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The Second Mrs. Hockaday


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Discuss The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers:
Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

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: 1480

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Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

Placidia's grown son, Achilles Hockaday, is repeatedly instructed by his father to burn the copy of David Copperfield that contains Placidia's wartime diary. However, like Pandora in the Greek myth, Achilles is unable to comply. Discuss Achilles's decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I believe he wanted to know more of his mothers history. Obviously since she wanted it burned he must have known there was quite a hidden story. His mother could have destroyed it herself, so he perhaps might have thought that part of her did want the story revealed. I would have done the same. Both my parents have died many years ago. As I grow older I am so sorry I did not ask them more questions.


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

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 14

RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

This situation was sort of like Pandora's box. Achilles was left with a decision to know a bit more about his mother, or burn the diary and lose the information forever. It seemed his Aunt gave him the advise to get rid of the diary and I think this piqued his interest even more. Had both my parents died, and I was left with this responsibility, I don't know that I could have burned the diary either. Often, people want to forget certain things about their past or erase things that have happened to them. In this instance, the story of Placidia and Major was developed further after her horrible experience. Our rough times are what define us, for the good and the bad. Achilles' knowing of this situation certainly gave him something to think about. But in the end, he also developed a good friend in his namesake and their abilities to relate to one another and talk about his Mother.


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 196

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I agree with both of the preceding comments. It was clear from Placidia's and the Major's requests that there were important family secrets contained in the diary. Particularly as a young person contemplating marriage as Achilles was, I'd want to know.


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

Join Date: 08/01/16

Posts: 13

RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I was thrilled that Achilles decided to read the diary. There had always been secrets in the family and yet there was also a great deal of love. As a son he wanted to know as much about his parents as possible and wanted the answer to several questions. It is my belief that, if Placidia was still alive, she would have agreed with the diary being read by Achilles
I believe it made Achilles feel closer to his family and, as a result, to understand more about himself and what is important.


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

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 55

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

Yes - he felt that all his questions would be answered and he could go forward by providing more of a foundation than he had at that time. Yes - I definitely would have done the same.


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

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 27

RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I think almost everyone would have read the diary- especially after being told not only not to read it but to also burn it. It would be human nature to want to know what was written in it. I would have read it.


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

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 100

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

If I came across the diary of a living person I wouldn't read it. If I came across the diary of someone who was deceased I think I would read it. I can't explain the double standard, but it's now I would frel


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

Join Date: 12/04/11

Posts: 49

RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I can understand why he read it. If I was faced with the same situation I definitely would have read it . It would be too tempting for me . Plus there is the question of why Placidia didn't get rid of it before anyone could read it ? If it was that important to me to keep it a secret I would have burned it myself.


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: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

With the secretive circumstances that had been presented to Achilles I believe I would have done the same now that the people involved were no longer alive to be hurt by the reading of these private thoughts. I think it was important to have the descendants know what had happened in Placidia's life during this time period.


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 205

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I absolutely would have read it. I agree with the quote his brother Charlie used to justify it: "No one knowingly chooses to live without the truth." And as Iris points out, in her post above, Placidia was deceased, and had been for some time. Violating her privacy was not a compelling argument against her son's desire and perhaps his right to know the truth. (So Iris, I don't think you have a double standard there at all, but an important distinction between seeking valuable knowledge and prying.)

I did not fully understand at first why reading the diary caused him to break off with Roe, but once I read that part of her diary, I can also appreciate his feeling that it gave him a deeper understanding of what a true bond between partners can be, and realize he needed more life experience before making that kind of commitment himself. The truth may not make us happy, and we can't unlearn what we would rather not know, but we can grow in wisdom and gain from truth in the long run.


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

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 224

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RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I am a genealogist and would have been excited to find such a treasure and that diary. Dia poured her heart and soul into it and it was meant to be read.


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: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

Of course I would have read the diary. Who could resist reading something you were told to burn? I loved that it changed the direction of his life.


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

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 20

RE: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

Absolutely! We are - generally - a race of peekers. We have to look behind the curtain, open the box, know! The interesting thing is, as much as we want to know, we are so often undone by what we discover - Great Grandad was a racist, mom loved someone else before she met dad. Particularly when it involves our parents, it shocks us and shakes the very foundations upon which our sense of self resides. This is of course what happens to Achilles upon reading his mother's diary. Even though he knows that they moved on, were in love and built a life and a family together he can't un-know all of the terrible things that happened at the beginning. Now he knows how close it was to imploding, and how easily it could have all come undone.


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: Discuss Achilles' decision to read his mother's diary. Would you have done the same?

I would have even if I was warned not too. Unfortunately, I am not one to hold on to something and not look at it. Don't trust me with Pandora's Box...


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