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 Post subject: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 18:20 
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A week or two ago, under one of the topics, someone posted about Reg saying they did not know what was so bad about him. I agreed and was also going to post. I didn't though but would still like to. However, I cannot now find the post. Can anyone help, please?


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 19:42 
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Was it me? I wrote this in the Challenge/Two Sams thread in Special Sixth recently about him:

Quote:
This is how I feel about poor Reg. I'm always sorry that he gets such a bad press on this board, written off as a creep/jealous control freak re. Len, when I simply see him as a victim of EBD's declining writing powers and rush to wrap up the series in Prefects. He gets little credit for all his hard work becoming a doctor despite his disadvantaged background, or his unselfishness towards Phoebe.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 21:40 
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Anyway, maybe it's time to try to have a more balanced conversation about Reg as a topic in its own right - like here?


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 21:52 
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Yes,Aquabird, that's it! Noreen's suggestion about a separate thread for Reg also seems a good one. I don't want to step on toes so I won't do my post on Reg yet as Aquabird might want to set up a separate thread!


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 21:58 
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Be my guest Audrey, I've already said my piece in defence of the poor bloke. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2016, 23:30 
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Thanks Aquabird!

I wonder if the dislike of Reg goes back to the book Chalet Girls Grow Up? I have never read this book so cannot really comment on it but I know the Reg of this book did things an EBD Reg would not have done.

I didn't like the way Reg "went after" Len but I think it was up to Jack and Joey to stop him. They were Len's parents and protectors.

Len getting engaged at the end of Prefects seems to me premature. Contrast it too with the way EBD treated Nan Blakeney in much the same circumstances or Gwendoline Courtney's treatment of Alison and Kitty. Alison and Kitty both had to wait for a couple of years but then Len had also to wait. She was not going to be marrying Reg for at least three years. She was only getting engaged; not married. I think it was made so definite for the sake of the reader and because it was the end of the series. EBD, or the publishers, wanted closure so it was hurried through.

I do think it was much more of a romance than EBD let the reader see. Her writing had deteriorated and we were not given all the detail. Reg must have visited the Maynard house quite frequently and Len would have been there some of the time. Even if he had no previous connection with the Maynards Joey and Jack would have been generous in their hospitality to someone on his own. There must also have been meetings on the Platz and at San functions

Turning to the nitty gritty Len was very mature mentally and emotionally. Although she led quite a sheltered life on the Platz she knew lots of people and was well travelled. Would Reg have been any more "experienced". I imagine him as quite a quiet, lonely schoolboy. He had no family around him as Len did.

In Rescue he was only 13 when jealous of Joey & Co because of their attention to Phoebe but Phoebe was his only friend. Look at how caring and kind he was to her. A. I can actually see him having ended up with an older woman as opposed to a younger one.

I cannot inagine he had many girlfriends at uni and he was off to Switzerland quite soon after. I imagine him blossoming knowing he was loved by Len and being part of a large family. . Also having the support and friendship of Phoebe and like minded colleagues. Far from being a bullied wife I actually think Len might have been the stronger partner. I also think Len's large family might have been part of her appeal. Maybe the only rivalry was between Reg and Roger Richardson for Joey's attention!

I imagine Reg and Len as being very happy together.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 07:49 
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I think, as other people have said, EBD rushes it. It would have made more sense for Mary-Lou, who was 22 by then, to be the one who got engaged at the end of the series, but the focus was all on the triplets by then and the idea was for one to be a wife and mother, one to be a single career woman (for a while) and one to be a nun - three different aspects of female life.

I really don't like the way it comes across, though. Both Madge and Con talk about Reg "getting what he wants", there's a creepy-sounding reference to Reg making sure that "no-one else took his place" (which makes it sound as if he threatened to beat up any other bloke who so much as looks at Len!), and Joey lectures poor Len about playing "fast and loose" with Reg. It all makes it sound as if a young and inexperienced girl is being put under tremendous pressure to make a decision that she's not ready for. Marie von Eschenau also gets engaged at 18, but it's clear that it's exactly what she wants, and there's no suggestion that anyone has tried to push her into it.

