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 Post subject: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 10:11 
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Were we ever told what, specifically, was wrong with Robin's health? There's so much talk of her being delicate, but I was never entirely sure what the problem was.

Did her mother die of haemophilia and was Jem worried that Robin might have inherited it? It would be far more likely that she would be a carrier, surely, than a sufferer. And she would have either had it or not had it. All this delicacy and setbacks etc don't really ring true.

Also, how come her father being killed after falling off a mountain barely rattled her, but Joey being a few hours late back from an expedition 'set her back a year'?

Did EBD just like the idea of Robin being a delicate snowflake, without actually having worked out the reason why?

Or did I miss something important reading the books?


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 12:44 
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I think Robin was meant to inherit her Mother's delicate constitution and her Mother died of the decline (aka TB). Given how it runs in families, the fear of Robin inheriting the disease was fairly reasonable. Madge and Jem were afraid of the effect her Father's death would have on her health so encourage her not to fret for him and kept her home from school. She did spend a lot of time with Bette di Bersetti, which also helped as her husband died with Robin's Father and she named her daughter after Robin. The most information about this is in New

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 13:01 
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I was wondering if it was TB they worried about. But my father, his sister, and my mother's sister all had TB but none of us were wrapped in cotton wool like that.
In fact, a lot of children I knew growing up would have had parents who had suffered from TB, or grandparents, grand aunts or uncles who died of the disease.

Indeed, a lot of girls at the CS would have had close relatives who suffered from TB eg the Lintons, but only Robin seems to get this anxious treatment.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 13:27 
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Liss explains it here viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10106

I'm all for that tale

This is the full drabble http://www.sallydennylibrary.co.uk/view ... hp?sid=425


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 14:29 
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Thanks Claire. I'll have a read of that.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 18:51 
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Fiona Mc wrote:
I think Robin was meant to inherit her Mother's delicate constitution and her Mother died of the decline (aka TB). Given how it runs in families, the fear of Robin inheriting the disease was fairly reasonable. Madge and Jem were afraid of the effect her Father's death would have on her health so encourage her not to fret for him and kept her home from school. She did spend a lot of time with Bette di Bersetti, which also helped as her husband died with Robin's Father and she named her daughter after Robin. The most information about this is in New


Or even just a generally weak chest/lungs - tendency towards the likes of bronchitis, or even pneumonia. I remember the days of being told not to get excited or I'd end up breathless, constant panics every time I sneezed, and yes, every cold and chill did turn to bronchitis. This was the 60s and early 70s; my mum, with a similar constitution was wrapped in cotton wool back in the 30s. She wasn't even allowed to take up a place at Grammar School as the doctor said a 30 minute journey each way 'would probably cause so many health problems it could kill her'. I had pneumonia a couple of times before I was even 5 years old, and up to my teenage years I only had to sneeze to be given a week off school 'just in case'..

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 19:05 
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Doesn't sound much fun, Pollyanna.

Regarding Robin, I think it was a fear she would inherit TB which had caused the death of her mother. When she first appears though I don't renenber her as being particularly delicate?? Her delicacy was maybe brought in to make more of a storyline. Much was also made about her health in Eustacia and Chalet School and Jo. Maybe so that we could also see the effects of Robin's bad health on Jo.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 01:11 
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Her delicacy definitely changes with time. When she first arrives, she's a sunny little girl, used to being around adults, who appears to be in robust health. The next book she's a "nervous, excitable child", and "delicate and needed a good deal of rest". By Eustacia and the books after it, she's so incredibly delicate physically and mentally that a night of worry threatens to send her into fatal decline, is on a reduced school schedule, and needs to stay in the mountains under tender care, and maybe she'll live to grow up, but can't risk moving to lower altitudes until she's an adult. Then suddenly, at the beginning of Exile, she's a normal child who survives a harrowing flight from the Nazis, and then takes a position as a prefect (at sea level), and bikes to school every day with no problems.

I think the main fear is that she'll die of TB, because she's inherited her mother's delicate constitution. But we never actually see her ill, unlike Joey, who has multiple near fatal illnesses, but is never put on a special health regime.

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 03:07 
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Pollyana wrote:
I had pneumonia a couple of times before I was even 5 years old, and up to my teenage years I only had to sneeze to be given a week off school 'just in case'..


