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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower & the Stain Glass window

It is in this chapter that we learn about Samuel  Kendal, I think he would be Maud's great grandfather?, anyway he "commissioned an enourmous stained glass window as a backdrop to the hall stairs................It depicts 4 completely fabricated - Maud said - family crests.  Is there much more to this family that was completely fabricated?
Lynda

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Wrighty
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



ELee wrote:


dewgirl wrote:
I was shocked when, on p.15, Maud says," I love you and I don't blame you. I just need to know the truth." That, to me, made it seem like Maud thought Ginny had something to do with the fall. I didn't feel that Ginny was involved at all. I wonder if this will mean something later.

Very perceptive.  If you look at this in relation to Ginny's observation that "if I hadn't been there, squatting in the bell-tower with her [Vivien], I might have thought she'd jumped."  you have to make a decision about what you are going to believe.  The two viewpoints are in so much opposition that it creates a conflict for the reader. 


Maud must trust Ginny because on page 12 she mentions that when the girls were growing up they always did everything together. If one of the girls were going out alone she would ask the other one to join her. Did she think Ginny had something to do with the fall or was she understandably terrified and trying to find out what happened? Ginny is confused about her mother's reactions and isn't talking much or crying. This upsets her mother more. Why did she say "I thought we could be a normal family"? It's confusing here but I'm wondering if all of it will be explained later.

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lmpmn
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Since so many of us have commented on the situation where the parents bring all these evacuee children home, I'm wondering if anyone in this book club, those who live in Britain especially, could give the rest of us any revealing information about this practice during the war.  Perhaps this could shed light on some of the questions we have.
Happiness is a warm blanket!
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dhaupt
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



KxBurns wrote:
"My world re-grew, and not least because whatever it was that Maud had been upset with me for soon dissolved into the many layers of a family's misunderstood memories" (p. 20).
 
I think this is a wonderful sentence. Do you think that "normal" families have many layers of misunderstood memories? Do you think Ginny is deceiving herself that Maud simply forgot about her suspicions?





I totally agree with you Karen, I have 3 siblings and it amazes me how differently we remember things.

Deb
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

An aspect of this just occurred to me. Ginny was the older sister. Was her mother expecting her to look out for Vivi, and perhaps blaming here because she let Vivi sit there without warning her of the danger or stopping her?

Charlottesweb1 wrote:
I thought it interesting that when Vivien falls from the bell tower the mother turns on Ginny with such hatred and asks if she was responsible for the accident. I'm curious, where is all this anger towards Ginny stemming from? I think Ginny's lack of response to the accusations from her parents and the doctor that she caused the accident, a glimpse into her tortured soul. It seems Ginny likes to retreat either physically (A recluse in the familial home or emotionally by becoming numb and unresponsive as a coping skill.



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dhaupt
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



Everyman wrote:
An aspect of this just occurred to me. Ginny was the older sister. Was her mother expecting her to look out for Vivi, and perhaps blaming here because she let Vivi sit there without warning her of the danger or stopping her?

Charlottesweb1 wrote:
I thought it interesting that when Vivien falls from the bell tower the mother turns on Ginny with such hatred and asks if she was responsible for the accident. I'm curious, where is all this anger towards Ginny stemming from? I think Ginny's lack of response to the accusations from her parents and the doctor that she caused the accident, a glimpse into her tortured soul. It seems Ginny likes to retreat either physically (A recluse in the familial home or emotionally by becoming numb and unresponsive as a coping skill.








or maybe when Maud asked Ginny for the truth, did she think that Vivi jumped?

deb
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower -- p. 6



Carmenere_lady wrote:
I made a note in my book that I thought the story of the refugees to be a rather cute memory. I didn't take it for anything more than that.

If that's the case, I think it's weak writing. It was a significant element in the story at that point, and IMO it should have more meaning than just a cute memory.

It suggests a number of things, I think. One is the chaotic nature of the "family" she and Vivi experienced at that young a stage in their development -- I say family because apparently the parents treated the refugees the same as their own daughter, therefore the same as though they were family. it's not clear whether this means they nurtured them all equally, or whether they neglected them all equally, but Ginny had no idea that one of them was her natural sister and the others were transients, which means apparently that the parents didn't make any such distinction clear enough that a six year old would have picked up on it. And six year olds are pretty astute, as I know from helping my wife and daughters in their first grade classrooms
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

That's a really nice point that had eluded me. Sure. If she and Vivi had called them Mum and Dad while the refugees called them by name, Ginny would have known which of the children were refugees and which were natural children. Really nice point!
>

KiimC_8741 wrote:
I don't know why but I just assumed that the girls Ginnycalled her parents by their first names because that is what the evacuees had called them and that is what she grew up hearing them called



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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

That's true, he was. I had forgotten that! Good memory. I wonder whether Poppy Adams was aware of that, and whether it had any influence on her writing.

