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Rachel-K
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Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

Please use any of the following questions to start conversation about the Winter and Spring sections of The Postmistress.

 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006

Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

[ Edited ]

Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions to start conversation about the Winter and Spring sections of The Postmistress.

 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her? 

                               It seems that Frankie is determined to pick up Harriet's gauntlet regarding getting the Jewish story out to the public.  In so doing, I think, she has become part of the story and not just an observer.  Frankie gets her wish and has permission to go to Paris and ride the trains and get the "voices of Europe". 

                              Murrow told her "Our job is not to persuade just provide the honest news."  I find that is a thin line and a difficult issue to seperate.  I think Frankie tries to tell the story of the refuges from an observer's viewpoint  yet it is almost impossible to stay that way without becoming emotionally involved, which she did. 

          ps:  The episodes while Frankie is on the trains are most enthralling.  For me, this is Frankie's book.  She's the most intriguing and complicated character.

 

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

                               I didn't take any notes on Iris in this section.  She continues to be efficient and no one can change her mind about anything.  Not even Harry.  I wonder if she ever contacted the PO headquarters regarding the flag, hmmmm.  Harry and Iris do seem to be similar in nature.  They are both steadfast in their beliefs, for that reason they may understand each other quite well, although I can not pinpoint any particular line regarding this.

 

 

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

                             To quote a popular song... "Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?"  It just goes to show that Death is full of surprises.  It was his time, whether he stayed in Franklin or continued to work in London the outcome would have been the same.  There was nothing anyone could have done to prevent it from happening.  Even if Emma told him about the baby and he came home, same result.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

 

                             To me, Emma is pathetic.  She is very self centered and she seems to believe nobody has it as bad as she.  She doesn't want to be alone yet pushes everyone away. Jim Tom tries to chat with her and when he mentions that  it's not easy "being left behind" and she snaps at him that Will's not dead.  Doesn't she realize you can be left behind by the living too. 

 


 

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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HannaintheTriad
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

The meeting between Frankie and Will is a turning point for Frankie's story.  The personalization of loss seems to bring the effects of the war into sharper focus for her.  She shifts her perspective to the broader implications.

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

 

The Iris character is probably one of my favoite in the book, and her relationship with Harry demonstrates that love can come to you in the most unexpected time.  It feels like Harry had been waiting for Iris his whole life, while Iris had imagined that she had missed the fork in the road that led to love a long time ago. 

 

I think the contrast between the development of their love story and the backdrop of their independent preoccuation with the war (Harry in the bell tower of town hall, Iris with her world map in the post office) is an interesting one.  Love is never convenient, and how hard it must be to be experiencing deep personal joy at a time of such upheaval and sadness.

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

 

At the end of the day, all anyone can offer is their one set of hands, and Will does this.  I believe he experiences a sense of redemption in his work in London, in a way he could have never achieved at home in Franklin.  His death -  "looking right when you should have been looking left" - summed up the essence of this book.  His belief that everything adds up is in direct contrast to the seemingly random effects of the war on innocent people, including his untimely death.

 

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17) - Random Thoughts

[ Edited ]

Just a few random thoughts I had - feel free to add to it or whatever.

 

A sign of the times:  Emma continues to smoke like a bonfire although she is pregnant.

 

It's almost like Frankie sends advice to Emma over the airwaves "Keep calm and carry on."

 

Much is made of the stature of Emma.  "thin little neck", "soft little chin" and there are many other remarks made bout the smallness of her.  This makes me ask the question.........Should the reader expect big things out of Emma?

 

 

Transitions between scenes seem to be smoother as the story progresses.

 

When will Frankie mail Will's letter for goodness sake?!

 

The events on the train and in Europe in general puts everything in the US into perspective.  Undergarments falling out of a suitcase, a letter of purity, it seems trivial in comparison.

 

What did Sarah Blake mean by this quote.............."The old words sounded in his ears like capes for kings."  P149?

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Bonnie824
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)


 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London?

I liked her a lot more in this section. She seemed to genuinely care more than just be looking for a good story and angry about a cause.

 

 

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy?

I think Will ran away rather than went to help England. He lost a patient and wants to make it up somewhere else. He likes being the unknown doctor hero I think more than the fallible small town doctor he was.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

Emma as an orphan was a needy wife, who made a mistake in her choice of husbands I think. Will was a weaker man than she needed and did not come through for her when he had personal issues.


