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 Post subject: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 28 May 2017, 21:22 
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Just been re-reading Joey & Co. In the first chapter, we're told that Commander Carey is seriously ill. Everyone agrees that, should he die, Mary-Lou will have to give up her plans to become an archaeologist. The previous year, Amy Dunne was pulled out of school because her mother, who wasn't even a widow, needed a "daughter at home" and Amy's elder sister was getting married. No-one seems to find this unreasonable.

At the end of the very same book, Daisy explains that Ruey's widowed grandmother tried to stop her daughter from getting married, because she thought that it was her daughter's duty to stay with her and keep her company. Everyone exclaims about how "disgusting selfish" that was.

Maybe the attitudes would have been a bit different if Mary-Lou had hoped for a career which wouldn't have involved travelling, but even so. I suspect the answer is that it's quite OK to expect a daughter to give up her education and career, but not to expect her to give up anything as important as bagging a husband. Or am I misinterpreting it?

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 00:00 
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I suppose in ML's case the thinking was that Doris wasn't strong, either in health or personality, and she'd never had to cope on her own - she'd always had Gran Trelawney, then Cdr Carey.

Plus it would be ML choosing to give up her career, rather than Doris requiring her to, whereas in the Richardson/Rosomon case it was the mother trying to force her daughter to stay at home. Doris couldn't make ML do anything she didn't want to do; as far back as Three Go it was said that, if not for Gran, ML would have ruled the roost.

No-one seems to have wondered whether Doris would actually want ML to give up her career and come home to live. Doris might have been horrified at the thought of having ML living with her and bossing her about.


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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 00:29 
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I think you're right.

The underlying logic is that the most important thing in a woman's life is family, headed by being a wife and mother. So marriage and children take precedence over anything else. Next in priority is obligation to her birth family - parents and siblings. After that comes things like further education and a career, as long as they don't interfere with the above.

So a girl can get an education as long as it doesn't interfere with her brother getting one. And it's perfectly fine to pull her out of school or deny her a career if she's 'needed at home' (mother is ill, dead, delicate or lonely, younger siblings need care). But if she wants to marry, she should be free to do so, regardless of home commitments.

Julie Lucy, for example, is eagerly pursuing a long held ambition to be a lawyer, and is at Oxford. But she drops that immediately when she wants to marry, because she'll be 'too busy as the wife of a housemaster'. It's selfish for Ruey's grandmother to prevent her daughter from marrying, but fine for Madge to pull Josette and Sybil from their career plans to keep her company in Australia for a couple of years, and no-one bats an eye when they marry and settle permanently half-way around the world from her.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 04:32 
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I've never understood why ML couldn't continue to study archaeology - or did EBD think that archaeologists only studied ancient Egyptian civilisations? Many archaeologists study ancient Britain (as we know from watching Time Team), which would enable ML to live at home with her mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 05:16 
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jennifer wrote:
But if she wants to marry, she should be free to do so, regardless of home commitments.


I wonder how many women got married just to escape home commitments.

Queen Victoria did the same thing to her youngest daughter and she was only allowed to marry after the man agreed to live with them. What a stifling life that must have been.

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It's selfish for Ruey's grandmother to prevent her daughter from marrying, but fine for Madge to pull Josette and Sybil from their career plans to keep her company in Australia for a couple of years, and no-one bats an eye when they marry and settle permanently half-way around the world from her.


Ahh... but Madge is not stopping Josette or Sybil from MARRYING just from pursuing a career which, in EBD's eyes is simply not as important.

But there is also the fact that Madge only needs them for a few years and then presumably if they still wanted to, they could go on to uni or the embroidery school.

The one I feel worse for is Sybil. We are told she is not academically clever so she had to work hard in order to get the reward of going to the school that is her dream. She supposedly makes it only to have her mother deny her that opportunity, at least for a few years.