It's a shame, because I always feel that I ought to like the Northern working-class boy who's worked to become a doctor! His friendship with Phoebe is ignored in the later books, and he only seems to be there to chase after Len. It could all have been written in a much more appealing way.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 12:35 
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[quote]Marie von Eschenau also gets engaged at 18, but it's clear that it's exactly what she wants, and there's no suggestion that anyone has tried to push her into it. [/quote]

With Marie it is also clear she was only ever raised to be a wife and mother so it was pretty much expected she would marry early.

Whereas with Len, because we see how much she wants to go to uni and teach, that the sudden engagement comes as a shock because we know that she probably won't be fulfilling her dream of working as a teacher, even if she gets her degree.

I always see the Len/Reg thing through the relationship of a childhood friend who was 9 (!) when a much older family friend decided he wanted to marry her. He was 21/22 at that stage and her parents approved the match, though obviously they waited till she was much older.

They were eventually married when she was 16 and she never finished high school and has yet to hold down a job of any kind. Now while only in her mid 30s both kids are at uni already and she is bored all day long.

She was never able to go out with another man because it was always expected she would marry the guy. For a girl in her early teens it's romantic, but she never stopped to think that one day she would wonder if only she had been given other opportunities.

Her emails to me are quite pathetic and despite my best efforts to persuade her to do a TAFE course, or high school certificate or even just a cooking class, she just lives her life through her husband. He's not a bad guy and I actually quite like him, but it is plain that he married a young girl in order to mould her into the wife he wanted.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 15:37 
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Trying to look at from Reg's viewpoint, Len's original plan was to do her degree and then look for a job at a school in the UK, with a view to returning to teach at the CS only when all the girls who'd known her as a pupil had left. So she wouldn't have been returning to the Gornetz Platz, except for holidays, for 8 years or so. Even if she didn't meet someone else in the meantime, or get settled into another job and decide that she didn't want to come back to the CS after all (or, indeed, if the CS hadn't had a job going), that's probably too long for most people to wait without even knowing if they're likely to be in with a chance.

So I can understand that he wanted to say something before Len went off to university. Where it goes wrong, IMO, is that he's jumping straight into the idea of an engagement. This was the 1950s (and 1970 in real time): surely a period of courtship/dating before engagement would have been expected by then. The first time Reg's interest in Len is ever mentioned, Joey tells Grizel and Mollie that Reg has asked Jack's permission to "speak to" Len in a few years' time. "Speak to" suggests engagement rather than going out to the cinema together, and the fact that Reg asks Len's dad's permission, three years in advance, seems very odd.

Reg may well have been thinking that, even if he became established as Len's boyfriend/young man during the few months between her leaving school and going to university, she'd still have been heading off to a new life and meeting new people, so he wanted the ring on the finger to make it clear that she was taken. I can see how that worked from his point of view, but was it really what was best for Len? Jack was probably stressing that Joey might meet someone whilst she was visiting Dick and Mollie in India, but he didn't try to rush her into an engagement that she wasn't ready for because of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 16:35 
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Yes, the Jack/Jo relationship is much better done. EBD hints at their future (from Camp, I think, when Jo is sixteen?) but we've already known Jack for a while, and it's much less heavy handed. We see Jo and Jack doing things together as friends over several books. And Marie notices, but being newly engaged herself it's quite natural that she should, and she doesn't gossip about it or go on about it when she sees Jo is oblivious.

Whereas Reg seems to re-introduced purely as a love interest for Len, but it's all tell and no show - we don't see them doing anything together, or get a sense of them being friends, or anything about Reg's personality other than that he's pursuing Len.

