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

 

Nicole, I'm sorry if some of my remarks are offensive to you. I am probably a bit aggressive by nature, and having had to fend for myself for some time, I tend to take things into my own hands and expect others to do the same. My mother instilled in me the thought that you can't always wait for others to hand you something; you might have to make an effort to take care of yourself. She had never had a job or worked outside the house when the war started and she singlehandedly took care of all of us by the end - my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin, my uncle (he had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden) me, and my grandfather who had cancer. She made sure we had food and if it meant that she needed to ride a louse-infested train during the harsh winter of 1945 by day and hiding out in the barn of some arrogant farmer who might turn her and others in for the reward,  she did it. Emma, I feel, could make an effort to fit in.
What would Emma have done if she had been in Frankie's shoes, enduring nightly bomb attacks, for instance? Sure, she had abandonment issues, but as is pointed out on page 18 "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."

Sunltcloud wrote:
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway. 
nicole21WA wrote:
I could not disagree with you more.  I actually find some of this offensive.  I certainly do not want Emma going around baking cakes for neighbors.  Think about it.  Emma was the one to move to town; they should welcome her.  Instead she learns how xenophobic they are, especially when it comes to Otto.  I wouldn't put myself out for these people either, especially when one considers what Emma knows about the townspeople from Will.  Her husband's family was disgraced; she has every reason to believe that she has become associated with that since the townspeople do nothing to dispel the notion.  Also, did anyone tell her they'd be there to help after Will went to England?  When it becomes obvious that she's pregnant, does anyone come to help then?  I hope Emma moves far from Franklin when she finds out Will's dead.

 


 

 

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

Sunltcloud wrote:


 Literature, I don't think you have gone too far; I love the idea. I will refrain from giving all the characters their chores (I think I went too far with the last book - UTUS - by speculating on everybody's future.) But I do think your idea of selling cakes (or muffins or zucchini bread) would work well for Emma. Frequently war widows walked into a type of support system by doing something publicly that they had been good at privately. Sewing, cooking, catering, gardening, organizing.

My mother was not a war widow, but she did, for a while, knit new garments from old ones while my grandmother sewed old clothing into new dresses for food. In the country the farmers had what everybody needed, what everybody wanted - milk, eggs, flour, meat, and they were paid with services or goods.

Choisya wrote:  Not that this is integral to the story, but you started me thinking.  Would Emma be considered a war widow by the townspeople?  The war had not really started for the United States and Will was hit by a taxi, not killed in a bombing.

_______________________

 

SunItCloud, you did not go too far in UTUS by speculating on everyone's future.  We all speculated and had fun doing it.  We will just have to wait for Shandi's sequel to see if she used any of our ideas.

 

Choisya, most small towns kept tallies on lives lost during the war and I believe that they would consider Will's life lost as part of the town casualties.  Even though he didn't actually fight in the war, he did help out by tending to the hurt.

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

I had the same thought about Emma and Jim Tom, but I would think that because I like for things to be tied together and that would do so nicely.

 

Jim Tom has also done a lot more adult real life living then Emma has, Emma seems to carry her childhood conflicts and wounds very close to the surface.  She has moved on tentatively in her life.  Both Emma and Will seem to have their childhood issues very close to the surface in an unresolved way.  It makes them seem very fragile, while Jim Tom (while horribly wounded) seems heartier.

AnneMD
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babzilla41
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:

 

