“I am going to leave Grange Hall.
Peter and I are going to run away through a tunnel in Solitary.”
It’s taken twelve chapters, but Anna is finally on board with Peter’s plan. Before they go, though, she’s going to write down all their plans in her diary. What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading
“Mrs Pincent is evil. Peter was right – Mrs Pincent is the most evil Legal who ever lived.”
In a more nuanced book, she wouldn’t be, but here, Mrs Pincent is the ultimate evil of evils. Anna feels hurt, betrayed and angry, and because she has the emotional maturity of someone half her age, her first reaction is to have a tantrum.
I’m not denying here that Mrs Pincent is A Bad Person, by the way. She’s certainly manipulative and abusive. But this book isn’t often a fan of nuance. Continue reading
Yes, I know it’s been a while. First I got ill, then I was busy, then I was just too damn tired to keep reading The Declaration along with everything else I wanted to do with my life. But I’m here now, and ready to dive right into chapter 10.
It’s a new day at Grange Hall, and Anna’s got Laundry class, or as it turns out to be today, ironing class.
“She got to see the soft sheets and beautiful clothes that the people in the village wore – soft woollen jumpers, wisp-thin silk blouses and beautiful cotton dresses.”
I assumed this is an advanced Laundry class, or those jumpers and blouses would surely get ruined. Continue reading
Anna has gone down to Solitary to chat to Peter, because, if she doesn’t, the plot will never advance.
“’I…I just wanted to check that you were OK.’”
Peter is woozy and out of it, and Anna thinks it’s because Charlie and the others beat him senseless earlier. As it turns out, Evil Mrs Pincent and the random men had been interrogating him to try to find out more about his main character status.
It’s a brutal start to the chapter, as Tania and Charlotte are back from Solitary sporting fresh bruises. This is business as usual for the kids, though, who would rather gossip about the fact that Peter hasn’t shown up for class. But if you thought the child-beating was over, then sadly you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.
It’s Decorum class, and the theme for today is Invisibility – no, not a Harry Potter spell, but the ability of servants to remain quiet and unnoticed until they are needed. To that end, teacher Mrs Dawson, whom Anna likes and wants to impress, has each student attempt to walk silently across the room.
“He was quiet, often distracted, and wasn’t good at anything as far as Anna could tell.” Continue reading
Anna now has no choice but to interact with Peter, and this chapter is an odd mixed bag of her both liking him and hating him. Although he’s smart and obedient when it suits him, Peter is still using every opportunity to chat to Anna about the world outside, and she can’t help but be fascinated.
Since he’s from the Outside, Peter doesn’t capitalise everything of even vague importance – instead, he uses inverted commas. Apparently, Peter grew up in a secret underground apartment so that he wouldn’t be captured, and was encouraged to ‘question things’ and ‘form opinions’. Continue reading
The chapter begins with another diary entry from Anna, and, guess what, she’s still going on about how much she hates Peter. She talks about how his spirit isn’t being broken by being put in Solitary all the time, and mentions another boy named Patrick who was sent away to do hard labour for being defiant.
Then it’s back to the third person to hear more about how Anna likes being good and obedient, and the fact that she’s now a Dormitory Monitor and a Prefect and whatnot, none of the others talk to her. Which is okay, I guess, because it means the author doesn’t have to come up with any more characters. Continue reading
A week has passed since the end of chapter one, and new character Peter has arrived at Grange Hall.
“Anna tried not to even look at him…No doubt he’d think he was something special and she wasn’t having that.”
He’s only just arrived and already there’s a cold war for the place of main character.
Though actually, as it turns out, Peter did arrive a week earlier, but he’s only just been allowed to interact with everyone else. Anna happens to know the real date when he arrived, because she was having a late night bath. A cold bath, at that. Surpluses aren’t allowed to use any more than the bare minimum of resources. They get beaten if they waste soap and toothpaste and use up more than their quota, but in that case, why not make the quota a hard limit? If they use up their soap before the end of the month, just don’t give them any more soap. If the whole dorm gets beaten because too many tubes of toothpaste were used, why don’t the kids act in the instinct of self-preservation and share their soap and toothpaste amongst themselves? Continue reading
Over the last year or so, I’ve greatly enjoyed reading chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of YA and other fiction, from the likes of Jenny Trout, Ana Mardoll and WhitleyBirks. Then, recently, whilst reading the craptacular Divergent, I felt like I wanted to give something back to the deconstruction community, or at least have a go at writing some of my own and seeing what happens.
Now, keen as I am to mock Divergent, I’ve decided not to start with it, because it would involve rereading it again just after finishing it, and because I need to leave enough time between reading these summaries and writing my own to make sure I don’t accidentally plagiarise. So instead, I’ve decided to go with The Declaration, a trilogy mentioned by a colleague in the context of “is this a suitable class book for my ten-year-old daughters to be reading?”. I’m a little nervous that I’m going to be awful at this, but anyway, here goes. Continue reading