Having said all that, it's not Reg himself I dislike, so much as the situation Len is almost forced into, with everyone knowing her business, and being pressured to make a decision. I do think someone - Jo, Jack, Nell, Hilda - should have said to her 'Look, you don't actually have to say yes or no right now. It's perfectly OK to say you don't feel ready to make such a major commitment.' If Reg didn't like it, well tough.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:04 
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Alison H wrote:
It could all have been written in a much more appealing way.

This is what I'm trying rather incoherently to say. I'm of the opinion that if EBD hadn't been rushing to wrap everything up in Prefects, that book would have ended with Reg simply telling Len openly that he liked her, and them going out over the summer and writing to each other while she was at Oxford, with him popping the question when she graduated. From what Joey says in Reunion about how Len should meet more boys before settling for Reg, I suspect this is more or less what EBD was planning at that point, but by the last couple of books when her health was failing she made it all a lot more definite, so that Prefects would be the last book with no loose threads. Hence the rushed engagement, and everybody, including Len herself, being already aware of his interest instead of it being kept under wraps until she was finished with school.

All the stuff about him 'getting what he wants' and going to Jack to ask for permission to speak to her comes across to me as EBD trying and failing hard to sound romantic, and IMO Reg is not the only male character in the series to be a victim of her questionable notions on the subject - see Frank Peters falling for one of his patients, or Neil Sheppard eyeing up a clearly depressed Grizel (who also ends up his patient). Really dodgy stuff to us, but EBD obviously thought it was all nice and romantic, the masterful doctor sweeping in and taking charge. Yet there's never any doubt that Phoebe and Grizel are happily married, or that Frank and Neil are very nice guys. And what we see of Reg that doesn't involve Len is that he is also a perfectly nice chap; keen on his job, visiting out-of-the-way patients, being kind to Grizel when she's in the San after doing her back in, etc. If even she, one of the most hardened and cynical characters in the series, sees nothing wrong with him, then that says a lot about him as a person.

Which really brings me back to the original quote I was responding to in the other thread:
thefrau46 wrote:
None of this is "Hilda's" fault. Blame EBD's declining writing powers with increasing age and the pressure her publishers (and probably her friends the Matthewmans) put on her to continue the series.
I agree though that the books do contain unrealistic and uncharacteristic scenes but it isn't our favourite characters' faults. Please don't blame Hilda.

Sums it up, IMO.

I agree with Audrey BTW that I think Len would have been the one wearing the trousers in the marriage; I see her bossing Reg about relentlessly and having everything organised, and him secretly quite liking it. I think he'd have done his best to treat her like a princess and prove that he's worthy of a Maynard daughter. I also agree that I think a lot happened off-screen, not just with Reg and Len but with the Platz in general. I refuse to believe for instance that the doctors' wives all sat around doing nothing except producing hundreds of sprogs, and didn't go down to Interlaken every now and then to shop or go to the hairdressers or whatever. Or that Jo didn't spend the odd weekend over at Basle staying with Frieda. Just because we're not told these things happened doesn't mean they didn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 20:40 
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What makes me sad about all of this was that it did not look as if Len was even going to get a year or two teaching unmarried and away from the Platz. I feel if her engagement had been delayed until she left uni she might have got this before marrying Reg. Sue Barton was in much the same position but she still wanted to nurse before marrying Bill.

However Len was not Sue Barton and possibly a more domesticated, conventional person so after deciding to marry Reg maybe marriage was what she wanted beyond all else. None of this though makes Reg an ogre.

I think it was Alison who mentioned that maybe Mary-Lou could have been the one getting engaged in the last book as she was older than Len. I think EBD meant M-L to marry David or Rix (Vi for the other) and they were just at the start of their careers when the series ended.