Frankie I just can't get myself to like her.  She is like the cliche, 1940's writer/journalist.  In a man's world so act as hard as a man?  She is hard and just man-ish.  I even WANT to like her, Blake tries to soften her up after the bombing but still it didn't work for me.  I needed her to show that woman's side of her.  But I never really felt that.
Women have to be hard to get through wars!  Emma and Iris are living very easy lives compared with Frankie.  Living on rations with a shortage of water, nightly threats of bombing, buildings collapsing around you, friends being killed etc etc  is likely to make you hard. Travelling around occupied Europe on your own was dangerous, you had to be tough.  Being 'mannish' could help you to survive. American women without all these privations might have been able to stay 'womanly' but women in the UK were intent on survival, not glamour.  Being hard is part of what got us through the Blitz!  Churchill thought we would all become wimps and emergency measures were put into place in case people panicked and tried to run away from bombed areas but he was proved wrong. Women with their menfolk away at war became 'tough cookies':smileyhappy: and a journalist like Frankie would become one of them.  
Frankie is based on Martha Gellhorn and she was a tough cookie. Here is an excerpt from Martha Gelllhorn's notebook during the Spanish Civil War, where she is describing how difficult war conditions were then.    She travelled across Europe with the 82nd Airborne Division during WWII and The Daily Telegraph subsequently hailed her as 'one of the great war correspondents of the century: brave fierce and wholly committed to the truth of a situation.' She was was of the first women to be acknowledged by male journalists and also one of the first to reach Dachau which, she said, changed her life.  There are a couple of BBC audio interviews with her here.  IMO Gellhorn was a Great American so for me, Frankie, living the same sort of life, is the Great American of the book.  
There were Dictaphone recorders with wax cylinders at this time although they would be a bit cumbersome to carry about. I used one after the war and for a long time I called all recording machines 'Dictaphones', just like we called all vacuum cleaners 'Hoovers'.     

CatholicKittie wrote:

Carmenere_lady wrote:

 

                             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. 

 


 


I disagress I like Emma, she is a good change from all these hard women.  Frankie and Iris weren't the norm during this time.  They seem so head strong and well, hard.  But Emma is willing to just admit that she needs and wants a man or anyone because she is not use to that.  I figure she pushes people away out of fear? maybe?  Will I liked that he loved or feels for his wife but I think it was more of him proving something to someone when he married her.  He should have realized he is a doctor he has to get use to that and know things don't go smooth sailing right?  So why run from life's problems, your wife is there to help you and the other way around.  I wanted to like him, I actually sort of do, but he is weak and that always kicks in and I just can't like that.

 

Now Iris I find odd.  I think she maybe my favorite character.  I can't really figure her out though.  She is consistent but then sometimes she isn't so much, in a odd way.  Harry seems like a perfect match for Iris, both odd balls but straight forward. No pretenses. 

 

Frankie I just can't get myself to like her.  She is like the cliche, 1940's writer/journalist.  In a man's world so act as hard as a man?  She is hard and just man-ish.  I even WANT to like her, Blake tries to soften her up after the bombing but still it didn't work for me.  I needed her to show that woman's side of her.  But I never really felt that. 

 

And I like the accuracy of this book.  People smoked, it wasn't the faux pas it is now.  And the little things like that lets me know that Blake did research and a lot of it to make the little bitty details accurate.  And the little bitty facts that most people would never know otherwise if they were true or not, she still did took the time and did the research.  But the recorder?  It kinda made me raise a brow???  Not sure why.  Kudos so far for to Sarah Blake for the research.

 

Casse


 

 


 

Choisya:  I'm a little confused.  Up above in another post you said:  

 

Some women have always travelled alone, even in Victorian times and it has been easy to travel through Europe since the days of The Grand Tour.  Frankie was a journalist, doing a job which required her to travel and the women she encountered travelling alone were probably doing so because they had no husbands or were doing so in sheer desperation.  In many ways it was easier for women to travel alone then, especially by train, because there was far less crime and women were treated more respectfully.  There were even 'women only' carriages on some trains, which were next to the guard's van.

 

and here you're saying how dangerous it was....

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no4daughter
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)


Carmenere_lady wrote:

 

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". 

                            


I agree.  In Frankie's case she should have listened to the maxim:  "be careful of what you wish for, it might come true".  Although Frankie wanted to carry on Harriet's work, she wasn't prepared for how it would effect her.  It wasn't "just a story" anymore.


 

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

As the story continues, Frankie remains my favorite character.  I don't see her as "tough". I see her as determined.  I think she feels the need to tell the story of war from a human angle.  She wants to do more than describe the physical damage of the war, she wants to report about the people.  In chapter 14, the day after Will's death, she was sitting at her typewriter and begin to write about Will and the accident rather than the usual story of the night's bombing.  She stopped because she said it "wasn't going to fly."  She really wanted to make the news something that the people at home in America could start to feel.  She gets her chance when Murrow tells her "now it is American news.  Now there is a reason to tell the story..."

