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The Trollope Project - Archives > Doctor Thorne: Chapters 7-12 - October 9-October 15

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message 1: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments It's papers week so I'm a bit behind. I'll be able to catch up tomorrow but feel free to post in the meantime.

Apologies!


message 2: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
This section is all about a society in transition. The old landed gentry is willing to marry off a daughter to someone in business because he has money. A former stonemason can become an industrial success and be honored by the Queen, so that he is a Lord. An interesting note is that Mary, who knows she is not of high birth, is very attached to keeping in place the distinctions she grew up with.


message 3: by Everyman (last edited Oct 09, 2016 05:42PM) (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Robin wrote: "This section is all about a society in transition."

Well, yes, but it's not a smooth transition. The Greshams would never have agreed to Augusta off to Moffat, or Frank off to the ointment of Lebanon, if they weren't in such financial straits. It wasn't approval of social mobility, but a desperate response to Squire Gresham having squandered Frank's patrimony.


message 4: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1323 comments Mod
I'm glad they explained how and why people didn't know about Mary's parentage, it answered some of the questions I had last week.

I'm a bit confused about when the old squire died - I had thought it was when Frank was a baby, and that was when and why Frank's father got started in politics, but in this section, it was mentioned that the old squire had been alive at the time of the "Mme. Larron" incident.

We see a sad - and quite realistic - portrait of an alcoholic. Roger Scatcherd knows that alcohol will kill him, but cannot quit. We also see how it is that they are without friends - as people who were low-born, but then knighted, they can't find people similar enough to themselves to associate with on equal, friendly terms. I feel sorry for them. I wonder if the doctor is, indeed, going to tell Roger about Mary before he dies. Like the Scatcherds, Mary herself is in an uncomfortable social position - maybe one of the themes of this book is asking us to find a place for these people? Trollope indicated near the beginning that we could expect a happy ending for Frank (not being one to care about spoilers), so I suppose Mary will share his happy ending.


message 5: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Robin wrote: "This section is all about a society in transition."

Well, yes, but it's not a smooth transition. The Greshams would never have agreed to Augusta off to Moffat, or Frank off to the oi..."


I agree, the Greshams aren't happy about their choices. And I had forgotten that Mary's prospects were revealed so early in the book, so it wasn't really a spoiler when it was mentioned before. It is an odd phrasing, perfect for a melodrama, that the inheritance is tot go to "Mary's oldest child", not "Mary's children" for instance.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
I also noted that when Doctor Thorne asked Roger if he was sure as to the wording of the will, his sister's "oldest child", Roger said yes. Does he have an idea who Mary might be?


message 7: by Odette (new)

Odette (odman) Rosemarie wrote: "I also noted that when Doctor Thorne asked Roger if he was sure as to the wording of the will, his sister's "oldest child", Roger said yes. Does he have an idea who Mary might be?"
I doubt whether at that time, he has any idea who Mary might be. After Dr Thorne's brother was killed, Roger Scatcherd went to prison. Dr Thorne keeps Mary's birth secret, and tells Roger that the baby had died. Also Mary's mother moved to America with her new husband.
In Chapter 12, I thought the encounter between Lady Scatcherd, Dr Fillgrave and Dr Thorne very amusing to read as they seemed to be at such cross purposes to each other.


message 8: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lori wrote: "We see a sad - and quite realistic - portrait of an alcoholic. Roger Scatcherd knows that alcohol will kill him, but cannot quit. We also see how it is that they are without friends - as people who were low-born, but then knighted, they can't find people similar enough to themselves to associate with on equal, friendly terms. I feel sorry for them."

I also feel sorry for them, for the same reasons. Alcoholism back then was viewed as a moral weakness, not as a disease, so there is condemnation, not sympathy, for Scatcherd.

The destructiveness of his knighthood reminds me compellingly of Jack Durbeyfield in Tess thinking he was a descendant of nobility. His thinking himself above himself is the prime mover of Tess's downfall and destruction. (Alcohol also plays a major part there, too.)


message 9: by Lily (last edited Oct 10, 2016 09:09PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Everyman wrote: "Lori wrote: "We see a sad - and quite realistic - portrait of an alcoholic. Roger Scatcherd knows that alcohol will kill him, but cannot quit. We also see how it is that they are without friends - ..."

His thinking himself above himself is the prime mover of Tess's downfall and destruction.

Hmm! Interesting observation on that story. Will have to ask myself if I agree that is part of Hardy's intended message next time I read it again. About time. Read it enough times now, it should go faster, or at least with less angst and more analysis.


message 10: by Lynnm (last edited Oct 11, 2016 11:11AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Since we have such a great discussion going, I'm not going to now go back and put up my questions.

