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SunsetAnnie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

I think the term "shell shocked" was common in that time and that was likely Alfred's problem. Today we would say PTSD. Soldiers were removed from battle to protect themselves as well as their comrades, but were often viewed as weak and cowardly. Alfred obviously views himself this way. Miss Starling tries to suggest this problem, but the others quickly insist that nothing is wrong with Alfred.
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kmliska
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

I think Teddy is very different from his parents. His parents seem to be more concerned about money and status than anything else. He does not seem to have the same concerns. Teddy seemed to be more relaxed in his views during their dinner discussion. He also seems to have an adventurous side like Hannah.
I felt bad for Grace when she was talking to Alfred. I think there was a closeness between them before he went to war but now that he is back he is trying to put space between them because he may not want to be close to anyone right now. He seems to be distancing himself from everyone.
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

Karen wrote:
Later in the evening, after a champagne uncorking sends Alfred into a momentary flashback (we assume), Grace manages to offer him comfort, if briefly. However, on page 209, Grace says that after this evening, when she and the rest of the staff had no choice but to confront Alfred's changed emotional state, they "picked up the slack and remained complicit in an unspoken pact not to notice things had changed." What do you make of such a statement? Does it apply to more than the Alfred situation? Does complicity imply guilt?

Grace and the staff pick up the slack for Alfred because they still care for him. They don't know how to deal with his emotional problems, but don't want Frederick to know and have him dismissed. It is a "family" taking care of their own.
MG
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner



bookhunter wrote:


nhawkinsII wrote:
...Hannah's intent to discuss her desire for an outside job as well as the discussion of Deborah Luxton's job in New York were all examples of the changes occurring at the conclusion of WW I. Simion Luxton's inappropriate behavior (oogling and touching) toward Grace as she served him was also an insight into the cultural upheaval occurring...




Why did Hannah decide not to announce she was going to look for a job? I thought maybe it was because it would seem to put her in the same category as Deborah Luxton and the entire Luxton family!

Ann, bookhunter




She didn't make her request to get a job outside the home because her father had already given an answer - NO. What was the point.
MG
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CanTri
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner



bookhunter wrote:
On page 210 Grace describes the table being set to dine "en famille (rather than in the formal a la Russe style to which we were accustomed)."

If anyone has more information on the distinction between the two, I would be interested. I gather that Mr Frederick has chosen a less formal style--better suited to him and to his American guests.

Ann, bookhunter




a la Russe (Russian Style): each course is served individually and clearing tableware as it is used. Mr.Hamilton would bring out soup bowls, with soup in them, wait for family to eat soup, take away soup bowls, bring out salad plate with salad already on them,wait for family to eat, clear salad plate and bring out next course
en famille (family style): everything is on the table and passed around, bowls and plates are already on table and family serves themselves from what is there.

Maybe Estella would have been more impressed if they had stuck with their traditional a la Russe instead of trying to appear more modern and switch to en famille.
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Jodi
Posts: 65
Registered: ‎07-16-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

Grace was outside with Alfred. Alfred told Grace that he's a coward. Alfred told Grace that he cant get it out of his head. He would hit himself in the temples with his palms and cry. He never told Grace what he saw. Grace understood that.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner


Jodi wrote:
Grace was outside with Alfred. Alfred told Grace that he's a coward. Alfred told Grace that he cant get it out of his head. He would hit himself in the temples with his palms and cry. He never told Grace what he saw. Grace understood that.



You're right, Jodi, in pointing out that Alfred keeps his war experiences "secret" in that he chooses not to divulge them to Grace. Already so much of the book is about secrets -- it will be interesting to see if Alfred is able to achieve peace and move on from his no doubt horrific wartime experiences while still hanging on to his secret.
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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

Some notes from reading:

1. Change is difficult for everyone....even those that embrace it. For Frederick change means that things will never be the same or as easy as they once were. For Hannah they represent a potential future that she dreams of...and for Simon - he wants progress so he can make money - but he also wants to continue to be the King of the family - keeping his wife and daughter under his thumb. I love it that the daughter is out working and seems to have an interesting job with the publisher.

2. Alfred makes me sad. I do not agree with Grace - I think she interpretted Alfred's notes and actions correctly - but now damaged, Alfred can't go back to how things were and he has no one to talk to. The fact that everyone is ignoring his situation also makes me sad - if you ignore it, it will probably NOT just go away. I anticipate something bad happening to Alfred before the story is over...

3. Teddy is interesting - rich and handsome - and maybe an **bleep**, who knows just yet.

4. THe modern notions - had to laugh - too funny....Another thing about change - fear it and ignore it - yet it won't go away! The role of women was beginning to change - thank god for all of those women and what they did and what they suffered....we are in a much better place today because of them!

5. Frederick is just such an awful business man....could he lose the house that has been in his family for over 300 years????
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Thayer
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner

I don't feel that the distinction has so much to do with money as with social differences. Americans are by nature much more casual and so far less "polished" and dependent on the rules of society.
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner


Thayer wrote:
I don't feel that the distinction has so much to do with money as with social differences. Americans are by nature much more casual and so far less "polished" and dependent on the rules of society.



Interesting. Do you think that for Americans, moving up the social ladder means being less constricted by social rules and mores, while for the Brits the opposite is true? Or do you think British society as a whole adheres more strictly to rules of propriety and social correctness than American culture does?
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Dinner



KxBurns wrote:

Thayer wrote:
I don't feel that the distinction has so much to do with money as with social differences. Americans are by nature much more casual and so far less "polished" and dependent on the rules of society.



Interesting. Do you think that for Americans, moving up the social ladder means being less constricted by social rules and mores, while for the Brits the opposite is true? Or do you think British society as a whole adheres more strictly to rules of propriety and social correctness than American culture does?




The Brits are more formal...after all they have the Queen. Americans don't have the royal hang ups.
MG
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