 

My thoughts on Will.  I was not prepared for his death.  I did not think he would survive the war, but I did not think he would die that way.  It seemed somewhat ironic that his death turned out to be an accident just like Maggie's death was an accident.  Although he could not have predicted his death, it seems almost like a trade-off...

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
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Choisya
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 

I understand your frustration Sunltcloud. Perhaps because we have both endured the privations of war - you more so than myself - we want to tell Emma to stop being such a wimp and get on with life!  If she had only sought to help the family whose mother had died in childbirth, she would have been a better person and might have felt better too.  After all, thousands of women lost their menfolk to the war one way or another and had to make the best of things.  She also needed to do so for her unborn child's sake.  But Sarah no doubt had her reasons for having both a strong woman and a weak one in the novel - Emma does perhaps represent the weaker woman, just as Iris represents the stronger one in Cape Cod and Frankie the intrepid one in England.     

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

Nicole, I'm sorry if some of my remarks are offensive to you. I am probably a bit aggressive by nature, and having had to fend for myself for some time, I tend to take things into my own hands and expect others to do the same. My mother instilled in me the thought that you can't always wait for others to hand you something; you might have to make an effort to take care of yourself. She had never had a job or worked outside the house when the war started and she singlehandedly took care of all of us by the end - my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin, my uncle (he had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden) me, and my grandfather who had cancer. She made sure we had food and if it meant that she needed to ride a louse-infested train during the harsh winter of 1945 by day and hiding out in the barn of some arrogant farmer who might turn her and others in for the reward,  she did it. Emma, I feel, could make an effort to fit in.
What would Emma have done if she had been in Frankie's shoes, enduring nightly bomb attacks, for instance? Sure, she had abandonment issues, but as is pointed out on page 18 "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."

Sunltcloud wrote:
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway. 
nicole21WA wrote:
I could not disagree with you more.  I actually find some of this offensive.  I certainly do not want Emma going around baking cakes for neighbors.  Think about it.  Emma was the one to move to town; they should welcome her.  Instead she learns how xenophobic they are, especially when it comes to Otto.  I wouldn't put myself out for these people either, especially when one considers what Emma knows about the townspeople from Will.  Her husband's family was disgraced; she has every reason to believe that she has become associated with that since the townspeople do nothing to dispel the notion.  Also, did anyone tell her they'd be there to help after Will went to England?  When it becomes obvious that she's pregnant, does anyone come to help then?  I hope Emma moves far from Franklin when she finds out Will's dead.

 


 

 


 

 

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skiibunny1213
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 

In this section of the book, I felt the sadness slowly creeping in, starting with Harriett's death, growing with Will's senseless death, and reaching a peak with the frenzied pace at which Emma crisscrosses Europe, recording the stories of the Jews before she and they run out of time.  This is the major feeling I have as this part of the novel progresses-  there is no time... no time left.  No time left for Will, no time left for Frankie as her visa is about to expire, no time left for the Jews who are racing against the clock to get to safety...many times running out of time with their loved ones whom they must leave behind.  And heartbreakingly, we know that Emma is running out of time... she only has a few days left before her world is shattered with the news of Will's death.  And, it seems that Murrow is telling Frankie over the phone that she must get out of Europe because America too has run out of time - they must not stand on the sidelines and watch any longer.  

 

 

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

I'm a bit behind on posting and reading, but I'll get there.

 

I have to say that it was hard for me to get into the first section of the book, but the second section flew by. I enjoyed it much more because it seemed like the story picked up a little more. The first section seemed like it's purpose was to introduce the characters.

 

I started to like Frankie more because after really experiencing the war in a different way she seemed less cold and detached, which I suppose is how she needed to be to report on the war without making it emotional. I love that she decided to pick up on Harriet's story and she really got passionate about it.

