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dhaupt
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
I think Frankie didn't mail the letter at first because she was angry at Will because she didn't like his attitude. I don't think she really felt connected to him and so she didn't feel the need or the burden to post it. When the war truly touched her, her attitude changed and then she wanted to deliver it perhaps to make an effort to make the world a better place, by doing the right thing, by finally connecting with "the people" as she had hoped to do with her broadcasts.
In the end she realized it was futile. She would have caused more sadness and served no purpose. Perhaps Murrow knew that, perhaps he understood that people would connect more with straight information rather than painful messages. Perhaps he knew they couldn't really handle it. I don't think it would have helped Emma to know how Will died or how Frankie felt at the time. It would have served Frankie's needs, not Emma's.
However, I think I might have mailed the letter right away, without thinking about its effects, because I wouldn't have known Will's last thoughts, I wouldn't have known the contents of the letter. I would probably have believed that Emma would want his last letter. I would have assumed that the government was going to notify her too. Also, it is generally my nature to do the right thing (which might have been the wrong thing in this instance) and I was brought up to believe that mail delivery was sacrosanct and an offense punishable by law.

Great TWJ something else to think about. I agree with you that Frankie didn't like or understand Will's feelings about the being in England and the war in general, but I really thought that she didn't post the letter just because of all the crap that happened right after he died, plus the fact that he died in her arms put her in a strange state of mind. Then on the trains. And I think when she got back to the states that she really did intend to give the letter to Emma and thankfully she met her first and realized how fragile her state of mind was. And I did change my mind about Emma, I think she grew and became stronger and I think that was a direct result of her not hearing from Will and coming to her own conclusions and preparing her self for the worst possible news in her own way and in her own time.

 

 

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babzilla41
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

Which character surprised you most in the course of the story, and why?

 

I think the inconsistency of Iris' character was most surprising.  She was rigid about following rules, yet she broke them.  She felt for some reason that she had the authority to pick and choose when it was ok to break the rules. It was ok to withhold mail but not ok to lower a flag pole without official approval - and we all know now how that turned out! She thought she was being protective of Emma by not delivering the news of Will's death yet she turned her back on Frankie when Frankie was looking to her for help when trying to protect Otto from the kids who were tormenting him.  I have to say I was very angry when Iris turned her back on Frankie and walked into the post office without saying a word.  She became angry with Frankie when Frankie was questioning her about the mail process, yet she was incensed due to her guilty conscience.  She is a good example of a person who "talks out both sides of their mouth".

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DSaff
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Re: Defining Quote

I can see that.  =)

 


Carmenere_lady wrote:
Donna, I certainly enjoy and respect your remarks in all First Looks we've shared, but I just have to tell you that although this is indeed a beautiful passage I had another image that spoiled it for me.  It brought to mind the animated version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  Yes, as the Grinch stood on the mountaintop and looked down upon Whoville and his heart began to grow larger and larger and that foolish smirk on his face became a sentimental grin he realized that there was more to Christmas than just presents etc etc.etc.  Frankie comes to realize that there is more to news is more than just a story it is people, emotions, flesh and blood.
DSaff wrote:

As I was reading the last section, I came upon this quote that I think defines the book in a beautiful way. I am interested in what others think as well.

 

"And the seed that had lain curled in Frankie's heart all this while unfurled. Petal after white petal opened slowly from her heart and started reaching up and out. Some stories don't get told. Some stories you hold on to. To stand and watch and hold it in your arms was not cowardice. To look straight at the beast and feel its breath on your flanks and not to turn -- one could carry the world that way." pg. 309

 


 


 

 

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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thewanderingjew
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

 