I wonder if it was poetic justice that both girls married men who would get them as far away as humanly possible.

cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 12:00 
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I want to come to Madge's defence! If Sybil was the age she should really have been by that time, she would have completed her studies at the School of Needlework. She's five years older that Josette, who by the time she leaves school is 17, so that makes Sybil 22. And for Josette, all she was being deprived of was a year at St Mildred's. As others have commented in other contexts, it's difficult to see what the point of St Mildred's was to girls who had already been at school in Switzerland for several years, and who were going on to University. What were they getting out of it that they couldn't/shouldn't have got from the school? As the Triplets prove by not going there.

To be fair to EBD, she didn't always think that the daughter should give things up. In Summer Term there's a comment about Len's life not being ruined if Joey dies in the train crash, because both she and Jack had strong views about the iniquity of eldest daughters being required to sacrifice their lives to look after younger siblings. I think the point with Doris was that she was so incapable of looking after herself that it was clear that Mary-Lou would be miserable if she felt that she had abandoned her mother. And maybe Mary-Lou wasn't interested in Anglo-Saxon remains. Similarly with Amy, IIRC she was one of the few girls by that time who wasn't planning on a career, but was always going to be at home with her mother, do the Season and look forward to early marriage. It's only particularly poignant in her case because she misses the coming-of-age celebrations. (And is presumably a plot device to get Vi her prefectship in time.)

Incidentally, I have just finished re-reading Emma, where the biggest obstacle to Emma and Mr Knightley's marriage is Emma's inability to leave her father alone. They agree that Mr Knightley will give up living in his own house (although presumably will have to carry on managing the estate, since he keeps the home farm 'in hand') so that they can both continue living at Hartfield. So it wasn't just widowed mothers who were selfish.


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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 12:42 
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Madge and Jem were originally only going to Australia for a year. Josette already had a place at university, and the plan was that she'd be back in time to start. Sybil's age gets ridiculously EBD-d - she was originally about 5 years older than Josette, but was somehow still at St Mildred's when Josette was Head Girl, and then her age got put back to rights so that she was 23 when Josette was 18, which would have meant she was still at St Mildred's at 22! Most people would have preferred a year in Australia to a year twiddling their thumbs at St Mildred's :lol:. But it was only meant as a temporary thing - the expectation was that Mary-Lou would give up her career plans for ever, and Ruey's grandma expected her daughter to give up any marriage plans for ever (or, presumably, at least until the mothers died).

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 29 May 2017, 23:11 
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I've always thought Madge was unfairly slammed over Australia. It was only going to be for a year at a time when it was much harder to travel. It was a fantastic opportunity for Sybil and Josette.

Although EBD often said there were five years between Sybil and Josette there were originally less than three. Sybil was born about three months after Jo's 17th birthday. Josette, about a year before the triplets were born, in the months around Jo's 20th birthday. Let's face it though Australia was really to get the Russells out of the way so Joey could run the Reunion a few months later.

Regarding daughters/family taking responsibility for mothers, at the beginning of 1959 when my dad's father died, my father made my mother agree to offer a home to her 58 year old, healthy mother-in-law who turned down the offer!

As for M-L I hope she did go abroad on digs or whatever, but regarding Doris, was it not more of a case that her health was very bad? I think she looked after Roland Carey rather than the other way round.


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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 02:48 
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Alison H wrote:
Sybil's age gets ridiculously EBD-d - she was originally about 5 years older than Josette, but was somehow still at St Mildred's when Josette was Head Girl, and then her age got put back to rights so that she was 23 when Josette was 18, which would have meant she was still at St Mildred's at 22!


Oh my heavens! You are right. For some reason, I thought Sybil was only one year older which means she was at St Mildreds.

But 22 means she should have been at the embroidery school or even starts her career by then. So maybe a year off before knuckling down to work etc would be a treat. or, if she had a commission, she could even have taken the work with her.

But for me, the concern is more the way Josette was told about Australia. Frankly, I would have loved to have been given a year off travelling before starting uni but it's also something you need time to get your head around.