 

Will is such a strange character, but it seems like we never really got to know him that well because he died so soon. I like how he crossed paths with Frankie giving her a connection to the ladies back in Franklin in a way.

 

Emma is dealing with the war and Will being gone like I think many would. She's trying to appear strong, but she is crumbling underneath the weight of her worry about him. I can't decide if she will totally fall apart when she hears of Will's death or if, in a way, she already resigned herself to the fact that he would die over there and just go on. I wish she would have told Will about the pregnancy. I don't know if it might have made him think twice about being over there or not, but it seems like he should have known. He died without the knowledge of his child.

 

I look forward to reading everyone's responses to this section and finishing the book.

Fond_of_Books

She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain. ~Louisa May Alcott
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Cobalt-blue4
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence. If you mean my response to Emma's immature behaviour I accept your applause. But....to be perfectly honest, the knitting thing after the earthquake......at first I did it to keep my hands from shaking every time a truck passed and made a rumbling sound, and to keep my mind from replaying the events. I had quite a bit of damage inside my house (my bookcases are anchored to the wall now) and the fear of more to come lasted for some time.

 


Cobalt-blue4 wrote:

 

SUNLTCLOUD WROTE...Right now I can't stand Emma. I am working on the first few pages of Spring 1941. Emma talks to iris and this is her contribution to her marriage, I suppose:? (page 138)
"He sounds so happy in his letters," she said wistfully, after a little.
"He believes in what he's doing."
"Yes, but what am I doing? What about sitting here and waiting for word? All I think is getting the news, and I can't see straight sometimes. ............."
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway."
Good. I feel better now. I might not continue to read for the rest of the day; I might go and knit. Hey, it worked after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. I knitted myself through the worst period of time and we made a whole lot of people happy in the process.

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?

 

 

Amen! Sunltcloud, you've got Chutzpah!  I applaud your response. :smileywink:
___________________________________________________________________________________
I applaud your encouragement for Emma to do something more constructive with her life. Too bad she can't hear you! 

I can't imagine what it'd be like to go through an earthquake and and having to recover from its 'after shock' affect. Many people I know knit for its calming affects.

 

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

SunItCloud wrote:  Nicole, I'm sorry if some of my remarks are offensive to you. I am probably a bit aggressive by nature, and having had to fend for myself for some time, I tend to take things into my own hands and expect others to do the same. My mother instilled in me the thought that you can't always wait for others to hand you something; you might have to make an effort to take care of yourself. She had never had a job or worked outside the house when the war started and she singlehandedly took care of all of us by the end - my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin, my uncle (he had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden) me, and my grandfather who had cancer. She made sure we had food and if it meant that she needed to ride a louse-infested train during the harsh winter of 1945 by day and hiding out in the barn of some arrogant farmer who might turn her and others in for the reward,  she did it. Emma, I feel, could make an effort to fit in.
What would Emma have done if she had been in Frankie's shoes, enduring nightly bomb attacks, for instance? Sure, she had abandonment issues, but as is pointed out on page 18 "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."

Sunltcloud wrote:
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway. 
nicole21WA wrote:
I could not disagree with you more.  I actually find some of this offensive.  I certainly do not want Emma going around baking cakes for neighbors.  Think about it.  Emma was the one to move to town; they should welcome her.  Instead she learns how xenophobic they are, especially when it comes to Otto.  I wouldn't put myself out for these people either, especially when one considers what Emma knows about the townspeople from Will.  Her husband's family was disgraced; she has every reason to believe that she has become associated with that since the townspeople do nothing to dispel the notion.  Also, did anyone tell her they'd be there to help after Will went to England?  When it becomes obvious that she's pregnant, does anyone come to help then?  I hope Emma moves far from Franklin when she finds out Will's dead.
______________________________
Franklin is a town that fits the very general description of a "stereotype" small town that you find described in many writings (no offense meant to anyone living in a small town) and obviously has no desire to change.  Its residents are there for life, have not ventured out of its boundries and are suspicious of and are not opened to welcoming any newcomers.  As Sarah wrote on page 18, "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."  With that in mind, I didn't expect any  of the town's people to come knocking on Emma's door when Will left for England nor when she became pregnant.  Emma was too insecure in herself to reach out and establish a relationship with anyone.  She couldn't even talk to Jim Tom when he tried to make conversation with her. The closest she came to having a friendship was with Iris and/or Otta, but that was due entirely to circumstances.  She may have been orphaned when she was 6 years old and grew up feeling abondoned in life, but you do have to move on in life or at least make an effort to move on.  And this is regardless if you are living in the 1930s or in the 21st century.   Emma is clearly stuck in a time warp and even if Emma moved far away from Franklin, I couldn't see her life being any different.  Who she is will go with her no matter where she is.