IMHO though M-L was a free spirit. I think she would have had her career and travelled as her father did. IF she married I cannot see it being before her late thirties and I think it would have been an older man. Maybe a widower with children. I cannot see her with children of her own. My vision of M-L! I am so pleased though that as regards the marriage stakes EBD left her alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 21:29 
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Yes, that was me :D. If EBD had been desperate to end the series with one of her heroines getting engaged, I think it would've been better if it'd been Mary-Lou, who was of a more marriageable age. But I'm also glad for Mary-Lou's sake that she was allowed to fly free! In Reunion, when she turned up at the Platz in a bad way, it looked as if she was all set to be rescued by some conveniently-appearing doctor ... but then she picked herself up, dusted herself down, and went back to university.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 02:22 
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I personally find Reg's whole approach creepy.

I quite like him at age thirteen - his gallantry towards Phoebe, his ambitions, his resentment of the CS crowd moving in and taking over. But what we see of him as an adult is very much about the fact that he wants Len, and is very determined to get her before she goes to Oxford and meets other men.

We get a brief mention in Triplets that he's new to the Platz. In the very next book, Joey is gossiping to Grizel about Reg's interest in Len. At this point, Reg has just formally spoken to Jack about wanting to speak to Len in "a year or two time". Len is 16 and a half, and Reg is 26. Joey at that point is pretty sure the marriage will happen eventually. Grizel inspects Reg, and approves of him for Len.

In Redheads, Reg is running the lights at the Christmas pageant.

In Adrienne, Len and Reg share meaningful looks after the fire, and Len "realized that her future was settled, once she had finished her formal education". This is the first time we've seen Len and Reg interact, ever.

In Summer Term, Reg is introduced as "was a close friend of the Maynards. Indeed, he had hopes that one day in the future he might become a relation of theirs. " as he comes to rescue Erica from a hole.

In Althea, Reg gives Len a ride after she face-plants onto her paints, and is introduced as

Quote:
He liked all the three elder girls but for the past two years Len had been his favourite. Lately he had realised that when she went to Oxford she would miss her very much indeed: a distant friendship would not satisfy him, he wanted something much more than that. He knew, however, that Len had no such thoughts.


This is the second time we've seen them interact.

In Prefects, Reg rescues the prefects from a flood. Later, there is gossip among the seniors about Len and Reg. The triplets have a discussion in which Margot and Con are quite sure that Len and Reg will marry, but Len says "Nothing is settled and I don't know if it's what I
shall finally want."

Len and Reg then have a brief interaction during the Sale, which involves Reg giving meaningful looks and Len going pink, and him musing

Quote:
"I wish she'd grow up," he said to himself. "It's all very well being matey, but I want more than that. A heck of a lot more than that." However, it was no use wishing. He could only wait and, as far as possible, see to it that no one else took his place, and it wasn't going to be easy once Len had gone to Oxford.


Mary-Lou muses to Vi that "I rather think Reg
will get what he wants. He's certainly got all his wits about him."

Then we have Reg missing, Len freaking out, followed by an engagement, and

Quote:
Len nodded. "Yes, I found that out when Reg went missing. I don't want to be married yet. I want my college course. A degree is a useful sort of thing to have, particularly in these days. Once I've got that if Reg still wants me then I'm his."

"What do you mean exactly by that?" Jo demanded. Then she added, "Mind you, Len! You're not going on playing fast and loose with that poor boy."

"I don't mean to," Len said. "If nothing else will satisfy him, I'll be engaged. But I won't be married at once."


Len and Reg may have a comfortable relationship of equals in the holidays, but we don't see any of that. What we do see of their relationship is Reg deciding he wants Len when she's old enough to consent, and doing his best to make sure he get her before anyone else gets a chance, or she meets other people. Everyone else who knows about it decides that Len and Reg are a thing that will happen once Len grows up enough. But Len seems to be playing catchup - she's the last person involved who actually makes up her mind, and even at the last, there are caveats, and it's still framed as being all about what Reg wants.

Compare that to Joey and Jack with a similar age difference - we see lots of examples of Joey and Jack having an actual friendship, and interacting on a relatively equal footing. Jack waits until Joey is 20 and has some experience outside of school - a couple of years around the Sonnalpe, some substitute teaching, an extended trip to India - and until *she* spontaneously sees Jack as romantic interest.