To have it sprung on her in front of her friends by Miss Annersley, is a bit callous. It just reads as if Madge had not bothered to take Josette's wishes into account which is very out of character.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 06:26 
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Sybil was still at St Mildred's when Josette was HG. Her age gets so muddled :lol: .

I find it hard to believe that Madge would behave like that. I think EBD just wanted all the Russells out of the way, but I wish she'd shown it differently. Carola Johnstone said there was no way she'd want to go to St Mildred's rather than travelling to exciting places with her parents - why couldn't EBD have had Josette saying the same?

Going back to Ruey's mother, I think that's the only time we're definitely meant to think that parents don't have the right to control their daughters. Evvy and Corney and some of the others say that Mr Cochrane shouldn't be making Grizel do a course she doesn't want to, but some of the others disagree with them and say that Grizel has to do as her father says. What would they have said if Grizel had wanted to get married and that'd been what Mr was objecting to?

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 09:31 
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Joyce wrote:
But for me, the concern is more the way Josette was told about Australia. Frankly, I would have loved to have been given a year off travelling before starting uni but it's also something you need time to get your head around.

To have it sprung on her in front of her friends by Miss Annersley, is a bit callous. It just reads as if Madge had not bothered to take Josette's wishes into account which is very out of character.

Cheers,
Joyce


That wasn't Madge asking Miss Annersley to do that, that was Miss Annersley deciding to go ahead and do that. Madge was going to see her daughter at Half Term at Peggy's wedding and could very well have wanted to break the news in person there. Especially as it doesn't sound particularly definite as Miss Annersley says words along the line of "you should be able to persuade your Mother to let you go". So Madge may very well have decided to hold off saying anything until it was more definite or she knew more herself.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 09:58 
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Fiona Mc wrote:
That wasn't Madge asking Miss Annersley to do that, that was Miss Annersley deciding to go ahead and do that.


Yep, that was what I meant. Sorry, if it didn't sound that way.

Often adults do discuss things when they are still at planing stage, but don't necessarily tell their children until the plans are done and dusted. But the way it is written makes Madge sound callous which is very out of character for her.

Hopefully Madge had a chat with Miss Annersley about it afterwards.

Cheers,
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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 10:10 
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In the Swiss books, EBD sometimes seems so keen for characters, rather than the narrative, to explain things that she doesn't always consider whether or not it's appropriate for them to be saying what they are. So we get patients' confidential medical details being discussed with all and sundry, Joey relating the details of Reg's personal finances to Grizel and Mollie in the San, and Hilda telling Josette something that Madge obviously hadn't authorised her to mention :roll:.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 30 May 2017, 14:26 
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Miss Annersley comes across as quite mean - teasing Josette with the fact that she won't be going to Welsen, but not telling her why, when Josette has been happily planning on spending a year there with her friends.

Sybil graduates from the main school two years before Josette, and spends two years at St Mildred's (she's mentioned as being there in Ruey in the fall term, and Miss Annersley refers to her and Josette leaving school at that the same time). So she doesn't get her needlework training.

A little thought could have had Josette looking forward to it - asking her if she'd be interested in a gap year in Australia, and spinning it as more than keeping her mother from being bored and maybe studying at home. And it's a bit ironic that Madge is making a point of wanting time with her daughters when she's quite relaxed about leaving Ailie behind and not seeing her at all for a year (which turns into two).

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 31 May 2017, 05:28 
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Alison H wrote:
So we get patients' confidential medical details being discussed with all and sundry,


Oh that part is just mad.

Dr Jack should have been deregistered several times over for breaking doctor/patient confidentiality. And very ironic given that he says the same thing about a solicitor in Island!

