[identity profile] rekraft.livejournal.com
Answer any three questions in Section B. Answer any three questions in Section C. Then answer as many questions as possible from all three sections, bearing in mind that questions in Section A carry fewer marks than questions in either of the other two sections.

In the words of Janice Scott, no less, Lawrie's Prosser was a "useful gimmick". How believable is the trap-for-heffalumps in the context of a school like Kingscote - or does it come across as a bit of a deus ex machina?
[identity profile] tosomja.livejournal.com
This is a follow up from something in the previous thread about Autumn Term, but I thought it might be clearer in its own topic.  What exactly was the role of Third Remove and then Middle Remove?  Were they classes that pupils were in for a short period of time in order to get special coaching and then move up, or were they in any way like the bottom stream in a comprehensive school, where some people stayed all the way through school?  There doesn't seem to be a Lower Fifth Remove so what happened then? Did you have to leave school if you weren't up to the A or B  forms by that point?  In fact we never hear about a Second or First Remove either (although we don't hear much about 'the juniors' anyway so that maybe is not surprising).   Was anyone at a school, or knows of a school, which had Remove classes (and why were they called Removes?!).
It's interesting too that Third Remove is considered too delicate for netball, or indeed anything very interesting - that implies either that it was a 'catch up' class for those who had had one of those mysterious long term illnesses girls seemed to get in the early 20th century (or at least in early 20th century children's books) or that it was for those who actually had physical ailments which stopped them being able to do the full amount of school work (although who knows what that might be?).  Nowadays you might think that the bottom stream in a school would be encouraged to do things like netball and drama in the hope that they would develop their non-academic talents!
Anyway, this has always puzzled me since I was a child reading AF and I'd love to hear what others think/know. 
[identity profile] elizahonig.livejournal.com
I think I've asked this before and nobody came up with any suggestions, but I'm doing another edit and thought I'd try again.

Nicola gets in trouble at some point because she takes this Mary Renault novel to school with her and not only is it an extra book, and (I think) from the local library, but in the Kingscote library it's Restricted or Limited or whatever the term is.  We've talked before about her take on why it should have been Restricted; and I am sad to think that it would probably still be the equivalent of Restricted in many American school libraries today.

My question was:  what other books would have been restricted in an English girls' school?  Books that would have been deemed suitable for the Seniors but not for the Juniors?  I need something written before 1938, something that might have appealed to an adventurous 12-year-old.  I need this for my own children's book, and it's the kind of thing that's impossible for a 20-year-old American RA to figure out!  I thought that somebody here might have an idea, though.
[identity profile] geebengrrl.livejournal.com
This has been puzzling me (ignorant young colonial with no clue about how the British school system works that I am).

In Autumn Term, Karen is in the Sixth. Rowan is Upper Fifth, as is Lois Sanger. Jan Scott is in the Sixth also. In End of Term / Cricket Term, Lois is Games Captain, which presumably means she is in the Sixth; and she leaves at the end of Cricket Term, as does Jan Scott.

However, Rowan says that Jan Scott was always a year ahead of her.

So is this just an inconsistency? Or is the Sixth actually two years long and members of the Sixth can leave at the end of either year? Or what?
[identity profile] res23.livejournal.com
Hello all. I'm new here. I posted a comment a while ago anonymously as a response to another post, but hadn't realised that people don't really go back and continue older discussions. So now that I've got a proper log-in name and can start a new post, I thought I'd copy it here.

I've just been on a re-read of my books, and something struck me about the Marlow parents - they don't actually seem to know their children all that well. Maybe it's just a generation gap, or mabye it's because the children are away at boarding schools so much, or maybe it is something about their characters - they are not very observant or involved parents, at the least.

