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Rachel-K
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Characters

[ Edited ]

We know that Emma was orphaned, that Will's father shamed himself during the bank failures of the 30s and had a drinking problem, that Iris' brother was killed in the WW1, that Frankie grew up in a Brownstone in Washington Square, and that her mother writes letters about daily life in excruciating detail. How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

 

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

 

We get a close look a the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie? How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pattycakeMN
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Re: Characters

I was REALLY surprised by Frankie's casual sex outside the Savoy Hotel bar, especially when the man whom she didn't even know the name of "zipped himself back into his trousers".  Having been born in 1945 and growing up in the 1950's and 1960's, such casual sex wasn't usually talked about.

 

Patricia

 

 

 

 

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fronkster
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎08-13-2009

Re: Characters

I would have to say that right now Emma is my favorite character. She seems the most human to me. It's taken me awhile to start liking Frankie. There is something weird about her I can't get.

Will has suprised me the most. I get the death was hard but why run away from it? And from your new wife? Did he not have any regard for her feelings. It wasn't all about him.

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Characters

How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

I don't think it's background as much as situations that shape these characters lives, the characters in the US are just how our parents or grandparents lived, mostly virtuously and hard working, where as the characters in England acted just as I would expect someone who doesn't know if they'll see tomorrow act, with fear and with a thirst for life that unequals that of people who haven't experienced war.

 

Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

I was not surprised, it was as I expected a war ravaged people to act like, like tomorrow may not come.

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

Iris and Harry are very much a product of their times, Iris as an unmarried women thinks that her purity would be important to Harry and Harry explains his thought very good on page 98 when he says, "I'm an old broken-down man you know, not a catch at all".

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why?

I don't have a favorite character, but I'm leaning toward Frankie because she seems so much a fish out of water and she's coping better then I think any of the other characters would except maybe Iris.

 

Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

Not so much surprised but disappointed in and that is Will, first he should have followed his instincts about Maggie and either taken her to the hospital or contacted the retired doctor and then to run a way under the guise of helping in England I was very disappointed.

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Characters

[ Edited ]
Great questions Rachel. 
Rachel-K wrote:

 How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

 

     When Will decided to leave for France after Maggie's death I felt that he really was his father's son.  The elder Fitch locked himself behind his banks doors in order to fend off a crowd desperate for their money after the crash.  The war in London acts as Will's door.  Hiding from the reality of his situation.  Neither event was really any of their fault.

     Frankie is an educated young woman who wants to become what her mother could not, in that, woman were just beginning to enter the work force in the forties and had much to prove.

     Iris, seems a bit sanctimonius to me. She's better because she's "intact", she's very good at her work etc, etc.

 Not sure how this plays into her background.

     Emma I find to be astute and fearful that she'll lose Will like she lost her parents.

 

 

 

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

 

     Not really sure other than as the doctors new wife, she wants to make a good impression.  Doesn't need people gossiping about her upon arrival.

 

We get a close look a the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie? How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

     Frankie's in the war zone, she doesn't know which day will be her last.  She lives for the moment and the experience, she does not live for love.

     Emma, a romantic.  Love should be a private matter between a husband and a wife.

     Iris, a spinster at the time, seems to find love to be a mechanical obligation.  She erks me for some reason.

     Surprised about casual sex.  No, it probably happened quite often but it was not something that was discussed openly back in the day.

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

    Well, she is a Victorian at heart.  She apparently wants to prove that even though she's 40ish she is still pure.  Waiting for that special man.  Harry does not give a d---.

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 

    Absolutely!  Frankie got me from page 1.  She seems to be the type of woman I'd want to be if I had any chutzpa.