And Joey's also a very forceful personality, who would have no problem rejecting someone she wasn't interested in. Len is a conformist who is used to pleasing authority figures. Once they were engaged, if Len went off to Oxford, and realized that the absolute last thing she wanted to do was to marry Reg, move to the Platz and settle down to having lots of babies, I think she would still feel forced to go through with the marriage. I think it's telling that Len says "if Reg still wants me" not "If I still want him."

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 06:08 
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[quote]I think she would still feel forced to go through with the marriage. I think it's telling that Len says "if Reg still wants me" not "If I still want him."[/quote]

Exactly!! In a moment of incredible candor, my friend who married at 16 told me that she felt almost compelled to marry her now-husband because he had been waiting for her since she was 9. She felt that he might have let other opportunities e.g. another love interest, slip by by waiting for her. It is telling that only much much later did she consider the lost opportunities that SHE might have had.

Len's situation is much the same. What if after seeing a bit of the world she decides she wants to travel? Or teach overseas? Or just simply 'find herself'?

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 09:22 
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Isn't that a product of how women were expected to behave? Men made the choices, women followed along. Marrying and following said husband to far flung places in the world, when he gets a job, or decides that the family is moving, seem to be the norm in the CS culture. Sure, some women are quite happy with this. But EBD does show us examples of when things go wrong (Margot Venables & family.)

Perhaps that is part of training girls in 'instant obedience' to prepare them for adult life as a woman, and not being 'spineless jellyfish' to cope with whatever life throws at you. Perhaps enabling a girl to cope better, whatever life throws at them. (should you find that your husband is not all that you expected.)

EBD does create strong male characters, (expecially her beloved doctors,) who are most definately in charge, have the last word, know what they want and whose word is law. Masterful, is, I think, the word I'm looking for. So, Reg, poor chap is cast into the role of a pre-war doctor, with all the masterful traits that EBD thinks are engaging and necessary.

The problem as I read it is, as acknowleged in previous posts, partly EBD's failing writing, and the fact that Reg (not a favourite name of mine) is a product of, perhaps, fourty years earlier. Another pre-war style great worshipful doctor. Whereas, in many ways, the girls at school, although very hedged about are more modern in their outlook. I think the contrast jars, as Reg, despite his youth seems to come over as really quite old, in between Jack and Jem, in his attitide. This is where we, perhaps, subconsciously pick up the 'this doesn't feel right' vibe. Or we feel uncomfortable with it.

Another who knew what he wanted, is Julian Lucy, in his wait and pursuit of Janie Temple, but portrayed as a friend, while he waits for her to grow up.

Reg suffers from being written as knowing what he wants (Len) and persuing that goal in a pushy manner, and appears to want to ride roughshod over any plans that Len has, and have little consideration for her aims and goals. I'm sure he has his good points, but we don't see them.
Not his fault, it's the way he's written.

Anyway, to EBD it seems careers for women are only for the dedicated, desperate and those with no hope of marrying.... (ducks to avoid flying missiles on this board) Marriage is obviously worth dropping your entire life for.

I hope this makes sense. It does in my head, but I haven't expressed it particularly well. Ramble over.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 10:09 
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It makes perfect sense :D . I think she did see marriage - preferably to a doctor :D - as a reward. However, we also see people like Hilda, Nell and Rosalie, who seem quite happy to remain single.

The attitudes do vary. Jem is the Alpha Male of the series, but he is quite happy for Madge to continue being involved with the CS and for his sister Margot to take a job as a matron at the CS even though he's well able to support her financially. He even says that he's really pleased Marie and Andreas have got together, when a lot of "masters" at that time wouldn't have countenanced employing a housekeeper who was married and went on to have four children. Moving to Guernsey is his idea and he's already begun making plans when he first mentions it to Madge, but they do talk it through. And I can't imagine people like Laurie Rosomon, Frank Peters or Eugen Courvoisier making all the decisions on their own. However, then we get people like Mr Winterton, who takes a job abroad, dumps his wife and kids in a place where they don't know anyone, and then returns home ten years later, criticises everything, and decides they're going to move to somewhere completely different without even asking his wife what she thinks.

