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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:
How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 51

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

This ghost reminds me of the invisible friends that many toddlers have. They fill a need for companionship. Placidia had no peers in her home and the only way to have one was to embrace the first Mrs. Hockaday. I saw this as a creative sign of resilience . Some women might have resented her presence. Wasn't Placidia smart to make her a friend?


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Anne C.

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 13

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

Brilliant reply above from Lois Irene! I hadn't thought of that but I think she's right. Placidia's loneliness certainly might have led her to imagine the former wife was trying to console her.


Posted Nov. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleighs

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 14

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

I found the presence of the first Mrs. Hockaday to be a pleasant aspect of the book. I believe in ghosts and have seen them myself since I was 10 years old. The first wife died and left a son; she was then followed quickly by Placidia. Running the household and raising the child were both things she may have found to consider it necessary to "help" Placidia. I, too, think that Dia was lonely and needed companionship and guidance...so it's possible that she imagined it as well. But being busy, surrounded by servants, a child, and chores, I think it could also be the former. She was, after all, very young and thrown into responsibility in short order.


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

Join Date: 08/13/14

Posts: 12

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

The ghost became a comforting presence when comfort was in short supply. Placidia's life on the farm was harsh with little to nourish her soul - the ghost fills her need.


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

Join Date: 02/05/14

Posts: 13

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

The ghost of the first Mrs. Hockaday was a "paraclete" to Placidia. The ghost came along side Placidia and strengthened Placidia providing sinewy sustenance and comfort to a high spirited girl turned into a lonely, overwhelmed, confused, teen-age bride. The ghost was a calming and strengthening presence to Placidia when things around the farm began to go wrong. And they always went wrong.


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

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 26

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

The ghost was important to Placidia. She derived support and a form of companionship from the former Mrs. Hockaday in a very isolated environment. I think Placidia felt a sense of comfort from speaking to the ghost. Both of them shared the same house, the same husband and, probably, many similar circumstances


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 222

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

While I don't believe in ghosts, I think Placidia's reflections on the first Mrs. Hockaday provided her with comfort and a form of imaginary companionship that most have been very sustaining as conditions on the farm grew worse and worse during the war. I'm not generally a fam of supernatural stuff in literature, but the first Mrs Hockaday seemed to me to serve a good and useful purpose.


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 222

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

While I don't believe in ghosts, I think Placidia's reflections on the first Mrs. Hockaday provided her with comfort and a form of imaginary companionship that most have been very sustaining as conditions on the farm grew worse and worse during the war. I'm not generally a fam of supernatural stuff in literature, but the first Mrs Hockaday seemed to me to serve a good and useful purpose.


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

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 100

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

I haven't but others I know have. I know that sounds very strange. In this case, she was under tremendous stress and also felt the responsibility to the child who she wanted to care for responsibly


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

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 64

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

I felt comforted by feeling that the first Mrs. Hockaday was a ghost who befriended her.


Posted Nov. 18, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gdlenehan

Join Date: 06/22/11

Posts: 28

RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

I always welcomed the appearances of the first Mrs Hockaday and found her to be a comforting presence.
I also realized what a clever literary devise the author had created when Placidia’s ghost joined her son Achilles and the former slave Achilles at the club in Pennsylvania. It all seemed believable and natural!
It gave the story closure.


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

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

The ghost of the first Mrs. Hockaday filled a void in Dia's life. She must have felt terribly lonely on that isolated farm.


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

It seemed to me that Dia did not actually see a ghost, or think that she had, but that she felt the presence of Janet, in large part due to her empathetic imagination, and her generosity in "grieving" for a woman she'd never met, who wasn't able to enjoy her son and the life that she had lost. Her sense of Janet's presence did fill a void for her, as dianaps said. It was a source of emotional support for her to realize another woman had been in her place, suffered some of her loneliness and struggle -- and worse. Dia was separated from her closest friend, and never had a loving relationship with her stepsister, so it seems natural she would "bond" with Janet in this way.

I've never seen a ghost either, but I did have a powerful experience of presence of a loved one, from across the ocean, at the exact time of that person's death -- something I happened to record in a journal at the time, even before I came home to learn of my loss. So I am prepared to believe there's more to life than we can know, but I don't presume to explain that mystery. I also know that it's very common for people who have suffered the loss of a spouse or child, for example, to imagine that person's presence. So Dia's experience wasn't all that unrealistic to 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: How did you respond to the ghost of the first Mrs Hockaday? Do you have any similar ghostly experiences?

I love Lois Irene's response. I agree completely, and I also agree that it would have been comforting to feel like you had peer in that situation.


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