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KxBurns
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PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Who could have imagined that one small white lie all those years ago would play such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people... No wonder Grace felt such guilt. Was her guilt warranted? Do you think tragedy could have been prevented?

Grace and Hannah's relationship is the foremost one in this book. How did it alter the course of each woman's life?

Karen
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vivico1
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Grace's guilt should have been over trying to make a relationship with Hannah based on a lie, using that to come closer to Hannah when Hannah thought they shared something real.

The guilt of the tragedy with Robbie, lies squarely with Hannah herself and with Robbie. They chose this life of such lies to everyone that they had to hide it from everyone. Grace not being able to read that note, was no different that if she had not seen it in time and Emmie happened to see them on her own, the same thing would have happened.

Grace's lie to Hannah tore away anything that could have started earlier as a real relationship based on trust and truth,and Hannah's own guilt found a way to lay it at Grace's feet, as if that would somehow not make it her own. So how could they ever have a relationship after that.

There is one other guilt that could be Grace's, and thats helping Hannah slip out and into the lies of the night because she liked being her confidant, rather than trying to talk to Hannah about what she really needed to hear that might have saved her from herself. Grace really didnt have a healthy love for Hannah, or she wouldnt have put her obsession always above what was really best for Hannah.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Karen wrote: "Who could have imagined that one small white lie all those years ago would play such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people... No wonder Grace felt such guilt. Was her guilt warranted? Do you think tragedy could have been prevented?

Grace and Hannah's relationship is the foremost one in this book. How did it alter the course of each woman's life?"


I thought that it was incredible how significant that piece of information was to the entire plot of the story. I definitely didn't think that knowing shorthand would have been so pivotal. I think that even if Grace knew shorthand, Hannah would have still shot Robbie. The stage was already set...I didn't expect her to shoot the man she loved, the father of her child, but there were hints of Robbie's instability since their affair started. His reaction to the guy during the street celebration. I just didn't expect him to turn on Hannah and Emmeline once the fireworks started. I thought he would run away or stop, drop and roll.

I don't think that her guilt was warranted, but her belief that she was guilty was understandable. She felt such a connection to Hannah, especially once she found out that they were "sisters." It is this connection that dictated her actions once she found out that Hannah was having an affair with Robbie. Grace felt the need to keep this secret, because it was the only happiness that Hannah found in her marriage. I am not saying it is right to cheat, but Hannah's relationship with Robbie helped her to find that independence she wanted. She felt that she could be who she was with him, whereas with Teddy, her life was like that of a caged bird.
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter The lie The deception S P O I L E R

You know of course it was Grace's lie and deception that caused the final straw to explode in the fire of deceit. But look behind us, where we came from. Shouldn't Hannah have not used Grace for her deceits to play out? Wasn't that a selfish, self centering device of hers through out the story. She used Grace as a decoy always to get what she wanted. It really was her fault and the fault of the family that they didn't see Emmaline's obsession she had with falling in love. She needed guildance and to be loved and she needed to have felt loved. So the final straw of course, was Grace's, but the other two sisters played a dramatic part in the final disaster. We all felt that the emphasis of the story would be on the deceit of Grace's fathers identity. But was it?
That is where the deceit started maybe but the final episode made the story stand tall.
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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I am torn as to weather Grace should bare the brunt of responsibility or not, after all remember that saying "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive".
I don think that tragedy could have been prevented, the tragedy of death anyway, but who knows how the story would have ended if they got away. What would have happened to Emmeline and Teddy and Grace then. It just would have been a different tragedy with different outcomes.
I think the relationship between Hannah and Grace mostly altered Grace's life, because I'm not sure that Hannah
1) knew about Grace being her sister
2) would have done anything different if we just traded Grace's character for let's say Nancy.
3) ever forgave Grace for her part in Robbie's death.
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter - Spoilers


KxBurns wrote:
Who could have imagined that one small white lie all those years ago would play such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people... No wonder Grace felt such guilt. Was her guilt warranted? Do you think tragedy could have been prevented?

Grace and Hannah's relationship is the foremost one in this book. How did it alter the course of each woman's life?

Karen





I think that Hannah's letter was one segment of the journals for the GAME. Hannah never told Robbie and Grace that they were poor substitutes for others who played out fantasies as a young child (David and Emmeline).

Grace should feel guilty as an accomplice that night and for not revealing the truth earlier. But it is Hannah who was the real engineer of the tragedy. Robbie wanted to tell Emmeline how he did not feel about her and why. Hannah stopped him.

Everything could have been prevented; of course, Hannah might have ended up divorced and losing Riverton and her good name. But she would not have been a murderer and she would not have made Emmeline and Grace unwittingly her accomplices. Hannah wanted it all; and we all know that having everything is not possible.