But I was really struck - as others have noted - with the fact that Trollope is talking about the changing times: from a society build on "blood" as the people in power to a more equalitarian society built more on merit. Mary is a "good" person; therefore, she has every right to good society. The Greshams have the "blood," but clearly, are not good leaders or protectors of society.

But there seems to be a limit. Roger Scatcherd is rich and successful, but is still very marginalized, and Doctor Thorne, while having no problem being Roger's physician and friend, has kept Mary away from Roger - she has no idea who her mother is or what her mother's family is like - she can only guess, accurately, that they are low on the social ladder. And both she and Doctor Thorne know that if the truth were known, that she would be cast out from the Greshams' society because Lady de Courcy would be outraged. Even Mary herself likes the power structure the old way, even while internally irked by it.


message 11: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments What does everyone think about Frank's behavior? Is he being reckless with Mary's feelings?


message 12: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
I think that Frank is easily influenced by others, but also that he loves Mary. She is more aware of the difference in their social status than he is. As a child, Mary could play with his sisters, but as a young woman she is in a different class and not suitable as a bride for Frank, according to Arabella, but especially to Lady de Courcy.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I think that Frank is easily influenced by others, but also that he loves Mary.."

I think he thinks he loves her, but at this point I'm not sure whether it is mature love or what we used to call puppy love.


message 14: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
That is a good point, Everyman. Frank is still very immature and impressionable.


message 15: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
Yes, Frank seems very young, and he hasn't had any real responsibilities yet. He's more naive than Mary is.


message 16: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
I have just finished the chapter "When Greek meets Greek, etc".
I can just picture the colour of Dr. Fillgrave's face when he meets Dr. Thorne at Sir Roger's. This is one of the funniest chapters in the book, so far.


message 17: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 91 comments I just finished this section also and at this point this book is so, so great. The Greek chapter is just fantastic. So much drama, so much intrigue! And the inner turmoil of Dr. Thorne about Roger's pronouncement! I can't wait to see how that is explained and what happens next. And the Fillgrave incident was hilarious. I wonder if putting someone 'under the pump' was a typical punishment of sorts of the time? Do you think that Louis will correct himself or will he drink himself to death before age 25? I can't imagine Roger will last too long...


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I have just finished the chapter "When Greek meets Greek, etc".
I can just picture the colour of Dr. Fillgrave's face when he meets Dr. Thorne at Sir Roger's. This is one of the funniest chapters i..."


Agreed. It is delightful! Trollope has a great sense of humor, which IMO sets him apart from, say, Hardy, whom I also love but who has very little sense of humor.


message 19: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Lori, your insight concerning the 'societal' home of people such as the Scatcherds is spot on! The idea that a cherished title has put them in an invidious position is so painful. There is now no stratum of society in which they can be comfortable.

This reminds me of a drama school which, in the 1960s, insisted that all the students spoke in R.P. (Received Pronunciation or 'posh'!). This often had quite devastating effects on those who had regional accents initially. The imposed accent change had a similar impact on those students as that experienced by Sir Roger and family. They were now neither flesh nor fowl.


message 20: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Your mention, Lori, of the fact that Trollope does not care about spoilers made me giggle. It is so true, but I hadn't verbalised it. When Mr Trollope hints that Frank Gresham will be fine in the end, I realise now that I flinched. It was like a neon sign flashing: *Spoiler Alert! *Spoiler Alert*~#¥
There is, I feel, something refreshing about his tendency to drop these, usually positive, gems in our laps. It is as though his main aim is to put the reader at ease and to lighten the soul. He is perhaps prepared to sacrifice his story a tiny bit in order to give the ultimate pleasure to his readers.


message 21: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
The fact that we know that things will turn out all right make the book even more delightful for me. It is more possible to pay attention to the little details and the humor when you are not reading to find out how the book ends. It is possible to enjoy the journey, like a stroll through the woods or a sight seeing walk through an old town.
Each book is better than the one before in this series. I am really enjoying them.


message 22: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 747 comments As I read more Trollope, I find myself more and more endeared to his writing style. I now feel that every time I dip into his world, I'm sitting down with this great old uncle who tells the best stories and loves a cozy cuppa tea.


message 23: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Trollope's humour is certainly second to none as, I'm sure, most Trollope-lovers are agreed. In the 'Greeks' chapter Dr Fillgrave becomes the butt of the joke. (Here we see Trollope's love of comic names. A doctor called 'Fillgrave' is very much in the style of Dickens who has an undertaker called 'Mould' amongst many others.).