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Cobalt-blue4
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 

Sunltcloud wrote:
Nicole, I'm sorry if some of my remarks are offensive to you. I am probably a bit aggressive by nature, and having had to fend for myself for some time, I tend to take things into my own hands and expect others to do the same. My mother instilled in me the thought that you can't always wait for others to hand you something; you might have to make an effort to take care of yourself. She had never had a job or worked outside the house when the war started and she singlehandedly took care of all of us by the end - my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin, my uncle (he had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden) me, and my grandfather who had cancer. She made sure we had food and if it meant that she needed to ride a louse-infested train during the harsh winter of 1945 by day and hiding out in the barn of some arrogant farmer who might turn her and others in for the reward,  she did it. Emma, I feel, could make an effort to fit in.
What would Emma have done if she had been in Frankie's shoes, enduring nightly bomb attacks, for instance? Sure, she had abandonment issues, but as is pointed out on page 18 "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."

Sunltcloud wrote:
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway. 
nicole21WA wrote:
I could not disagree with you more.  I actually find some of this offensive.  I certainly do not want Emma going around baking cakes for neighbors.  Think about it.  Emma was the one to move to town; they should welcome her.  Instead she learns how xenophobic they are, especially when it comes to Otto.  I wouldn't put myself out for these people either, especially when one considers what Emma knows about the townspeople from Will.  Her husband's family was disgraced; she has every reason to believe that she has become associated with that since the townspeople do nothing to dispel the notion.  Also, did anyone tell her they'd be there to help after Will went to England?  When it becomes obvious that she's pregnant, does anyone come to help then?  I hope Emma moves far from Franklin when she finds out Will's dead.
________________________________________________________________________
If Emma and Frankie happen to go shoe shopping together, they'd be in different sections of the shoe department. Frankie would be searching for Ecco's for their style, comfort, and durability. Emma would be searching for simple shoes with thin soles and probably no arch support would be just fine for her. Now, just say, they both had bunion problems and needed orthotics. Frankie could still wear the stylish, comfortable, and durable Ecco's.  On the other hand, I believe that Emma would rather complain about her orthotics not fitting properly into her simple shoes rather than buying a new pair of shoes that hold the orthotics in place.
What does shoes have to do with moving on in life? Emma couldn't wear Frankie's shoes because Emma lacks many qualities needed to pursue an exciting, goal-driven, and fulfilling life. To Emma, Frankie's shoes would be too intimidating. Even forced to wear her shoes, she'd fall apart! She doesn't have resilience because if she did, she'd start with finding ways to occupy her time and doing things to improve her emotional well-being. 
As for leaving Franklin, I do not believe that would change Emma's life in any way. You could move to a new town, but in essence, you still create the life you know around you no matter where you live. Granted, there may be more opportunities in a different town, yet you'll still pursue the same type of people, career, and activities. 
I speak from experience. I have moved around quit a bit for love, grad school, and jobs. In each town, whether I liked it or not, my issues came right along with me as loyal as a dog. Ten years ago, I moved to a small-midwestern city where "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her (18)." It took me nearly 4 years of being present & active in the community for me to call it home. I am right there with Sunltcloud that Emma needs to create the life she wants to live. But, does Emma really know what she wants? No matter if she does or not, resilience to rise above all that pulls you down is an extraordinary quality to have in life.   

