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

I have to say Donna, that I totally agree with just about everything you've said.  Frankie has really grown on me.  I had a hard time with her in the beginning but with what she is going through she has shown a lot of compassion and I really don't think I could be as brave in the same situations.

Will also aggravated me when he left Emma but something told me he would die without knowing she was pregnant, and poor Emma feels so alone so I also have a soft spot for her.

You can tell that Iris is looking out for Emma without Emma really knowing it.

 

All these characters have grown on me and I am really enjoy the book and finding it hard to put down!

Gail

 

 

 

DonnaS =)
" Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner


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Christie62
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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 has become more passionate and driven about her job in these chapters. She is more determined than ever to get these stories told. It is frustrating for her, feeling that the Americans are not taking any action about the horrific situations she is seeing firsthand.  In those times the news was much less immediate than it is now, so it must have been more difficult to realize the impact of her work. When she met Will and found out that both he and Emma were affected by her story, it fueled her passion to make sure the stories were heard.  While she is tough minded, we also see more of her compassionate/humane side, as she tries to help individuals when she can.

 

 

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 have been fond of Iris since the beginning of the book.  She seems somewhat naive, but strong and capable at the same time. I think that she and Harry are a good match, they both seem earnest and sincere.  I was surprised that she and Harry began a sexual relationship without marriage, that seemed out of character for her, but by this point she trusted Harry enough to be comfortable. 

 

 

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 first I thought that Will meant that his saving lives in London made up for losing Maggie, sort of mathematically adding up. Then I thought that maybe the death of Will was some sort of payback for Maggie's death.  I was angry that he died in a traffic accident -- that could have just as easily happened at home, and if that was to be his fate, he didn't really need to leave Emma to go across the ocean to assuage his own conscience.  I was mostly angry at Will, though, feeling that he was very self-absorbed. It was wrong of him to bring Emma into a new town where she knew nobody, then leave her when he didn't need to.   I was REALLY annoyed when I thought that he and Frankie were going to develop a relationship....

 

 

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 is holding up as well as can be expected.  Knowing nobody, and having no family, she  has a hard time knowing who to trust.  I think that is part of the reason she was so snappish with JimTom (combined with pregnancy hormones, stress, etc).  I am hoping that she will find some strength she didn't know she had when she learns about Will, but I'm sure this will be devastating for her.


 

 

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

In a previous thread we were discussing what Frankie was feeling when Billy's mother and her friend Harriett died. It seemed to me that it did not bother her to much at first. After I read the middle chapters, I see that the deaths bothered Frankie more than I thought. She is honoring Harriett by continuing the research that Harriett began on the Jews in Germany. Frankie seems more determined in her work now. She really wants/needs to bring their stories into everyone's living rooms. I respect Frankie more in these chapters! Her brief discussion with Will made her see everything in a new light. He really got to her in those moments in the shelter.

 

Iris seems a little cold when she reacts to Frankie's news broadcasts. I have not made any final decisions about Iris. Sometimes I think that she is kind and hardworking and sometimes she is a little cold-hearted. Harry and Iris seem like opposites to me, but I think that it works for them so far.

 

I was not expecting Will to die in an accident. I was not expecting him to die at all! This is horrible. He had no idea that his wife was expecting. How tragic!!  I would like to think that he would have returned home if he knew that Emma was pregnant.

 

I feel horrible for Emma. I think that she is doing well under the circumstances! It has to be difficult to move to a new place and then your husband leaves for another country so soon. I think that Emma is stronger than she thinks she is and that she will find a way to survive.

 

 

 

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mediamissy
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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 realizing the amount of information that is being withheld from the "real" story.  It isn't good enough to just say what the censors want, what is being left out is the story and is more important.  I found that the story of Frankie with the Jewish refugees was both the saddest but also most meaningful sections for me.  I found myself riveted.  I think that the section with Will and Frankie was almost as if he was grounding Frankie.  Bringing the focus back to what she needed to do. 

 

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 have to say that although I started out with Harry being one of my favorite characters I have lost him somewhere along the way.  I think that Iris has stayed true to her character.  Although I will say that I sometimes see a little bit of a softer woman than I expected.  In the post office she runs a TIGHT ship.  But you can see her genuine love of her job doesn't keep her from loving people.  Where she is most knowledgeable at work she is somewhat sweet and innocent in love.

 

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 seems to have found a peace with his work in London.  Will's sudden death caught me off guard.  I was truly shocked as a reader, almost as if it happened in front of me.

