I liked this book as a child, but does anyone else read the caning scene as an adult and feel upset?


There's obviously very different ideas on appropriate methods to punish children and EBD clearly believed in physical punishment. Joey talks about spanking her children and there's the odd smack here and there issued by adults. LMM Montgomery puts it as "A spanking and no nagging afterwards".

I understand why people feel very strongly about not spanking their children but there are times and seasons when I wonder if the alternative is any more effective.

Richenda is caned for disobedience and we are told that while she should not have disobeyed, her father should have made an effort to find out why, as Joey would have done. What disciplinary father would do that? My parents were the same. They tell you "no" and that's that.

And let's face it - most kids when asked "why do you keep doing XXX when mummy tells you not to?" would receive the reply "because I want to."

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Last edited by Joyce on 04 Nov 2017, 01:58, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 09:04 
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I'm currently reading Too Marvellous For Words (as discussed in The Rose Garden), about the real-life experiences of girl at a boarding school in Suffolk in the 1960s, and she says that one of her friends was caned, on the bottom - she had to pull her pants down - by a teacher. Corporal punishment wasn't used at the Chalet School, but, horrifying as it might seem now, it was quite normal at a lot of schools at the time. We don't usually see girls being caned at home in the CS books, but it's made quite clear that corporal punishment was used on boys. Jem wallops Mario Balbini, and Prince Balbini is fine with it. And poor Tony Barrass is treated quite violently.

Different times ...

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 10:18 
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Miriam wrote:
EBD is trying to use new ideas in this book. The plot as a whole folows the 'new girl has family issues , comes to the CS, settles down and enjoys life, has an accident and reonciles with family' line, but the details are a bit different.

The ceramics issue is the only time something like this has come in the CS cannon (possibly the only time Chinese ceramics are a plot issue in the whole of GO literature).

(Now waiting for people to point out how many Chinese ceramic experts there are in GO!)
I couldn't cite other GO instances off the top of my head (though doesn't AF's Miranda West talk of specialising in this area as a fall-back career plan?), but it is something I've noticed in fiction as a whole - if there's a character who's an antiques expert, and they have a specialisation, it's good odds it will be in Chinese or 'Oriental' (as you wouldn't say these days) ceramics. I suspect it's because it sounds more exotic/ interesting than being a carpets expert or a furniture specialist, and people think that Chinese artefacts must be flamboyantly colourful - whereas the best-known Chinese ceramics are the blue and white pieces and the rest are more famous for their delicacy of colouring. The silliest example I can think of is when Dr Watson has to pose as an expert on Oriental ceramics in a Sherlock Holmes story and mugs up on the subject enough to be convincing - it's a very complex area, with lots of traps for the unwary!

As Kang-He is not one of the longer or better-known periods in Chinese ceramics, I suspect that the inspiration here came from the thriller The Kang-He Vase by J S Fletcher, which was first published in 1923 and seems to have been very popular in its day (it was still in print in 1940). 'Keeps the Night-Lights Burning!' advises a 1930 dustjacket, though this blogger is less than impressed...

Edited for clarity


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 16:58 
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What about Oscar Devereux and his jade collection in the Sadler's Wells books - not exactly ceramics, but definitely Chinese artefacts?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 18:50 
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EBD was of her era when it comes to corporal punishment, so you can't really call it outrageous. It was the norm. I was physically punished at home even in the early sixties, and certainly at primary school in the fifties. I know it shocks folk today, but you have to put any book you read in context and go with the flow.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 19:36 
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Prof Fry does seem to have used it as a last resort. Richenda had persistently disobeyed, and destroyed a valuable item in the process - valuable not just in monetary terms, but for its aesthetic and cultural qualities. At Richenda's age, remorse and regret at having destroyed something she claimed to love should have been enough to put a stop to her disobedience. Since it didn't, it's hard to know what other options the Professor had.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 21:31 
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Yes, though it looks as if the one thing she had smashed was a much less valuable piece "a little blue crackle jar" - not that that's excusable either, obviously. I hate to think of what he would have done if she'd broken the Khang-He/ Kang-He vase.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 22:49 
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I think the other option Prof Fry had would be to find out why she disobeyed and to allow her to be in the Chinese Room under her supervision and share his expertise and enthusiasm like a normal parent would.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 23:40 
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And he could have got a glass cabinet with a lock, and put the vases in there, which might have been rather more sensible anyway :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 23:47 
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Mel wrote:
I think the other option Prof Fry had would be to find out why she disobeyed and to allow her to be in the Chinese Room under her supervision and share his expertise and enthusiasm like a normal parent would.


He is a "normal" parent. Parents are not superhero's. They have faults just like the rest of us. They don't always understand. It's entirely possible that Prof Fry just didn't know how to relate to his daughter which is something I can sympathise with.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 23:56 
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Alison H wrote:
And he could have got a glass cabinet with a lock, and put the vases in there, which might have been rather more sensible anyway :D .