 

   Will is a disappointment.  His thoughts were more on Emma than they were on Maggie and her situation.  Rather than come to terms with that and learn from his mistakes he finds a way out - while Emma has to face the towns people everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Lynda

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phenomshel
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎09-01-2009

Re: Characters

I was annoyed at Will for leaving his new wife too, but I realize that 1941 was a different time, and women's feelings and responses weren't taken to be as important then as they are now.  Emma seems to be a very modest person,  I myself wouldn't really want my underwear scattered all over the street, especially not the frilly, lacy things of a new bride. Not to mention I wouldn't want them on a dirty street to have to be re-laundered, and at that time, laundry was a lot harder chore than it is now!   I don't know how much of Emma's reply that she wasn't ashamed was bravado, and how much was truth, but I definitely wouldn't want my suitcase spilling it's contents on the ground to be the first impression my new neighbors had of me!

 I was also shocked at the portrayal of women's casual sex, because I felt it didn't fit with the time - but then, war changes everything.   I have heard contemporaries of my parents say that when you don't know if you will live through the night, the conventions take a back seat, and maybe that's what the author was trying to portray there.  I've also heard it said that when death is all around you,  sex makes you realize that you are still alive.  So again, maybe that was a part of that scene too. 

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DSaff
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Favorite Character

  I really like the characters we have been introduced to, although I must admit that I had a hard time warming up to Iris. That said, my favorite character so far is Frankie. She seems so vulnerable to what is happening around her and that transforms her reporting into heart-wrenching story telling. Frankie wants to be above the fear yet report on it. When she was caught outside during the bombing, slept in the shelter, then found people she knew dead, I think Frankie really "saw" the war. She was an empathetic, in-touch reporter before but now brings more life to her reporting. It seems that she is growing all the time.

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
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JaneM
Posts: 152
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Re: Characters

I'm glad you raised these questions Rachel, as the whole sense of propriety versus a more public acknowledgement of sex and bodies seems to be a central point for many of the characters.  From the first scene of  Iris getting a certificate of her virginity, to Emma asking her husband what it means about Vronsky making love to Anna, we are introduced to a time of caution, feminine gentility and embarassment about scattered underthings.  God forbid anyone should see any of these things on a clothesline! 

 

But then things begin to change.  Iris is simply waiting for the right moment with Harry to let down her hair and move into a more fulfilling sexual experience.  And Maggie, while in the throes of childbirth has lost all modesty and simply looks at the doctor as his hand invades her most private area.  Emma seems to enjoy her private moments with Will, even if she doesn't want to put a name to it, and of course we have the scene with Frankie having hurried, life-affirming sex on the street, reminding us that it was this rush to have sex and a connection to someone else before you die that created so many baby-boomers.  I see the topic as showing the shift in attitude about sex during these years which of course eventually leads up to the sexual revolution in the 60's.

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

 

We get a close look a the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie? How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Jane M.
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
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Re: Characters

 

At first I thought that Iris was just kind of backward and naive but then I discovered that although she was very reserved and proper she was also very capable and very brave. Here she is a single woman and she moves to a strange city, alone, to take a job in a traditionally male position, postmaster...today we call her postmistress but I wonder if she would have been called that back then.
She is probably the quintessential prude. She has rules for everything and is definitely a creature of rigid habit. She seems past her prime but she is content with her life and all she seems to need to make her life complete is Harry's love. She thinks she is getting signs that he feels affection for her so she takes herself off to a doctor who can attest to her purity so she can prove to him that she is worthy. I think she went because she liked everything in order and this was just one more problem she could solve by organizing it and filing it in the proper place.
If I had to describe her I would say that she was a bud, ready to flower with the proper nurturing. She just doesn't seem quite ripe yet. However, she was a lot stronger than I gave her credit for, at first.
I loved Harry. He made me think of a gentle giant. He is kind, soft-spoken, forgiving and so understanding. His understated reaction to the letter showed just how much respect he had for Iris and just how much he really cared. He would not ridicule her in any way since he truly appreciated her. He could understand that she went to the trouble of getting it because she cared for him too and I think that is all he cared about. They had found each other. Harry seemed to be the kind person who knew how to take the wind out of troubled sails with wonderfully appropriate reactions.
Rachel-K wrote:
Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

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liisa22
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Re: Characters

 


pattycakeMN wrote:

I was REALLY surprised by Frankie's casual sex outside the Savoy Hotel bar, especially when the man whom she didn't even know the name of "zipped himself back into his trousers".  Having been born in 1945 and growing up in the 1950's and 1960's, such casual sex wasn't usually talked about.