 

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quiltedturtle1
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

In this middle section we begin to see how the characters change as a result of the war. While Frankie was an observer at the beginning, she has now personally been affected by the war with the death of Harriet and Will. She also becomes the postmistress with Will's letter to his wife.

 

Iris changes in this section, becoming less rigid to the reader. In the end paragraph of chapter 10, Iris says that she was looking for a tether and is now delivered. Emma seems lost during this time and it will be interesting to see if she remain invisible, as Will's describes to Frankie, or if the result of Will's death changes her into someone more visible and stronger. It's interesting how many of the characters are "invisible" like the Jews that Frankie reports on, and how the characters are becoming more visible as the story goes along.

 

Thanks....

Cathy.

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pen21
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I agree with you. I am wondering if it is Frankie.

pen21

 

Fozzie wrote:

The further I read into this section of the reading, the more I began to question the assumption that it is Iris who is the postmistress who wouldn’t deliver the mail.  Frankie still hasn’t mailed Will’s letter and it is driving me nuts!  OK, from the inside cover flap, we know Iris won’t deliver a letter, but how can Iris not deliver it if Frankie won’t mail it?!?!  This makes for good suspense to keep the book moving along.

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pen21
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

I agree that Emma is wimpy. Choisya says it well that that Emma would have been a better person if she would have reached out , especially to the family that lost the mother. I have personally found that sitting at home waiting for others doesn't work. I have found when I reach out and take the step to help others, that I suddenly have lots of help, lots of invitations to dinners, etc. Emma is portrayed as timid and being alone in a town where she doesn't know anyone in the book, so I am curious where the author will take Emma in the last section. Which I hope to start later this week.

pen21

 


Choisya wrote:

 

I understand your frustration Sunltcloud. Perhaps because we have both endured the privations of war - you more so than myself - we want to tell Emma to stop being such a wimp and get on with life!  If she had only sought to help the family whose mother had died in childbirth, she would have been a better person and might have felt better too.  After all, thousands of women lost their menfolk to the war one way or another and had to make the best of things.  She also needed to do so for her unborn child's sake.  But Sarah no doubt had her reasons for having both a strong woman and a weak one in the novel - Emma does perhaps represent the weaker woman, just as Iris represents the stronger one in Cape Cod and Frankie the intrepid one in England.     

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

Nicole, I'm sorry if some of my remarks are offensive to you. I am probably a bit aggressive by nature, and having had to fend for myself for some time, I tend to take things into my own hands and expect others to do the same. My mother instilled in me the thought that you can't always wait for others to hand you something; you might have to make an effort to take care of yourself. She had never had a job or worked outside the house when the war started and she singlehandedly took care of all of us by the end - my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin, my uncle (he had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden) me, and my grandfather who had cancer. She made sure we had food and if it meant that she needed to ride a louse-infested train during the harsh winter of 1945 by day and hiding out in the barn of some arrogant farmer who might turn her and others in for the reward,  she did it. Emma, I feel, could make an effort to fit in.
What would Emma have done if she had been in Frankie's shoes, enduring nightly bomb attacks, for instance? Sure, she had abandonment issues, but as is pointed out on page 18 "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her."

Sunltcloud wrote:
Here is my adivce to Emma: "What kind of attitude is that? Do something with yourself. Go bake a cake and invite some neighbors. Learn to knit. That's what women do who aren't out there reporting the war or entertaining the soldiers. Knit some socks. Support your husband. We don't always understand why a man does what he does, but shouldn't you give him a chance? You should be glad that he is happy. Have some faith in him. Write him a long letter, more than two words long anyway. 
nicole21WA wrote:
I could not disagree with you more.  I actually find some of this offensive.  I certainly do not want Emma going around baking cakes for neighbors.  Think about it.  Emma was the one to move to town; they should welcome her.  Instead she learns how xenophobic they are, especially when it comes to Otto.  I wouldn't put myself out for these people either, especially when one considers what Emma knows about the townspeople from Will.  Her husband's family was disgraced; she has every reason to believe that she has become associated with that since the townspeople do nothing to dispel the notion.  Also, did anyone tell her they'd be there to help after Will went to England?  When it becomes obvious that she's pregnant, does anyone come to help then?  I hope Emma moves far from Franklin when she finds out Will's dead.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

