Monday, September 27, 2010

The Postmistress - Discussion by Susan part III

On the tale of two letters - the one the postmistress intercepts from Will's landlady on his apparent missing status - and the letter Frankie takes from Will after his death. (Q9) The postmistress, Iris, was so regimented and dedicated to the rules of her job that I was surprised when she even hesitated much less opened the letter and then did not deliver it. I do think she spared Emma the period of not knowing - from the time Will was missed by his landlady until the arrival of the official letter of his death, Emma went from hope of hearing from her husband, straight to some definite news, skipping that period of uncertainty. (Q10) For Frankie, the encounter with Will and the resulting letter in her possession was a personal experience rather than a job-related journalistic one, so on a personal level she wanted to deliver the letter herself, but after meeting Emma was not able to go through with either giving her the letter or telling Emma about Will's last night, which I thought was very uncharacteristic of Frankie. In the end she did act like a journalist again, not want to be a part of Emma's story, just an onlooker.

Is life just a series of random events or does everything happen for a reason? (Q11) At first this story seemed random, but of course after all the story lines came together it now seems that one event led to another, cause and effect. I have often said 'everything happens for a reason' (usually after something bad happens, trying to see the silver lining) and now that you have made me think about it, I do believe this is true. (Q13) For example, after losing his first patient, Will's feeling of failure (instilled early by his father), he answered the call of the girl on the radio and followed his desire to try to prove himself once again in a bigger theatre, helping the masses of injured in Europe - with so many people who need him, he is bound to do some good to make up for what he considers a failure at home.

(Q14) Historical novels give us a different perspective of war and history than we had in the textbooks in school, a personal viewpoint of the times and places. And of course since there always seems to be a war going on somewhere, we can use these past experiences of people and war to apply to today. (Q15) Otto wisely refuses to tell the townspeople that he’s Jewish out of fear. Jews were being persecuted in Europe, there are prejudices worldwide, so why not err on the side of caution.

(Q16) The request for the certificate of virginity was just strange to me, especially in the early 40s, I don't know why Iris even thought of doing that and actually went through with it. I imagine the doctor had a great story to tell for years after that. (Q17) Frankie is surprised to find Americans calmly going about their lives while war rages in Europe. Out of sight, out of mind. Sure there is a war going on in Europe, sure there were daily radio stories about it, but there was a whole ocean between here and there, just turn off the radio, and all will be fine here, either complacency or a coping mechanism.

~posted by Susan of patchwork reflections

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