We only hear about it briefly, but Andre de Bersac wanted Simone to forget about teaching (which she wanted to do in order to help her family out financially) and marry him ASAP. Maybe it was partly the war that delayed things, but Simone must have told him he'd have to wait until she'd graduated and worked for a few years: it was first mentioned in 1938, well before the war broke out.

I wonder if things might have been different if Reg had gone after Con, or Margot (if she hadn't wanted to be a nun), or maybe Sybil who was nearer his own age. Len is a conformist, as Jennifer said. She always tries to follows rules and conventions, do as she's told, and do what other people want and what is expected of her. Maybe it's as much about Len as it is about CS/EBD's attitudes.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 15:36 
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Len is a people pleaser.

Bearing in mind though that she made her future career statement years before she agreed to marry Reg, different times etc, but also Len's wish to teach, what do readers think Len would have wanted to do if it had been entirely her decision?


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 16:32 
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She says at a later date, but before Reg has made his interest clear - I think it might be when she and Con are discussing Julie Lucy packing in her studies, or possibly when Ros mentions Joan Baker's boyfriend - that she hopes to get married and have children one day.

In Len's experience, and therefore probably expectation, that would have meant giving up her job, and probably before she was 30. Joey talks as if Sybil's practically an old maid when she gets engaged at 23! So I don't think she ever envisioned herself spending her life teaching. Yes, she wants to become a teacher, but, without wishing to sound grumpy and bitter :lol:, there's a difference between having a burning vocation to do something and knowing that you need to get a job to pay the bills but hoping that it'll be a job that you'll enjoy. Most people fall into the latter category, and Len's probably one of them.

What I don't think she had any intention of doing was going straight from university into marriage. And, again in Len's experience, marriage meant having your first a child a year or so later. I think she probably envisioned herself doing what Biddy, whom she's quite close to, and Daisy, and indeed Madge, did, and having those few years of being independent and out in the world first. She's not going to get that. And she's possibly not going to enjoy university social life to the full either, because she's the sort of person who'll feel guilty about going out and having a good time, especially if there are men around, whilst Reg isn't there.

Ideally, she wouldn't have met Reg until a few years later, but people don't always come along at the right time.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Post about Reg Entwhistle
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 17:52 
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The Len/Reg scenario is simply a badly-written rerun of the Joey/Jack scenarrio where Joey marries someone who comes out to work in at the San, has known her since she was a child (it's not clear when she first meets Jack), has decided "what she meant to him" while she's still oblivious and then the whole thing comes right as the result of a disaster.

It's considerably less subtly handed than the Joey/Jack situation and much more crudely signalled. Part of the problem is that, during the Swiss years, the books are either school or holiday whereas the Tyrol books are a mixture of both. Jack and Joey can be seen interacting outside school while it's hard to show interactions between Len and Reg at school. As a result, most of what we know about the situation comes from other people talking about it.

As far as Joey's comment goes, I've always felt that she's warning Len that a promise is a promise and that Len should not get engaged unless she's absolutely sure. There's a similar situation in Forest's "Ready-Made Family" when Ginty casually remarks that they can always get divorced if things don't work out and Mrs Marlow snaps at her that that's the worst possible form of cheating. Promises, whether in terms of an engagement or a marriage, should not be made unless you are sure.

I read these later books around the time they were published and at the age at which they were aimed. I had no problems with what went on, I didn't see Reg as creepy (the thing I didn't like about hime was his dreadful name!) and from my 11 or 12 year-old pov, 18 seemed plenty old enough to be getting engaged.


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