Grace actually lived out Hannah's fantasies and stopped playing any more games with or in her life and with Hannah's help I guess followed dreams of accomplishment. I often wondered at Grace's mother's sister who commented that she wondered what happened to the money the money she sent to Grace's mother...did Grace's mother secretly keep it for Grace saving it up for her rather than use it to help her live better. One question that I had is how a poor pregnant woman owned her own cottage. Was that part of the buy off that the Hartford family made to Grace's mother for secrecy. A home, some help with getting by and a place for the offspring on the staff.

Bentley
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MalindaC
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Hannah ends up being a tragic figure. She couldn't break away from society's expectations and when things go horribly wrong, she can't handle it. Grace's deception did play a part but I think it just hastened the end, not caused it.
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I had trouble with the letter.

The letters are, as I recall, placed on Hannah's pillow, so that she will be sure to seem before she goes to bed.

We are told that Hannah knows that Grace can't read shorthand. So Hannah knows that Grace will have to go somewhere else to get the letter to her read. Hannah can hardly expect Grace to do this before she goes to bed, can she? So Hannah knows, or should know, that her letter to Grace won't get read that night.

But Hannah'sletter contains the instruction that Emmeline isn't to get her letter until the next day. So Hannah knows, or should know, that Grace won't get that instruction until the next day, when it no longer matters to have told her that.

I understand why Morton does it this way. In order for events to play out as Morton has designed them to, Hannah has to read the letter to Emmeline that night. But if Hannah had written Grace's letter in English, so that Grace had read it that night, would she have disobeyed a specific directive from Hannah and opened Emmeline's letter that night? If not, things would have turned out much differently.

The sequence of expectations by Hannah that Grace would learn that night not to give the letter to Emmeline doesn't work for me.
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

If Grace had gone to bed, instead of opening the letter to Emmeline, as Hannah had intended, Hannah and Robbie would presumably have run off together successfully, they would probably have had a happy life together with the child they had conceived that night, Teddy would have been disgraced instead of being viewed sympathetically as a man who lost his beloved and faithful wife in childbirth, and Emmeline? Would she have been devastated at the loss of what she thought of as her true love, or would she have gone back to her gay lifestyle and become Noel Coward's Poor Little Rich Girl?

Ah, Grace, Curiosity killed not only the cat, but also and Robbie and Hannah.
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



vivico1 wrote:
The guilt of the tragedy with Robbie, lies squarely with Hannah herself and with Robbie.

I don't agree. They had made reasonable arrangements initially to keep their relationship secret, and when it came to light they made reasonable arrangements to escape during the confusion of the great party and go off and start a life together. Teddy would never have given Grace grounds for divorce. Hannah tried as best she could to find the independence, excitement, and love that she had craved for so many years.

But for Grace's interference, she might well have achieved it.
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



KxBurns wrote:
Who could have imagined that one small white lie all those years ago would play such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people

I'm not clear which white lie you're referring to.

If you're referring to not telling the truth about Robbie's death, lying to cover up murder (or manslaughter, depending on how you interpret it) is hardly a white lie. It's a crime.

Is it some other white lie you're referring to?
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



dhaupt wrote:
I don think that tragedy could have been prevented, the tragedy of death anyway,...


Why not? If Grace had just gone to bed, who would have died tragically?
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter - Spoilers



bentley wrote:
... I think that Hannah's letter was one segment of the journals for the GAME.

That reminds me. Early on, didn't Grace say that The Game was a precursor to the ultimate tragedy? (I bet Karen has the page number for that at her fingertips!)

If I'm remembering that right, how was it? I don't see how The Game was involved with anything once David died. Was it just that Hannah was able to create a fantasy world? But children do that all the time without The Game. Why did Grace think The Game was so important to what happened?
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KxBurns
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


Everyman wrote:
I had trouble with the letter.

The letters are, as I recall, placed on Hannah's pillow, so that she will be sure to seem before she goes to bed.

We are told that Hannah knows that Grace can't read shorthand. So Hannah knows that Grace will have to go somewhere else to get the letter to her read. Hannah can hardly expect Grace to do this before she goes to bed, can she? So Hannah knows, or should know, that her letter to Grace won't get read that night.

But Hannah'sletter contains the instruction that Emmeline isn't to get her letter until the next day. So Hannah knows, or should know, that Grace won't get that instruction until the next day, when it no longer matters to have told her that.

I understand why Morton does it this way. In order for events to play out as Morton has designed them to, Hannah has to read the letter to Emmeline that night. But if Hannah had written Grace's letter in English, so that Grace had read it that night, would she have disobeyed a specific directive from Hannah and opened Emmeline's letter that night? If not, things would have turned out much differently.

The sequence of expectations by Hannah that Grace would learn that night not to give the letter to Emmeline doesn't work for me.




