Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CCF ~ discussion questions

"The heroine, Flora, stays at Aunt Ada Doom's isolated farm in the fictional village of Howling in Sussex. As is typical in a certain genre of romantic nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century literature, each of the farm's inhabitants has some long-festering emotional problem caused by ignorance, hatred or fear, and the farm is badly run. Flora, being a level-headed, urban woman, applies modern common sense to their problems and helps them all adapt to the twentieth century."

I found this summary online (won't say where ... yet ... because of the spoilers there). Flora sets out to change these relatives of hers, according to this, and I've found that to be so:
Mrs. Beetle calls Flora "Miss Interference" (p. 78)
Flora wants to "tidy up affairs at Cold Comfort" (p. 80)

3. What "problem" does Flora think each character has?
4. How does Flora "fix" each character's problem?
5. Does Flora herself have any problems, in your opinion?

Here are the characters:

Judith Starkadder: Flora's cousin, wife of Amos.
Seth Starkadder: younger son of Amos and Judith.
Ada Doom: Judith's mother, a reclusive, miserly widow, owner of the farm.
Adam Lambsbreath: extremely ancient farm hand.
Mark Dolour: farm hand.
Amos Starkadder: Judith's husband, and hellfire preacher at the Church of the Quivering Brethren. ("Ye're all damned!")
Amos's half-cousins:
... Micah, married to Susan
... Urk, a bachelor
... Ezra, married to Jane
... Caraway, married to Lettie
... Harkaway
Amos's half-brothers:
... Luke, married to Prue
... Mark, divorced from Susan and married to Phoebe
Reuben Starkadder: Amos's heir.
Meriam Beetle: hired girl, and mother of Seth's four children.
Elfine: an intellectual, outdoor-loving girl of the Starkadder family.
Mrs Beetle: cleaning lady, rather more sensible than the Starkadders.
Mrs Murther: landlady of The Condemn'd Man public house.
Mr Meyerburg (whom Flora thinks of as "Mr Mybug"): a writer who pursues Flora and insists that she only refuses him because she is sexually repressed. He is working on a thesis that the works of the Brontë sisters were written by their brother Branwell Brontë.
Rennet: unwanted daughter of Susan and Mark

And also:
Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless: the farm's cows, and Adam Lambsbreath's chief charge. Occasionally given to losing extremities.
Viper: the horse, pulls the trap which is the farm's main transportation.
Big Business: the bull, spends most of his time inside the barn.

And we met these in London:
Flora Poste: the heroine, a nineteen-year old from London whose parents are deceased.
Mary Smiling: a widow, Flora's friend in London.
Charles Fairford: Flora's cousin in London, studying to become a parson.

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