 

Patricia

 

 

 

 


 

I was quite surprised by this as well!!  

 

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Tarri
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Re: Characters

 

 

 We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

I was as surprised by Emma's shock at the casual sex in Tolstoy as I was to Frankie's sex in the alley.   Of course, after thinking about both incidents and characters,  I am no longer surprised.  Emma seems to be a very seltered person and Frankie seems to want to try everything.

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

The certificate of virginity was surprising (it seems even to the doctor), but obviously appearances are very important to Iris.  She is very much a proper woman of the 1940s and reminds me of my Aunt Vera who never appeared outside without her hair done and her outfit perfect.

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 

Frankie is definitely my favorite.  She is a woman who knows what she wants and goes after her goals.  She would be as much at home in the 1970s (when I started working and the fight for equality of women in the workplace began) as she was in the 1940s. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deltadawn
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Re: Characters

 


liisa22 wrote:

 


pattycakeMN wrote:

I was REALLY surprised by Frankie's casual sex outside the Savoy Hotel bar, especially when the man whom she didn't even know the name of "zipped himself back into his trousers".  Having been born in 1945 and growing up in the 1950's and 1960's, such casual sex wasn't usually talked about.

 

Patricia

 

 

 

 

 


 

I was quite surprised by this as well!!  

 


 

Me too!

 

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liisa22
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Re: Characters

 

 How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

     I thinking that knowing their background, does lend itself to help understand their actions and reactions.

 

 Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

     I think Emma was probably overwhelmed with all of the changes that were happening to her; marriage, a new town, traveling alone, and finally the spilling of her suitcase was just the final straw.

 

 

We get a close look a the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie?

     Iris wants love, and wants to prove that she is deserving of love by being 'intact'.   Emma has love, but I am unsure as of yet what may be happening, with Will wanting to go to London. (haven't read quite far enough to know if he goes or not yet.)  Frankie, I think she feels she is too 'modern' to need love, but I think there will be a change there.

How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

  I am not sure WHY the certification is so important to her, but I think it says that she feels that love needs to be pure and undiluted, at least for her; it doesn't seem to matter if it is so for Henry.  I think Henry is more moved by this then I have been lead to believe so far. 

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

   I don't have a favorite character so far. They are all very different.  Frankie's casualness towards sex was very surprising! 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
-Sir Richard Steele

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Bonn-ie
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Re: Characters

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene? I think ashamed is the wrong word to describe her emotion, which is why Emma denied being ashamed. I would imagine that anyone would be embarrassed, especially being in a new city and feeling anxious about it.

 

We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s? The comment made by Emma was very believable for me considering the time, Frankie and the alley was a big shock. I didn't expect it and was surprised that it seemed so casual. Thinking more about it made me see that this would be something we would expect from a man during a war so why is it so shocking to see it from female lead character?

 


Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it? I thought Iris was very proud to be a proper and "in tact" woman, although the Dr. found her response to be strange and Harry didn't seem to care one way or the other. Maybe she was thinking to much into it.....

 


Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? I am enjoying all the characters, as each one is so entirely different.

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Deltadawn
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Re: Characters

 


 

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene? Emma is very nervous about fitting in here in her new home. When her suitcase breaks open revealing her underwear she is simply embarassed - this was not the grand entrance she envisioned.

