I was wondering, too, if Mrs Gilbey saw something of herself in Joan or whether Joan's character is just very obvious to all the people around her and Mrs Gilbey is the only one to give her advice.
Blanche seems to have the self-awareness that Joan lacks, hence she can parody Mrs Gilbey so well.
The end of school scene was quite memorable, especially as Blanche notes that Joan had not changed at all. If I were Joan, I would have been furious at that remark but Joan doesn't seem to care. To me the notion that someone was still the same as years ago somehow always seems to deny that this person has developed as a human being or has had any life experiences at all since that previous time.
You're spot on about having to read between the lines. AC doesn't spell out much in this one at all. I rather like it, too.
I like your literal take on the poem - Rodney pretty much is Joan's world, ins't he? I mean she cares about the kids, but they take second place.
I had a random book thought about this book today - AC chose the perfect setting for Joan to be stranded, didn't she? With its heat, feverishness, desolation - probably offering mirages -, the desert is the perfect place for Joan's reflections.
And it's sort of half-way between the life she knows (Rodney) and the one she can only speculate about (Barbara).
Reply to post #17
Oooh, I like where you're going with Joan, Mrs. Gilbey and Blanche; yes, I tend to agree the end of school scene is quite memorable because it gives perspective to the beginning of the book. I also agree that a person who is still the same after many years hasn't lived very well at all, hasn't evolved, and has missed out on so much. I definitely agree that Rodney is Joan's world, the children come second, and they know it.
Reply to post #18
Yes, I like this thought very much, especially the last part :) Now I have to get reading on the next two chapters. Can't wait to see what will unfold next.