You know, I would like to think that I would do my job and post the mail. I like to think of myself as super ethical, but I just remembered a time when I was young, and far more idealistic than I am now, or far less cynical, when I was a teacher, and had a student that had been tracked and labeled as not very bright and very troublesome. He was moving to Chicago and I didn't want his record to follow him because he had no problems the year I taught him. His scholastic achievement was up to or better than grade level. He was eager to follow rules and participate. He had never been and wasn't then, a danger to himself or anyone else, so that was not a consideration.
Sometimes, the label is a self-fulfilling prophecy; I did not forward his guidance record to the new school, fearing that, as in the past, he would immediately be treated as a problem student. I spoke to his mom and told her what I planned to do. She said she would keep an eye on him. If anything happened, we could forward it later and say it had been inadvertently left out. I feel guilty now but I think I did the right thing, at the time and I often wonder how he turned out. I only remember his first name. I wish I could remember his last and trace him. I hope what I did enabled him to grow up to be a responsible adult.
So, I understand what Iris was trying to do. She was trying to protect someone from unnecessary pain. d I can no longer take on this attitude of holier than thou, because I realize that I have been guilty of the same "crime", disobeying the rules,  to solve a problem in a, hopefully, more appropriate way. By delaying the delivery of the letter, no one was hurt; Emma became more used to Will's absence and began to accept that he was not coming back. Iris spared her the shock of the knowledge by postponing it. The pain was still there when she actually discovered the news about his death, but she was better able to cope with it. I think I agree with what Iris did because in the end, no one was hurt by her behavior.

Rachel-K wrote:

If you were Iris, would you have delivered the letter? Why or why not? What good, if any, grew up in the gap of time that Emma didn't know news? What did Emma lose by not knowing immediately?

 

 

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Last Chapters

Speculating about Harry and Will - metaphorical representation. While Will died in the midst of war fighting his own battle Harry died on the sidelines fighting the war. One was physically present for reasons that had more to do with "finding himself," the other was there emotionally and intellectually, preparing for events to come before anybody else woke to the reality of war. Together they become the first war casualties in the town of Franklin. And with all its concerns (Emma's pregnancy) and flaws (Iris neglecting to deliver a letter) and ugliness (treatment of Otto) and awakenings (flagpole chopping) quiet Franklin enters the unstable, unpredictable atmosphere of war.
Somebody in this group followed the word STORY throughout the novel in a very insightful post and wanted to know its meaning. I think that, though Frankie was the reporter, the go-between, she didn't really have a story, not a story that would wake up Franklin or any other small town; she only had the ingredients, tossing them like spices into a salad, and gradually THE STORY BEGAN TO TELL ITSELF. The story is about the effects of war on individuals, on towns, on groups of people, on the future. Iris will remain a spinster. Emma will raise her son without his father. Otto will endure great suffering -  from all sides. Frankie will hear the ghosts forever and will or will not be able to survive.
Well, apparently she did survive to tell about it all at a dinner party. One has to go back to those first few pages. After rereading her statements in the beginning I am convinced that Frankie is "The Postmistress." She (the story teller) didn't find out that Iris didn't deliver the letter from the landlady, did she? So, the only non-delievered letter she knows about is her own, the one Will had in his pocket when he died. And on page 266 the conversations is about the title:
"And you are the postmistress?"
"Postmaster," Iris corrected her. "There's no such thing as a postmistress. Man or woman. It's postmaster."
"In England you'd be called a postmistress."
Frankie is the "deliverer" of the news. Sometimes the news is too hard to deliver, as in the case of Will's letter. And in the case of the voices of the Jews, they are haunting her, but she has not yet found a way to deliver them. As old woman she no longer believes in angels. Here is what she said in the beginning (page 3)
"Long ago, I believed that, given a choice, people would turn to good as they would go to the light. I believed that reporting - honest, unflinching pictures of the truth - could be a beacon to lead us to demand that wrongs be righted, injustices punished, and the weak and the innocent cared for. I must have believed, when I started out, that the shoulder of public opinion could be put up against the door of public indifference and would, when given the proper direction, shove it wide with the power of wanting to stand on the side of angels."

And so, we go back to Martha Gellhorn: "War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever."

