Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday
At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 27

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1392

Expert

Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?


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

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 14

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Based on the times, and because the Major knew Placidia for such a short time before leaving her in the first place, I was not surprised by his reaction to what he found when returning home. Something went wrong, but what exactly? Unfortunately for both the Major and Placidia, rape is what took place, not extramarital affairs. This only further injures the Major for he feels guilty and can hardly live with himself when he learns the truth. Certainly a horrible truth to learn, but in the end, it helps to bring them together again. I found that the Major's relief at Placidia's death later in the story was understandable in some ways. He was married to her for years, raised children with her, and the whole time recalled what had really happened to her during his absence. A large bruise, for certain, to hit such a new marriage and relationship.


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I do. I think his reaction is understandable given the short time he had known her and her refusal to tell him what happened. When he did discover the truth I imagine he was distressed by his own behavior, but frustrated that he did not have the information that would have led him to act otherwise. Like ashleighs, I see her death as a sort of release from the guilt of his behavior.


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 92

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I do feel for the Major. Coming home from a difficult war and being a prisoner of war I am sure he wanted to return to a loving wife and his son from his first marriage. Starting a new life and instead he is faced with rumors about his wife probably being faithful and killing her child. Then his wife will not talk to him about what has happened. He is in the dark and can only believe that she is guilty.


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

Join Date: 08/13/14

Posts: 12

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I have no sympathy for the major. Despite the times there is no excuse for not following his heart.


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

Join Date: 02/05/14

Posts: 10

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I felt only shock and disbelief at his behavior when he returned from the war. His knee jerk reaction to the gossip and circumstances in which he found his wife plead for mercy if nothing else. Major Hockaday is a flat, uncommunicable character for whom I felt no sympathy. He is so under-developed as a character that his presence is not real.


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

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 79

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

If you put the events in the context of the time, then it is understandable. If I want to be compassionate, I can also think about everything that the Major went through during the war. This by no way underestimates what Placidia went through...but even without the rape, I don't think he had a clue. I don't think he ever really forgave himself for what he put her through.


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

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 13

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I felt sorrow for both him and Placidia. I truly believe that his love of her kept him going during the war. His goal was to be reunited with her and he was totally unprepared for the reality of what he found upon his return.
On the one hand my heart breaks for Placidia but I also understand the reaction of the Major. It's all sad.


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

Join Date: 08/31/17

Posts: 3

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Absolutely! I feel great sympathy for his behavior. His emotions ran the gamut, and he did his best to process those feelings as the truth was revealed. He felt and displayed all human emotions as he learned the truth about Placidia. He felt pure embarrassment and anger when he learned of the gossip surrounding his wife--betrayed even. Then disgust because he erroneously believed his wife had murdered the baby. Then guilt when he learned that his wife had been the victim of rape because he was not able to protect her. It seems only fitting that these emotions, along with his nightmarish exposure to war, rendered him handicapped in his ability to cope.


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

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 40

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Somewhat. It was a shock to him to learn that his wife had had a child in his absence. But, as time went by and the events unfolded, he softened and realized that such a young girl should never have been left to deal with everything, including being a mother to her step-son while he was away.


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

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 321

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

While I understand that the horrors of war can change a person and had affected Major Hockaday and also am aware that he was responding as a product of society with double standards of behavior for men and women, I emotionally bristled at the severity of his response. There are experiences in life for which apologizing later can never quite erase the initial hurt, and both Placidia and Major H. felt that the rest of their lives.


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

Join Date: 08/28/15

Posts: 12

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I feel Mayor Hockaday really loved Placidia but was hurt by the story he was told when he returned from the war, it was more than he can handle. Later he follows his heart back to her.


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

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 142

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I do. I think he was faced with a surprise that he didn't expect. He also had fallen in love with her and was hurt by her 'betrayal'.


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

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 82

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I think given the stresses of his war life and what his expectations were as he returned, the great disappointment that he found with the accusations against Placidia left him with a deranged mind incapable of clear thinking and no choice.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

At first I didn't, I was indignant on Dia's behalf. By the end of the novel, having read his letters and her diary, I felt a lot of sympathy, and like her, found it easy to forgive him. I understand now that his sense of betrayal shook his world -- he didn't have the facts, and could only draw the same conclusion as everyone else did about why she was keeping silent about the facts. His love was genuine and deep, as hers, a sense of kindred spirits, so that seeming betrayal took away not only his hope for the future, but his sense of himself. Thank goodness he read the diary and changed his mind, wiped the slate clean, and took responsibility for leaving her unprotected. And that she was willing to forgive him also.

I appreciate that the author was able to give readers an experience of forming impressions and then changing them with further information. It's one of the reasons I consider this an excellent novel.