I really don't see why he should do that. If he loves the items he collects, he would not want to see them locked away in a cupboard, even with glass doors. It truly hurt me physically to see one of my dolls houses trapped in a cabinet when I lent it to the village museum....

And as for "normal" parent - I think he was completely normal for his time and struggling to bring up Richenda to the best of his ability. Fathers did not "parent" then as they do today.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 02:04 
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Mel wrote:
I think the other option Prof Fry had would be to find out why she disobeyed and to allow her to be in the Chinese Room under her supervision and share his expertise and enthusiasm like a normal parent would.


That's what he eventually does when super mum Joey explains it to him. :D

And, to be fair to Joey, she does tell Richenda that while her dad is not trying to understand her, nor is Richenda making an effort to understand him.

She says he doesn't understand something she has never made an effort to explain to him. Though admittedly no teenage girl is probably going to have the maturity to handle the situation and it requires another adult to step in. One of the times I think Joey's meddling is a good idea!

Prof Fry is clearly out of his depth and does what any parent would do when a child constantly disobeys - punishment.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 12:14 
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Alison H wrote:
I'm currently reading Too Marvellous For Words (as discussed in The Rose Garden), about the real-life experiences of girl at a boarding school in Suffolk in the 1960s, and she says that one of her friends was caned, on the bottom - she had to pull her pants down - by a teacher. Corporal punishment wasn't used at the Chalet School, but, horrifying as it might seem now, it was quite normal at a lot of schools at the time. We don't usually see girls being caned at home in the CS books, but it's made quite clear that corporal punishment was used on boys. Jem wallops Mario Balbini, and Prince Balbini is fine with it. And poor Tony Barrass is treated quite violently.

Different times ...


Corporal punishment is still legal and/or carried out in a number of countries around the world...

I like this book. I got the Richenda/Trials/Theodora 3-in-1 quite early on and I really enjoyed this one. I quite like the character of Richenda and see why she'd be a good match for Con as a friend, I like the triplets in this, and I enjoy the various adventures.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 12:48 
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I like this one too, especially the ceramics interest and Richenda herself. The 'accident' too is a change from the usual blizzard, falling off a mountain. There seems to be too much fuss about Jo missing the triplets' birthday as surely the majority of pupils are never with their families on their birthdays. However, it's really just to show what a beloved mother Jo is. Is this the book where the triplets buy a china duck for Cecil? It always makes me smile that EBD obviously thinks a rubber or plastic duck is far too common for a Maynard baby! But would it be safe?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 13:29 
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Quote:
It's entirely possible that Prof Fry just didn't know how to relate to his daughter which is something I can sympathise with.


Quote:
Fathers did not "parent" then as they do today.


I think Prof Fry was of the generation that thought that mothers parented daughters and fathers parented sons.

I also get the impression that he'd never expected to marry or become a father, but had been unexpectedly smitten with Richenda's mother, then found himself a grieving widower with a very small child. Not surprising that he left her upbringing to Nanny, but now she's too old for Nanny, but not quite old enough for the professor to be able to relate to her as an adult. A teenager, in other words!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 15:08 
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I think that maybe all the Profs - Trelawney, Fry and maybe even Richardson - got married because it was the expected thing to do ... but might have done better to focus on their obsessive interests. At least Prof Fry does bother with Richenda. And he employs Nanny, rather than expecting a sister or cousin to take charge of Richenda. I think he does try.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2017, 00:09 
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I was born in first half of fifties and smacked by my mother occasionally right through childhood. She regrets it now but it was the norm.

I was a quiet child but still given the "belt" several times in primary school for such stuff as having too many spelling mistakes.

In my secondary school around 1970 "nice" girls were still being belted for ridiculous reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Richenda
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2017, 04:53 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I was born in first half of fifties and smacked by my mother occasionally right through childhood. She regrets it now but it was the norm.

I was a quiet child but still given the "belt" several times in primary school for such stuff as having too many spelling mistakes.

In my secondary school around 1970 "nice" girls were still being belted for ridiculous reasons.


I was born in the 1970s and my mother regularly used the wooden spoon on my brother and myself. Looking back, I think she had terrible PMS and she just needed someone or something to vent to. The smallest thing could set her off.

However, unlike yours, my mum does not regret it. In a bout of selective memory, she has chosen to simply not remember it.

My bother and I read about how a girl in Australia had taken her parents to court for emotional distress from being spanked as a child. We were joking about how much money we could get from mum and she flat out denied ever hitting us though we assured her it happened on a regular basis.

My primary school caned the boys and used the ruler on girls and this was well into the 1980s. I seriously doubt that still happens now.

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