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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2017, 13:26 
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I take the mention in Three Go as being the EBDism, and that the Bettany family arrived back in England in Tom Tackles, which matches other references. In Island, it says that they came home from India "a year or two previously" and in Peggy, it says it happened three years ago.

I can see definitely see Peggy and Bride being really excited and looking forward to their parents returning. But I think there'd be difficulties settling into family life, and merging the two halves of the family, after so many years of knowing each other only by letters.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2017, 13:31 
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The Bettany parents are back home in the UK in either Tom Tackles or Rosalie but it is in the next book - Three Go? - that the parents are in Australia with the twins and the other family are still with the Russells. The Russells go to Canada then and all the Bettanys are in the Quadrant by the book Peggy. They could even be back by the book before that, Island.

I think the confusion was caused by the fact that the parents and twins were first taken back from India in a book which was not part of the regular series at that time.

Tom Tackles was first published as two annuals and I think it was in the second of these that the Bettanys came home. Tom Tackles was not published as a book until years later after Barbara.

In Three Go the Bettanys are back with the Russells because as far as most of the regular readers were concerned, the Bettany children had never left the Russells. EBD could not have them still in India though as the Christmas annual readers in which the Tom story first featured, knew they had left there. EBD chooses then to put the parents to Australia - so stupid and complicated.

She never does give another explanation and the Bettanys just appear home. I think it possibly suited EBD to have them still with Madge in Three Go.

Edited to add - My explanation crossed with Jennifer's. I agree with Jennifer it would have been difficult for all of the Bettanys when they were reunited.

The older children would have had their ups and downs with the Russells - as any family - but Peggy and Bride always speak of Madge in loving, respectful terms.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2017, 13:55 
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There were some difficulties. Is it in Peggy that Bride doesn't want to involve Peggy in whatever mischief Maeve & co are up to, because in the holidays, Maeve had resented Peggy being the older sister and bossing her about?

I should think there were faults on both sides, and Bride was clear-sighted enough to realise it.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2017, 16:38 
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It would have been very strange for Maeve and Maurice. Moving from India to Britain would have been quite a culture shock anyway, and to have four older siblings they'd never met before living with them would have been another huge culture shock.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 01:26 
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There's a mention in Peggy as well, about there being fireworks when the younger Bettanys were split up for school.

So they go from being only children living in India, with a nanny and being tutored at home, and being each other's best friends, to being the youngest of six, with an eldest sister expecting to manage them, in England, and not only going to school for the first time, but also boarding school and being separated, seeing each other only in the vacations.

The older ones would essentially be adapting to having new parents, after being raised by Madge and Jem, which is its own challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 10:33 
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JayB wrote:
There were some difficulties. Is it in Peggy that Bride doesn't want to involve Peggy in whatever mischief Maeve & co are up to, because in the holidays, Maeve had resented Peggy being the older sister and bossing her about?

I should think there were faults on both sides, and Bride was clear-sighted enough to realise it.


It would have been hard for them all. Peggy's clearly a motherly big sister type and if you are not used to that, it would come across as her being bossy. And Mauve has gone from not having to share her parents for eight years with anyone to having to share both of them with much older brothers and sisters. One also assumes Mollie and Dick would have wanted to spend more time with the elder children and get to know them better.

And then they also have to move and get used to a new home. So we are told there is tension and problems with them all finding their place in the family. Molly also gets sick and Peggy is left to look after the younger kids which Mauve resents.

But by Bride Leads a few years later, it seems to have been sorted out and Mauve looks at her sister 'adoringly'.

Tom and Bride are two of my favourites and the scenes they are in together are always fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 15:22 
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Quote:
Mauve has gone from not having to share her parents for eight years with anyone to having to share both of them with much older brothers and sisters.

And her age gets EBDed as well!

Extensive nitpick alert:

At the beginning of Exile Maeve and Maurice are said to be 'beginning to trot all over', which suggests they're about a year old, so for the sake of argument say born January 1937.