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Peppermill
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Re: Last Chapters

[ Edited ]

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Do you think that Harry represents those American servicemen who lost their lives in the war, perhaps those who volunteered to fight?  He was, in a way, fighting the war right from the beginning.  The American government and some of the American people might not have been alert to the dangers of the war but he darn well was!  I see him metaphorically as a handsome GI in uniform - the sort who tried to give me nylons and chocolate.:smileyvery-happy:

Hmm Choisya,
something to definitely think about. And I don't know, I was confused about Harry's death because it seemed untimely right when everything was finally coming together for him. I know that people lived shorter lives then and heavens look at their life style, but I would have preferred it if Harry had lived. But then again if he had lived I guess he wouldn't still be on my mind either.   But as far as he representing the deaths of our GIs, it's something to think about.   


My own reaction was that Harry's death was a way of tying up the threads of a story that in many ways was over from an artistic perspective.  That made it feel a bit too tidy for me.  I wanted a wedding, I wanted the birth of Emma's child.  But that would have taken a lot more story for today's readers.  A George Eliot could have gotten away with it for a Victorian audience.
As it is, the story and book has a haunting presence and impact that would have been difficult to impart with a "happy ending."   Yet, I did also feel Harry's death was a little too abrupt, not really as intrinsic to the story line as many other elements were.
Does the ending support what Iris did with the letter for Emma?  Up to that point, she had been so rigid in following the rules, except for the one letter, including getting approvals relative to the flag pole height.  Somehow, this outpouring of anger and grief (anger is one of the stages of grief) hasn't yet seemed related to the theme of the story for me, although I only finished a thorough reading this afternoon.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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nicole21WA
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

The Postmistress makes me glad I don't live in a small town!  I can't imagine someone taking it upon herself to open my mail before deciding whether to deliver it.  While I totally support Iris in her decision not to give Emma Will's letter until there was confirmation that he was dead, I'm appalled that she would open the letter from the landlady.  Yes, her instinct that it had information about Will was correct, but it could've been from a friend in England and completely unrelated to Will.  Iris should never have violated Emma's privacy like that.  Furthermore, although we knew Will was dead, he may not have been and would've remained hospitalized as a John Doe since Iris didn't give Emma the letter that would've prompted her to search for him.

 

As for Frankie not passing on Will's letter, I have mixed feelings.  It's not like she promised Will she would mail the letter or contact Emma for him.  But she did take the letter with the intention of mailing it.  She had the perfect opportunity in France (I think it was France at least) when she went into the post office to make a call.  She was even offered stamps!  She should've just been done with it then.  I found it odd that she tracked down the woman she had a letter for but never gave it to her.  After she got to know Emma it became impossible to give her the letter, but Frankie could've easily handed it to her on the first day before there was any connection.

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jb70
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

 

Why wasn't Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For Someone whose hob job was to deliver news, did she fail?

 

First I have to say that I started reading other people's ideas and realized I wanted to get my ideas down before getting them mixed up with other reactions, so if I repeat something I'm sorry.  I will be going back as soon as I'm done to read the other posts.

 

 

If you were Iris, would you have delivered the letter? Why or why not? What good, if any, grew up in the gap of time that Emma didn't know news? What did Emma lose by not knowing immediately?

I'm not sure if I would have or not, I think Emma pretty much knew that Will must be gone since the letters stopped coming, but she was able to hold onto that one sliver of hope.  To find out from his landlady that he had not been there and had left his wallet behind might have made her more worried and I can't imagine how she would have gone about trying to find him from the wrong side of the Atlantic at that time.  How would she know which authorities to call or hospitals to talk too.  How would she know if the John Doe that might have been found was Will or not without seeing for herself and being pregnant it was not a good time for her to have been traveling to London.  So, I think Emma knew but was able to keep some hope which was a comfort and gave her time to get used to the idea that he wasn't coming back.  I didn't fully follow how the telegram had been lost or misplaced- I thought Iris just held back the landladies letter.  The telegram, if Iris did indeed have it, should have been delivered at once because it held the proof and left no window for hope as the landlady letter did.