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

I think I enjoy the First read club best because I like to read other reader's opinions. It gives me perspectives I might not have otherwise. I probably relate to Emma the best. I keep to myself most of the time-but i do know I miss out on a lot of opportunities by doing so. I think Emma is missing out on opportunities she might be sorry for. Especially when she finds out Will won't be coming home. I like Frankie and wish I had her courage. And maybe some of her courage is out of neccessity-but I still admire it. I think Will went to England to make amends for what his father did. I'm glad he felt good about what he did before he died. I'm enjoying the book but the discussions have made me look differently at the war and what it really did to people. My dad and his parents came over from Russia during this time period. I've always wondered what it must have been like.

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



I loved your post, Cobalt-blue4. And, as an Ecco person with lots of walking miles behind me, I have to tell you about two incidents that happened many, many years ago.

 

1. During the war a truck overturned in our small town. All of us children ran toward it and we "stole" as much as we could carry without getting caught. Some of us wore aprons and thus had a built-in carrier. I've since read about children stealing coal from transports, and potatoes in fields, and wood for heat etc, so I no longer feel guilt over this incident. What makes me laugh now though, is the fact that we stole something useless, just because we were hungry for anything. We stole shoe polish! That's what fell from the truck. Little containers of shoe polish. I can't remember my mother's reaction; she probably laughed. I sometimes wonder what they used ten or fifteen containers of shoe polish for,since everything was used during the war and we certainly didn't have lots of shoes to polish. My mother probably wished it had been soap.

2. When I was fourteen, in 1952, we celebrated confirmation. It was still a time for being frugal. My grandmother sewed my dress and my mother bought my new shoes. She bought them two sized too big and even though we stuffed them with paper, I had a hard time walking without losing them.

 

Those were the two things I thought of when I read about Frankie and Emma's "shopping spree" in the shoe store. :smileyhappy: They were so different from each other in peace time, but I wonder if war would eventually bring them closer together. Since the choices dwindle when there is rationing and one takes what one gets, would they maybe both stand in line, each grumbling about the cheap sandals they would receive (one pair for each resident for the summer)?

I think there's nothing more bonding than collective grumbling. And however timid Emma is, she might have to learn quickly to communicate with Frankie.

 

Frankie to no one in particular, standing in line in front of the shoe store, waiting for the last three hours, watching women and children pass by, their sandals in hand: "Can you believe it? We're supposed to wear these flimsy things all summer? They look like they'd fall apart by the time we get back up that hill."

 

Emma, right behind her, carrying her baby in her arms, groaning and moaning, wiping her forehead, answers: "I like the blue ones. But I think I'll take them off when I walk in the sand. Hm, I wonder if little Will gets sandals too. His feet are so small."

 

Frankie turns, looks at little Will and Emma. She is not the motherly type, but smiles and tickles little Will's foot that is still in baby booties. She looks down at her Eccos that are caked with mud. "Imagine, I used to be stylish; look at me now. I guess the war makes you reconsider your priorities. Hey, I think I'll go with bright red if they give me a choice."

 

"I don't really care anymore." Emma always sounds a bit defeated. But then her voice picks up and becomes forceful. "But my baby is learning to walk; he needs good shoes so his feet don't get deformed. I read that in a book that his aunt Iris found in the library. Babies need good shoes."

 

Well, anyway, that was fun. Better than vacuuming the living room. I know what you mean about moving around and that it takes a while to be assimilated by the town or accustomed to a new city. We all react differently and I hope that Emma, once she has her baby, will become more interactive. I've seen that happen in my own family; a young person who was suddenly "in charge" of another human being, her baby, exceeded all my expectations and grew responsible/ maternal in a very short period of time.

