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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 does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 9

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 does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 215

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RE: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

His initial appearance at the beginning of part 2 makes clear that the Major and Placidia reconciled at some point. (if not, no Achilles to write that letter!) The essential question then becomes why and how did that happen. This sets up the revelation of Placidia's rape and the death of the baby, and the Major's discovery of her story. I thought the introduction of the character Achilles was a crucial element in the story.


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 does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

It was a big jump from part one to part two

I was happy to know that the Major and Placidia had reconciled but somewhat frustrated that the story unfolded so slowly


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

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 148

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RE: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

I thought it almost seemed like 2 different stories. A lot changed between the 2 story parts.


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: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

Well we never really find out what happened to reunite Major Hockaday and Placidia or how she became pregnant and then accused of the child's death until the leteres from Achilles begin to ask the questions we seek answers to. It also resolves the story somewhat when we discover the existence of Achilles and find that Placidia and the Major did remain married and restart their lives.


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 does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

We find out the rest of the story.


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

Join Date: 11/21/17

Posts: 10

RE: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

I agree that the story unfolded slowly and changed drastically when Achilles the son entered into the narrative. It was a good device that the Major found the diary and learned the truth, as we knew they reconciled, but didn't know why. In terms of the adult children and their letters, I had to flip back a few times and check the dates on the letters to make sense of some of the storytelling.


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 does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

It was our first notice that Dia and Major Hockaday reconciled, a surprising turn after the first part that lays out the case against her, and her present plight, along with her abiding love for her husband. But we read on still in suspense over how that happened (which we find out at the very end of the story), as well as what really did happen while he was away. It was an excellent way to structure the story, not only for the suspense but because her son Achilles helps us see his parents in a new and deeper way (that is, not just plot development but character development as well). Instead of seeing them just as impulsive romantics who rushed into an ill-timed marriage only to be parted by the war, we realize their love must have been very real and solid to overcome such an obstacle, and they both must be people who are capable of generosity and forgiveness, despite each of them being strong-minded and proud.


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: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

I believe that the bond that first drew them together was a true one and allowed them to move past the war and the terrible happenings. Both were strong people in that they didn't let the terrible things that happened to them keep them from living. After they came through the ordeal, their bond was even stronger. The after story must have been so ordinary that the writer didn't even think the reader needed to hear it. Children often have no idea what their parents have endured or what they may really be like.


Posted Nov. 27, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 350

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RE: How does the reader's understanding of Placidia and the Major's story change when their adult son Achilles enters the narrative?

The son's existence shows that there is not a catastrophic end to Placidia's life - or the marriage.. The son's name seems strange and is part of the mystery to be unraveled. I must admit that there were a few sections in which the back-and-forth correspondence seemed a bit drawn out, and I felt like a good story line was getting muffled. However, perhaps that was part of recreating the old fashioned approach to "sensitive" subjects.


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