Maeve should therefore be about six months older than Mary Lou, and have left school at the same time she did. She's up to two years older than Josette, depending on when you put her birthday and Josette's, which is also EBDed, and going on three years older than the triplets. Yet she's HG after Josette.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 15:28 
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Although Mr Gay comes across as rather odd to modern eyes, I feel his behaviour needs to be considered in the light of the times.

At the date at which the book was written, society generally accepted that women (and by extension girls) were less important than men. We see that even EBD casually accepts that interpretation (there's a telling scene in one of the books where there's a discussion as to what people are doing after school and one girl says that he father is backing her long professional training as she's one-and-only and not a boy as hoped..or words to that effect. No-one queries this statement at all).

It's also a common trope in children's literature that girls have a different sense of honour that does not match the male sense of honour. Much time is spent in GO books trying to show that girls were equally honourable and shared values with boys

To a certain extent, Mr Gay is paying Tom a compliment. He treats her as he would a son. She's educated in a rigorous and academic fashion - which was not the generally accepted thing for girls (the pioneers of secondary education for girls struggled for decades with the public perception that girls could not manage academic subjects) but which is clearly suitable for Tom. He attempts to develop the male sense of honour rather than just writing off Tom as a girl and therefore automatically morally deficient. Nobody tells Tom that she can't walk freely and ought to mince in a ladylike fashion. Nobody tells her that she can't play games as well as a boy. Yet these are somehow presented as "faults" (striding is designated a "bad habit", for example)

Although it appears to us that Mr Gay's attitude denigrates women, Tom is not being straitjacketed into a possibly unsuitable "feminine" role. Tom's got a good, strong female role model in her mother (who is clearly as capable of running the Parish as her father but who almost certainly accepts that her authority in other people's eyes comes from being the Vicar's wife rather than from any recognition of her personal characteristics) and there's no indication that Mr Gay resents or tries to control Mrs Gay's activities

When Tom comes to the CS, she's actually no different from a lot of our named heroines. She has trouble adjusting her "home training" to being part of a wider community - that's a common story line in the CS books. And like all the others, she adjusts and, in the process, learns something.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 15:56 
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Quote:
there's a telling scene in one of the books where there's a discussion as to what people are doing after school and one girl says that he father is backing her long professional training as she's one-and-only and not a boy as hoped..or words to that effect.

Wasn't that Tom, talking about training for her missionary work? I think it was partly in the context of them not (at that time) being very well off, and it would be a stretch for them to afford it.

I should think that by the time Mr Gay took over Tom's education, it must have been fairly clear that she wasn't a girly girl, so I don't think anyone was wanting her to be someone she wasn't.

Am I right in thinking the Gays were older parents, or is that something I've made up? Schoolgirl fiction alone shows that there was quite a shift in attitudes to how girls should behave and how they should be educated between the 1900s and the 1920s; Mr Gay might have been basing his opinions and beliefs on pre-WWI or even late Victorian attitudes.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 16:18 
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Yes, it's mentioned the Gays were older parents, as they had to wait for Mr Gay to get a living before they could get married.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 16:26 
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JayB wrote:
Quote:
there's a telling scene in one of the books where there's a discussion as to what people are doing after school and one girl says that he father is backing her long professional training as she's one-and-only and not a boy as hoped..or words to that effect.

Wasn't that Tom, talking about training for her missionary work? I think it was partly in the context of them not (at that time) being very well off, and it would be a stretch for them to afford it.
"Boyish-looking" Dorothy Brentham, in Goes to It, saying that she wants to be a surgeon (her father is a doctor):"Daddy says he'll back me right through it, seeing I'm a one-and-only, and not a boy as he'd hoped."


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2017, 16:44 
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Noreen wrote:
JayB wrote:
Quote:
there's a telling scene in one of the books where there's a discussion as to what people are doing after school and one girl says that he father is backing her long professional training as she's one-and-only and not a boy as hoped..or words to that effect.

Wasn't that Tom, talking about training for her missionary work? I think it was partly in the context of them not (at that time) being very well off, and it would be a stretch for them to afford it.
"Boyish-looking" Dorothy Brentham, in Goes to It, saying that she wants to be a surgeon (her father is a doctor):"Daddy says he'll back me right through it, seeing I'm a one-and-only, and not a boy as he'd hoped."