 

 

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

Being Jewish would not have protected him it would most likely  have made him doubly bothered and outcast.  Since it wouldn't make matters better why bother giving people who were treating you as an enemy more ammunition.

 

Which character surprised you most in the course of the story, and why?

Emma surprised me because she didn't fall apart when Will stopped writing and did not fall apart when she discovered he was dead.  She was much stronger than her initial description lead us to believe.

 

The novel deals with the last summer of "innocence" for the United States before it was drawn into the war, before many American's wanted to be involved, and before the US was attacked you see any modern day parallels? 

It reminds me of the period of time before 9/11 when American's thought they were safe because the problems were happening 'over there" not in our own backyard. 

 

 

How do you think it would have changed your assessment of the characters if their attitudes and actions had been set after Pearl Harbor?

After Pearl Harbor the war didn't seem to be quite so distant and it started to take it's toll on more and more American's and their families.

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jb70
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

Somehow I started the last post in between the questions and missed these:

 

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

Each person sees "the story" through their own filter of experience and understanding so no two people will have the story exactly the same.  Plus, I'm not sure that at this time they truely understood what was going on.

 

Why wasn't Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For Someone whose job was to deliver news, did she fail?

I think Frankie should have told Emma about meeting Will and about the accident so she knew that even though he was far away his close to last thoughts were of her.  That his being gone had nothing to do with not loving her and had to do with something inside himself.

 

 

On a separate note, I was a but surprised by Harry's death.  Was the shock of finding out he had been right all along what caused the heart attack?  Would it have happened anyway no matter where he was simply because it was his time?  And then Iris cutting down the flag pole- did she think that if she had lowered it earlier the Germans would not have found them and Harry would still be alive?  Was she questioning the postal system and her part in it?

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literature
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Re: Last Chapters

Wilson54 wrote:

I was very sad at the end of the book.  I felt as though the end had nothing to do with the rest of the book.

 

I felt the characters did not stay true to themselves.

Frankie could have demonstrated her new found humanity by sharing her experience of Will's last evening in the shelter.

Iris was way out of character by opening the letter.

And, why did Harry have to die?

 


 DHaupt wrote:

 

Carole, thanks for your opinion. I feel a little differently about it, let me explain. 

 

I don't think that Franklin and Emma especially would understand Will's attitude at the end so In my mind Frankie saved Emma's feelings by sparing her the last moments of Will's life.

And I think it was very in character for Iris to open the letter to Emma, she knew it wasn't official, but that it couldn't be good news either, because otherwise it would be from Will, and she had appointed herself to be the watchdog of the town.

But I do agree with you about Harry, it really upset me when Harry died, but it seemed like fate in this book always had the upper hand and not even Harry could avoid it.

Debbie
____________________________________________________________________
I agree with both of you about Harry.  I posted a question to Sarah today asking "Why Harry?".  I'm curious to read her answer.
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Ronrose
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

About Frankie's inability to deliver Will's letter.  Why is Frankie able to tell the world about the deaths and bombings that happen to Londoners and later the deaths and mistreatment of the Jews and others the Nazi's deemed undesirables and yet she cannot bring herself to deliver Will's last letter or even tell Emma that he is dead.? What is it that makes so many of us sit and shrug or shoulders or shake our heads at the news of countless deaths in wars or tragedies occurring around us everyday, yet we are devastated by the news of the loss of an individual close to us.  We seem to insulate ourselves from the trauma of so many deaths; thousands, even millions of lives. Are we lesser persons because we cannot face such overwhelming grief or are we merely shielding ourselves because the reality of such suffering could cause our beliefs and our worlds to crumble?

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nbmars
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

Please use any of the following questions as a jumping off point to discuss the end of The Postmistress. Please remember that all spoilers are welcome in this thread!