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

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 27

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I am more ambivalent about my feelings toward the Major. On one hand, he is justly shocked and tormented by the rumors and accusations being made about his very young wife. Her refusal to disclose the detail of what had happened only adds to his torment. But his decision to pursue prosecution is almost unforgivable after the passionate love they shared for a short time. He seemed to have to defend his masculine honor rather than protect his young wife and find the truth.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 108

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Considering the time and the standards of the day, I'm not surprised at his reaction. I'm sure he held her on a pedestal the entire time he was gone. She was the wonderful woman he was returning to. To find that she'd had a baby while he was gone, in his mind revealing that she'd been unfaithful, shattered his beliefs about her. She should have told him the truth and it would have spared them both a lot of misery.


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

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 27

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I did feel sympathy for him. I think given the fact that Placida was not forthcoming with the truth about what happened while he was gone, his reaction was not surprising considering the time and place of the novel when life was very different from the world in which we live today.The shock he must have felt when he returned was certainly understandable, although his decision to pursue prosecution was very disappointing.


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

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 203

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I was totally shocked by his behavior. He believed the rumors he heard and didn't give her a chance.


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

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 192

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I had no sympathy for him. He left a young woman, unfamiliar with the place in which she found herself, in terrible circumstances. What the heck did he think was going to happen? He didn't even send anyone to check on her or even get word to her that he was alive and then he comes home and judges her. By all rights she should get all the sympathy.


Posted Nov. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I have to respectfully disagree that he deserves no sympathy and that he jumped to believe rumors-- Dia states clearly that she did not offer him any explanation, herself, and did not even give a reason why, so any reasonable person, even wanting to give the benefit of the doubt, would have to draw the conclusion he did.
His lawsuit was an extreme emotion reaction to an extreme loss, as he saw it, not just a blow to his pride but an apparent negation of the faith he had in his love for Dia. It rocked him off his foundation of faith, especially coming upon the heels of his horrible experience of the war, another loss of faith. Good people can act unreasonably when under this kind of extreme stress and grief.

If he was truly so shallow and full of male pride, he would not have been willing to read the diary and rethink his position from her viewpoint; his mind would have remained closed, fixed forever on the fact that she had been violated by another man. Even in our times, I understand that some men have a hard time accepting that emotionally. Nonetheless, he did, ultimately, move beyond that to have a loving marriage. If Dia forgave him, so should we.


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

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Major Hockaday held on to the image he had of Dia that he had of her when he left for the war - this got him through the hardest time of the war. He also thought that those that he told Dia to trust would help her. When he heard the rumors that broke the fantasy he had. And then since he only knew her for a couple of days before he went off to war, he thought that she had found another man to be with.
I do not know if this was reasonable as despite being in prison, I am sure he was aware of what it was like for a woman to be alone when there were desperate men roaming for food. Rape is a common in war so I would think that should have been his first thought.


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

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 16

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Do I? Yes. Did I? Initially - no, not really. We had really only heard Placida's side of the story, and frankly all of my sympathy was firmly in her camp. Regardless of the times and the circumstances, his age and experience alone should have allowed the Major to be more empathetic and more able to react in a measured and mature fashion to what had transpired at home while he was away. As we read his letters, and further understand the situation, it becomes easier to allow him his shock and poor reaction. So eventually - yeah, OK - I feel bad for the guy - ish.


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

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 80

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I can because he only knew Placida for a day when he married her and had been with her for only a short time before he went back to the war. They had not built up any trust and he had been gone for awhile. He had seen the worst that people could do to each other so his lack of compassion is understandable.


Posted Nov. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 22

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I'm still pretty ambivalent about the Major - I can't imagine marrying anyone after only a day, so I actually found that relationship a bit strange, but given the circumstances of the war, can sort of understand his reaction.....sort of....


Posted Nov. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 91

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I did to some extent. I think the entire time he was at war he built up this idealized version of Placidia in his head and saw his homecoming as his salvation. It was certainly not the re-entry he had been expecting. And I think he came home expecting that it would be all about him recuperating from his war experiences. The shock he received upon his arrival must have been overwhelming. However, I do think taking her to court was excessive. If they had been able to talk they might have worked it out themselves. But of course they barely knew each other. I'm glad he was able to understand and 'forgive' her and I wish Placidia had been more forgiving of herself.


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

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 89

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

I can understand it considering the times. Also they did not have a strong foundation in their marriage to deal with this initially. My empathy was always with Dia. I thought that Griff was not a well developed character. We never get to really know him internally and I think that is a defect in the novel.


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

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 174

Expert

RE: Do you feel sympathy toward Major Hockaday's behavior when he returns from the war?

Yes, I felt sympathy for him. Thoughts of his wife got him through the war. But he eventfully came home to a wife that he felt betrayed her. He was only human so what was he to think especially when his wife would not explain herself. Love doesn't fix everything, and the two of them had not had enough time together before the war to solidify their trust.


Reply

Please login to post a response.