 

 

 

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

I too was a little afraid when Will and Frankie met that they would either become romantically involved or that they would have another random sexual encounter as other couples in the tunnel were.  I was glad that they did not but did feel sad that Wills eemed to connect and open up more with Frankie than he was able to with Emma.  Sometimes that kind of emotional attraction can be just as bad as an affair.

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

Will said to Frankie that his experience of London during war 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 went to London to make sense of his life...the death of Maggie, doubting his ability as a doctor, his father's failings,   It finally dawned on him that he came over to London to play out the simple equation of himself for Maggie but he had come to understand that each one of us is alive until the instant of death and then we are gone.  He held so many dying hands over here, he understood it at last.  And he was happy.  So happy, that he thought about this with a smile on his face.  But he couldn't write to Emma that he was happy and wanted to stay beyond the six months he had set for himself because she would never understand.  He didn't know how to write that to her.   Emma had asked him if he intended to die there (London) because if he did, it would have been for nothing.  Her thinking was that the English should take care of themselves and his going over there wouldn't square the death of Maggie.

 

He realized nothing needed to be proven anymore and he was Will, just himself, with no past attached to himself.  He said to Frankie that everything matters here, everything adds up.  There are bombings, some people die and some survive and that is all there is.   I was shocked when Will was hit by the taxi but I don't believe that this is the point in the equation of himself for Maggie.  It was just a matter of forgetting that the traffic comes from the opposite direction.  I thought that perhaps Will would have been wounded and gone back home.  I didn't believe he would die in the Blitz.  That would have been too simple.

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

Hi Lynda,

 

I meant that the old words were as comforting and belonging to a bygone era as capes for kings--something distant and lost.

 

Sarah


Carmenere_lady wrote:

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?


 

 

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Zia01
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

How have your feelings for Iris changed during these chapters? I don't think we saw enough of her in these middle chapters to really form an opinion. My only real opinion is she's efficient and it makes her seem tough on the outside but I don't think she's as tough as we might think.


What effect did it have on you that Will's death is a traffic accident, rather than a war death? It didn't matter to me how he died. I was just upset that he did.

 

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 handles it like you would expect anyone who has someone in a war, would handle it. She misses him and is sick with worry. I think she'll be devasted but I think she's stronger than anyone gives her credit for.

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Sadie1
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 


jb70 wrote:

 

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?

 

Sadie writes:

This bothers me too.  We have the big build up in Chapter 1 for the letter of purity and then Iris just casually has sex with Harry.  A woman making sure she went to another town to see another doctor to get a letter of purity, surely wouldn't just lay down and have sex with someone she wasn't married to.  Both scenes do not go together. 

 

Now if Iris didn't have the casual sex, then the purity letter would fit.  But she does..so the letter doesn't fit.  Why not skip the whole doctor visit and purity letter and just tell Harry it's her first time and be done with it?

 

 

 

 

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

Emma -- I am really hoping that Emma, now pregnant, will somehow hold it together for the sake of her child.  Time to grow up and stop feeling so sorry for herself.  I like the idea mentioned by others that she and Jim Tom get together; with six kids between them...wow...they would definitely make a busy, busy home.

 

Iris -- Nice to see things moving along nicely with Harry.  I like them both very much, both Iris and Harry seem to know what's going on with everyone and in a way they take care of the town, but they keep some reserve, some distance, unlike the nosy Mrs Cripps and Mrs Niles. 

 

Frankie -- Frankie is really coming in to her own, moving away from what felt like a borderline stereotype ('The Spunky Gal!').  Now she feels like a real, driven person of empathy and incredible strength.

 

Just wondering, as she is carrying around Will's letter and these recorded messages, if Frankie is the title character, and not Iris?

 

-- C.

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nfam
Posts: 231
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

For me, the main character in the middle chapters is the war. I find that the people cycle through the events like puppets. I find it hard to identify with the characters. There are several places where we hop from the head of one woman to the head of another and I didn't notice the switch for a couple of paragraphs. I guess I wonder, aside from the war, whose story this is. The focus seems to keep changing. 

 

Emma has become quite unlikeable. Her hiding from reality and shunning everyone who tries to be friendly seems a bit extreme. Iris remains true to her character, but I find her motivation for withholding the letter not believable. It didn't change anything for either of them and seemed simply a vehicle for letting closure come later with Frankie in the story.

 

Frankie is the most believable of the three women. I find her war reporting quite moving. Still, the character isn't quite real. She's a vehicle for reporting the war.

 

Maybe this is what the author intended. The war is so overwhelming that the personalities of the people are submerged.