 

Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s? As others have mentioned, I too was surprised at Frankie's casual sexual encounter. however, yes, I can see, as someone else stated, that the fact that she was living in the war zone, with so much death around her and with the possibility of her own sudden death  - how this could make her yearn for that connection with another and bring her to that encounter.

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 Iris is a very "play by the rules," type of person and she sees herself as very virtuous.  She needs Harry to know that she is "pure." Harry sweetly takes in the information and the letter . . .  although it is not something that was important to him.


Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 I don't really have a favorite character yet.  the only one I'm not crazy about at this point is Will.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Characters

[ Edited ]

Frankie surprised me. She seemed out of time and place with her forward behavior but then I thought about it and decided she might have come from a life of some privilege and would have been exposed to a lot more than other women of the times, if that was so. She would then have been more worldly and sophisticated. It isn't every woman who could pick herself up and go off to another country to cover a war in a field where most women wouldn't even be allowed to work.

Frankie was living in an unsettled world in England, waiting for the next shoe to drop. When it does, she experiences the rawness of war with its loss and fear. I think she treated her trysts as if they might be her last and took love where she could find it, excitement where it met her and she never looked back. She couldn't be sure the world as she knew it would be there the next day nor could she be sure the people would. She had few inhibitions and lived with raw emotion which she was gifted in expressing on the air. She had passion and her passion came through. Frankie was already in full bloom and living for the moment.
Frankie is in sharp contrast to Iris. I think of Iris as the wallflower and Frankie as the life of the party.  Iris is acutely aware of morality while Frankie lives in a world of men and seems to take on their behavior, living free and easy. Frankie takes life where she finds it.

I think of Iris as the bud, Emma as the flower opening and Frankie in full bloom!


Rachel-K wrote:
We get a close look at the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie? How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

 

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laurajzzz
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Re: Characters

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

I realize that the time period is 1940 but I was sort of surprised about Iris and her need to show Harry that she is still a virgin.  If she was 20 then I can see why this is so important to her but she is 40 and the man she wants to be with is not a young man nor is he some sort of nobility where having a virgin bride is so important.  Iris seems like a throwback to the Victorian ages.

 

I like Emma and felt so bad for her,  new bride,  doctor's wife and he is going off to London,  leaving her all alone again in her life.   How is she going to cope with the Will running off,   will she become strong and independent,  will she befriend anyone in town to help her through her separation from Will?

 

I like seeing the war in London through Frankie's eyes,   I like seeing the independent woman making her way in the world just like a man would.  

 

 

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CathyB
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Re: Characters

We know that Emma was orphaned, that Will's father shamed himself during the bank failures of the 30s and had a drinking problem, that Iris' brother was killed in the WW1, that Frankie grew up in a Brownstone in Washington Square, and that her mother writes letters about daily life in excruciating detail. How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

 

My impressions:

    Emma  would be fragile and helpless.

    Will had something to prove.


    The background for both Iris and Frankie just seemed to be noise - it didn't add anything for me.

 

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

 

Not really sure. Maybe she just doesn't want to be the center of gossip.

 

We get a close look a the love lives of each of the women characters in the novel. What part does love play in the lives of Iris, Emma, and Frankie? How does each woman regard romantic  relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them? 

Frankie is a spinster. She is not expecting love but would willing accept it.

Emma is a young and somewhat of a prude.

Frankie is a 'woman of the world'. She takes things one day at a time and lives for the moment.

 

We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

No.


Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

 

Iris wants to prove her virtue. Harry doesn't care. He thinks it was rather odd.

 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 

I would say that at this time, Frankie is my favorite character. She seems to be her own person.


I find Emma a tad annoying, Will a bit pathetic, and Iris a bit sad.

