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Book Club Question -- All About Charles

Time for another book club question for The General's Mistress! If you're reading and want to discuss the book club questions but don't belong to a book club (or even if you do) plunge right in! There are no right or wrong answers, just a discussion.

So next -- all about Charles!

Elza travels in disguise as a man—specifically, as her late brother Charles. At first this seems to be little more than a game to placate her grief-addled mother, and a convenient way to avoid the dangers facing women who travel alone. But over the course of the novel Charles becomes an increasingly crucial part of Elza’s identity. Why do you think this is? In your opinion, is her “dual identity” a solution to a problem, or another problem in itself?

What about Charles, guys? What do you think?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:01 am (UTC)
I'm torn about Charles. There is a part of me that wishes that Elza could integrate the parts of her personality that she labels "Charles" and be able to live them as Elza. But a: I don't think that's possible given the time, so Charles does allow her more freedom than just having a tomboy side to her personality would, and b: she seems pretty balanced and comfortable in a multiple-ish personality system, and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
I think she is comfortable with it -- and the integration comes with more maturity. At twenty two she sees being a man as the answer to her problems. At thirty, she's realized that simply being physically male wouldn't actually solve anything.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )