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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 18:03 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
It's possible Len operates fine in a crisis, such as with Roger and Charles, when she follows her instincts. It's when she has time to think, such as Jack going rogue, that she overthinks and makes herself anxious. Ask me how I know about this. :roll:

It definitely happens in real life - sometimes people can be really anxious in normal everyday situations, but when a crisis comes up they find themselves actually being quite calm and keeping it together.

I've warmed to Mary-Lou a lot on re-reading. She did grate at times, but she had good intentions and she got things done. She was proactive, not reactive. Mary-Lou would never have let Jack Lambert get away with so much or enabled her the way Len does. Not that Len isn't capable of being proactive, but she does fall short compared to OOAO.

Also, unlike Jack, Mary-Lou isn't cruel. She's mischievous, she's not perfect, and the Gang are a clique, but she's never outright malicious the way Jack is, like when she thinks Len broke a promise and retaliates by wandering off with her clique and some of the St Hilda's girls, and not only putting all of them in danger, but causing a lot of anxiety for the school as well. I'm not surprised Joey was livid.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 18:24 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Ref Fiona's post about Len, Charles wakes her up in the middle of the night. Anna would have been sleeping as Len was until she was disturbed.

Len could have got help from Anna or her sisters though. Madge says at the beginning of the book that all of the triplets and Stephen are growing into responsible people so it's not as if they would have been clueless if Len asked them for help

Regarding Joey and her faint, there were no adults there so Len was not told to take charge or given the responsibility but just did it.

Her behaviour and taking responsibility were very commendable but I still see a lot of it as Len wanting to take charge - that she would be irked if someone else tried to take a main role. Of course, the rest of the family would go to her if she was the one who always tooķ charge.

In a way Con and Margot were not given the chance to develop responsibility skills. Len was always there and wanting to do it so why should they? They probably felt she could do it much better than them

As for Len not wanting to be a prefect in Future when she talks to Jo, was this not EBDs way of warning the reader that 15 year old Len was about to be made a prefect?

There is never any mention that Josette was made HG at not quite 16 and left the school when she was nearly two years younger than the triplets because her brains had taken her through it so quickly. OK, some of this might have been EBDisms (and I think some of them were for the sake of the plot) and EBD mucked up Josette's age by making her older near the beginning of the Swiss books, but it was more or less righted at the end.

I am probably hard on Len but, as a character, she really does not appeal to me and never has.


I think that Len is responsible by nature and adults in her life recognize that and dump responsibility on her -- maybe too much. So Len eventually becomes the one everyone goes to because she's so responsible/mature/etc. when really she has no choice because people keep relying on her.

Len also has a tendency to make things her fault when they really aren't, so while I don't see her as someone who becomes irked when she's not in charge, I can see her as becoming anxious. Not because she necessarily wants to always be in charge, but because she will automatically assume she's to blame for a bad outcome, and if she's in charge, she at least has greater control over that.

I'm certainly bringing outside elements into this interpretation of Len though, including myself and people who remind me of her. She could enjoy being a center of attention bossy-boots. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 18:53 
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Len was told at three years old by Jack that, as the eldest, she had to help and be responsible, and I think that carried on as she grew up. She took on things because she probably knew or expected that she would be asked to.I am not sure that she always enjoyed it, surely at times she just wanted to be responsible for just her.
Joey used to say it was easier with a big family as the eldest looked after the youngest.That always annoyed me, why should they always be responsible,the parents should let them loose sometimes.
I think EBD failed in writing Len, making her a rather pale version of ML,without the character that ML has.ML annoys me but at least her character does that whereas Len is rather bland.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 20:45 
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Terrygo wrote:
Joey used to say it was easier with a big family as the eldest looked after the youngest.That always annoyed me, why should they always be responsible,the parents should let them loose sometimes.
That's a bit how it was in my father's family (ten rather than eleven, but not that different, after all), and as adults, the elder ones reckoned that the younger ones had it too easy, and the younger ones thought the elder ones were needlessly fussy. I'm reliably informed that my grandmother told people that they were one big happy family, but she always was an optimist, and I think was just delighted that they all survived, unlike her own siblings...


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 21:03 
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Terrygo wrote:
Len was told at three years old by Jack that, as the eldest, she had to help and be responsible


And Margot got some sort of "born bad" talk about how God had given her a bad temper, so life was going to be harder for her than it was for Len and Con.

It all seems an awful lot to be putting on three year olds. When Sybil, at about the same age, has a spat with Rix, Madge just tells them that, if they can't play nicely together, they'll have to be sent to opposite ends of the room, which seems a lot more age appropriate.

The triplets' characters are set from a very early age, and they're never really allowed to change. There's the big showdown in Theodora, but they still aren't allowed to move on. As they're the main characters by then, it's very frustrating. Mary-Lou and Jo both grow up and their characters develop, but Len is always the responsible one, Con the dreamy one and Margot the stroppy one, almost from the cradle.