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 31 May 2017, 10:02 
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I never had an issue with Ruey's relatives - it was just accepted when I grew up that my uncle (dad's brother) was going to get married and have kids, but after my grandfather died (in church of a sudden, massive heart-attack - convenient, really!) my father (the only other child - 22 at the time, while my uncle was 25) was supposed to stay home and look after my grandmother. This explained the resentment my grandmother always felt towards my mother and me. I always got lesser and cheaper presents than my cousin (half the cash, gifts for babies instead of someone almost ten, etc) and she would give money for holidays to my uncle, aunt and cousin, while we only ever got such a sign of acknowledgement once. For this reason I never had any problem accepting that a daughter would be expected to fill that role.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 31 May 2017, 10:34 
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I'm not surprised about Ruey's grandma's attitude, but it's the inconsistency between the idea that it's "disgustingly selfish" that a daughter should be expected to give up the prospect of marriage so that she can stay at home and babysit a parent but that it's perfectly OK that a daughter should be expected to give up her education and career so that she can stay at home and babysit a parent, in the very same book, that's got me.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 31 May 2017, 11:56 
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I definitely read it as being Mary Lou's choice, nothing something decided for her by others:

Quote:
“If,” said Madge with sudden gravity, “the worst happens where Roland Carey is concerned, at least Doris will have Mary-Lou to comfort her, as well as his girl, Verity.”
“What do you mean?”
“The old wound has flared up again and Doris and the girls are taking him to Glasgow for MacKenzie to see him again. You know what he said last time. If it should come to amputation, well, Roland is much frailer than he was last time. Jem says he doubts if he can come through.”
“Oh, Madge! Poor Doris!—and poor Mary-Lou, too, for if Doris is left alone, it’ll probably mean that Mary-Lou must give up her wish for archaeology as a career and she’s stuck to it that that’s what she wants to do for years, now.”
“I hadn’t thought of the effect on Mary-Lou; but you’re right, I’m afraid. She won’t leave her mother alone—that’s certain. And though Verity is a dear girl, she’s a broken reed when it comes to support. She’ll need support herself. Oh lets hope it won’t come to that, for everyone’s sake!”

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 31 May 2017, 12:38 
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KB wrote:
I definitely read it as being Mary Lou's choice, nothing something decided for her by others:

Quote:
“If,” said Madge with sudden gravity, “the worst happens where Roland Carey is concerned, at least Doris will have Mary-Lou to comfort her, as well as his girl, Verity.”
“What do you mean?”
“The old wound has flared up again and Doris and the girls are taking him to Glasgow for MacKenzie to see him again. You know what he said last time. If it should come to amputation, well, Roland is much frailer than he was last time. Jem says he doubts if he can come through.”
“Oh, Madge! Poor Doris!—and poor Mary-Lou, too, for if Doris is left alone, it’ll probably mean that Mary-Lou must give up her wish for archaeology as a career and she’s stuck to it that that’s what she wants to do for years, now.”
“I hadn’t thought of the effect on Mary-Lou; but you’re right, I’m afraid. She won’t leave her mother alone—that’s certain. And though Verity is a dear girl, she’s a broken reed when it comes to support. She’ll need support herself. Oh lets hope it won’t come to that, for everyone’s sake!”


I can also understand why she would do it too. She would have seen the affect it had on her Mother and Gran, when her Father left and didn't return and for a very long time they were all in all to each other.

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 Post subject: Re: Daughters' duties - inconsistent views
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2017, 09:09 
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I can see Mary-Lou's motivations regarding her mother. Doris comes across as the kind of person who doesn't do well on her own. Not that she's totally helpless, just not a particularly independent sort of person. Plus, her health is delicate, and she's lost two husbands and her MIL (who managed the household) in a period of eight years. So I can definitely understand Mary-Lou not wanting to be jetting all over the world to remote places when there isn't other family to support Doris.

Mary-Lou goes a bit overboard on the martyrdom, though, with the idea that she needs to throw over her career completely. As someone mentioned, Britain has extensive archaeology of its own, so international travel wasn't a requirement. Or she could have adjusted her ideas to something like analyzing artifacts after they've been dug up, rather than doing field work.

Verity's another issue though. I don't think that Verity needed someone to take care of her, and I think a lot of her apparent helpless was the result of Mary-Lou's take charge personality, rather than the cause of it. Given a bit of space to breathe, and do things at her own pace, and she'd have been just fine.

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