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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 19:53 
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At the beginning of the series, there's every likelihood that Joey will need to be able to earn yet, at no time, is her education taken particularly seriously.


I suppose initially Madge's priority was to improve her health. Then by the time her health was better, and she was of an age to start seriously thinking about her future, Madge was married to Jem and it was no longer an issue.

Janie Temple similarly wasn't educated with a view to her going out to work, and she's already fifteen when we meet her. I wonder what Elizabeth envisaged Janie doing with her life if none of them had married and they'd remained in genteel poverty on Guernsey.

Jo would have had to knuckle down if she'd continued at Taverton High. Most of the other pupils would have been bright girls who expected to be taking School Cert and then earning their own livings; neither they nor the mistresses would have had much tolerance for her messing about as she moved up the school.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 21:10 
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The Temple girls don't seem to look to the future at all. Elizabeth and Anne were only in their early 20s, and Janie only in her teens - did they think they could live for ever on the small amount of money they had coming in? OK, they all bagged rich husbands, but there was no guarantee that that was going to happen. Elizabeth seems to take the same view with Vanna and Nella - although the Lucy girls were all planning to get jobs, even though Julian was absolutely rolling in money and only got a job himself so he wouldn't be bored.

I always find it interesting that Margot Venables went back to work as soon as she was well enough, even though it meant leaving Primula at Die Rosen. I'm sure Jem was willing to support her financially, so presumably it was her choice and she just didn't want to be supported by a male relative.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 22:12 
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JayB wrote:
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At the beginning of the series, there's every likelihood that Joey will need to be able to earn yet, at no time, is her education taken particularly seriously.


I suppose initially Madge's priority was to improve her health. Then by the time her health was better, and she was of an age to start seriously thinking about her future, Madge was married to Jem and it was no longer an issue.

I wondered (but didn't quite like to say) whether Madge didn't think it was very likely that Jo would live to adulthood so wasn't too concerned about the long term future


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 22:47 
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The Temple girls don't seem to look to the future at all. Elizabeth and Anne were only in their early 20s, and Janie only in her teens - did they think they could live for ever on the small amount of money they had coming in?


It's interesting that Janie Temple and Biddy Devine were both fifteen when they first appeared, in 1924 and 1925 respectively, an age when many girls were already out at work. Biddy was being equipped to earn her own living, while as you say the Temple girls didn't seem to consider the long term at all.

Mary Devine is made out to be a fairly useless specimen before the Abbey girls came along, but she had more gumption than Elizabeth, I think. She was holding down a job which supported her and Biddy, and made sure Biddy was receiving an appropriate training.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 00:20 
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Janie does study music at 'the conservatoire' in Paris, though, so presumably she could have taught music for a living.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 01:28 
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I find the Temple girls' approach, compared to Madge's quite interesting. There's a brief mention that Anne and Elizabeth aren't suited to teaching, but no other idea that they might need to work for pay. Their sole plan is to move to a cheaper area, live off of Janie's pension (which only lasts another year) and try to earn a living through selling paintings and stories (both the kind of careers that require a day job if you like eating and sleeping indoors). There's no idea to spend Janie's survivor's pension on, say, an office course, or any long term plans.

In EJO's work Mary gets an office job which allows Biddy to get some training, but there's the Shirley family in contrast. Mrs Shirley's approach to reduced circumstances is to contact estranged relatives until one of them gives them a suitable job in the countryside. Then, when the hard working ambitious Joan is offered a scholarship, which would give her the chance to gain employable skills (matric, then the chance at a scholarship for further training), they pass it to the lazy Joy for her personal development and for the sake of her music. Of course, a wealthy estranged relatives leaves them estates, so it works out okay.

With Joey and Madge, I agree that Madge was more worried about health for the first few years, by which time she had Jem, and the school was doing very well. If the school had stayed small (say, Madge, Mlle Lepattre and Miss Maynard and a couple dozen girls, half of whom were day girls) I think Joey would have worked at it, not as teaching staff, but as a general helper - a bit of secretarial stuff like answering phones and addressing mail and handling the stationery, some matron-like stuff like keeping track of laundry and linens and keeping an eye on girls who were ill, taking the girls for games, overseeing classes when one of the mistresses was ill, chaperoning girls into town, running errands. Basically and extra pair of hands who could deal with stuff that wasn't teaching or handled by the domestic staff.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 04:34 
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LucyP wrote:
... as EBD sees her (and I know she tells not shows, sometimes, but we need to believe the authorial voice on this), Jo has excellent empathy, she is kind, she know what to say - what we call people skills, now.


We see Joey being constantly tactless which bemuses me. I think how EBD wanted Joey to be seen and how she actually is, is two very different things.

The thought of her in an office dealing with people of different classes, cultures and countries is sort of cringey.

I worked with people in Hong Kong who were very 'colonial' in mentality and needed to be forever reminded of the more PC words to use. I imagine Joey being very similar :D

"Joey", I whispered desperately. "Don't SAY that! We don't call them Hongkies anymore."