I am an asthmatic and when I was younger the slightest thing could set off an attack. I had the same experience as you - a cough or sneeze that could turn into flu or pneumonia and I would be cotton balled up straight away.

Even now, if I wake up wheezing, I have to be careful for the rest of the day or I will end up in the back an ambulance.

So the constant monitoring given to Robin is pretty normal.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 07:27 
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Joyce wrote:
Pollyana wrote:
I had pneumonia a couple of times before I was even 5 years old, and up to my teenage years I only had to sneeze to be given a week off school 'just in case'..


I am an asthmatic and when I was younger the slightest thing could set off an attack. I had the same experience as you - a cough or sneeze that could turn into flu or pneumonia and I would be cotton balled up straight away.

Even now, if I wake up wheezing, I have to be careful for the rest of the day or I will end up in the back an ambulance.

So the constant monitoring given to Robin is pretty normal.

Cheers,
Joyce


Thats what I have always thought, based on the experiences of my mum and myself. As a teen, when I started reading the books, I just assumed she was the same! Constantly monitored to keep her out of trouble which could quickly become something worse.

I also get the 'not to get married' bit - once I realised that most of my health issues are based on a deficient immune system, and are hereditary I decided 'No Kids. Ever.' Largely because I would not wish my health issues on another child. I just shut the door on the idea of children in my early 20s, and never opened it again.Looking back now its not a decision I regret.

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 13:03 
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I did find it strange that once war broke out Robin suddenly turned into a robust teenager well able to cycle home from school during blackouts, help Joey with the triplets and cope with the various deprivations of war time.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 13:18 
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Also, having missed a lot of school as a child due to illness, this does not hold her back academically, unlike Amy Stevens, and she gets a place at Oxford.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 13:42 
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I think it was all for plot purposes really. Robin's health declines as Jo's improves and as Robin is so angelically lovely it suited EBD's rather Victorian values that she was always on the verge of slipping away. Then she suddenly gets tired of that plot-line as she cannot actually bring herself to kill her off. During and after the war years there are plenty of other delicate children to keep that little hobby-horse of EBD's bubbling though they are never as intense again e.g. Margot (retrospectively) Barbara Chester and Gretchen Von Allen and several others who are briefly fragile such as Peggy and Verity.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 16:31 
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Quote:
she's so incredibly delicate physically and mentally that a night of worry threatens to send her into fatal decline

And yet later she is quite mentally robust. She grieves for her father, but isn't made ill by it; she copes with the flight from Austria better than Jo does; and she copes also in Highland Twins when the telegram comes about Jack.

I've always supposed it was TB they were concerned about in Robin's case. But once EBD decided to use Robin as a main character, as in Exile, the delicacy storyline had to go.

Quote:
I am an asthmatic and when I was younger the slightest thing could set off an attack. I had the same experience as you - a cough or sneeze that could turn into flu or pneumonia

I've thought Jo might have been asthmatic. Standing at an open door breathing in cold air, as in Jo Of, would I suppose be enough to start an attack?

Quote:
plenty of other delicate children to keep that little hobby-horse of EBD's bubbling

Rosamund Sefton was another, although we never actually meet her. And Phil Maynard.

The introduction of vaccinations against all the main infectious diseases really put an end to 'delicacy' storylines. Phil Maynard really should not have caught polio in 1967, the date when Two Sams was published. I can't imagine Jack Maynard would have neglected to have his children vaccinated!

If one follows an internal series chronology with the triplets born in 1939, Phil would probably have been one of the last to catch polio before vaccinations came in.


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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2017, 04:06 
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And the Victorian angelically lovely, delicate little girl is a character that doesn't really age well into adolescence. Robin is twelve in Jo Returns, but is written like a much younger character. By Exile and age fourteen or fifteen, being the angelic baby child that people rave over would have been really odd. And by that point, I suspect EBD wasn't willing to go full-on Victorian with a histrionic death scene and the Robin ascending to heaven.

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 Post subject: Re: What was actually wrong with Robin?
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2017, 13:18 
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Yes, I think it had become a case of 'kill or cure' with Robin. She couldn't drift on indefinitely being close to death's door, particularly with the escape from Austria and rigours of war becoming a necessary part of the series.

I suppose we were just to assume that she had outgrown her delicacy and could now live a normal life.


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