 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17) - Random Thoughts

 

I wonder if it meant that capes were mere windowdressing, symbols of pomp and circumstance, and he wanted his life to have more meaning than that. Perhaps he realized with Maggie's death how mortal humans really are and then he realized how much he wanted to do something worthwhile instead of always living in the shadow of his father's guilt and now his own. He said as much, himself for Maggie. I found it sad that, in the end, he dies in such an "accidental" way. Perhaps the larger message is that Maggie's death was truly and accident too and he could not have prevented it.

Carmenere_lady wrote:

 

What did Sarah Blake mean by this quote.............."The old words sounded in his ears like capes for kings."  P149?


 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

At first I thought that Emma was acting like a spoiled brat. Then I thought, wait a minute, she is pregnant. Her hormones are bouncing around. She is alone in a strange place, in essence abandoned. She has no family, no one to confide in. She has to be plain lonely and scared and she is reacting out of those confused emotions.

I wondered if, after Will's death, she and  Jim Tom might not team up. In a weird sort of way it might seem like the ultimate form of justice being played out. The children would no longer be motherless, Emma would not be alone with her new baby and if Will was in heaven looking down, maybe his soul would finally rest. He would feel justice was done. I hope this theory doesn't sound too warped but Jim Tom seemed to be handling his crisis far better than Emma was, so it seemed like a workable solution to me, in a more perfect world. I will have to finish the book to see what ultimately happens so I may eventually feel foolish for positing such a plan. I am reading on schedule this time!


Rachel-K wrote:

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?


 

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Wilson54
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

Since Billy's loss of his mother, Frankie has become more and more personally involved in the war.  Her need to carry on Harriet's quest to get the Americans to become aware of the atrocities going on in the occupied countries is the act that is leading her to lose her reporter's detachment.  I think Will's what will be will be attitude made Frankie more determined to affect change in the American's isolationist attitudes.

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

I believe Iris is beginning to come to life.  For so many years her day to day activities have been only to follow the instructions she was provided and to make sure things were done in the prescribed manner.  In her relationship with Harry, she is beginning to consider her own and other's feelings as a factor in life.  I think Harry and Iris compliment one another as opposed to being alike.

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

Will ran to London to escape death and his own sense of failure.  The fact that he had to face death over and over in London is how he expects his life should be.  I found it quite obvious that Will was killed by looking the wrong way.  He has spent his life looking the wrong way.  Expecting his father's curse to befall him; seeing a mother's death in labor as his fault; running to London to assuage his guilt.  He is always looking at things the wrong way.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

I think Emma fit with Will in that she is another person that beleives her past predicts her future.  She does not seem able to establish her own life.  She sees herself as an ornament in someone else's life.  I would imagine she will not handle news of Will's death well.

Carole
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jb70
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

I think Frankie is starting to get frustrated about not being able to tell more, there is telling the truth and then there is reporting what is really happening.  While they are telling the truth what is being left out is just was important as what is being kept in.

 

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

 

Iris and Harry seem to be doing well together, I was surprised though that she stayed chaste for 40 years and then agreed to have sex at the drop of a hat without a wedding or engagement .  If she was that traditional and by the book (like at the PO not being willing to make a decision about the flag pole without getting orders) would she really have allowed Harry to stay and sleep with him?

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

 

Will has finally gotten out of the shadow of his father and away from feeling less thanhis clasmates in school.  In London he is anonymous to a certain extent and also feels like he is doing good and atoning for whatever fault he felt in maggie's death.  He is alive in London and does not ever plan to go home, but his death shows us that small simple mistakes can have large far reaching consequences.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

 

I wish Emma didn't feel guilty about Maggie as well, it was an accident and was in no way her fault.  When she rebuffs Jim Tom she is isolating herself even more than she already is.  Jim meant alone since Will has gone away, not necessarily alone forever.  The letters are such a link to the past because now we can be alerted in a few minutes of major life events.  I don't understand why she hasn't received a telegram or some sort of communication 9unless it came adn Iris didn't deliver it) becasue Frankie spent 3 weeks or more on the trains and within that time he must have been identified and Emma should have been notified.  Also, I am very afraid that the letter that will not be delivered is the one Will left with Iris.  I hope I'm wrong and either way I hope we get to read what he had to say.

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Baileys_and_Books
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

As we enter these chapters we see Frankie view her role differently. I do not think her meeting Will changed her, but planted seeds of thought in her mind. However as she rides the trains and sees first hand what is going on outside of London.