However, her ability empathise with young girls is constantly on show. And they do seem to want to open up to her. So how about a school counsellor? She acts as an unofficial one anyway.

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She is a highly successful author, so is hard working, able to work to deadlines, can research her facts. can self-assess, can proof-read - these are skills that could transfer to many jobs if needed.


Again, we don't see her working hard. She's constantly on tap to help out at the school, give parties etc and only every now and again is she seen writing and proofreading. She doesn't seem to experience any of the angst (other than the odd bit of writer's block) that goes with writing professionally.

The upshot, rightly or wrongly, is the impression that the writing is a part time thing that she doesn't take seriously. Way back when she is teaching to help the school out, she says being a mother is her real job.

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Last edited by Joyce on 31 Oct 2017, 01:59, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 10:00 
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I still think this was an interesting question to ask, and have enjoyed seeing the ideas prompted by it - but hypothetical questions do come with a built-in problem, which is that we can never know what might have happened. Some people will be certain that it was this, others will be equally certain that it was something quite different, and perhaps because of the lack of a definite conclusion, it's easier to start linking it to real life, and even our own experiences many decades later. Yes, as jennifer remarked, in real life the three main occupations at that date for a girl of Jo's background were teacher, secretary and nurse, but they were not the only ones, and there was a much less unified approach to the work and training even there.

Let's face it, EMBD was writing fiction (escapist fiction at that) and within that framework, anything might have happened. Obviously she wouldn't have wanted to remove Jo from the CS entirely, and yes, the easiest solution would be to have her working at the school in some sort of role. But it wouldn't have been allowed to be dull, of course, especially with a character who was adventurous (cue Jo doing Bunkle-ish things like solving various 'mysteries', I suspect).

I could certainly see Jo doing a variety of different jobs, as some people did/ do in real life - the job came to an end, the person got bored with it, or was sacked, something else turned up that was more interesting or had better prospects. The emphasis on being a serious professional in a single career with a defined path (rather than merely having a job) just wasn't there for everyone at the time Jo left school.

And Joey-bashers, I do understand that she's a character that you find satisfying to take apart, but I think you're being extra hard on the girl here. No, she wasn't as perfect as EMBD would like us to think, but most teenagers are not paragons of maturity, tact, patience etc, especially in their first job, and have to learn those things, or at least become very much better at them...


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 11:02 
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Noreen wrote:
Janie does study music at 'the conservatoire' in Paris, though, so presumably she could have taught music for a living.


I think the other comments here are considering the Temple girls at the start of The Maids of La Rochelle - Janie has a small pension which stops when she turns 16 and they appear to have very little money. Janie went to 'the conservatoire' AFTER Elizabeth and Anne get married, and presumably one of their husbands pays for Janie.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 12:35 
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Yes, but at least that's some sort of training that could be utilised - the sit-on-your-hands-and-look-well-bred approach doesn't go on for ever.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 16:31 
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I think that if joey had been required to earn a living she'd have knuckled down and got on with it. I think that her poor behavior as a senior is at least partly due to not having anything clear to do once she leaves school. I know she's an uneven worker as a youngster but so are a lot of people.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 16:44 
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It's the same with a lot of people. Emerence seems to do very little work, and is in a form with girls much younger than her. Had she not been the only daughter of a zillionaire, presumably she'd have tried harder. Vanna and Nella Ozanne are another two. Blossom Willoughby's the same, and even jokes that it's a good job she hasn't got to get a job or else she'd have to've been either a model or a cleaner.

"Good" girls like Gisela and Frieda worked hard anyway, and Elma Conroy seems to have worked hard (at her old school) just because she was competitive and liked to do well, but not everyone's like that.

Juliet does a lot of messing around, but, when her circumstances change, so does she. And Gwendoline Mary, the much-maligned character in Malory Towers, does no work all through school but then gets her act together in the final book when her father is taken ill and can't work, meaning that she'll have to get a job.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 17:01 
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Yet as late as 'Two Sams', Joey is still saying inappropriate things about an adult whom Samaris Davies has obviously been expected to respect, and show the respect. But Jo goes on about how fat Sophie Hamel is, and how she was plump during her time at school, and she also stresses how thin, i.e. scraggy, Sophie's sister Berta is.

And this ignores the fact that Sophie Hamel is the owner and head of a large department store in Innsbruck.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 17:16 
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I suppose it's really two questions, whether Joey would have been good at holding down a job, and what job would have suited her.

I also agree that, if exposed to the real world, Joey would have been forced to learn some tact etc


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 01:28 
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Noreen wrote:
Yes, but at least that's some sort of training that could be utilised - the sit-on-your-hands-and-look-well-bred approach doesn't go on for ever.


Ah but it didn't have to go on for ever - only until they got husbands! Elizabeth and Anne were both very beautiful so why put themselves out when their looks could do it all?