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 21:38 
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My mother was the eldest of four, 14 years older than her youngest sibling and really resented the fact that she had to spend so much time looking after the others. She often told me that she went to church several times on a Sunday just to be away from the others. I was an only child, she never wanted more than 1.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 22:17 
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Alison H wrote:
The triplets' characters are set from a very early age, and they're never really allowed to change. There's the big showdown in Theodora, but they still aren't allowed to move on. As they're the main characters by then, it's very frustrating. Mary-Lou and Jo both grow up and their characters develop, but Len is always the responsible one, Con the dreamy one and Margot the stroppy one, almost from the cradle.


I think EBD tries to grow Len out of this role by having Miss Annersley tell her off for trying to take responsibility for Jack going off and getting lost in the woods. Too bad she negated it by having Len intercede with and coddle Jack so much. She tries the same with Margot by having her become a nun -- if she joins a religious order, she can no longer be "bad." I'm not sure Con gets any effort. Perhaps she was aware the triplets were locked in these roles but at this point was too far gone to write them out?

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 23:12 
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I think the triplets were badly-drawn because they were all facets of Jo and not much else so they were locked into these limited personalities. Len - sensitive to others and gifted at languages. Con - dark-haired, writer. Margot - fragile, mischievous. Though where Margot's relentless selfishness, jealousy and temper comes from (Theodora and after) I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2018, 08:04 
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And young Joey is remembered as being someone she very much was not. She didn't develop her butting-in habit and understanding until she left school - at school, she disliked sheep-dogging, hated responsibility, and while she was very sympathetic towards people she loved (Madge, Juliet, Robin), she had little empathy towards people who didn't immediately take to her (Eustacia and Joyce, both Matrons, as examples).

I think Joey was most like Margot, with her fragile health, impulsiveness, laziness and dislike of needing to mature. The temper I think Margot got from Jack, based on his extreme over-reactions to various misdeeds of his children.

Of the triplets, I think Con got the best deal. She gets to retreat into her own rich inner world, and isn't expected to be perfect and amazing all the time like Len, but isn't burdened by Margot's terrible lazy-and-bad label (which is well established at school as a junior of seven).

What gets me with Len's role as the responsible one was that yes, she was the eldest. By five minutes. Con and Margot pretty much entirely escape the load of being the eldest of a large family, and it's all dumped on Len, including looking after two girls the same age she is.

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2018, 20:47 
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I don't think Len was given the responsibility because she was the oldest. I think it worked the other way round. She was given responsibility because she was responsible and her age was only used to justify it. If she had been the middle one she would still have been given the responsibility but some other excuse like she had chestnut hair would have been used.

I don't actually remember Len being given actual responsibility for Con and Margot; only that she was always the one put in charge and the other two had to defer to her which must have been nice if you were Len.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2018, 23:00 
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Mel wrote:
I think the triplets were badly-drawn because they were all facets of Jo and not much else so they were locked into these limited personalities. Len - sensitive to others and gifted at languages. Con - dark-haired, writer. Margot - fragile, mischievous. Though where Margot's relentless selfishness, jealousy and temper comes from (Theodora and after) I don't know.
And it's ironic that the triplets are supposed to be each one-third of Joey, so to speak, because EMBD so often makes it the father's family that counts - perhaps because her own father was absent.


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 22 Apr 2018, 01:51 
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One thing that occurs to me with Joey's airy assertion about the easiness of big families is that both Joey and Jack were very much the tail end of their families. Joey had two siblings 12 years older, Jack had a twin, a much older bother, and several siblings in between who died young. So neither of them were ever responsible for younger siblings.

By the time Madge had acquired younger wards and kids, Joey was well established at school, and was generally *not* expected to be responsible for them - there was Marie, and Rosa, and a hired nurse, and a well managed nursery. If anything, it was the volatile Joey who was told to calm down and not overexcite the younger ones. And Joey herself starts married life with a devoted servant, and when she has babies, she's got Robin and Daisy living with her to lend a hand.

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 23 Apr 2018, 15:24 
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EBD may have had fixed ideas about birth order since the triplets' qualities are approximated in the first three Maynard boys. Stephen, like Len, is the responsible one who keeps an eye on his younger siblings. Charles, like Con, is quiet and retreats into his own world. Mike, like Margot, is naughty and heedless. Maybe the first-born is just The Responsible One, even when it comes to multiples. I'm trying to think if this applies to twins in the series.

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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 23 Apr 2018, 15:32 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
Maybe the first-born is just The Responsible One, even when it comes to multiples. I'm trying to think if this applies to twins in the series.
Isn't Priscilla the elder of the Dawbarn twins (and the responsible one)?


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 Post subject: Re: The Chalet Series - an overview discussion
PostPosted: 23 Apr 2018, 15:58 
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I think so, but I'm not 100% sure if we're ever told. I don't think we're ever told whether Madge is older than Dick, Peggy's older than Rix or Maeve's older than Maurice, either. I always assumed Felix was older than Felicity and Kevin was older than Kester, just because we always get their names in that order, but that needn't mean anything. It only seems to be Len for whom being half an hour older is such a big deal :lol: .

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