In her neighborhood, in her surroundings it was different to report on the war (certainly not safe, but familiar) where riding the trains stripped away all layers of what she thought she knew.

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?


The only way my feelings for Iris have changed would be to grow in liking her. There was a strong charm to her in meeting her at the beginning of the book, which grew as we continue to see her interacting in town with everyone and her approach to her job. She is very thorough, and keeps things well planned. From the letter in the doctor's office to her growing relationship with Harry, she have everything in order.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

 

I have not really connected with Emma at all. I certainly can understand why she feels alone since she did not have a family before marrying Will, and thinks she needs that sort of tether to prove she is needed in the world, but I often want to shake her to be as strong as she could be. I can see that inner strength in her, and wish she would exhibit it.

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DSaff
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I have to say that I am really enjoying this book. It is making me feel all kinds of things, and that is the mark of a good book to me. Our author has put me in the story. I can see it, smell it, feel it. While I have stopped reading for this week, it isn't because I wanted to. <grin>

 

Frankie has changes so much in a short time. I think the biggest change is in her compassion. She has had compassion and has tried to push the envelope in her reporting from the beginning, but now, the story is so real to her that she is having trouble keeping emotion out of her reporting. She wants people to understand what she is seeing; to see what is happening. I think she found time running out when she was traveling in Germany and she saw the way the Jews were being treated. She wanted to get their voices on the disks even if they were over one another. She wanted to keep them alive and safe somehow. Frankie had to do something and didn't feel that anything was really enough. She was willing to risk it with humming the "V" morse code while being watched by a monitor. I loved her strength there.

 

Iris has become a very likeable character. We can feel with her as she tries to protect the people in her town in anyway she can. It may be as simple as checking on them or watching out for them. I have found that this proud, efficient woman has many emotions roiling beneath the surface. I think slowly but surely, people will understand her more. She seems to care more than anyone realizes.

 

Will aggravated me by leaving Emma. As these chapters unfolded, Will began to realize that Emma was disappearing from his memory. I knew at that moment that he would die. Then he met Frankie and I had a moment of horror thinking they might become a couple, and was happy to find that it didn't happen. But, the connection was made and Frankie was the one who held him when he died. The end paragraph on pg. 163 shows her compassion. "It's okay," she said to him quietly, though she knew he could not hear or answer. "I've got you." And she rested one hand on his head and the other on his heart, until she felt it stop."  I had tears in my eyes from pg. 161, having to move them out of my eyes to read.

 

Emma is not really holding up. She doesn't think she can cry when anyone is around, but she does let her guard down a little with Iris. One thing I like is that Emma says "Hello" to the house when she comes home. It seems that she is trying to keep it alive while Will is gone.

 

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
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I had the same thought about Jim Tom and Emma. You are not alone. <grin>


thewanderingjew wrote:

At first I thought that Emma was acting like a spoiled brat. Then I thought, wait a minute, she is pregnant. Her hormones are bouncing around. She is alone in a strange place, in essence abandoned. She has no family, no one to confide in. She has to be plain lonely and scared and she is reacting out of those confused emotions.

I wondered if, after Will's death, she and  Jim Tom might not team up. In a weird sort of way it might seem like the ultimate form of justice being played out. The children would no longer be motherless, Emma would not be alone with her new baby and if Will was in heaven looking down, maybe his soul would finally rest. He would feel justice was done. I hope this theory doesn't sound too warped but Jim Tom seemed to be handling his crisis far better than Emma was, so it seemed like a workable solution to me, in a more perfect world. I will have to finish the book to see what ultimately happens so I may eventually feel foolish for positing such a plan. I am reading on schedule this time!


Rachel-K wrote:

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?


 


 

 

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
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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pattycakeMN
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I think Frankie was shaken to the core on her train trip - how horrible to have Thomas shot at her side.  The story of the boy who had to leave his Mother was heart wrenching.  It made me want to know what happened to him, just like Will & Emma were wondering about the boy in the bombing in London.

 

I LOVE the book, and don't want it to ever end.

 

Patricia

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CathyB
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

Please use any of the following questions to start conversation about the Winter and Spring sections of The Postmistress.

 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

I think that Frankie has become more driven. She wants to complete Harriet's 'work'. I think the conversation with Will, his subsequent death and the train rides have gotten to her. She is running on emotion. She is the story now.

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?