Peppermill wrote:
Remember that Nabokov (Lolita et al) was a famed lepidopterist.


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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower


ELee wrote:
...With reference to the growing oddness of Ginny and her noted obsession with time, the description of one of Maud's family photos is very interesting.

"Then there was the one of me as a baby, wrapped up so you can't actually see any of me at all, Maud and Clive holding up the package between them next to the sundial on the top terrace."
Ginny is all wrapped up (like a cocoon), showing nothing that defines her identity. She is a "package" (rather than a person) between them and they are positioned next to a sundial (timepiece).


Nice point. And doesn't the house itself turn out to be a bit of a cocoon for Ginny? I wonder whether she breaks out of it during the course of the novel.
_______________
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



Everyman wrote:
An aspect of this just occurred to me. Ginny was the older sister. Was her mother expecting her to look out for Vivi, and perhaps blaming here because she let Vivi sit there without warning her of the danger or stopping her?

Charlottesweb1 wrote:
I thought it interesting that when Vivien falls from the bell tower the mother turns on Ginny with such hatred and asks if she was responsible for the accident. I'm curious, where is all this anger towards Ginny stemming from? I think Ginny's lack of response to the accusations from her parents and the doctor that she caused the accident, a glimpse into her tortured soul. It seems Ginny likes to retreat either physically (A recluse in the familial home or emotionally by becoming numb and unresponsive as a coping skill.


That was my take on that also, Everyman. The older child always gets the blame for what a younger child does. So often I heard in my life "why wasn't you watching your sister?"



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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

detailmuse wrote: Am I the only reader who isn't uncomfortable with the doctor?

No, you aren't. He seems to me like a 1940s family doctor for a wealthy family which, having so many refugee children in house, probably occupied a significant proportion of his practice. Doctors when I was growing up weren't the hurried highly technical automatons they have turned into today, but were often warm humans who had a personal relationship with their patient families. He was probably an occasional guest for dinner at many of the houses of the patients he visited -- and yes, obviously he did make house calls, in fact much of his practice at that time may have been in houses rather than in his surgery.

It's natural that he would be concerned with the mental as well as the physical problems of his patients. And if we're right that Ginny had some condition that had manifested itself by this point, it's reasonable that he would have been involved in its treatment for some time before this incident.

He seems, at least so far in the book, quite appropriate to me.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower -- p. 6



Everyman wrote:


Carmenere_lady wrote:
I made a note in my book that I thought the story of the refugees to be a rather cute memory. I didn't take it for anything more than that.

If that's the case, I think it's weak writing. It was a significant element in the story at that point, and IMO it should have more meaning than just a cute memory.

It suggests a number of things, I think. One is the chaotic nature of the "family" she and Vivi experienced at that young a stage in their development -- I say family because apparently the parents treated the refugees the same as their own daughter, therefore the same as though they were family. it's not clear whether this means they nurtured them all equally, or whether they neglected them all equally, but Ginny had no idea that one of them was her natural sister and the others were transients, which means apparently that the parents didn't make any such distinction clear enough that a six year old would have picked up on it. And six year olds are pretty astute, as I know from helping my wife and daughters in their first grade classrooms


I do not think it was just a cute memory either. I think it is there to help show the disfunctioning that was in the family and remained through out their life.Something happened to Ginny in her life and what I have read so far of the family, I would call them alittle bit odd or escentric.To me, it seemed like if Ginny was getting the needed attention from her parents she wouldn't have assumed that Vivi didnt belong there.
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BookWoman718
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower -- p. 6

[ Edited ]
The story of the evacuees might be there simply because it was a historical reality that affected many, many Brits during that era, but the author ignores so many other cultural events of the 60's and the decades beyond that I tend to think not.  Perhaps the author wishes to show us that at least up to that time, the family was acting like a 'normal' family.  Relatively prosperous, large family home in the countryside, it would have been expected of them to take in as many as possible of the hapless children whose parents and homes were getting bombed nightly in London.  With her social sensibilities, Maud would have seen it as her clear responsibility, despite having an infant and a young child of her own.  With a number of servants in the house, all of the care of the children would not have fallen to her alone.


