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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 13 Jan 2017, 23:58 
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I don't think EBD showed herself in a good light in Eustacia. She seems to have no sympathy for her character or make allowances for Eustacia. She also does not allow the other characters to show any sympathy. There is a streak in EBD which seems to say that people must be punished for their defects and she sees Eustacia as being a flawed character.

She applies much the same rule in New CS with the Balbini twins. Now I don't care very much for the Balbinis and New CS is one of my least favourite books but it is as if the reader should be glad that the twins did not see their mother before she died. As for Jem smacking the twins, that was not good but this was 80 years ago and adults did smack children not their own.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 05:42 
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fibreclaire wrote:
I am just re-reading The New Chalet School where Dr Jem smacks, repeatedly, a child not even his own, and the child's father supports him in doing so!!! astonishing in these days (and illegal), but quite acceptable behaviour for an adult in those times.


You do wonder though if that was also a class thing. It's ok for upper class doctor Jem to smack the daylights out of Mario, but would it have been ok for the hotel owner to smack the children over their behaviour? After all, they were scaring off customers to his new establishment and Madge openly says that.

Mel wrote:
And I don't buy the idea that E was secretly very taken with Jo.


Apparently she admired Joey for keeping control over her temper? But we see Joey consistently flaring up and losing her temper so that doesn't even make sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 09:26 
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It would have been fine for a lower middle class person like the hotel owner to smack working class or lower middle class kids, say if they'd been kicking a football at the hotel windows, or dropping litter in the gardens. I don't think he'd have smacked the Balbini kids, but then they were staying at the hotel and there's an element of the customer always being right and not wanting to risk losing business.

Eustacia's cousin gets a thrashing when he and Eustacia argue, but she only gets told off. And Nell makes it clear that she'd have got a thrashing for sneaking if she'd been a boy. So EBD evidently thought that it was good to smack boys, but unacceptable to smack girls ... and Eustacia is one of the few CS girls who does hit another pupil. Interestingly, another one is Len, of all people - although Margot didn't half ask for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 11:22 
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It seems to me that Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School is perhaps one of the most influenced by Mrs Vaizey's approach and her narrative techniques - apart from some incidental details it could easily have been published in 1890 rather than 1930. It is very much a moral story, so practically every action has a consequence, culminating in Stacie's severe back injury.

As a young reader I had most of the reactions to events and characters that I was meant to, of course!


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 14:07 
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I always think that there's a Susan Coolidge Katy Carr influence as well ... it's definitely a moralising story, as you say.

Poor Eustacia! Plenty of other girls get ill or injured because of their own or others' actions, but they all, except maybe Josette (and Maureen, but that's off screen) make full recoveries within a few weeks. Jo blatantly disobeys Madge over the ice carnival, but recovers from her injuries in no time. Grizel goes off to climb the Tiernjoch because she's in a strop over a deserved punishment, and gets bronchitis but recovers in a fortnight or so. Poor Stacie runs away because she's unhappy, and is laid up for two years and has a bad back for the rest of her life.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 16:33 
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Alison H wrote:
Eustacia's cousin gets a thrashing when he and Eustacia argue, but she only gets told off. And Nell makes it clear that she'd have got a thrashing for sneaking if she'd been a boy. So EBD evidently thought that it was good to smack boys, but unacceptable to smack girls ....

I'm not sure why she would think that, since, in my junior school in the early fifties, girls as well as boys were physically punished with the strap or the slipper - and, of course, had our knuckles rapped with rulers when our hands happened to be on the desks and we got something wrong. Perhaps physically punishing girls changed at 11, since there was no corporal punishment at my grammar school. Although sometimes the psychological damage done in its place could be worse...

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 20:29 
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No, I'm always uncomfortable reading Eustacia because I feel sorry for her, even though we're not supposed to. She's a pain, sure, but I don't think the school handled her well at all. Like when Miss Wilson didn't explain the distinction between sneaking and reporting - Eustacia had no idea about the schoolgirl moral code, how was she to know? And Miss Stewart had a huge go at her over the whole thing with Bill, which wasn't entirely her fault (the blizzard certainly wasn't), and it wasn't her fault either that Robin got ill. If Robin was so delicate she should never have gone on the expedition. And when she runs off, Mdlle Lepattre asks why no-one told her what was wrong. Er, you're the headmistress, you saw her crying, and you didn't twig Eustacia was having problems?

