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 Post subject: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 01:51 
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Indulging in a midnight feast
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This week the feature book is Jane and the Chalet School, first published in 1964, covering the summer term after Triplets and running concurrently with the latter half of Reunion. Fourteen year old Jane Carew, daughter of two distinguished actors, joins the Chalet School and immediately earns the enmity of Jack Lambert, who has been moved out of Len Maynard’s dormitory in order to make room for her. Notable events:

The book opens on the first day of term, where Jack Lambert is informed that she has been moved from Pansy dormitory to Violet. In a fury, Jack moves her things to Violet, snapping at everyone who offers to help, and says she overheard Matey telling Miss Dene that the new girl’s mother had asked for her to be put into a dormitory with someone who would help her out, which was why she was put into Pansy with Len and caused Jack’s removal.
Down in the common room, Miss Dene brings the new girl, Jane Carew, to join the Fourths and asks Jack to sheepdog her. Jane greets her eagerly, but Jack snarls at her for being the reason she was moved out of Pansy, refuses to sheepdog her, and marches off with her gang. Jane is hurt, but José Helston jumps in and, with others from Upper IVb, answers her questions and tries to excuse Jack’s rudeness.
Jane sits the entrance papers, and the mistresses are divided on whether to place her in Upper IVb or Lower IVa. They query why her work is so uneven, and why she has come to school in the summer term, and Rosalie Dene explains that until now she had a governess, as her theatrical parents didn’t want to send her away after her elder twin brother and sister died in a flu epidemic while at school. However, as the governess left unexpectedly and Sir William and Lady Carew were going on tour in Australia and New Zealand with their Shakespearean theatrical company, they had to send Jane to school quickly and picked the CS on Mrs Gay’s recommendation.
Jane is placed in Upper IVb for the majority of subjects, and sent to Lower IVa – Jack’s form – for the rest. She is delighted to be in Upper IVb, where she has been welcomed by José, Dilys Edwards and Adrienne Didier. When she goes to Lower IVa for algebra on her first morning, however, she is forced to stand and wait for a desk until Miss Ferrars arrives, as the form is ruled by Jack and her gang and they all pointedly ignore her. Miss Ferrars is furious at such a display of rudeness and drills them relentlessly for the rest of the lesson, which does not endear Jane to them.
That afternoon at games, Jane comes up against Jack again at tennis, where she and her partner Annette beat Jack and Kitty Anderson soundly in a pairs game. Margot then sends them off to the practice boards, where Jack makes a sneering remark when Jane is forced to wait for a free board. Len comes past, overhears her speaking in English on a French day and fines her, then turns her attention to helping Jane improve her backhand, which only makes Jack even angrier.
At needlework later, Jack is in such a bad mood that she is rude to Mlle, then sticks her foot out and trips Jane up, causing her to break her new workbox. Jane knows who tripped her up, but refuses to tell tales, and Jack is left feeling like a cad.
By the end of the first fortnight Jane has settled in, and is quite happy apart from her unpleasant encounters with Jack, whose bad mood and rudeness continues, much to the exasperation of both staff and prefects. When Aimée Robinet enters the prefects’ room and tells Len and Lizette Falence about another piece of impudence from Jack, Len vows to speak to her.
After Kaffee that evening, Len is heading off to take prep with Lower III when, coming along a corridor the younger girls aren’t allowed to use, she comes across Jack baiting a white-faced Jane. Neither of them notice Len until she reaches them, and Jack is dismayed at being caught in the act by her idol. Len sends her off to prep and says she will see her later, then reminds Jane the corridor is out of bounds and sends her off to her own prep.
The next day, Len catches Jack alone and demands to know why she has been acting up. Jack refuses to answer, but when Len mentions it having something to do with Jane, she bursts out that she hates her for being the reason she was moved out of Pansy. Len points out it would have happened sooner or later, and that she has in fact been lucky to have remained in Pansy for so long. She tells Jack about Jane’s backstory, and gives her a shock when she refers to her treatment of Jane as bullying. She warns her about the influence she has over the rest of Lower IVb, and Jack agrees to leave Jane alone.
Jack summons her gang the next day and tells them to leave Jane alone, and Jane is relieved to have the unpleasantness ended. Determined to get up to Upper IVb as soon as possible, she applies herself to her extra coaching and weaker subjects, and the staff are pleased with her progress.
Va decide to give a play written by two of their own, Priscilla Dawbarn and Eloïse Dafflon, when their turn comes to do the Saturday evening entertainment. On the Thursday before showtime, Tina Harms, who was playing the lead role, has a bilious attack and has to fall out. After a hasty consultation, Va decide to press Jane into service, and she agrees.
That afternoon, the school goes down to Lake Thun for swimming, and on the journey down in the mountain train Jane lets slip that her parents are the famous Shakespearean actors Sir William and Lady Carew. She had kept the fact secret as she didn’t want to seem to be capitalising on her famous parents. However, José and the others are merely thrilled.
Down at Thun, Jane is tested for the Ste Thérèse team, along with sundry others including Jack. Although resolved not to bait Jane, Jack still doesn’t like her and is determined to beat her in the heats, which end up finishing in a tie. Afterwards, while the rest are getting on with prep, Jane settles down to learning her part for the play, having been excused her prep by the Head for it. As she reads it, she sees one or two places where she thinks the stage directions could be improved upon, and wonders if she dare suggest it at the rehearsals.
By the final rehearsal the next evening, Jane is word perfect, and plucks up the courage to make one or two suggestions which help to improve everyone’s overall performance and even cut the running time down. Va are thrilled and go to bed feeling much more confident in their play than they ever had.
The play is held and is a great success. Jo Maynard and Daisy Rosomon attend, and are impressed with both the play itself and Jane’s acting. At the curtain call, Jane, Eloïse and Priscilla are given special cheers.
The next day, Jane is invited to English tea at Freudesheim, and invites José to go with her. Jo welcomes them and introduces them to Cecil, Phil and Geoff. While she is away attending to something, José lets slip that her mother is the former Crown Princess of Belsornia, a fact she has kept from most people at school as she only wants to be known as José Helston. Jane, who feels the same about her own famous parents, promises to keep the secret.
One day Maeve and the triplets are taking their ease in the garden when several of Lower IVa come running with the news that Jack and Jane are fighting over Miss Ferrars’ car. On arriving at the scene, they find Jack tugging on Jane’s hair and Jane trying to fend her off. Con and Margot pull them apart, and Maeve, Len and Con march them off to the prefects’ room.
Maeve drags from Jane her part of the story; that she had been asked by Miss Ferrars to give her car a wash as she wanted it that afternoon. Jane had done so, but Jack, whose special job was cleaning the car, had happened upon her and promptly flown at her. Jack refuses to believe Jane’s adamant denial of all knowledge that washing the car was always her job, and Jane insists that she is telling the truth. Maeve sends Jane off to the arbour to cool down and realise that she has no right at the age of fourteen to be fighting, and summons Miss Ferrars and Miss Wilmot to deal with Jack. They force her to apologise to both Jane and Maeve, but Jack continues to vow that she will never like Jane.
Half-term arrives, but home visits (except to Freudesheim) and excursions to the cities are off due to outbreaks of smallpox across Switzerland, so the staff arrange rambles and other Platz-confined entertainments instead, including a performance of Mrs Jarley.
On the first day of half-term, Jane and her friends go on a ramble with Jack and her gang, the Maynard triplets and several other Seniors, and Miss Ferrars and Miss Wilmot. After elevenses, Jack proposes a game of hide and seek. Several rounds later, she vanishes, and the entire group is dispatched to search for her.
Jane discovers Jack stuck up a tree, her frock caught in the branches. She climbs up and manages to tear the frock off so that Jack can move from the rotten branch she is sitting on, but they are unable to get any further down until Miss Wilmot hears Jane’s shouts for help and summons other Seniors to help get them down. Jack faints once they are brought safely back to the group and Jane is badly shaken, but otherwise they are unhurt. Jack, however, feels very uncomfortable that it was Jane of all people who rescued her.
On the Monday it rains, and Jo comes up with an idea for the evening to keep the school entertained. She and the staff make up a bundle of clothing for each girl and mistress, with an accompanying slip of paper bearing the name of a famous person. The owner of the bundle has to act the part of that character for the evening, and try to guess as many of the others as possible, with prizes for the most guesses and the best character interpretations. Anna Hoffman of IVa guesses the most correctly, Jane guesses the most from Upper IVb and Jack wins a prize for her interpretation of Dr Barnardo’s earliest waif and stray.
A week after half term, Janice Chester starts to feel unwell and reports herself to Matey. Mindful of the smallpox cases still going on, she is swiftly isolated, and a young doctor from the San is dispatched to diagnose her. He is puzzled by her symptoms, as he is unable to pin them down definitely to either smallpox or chickenpox, and eventually the decision is made to cable Dr Chester, as the San is extremely busy and none of the more experienced doctors can be spared. He flies over from Guernsey to see Janice for himself, and diagnoses her illness as cowpox, of which there have been several cases at his practice recently.
Thanks to the smallpox outbreak and the scare over Janice, the prefects are in a quandary over when to hold their Spanish-themed Sale, as the exams are about to begin and there is also the Sports Day to fit in. They invite the Head to their meeting, but she is forced to depart prematurely when Miss Dene arrives with a cable that causes her deep distress, much to the mystification of the prefects.
The cable turns out to be from Sir William Carew, with the news that Lady Carew has been seriously hurt in a car accident in Sydney, and asking that Jane not be told. Miss Annersley, with memories of not being told of her own mother’s serious illness until it was all over, is adamant that Jane should be given the chance to prepare herself for the worst, but agrees that for that day at least, they should disconnect the radios in the common rooms so that the news doesn’t reach the girls. She also phones Jack at the San and asks him to get hold of Jem, who is in Sydney, to find out more information.
The following afternoon, Jane and three others are practising tennis on a court next to the road, and are watched from behind the fence by two visitors to the Platz, who overhear Heather Clayton mentioning Jane’s name when pulling her up for foot faulting. As Jane and the others move away to the practice boards, Jack comes up with a message for Heather, and overhears the visitors remarking that Jane must be the daughter of Sir William Carew, and that Lady Carew has just been badly hurt in a car accident.
Horrified, Jack dashes off to the pavilion to think and wonder if she should tell Jane or the Head, but before she can decide, Jane herself enters in search of the woolly she left there. Seeing Jack’s white face, she asks if anything is wrong, and guesses from Jack’s expression that it is bad news concerning her. Jack urges her to go to the Head and ask, and accompanies her to the study, where they are met by the Head and Jo.
The news is broken fully to Jane, who demands to fly straight to Australia to be with her mother, and then bursts into tears, just as the phone rings. It is Jem with the news that Lady Carew has been operated on and regained consciousness, and although she is not out of danger yet, he believes she will pull through. Jo takes Jane off to Freudesheim to calm down and rest, and Jack goes to the Head to confess both to overhearing the visitors and to her grudge against Jane for which she is now genuinely sorry.
Jane wakes up at Freudesheim the next morning, and Jo gives her a cable from Sir William stating that Lady Carew’s improvement is continuing, and that he will phone up himself at midday with the latest news.
The call comes through, and Sir William tells Jane she will have to stay at school until the end of term, but that she will be flying out then and that her mother should be well enough to see her by then. He also says she will stay with Madge for the duration, and when the call is finished and Jack comes into the study, he tells her that she will be flying out with Margot, and that the Hopes will be picking her up at the other end, so she won’t be with strangers.
Jane goes back to school and tries to carry on as normal, but is much quieter and graver. Meanwhile, Jack tries to work out just why she has gone on hating Jane so much, and one blistering hot day sneaks off to the garden of Freudesheim to think, only to be caught by Len, in whom she confides.
Len tells Jack that the reason she has gone on hating Jane – despite secretly admiring how she risked her life to rescue her from the tree and how bravely she has faced the news of her mother’s accident – is because despite having got over being moved out of Pansy, she doesn’t want to face the fact that liking Jane means facing up to her own horrible behaviour.
Len sends Jack off to have a shower at Freudesheim to freshen up, and sends for Jane to the rose garden, where Jack soon joins them. Len leaves them alone, and they make awkward conversation at first, before Jack suggests that Lady Carew come out to the Platz to convalesce, which Jane eagerly leaps at, and which breaks the ice between them. Although no formal apology or reconciliation takes place, the conversation puts an end to Jack’s animosity for good.
The Spanish Sale is held and is a great success. Tom and her boys’ Club send a collection of miniature houses each native to a different country, with the competition to guess as many of them as possible. Jo wins with thirty seven correct guesses, and presents the miniatures to the school’s geography department. The Sale ends with the announcement that they have raised enough money for the San to begin building a new children’s ward; the Chalet School Ward.

So, thoughts on Jane? What do you think of Jane herself, her theatrical background and mannerisms, and how she settles in at the CS? Thoughts on Jack’s animosity towards her and the various incidents it causes? What about the tree adventure and Lady Carew’s accident?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 08:56 
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I quite like Jane. OK, that luvvy-ish stuff would probably annoy me in real life, but she's very sweet, and it's nice to have a new girl who is a bit different, has no previous connections to the Chalet School, and is not considered to be in need of reforming. I also like seeing a new girl being given a big role in a play - it's a standard Enid Blyton storyline, but EBD usually gives all the big parts to her old faves. And I love the way Jem always knows someone in a high place :lol: .

I struggle with this book, though, because of the storyline with Jack and the bullying. An unpleasant pupil who picks on someone vulnerable and encourages the rest of her gang to do the same very often happens in schools, but, in CS-land, you would expect it to be sorted out and Jack to get her come-uppance. Instead, when Jack is caught physically assaulting Jane, Maeve Bettany - who is a terrible Head Girl (Jo Scott would have been much better) - blames Jane, and Kathie Ferrars blames herself! It all goes so far against the CS ethos, and I find it very disappointing.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 13:19 
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I've only read this one briefly, as I don't own a copy.

I remember rather liking Jane, but being horrified by Jack's behaviour, which was at least as nasty as anything Thekla ever cooked up. She never does get a proper comeuppance, and one wonders if Miss Annersley may have started to need glasses by this point if she was unable to spot that one of her girls was turning into a thoroughly nasty, spiteful bully.

Jack is really out of the ordinary for EBD, as I think she is meant to be a cheeky, likeable character, but in this book she is just horrible and appears to have no redeeming characteristics whatsoever.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 15:50 
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I also quite like Jane. EBD seems interested in the theatre, acting etc right from the beginning presumably because of her own slightly theatrical background.

I rarely read this book now though because of Jack Lambert and also because I don't like Len in a leading role. She is not a natural leader and is too perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 16:35 
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I can't even read Aquabird's precis of this book, I can feel myself getting angry just at the thought of the unfairness over the car wash incident. Me, I'd have expelled Jack Lambert and good riddance.
I like Jane as a character, and it's lovely to see Jose Helston, who is so balanced and mature. Hard to read a book where you have to skip so much because of Jack, though!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 16:53 
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I'm impressed Jane enjoyed her first term. A girl bullies her for no good reason. None of the girl's in the bully's form stand up to her. The prefects admonish Jane when she defends herself. I'd be begging my parents to find me a new school.

I give Len credit for sitting down with Jack and pointing out that she's bullying, but there was no need to divulge Jane's personal story, especially as we learn that Jane doesn't want it getting around that she has famous parents. All Len needs to do is tell Jack that people come from different backgrounds -- something Jack should know already given where she goes to school -- and that she needs to respect that and knock off her bad behaviour.

It's maddening that everyone insists Jack isn't "soppy" about Len. She's disturbingly possessive. Everyone insists only Len can answer Jack's questions, but EBD does a poor job of showing that. The only reason Jack tries to monopolize Len is because Len puts up with it. It's a far cry from the school's beginnings; when Simone becomes possessive over Joey, Jo puts her in her place and obviously has authorial approval. Now everyone shrugs it off as "Jack is a question-mark."

I really like Jane. She reminds me of Jo herself -- charismatic, friendly, sensitive, whirlwindy, artistic, even down to good at languages and poor at maths. It's nice to see a girl come in and handle the language days, make friends, and distinguish herself in a positive way rather than being a problem-child. I find her "luvvie" speech rather endearing.

What amuses me about the play "The Little Germaine -- aside from the fact the plot hinges on long, blonde hair that is probably quite common in that part of the world -- is Va had no plan to shorten it just a couple of days before the performance. If Jane hadn't stepped in, would the play have just gone over time and made everyone 20 minutes late? That's not much of a plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 17:51 
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Although the way the incident with the car is handled is felt to be unfiar, it is realistic both in terms of RL and in terms of the CS where both sides in an incident are held equally to blame regardless of the rights-or-wrongs of the situation. The assumption is usually that a) the "victim" must have done something to trigger the event and/or b) it doesn't matter what someone else does, that doesn't excuse your reaction. It's a useful assumption because it saves having to investigate what actually happened but it reflects poorly on the authorities

What I found odd about the incident is the mistresses using the girls as convenient labour to do jobs they don't want to do themselves. It might be legitimate in the classroom but that car is a totally private matter. It isn't as if Jane, like Jack, is pining do something car-related, she's just having her free time taken away from her, and, as she says herself, she can hardly say no. If you want an example of bullying - the power of the strong over the weak - that's one. Again, it doesn't say much for the School authorities.

Jack's behaviour seems to me to be an accurate reflector of EBD's declining writing.
In the later books, people's behaviour has a tendency to become fixed - there's no growth. We have Rufus, introduced as a puppy doing puppy things, who remains "doing puppy things" for the rest of the series. So too, Jack. She comes in as a poorly socialised pre-teen and remains a poorly-socialised pre-teen in behaviour. Had she arrived earlier in the series, we would have probably seen her reform - in the same way as people like Cornelia and Grizel (while at school) do. Even Emerence changes! Because Jack arrives when she does, her behaviour doesn't develop and she does the same kind of things repeatedly. What's understandable (and to a certain extent, excusable) when you are young, becomes unacceptable when you are older.
Equally the flatness of Jack's friends and their lack of personalities are part of this writing decline. We would not have seen Jack's behaviour allowed by her peers in the Tyrol books but that's because, then, her peers would have all been individuals.
EBD does try to show some nuance in Jack's behaviour in showing her thoughts, and it's clear that she did not intend Jack to be a "bad" character.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2018, 19:41 
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I think this is the first book where I really struggled to try and remain impartial when doing the notable events. Jack's behaviour was just so disgusting that I had to put the book down and take a breather several times because I was so annoyed. Len does not shine at all in this; as in previous books, she's far too soft on Jack. She should have absolutely crucified her after catching her baiting Jane in the corridor, not given her a cosy one-to-one chat to smooth things over, and the car washing incident should have merited a Head's Report and a final warning that any further trouble of any kind would mean expulsion. She needed a really sharp shock to pull her up, and nobody seems to want to give it to her; like Margot, everyone treats her gently and tries to keep things sweet for her by giving way to her, instead of telling her trenchantly to get over her Pash - EBD can call it what she likes, it's a Pash - on Len and learn to stand on her own feet. I found myself wishing Mary-Lou was still on the scene, as she would have spotted what was going on a mile away and hauled Jack and the mindless sheep in Lower IVa well and truly over the coals for their treatment of Jane, and probably even found a way of letting the staff know off the record so that they could be on the alert as well.

I like Jane herself, and although the endless 'darlings' started to grate a bit after a while, I did grin at her unconsciously extending them even to the Head! :lol: She's a nice, sunny-natured, intelligent, friendly girl, and I'd have liked to be her friend if I'd been in her form. And even though Jem's never-ending connections in high places are called in once again to find out about Lady Carew, in this case it does at least make some sense, as he would almost certainly have made a lot of Australian medical contacts by this time - they've been in Australia for nearly a year by this point.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Jan 2018, 01:45 
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Aquabird wrote:
And even though Jem's never-ending connections in high places are called in once again to find out about Lady Carew, in this case it does at least make some sense, as he would almost certainly have made a lot of Australian medical contacts by this time - they've been in Australia for nearly a year by this point.


I agree, he would probably know the people to talk to at the hospital and was probably given permission by the doctors and Sir William to see her.

But I really hate the way he/Joey makes it sound like HE is the final authority on whether Lady Carew will be OK.

Isn't he a TB specialist? So how is he an authority on trauma and the internal injuries she sustains? But according to Joey "he KNOWS!" and EBD caps it so we all know Jem is a God doctor.

Victoria wrote:
Although the way the incident with the car is handled is felt to be unfiar, it is realistic both in terms of RL and in terms of the CS where both sides in an incident are held equally to blame regardless of the rights-or-wrongs of the situation.


Yes, I had teachers like this. And they were considered the most unfair and intensely disliked. By their lights, it's simply the easiest and laziest way to deal with a situation. It also means the bully keeps right on doing what they are doing.

I wonder though exactly what Jane was meant to do when Jack attacked her?

Mauve says "you should have kept your hands to yourself." So was Jane supposed to stand there and let Jack hurt her? Was she supposed to run away? Was she supposed to sneak?

That is what bothers me about that - Mauve just sweeps the whole thing under the carpet and thinks she did a good job in dealing with it.

Quote:
EBD does try to show some nuance in Jack's behaviour in showing her thoughts, and it's clear that she did not intend Jack to be a "bad" character.


Yes, she clearly wanted Len and Jack to have a mentor/mentee relationship. But in order to do that we also have to believe Jack's behaviour is not that bad either, because that would reflect badly on Len.

In this book, she eavesdrops, she bullies and she's a terrible leader - and that's just for starters.

We also see EBD simply does not consider bullying to be all that bad and it's something you just 'recover' from. Because if she takes the bullying seriously, then we must also believe Jack is a nasty little girl. So we have Len regarding the car incident as a joke to tell Grizel as a fun story along the lines of "guess what the Middles have been doing?"

These days we know the harm bullying can do with kids and adults sadly committing suicide because of it. Jack would have been expelled for the taunting alone in my high school. She wasn't even reported to the headmistress in the CS.

And Jack has almost no self awareness of her behaviour. She has shoved another girl against the wall and is taunting her and Len has to POINT out that that is bullying. At this point she is 13/14 yo. Is she really that stupid? It really does drive home the point that Jack's mental development is stunted.

And throughout the series we are told the 'authorities' don't interfere with personal friendships UNLESS it's hurting the girls. So why did noone interfere with Jack's leadership of her gang as she clearly was leading them badly and it was hurting Jane. And when did Renata who was so tough in Leader become so wish washy? Why didn't she stand up to Jack?

And EBD has the girls resorting to silly baby names for their parents for no good reason. Katherine Gordon calls her father dadda and now Jane calls her father 'fardy'. I wonder if she ever made a mistake and called him farty? And that's before the Maynard's poppa and mamma.

To something lighter, I was really impressed with Tom's Exhibition. 37 different houses! With dolls! But can anyone really name 37 different types of houses and their various countries?

And Joey quite intelligently gives the thing away when she wins it because where on earth is she going to display it?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Jan 2018, 19:44 
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The CS was really scraping the barrel to have Maeve as head girl. She was a lightweight featherhead and not long before that isn't she the form representative on a sale committee whose tongue runs away with her?

I don't know much what she was like as a head girl though as Jack Lambert puts me off reading Feud and Jane.

I wonder what the readers of that time actually thought of Jack Lambert?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Jan 2018, 20:23 
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I think both Josette - whom I do like, but who wasn't really a leader - and Maeve were both just keeping Mary-Lou's seat warm for Len, as far as EBD was concerned, and Ros was only HG to break up the MBR clan's domination! None of them are given the chance to take charge and make their mark. But Maeve really did handle this badly. So did Kathie.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Jan 2018, 20:30 
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On the whole I like this book and think it’s one of the better late Swiss books. It is completely unacceptable that Jack faced no punishment as a result of her bullying tactics, but it is sadly realistic that bullying goes unpunished. Jack’s flock of sheep mimicking her move is sadly also realistic. However, Jane is a likeable character who shows her mettle by rescuing Jack from the tree and throughout she is true to herself by not changing any aspect of her personality which may have led her to be more victimised. Go Jane!! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Jan 2018, 22:03 
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Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
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I wonder why EBD dropped Jo Scott. She did look as if she was destined to be HG when she was first introduced, and having her instead of Maeve would, as Alison says, have broken up the MBR domination. Dare I suggest it was perhaps because EBD was afraid she might be too good at the job, and Len would seem weak in comparison when her turn came?

When I first read the books, round about the time these later ones were being published, I was more interested in the triplets and their friendship group than Jack, so I didn't really stop to think about her character.

When Jack first joined the school, Gretchen von Ahlen was in her form. She seems to have faded out by this time. Was she in a different form? As daughter of one of the very first pupils, she might have been expected to feature more strongly. I know she was quiet and shy, but I'd like to think Frieda and Bruno's daughter would speak out against bullying.

I quite like Jane, I think it's a successful attempt by EBD to have a different type of girl. EBD did know about the theatre, through her friends the Bainbridges; I wonder why she never wrote a book with more of a theatrical background or setting. Or perhaps she tried and it didn't work out.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2018, 04:33 
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Swept off by Matey to pack
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I am inclined to think EBD dropped Jo Scott as she had no place for her.

