The Family Reunion
Number of pages
Date of first publication
Novel / Novella / Short Stories / Play
Value given to this book
A B C D
Explain the title
The title indicates when the story takes place, i.e. during a family reunion.
Who tells the story?
The story is not being told, because it's a play. You get to see who says what and who enters and leaves, but that isn't told by a narrator.
Where does the story take place? Does the setting play a decisive role in the story? Explain.
The scene is laid in a country house in Wishwood, a town in the North of England.
When does the story take place? (If you are not sure about the exact dates, guess by fifty years, e.g. 1600-1650, etc.) Does it really make any difference (to the story) in which time it takes place? Why do you think so?
I don't know when the story took place, but looking at the language spoken (the dialect) I think it must have been during the time when Eliot wrote it, 1939.
How much time passes between the beginning and the end of the story? Indicate the amount of time.
One evening passes, the evening of the birthday of Amy, who invited her whole family over for dinner (hence the title family reunion).
Which part of the book did you find most interesting or fun? Why?
I didn't really like the book, or any part of it. I think it was very boring, also because it is written (and spoken) in a formal way.
Which part of the book was very bad or very uninteresting, according to you? Explain why.
I didn't like the parts when they sing a chorus, because I didn't really understand what they were saying then. I also didn't like the beginning because you don't know really much and therefore you don't really understand what the characters are talking about.
Suppose you had to choose: which character in the book would you like to be? Why this particular character?
If I'd really had to choose, I'd like to be Harry, because he has finally found out what he has been looking for: the truth. Many years he had been haunted by 'ghosts' of his dead wife, whom he thinks he has thrown overboard of a ship. At the end he finds out he has to follow these ghosts, instead of being followed by them, to find the truth about himself and his parents.
Mention one character from the book you dislike, or could eventually dislike? Why?
I dislike Amy's sisters, Ivy, Violet and Agatha because they are very formal and snobistic. Because of what they do, I can't really explain, but it is just the way people acted back then that annoys me.
Compare the main character(s) of the beginning of the story to those same characters at the end of the book. Have they / Has he or she changed? Have they / Has he or she learnt or achieved anything?
I think Harry and Agatha have changed dramatically during the story. Harry because he realises he has got to face the truth and Agatha because she has finally found the strength to tell Harry about his father.
Could you indicate what kind of story/ play this is? You can choose more than one option
. [ ] love story [ ] science fiction
[ ] adventure [ ] detective/thriller
[ ] (auto)biography [ ] philosophical
[ ] historical subject [ ] comedy
[X] lifestyle [X] tragedy
[ ] fantasy/fairy tale [ ] A story......
Is it possible to indicate a turning point in the story; a point from which things clearly start to change? Try to describe it.
You can indicate a turning point in the story, i.e. when some people has the courage to tell the truth. In this case when Agatha tells Harry the truth and when Harry faces his truth.
Do you feel the author has tried to teach you or explain something to you by writing this book? If so, what? Or has he/she only tried to entertain you?
I think the author has tried to explain that you should always tell the truth and not to hide things for others, for it may ruin their life.
Were you satisfied about the ending of the book? Explain your answer. If you were not satisfied with it, could you explain how you would have expected it to end (more or less)?
I was a bit satisfied with the ending because the truth was told, and to be honest, I wanted to know what it was as much as Harry, because I didn't really understand the story before. The end was nor very clarifying though, I still hesitate by the question if Amy died or not.
Would you recommend this book to anyone? Why? If you were to give this book a mark, what would it be.
I wouldn't recommend this book, because I think it was a boring and annoying book. Mark: 5
Amy, Dowager Lady Monchensey
Ivy, Violet and Agatha, her younger sisters
Col. The Hon. Gerald Piper, and the
Hon. Charles Piper, brothers of her deceased husband
Mary, daughter of a deceased cousin of Lady Monchensey
Denman, a parlourmaid
Harry, Lord Monchensey, Amy's eldest son
Downing, his servant and chauffeur
The play is divided in two parts, each divided in three scenes. The first part takes place in the drawing room, after tea, an afternoon in late March. The first scene is used as an introduction of the persons Amy, Ivy, Violet, Agatha, Gerald, Charles, Mary and Denman. They are talking about tonight, when a dinner is being held with the entire family. They are also talking about Harry, whom they haven't seen for eight years. Before those years, something terrible had happened to Harry's wife and he thinks he is to blame. His wife was swept off the deck of a boat. Because harry thinks he has thrown her overboard, his family thinks he is not sane. But know, eight years later, Harry is the only one who acts sane about it, his aunts Ivy, Violet and Agatha are the ones who are making a fuss out of it. And that upsets Harry. When the others notice Harry sees 'persons' that they don't see, they really begin to think Harry's gone crazy. It appears that these ghosts are from his deceased wife, and he is haunted by them, at least he thinks he is. Scene two describes a conversation between Harry and Mary, they talk about their youth and Harry sees the ghosts again. Mary doesn't see them and she feels sorry for him. Scene three tells that everyone is preparing for dinner and that the guests are worried about John and Arthur, who haven't arrived yet. Part two takes place in the library, after dinner. In scene one Dr. Warburton has a conversation with Harry, at advice of Harry's uncles and aunts. It's about Harry's mother, Warburton explains that Harry's mother gets her strength to live from her determination of keeping the family together, and that she is very feeble at the moment. Then Sergeant Winchell appears with the message that John has had an accident, but that it is nothing serious, just a concussion. Later on, it appears that Arthur has also had an accident. In scene two Harry asks Agatha for the truth behind his parents and she is strong enough to tell him. She tells Harry that his father was going to kill his mother while she was pregnant of him. Agatha stopped Harry's father just in time. When she is finished telling she sighs with relief and says that Harry is now the one who has to carry the burden.
Scene three describes an argument between Amy and Agatha, Amy is very angry with Agatha for taking away her son, saying she first took her husband and now her son. Agatha explains that it was inevitable and that they have to start their lives over again and leave the past behind them. Harry realises he has to follow the ghosts and that they will lead him. I'm not sure, but I think Amy dies at the end because she can take no more. That is when Ivy says: "I shall have to stay till after the funeral: will my ticket to London still be valid?" The play ends with Agatha, saying that the knot is unknotted, the cross is uncrossed and the crooked is made straight as a conclusion of what she said before:
"The eye is on this house
The eye covers it
There are three together
May the three be separated
May the knot that was tied
May the crossed bones
In the filled-up well
Be at last straightened
May the weasel and the otter
Be about their proper business
The eye of the day time
And the eye of the night time
Be diverted from this house
Till the knot is unknotted
The cross is uncrossed
And the crooked is made straight."
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