I can understand if you try to be nice to a person and they keep shoving it back in your face, but Joey really didn't demonstrate the amazing understanding she's supposed to have. And I don't think she was that great as a Head Girl either, to be honest. Eustacia is one of the reasons why.
Mel wrote:
I agree that no-one in Eustacia is shown in a good light though EBD seems to think that everyone did their best for Eustacia. There is no shame-faced discussion afterwards where the staff and prefects berate themselves for their clumsy handling of the situation. And I don't buy the idea that E was secretly very taken with Jo.

Same. Did Eustacia really care that much about being mates with Jo?
Alison H wrote:
This was the first CS book I ever read, so I've got a soft spot for it, but I don't think anyone comes out of it very well. Eustacia's aunt just seemed to want rid of her. Eustacia herself behaved very unpleasantly to the other girls. Miss Wilson, instead of gently pointing out that sneaking wasn't the done thing, told her that, if she'd been a boy, she'd have got a good thrashing :roll:. Mlle Lepattre didn't really do anything. Mary's approach was to call a school council so that everyone else could slag Eustacia off - no wonder the poor girl ran away! Mary really was a very poor Head Girl, IMO: she handled things very badly in Rivals as well. Joey blamed Eustacia for things that weren't her fault. Robin shouldn't have been on the trip in the first place.

Madge and the original prefects were off the scene, and no-one seemed able to deal with anything effectively. It's a common problem in any organisation, when "leaders" leave ... makes you wonder what happened when Hilda retired. And Mary-Lou would soon have sorted Jack Lambert out! There just isn't anyone to sort anything in this book - and I do feel sorry for Joey, however annoying she is here, when Miss Wilson says it's her fault that Eustacia's run away.

This, all of it.

Mary-Lou got on my nerves at times in the Swiss books, but she would have been able to handle Eustacia a lot better than Joey. Her reaction to Jessica Wayne being on her own is to ask the other girls what's going on and make it clear she won't have Jessica excluded, and she really goes out of her way to try and be friendly to Jessica, and I reckon she'd have done the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 00:00 
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Mary-Lou had her faults but she was always kind.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 02:39 
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Alison H wrote:
I don't think he'd have smacked the Balbini kids, but then they were staying at the hotel and there's an element of the customer always being right and not wanting to risk losing business.


Yeah, he probably would only have complained to the dad who clearly could not care less.

But what if the owner did what Joey did and broke the catapult thingy that Mario had? After all, it was pretty dangerous. What if he got someone in the eye with it? He clearly was a terrible shot. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 15:00 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I don't think EBD showed herself in a good light in Eustacia. She seems to have no sympathy for her character or make allowances for Eustacia. She also does not allow the other characters to show any sympathy. There is a streak in EBD which seems to say that people must be punished for their defects and she sees Eustacia as being a flawed character.

She applies much the same rule in New CS with the Balbini twins. Now I don't care very much for the Balbinis and New CS is one of my least favourite books but it is as if the reader should be glad that the twins did not see their mother before she died. As for Jem smacking the twins, that was not good but this was 80 years ago and adults did smack children not their own.


I don't agree with this actually. I think EBD has sympathy for both Eustacia and the Balbinis - but I think, in the case of the Balbinis especially, she is making the point that your small actions can have larger and unforeseen consequences.

I find Joey very 'real' in this story and she doesn't annoy me. She's a very believable sixteen year old girl. Actually, I find the way everyone behaves very believable. You do get a sense that the school is struggling without Madge in dealing with a serious internal issue. Hilda and Nell are just not quite as authoritative as they would be in a few years, and Mademoiselle is also finding it hard - she's a better Head later on IMO.

Eustacia, while I do feel sorry for her, is an absolute nightmare in the book. Joey does try with her, more than she has been given credit for I think. But at that age she still has a hot temper and I think anyone would be annoyed by Eustacia (be honest). And the way Eustacia behaves on the mountain is really awful - she must realise it's an urgent situation, and yet she behaves in a way that would be unacceptable in even a non-emergency situation. She doesn't deserve to be blamed for Robin's illness at all, but she is definitely responsible for Miss Wilson's accident.

