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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 23 Sep 2019, 22:19 
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I think Robin is a great character and extremely likeable once she stops being treated as a baby - and actually she's very likeable when she first appears as a small child and the babying is justified. It's just the bit in between that bothers me, she gets treated as a baby but she isn't one. I wonder if this is symptomatic of EBD generally not being very keen on writing about juniors - does she evade the problem by treating Robin as a baby rather than her actual age?


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 23 Sep 2019, 23:26 
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I think she actually wrote some very good stuff about Juniors. I love Mary-Lou & co in Three Go, with all the Impertinent Questions stuff, and Bride's form arguing over who gets which desk in Lavender, and, much as I can't stand Jack Lambert in Leader, I think she's very believable. I like the nursery scenes in Tyrol as well - Rix refusing to kiss anyone, and Sybil insisting that she's not a baby, and so on. But maybe there was an issue with the in-between age, 8 or 9.

Robin isn't delicate when she first arrives. She is by Head Girl, but I don't think she is before then. She joins in the outings with the older girls in Princess, and she isn't really treated any differently to Amy or the other juniors. It's Jo who keeps nearly dying! I wonder if EBD felt that she needed a delicate character, a la Beth March, but that it was too problematic for her heroine to keep ending up at death's door, so she made Robin the delicate one instead.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 01:06 
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I quite like Robin as an adolescent - she's such a nice, friendly, normal girl, responsible and helpful but not weighed down by it. But I agree that no-one seems to have thought about what she would do as an adult. She studies at Oxford, goes in for settlement work, gets an illness and then Jem vetos her career choice (and, by the sounds of it, the possibility of marriage). So she's left with a good education, ambition, no apparent need to support herself, no outlet for her ambition, and no prospect of marrying and having a family. No wonder she ran off to Canada!

I wrote a drabble about Robin's growing up and finding her vocation. :D http://www.annersley.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=762

And think of the comparison of Mary-Lou as a ten year old, Robin as a ten year old and Len as a ten year old! Robin's a baby, sleeping in a cot and being petted and carried around, Mary-Lou is in Upper Second, and a likeable, rather forward junior, and Len is in Upper Fourth, painfully responsible, and considered mature enough to keep an eye for her five younger siblings.

I really can't picture Joey as a lady in waiting! For one thing, if she were going that route, she'd need tutoring in the Belsornian language and court etiquette, plus things like fine and plain sewing, painting and drawing, piano playing, excellent handwriting and the writing of formal letters, non-folk dancing, polite conversation, supervising servants. And she'd need some decent level in a lot of that (particularly on the tact and etiquette end!) before arriving at court. Also, the lady in waiting is a supporting character to the important person (Elisaveta). I can't see breezy, gregarious, centre of attention Joey being happy or successful in that sort of role.

I'll start a new thread for favourite 'missing books', because that sounds like a fun discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 07:45 
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exile wrote:
If I recall correctly, Elisaveta only gets that education because she is the heir - essentially she gets a princely education as she has taken on a prince's role.


She was getting that sort of education before she came to the CS (which was before she became the heir). EBD wrote that Belsornian princesses were noted for being well educated. She was only allowed to go to the CS because she wasn't in line to the throne.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 10:12 
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I stand corrected then- and I need to re-read Princess.

I think the comparison of Robin, Len and Mary-Lou is very valid. Okay 10 year olds vary widely but the difference between the three of them is ridiculous. Another character to throw in would be Margot - who is delicate as a small child- but isn't being babied at that age (although she is indulged to some extent).


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 11:14 
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I think EBD wanted to create a true angel child who was good as well as beautiful and later clever too. I can't think of any other character with all three characteristics eg Marie not clever, Sybil difficult etc. It's when EBD goes overboard with 'baby mind' 'baby heart' and 'baby soul' that really sounds sickening. Maybe the time in India with only Jo and the Bettanys helped her to grow up a bit by Exile. She could have been the one to ask for 'The' to be dropped while there as it must have sounded childish to strangers.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 15:07 
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jennifer wrote:
And think of the comparison of Mary-Lou as a ten year old, Robin as a ten year old and Len as a ten year old! Robin's a baby, sleeping in a cot and being petted and carried around, Mary-Lou is in Upper Second, and a likeable, rather forward junior, and Len is in Upper Fourth, painfully responsible, and considered mature enough to keep an eye for her five younger siblings.


This absolutely nails my 'problem' with the Robin as she grows older - that EBD just refuses to let her grow up. Even Barbara Chester, who is notorious in the Lucy/Chester clan for being spoilt, doesn't receive such infantilising treatment.

I actually really like Robin as a character and love reading drabbles about her, but frankly it's a miracle she didn't end up as some sort of feminine Norman Bates!


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2019, 20:21 
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I think that comparison of the three girls is spot on. I've just started 'In Camp' after not reading it for about 30 years, and The Robin is now ten.
At the start of the book, they all go down to Das Pferd to see Gisela and stay for K&K, after which we are told the little ones had to leave because Robin's bedtime was approaching. No mention of Peggy and Rix's bedtimes..... and bearing in mind K&K would have been around sixteen or so, what on earth time does the ten year old go to bed?!

I can't see OOAO or Len being packed off to bed at that time at the same age without protesting loudly.

Mind you, the 'little ones' were also 'worn out from the excitement of the thunderstorm' and slept all afternoon after sitting indoors all morning watching the storm. Perhaps it's just me, but EBD's characters seem to 'wear out' or 'tire' very easily. So much for all that alpine air and good food....


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2019, 16:58 
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AHH but you sleep better after all that Alpine air...

Seriously though, good point. I suppose Robin might go to bed early because of being so delicate at that point but surely not earlier than Peggy and Rix


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 Post subject: Re: 'Babying' the Robin - and others
PostPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 15:07 
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I actually love adult!Robin. For all the babying she has as a kid, she's very sensible and mature both as a teenager and an adult.


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