Iris has let her guard done at times. Both Will and Emma have picked up on some of her behaviors - that she is alwayswatching the people and that she has feelings for Harry. I am not sure that my feelings toward her have changed - I reallydidn't think much of her to begin with except that she was a spinster. I think that she and Harry understand each other well - they feel comfortable with one another and have similar traits - efficiency, stubbornness.

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?


Fate. I think that will has come to terms with things - what will be/come will be/come. I was sad that he died; however, it did not make a difference to me whether it was an accident or war-related - either one had the same outcome.

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

 

I think that Emma will be ok about the  death - deep down, I think she is expecting it. No, I don't really like Emma - there is just something about her that rubs me the wrong way - I can't quite put my finger on it.

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 

I am behind schedule in my reading due to a family emergency, but when I read this post, I smiled. Totally agree, might look foolish later, but for now it is something that I can live with. "Motherly planning" might not make an exciting book chapter, and "perfect solutions" aren't usually what an author looks for or intends to conjure up, but I too find combining Jim Tom and Emma wonderful medicine for Will's soul. This scenario disregards my atheist viewpoint, my writerly perspective, my logical inclinations, but it does my heart good. Thank you.:smileyhappy:

DSaff wrote:

I had the same thought about Jim Tom and Emma. You are not alone. <grin>


thewanderingjew wrote:

At first I thought that Emma was acting like a spoiled brat. Then I thought, wait a minute, she is pregnant. Her hormones are bouncing around. She is alone in a strange place, in essence abandoned. She has no family, no one to confide in. She has to be plain lonely and scared and she is reacting out of those confused emotions.

I wondered if, after Will's death, she and  Jim Tom might not team up. In a weird sort of way it might seem like the ultimate form of justice being played out. The children would no longer be motherless, Emma would not be alone with her new baby and if Will was in heaven looking down, maybe his soul would finally rest. He would feel justice was done. I hope this theory doesn't sound too warped but Jim Tom seemed to be handling his crisis far better than Emma was, so it seemed like a workable solution to me, in a more perfect world. I will have to finish the book to see what ultimately happens so I may eventually feel foolish for positing such a plan. I am reading on schedule this time!


Rachel-K wrote:

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?


 


 

 


 

 

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T-Mo
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?

 

I think Emma will be just fine. Of course she will be devastated to learn of his death, but I think she will get on with her life. She is a survivor in the sense that she has already suffered the death of her family. While it is a terrible tragedy to have to go through, she knows she can endure and persevere because she already has once. Perhaps the fact that she has a new baby on the way will provide hope and also help her get through this loss. She will know that in the end she won’t be alone because she will have a child to love and care for, unlike after the death of her parents when she truly was all alone. 

 

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T-Mo
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

 

I don’t really think there is much to say for Iris overall. I think even now, halfway through the book, she is still a very under-developed character. We really don’t know that much about who she is as a person because we barely see her. I feel as if Emma has a larger part in the story than Iris. I really wasn’t sure what to make of her at the doctor’s office, and I still don’t really know what to make of her. She seems to be a very quiet and reserved person, and I feel that that is all I know of her. What kind of relationship did Will form with Iris before he left that made him feel that he should leave his “death” letter with her for Emma? Was it simply because she was the postmistress and he knew she would see Emma everyday when she picked up her mail? It seems a letter of that sort would be a very emotional and heavy thing to leave with someone, and yet I know nothing of Iris that would make me feel that she was the best person to pass along such unfortunate information. I do realize that she will of course receive the telegram of Will’s death, so maybe that also was a determining factor for him. In some way though, it does seem that Iris and Emma are building some form of relationship. Despite that fact that Emma seems to be holding herself back, and unwilling to form bonds with any of the town’s people, she does seem to look to Iris as a possible crutch. After all, Iris does control the mail, and she will know first that something has happened to Will. And Iris does seem to have compassion and sympathy for Emma and all that she is going through. In the end, I guess Iris may be the best person to deliver the news to Emma.

 

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ssizemore
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

Frankie has become a different person in these chapters.  It seems to me that her anger has turned to despair.  When the true nature of the problem and its magnitude become personal to her, she is willing to risk her own life to tell the stories of the refugees, yet she is certain that she can't possibly do it justice.  She has lost totally the "American optimism" she saw in Will--or was it perhaps the fatalism she saw in him.  His death was a blow to her especially in that it was an accident. 