 

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out? 

 

I don’t think it’s ever possible to get out of war.  Consider all the PTSD we’re dealing with from Iraq.  You can’t ever get out.  And Frankie - witnessing someone’s death immediately after befriending him, and then causing someone else’s death - it had to affect her.

 

 

If you were Iris, would you have delivered the letter? Why or why not? What good, if any, grew up in the gap of time that Emma didn't know news? What did Emma lose by not knowing immediately?

 

I think Iris betrayed the trust of her job first by opening the letter and then by not delivering it.

 

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

 

I sympathize with him.  Where he came from, it could cost you your life, and not much he had seen in Franklin could have led him to feel much more secure!

 

 

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andiev
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

 

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

It definitely makes you question whether you can really ever get the "whole" story.  Considering the story is told from multiple viewpoints, the reader should be able to get a much more broad view of the story but still there remain gaps; not everything is told always.  I think with war in general, it is never really possible to just "get out," yes a person can leave the country but that doesn't mean that the impact of war doesn't stay with them.  I think that is pretty evident in Frankie's case, while she can leave Europe, the war stays with her in both a literal(the records) and figurative way.

 

Why wasn't Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For Someone whose hob job was to deliver news, did she fail?

I think Frankie wasn't able to deliver the letter because no one wants to be the bearer of bad news.  While on the radio, there is no person to person contact, it is much more difficult to tell something difficult when you know there will be a personal interaction.  I think it also has to do with Frankie's not wanting to have to answer questions about Will's death or their interaction especially after not giving the news immediately.  I don't think Frankie failed in her job, she had every intention of giving Emma the letter but decided it was better not to; some secrets can be kept.    

 

If you were Iris, would you have delivered the letter? Why or why not? What good, if any, grew up in the gap of time that Emma didn't know news? What did Emma lose by not knowing immediately?

If I were Iris, I would have never read the letter and delivered it without being aware of its content.  I think Iris overstepped her bounds by not delivering the letter, it was not her decision to make whether or not Emma could handle the news.  While she may have believed it was in Emma's best interest not to know that Will hadn't been back to his apartment for a few weeks I still don't believe that gives her a right to decide whether or not she hears the news.  I think it would have been better for Emma to know immediately so that she would not remain with the hope for change when Will obviously wasn't going to come back from the dead.  At the same time, I think not knowing for so long allowed her to realize that life goes on, when she finally realizes Will is in fact dead it is months after the fact and still she has been able to survive.  I also think it helped her to realize that she isn't alone in the world as she believed. 

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

 

Which character surprised you most in the course of the story, and why?

I was most surprised by Frankie, first because of the casual sex and then because of her going to such great lengths with the intention of delivering a letter that she ends up not delivering.  I think that her first hand experience with the war definitely changes her over the course of the novel; she realizes that while it is important to bring the war to people there are certain aspects of war that don't have to be revealed.

 

 

How do you think it would have changed your assessment of the characters if their attitudes and actions had been set after Pearl Harbor?

I think my reaction to the characters would definitely be different had the novel been set after Pearl Harbor simply due the fact that the war had finally arrived on American soil.  After Pearl Harbor, their denial of involvement would be different given that the US was finally attacked.  I don't think I would have liked Frankie as much because she would not have had the task of bringing the war to everyone.  I think I would have understood her even less.

 

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maryfrancesa
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

I don't know if we as readers do get the whole story, Yes it ia about the people in the stories and the writers.  I do think That Frankie tried to get the reader into the person' slife and I am not sure that she could really get out.  Why did she return to the US instead of remaining in Europe.

I think that she really meant to mail the letter from Will soon after his death but that she was sent to do a story and never got around to it.  Yes, maybe she felt that someione else would have notified Emma before she got the letter.  maybe in the back of her mind she just wanted someone not to feel the hurt and pain that Emma would be experienciong once she was aware that Will died.  But in the end I think that emma really knew that Will has died.