Everyman, although Hannah says, "You can't read shorthand" to Grace on page 438, this in fact happened after Robbie's death. It is only because Grace brought Emmeline to the lake that night that Hannah realized Grace was unable to understand her letter in shorthand. Had she been able to read shorthand, she would have delivered the suicide note to Emmeline the next day, when Hannah and Robbie were long gone, and all would have gone according to plan. Or so Hannah thinks. What would Grace have done if she had understood the shorthand letter?

(Also, this secret about understanding shorthand is the small white lie I refer to at the top of my post.)
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IBIS
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



Everyman wrote:
We are told that Hannah knows that Grace can't read shorthand.




Everyman, the crux of this whole plot hangs on the fact that Grace had a little white lie: she led Hannah to believe that she, too, was taking secretarial courses, and that she COULD read shorthand. Hannah believed her, that's why she wrote the letter to Grace in shorthand.... secret code, so to speak.

If Grace had told Hannah the truth, that she was NOT taking secretarial courses, which bound the girls together in a common secret, it would not have precipitated Grace reading Emmeline's letter, and intruding and screwing up Hannah's plans.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter - Spoilers if you haven't read through page 364



Everyman wrote:


bentley wrote:
... I think that Hannah's letter was one segment of the journals for the GAME.

That reminds me. Early on, didn't Grace say that The Game was a precursor to the ultimate tragedy? (I bet Karen has the page number for that at her fingertips!)

If I'm remembering that right, how was it? I don't see how The Game was involved with anything once David died. Was it just that Hannah was able to create a fantasy world? But children do that all the time without The Game. Why did Grace think The Game was so important to what happened?





Everyman if you have finished the first chapter of part four, what follows should not be a SPOILER for you. The Game is a precursor to the ultimate tragedy. The Game brought Robbie back into their lives after the war. Note on page 265 at the end of The Ball and After------"In a far grey corner of London, Robbie Hunter wakes. Shrugs off his nightmares and pulls a small parcel from his pocket. A parcel, nursed in his breast pocket since the final days of war, its safe delivery promised to a dying friend."
Then in Part Four, the first chapter Hannah's Story on page 363, Robbie visits Hannah and returns the little Game adventure booklet that Hannah had given David for good luck.Journey Across the Rubicon. David gave it to Robbie to return as he lay dying. So of course The Game figures most prominently.
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Grace's guilt is understandable, given what happened, but none of the events were really her fault. Had she not allowed Hannah to think she knew shorthand, I think everything would have taken place the same way, except that Hannah's letter would have been written longhand (& contained instructions to destroy it or something, probably). The other argument is that it was the shared "secret" of shorthand that allowed Hannah to trust Grace so much, but that doesn't seem to be enough. Grace prover her loyalty many times. If Grace should feel guilty for anything, it's for allowing herself to get so attached to Hannah & the Hartfords. The tragedy probably would still have occurred, but it would have been sort of peripheral to Grace's life.
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hpthatbme
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I think that Grace is at guilt for the white lie about reading shorthand, but for the ultimate ending I don't think so. I think that she did what she thought was right, if put in the same situation I am not sure that I would have reacted differently. Grace was doing what she thought was her duty, she also wanted to protect and keep Hannah for herself. As others have mentioned I think that the relationship Grace wanted was unhealthy and somewhat obsessive but did lady maids have somewhat of the same relationship with their ladies?
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Ah. All is now clearer. Thanks.


KxBurns wrote:
Everyman, although Hannah says, "You can't read shorthand" to Grace on page 438, this in fact happened after Robbie's death. It is only because Grace brought Emmeline to the lake that night that Hannah realized Grace was unable to understand her letter in shorthand. Had she been able to read shorthand, she would have delivered the suicide note to Emmeline the next day, when Hannah and Robbie were long gone, and all would have gone according to plan. Or so Hannah thinks. What would Grace have done if she had understood the shorthand letter?

(Also, this secret about understanding shorthand is the small white lie I refer to at the top of my post.)


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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



IBIS wrote:


Everyman wrote:
We are told that Hannah knows that Grace can't read shorthand.




Everyman, the crux of this whole plot hangs on the fact that Grace had a little white lie: she led Hannah to believe that she, too, was taking secretarial courses, and that she COULD read shorthand. Hannah believed her, that's why she wrote the letter to Grace in shorthand.... secret code, so to speak.

If Grace had told Hannah the truth, that she was NOT taking secretarial courses, which bound the girls together in a common secret, it would not have precipitated Grace reading Emmeline's letter, and intruding and screwing up Hannah's plans.

IBIS




Yes, IBIS; And what saved Grace from not knowing shorthand the first time Hannah handed her a letter in shorthand, Grace took it the following day to someone to read it to her. the girl that Alfred eventually married. But she still had not ever told Hannah that she oculdnt read shorthand.
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