That was the one of which I was thinking


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 09:58 
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MaryR wrote:
Who wouldn't want to be with their real parents, instead of sharing someone else's, no matter how loving they've been? And instead of being part of a huge family, there would now be just a few of them to reap all that parental affection.


I don't agree. I think if you barely remember your real parents and have been brought up by an aunt and uncle you've become very attached to, it would be hugely traumatic being told that your parents are coming home now and you're going away to live with them.

I can understand Peggy and Bride fantasising about their parents coming home and how wonderful it will be. But I think being told it's about to become a reality would be a big shock and a huge emotional wrench.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 12:37 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
MaryR wrote:
Who wouldn't want to be with their real parents, instead of sharing someone else's, no matter how loving they've been? And instead of being part of a huge family, there would now be just a few of them to reap all that parental affection.


I don't agree. I think if you barely remember your real parents and have been brought up by an aunt and uncle you've become very attached to, it would be hugely traumatic being told that your parents are coming home now and you're going away to live with them.

I can understand Peggy and Bride fantasising about their parents coming home and how wonderful it will be. But I think being told it's about to become a reality would be a big shock and a huge emotional wrench.


I'm inclined to think it would be 50-50. If you compare the Bettany children living with Madge and Jem to adoption or long term foster care, some children seem to leap at the idea of having a close relationship with their biological parents and living with them; for others its the complete opposite. In IME the split seems to be about 50-50 with what children feel at whatever age.

Peggy, Bride, Rix and Jackie are essentially raised in another family and Madge and Jem are their acting parents. For some of them, living with their parents again would be a dream come true, for others it would be the last thing they would want as Madge and Jem are and have been their parents. We see a little of this in the books after this happens. In Oberland, we get Peggy's views on this in a lot of details when she is thinking of her Mother's threat of death. In Shocks we see Bride's reaction with seeing Madge again with her Mother being so ill and she almost strangles her Madge in her joy of having her back. EBD doesn't show us Bride's thoughts on her Mother's health. I wonder also if Madge returns to England, to not only be there for Dick but also the four children she raised for such a long time. We certainly see Bride appreciate having her there.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 12:43 
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There is also evidence that the parenting styles of the Rusells and Bettanys - as regards the older children anyway - were very different.

I should think Madge was very motherly as regards her own children and the Bettanys and that each child was aware of his/her place in the household.

With the Bettany parents, it was totally different. In one of the books near the time Peggy and Bride are due to leave school - Bride Leads? - we are told that Peggy and Bride thought that they seemed more like the parents and Dick and Mollie like the children.

Regarding the family size, although the Die Rosen family/household was huge, this must have settled down a bit by the Round House. Joey was married and had taken Robin and Daisy with her and Primula would appear to have flitted between the Maynards and Russells. There were only one or two more children in the Russell/Bettany household than the Bettany household, with children also being away with friends during holidays.

Although the Bettanys would have found a lot of differences and maybe had doubts at first, they must, on the whole, have been glad to be back together and end up one of the most united families in the CS world.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Sep 2019, 15:55 
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I just got to this in my rereads. It’s not one of my favourites, and I’m now realizing why. First, it’s disjointed, and the story doesn’t flow very well. Second, I always found Tom to be incredibly rude referring to girls as underhanded, and going on about how they’re all soppy sentimentalists while surrounded by girls whose behaviour clearly contradicts her statements. Third, being called “a gentleman” was, to me, an insult. Finally, her father’s attitude :banghead: what utter nonsense! I assume that the aunt who insisted on Tom going to school was her mother’s sister, as no boy raised with sisters or female cousins would have that attitude. As others have said, it’s amazing that Tom turned into such a great person with her dad’s teaching as a base!

Thekla also had an attitude that boys were superior to girls, and she expressed it after the chemistry explosion that “this is what comes of teaching girls the same thing as boys” but the reaction from the other girls was to make it clear that she was being insulting. Tom, on the other hand, blithely continues with her insults for a while.

