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Prudence Arnold

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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby TheOriginalFive » 27 Jan 2015, 15:49

I suppose we won't know what the older Arnolds were really like, as the narration didn't show them at all. It is just mentioned that Prue's parents are very indulgent. Maybe they're nice* people with a socially awkward daughter who got the idea that she should only mix with her own class?

Could her actions of indirectly abetting Sadie's kidnapping be recorded in her juvenile crime record? If so, what happens to a juvie record when one turns 18?

*Nice as stated in Kipling's If, "Or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch."
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 00:38

Can I resurrect this one as St Clare's is pretty much my favourite series and we don't discuss it very often? :) One thing I will point out is that Prue did not KNOW that she was aiding a kidnapping. CF Claudine at St Clare's when Angela is also given a note to take to a girl and does so. Should Angela have been expelled for that? (there are probably other reasons that Angela should have been expelled but not that one ..)
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby timv » 06 Dec 2017, 09:35

I've always been intrigued by the difference in treatment by the 'wise' Heads and school staff of Prudence and Angela in the St. Clair's series - though Enid wrote this series before Malory Towers, presumably as an experiment in the 'Girls Boarding School' genre and possibly without giving the characters as much thought as the MT girls. (Prudence is I think said to be a vicar's daughter, but given the low rates of pay in the Church her boasts about luxury at home indicate her family has independent sources of money.) On the surface Prudence's behaviour immediately before her removal is devious and spiteful but not that much worse than Angela's. She assumes that the message which she and Pam were asked to give to a form-mate by a mystery man was an invitation from a 'low class circus type' to Carlotta to break bounds at night and hence she can get C into trouble by letting it go ahead and reporting her. (She tries to take Pam along as a witness, presumably thinking her own word might not be believed). She does not know it is Sadie she is following or that the message is intended to lure S off to be kidnapped - her guilty part in the incident is that of not handing the note in. (But why did she not look to see who it was addressed to?).

Is Prudence's underhand behaviour and emotional bullying of Pam any worse than Angela's feud with Pauline in the fifth StC book and treatment of the (younger and vulnerable) junior 'fags' in the sixth book? Nowadays I think readers and a real life Head might think Angela's behaviour worse; its' clearly 'emotional abuse'. But values have probably altered from the 1940s.

Prudence is 'doomed' already, though - which is perhaps overlooked. Enid has Miss Theobald come to the conclusion that Prudence should not be invited back the following term earlier than the Sadie episode, after P is caught copying the French test by the twins and Bobby and does not sufficiently 'repent' by coming to her in person. (Bobby does, and promises to improve with obvious sincerity .) Miss T presumably thinks that sly and unrepentant Prudence is not really going to reform so it's no use trying to improve her - which is perhaps a bit harsh, though it turns out she is right. This episode shows Miss T's shrewdness - but it's only luck that she is right! And Angela is given rather more chances to reform - as she's a good 'villain' so Enid wanted to keep her in the series?
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 22:40

Interesting point about Prue's family - I wonder if her father was a relic from the Victorian/Regency era, when the younger son of a wealthy family would be bunged into the church as a 'respectable' occupation, giving an outward appearance of actually working but when in reality they are living on family money.

I am not sure if I agree with your last paragraph though - I do not think that Miss T had entirely made up her mind at that point that Prue would not be returning. Perhaps she intended to wait until the end of term and then talk to P's teachers and see if there had been any significant improvement. I wonder what would have happened had the Carlotta incident not happened.

I entirely agree with you about Angela's treatment of the juniors though .. that was appalling. Miss T must have been aware of it and should have stepped in to stop it.
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Daisy » 06 Dec 2017, 22:43

I think I have always thought that in fact Prudence was not at all well off but pretended to be so. I haven't read the book for a while so can't quite recall if that was implied in the story or is just my own idea.
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 22:45

That is certainly possible too, yes :)
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby mynameisdumbnuts » 07 Dec 2017, 16:46

Is part of the problem that Prudence took the note to begin with? Would the girls have been warned not to talk to strangers, or certainly not the "unsavoury-looking" types? There's a chance the twins, Bobby, Hillary, or another girl would not have accepted the note at all and thus the entire situation might have been avoided.
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Yak » 07 Dec 2017, 20:58

True but no-one objected when Angela had a note for Eileen ...
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby mynameisdumbnuts » 07 Dec 2017, 22:49

Yak wrote:True but no-one objected when Angela had a note for Eileen ...


Well, it's a different set of circumstances: Dodgy (middle-aged?) man on a bike hailing a couple of pre-teens when there's no one around vs. young man who could conceivably be an errand boy hailing an older teenager in a more public place. Plus the school doesn't learn about Angela taking the note; it's possible authorities would have disapproved had they known.
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Re: Prudence Arnold

Postby Yak » 07 Dec 2017, 23:19

Her classmates know though :). But as it was Eileen's brother perhaps they thought it was not as significant.
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