Friday, October 23, 2015

"A Little Princess" RAL - Discussing Chapters 13-19 (Week #3)

Last book discussion day everyone! Next week is going to be movie discussion over on Jamie's blog. I'm excited to talk about how it compares to the book now that I've had a refresher on both of them. But first, today! Jamie's thoughts are in blue! (She held the quotes section down for me this week, thanks Jamie!)

Quick and Dirty Summary (including the big reveal and ending, so spoiler alert if you aren’t done): 
Sara and Becky are barely making it through the winter, occupying their attic/Bastille prison. But it won’t be that way for much longer. Melchizidek the mouse sees the visitors that come in and make big changes while the girls are at “work”.(He might be trying to get some time away from his kids. It's a lot of pressure for a dad mouse). Ram Dass and his helper transform the attic into a plush lovely oasis that has things like, you know, blankets. Sara and Becky can NOT believe their luck, but they're mostly happy that they aren't starving anymore. Sara meets the sad man from next door as she returns a stray monkey (as one is want to do) and the discovery is made! The sad man has been looking for Sara the whole time! He's the guy who Sara thought ran off with all of her Dad's money, but he didn't! (Or something! I feel like that isn't ever really explained clearly but who cares!) Happy ending! Miss Minchin is put in her place (no more money for you!), Sara and Becky don't have to stay in the attic anymore.

This gives me hope that all the little girl’s weren’t as bad as Miss M or Lavinia:
Jessie was not as ill-natured as she was silly. She picked up her book with a little jerk. “Well, I think it’s horrid,” she said. “They’ve no right to starve her to death.” Yes Jessie, you are correct. Starving people is bad! I think Jessie is one of those girls who gets caught up in the mean girl crowd and then it’s too late to try to really stand up for yourself because Lavinia is borderline scary, not just nasty.

“The truth is that when one is still a child—or even if one is grown up—and has been well fed, and has slept long and softly and warm; when one has gone to sleep in the midst of a fairy story, and has wakened to find it real, one cannot be unhappy or even look as if one were; and one could not, if one tried, keep a glow of joy out of one’s eyes.”  I think what makes this whole thing so sad is that the things that make Becky and Sara so happy are things that the girls "downstairs" and we, take for granted so easily. A bed that has a little bounce to it? Enough blankets to cover your toes and tuck under your chin? Enough to eat so your rumbly tumbly doesn't keep you up all night? #perspectives

Other Thoughts:
One of the things I loved from Sarah’s imaginations was the comparison to being prisoners - made for some fun stories between Sarah and Becky.
The Bastille had melted away, the prisoners no longer existed. Two comforted children sat in the midst of delights.

People are such horrid human beings. I don’t understand why they all turned on Sarah so quickly - especially the adults, who were supposed to be, you know, adults. Like the book? Just as bad as Miss M. Geez, no kidding! It’s not like she was a terrible, spoiled kid who everyone hated and then got her comeuppance. She was just this little girl who had no control of her circumstances and yeah, the adults went the unfriendly/abuse route pretty quickly!

I also really want to read more about the French Revolution now. :) I kept thinking about "Man in the Iron Mask". Maybe we should go to Paris...for you stuff.

When the girls get busted that’s legitimately heart breaking. They aren’t hurting anyone! Sob! They're just happy they have enough food to share with her little mouse buddy and aren't freezing. Sniffle!

Overall I love the theme of kindness and how that has such a beautiful ripple effect. It gives me hope for humanity! I love that they end with the little girl in the bun shop. She was barely human and just a couple of small acts of kindness saved her life.

Discussion questions: 

If you are just finishing reading this for the first time, what did you think? If you're re-reading did you catch anything new that you didn't catch before?

One thing that really grinds at me with this book is how it ends with Becky. She doesn't get elevated up to "family member" with Sara and her new guardian. Sara immediately calls her over from the attic but when they're leaving there's definitely a "Becky is along for the ride" feeling. I understand that Becky is probably a different "class of person" - she's always been poor while Sara was for a shorter time- but after all they had been through? And when you're a total orphan wouldn't you like a sister? What do you think? Class thing? Me reading too much into it thing?

This is, essentially, a fairytale. Modern fairytale retellings are so "in" right now. Do you think that this one could be re-tooled? (It's a whole other question whether it SHOULD be or not, of course). Or is it already too modern being in the 1900s and not the middle ages or the like?

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally game for blog research in France. I care enough about blogging to make that sacrifice ;).

    I totally loved how the story ended with the little girl in the bun shop as well. Kindness people. Kindness!

    I was thinking about modern retelling too - I think it could be done well. Sometimes retellings are terrible, but I've read a few good ones, so totally possible. I just have no idea how that would look. :) Helpful, I know!


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