Monday, September 16, 2013

Week two discussion of The Flight of Gemma Hardy- Part Three









The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Week Two
Part Three


Wow a lot has changed for Gemma in this section of the novel as she continues her journey from child to young woman from single to engaged and not just to anyone but to a very important man in her community and her boss to boot.

So let’s talk about Part three


First have you changed your mind about your first thoughts?



Tell us about Gemma’s teaching method with Nell.
Why do you think it worked?



Characters in part three; who are stand outs to you and why?



Your first thoughts about Mr. Sinclair?



Did you see where Gemma and Hugh’s relationship was going?



I’ll come back later in the week for more topics.
And as always discuss what ever you want to, don’t limit yourself to my paltry questions.



13 comments:

  1. Reading Debbie's terrific questions as I get ready to teach my fiction workshop this evening, I was struck by what a large part teachers and teaching play in Gemma's life. But of course that's true for most children. We head off to school when we're five and finally leave when we're seventeen or eighteen.

    And of course that was true for Jane Eyre and her author. There was no career open to Jane other than teaching. And Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte all tried teaching or being governesses. Emily famously told her pupils, "I prefer the school dog to all of you."

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    1. Thanks Margot for the comment good luck with the workshop.
      It is very true that teachers make a huge impression in our lives and both the good and the bad will leave lasting effects on how we deal with life.

      Me I'd prefer the school dog too, I do have two teachers in my family though.

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  2. Once again, I need to apologize - I am SO far behind. I had the best of intentions, but you know how that goes. But from the start, I was taken by this story. How Cinderella-like poor Gemma's situation is. I'm reading on, even though I don't believe I'll be caught up soon. Thank you, Margot, for being a part of this discussion. It's always such a pleasure to have the author participate!

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    1. No need we're not going anywhere and I know all too well how life interferes with our pleasures
      Thanks Elaine :)

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  3. One of the pleasures for me of writing part III was taking my heroine and, I hoped, my reader to the Orkney Islands, a beautiful and very particular part of Scotland. I loved being able to draw on that landscape with its megalithic remains, amazing seabirds, and role in World War II history. Like many islands it's a hard place to get to, and a hard place to leave.

    And of course it's a place of secrets, secrets that may be hiding in plain view.

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    1. Margot, I loved how vividly you described the history and the landscape of the Orkneys. You made me feel like I was there.

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  4. I met with a class of students in Farmington, Maine last night and they asked such good questions about writing and Gemma. One question was how do I write about a character over time, in other words how do I persuade the reader that Gemma is growing up. Of course one of the main ways I do that is by sending her out into the world and face challenging situations. And I also try to show her moving from being a child with a very absolute sense of right and wrong to an adult with a much more nuanced moral sense.

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    1. You know Margot that is a terrific discussion subject and how true when you think of it. As parents we must at first teach our children very black and white rules and what a great way to describe a burgeoning sense of right and wrong from childhood to adult .

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  5. Hi all, I am a little bit behind myself...I started a new job last week and I'm buried in trainings, orientations etc etc..But I try to keep up as much as possible.
    Together with a couple of characters, I was sort of glad that Claypoole closed. It was not the best environment for Gemma and for a lot of the other girls..I really liked the Latin teacher.In spite of not succeeding in other schools, she tried to make the best of it at Claypoole and help Gemma as much as she could. I wasn't too impressed by Mrs. Bryant's attitude towards the end. She did help Gemma and gave her money for the trip but sometimes that's not enough for so many years of mistreatment.
    I have a question for Margot regarding Mr. Milne..Why was his wife brought into the story? Was it to show the life that Mr. Milne had and the difficulties he was dealing with? Was it to justify his attitude towards Gemma? Just curious....
    It was heart-breaking to read about Miriam's death and everything that Gemma went through to get to see her one more time...I'm glad she had the support of the nurse and the doctor to guide her through the next couple of years..
    Maybe the island was not the best place for Gemma to go to but lacking other options she had to make the best of it. I think she partially succeeded in controlling Nell, however, a child with so many gaps in education and parental guidance requires a lot more time. I do think that Gemma's method worked well because she let Nell come to her and not vice versa. She gave Nell the time she needed to become comfortable with her and did not intrude into the girl's life and started imposing things.
    I got to the part where Mr. Sinclair had just returned on the island so I need to read a little more before I can form an opinion on him but I definitely have the feeling that there is a secret buried in that house, if not on the island. Looking forward to reading more and so sorry for falling behind...

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    1. Andreea, thanks so much for commenting. I will relay your question to Margot
      I'm glad you're enjoying the novel
      deb

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    2. Dear Andrea,

      thanks for your thoughtful reading and good question. I brought in Mrs. Milne to reinforce the fact that Gemma is a child. However perceptive, however intelligent, there is much that she doesn't understand about the adult world and the kinds of compromises adults make. Later she'll discover that her uncle is among those compromising adults.

      But I should also say that I admire Gemma's valiant sense of right and wrong. I think we need youthful idealism, lots of it. I don't want to say too much more because I'm not sure how far you've got in your reading but I'd welcome more thought and questions.

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  6. I went to see Macbeth last night at Perth theatre in Scotland. As I sat watching the three witches and Macbeth's awful rise to power and fall, I realised that this was a play that Gemma would surely have studied for her Scottish O level exams. I wonder if she sympathised with the Macbeths, and felt that shiver when Macbeth and the audience suddenly realises that the witches' impossible prophecy about Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane Hill is going to come true? And later, perhaps, she would have helped Nell study the play. Thinking about Debbie's questions I understood all over again that one of the main ways Gemma learns to be a grown up is by looking after much younger children.

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    1. Margot I LOVE how invested you are in this discussion and I'm again in awe of you and all the authors I hold dear how even after all this time you still think about what your characters would do in situations that you find yourself in.
      Thank you!!!
      xoxoxo
      deb

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