[identity profile] bookroom.livejournal.com
Why does Esther think Lawrie is an ass? And, given how timid and diffident she is, why does she come out and say so in the Tim/Miranda Shepherd Boy altercation during the art lesson in End of Term? It seems so out of character, and all the other characters obviously think so, too.

Just because she's so fond of Nicola and feels she's defending her against an unjust accusation of being unfair in not relinquishing the role of SB to Lawrie? Or because Miranda has put her on the spot and she has to say yes or no to a direct question? Or does she actually think Lawrie is a bit of an idiot? If so, why? Because Lawrie is a performer, when Esther suffers agonies at the mere prospect of doing anything of that nature (apart from netball...), or because Lawrie whines and strops so much when she doesn't get her way, and unlike Esther, makes no effort to hide her incapacities ('I can't light gas. It bangs at me')?
[identity profile] res23.livejournal.com
I was hoping to re-read Forester48's wonderful fanfic, "Esther's Term", but she has deleted her journal, and I haven't found anywhere that it is archived (doesn't seem to be at middles common room, where part of it at least was posted).  Does anyone know if it is online anywhere, or have a copy that could be emailed?
[identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com


Has anybody noticed a curious thing about the books, that while the Marlows themselves are spectacularly fecund, just about every other major character - Patrick, Tim, Miranda, Esther….is an only child? 


I’ve been wondering for a bit if this is more than coincidence….it seems to me that AF (who is on record as saying she began the Marlow stories very much with publication in mind) made sure to choose both a genre (school story) and a type of family (large, naval, adventurous, anglican) that were both acceptable and recognisable in terms of current children’s fiction.  When Tim describes the various Marlow sisters at the start of AT, you can almost see how AF was thinking, setting them up: Kay scholarly, Rowan good at games, Ginty a bit wild but with good stuff in her etc etc…the “types” that inhabit so many school stories.  Giles and Commander Marlow, of course, are both fine, upstanding naval types, and Mrs Marlow is a typically clichéd docile mother (IMOshe gets more interesting/complex in subsequent books).


However, as we all know, AF’s books are NOT simply genre school stories, and it seems to me that one way she made them more complex was by introducing characters who in some manner diverge from the mainstream and so tend to present rather different perspectives/values.  So we have Patrick (Catholic) and Miranda (Jewish) and Esther (divorced parents) who all of them at various times present slightly unusual slants on accepted conventions/values, and certainly contrast strongly with the more conventional Marlows.  And then there is Tim (artistic father, well-travelled) who tends to subvert and undermine practically all established school girl story values.   If you try to imagine Autumn Term without Tim it is just about impossible – never mind the plot, but you would end up with a far more conventional piece of boarding school fiction.  (Whether, as reader, you actually like Tim is another matter entirely!)


These “onlys” all have something of the outsider about them, and so it is only fitting that they should be “only children” – used to standing alone.  Of course, they all have a foot in mainstream too: Miranda and Patrick’s families are rich, Esther’s dad is a barrister, Tim is the headmistress’s niece!  A bit like AF’s books themselves: on the one hand, genre stories about upperclass families, full of ponies, team games and squabbles in the guides…and yet as we all know there’s a whole lot more? Or (not for the first time )am I spinning a theory out of nowhere?


AF was also an only child, and I also can’t help wondering if any of them represent her or aspects of her charater.  (Based only on obits) the top candidate would seem to be Miranda (Londoner, Reform Jewish but with some interest – expressed in End of Term – for Christianity) but then Patrick shares AF’s real name and Catholic views.  And I believe both AF and Esther like gardening...
[identity profile] tinyjenny.livejournal.com
Hi there - one thing I was thinking about having read the wonderful Esther's Term is Esther's appearance. We are told she is beautiful to look at but, to my recollection, there is no actual physical description of Esther at all in the books. Am I right or have I missed something? Forester48 imagines her as tall, judging by the earlier chapters. I had always envisaged Esther as quite petite and dark - think Winona Ryder. How does anyone else see her?


Jan. 26th, 2006 06:58 pm
[identity profile] tinyjenny.livejournal.com
Hello - I am new to this community and I've loved reading the posts. One thing I feel whenever I read the Marlow books is that I cannot warm to Rowan. I admire her and I can see her many good qualities but could never imagine actually enjoying her company or feeling as though I would want to be her friend. She seems quite brusque and insensitive and judgmental, despite her evident capabilities. However, I always get the impression that I am pretty much alone in this view. Am I? Does anyone else feel anything like this? I warm more to the characters who are more obviously flawed like Ginty and Lawrie. I also like Esther very much and relate to her. But Rowan - I respect her but I cannot warm to her.


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