As for Janie - not beautiful but charismatic with integrity! She managed to nab the best looking and the richest.

They already had all the attributes to get money without having to bother with stuff like "training". :)

Edited to add - I didn't mean this quite the way it sounds.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 10:51 
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exile wrote:
I think that if joey had been required to earn a living she'd have knuckled down and got on with it. I think that her poor behavior as a senior is at least partly due to not having anything clear to do once she leaves school. I know she's an uneven worker as a youngster but so are a lot of people.


That's very true. How many people don't really mature until they actually have to get a job and realise the shelter of school/university life is over and if they don't earn their salary, they'll be let go. I think Joey would gradually have adapted to whatever job was available to her, be it teaching, secretarial work or something else.

Also a lot of people. end up working at something they're not particularly suited to (particularly back then when options were limited) but just have to get on with it.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 11:11 
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According to my parents(both born 1910), there were not many jobs in the Thirties and you took what you could get and made the best of it.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 14:56 
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Ah but it didn't have to go on for ever - only until they got husbands! Elizabeth and Anne were both very beautiful so why put themselves out when their looks could do it all?

Although they did rather limit their chances by going and living in a relatively isolated cottage in Guernsey. A medium sized town, where they could have got involved in a range of activities - church activities, amateur dramatics, music society, evening classes, etc etc - would have maximised their chances of meeting eligible men. And perhaps Janie could have tried for a scholarship to a decent school.

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Their sole plan is to move to a cheaper area, live off of Janie's pension (which only lasts another year) and try to earn a living through selling paintings and stories

If they'd been serious about that, Anne would have been knocking out potboilers for tourists and flogging them round the local galleries, giftshops, tearooms etc, and Elizabeth would have spent several hours a day slaving over a typewriter, bashing out articles and short stories and sending them off to every magazine she could think of. One small volume of local folk tales as the sum total of a year's work does not make for a sustainable career as a writer.


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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 00:23 
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JayB wrote:
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If they'd been serious about that, Anne would have been knocking out potboilers for tourists and flogging them round the local galleries, giftshops, tearooms etc, and Elizabeth would have spent several hours a day slaving over a typewriter, bashing out articles and short stories and sending them off to every magazine she could think of. One small volume of local folk tales as the sum total of a year's work does not make for a sustainable career as a writer.


Exactly - they're pursuing their projects from the perspective of a Serious Artist with independent means, painstakingly creating great art and unwilling to debase it with commercial interests. That might produce good art, but it doesn't typically produce grocery money or rent. It's similar to Joey's start at writing, particularly when compared to someone like Jo March in Little Women, who from the beginning wants to sell her work to earn money to help her family (and, for that matter, goes out to work at 15 at a job she dislikes for the same reason).

If Joey had needed to work, she would have adapted - she would have to. But I think there would have been some definite growing pains, and she probably would have ended up with something that was more a job to pay the bills than a fulfilling career as something like a journalist or researcher.

I tried picturing Joey in modern times, as a bright, talented and charming young woman, but rather indulged and immature, who hadn't been expected to think about things like jobs or university but was suddenly expected to earn a living. She probably wouldn't have the grades to get into a decent university program. I could see her maybe starting community college and then dropping out, and/or working retail jobs to pay the bills and bouncing from job to job a bit. Then, when she matured a little and had developed some maturity, work ethic and motivation, going to community college for some more practical training for a job she liked better. Or maybe getting married, having kids, and picking up part time work here and there.

A friend's kid is going through this now, although in that case the lack of planning is coming from the other end of the economic spectrum, in a family where post-secondary training is not part of their experience. The kid is 21, started in a practical college program but dropped out because she didn't like it, is currently bouncing between retail and service jobs at a rate of a new job every month or so, and is bugging her mom to cosign a loan so she can go to theatre school. She's a nice kid and will probably end up okay, but it's going to be a rough ride to get there.

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 Post subject: Re: If Joey had been required to earn her living....
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 01:05 
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jennifer wrote:
I tried picturing Joey in modern times, as a bright, talented and charming young woman, but rather indulged and immature, who hadn't been expected to think about things like jobs or university but was suddenly expected to earn a living. She probably wouldn't have the grades to get into a decent university program. I could see her maybe starting community college and then dropping out, and/or working retail jobs to pay the bills and bouncing from job to job a bit. Then, when she matured a little and had developed some maturity, work ethic and motivation, going to community college for some more practical training for a job she liked better. Or maybe getting married, having kids, and picking up part time work here nd there.
I take your point, jennifer, but that's just the scenario we don't have - Jo was leaving school over eighty years ago, when life was about as different as could possibly be imagined, and she lives in a fictional world, albeit one where WW2 happened (and if she were an unmarried young woman in the UK in wartime she would certainly have been called up). I'm not sure the UK even had any polytechnics/ colleges of further education (which I think are the UK equivalent of community colleges) until after the war.


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