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mediamissy
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Re: Characters

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?
I think everyone's background shapes who we are in the future.  How we respond to things is often subconscious and developed by what we learn as we grow.  I appreciated the fact that the author gave us these brief glimpses into their past to help us understand SOME of who they are today.  I thought it interesting that Frankie's mother write with excruciating detail because isn't that in fact what Frankie does day to day with the news.  For me, in order for Will to leave town, leave his new wife, I thought was very natural for someone who is from a small town, who lives with a family reputation for failure and who wants to, above all, prove his value.  The fact that he "failed" in his eyes, made his self-prophecy a reality.  To me, he made the decision to leave because here he was, with a new wife, a chance to make something and his "failure" creates this need to go off and do something "better", sacrifice in order to succeed.  I don't know if anyone else saw it that way but that's how I felt.


Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

 

Interesting question, I hadn't paid much attention to it.  I had only thought, what a wild day, to be heading to a place you have only heard about in letters.  To begin a life married but unsure of where you are and not having anyone, other than your spouse their to support you.


We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

 

Having not grown up anywhere near the 1940's I am unsure.  But even I, like several others was surprised at Frankie's exploits outside the bar with a man she had just met.  I think I am always a little surprised at the casual sex in books, sometimes even non-casual sex scenes because there is something ingrained in my brain that it is a private matter, so to read it always shocks me a little. 

 

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?Iris seems a little tightly wound to me.  I think the certificate to Iris is so important to prove her innocence to the man she loves.  To show that she has waited to give herself to one man.  I also wondered though, could it have been a way for her to say, I am not experienced so please be gentle with me, patient.  I thought Harry's response was both honest to men and sincere.


 

Do you have a favorite character so far? Who, and why? Have any of the characters surprised you by the end of this first section?

 

I haven't found anyone who truly surprised me so far but I know we have a ways to go.  I have a sense of fondness for each of the characters in their own unique way.  Right now, I actually find one of my favorite characters to be Harry, although I feel I know the least about him.  There is something both business like, and manly and yet there seems to be that sweet side lurking behind him.  He seems both unassuming and cautious all at once.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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KCSullivan
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Re: Characters

 

How do these characters' backgrounds shape our impressions of them and their actions in the story? Do you feel you have a deeper understanding of particular decisions they make?

I would have to say that I was drawn, in the beginning, to Emma. Her joy and wonder at finding a place in the world through someone to love, touched me. Iris amused me as she sought verification that she was “Intact” to offer as a kind of gift to Harry. But it was Frankie who finally captured me as she stood through a bombing “holding the microphone up to the night.” And “…it was a dare. I dare you, she thought now, to look away.” I found that I could not and I was hooked.

Iris thinks Emma is ashamed of exposing her underwear when her suitcase breaks open, but Emma says she's not the least bit ashamed. Why does Emma come close to tears in this scene?

I think that this might be a combination of factors. Blake writes, “Emma meant to be an asset to him.” Clearly she wished to make a good impression in her new home. Then when Irma offers assistance, “The woman was so quiet and so careful with Emma’s things that the bride’s throat closed over with tears.” This might be the heart of Emma’s emotions. A simple act of kindness would not be an accustomed part of her world.

How does each woman regard romantic relationships, and how much importance do they each place on them?  We see Emma surprised by a reference to casual sex in Tolstoy. Were you surprised at all to find casual sex treated--so casually--in a novel set in the 40s?

Keeping in mind the time and place of this story I found the diverse reactions realistic. Irma is a mature woman and though she is clearly feeling a strong stirring of desire she likes her passions, like her life, to be organized and predictable. Emma is deeply in love and is more than ready to “. fall into the circle of Will’s arms.”  As for Frankie, I believe sex was both an act of physical pleasure and an affirmation of life. The suddenness and intensity of her anonymous coupling after the party at the Savoy was as much about sex as it was about escape. Sarah Blake summed it up best with “ _ it was all right, we were only human.”

Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her? What is Harry's response to it?

Well I suppose it makes perfect sense. Iris is a postmaster. Details and documents are the cogs in her life’s wheel. Why neglect them when she is making one of the most monumental decisions of her life. Offering…herself  to Harry.