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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
An enchanting tale, brilliant in its simple yet profound insight into human...
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First impressions can be deceiving!

Created: 03/24/11

Replies: 13

Posted Mar. 24, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BookBrowse

Join Date: 11/16/10

Posts: 43

First impressions can be deceiving!

First impressions in Major Pettigrew's Last Stand can be deceiving. Which characters do you think changed the most during the book; and how did your perceptions of them change?


Posted May. 02, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 16

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I thought this very much applied to Mrs. Ali's nephew. Our first introduction to him, through Mrs. Ali's description, was not very favorable and, when he made his first appearance, he was described as a "frowning face" and quite taciturn. It was when he was the guest in Major Pettigrew's home that we got to know him and learned that these surface attributes were just that -- surface.


Posted May. 02, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 560

Expert

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

Paulak - very good point. He definitely didn't strike me as particularly likable up front; in fact I remember thinking that he was a bit of a letdown as a character when first introduced as he seemed to be typecast - but, as you say, there was more to him than met the eye. As the saying goes, 'don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes' (or something like that!) - and isn't that the beauty of a good book - that we actually get a glimpse of the world from somebody else's point of view?


Posted May. 05, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Auntie Mame

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 13

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

Found this to be very true with this book which is one of the reasons I liked it so much. Roger's girlfriend Sandy was not very likable when she was first introduced, but as the story progressed I came to really like her and admired her for leaving Roger. Also thought the character of Grace became interesting. She started out like a caricature of the village spinster throwing herself at the eligible bachelor Major. However, she changed and became very support of the Major and Mrs. Ali and I really warmed to Grace.


Posted May. 08, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
scknitter

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 6

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I actually thought Major Pettigrew changed the most. He lived his whole life thinking things like having the rifles together was what defined him and his family. He thought that being proper was important and I think it definitely was to him as a person but sometime he seemed to be more concerned about what others would think rather than about what he wanted to do. He let what he thought others might think guide him at the beginning of the book. At the end of the book he was still thoughtful and chivalrous and a gentleman but he did what was in his heart and didn't worry about how it would look.


Posted May. 08, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
againstthetide

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 10

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was really all about the development of the characters . . .and that's what I loved about it.

Major Pettigrew definitely went from a person who was a bit judgemental and very concerned with how he looked to others. But love really changed him, and he realized that in order to truly have love, he needed to put these superficial concerns behind him and focus on making choices that would allow love to blossom.

Mrs. Ali also grew as a character. She was always a kind, thoughtful person, but she needed to break away from the expectations of her husband's family in order to fully realize her own happiness. It seemed like she was always putting herself second to everyone else's needs, but as the story evolves, she realizes that she needed to stop doing that in order to achieve the happiness that she deserved.


Posted May. 08, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 41

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I agree. When the book started I thought I would be reading about only stock characters -- the grasping, selfish son, the staid and proper father, the self effacing immigrant, and so on. I had picked this book up several times in the bookstore and put it down each time after reading the first few pages because the characters seemed so trite. When this book group started, I statred reading as a "chore" to be done. Fortunately after the first introduction to the characters and getting past the first several chapters I realized the characters were going to grow and change and become more "fleshed out." The book quickly became a joy to read as I got acquainted with the people. I loved watching them grow, evolve and become real people.


Posted May. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
trezelineb

Join Date: 04/24/11

Posts: 16

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I agree Beckyh. This is the crux of the entire story. In the beginning we are briefly introduced to each character, then each one begins to evolve. Circumstances change and the characters adapt, thus showing their true selves and their depth. Some stay true to form, some grow, some don't. This is what makes the story so good.


Posted May. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Laura

Join Date: 04/13/11

Posts: 18

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I have to agree that most all of the characters evolved and by the end of the book, seemed very different from our first quick view/opinion of them. That is what helps keep the reader interested and makes for a wonderful book.


Posted May. 24, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 17

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I can't agree more with Beckyh and trezelineb. I was slogging through the first couple of chapters wondering why everyone was raving about the book about some stuffy, typically stiff, English major but I kept at it and and grew to love the book. As the major learned to let things go, I started to get more entrenched in the story. It was delightful to see the characters come into their own, and start revealing who they really were to the reader.


Posted May. 25, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 20

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I had a hard time warming up to the characters in the beginning but I think that the true value of the book was in their development. Initially I didn't really like any of the characters, although I felt sorry for Mrs Ali, but as the tale progressed, I appreciated their uniqueness and their insight into the workings of the village and the powers that be.


Posted May. 31, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 17

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

I have been thinking about Major Pettigrew and why it takes so long to warm up to the characters. I think at the beginning of the book, with the exception of Mrs. Ali, the rest of the characters are stereotypes - and they have almost all negative traits of a stereotype. Then as the story unfolds, the stereotypes become characters.


Posted May. 31, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 560

Expert

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

Perhaps the character development in "Major Pettigrew" is closer to real life than many books?

Who among us can judge a person by that first appearance? If I meet someone for the first time I know nothing about them and thus, consciously or unconsciously, have to assume they are as their stereotype suggests; but overtime, if I get to know them, there is inevitably more than at first met the eye!

However, in books we expect characters to be of interest from the get-go and are in danger of switching off if we don't form an attachment quickly to one or more protagonists. So, arguably, it is the brave author who keeps us at arms length with initial stereotypes, only letting us into the characters' more complex selves as the story develops and we earn the right to know these things having spent time with the characters?


Posted Jun. 05, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
againstthetide

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 10

RE: First impressions can be deceiving!

Ok, Marys and Davina, I agree 100% with your insights. I was trying to put my finger on why I liked this book so much, and I think you hit the nail on the head. The characters weren't instantly likable or even knowable - - and I thought that made the book MORE interesting. It was like real life where layers of the characters unveil themselves, and you realize that these are good, complex people who struggle with their image and their obligations and their desire for happiness. Just like we all do!


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