For example: Mrs Marlow gives the twins the lovely party dresses in Run Away Home, because (paraphrasing) "Karen/Rowan(?) commented how awful it must be for the two of you always having second-hand clothes". Why was it one of them who needed to point that out? Surely any fairly obvservant parent might have noticed that fact herself? Another example: When she writes to Nicola about leaving Kingscote, while she knows Nicola enough to know that she's the more sensible one and the better choice to have to leave, she doesn't really know how Nicola will react - again, it's Rowan who tells her Mum that Nicola would rather know if it was a possibility. Even back in Autumn Term and the twins are describing the Court of Honour, it's one of the others (can't remember who) and not the parents, that "suddenly sees how it had been", how the filthy full dress and formality of it all had made Lawrie tearful and Nicola tongue-tied, and the parents have to have it spelled out. It's Ann who notices that Nick is upset by the other laughing at their efforts to be credits to the family. There are various other examples as well, including some about the other children, where the parents ask "dumb" questions and the other children fill them in on what the other one is thinking or feeling. I can't think of many right now, as it's the Nick ones that stick in my mind, since I have most sympathy for her being misunderstood, but I remember noticing them when I was reading that it happened to the others as well.

The parents don't seem to have nearly as good a grasp on the emotional lives of their children as I might have expected: they don't know why they're reacting in a certain way, they don't see beyond the surface, they aren't as good at predicting how a particular one will react, etc.

On the other hand, I have never been to a boarding school, and I've never had children, so the separation from the parents/lots of time spent with sisters, and the generation gap, might have much stronger effects than I realised, and maybe it's not specially the parents' fault.
[identity profile] childeproof.livejournal.com
Hello, all. First post, having discovered the community very recently and thrilled to encounter other AF nit-pickers, as curiously few people in my life are capable of worrying about what Daks did all day in Noah's Ark, or who think in times of peril or indecision 'What would Nicola Marlow do?'

Was amused by other people's various comparisons with the Chalet School series, and a thought occurred, in the context of the discussions of how much AF expects the reader to adopt Nicola's POV. What about the conspicuous school 'failures' in either case? How much are we supposed to despise the Kingscote failures?

The Chalet reforms virtually everybody who steps between its fragrant floral cubicle curtains, bar the proto-Nazi Thekla von Stift (who, however, as far as I can remember, did do a Gwendolen Mary Lacey by later writing a half-ashamed letter to Mademoiselle Lepattre to apologise for her bad behaviour...?) and Joan Baker, who combined, from the Chalet's point of view, the twin scourges of being working-class and distinctly sexually savvy. All others are butted in upon by Joey or Mary Lou until they desist from being anything other than good Chalet girls.

The obvious Kingscote 'failure' (cue inevtable Tim Keith joke) is Marie Dobson, whose death has always chilled me rather. (AF deciding to get rid of a character who is so utterly useless she is effortlessly trumped by the 'pale idiot rabbit' Elaine Rees in The Prince and the Pauper and thereafter goes downhill? There seems to me both realism and contempt in the manner of her death. Heart failure from getting up to turn on Top of the Pops, really, when Nick is continually risking her neck jumping the Cut on Buster, outwitting spies and child abductors etc. What's Marie's function in the novels, though?

I've always found her characterisation as chilling as her death. Lest we imagine that all humanity is as upright, vivid and vaguely heroic as the Marlows, who, whatever their individual defaulting, do have a collective blonde glamour at Kingscote, AF gives us Marie, repellently plain, cowardly, unpopular, untalented, untruthful and clammy-handedly desperate for approval. Does AF give her a single redeeming feature, or so much as a moment of sympathy? Is she only there to make the Marlows extra vivid? Or to show us moments of moral compunction in Nicola as distinct from other characters? I suppose one other thought is that AF uses Marie to buck the trend of schools reforming the substandard, a la the Chalet - she never 'improves', but the depiction of her awfulness from Nick's POV is more detailed and more disgusted than the other 'flat' character failures, like the 'steaming nit' Gina French.

I don't have my AF books to hand, and can't produce the brief section of Autumn Term (the rickyard scene) which is from Marie's POV, which talks about her fear of farm animals and lack of athleticism, or her excruciating attempt after the play to help Nick clear up, and am not remembering clearly their tenor. Or in End of Term when she is left out of the twins' swap-over for the match.

Thoughts?

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