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The Second Mrs. Hockaday


At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of...
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Discuss The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers:
Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 21

Posted Oct. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 120

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Many soldiers/ boys marriaged women before they went off to war, and the women wanted to get married, especially if if was a long time relationship. As with the Major I believe most of the men/boys wanted to marry so they would have someone to come home to. Someone to think and dream about when they are in the midst of an ugly war.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janetr

Join Date: 02/05/14

Posts: 13

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

He was a selfish, ungenerous man who was simply looking for a mother for his son. He was attracted to Placidia because she was spirited and he felt she was strong enough to do the job of running the farm and raising his son. He was completely out of line when he asked for her hand in marriage and she was daft to accept.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 87

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

They both knew that he would be going off to war; she was young and had no idea what she was getting herself into.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannew

Join Date: 07/08/17

Posts: 2

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I don’t think either of them knew how long and tortuous their time apart would be. No one could have guessed how horrible the war ended up being. She was willing and able and he was smitten.


Posted Nov. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianeh

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 33

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

At the time many future soldiers were marrying. There was no guarantee that anyone would return from the war so it was imperative to live your life fully before heading off to war


Posted Nov. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 223

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I don't think either of them had a realistic idea of how long the war would last or what circumstances Placidia would be exposed to. Nolan's behavior could have occurred war or no; he was a lout looking for an opportunity (witness his behavior with Nerissa). Historically, even in more recent times, war seems to be an impetus for marriage, so I have a hard time thinking of Major Hockaday's behavior as inappropriate.


Posted Nov. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 72

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Yes - he didn't know how soon he would have to go to war.


Posted Nov. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
hicksmk

Join Date: 10/11/17

Posts: 2

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I do think Major Hockaday should have married Placidia. I think it was common then as it has been during other subsequent wars to marry before going off to war.


Posted Nov. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 363

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

The mutual chemistry between them was pretty obvious, and anyone who has ever had that experience knows how real it can be ... even if it's fleeting and/or the person turns out to be all all-wrong for you. Placidia certainly was not the first and, sadly, far from the last spouse who has been or will be left behind by a soldier going off to war. My impression is that she would have married Major H even if he had told her at the same time of his proposal that he would have to leave.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 158

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I think this is what happened in those times. I think they should have married, He probably didn't give a thought to the fact that he was leaving her unprotected because it was common to do that.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 82

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

This was a problem of the times. He was in love with Placidia and thought that he was making arrangements and providing money for her care and the care of his son and his farm. He would have no real understanding of the dangers he was puttin her in. She certainly had no idea at her age as well.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 30

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

This is a classic dilemma that repeats itself wherever there is a war fought by men. Time becomes condensed so that only the pleasure of the day influences decisions that can change a lifetime. Both the Major and Placidia's father knew she would soon be unprotected during a time when predators roamed the countryside. They came to a mutual agreement that marriage and removal to a remote farm would provide her with some level of protection from trusted slaves and the proximity of a brother-in-law.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 179

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Many believed the war would be short-lived. If he'd known how long he would be gone, perhaps he wouldn't have married her. However, it was important to him to have a mother for his son, and I'm sure that played into his decision. I think he was infatuated with the young Placidia, as she was with him, and they acted rashly.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pate

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 27

RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I think this was not unusual for this time period and in other cases of wartime when the young men knew they would be leaving and heading off to fight. I don't think Placidia or the Major had any idea that the war would last as long as it did or that life would be that difficult for Placidia. I think it gave the Major comfort to know his young son would be cared for in his absence.


Posted Nov. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 277

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I think he thought she would be safe with the slaves to protect her and he did not expect the war to go on so long.


Posted Nov. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 259

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I don't think he was to blame for their marriage. They both felt an instant attraction, and they both had reasons for wanting to be married: Dia wanted her life to begin, which could only be marriage, for a free (white) woman in those days; he needed someone to head his household and raise his son in his absence. He didn't know how soon he would have to leave. It's true that as someone much older, he had a better sense of what marriage entailed, but he was a good judge of character -- Dia was up to the task. And it wasn't very unusual in their historical time, either. Neither could foresee the extent to which she would be put at risk by other Southern men, from the dishonest storekeeper/postmaster to those marauders posing as soldiers. But in the end, she suffered more from her own stepbrother... a symbolic way for pointing to the real danger: the system of white male privilege.


Posted Nov. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 213

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Marrying her was okay, but maybe she should have brought the baby and stayed with her father instead of being alone on that farm.


Posted Nov. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

Major Hockaday thought life would continue as the same as when he left war had not affected where his farm was. The south was winning the early battles so he would have thought that the war would stay at the border and further north and that it was going to be over soon.


Posted Nov. 28, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 101

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

No and that was the one thing that kept bothering me throughout the book. Major Hockaday was selfishly trying to find a step-mother for his child. Placidia's father seemed to think he was providing a life for his daughter but he did not know the man any longer that his daughter did. That was a struggle for me.


Posted Dec. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 91

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

From the Major's standpoint he absolutely should have married her. He needed someone to care for his son and run his farm; he felt an instant attraction to her, and she was right there and unmarried. However, he didn't give any thought to whether it was the best decision for Placidia. So it seems to me that it was cruel of him to marry her and expect her to stand up to the demands placed on her.


Posted Dec. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 259

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RE: Should Major Hockaday have married Placidia, only to leave her unprotected?

I think it's easy for us to forget the historical context and judge him by our own standards today. During the Civil War, all over the South, and the North as well, women were being left alone to manage their farms and households. Dia's situation wasn't unusual, as the novel suggests by referring to a nearby female neighbor also running her own farm. Nor was Dia left alone unprotected -- she was left with trusted male slaves (and female slaves) and family not that far away. Neither the Major nor Dia could have foreseen the cheating postmaster, or the marauders, nor that her stepbrother would rape her-- all outside the bounds of Southern concepts of white gentlemen. Dia's youth, from the standpoint of her culture, was not as extreme as it is to ours. In a few years she'd have been expected to marry anyway, and given the frequency of women dying in childbirth, it wasn't at all unusual for widowers to remarry quickly and to expect their new wives to raise their children.


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