I did enjoy her reaction to being told that Jo was “Josephine M. Bettany” — “Never heard of her, then.” I do like that she’s with Bride, Elfie, the Ozannes and that Daisy effectively gets a starring role. We also get a few glimpses of Sybil as a schoolgirl without the lecture on her looks that normally accompanies her appearance. It’s a shame that Primula never has a voice.

ETA: what’s wrong with Lucinda or Muriel as names? If you must have a “short” options could include Lucy, Linda, Luce, Indie, Lala...


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 04:08 
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If I recall correctly, the book was originally two short stories pasted together, so the disjointed part is kind of built it.

It's funny, because Tom is one of my favourite characters in the series. She comes in with very biased attitudes, and she can be a bit of a prig at times, but I like her stubborn integrity, and the way she manages to be completely herself, unselfconsciously and without attitude. I also enjoy her career progression - both her final choice, and the way she bounces around between different ideas before figuring out what she wants.

But yeah, her father is a piece of work. Encouraging a tomboy daughter is one thing (Jack Lambert's father is good at this, for example). Deciding to raise his daughter as a son because he really wanted a boy instead of a girl is something else! Plus, as you say, the biased and nasty view of women and girls he passes on. You really have to wonder what he thinks of his wife.

Tom, however, is willing to question what she's been taught after she's presented with evidence to the contrary, even though it takes a bit of a struggle.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Oct 2019, 21:33 
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Tom is 11, I believe, when she starts school, so it doesn't surprise me that she parrots beliefs taught at home and does it in such a tactless manner. Seems like something a forthright 11-year-old would do. At least she doesn't stick stubbornly to those theories once she finds out what girls are really like.

The Gays endow the school with a scholarship, so I take that to mean that they appreciate its effect on Tom and that her father dropped his absurd and alarming views of women and girls. Much to the relief of Mrs. Gay, I'm sure. :roll:

Using "gentleman" as a compliment hasn't aged well in the 21st century, but given the context, I read it in the spirit in which it's meant. Do we hear Tom use it as a compliment in books after this one? If not, I assume she grew to understand why it's problematic.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 01:39 
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It's actually pretty impressive that an eleven year old dumped into a totally new environment was able to clearly observe things, think about them, recognize that what she had been taught was wrong, and change her views.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Tom Tackles the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Mar 2020, 13:13 
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Nyota wrote:
I just got to this in my rereads. It’s not one of my favourites, and I’m now realizing why. First, it’s disjointed, and the story doesn’t flow very well. Second, I always found Tom to be incredibly rude referring to girls as underhanded, and going on about how they’re all soppy sentimentalists while surrounded by girls whose behaviour clearly contradicts her statements. Third, being called “a gentleman” was, to me, an insult. Finally, her father’s attitude :banghead: what utter nonsense! I assume that the aunt who insisted on Tom going to school was her mother’s sister, as no boy raised with sisters or female cousins would have that attitude. As others have said, it’s amazing that Tom turned into such a great person with her dad’s teaching as a base!

Thekla also had an attitude that boys were superior to girls, and she expressed it after the chemistry explosion that “this is what comes of teaching girls the same thing as boys” but the reaction from the other girls was to make it clear that she was being insulting. Tom, on the other hand, blithely continues with her insults for a while.

I did enjoy her reaction to being told that Jo was “Josephine M. Bettany” — “Never heard of her, then.” I do like that she’s with Bride, Elfie, the Ozannes and that Daisy effectively gets a starring role. We also get a few glimpses of Sybil as a schoolgirl without the lecture on her looks that normally accompanies her appearance. It’s a shame that Primula never has a voice.

ETA: what’s wrong with Lucinda or Muriel as names? If you must have a “short” options could include Lucy, Linda, Luce, Indie, Lala...

To be fair though, I don't think the narrative wants us to agree with Tom about girls being drippy and underhanded. All the other girls in her class, especially Elfie, call her out over the incident with Anne and Daisy and Matron say similar things too. And Tom does realise she was wrong and has the courage to admit it.

I guess you can't find any unisex/masculine shorts for Lucinda or Muriel. At least you can get Jack out of Jacynth.


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