In one of the early Swiss books, the prefects of the time, when either Julie or Betsy possibly was head girl, are discussing the fact that Vi probably won't be head girl as she is in the same year as Mary-Lou. It is remarked that Josette could be it the next year though as she was younger.

It could have been that at that stage EBD was thinking of putting Len in as head girl when she put Rosamund in and having the triplets leave when they should have done after two years in the sixth and when they were coming up 18. In that case Rosamund would have filled the year's gap between Josette and Len, and then there would have been no need for Maeve or anybody else.

EBD then maybe realised she could eke the triplets out for another year. It could also have been that she had to eke them out for another year as she was incapable of introducing another set of characters.

I don't think though that she had previously given any thought to Maeve being head girl but she needed someone and she was finding it harder to write in depth and harder to write outwith the MRB clan.

I would have loved to have heard Rosamund announced as head girl, about her feelings, how she tackled her first prefects meeting etc. Indeed I would have loved to have known how Len too felt when she became head girl. Had she known Rosamund was leaving, Joey's reaction etc etc. So much info not given because EBD was only skimming the surface.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2018, 04:50 
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Dashing off for your part in the play
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I agree that Jo Scott would have been a fantastic Head Girl - better than any after Mary Lou. But she vanishes without explanation (as does Rosamund - every other time there is a mid-year Head girl change there's an explanation).

Gretchen drops a form somewhere around here - I think there's a mention of her ill health having held her back. Then she shows up as part of "The Crew", described as having been part of that friendship group since arriving at school three years before, which contradicts everything before.

I think Jack had the potential to turn into quite an interesting adult, but she was the kind of kid who needed careful handling. She was too young to send to boarding school initially, and really needed the full time attention of parents. Then, she's the one who runs things, which is bad for her. Len can't stand up to her - Jack's the one who drives that relationship. The mistresses don't seem to be able to notice patterns, and are almost afraid to challenge her. They'll notice that, say, that she's doing badly at lessons, but not the pattern that this means trouble is about to erupt. And they're worried about getting her in trouble when she *should* get in serious trouble.

It would hav been *very* interesting to see Jack interact with Tom. I can see her admiring Tom, who had boyish interests and mannerisms, but Tom being horrified by Jack's ethics and behaviour.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2018, 21:02 
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Jack was certainly not a "gentleman", in Tom's terms!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2018, 15:45 
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Quote:
I agree that Jo Scott would have been a fantastic Head Girl - better than any after Mary Lou. But she vanishes without explanation (as does Rosamund - every other time there is a mid-year Head girl change there's an explanation).

I think Rosamund was a victim of EBD's hustling the triplets through school so fast. EBD wanted Len as HG, but she was still only sixteen in the September - there'd have been no justification for appointing her when there were so many older girls available. But that should have been the triplets' last year at school, so if Len was to have her turn, Rosamund had to go. But then EBD decided to keep them on for the extra year, so that they'd be eighteen when they left, so Len could have had her full year as HG anyway.

I don't know, maybe it was the publishers who were reluctant to lose the triplets and pushed for EBD to keep them on. The series would have been weaker without them, at least until Ailie & Co were old enough to be prefects, and traditional school stories were well out of fashion by that time.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 12:58 
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I happened to see an old school bully yesterday. She was walking along the street talking on her mobile phone and not looking where she was going, and never mind anyone she might have happened to barge into, so I don't think she even saw me, and I doubt she'd have recognised me if she did, but I certainly recognised her :evil: . I know it's a school story trope that two people who initially dislike each other end up being best friends, but I'm never very convinced that a girl like Jane would want to be friends with someone who'd treated her as badly as Jack had.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 18:49 
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It's not unfair for the girls to wash staff cars. In one independent school, I had girls asking if they could wash my car, because they found Sunday afternoons long and boring, so anything was better than nothing.

And the upper Sixth were always sure sure of a lift to the local town so they could say that they were going out with me.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Jane and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 18:51 
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Even without the earlier antagonism, I don't see Jane and Jack being real friends, as opposed to two girls who happen to be at the same school who get along with each other well enough. They're very different types of girl, they don't share any interests, or have anything in common. I don't know what a friendship between them would be based on.


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