In a senmse I guess that Iris failed to deliver her the letter but Iris was always watching and observing Emma.  I think that if Emma was not pregnant Iris may have delivered the letter sooner, but she felt the time was never right.  Would it have made any diofference when Emma received the news, no I donot think so.  She had longer to believe that Will was allright and coming back to her, but that she did start to make little changhes to the house,.

Does Otto really refuse to tell people that he is Jewish.  Coming from Europe and the times over there I do not think I would tell people I am jewish.  Would it have made a difference I don't know.  I think people assumed the worst about him because he was not one of them

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babzilla41
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

As nondescript a character as Otto was, I was surprised to find a real connection with him.  He had to have witnessed and experienced the same, if not worse, horrors that Frankie did.   Then, to add insult to injury, to come to a country, that was supposed to provide a safe haven, only to be tormented and humiliated again.  

 

I could almost hear the voices on the recorder when he was standing on Frankie's porch alone, in the dark, listening to them echo into the night.  As hard as it must've been for him to listen, I think he had a need to hear them over and over.  I felt the voices offered him hope, hope that his wife might still be alive and I think they also offered a re-connection to his home, even though he knew those people to be ill-fated.  A heart-breaking, sad, and lonely scene.

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smeather30
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

I don't think it's possible to ever really get the whole story, as there are so many sides to each, and no matter how objective a reporter is, the story is always going to be colored by that reporter's own experiences and feelings.  Once you become emotionally involved in someone's story, I don't think you can truly get out.

 

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

I agree with Otto in not telling people he was Jewish.  I would want to be accepted for who I am, not for what I'm associated with.  The townspeople were mean to him, and didn't even try to get to know him.  It would be hard to communicate something so personal and painful as Otto's experiences with people who were so ignorant and intolerant.

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

Just wanted to mention how much I liked this bit of foreshadowing on page 246.  It was after Iris had tucked Emma's letter in her pocket and she had mentioned that she had stolen a piece of mail.  As I read this I thought thought that Iris was going to end up in prison.  Isn't tampering with the mail a federal offense? 

Little did I surmise that it would pertain to Harry's future!

 

"Years after, she would remember the warmth of his hand on hers and the last of the sun on her cheeks, and she would remember the moment, in the silence before someone broke it, the single moment of highest summer, brimfull with no room for more, and not time yet for the tipping, the pouring out and away"

Lynda

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jabrkeKB
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)


Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions as a jumping off point to discuss the end of The Postmistress. Please remember that all spoilers are welcome in this thread!

 

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

 I don't think it is possible to ever get the whole story. Frankie got involved in three stories, the boy , Will and Thomas, and it had a profound impact on her. She tried to get the story out by her recordings and reporting.

Why wasn't Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For Someone whose hob job was to deliver news, did she fail?

 I feel that Frankie didn't deliver the letter because she wanted to keep her connection to Will. After meeting Emma I think Frankie decided Emma couldn't handle the news yet. I do think she failed. Will wanted Emma to have the letter and Frankie did not have the right to withhold it.

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

 He already felt the townspeople were treating him unfairly. He didn't want more of a spotlight put on himself.

Which character surprised you most in the course of the story, and why?

 Harry, not because of anything he did, but because he died. That was very unexpected and I really don't see how it fit into the story.


 

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

 


jabrkeKB wrote:

Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions as a jumping off point to discuss the end of The Postmistress. Please remember that all spoilers are welcome in this thread!

 

"Get in. Get the story. Get out." That is Murrow's charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it's possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

 I don't think it is possible to ever get the whole story. Frankie got involved in three stories, the boy , Will and Thomas, and it had a profound impact on her. She tried to get the story out by her recordings and reporting.

Why wasn't Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For Someone whose hob job was to deliver news, did she fail?