______________________________________________________________________
Cobalt-blue4 wrote:
If Emma and Frankie happen to go shoe shopping together, they'd be in different sections of the shoe department. Frankie would be searching for Ecco's for their style, comfort, and durability. Emma would be searching for simple shoes with thin soles and probably no arch support would be just fine for her. Now, just say, they both had bunion problems and needed orthotics. Frankie could still wear the stylish, comfortable, and durable Ecco's.  On the other hand, I believe that Emma would rather complain about her orthotics not fitting properly into her simple shoes rather than buying a new pair of shoes that hold the orthotics in place.
What does shoes have to do with moving on in life? Emma couldn't wear Frankie's shoes because Emma lacks many qualities needed to pursue an exciting, goal-driven, and fulfilling life. To Emma, Frankie's shoes would be too intimidating. Even forced to wear her shoes, she'd fall apart! She doesn't have resilience because if she did, she'd start with finding ways to occupy her time and doing things to improve her emotional well-being. 
As for leaving Franklin, I do not believe that would change Emma's life in any way. You could move to a new town, but in essence, you still create the life you know around you no matter where you live. Granted, there may be more opportunities in a different town, yet you'll still pursue the same type of people, career, and activities. 
I speak from experience. I have moved around quit a bit for love, grad school, and jobs. In each town, whether I liked it or not, my issues came right along with me as loyal as a dog. Ten years ago, I moved to a small-midwestern city where "The town was not waiting to start up with her arrival. The town was clearly already itself without her (18)." It took me nearly 4 years of being present & active in the community for me to call it home. I am right there with Sunltcloud that Emma needs to create the life she wants to live. But, does Emma really know what she wants? No matter if she does or not, resilience to rise above all that pulls you down is an extraordinary quality to have in life.   

 


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fordmg
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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?

 

In the beginning Frankie found a situation and reported on it.  Now she is actively out creating a story.  She is not as tough minded on the road as she was in London.  The war is starting to wear her down.  Frankie treats the Jewish refugees with compassion.  She truly is apalled by what is going on and how none of the reports get out. 

 

MG

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

I don't think Emma and Jim or Emma and Otto will get together.  All 3 have too much baggage.  They may become friends, but I don't see more than that.

MG

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aprilh
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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?

 

Frankie is an amazing character. She has taken over where Harriet left off and is determined to get the story out about the Jewish refugees, even if it means risking her own safety. She truly cares about all the people she meets on her trip and is saddened by the fact that there was no story she could tell from beginning until the end. I was afraid for her life when she was caught helping Thomas hide on the train, resulting in his being shot. In this moment, I realized how brave she was for going on this trip to report what she saw.

 

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 like Iris a lot more in this section of reading than I did in the beginning. I still find her to be a stickler for the rules, a person who would never veer off the beaten path, but it seemed in these chapters that she was more relatable to me. I enjoyed reading about her job at the post office and her conversation with Will before he left made me respect her so much. I'm not sure why Will felt Iris would be the best person to deliver his letter to Emma in case of his death. Maybe he felt since she was the postmaster she would make sure Emma got his letter, or maybe he saw some nurturing side to her and knew she would befriend Emma in case something would happen. I'm curious if this is the letter we read about earlier not being delivered. I hope not, because if Will wrote it on the off chance he would die, there must be something important in it that he has to say to Emma. Also, Iris takes her job very seriously and doesn't seem the type of person to not do her job.

 

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 Will felt being in London helping others who really needed it was what he was meant to do even though it meant leaving Emma. When he is in the tube station, he is thinking of her and how much he loves her, but he knows he will never go back home to her. This broke my heart. It seemed so sad that although he loved his wife very much, he knew their lives were not going to work out as they had planned. I had a feeling something bad would happen to him while he was in London, but I thought he would end up being a casualty of the war, not randomly be hit by a car for looking the wrong way. It shocked me that he would die this way. I never saw that coming.

 

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'm hoping Emma is much stronger than I give her credit for at this time. Emma seems very fragile and I'm afraid this news might send her over the edge. She never wanted Will to go in the first place and I'm afraid she'll look at this death and think, 'If I would have fought harder with him and not have let him go, he'd still be alive'. I'm dreading the minute she gets the news about Will's death. It saddens me to see her lose another person she loves and that she never got the chance to tell him they were going to have baby.


 

April