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

[ Edited ]

Thanks for the interpretations Sarah and twj.  I'm mulling over that paragraph because I think it is a very important piece to suggest to  the reader who Will has become, a peak into Will's future, perhaps, if he had not met up with that taxi.


Sarah Blake wrote: 

Hi Lynda,

 

I meant that the old words were as comforting and belonging to a bygone era as capes for kings--something distant and lost.

 

Sarah

 

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

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?


 

 


 

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."
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Christie62
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Re: Middle Chapters: Winter and Spring (9 - 17)

 


 

Just wondering, as she is carrying around Will's letter and these recorded messages, if Frankie is the title character, and not Iris?

 

-- C.


 

Well said CJINCA.  I was wondering this myself, and also how Emma would feel if she knew that Frankie had developed such a powerful emotional connection with Will. 

 

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

I agree that Emma will survive.  Do you think she already has a sense that Will is gone?  That she is willing herself to believe the contrary?

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

I see Frankie's passion for the truth really explode in these chapters and I think it directly correlates to Harriet's death although I think eventually she would have ended up in the same direction even if Harriet had survived. In these chapters she's more focused on the personal struggle of the people she meets and especially after she witnesses the murder of Thomas. She wants to let America know what is truly happening to the Jews in Europe and she's willing to take her life in her own hands to do it. Even though she's scared to death she gets up every day gets on another train and keeps recording. I think her contact with Will confused her.

 

My feelings for Iris hasn't changed in these chapters I still like her tremendously and Harry as well. I don't think that Iris and Harry's being of a similar mindset matters much,they do understand each other and they love each other in spite of or maybe because of those differences and they're willing to go against what's considered "right" to be together.

 

Will's thinking is totally alien to me, he leaves for England because he feels like a failure after Maggie's death, and yet now he feels that this is where he belongs and even though I think he loves Emma and even if he had survived the war I don't think he would have gone back to the States. Will's death by accident was surprising to me at first, but then I thought, well yeah life still goes on and people still die in war without the death being caused by war. 

 

I don't think Emma is holding up well at all and I'm afraid what will happen to her when she learns of Will's death.

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

I would third that suggestion.  Except Will's last letter to Emma was very short due the the Siren.  It really did not contain any crucial information.  Whether Emma gets it or not is really not that pivotal to the story.  Perhaps Iris already knows about Will through a telegram but intends to withhold the information to protect Emma till the baby's born.
Christie62 wrote:

 


 

Just wondering, as she is carrying around Will's letter and these recorded messages, if Frankie is the title character, and not Iris?

 

-- C.


 

Well said CJINCA.  I was wondering this myself, and also how Emma would feel if she knew that Frankie had developed such a powerful emotional connection with Will. 

 


 

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

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

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!


Hi TWJ, I also wondered about that, but only for a second. It seems that they come from very different worlds, but then maybe he could provide the security that Emma seems to need. So I guess we'll see.

 

 

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

I think at first Frankie seemed very career minded. She was out to be a successful reporter and didn't really feel the story she was reporting. After Harriet's death she seems to have changed. She wants to know why these things are happening not just report a story. She now feels the wrath of war and she wants those who hear her to feel it too. She feels in her gut that something is very wrong with the treatment of the Jewish Refugees and she is trying to get their story.

 

Iris has just become odd to me. I don't understand the certificate of being intact if she was just going to give herself away. I thought she was looking for a marriage proposal. Then the certificate makes sense. I think she manages the Post Office with great care and diligence but when it comes to her private life, not so much care is given. I never dreamed she would give herself to Harry the way she did. I think Harry and Iris understand each other pretty well. I think they are both rather quirky and odd which makes them relate to each other well.

 

Will's death made me think that when it is your time, it is your time. Here he survives an air raid only to be hit by a taxi and killed. How ironic. I was shocked!

 

I think Emma is close to falling apart. I think she is so afraid of being alone and just wishes Will would get back home. I shudder to think of how Emma will handle the news of Will's death. She seems so all alone with no one to lean on. I thought it was interesting that Jim Tom and his kids were surviving Maggie's death much better than Will and Emma have.

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/
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GreenFairyLV
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎06-23-2009

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

I just finished chapter 13 and am heartbroken. Will was my favorite character, I'll miss him.  The whole time reading that chapter I kept thinking, "he better not sleep with Frankie, I don't care if it is a different time."  I never thought for a minute he would die.  I was shocked.

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

 

See now I was thinking maybe the German man who wants to paint her house would become her new beau. Wouldn't that make life in town interesting?

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?


 


 

 


 

 

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/