Message Edited by BookWoman718 on 03-05-2008 02:14 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

[ Edited ]
Just a small historical point:  People did not necessarily have to be generous to take in evacuees - they were allocated children by the government if they and their homes were considered suitable.  Here is some information about evacuation procedures:-
 
 
The study of moths has a lot to do with the moon and night time because, like werewolfs, moths are attracted to moonlight as well as to light in general.  They hide during the day so are studied at night (or in laboratories of course.)  In the UK we have a National Moth Night in June when people go out in groups to identify them.  
 
 

 

dhaupt wrote:
I had my suspicion that Maud and Clive were mom and dad and now I am wondering why Ginny was calling them by their first names I guess something else to be sought out later.
Lepidoptery sounds like you turn in to a werewolf at the full moon (ha).
I like that the family is generous in that they took in the evacuees during the war.
I thought it very strange that Maud and the doctor spent so much time w/Ginny about Vivi's accident, I wonder if they had cause to think she had something to do with it, and Maud alludes to the fact that there might be something "off" in Ginny on page 16 when Ginny overhears her parents talking and Maude says "There must be something ___".
We know for sure that Vivi didn't have any children of her own, but we don't find out if Ginny did for sure
The author takes a lot of time describing the house I wonder if this house has talking walls.




Message Edited by Choisya on 03-05-2008 02:38 PM
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fordmg
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



Choisya wrote:
Just a small historical point:  People did not necessarily have to be generous to take in evacuees - they were allocated children by the government if they and their homes were considered suitable.  Here is some information about evacuation procedures:-
 
 
The study of moths has a lot to do with the moon and night time because, like werewolfs, moths are attracted to moonlight as well as to light in general.  They hide during the day so are studied at night (or in laboratories of course.)  In the UK we have a National Moth Night in June when people go out in groups to identify them.  
 
 

 

dhaupt wrote:
I had my suspicion that Maud and Clive were mom and dad and now I am wondering why Ginny was calling them by their first names I guess something else to be sought out later.
Lepidoptery sounds like you turn in to a werewolf at the full moon (ha).
I like that the family is generous in that they took in the evacuees during the war.
I thought it very strange that Maud and the doctor spent so much time w/Ginny about Vivi's accident, I wonder if they had cause to think she had something to do with it, and Maud alludes to the fact that there might be something "off" in Ginny on page 16 when Ginny overhears her parents talking and Maude says "There must be something ___".
We know for sure that Vivi didn't have any children of her own, but we don't find out if Ginny did for sure
The author takes a lot of time describing the house I wonder if this house has talking walls.




Message Edited by Choisya on 03-05-2008 02:38 PM

Oh thanks Choisya.  I was hoping you were still around to enlighten us on some of the British history.
MG
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Choisya, thanks for the links & the information about the evacuees.  I knew about it, or course, but I didn't realize that the government itself could and would allocate children to homes they deemed appropriate. 
 


Choisya wrote:
Just a small historical point:  People did not necessarily have to be generous to take in evacuees - they were allocated children by the government if they and their homes were considered suitable.  Here is some information about evacuation procedures:-
 
 
The study of moths has a lot to do with the moon and night time because, like werewolfs, moths are attracted to moonlight as well as to light in general.  They hide during the day so are studied at night (or in laboratories of course.)  In the UK we have a National Moth Night in June when people go out in groups to identify them.  
 
 

 

dhaupt wrote:
I had my suspicion that Maud and Clive were mom and dad and now I am wondering why Ginny was calling them by their first names I guess something else to be sought out later.
Lepidoptery sounds like you turn in to a werewolf at the full moon (ha).
I like that the family is generous in that they took in the evacuees during the war.
I thought it very strange that Maud and the doctor spent so much time w/Ginny about Vivi's accident, I wonder if they had cause to think she had something to do with it, and Maud alludes to the fact that there might be something "off" in Ginny on page 16 when Ginny overhears her parents talking and Maude says "There must be something ___".
We know for sure that Vivi didn't have any children of her own, but we don't find out if Ginny did for sure
The author takes a lot of time describing the house I wonder if this house has talking walls.




Message Edited by Choisya on 03-05-2008 02:38 PM


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Jo6353
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Maybe Ginny has mild autism or aspergers.



Bonnie824 wrote:
I maybe just be seeing more than is written since autism is a disability I work with fairly often. If so, the doctors questions make sense, and the mother's concern and suspicion.



I also questioned if there was some autism involved. While Vivi is outgoing and has friends, Ginny seems to be lacking in a lot of social skills. Jo
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Jo6353
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

The book never said what actually happened just that Vivi was suddenly falling. Did she fall or was she pushed? Jo
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lamorgan
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I, too, wondered why they were so quick to think Ginny had something to do with Vivi's fall from the bell tower. Perhaps she has more personality quirks than she has shown us so far and we will be exposed to more of that side of her in subsequent chapters.
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