 I feel that Frankie didn't deliver the letter because she wanted to keep her connection to Will. After meeting Emma I think Frankie decided Emma couldn't handle the news yet. I do think she failed. Will wanted Emma to have the letter and Frankie did not have the right to withhold it.

Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Would you have?

 He already felt the townspeople were treating him unfairly. He didn't want more of a spotlight put on himself.

Which character surprised you most in the course of the story, and why?

 Harry, not because of anything he did, but because he died. That was very unexpected and I really don't see how it fit into the story.


 


 

 

I don't recall that Frankie ever opened the letter SHE carried, but p. 146 gives us its contents:  "Good night my sweet.  I'll write more tomorrow, I promise."

 

How might the story evolved if:

 

a.  It had been mailed from London immediately.

 

b.  It had been mailed from France.

 

c.  Frankie had delivered it in person.

 

My feeling is "a" is what "should" have happened -- but it is not what "did" happen so the story had to go   elsewhere.  I think "a" could have been consoling to Emma,  I'm not so certain about "b" or "c".  Having accepted the letter on that street in London, what was Frankie's "moral" responsibility?   (It doesn't look to me as if it was a professional responsibility per se.  In fact, today that would probably belong to the ambulance squad.)

 

How was the culpability of  Iris' actions impacted, if at all, by Will having left a letter with her and asking her to basically keep an eye on Emma?  As a postmaster, did she have any "right" to accept and hold Will's letter?

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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nlsamson
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Later Chapters: Summer, 1941 (18 - 28)

I have to say DSAFF I agree with you wholeheartedly.  (on every point) 

When Frankie wants Otto to tell everyone that he is Jewish, I actually had to think about what I would have done in his place.  I understood her thinking, but on the other hand, what good could possibly have come from opening up to the people that he really didn't trust to begin with.

 

Once again, a fantastic First Look read!


DSaff wrote:

I loved the book and am so happy it was a First Look selection.

 

The ending really made me think. First, Frankie. Murrow charged her with "Get in. Get the story. Get out." because otherwise reporters weren't mearly telling the story but rather became part of it. They would stop being "objective." Frankie couldn't follow those instructions when it came to people affected by the war, especially the Jews. She began feeling the story and that made it difficult for her to not expect others to get involved. Is it hard to get the whole story? I think so, unless you become part of the story, and at that point, it becomes hard to get out.

 

The last letter that Will wrote to Emma should have been mailed right away. But, Frankie kept "forgetting" and pretty soon, it was too late. Will's death really affected Frankie and I think she had difficulty parting with the last piece of him, a memory. Then, after meeting Emma and seeing that she was pregnant, Frankie couldn't give it to her. Was she wrong? That is a tough call. Frankie felt for Emma, saw the love she had for Will and saw the hope she maintained for Will's return. Frankie couldn't take that from her. My heart says she should have told Emma about meeting him so that Emma would have known he talked about her. I would have left out the "vanishing" memory.

 

The letter Iris received created another dilemma. As Postmaster, Iris had a duty to not only leave the letter sealed, but also to deliver it. She was completely wrong to open the letter and then once opened, to fail in delivering it. I understand what she was feeling, but she didn't have the right to do what she did. In fact, it is a crime. The gap of time did give Emma more time in her pregnancy, more time for the baby to develop and hopefully be delivered heathly. But, the delay made it impossible for Emma to discover the truth and have his body returned home for a timely burial.

 

I liked Otto. His character really rounded out the story. I don't blame him for not telling the town's people he was Jewish. They were mean-spirited toward him as it was, and most didn't even seem to understand the horrible situation overseas. Most didn't WANT to know. He didn't want their cruelty nor their pity.

 

I was most surprised by Iris. When she opened the letter, she failed in her duty as Postmaster, something she held close to her heart. I didn't think she would do anything to break the trust folks had in her, but she did.

 

The only thing I will say about the parallels of the book to today (I see many) is that many people continue to hide their heads in the sand and ignore the atrocities around the world. People who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.


 

 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - unknown