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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2019, 00:51 
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I think it is. But we aren't told that he was never in school on a Saturday or that the pupils knew for sure he was somewhere else that day. The only circumstances in which it would be fair to blame Blossom would be if she should have known there was no chance the message was genuine. It's definitely an incident that highlights the perils of instant obedience but EBD doesn't explore it which is a shame.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2019, 10:05 
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But then it does seem to be something that EMBD likes to do to her readers - give them the occasional jolt when it comes to moral issues. For me, the most blatant example is when Miss Annersley tells Bride (as Head Girl) that Diana Skelton won't be coming back to the school, even though they'd worked through all the business of The Wrecked Study and Bride had forgiven her. Diana has recently stolen two rings from her mother to sell so that she can pay off her gambling debts: Bride unsurprisingly expresses horror at this behaviour and is promptly rebuked for lack of compassion. That reaction seems to me entirely natural and realistic, especially in a carefully brought-up girl - 'hate the sin but not the sinner' is quite right, but it seems to me that compassion sometimes has to kick in after the initial shock.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 20 Nov 2019, 01:59 
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Noreen wrote:
But then it does seem to be something that EMBD likes to do to her readers - give them the occasional jolt when it comes to moral issues. For me, the most blatant example is when Miss Annersley tells Bride (as Head Girl) that Diana Skelton won't be coming back to the school, even though they'd worked through all the business of The Wrecked Study and Bride had forgiven her. Diana has recently stolen two rings from her mother to sell so that she can pay off her gambling debts: Bride unsurprisingly expresses horror at this behaviour and is promptly rebuked for lack of compassion. That reaction seems to me entirely natural and realistic, especially in a carefully brought-up girl - 'hate the sin but not the sinner' is quite right, but it seems to me that compassion sometimes has to kick in after the initial shock.


For all that, the teachers (and other adults) don’t seem to be held to the same level. They say some unpleasant things about others and aren’t pulled up for it. Jo’s comments on Joan Baker, for instance. Or the remarks about Miss Bubb when she applied for work.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 20 Nov 2019, 07:45 
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And they're so nasty about Mrs Pertwee. OK, she sounds like a pain, but there's no compassion at all for a widow with no family support, who's only leaving her three children because she needs to go abroad for work reasons, to earn money to support them.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 20 Nov 2019, 23:25 
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I did once assume that a message from a teacher to go to a particular room was a prank. The person who told it to me was, shall we say, not a nice person. The second person who said it was her friend, so that also didn't convince me. The third, and more worried-looking one, though...!


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2020, 21:59 
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This weekend I briefly read my old copy of The Chalet School and Jo (book seven). Some of the Middles get into trouble for disgracing their school at least four times. You could say that they just loved being in trouble. But I did not think that blaming a unsuspecting mistress or a naive prefect would have helped matters much. They lose their freedom which is only fair and natural.

Will they ever learn to behave? One chapter revolves around them mucking around in prep time one evening, and much later on in the book Jo even finds them wandering the streets alone. Nowadays this kind of thing would not be allowed to happen at all. There is just being silly and there is much worse.

In the second and fifth books the girls cause all sorts of trouble for the Heads but none are expelled. Yet Vera is immediately expelled for one single bad act. That seemed very extreme to me. Still does. On the first book are the words the school with a difference how fitting.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2020, 07:59 
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Some of what happens in And Jo is silly. I think EBD wanted to lighten the mood in Oberammergau, because it did all get quite emotive between the religious aspects of the play and Juliet telling Joey about her broken romance, but the idea that girls of 14 or 15 would paint their faces and walk around pretending to be "Red Indians", in public places full of people, just doesn't ring true.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2020, 19:26 
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Yeah, I can buy juniors doing it but surely that group were old enough to know better.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2020, 08:51 
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Yes I could not put my finger on it but the whole affair seemed odd. I can understand having your face painted for a school fete but this is bizarre.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2020, 16:33 
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Nowadays we'd think of this kind of behaviour belonging to much a younger age group but we might need to consider the change in the way children "age" between the 1930s and now.

Children were, in many ways, more "childish" with less independence (of course that's also a class issue). For example, bedtimes were very much earlier. These days, a 14 year old would not be going to bed at 8 or 8.30pm. When we consider "age appropriate" behaviour, we might to adjust our current ideas to take that into account.

There's a similar type of behaviour in Lintons (Rebel in Armada) where Thekla feels she's too old for the dressing-up and acting of the Miss Norman incident but it still appeals to 14-year-old Joyce.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2020, 18:14 
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Yes, I was going to make a similar point Victoria.

When I first started to live part of each year in the Czech Republic, over 20 years ago, much of the country was still living as if the forty years under communism had put them into a time warp.

I was astonished to see an eleven year old girl pushing a doll in a doll's pram, and playing with it - something that children over here were likely to have given up by the age of eight, judging by my granddaughter and her friends.

That's all changed now as the country has caught up with western norms.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 19 Sep 2020, 11:38 
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Victoria wrote:
Nowadays we'd think of this kind of behaviour belonging to much a younger age group but we might need to consider the change in the way children "age" between the 1930s and now.

Children were, in many ways, more "childish" with less independence (of course that's also a class issue). For example, bedtimes were very much earlier. These days, a 14 year old would not be going to bed at 8 or 8.30pm. When we consider "age appropriate" behaviour, we might to adjust our current ideas to take that into account.

There's a similar type of behaviour in Lintons (Rebel in Armada) where Thekla feels she's too old for the dressing-up and acting of the Miss Norman incident but it still appeals to 14-year-old Joyce.


It's a great point, actually. It's so nice to read such threads! I definitely can learn a lot from you all.


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