Eustacia is totally over the top, but the human behaviour, on the other hand, is really convincing.

I wonder why Madge doesn't get involved at any point? EBD couldn't have her try and fail to reform Eustacia, but is there any reason given for her absence?


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 15:36 
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I think she probably just had a lot on. David would have turned one during this term, so probably crawling around and trying to walk and generally getting into everything :D, and she had Peggy and Rix, who were two, at Die Rosen as well. There's a scene at the end of Head Girl in which she accepts that her day-to-day involvement with the Chalet School is over and her life has moved on. And maybe she didn't want to be seen to be stepping on Mlle's toes.

She never really gets involved after Head Girl, and the school really misses her: Mlle and Mary Burnett both struggle to provide leadership. It's the same in Rivals.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 16:54 
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Loryat wrote:
Eustacia, while I do feel sorry for her, is an absolute nightmare in the book. Joey does try with her, more than she has been given credit for I think. But at that age she still has a hot temper and I think anyone would be annoyed by Eustacia (be honest).
I'm not convinced Madge could have made any real difference anyway, as I also think that Eustacia is pretty near impossible. In particular she can't seem to relate to other people, from which many of her problems come.

EMBD makes it absolutely clear that it was Eustacia's upbringing that was to blame: she was brought up by two intellectual parents, both of whom had "great theories on how to bring up children" which they applied to her, although her father sounds like an earlier version of Prof Richardson, obsessed with his work, and he evidently left most of it to his wife.

When her mother died suddenly, Eustacia "wept decorously [my italics] for the woman who had had so much to do with her training". It sounds to me as if she had a cold upbringing and a very distant relationship with one or both parents - a likely effect of some 1920s thinking on child-rearing, e g John and Rosalie Watson's advice to parents about treating their children rationally
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Let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning. Give them a pat on the head if they have made an extraordinarily good job of a difficult task
from Psychological Care of the Infant and Child (Watson & Watson, 1928). At the time of Eustacia's birth her parents could not have read this particular work, or JBW's articles in the popular press, but EMBD could have read them in the 1920s - and indeed we know from the La Rochelle books in particular that she had something of an interest in child psychology.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 23:27 
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It seems that there is a fashion in affection just like everything else. In "my young days" - I am 63 - I would never have hugged friends on greeting them as happens now. Men never used to embrace. I always used to kiss my parents when leaving them but not on greeting them. My sister kissed them less frequently.

I suppose what I am trying to find out is - did most people behave in the fashion of the time or would there have been a sizeable number of people who did act differently?

Also, was Eustacia not a completely unrealistic character, initially at any rate, because she had absolutely no redeeming features?

Last point if Mary-Lou had been a prefect/even senior at the school she would have gone out of her way to help Eustacia in a way Mary Burnett and her fellow prefects did not.

Maybe all of these comments better kept for the discussion on the book due in a week or two.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 03:15 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I suppose what I am trying to find out is - did most people behave in the fashion of the time or would there have been a sizeable number of people who did act differently?


I think there's a range (in mathematical terms, I'd describe it with a bell curve). Most people will unconsciously fall within the norms of the time, and will generally not stop to consider that these norms are something that shifts with time. Social pressure for deviating from those norms can be a very powerful force. Some people will deliberately deviate based on their own principles, personalities or ideologies, in both directions, either rejecting the norms, or in some cases going to extremes. Some people will deviate from the norms for other reasons - neglectful or abusive parents, for example.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 08:44 
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I think it's a very sad story. Eustacia is a product of her upbringing: it sounds as if she's had very little contact with anyone other than her mum, her dad and their housekeeper. She doesn't know how to behave in a community. But no-one tries to help her learn how to do so. Her auntie and uncle pack her off to a school from which she'll only be able to come home once a year - that conversation between Mrs Trevanion and Mrs Cochrane's really quite nasty. Miss Wilson, instead of explaining that sneaking is not the done thing, tells her that if she were a boy then someone would have beaten her up. Mary Burnett gets everyone else together to slag her off. As Audrey said, someone like Mary-Lou would at least have tried.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 12:11 
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I wonder how she should have been treated? Mlle is the best person for the job being kindly yet firm. To tell E that no one will love her if she is unkind/tells tales wouldn't really work as she doesn't care about people. I think she is still suffering from shock at the deaths of her parents and having to leave her familiar environment. As someone mentioned earlier she has no redeeming features except that she has a secret admiration for Jo which I don't see at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 12:48 
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Whilst I don't like Mary-Lou's general attitude towards Joan, she tries to bring Joan into (what she sees as) the CS fold by using Joan's interest in tennis. Similar things happen in some Enid Blyton books - Gladys is brought into the fold at St Clare's when they find out that she's good at acting ... something I'd have liked to see happen at the CS with Yseult. You'd think that whichever mistress taught classics would have been over the moon at having a new pupil who specialised in her subjects, and that that would have been the best way for someone to bond with Eustacia; but it's never even mentioned.