We are told that the Barchester doctor is not overly tall. He is already very angry because of being turned away from seeing Sir Roger when his arch-enemy Dr Thorne appears. He finds himself with 'his nose on a level with the top button of Dr Thorne's waistcoat.' This does not improve his mood! He has already refused the five pound payment which Lady Scatchert fails to squeeze into his hand when he is confronted with this upstart of a doctor.

Mr Trollope bemoans the 'fact' that in Molière's hands his comic sketches would attain much greater heights, but manages to produce some of the most deliciously hilarious little skits. There is Dr Fillgrave's little 'dance' for example, where he does a half-pirouette and brings it to completion in his fury! Trollope proves his genius again and again.


message 24: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1323 comments Mod
Hilary wrote: "Your mention, Lori, of the fact that Trollope does not care about spoilers made me giggle. It is so true, but I hadn't verbalised it. When Mr Trollope hints that Frank Gresham will be fine in the e..."

Even his chapter titles are spoilers, really.

I hadn't thought about Fillgrave's name, haha!


message 25: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 747 comments Oh! Lol! I know Trollope does names but I didn't catch Fillgrave. So clever!


message 26: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
I didn't catch Filgrave either. I wonder how many other clever names I have missed. It just occurred to me that Dr. Thorne is a thorn in the side for the other doctors in the area. ( groan!)


message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 9 comments Thank you for enriching my experience of reading this book.


message 28: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
I can't believe I missed Fillgrave as well-now I will meet every new character with a close look at their name.


message 29: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments In my first comment on this thread (sorry I don't know what the message number is as I'm on my phone) I talk about something being 'neither flesh nor fowl'. Well, that's a new one on me. :p. It ought, of course, to be 'neither fish' - yes, that's fish! - 'nor fowl.' I'd better be right this time ... :O)


message 30: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Rosemarie: Dr Thorne - a thorn in the side - love it! I mustn't fall foul (a different 'foul'!) of the 'sleeping bug' and snooze through the names! When I most want to concentrate on details I often find that I treat myself to a snore-fest instead! I must do better!

Renee, the little scene that you paint: enjoying a 'cozy cuppa tea' while listening to an old uncle read actually triggered a real memory from some years back. We (my mother and I) sat in front of a roaring fire whilst taking tea and being serenaded by the sound of my aged uncle's rich and resonant voice. He read aloud from the scriptures, from the King James Version, of course. :D. My brothers and I were familiar from childhood with the mantra: all versions of the Bible are worth reading but the KJV is the only one worth reading aloud. (Well, it's not quite pithy enough to be a mantra, but it was a saying close to my uncle's heart!). Thank you for reviving that special memory!

To think that I thought that dear Mr Trollope could not match 'Barchester Towers', but how wrong I was. Barchester, it is true, was thoroughly delicious, but this is, in very different ways, just as delightful!


message 31: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 747 comments That's a lovely memory, Hilary. Thank you for sharing it. I love to be read aloud to. I still try to do a few minutes of read aloud time with my students every day. There's no better way to instill a love for reading. What a gift your uncle (& mother) gave to you.


message 32: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Thank you, Renee. It's wonderful that you read aloud to your students. I wish that this skill could be widely reinstated. I think that we
could do a lot worse. :-)


message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 9 comments I remember my fourth grade teacher reading my class two new novels, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and "The Boxcar Children". She read to us every day, first thing when class came to order after our noon hour recess. I've remembered this for fifty years now and remember her fondly because of it. You get a gold star from me, Renee.


message 34: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
Our teacher read us Mr. Popper's Penguins too. She also read some books about a character called Miss Pickerel.
That was always one of my favourite parts of the school day. That and silent reading!


message 35: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1323 comments Mod
Our teacher (third or fourth grade) also read "The Boxcar Children" aloud to us. Also the Chronicles of Narnia (maybe the first two books), and The Westing Game. I really liked The Boxcar Children.


message 36: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 747 comments Such lovely Teacher memories! The first of the Boxcar Children series is one of the books that I read to my third graders every year. (With the rest of the series waiting enticingly in baskets for them to explore on their own afterwards.)


message 37: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Hilary wrote: "Thank you, Renee. It's wonderful that you read aloud to your students"

In Junior High I had a teacher who read Paradise Lost to us over the course of I think about two months. It was incredible to be bathed in that magnificent language -- at least some of loved it, and the others managed to stay quiet and I like to think absorbed some good from it.

Of course that would never be allowed or tolerated today. Which I think is truly sad.


message 38: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Linda wrote: "I remember my fourth grade teacher reading my class two new novels, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and "The Boxcar Children". She read to us every day, first thing when class came to order after our noon ..."