 

Iris seems to have become less detached and spinsterish.  She is not part of the community and is affected by the emotions of its residents.  She has found some stability in Harry and he has revived her spirit.  She is, however, very much afraid for Emma and for her husband Will's fate.

 

Wills leaves for Europe with a fatalistic attitude--what will be will be.  He is devastated by Maggie's death and wants to escape what he believes to be a family curse.  He also wants to lose himself in sacrificial service and to try to help alleviate suffering.  How sad that his death is so senseless.  The author seems to use this device to remind us of all of the senseless death in this war.

 

Emma is in turmoil, and I believe represents all those left behind everywhere waiting for their loved ones to come home.  She is pregnant, but doesn't want to worry Will, so he dies without the knowledge of his child-to-be.  How many young mothers faced similar circumstances?  How many men died never seeing their children or returned home when they were 3 or 4 years old.  She is shadowed by a sense of foreboding.  How will she handle Will's death when she believes he didn't have to go to war.

 

We know of these characters as they relate their stories as Americans.  They know very little of what is going on across the sea and still have difficulty understanding the huge spectrum of the problem.  The censoring of news reports does not help this!  I like the way Edward R. Murrow tells Frankie that they are to report the news as it is---he seems to remove the possibility of editorial comment by the reporter.  This is the way news should be reported, but it also sometimes leaves the hearer without emotion.  Frankie's tearful reports are true to the facts, yet bring the terror and pain of the people to the radio audience.


Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions to start conversation about the Winter and Spring sections of The Postmistress.

 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? Compare your initial impression of her in a doctor's office to the woman we observe efficiently managing this small town the post office. How well do Harry and Iris understand each other? Are they similar at all?

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

 

How does Emma hold up? At the end of our current section, Emma is still getting daily letters from Will from before his death--how do you expect her to handle the news? Has your impression of Emma changed as the story progresses?


 

.  Sandy

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PiperMurphy
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎09-19-2008
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)


Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions to start conversation about the Winter and Spring sections of The Postmistress.

 

How has Frankie's relationship to her job changed in these chapters? Is she as tough minded and directed as she was when we first met her in London? How does she treat the story of the Jewish refugees moving across Europe? What effect did her brief contact with Will have on her?

 

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during was was that everything "adds up."  What does he mean by this? Why does Will seem happy? What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death?

 

 


 

I think that Frankie is every bit as tough minded and directed as she ever was, but now her experiences have made her more compassionate and determined. She realizes that her stories are the people, and it is the people who are truly being affected by the war. I think that Will was an example of this for Frankie. He was someone from home, who she had just met and spent some time with. Then their meeting ends with his death. She understands how uncertain life is. Will was happy because he thought he was making a difference. It is ironic that he died in a traffic accident because it could have happened at home. He didn't escape from Maggie's death. The difference that he thought he was making in London would have been the same difference if he had remained at home.

"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
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Bonnie_C
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎08-07-2009
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I think the meeting between Frankie and Will, though brief was extremely important in the dynamic of the story.  Will comes to the epiphany that things "add up".  No matter what he did in London, it did not bring Maggie back.  Each person has their destiny ahead of them and nothing or nobody can change it.  Will planted the thought in Frankie's mind about how maddening it was not to know the ending to so many of the war stories that were told.  Frankie witnesses Will's death and ends up with his letter addressed to Emma who puts it in her pocket.  Is she at this juncture also a postmistress that does not deliver a letter?

 

In the middle chapters Frankie  really finds her voice.  I thinks she transforms from being a journalist who reports from just witnessing events from afar, to reporting events felt from the heart.  I found it interesting how many horrifying events she was involved in that featured young boys.  Billy loosing his mom in London, young Franz getting separated from his mother at the train station and the young boy that was separated from his mother so he could escape into Spain.  These stories and the others she wanted to get for her recordings made her realize that it was indeed very difficult to get the entire story.  Most of her encounters were bits and pieces of these people's lives.  The one exception was Thomas who told her his beginning and she tragically witnessed the end.

 

Iris is still a  keeper of order and structure.  She and Harry fit together quite well.   While Iris meticulously tends to each and every detail at the post office, Harry religiously climbs up the stairs of the Town Hall and watches for u-boats.

 

Emma at this time is a lost soul.  There are so many references about who is watching over whom.  This seems to really be the case for Emma.  I don't think it has occurred to her for her to reach inside herself for strength or reach out to her neighbors in Franklin for companionship.

 

I think Otto is an interesting character.  I'm looking forward to see if anything of importance develops with his character.