Presumably both Latin and Greek were taught at the CS, or it would have been difficult for Stacie to go on and study them at university afterwards ... and this would have been when a lot of universities wanted Latin for most courses anyway. I think we're told later on that Mlle de Lachennais and Mlle Berne teach Latin, but I don't think either of them were at the school then, and I can't remember Greek ever being mentioned at all. Maybe Sally Denny taught them, like she taught everything else :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 12:57 
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The other thing I think about Eustacia is that not only was she suffering from the shock of the death of her parents, but they were not around to defend themselves. She is being told all the time not only that the CS does things differently from the way she was brought up, but that her upbringing had been wrong. In those circumstances, I can quite see that loyalty to her dead parents would make her more determined than ever not to change her ways. And there is the one scene of her being homesick for Oxford.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2017, 14:45 
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Noreen wrote:
Loryat wrote:
Eustacia, while I do feel sorry for her, is an absolute nightmare in the book. Joey does try with her, more than she has been given credit for I think. But at that age she still has a hot temper and I think anyone would be annoyed by Eustacia (be honest).
I'm not convinced Madge could have made any real difference anyway, as I also think that Eustacia is pretty near impossible. In particular she can't seem to relate to other people, from which many of her problems come.


Yes, Eustacia really does just need to learn how to be with other people, which is something that can only happen gradually. I think EBD does a good job of showing Eustacia making occasional progress - she is mildly friendly with Evadne and she enjoys the music and snowfight. If it wasn't for the Stubai incident she probably would have settled in eventually, but it would have taken a long time.

Noreen wrote:
EMBD makes it absolutely clear that it was Eustacia's upbringing that was to blame: she was brought up by two intellectual parents, both of whom had "great theories on how to bring up children" which they applied to her, although her father sounds like an earlier version of Prof Richardson, obsessed with his work, and he evidently left most of it to his wife.

When her mother died suddenly, Eustacia "wept decorously [my italics] for the woman who had had so much to do with her training". It sounds to me as if she had a cold upbringing and a very distant relationship with one or both parents - a likely effect of some 1920s thinking on child-rearing, e g John and Rosalie Watson's advice to parents about treating their children rationally
Quote:
Let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning. Give them a pat on the head if they have made an extraordinarily good job of a difficult task
from Psychological Care of the Infant and Child (Watson & Watson, 1928). At the time of Eustacia's birth her parents could not have read this particular work, or JBW's articles in the popular press, but EMBD could have read them in the 1920s - and indeed we know from the La Rochelle books in particular that she had something of an interest in child psychology.


That is pretty terrifying, isn't it. I think yes, the blame for Eustacia's behaviour is placed firmly on Eustacia's parents. I think EBD uses the phrase 'mourned properly' at one point. That gives such a clear picture of the coldness of her upbringing, and the lack of affection between her and her parents.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey in Eustacia
PostPosted: 04 Feb 2017, 01:12 
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I wonder how it would have gone if someone had sat down with Eustacia, and in a matter of fact, unemotional way, explained that the rules were different than they had been when she was at home, and then gone on to explain some of the rules she doesn't know. Like "When you have 100 people living together, you have to have rules and schedules and people have to follow them, or it turns into total chaos." I suspect it wouldn't have gone over well at first, but it might have helped later.

And yes, pulling her in via her strengths might have helped. They try that over the magazine, but it backfires badly partly because Eustacia already has a grudge against Joey, and because Joey picks the library (from which she has been banned) to discuss it.

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