I loved Mr. P's Ps, but if it was new when you were in fourth grade, you're dating yourself; it was published in 1938!


message 39: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 9 comments I was in fourth grade; what did I know about publication dates? Thank you for telling me that the book I so enjoyed was at least a quarter of a century old.


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Linda wrote: "I was in fourth grade; what did I know about publication dates? Thank you for telling me that the book I so enjoyed was at least a quarter of a century old."

Sorry for being pedantic. I have mentally slapped myself with a wet noodle.


message 41: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 9 comments I wasn't insincere in thanking you for telling me that publication date. That eager fourth grader still likes to learn and actually not being afraid of great areas of ignorance in my mental landscape (as I was back then) makes learning more fun than ever for me.


message 42: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Linda wrote: "I wasn't insincere in thanking you for telling me that publication date. ."

You're very kind. But then, we knew that.


message 43: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments CHAPTER VII The Doctor's Garden

I found Mary Throne's ruminations here about her fitness as a possible mate and about the social situations of her friends to be painful ones. For all the social mobility of present populations, the issues have not gone away, but may only have assumed other forms and nuances. Who has written best about those modern day considerations in sympathetic styles approaching Trollope's? In particular, the fates of young women?


message 44: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 12 comments Lily wrote: "CHAPTER VII The Doctor's Garden

I found Mary Throne's ruminations here about her fitness as a possible mate and about the social situations of her friends to be painful ones. For all the social mo..."


I just read this same chapter last night (I am very behind), and also found it very well done (though I was also sort of annoyed with Mary at the same time, wanting her to just magically become a modern democratic person, which I know is ridiculous). I think what makes it affecting is the shift in assumptions: we don't just see a woman considering her limited options, we see a woman who has always assumed a certain place and rights and options who now suddenly sees that they may be much more limited than she thought. There's a sense of loss there that highlights an unfairness that maybe wouldn't be quite so apparent without that sudden shift.

It's also a nicely nuanced little picture of identity, and how internal and external circumstances combine.


message 45: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Everyman, I'm late to the party! In regard to a comment from 3 weeks ago, is reading aloud discouraged in schools?


message 46: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
I think this novel has a lot to say about this particular issue-with all this talk of blood, money is clearly an equal consideration on status, and how much democratization are we getting if we simply substitute one set of ranks for another?


message 47: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
Frances, I agree. Whenever people are ranked according to their status-either by wealth or breeding, we do have a classist society.


message 48: by Lily (last edited Nov 14, 2016 03:48PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Frances wrote: "I think this novel has a lot to say about this particular issue-with all this talk of blood, money is clearly an equal consideration on status, and how much democratization are we getting if we sim..."

Not sure about the "equal" for money [g], but it is certainly a consideration. I am also finding myself thinking about professional families versus non-professional, urban versus rural, manager versus non-manager versus supervisor, established versus new comers, faith/site of worship, country of origin, white collar versus blue collar versus pink collar, public school versus private school, .... (What is that recently published book on the impact of gradations of skin color that I saw advertised recently and failed to note its name?)

I suspect many of us span these categories in some sense or another, ourselves or our immediate families/friends, much as is the case for our protagonist Mary.

I was also touched later when I realized Sir Roger has beautiful BoxHill (?), but social circumstances appear to be one barrier to being able to share it with others, unlike Gresham(?). (Need to run to a meeting -- not checking names/details/location.)


message 49: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Hilary wrote: "Everyman, I'm late to the party! In regard to a comment from 3 weeks ago, is reading aloud discouraged in schools?"

Well, certainly not encouraged, at least in the public schools in Washington, except when there are author visits, when they are encouraged (it doesn't take much!) to read from their books. In most public schools there is very little encouragement to read for pleasure (almost full time focus on what is needed to pass the standardized tests). My daughters' private school, though, does have a DARE period every day -- that stands for "Drop Everything And Read." Even the kindergarten students who aren't yet full readers read picture books. (The whole school walks over to the public library every Monday and checks out books by the dozen. Our librarians love the visit, and the children totally get into the library habit early. We make sure that every student has their own library card.)


message 50: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Frances, I agree. Whenever people are ranked according to their status-either by wealth or breeding, we do have a classist society."

Has there ever been a society (outside of utopian books) which wasn't to some degree or other classist? Can one really imagine that such a society would be possible in practice?

One of the interesting things in Dr. Thorne is the description of a society moving from classism based purely on blood and heritage to one based more on economic worth. Miss Dustable and Mary both demonstrate this shift.

It's not complete even today, of course, particularly in England where the aristocracy is still prevalent and influential. It's more so in the states, but we still do have lingering remnants of social classism (there is still a remnant of
"And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod.
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God.")


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