Summary of events in the chapter
* Charlotte travels to Levade’s house (Julien’s father) in the disguised form of Dominique Guilbert.
* Charlotte agrees to work for Levade in order to secure a room. She learns of his lifestyle which is irregular and uncommon.
* Charlotte visits Andre and Jacob at the Cariteaus’ house where she begins to tell ancient Greek legends. However, Jacob keeps interrupting her to question about his parents. Charlotte struggles to tell them (as they have been sent to a concentration camp) and Sylvie notices this so she requests her to leave.
* Julien informs Charlotte of Mirabel’s urgent message and this causes Charlotte to regain hope that Peter may still be alive.
Thematic connections and distinctions
* A sense of purpose /selfishness is prevalent in both “Charlotte Gray” and in “Flare Path” as both Peter and Charlotte want to obtain a room for a reason. Although, in “Flare Path” the purpose is not as clear and it only becomes clear once the reader has read on. Both have the love to be the reason because Charlotte wants to find Peter from the house (“It was from this house that she would find Gregory”) whilst in “Flare Path” Peter wants to convince Patricia to leave the house with him.
* The theme of love is present in “Flare Path” as it carries positive connotations and during WWI times Rattigan was writing for an audience during WWII, so he didn’t want his audience to dwell on the war instead notice that there are still noble beliefs of love during times of war. Similarly, in “Charlotte Gray” as it is written much later, the theme of love is used to depict that love overcomes everything. A concept that was commonly used as it enticed the modern audience and caused them to read more. *Contextual point- Movies such as Beauty and the Beast (1991) showing that love conquered all.
* The theme of dependence is also present because Charlotte and Peter both get assisted in obtaining a room. Peter is denied from getting a room but as he is seen to be a “friend” of the Countess. Shown by “Mrs Oakes, do try and fix him up if you can” Similarly Levade is aware of Charlotte due to Julien informing him about Charlotte (“He’s spoken to me about you”) and as Julien is attracted to Charlotte it can be inferred that all the information was positive.
* Peter Kyle is seen to be disrespectful due to him being an actor as he deems himself to be better than others. This is shown by “and asking for a room.// and not getting it” as well as “God, what a –” showing lack of respect towards Mrs Oakes. In contrast, Charlotte tries to compose herself and agrees with all of Levade’s views in order to make sure she is offered a room. Her control of her behaviour is seen by the fact that she didn’t want to live with him (“she did not want to live in the same place as this man”) yet she tried her best to appease him. (“I could be as quiet as you like”, “Whatever’s convenient”)
Public taste and context
* Both Peter and Charlotte carry a very selfish purpose as Peter is willing to break up a marriage just to get Patricia to come with him. Charlotte is also very selfish as she is willing to jeopardise a mission and abandon others to find Peter in France. Her selfishness is seen as she constantly lies to Levade about reasons of staying at his house. The fact that she can be so selfish reflects on the audience as its much later hence the feelings towards war have died down. However, in “Flare Path” Peter leaves without telling Teddy to show a loss in selfishness and this could perhaps be due to the fact that in the WW2 the context the audience had to care about others and pull together.
* The theme of dependence is present perhaps just to further the adventure of the characters as it would be absurd if Charlotte secured a room by just turning up. However, in “Flare Path” the help from Doris can be seen as significant to show to WW2 audience about the idea of equality and that no one is superior in times of war. This is seen as Peter Kyle is denied the room despite Mrs Oakes knowing about his successes and him offering to get a bigger room. He only gets the room due to being “friends” with Doris hence showing to the audience about the importance of basic qualities such as friendship in times of war.
* The idea of Peter Kyle’s ignorance causes the audience to dislike him as he disrespects someone who is unbiased and unmoved during times of war despite getting the chance to make more money. The common dislike unites the audience and causes them to think alike which was needed during WW2 times. However, Charlotte’s respect to get the room can be interpreted by the audience as desperation and gain a stronger liking towards her resilience in finding her lover.
Development of Drama
* The scene begins with Charlotte being in Levade’s house trying to get a room to stay. She is being questioned by Levade about a variety and it initially seems that she cannot get the room as she can cook “simple things” and she fails to keep up with politics. It creates a very tense atmosphere as the audience is aware of the importance of the room to Charlotte and the fact that she may not get it creates a possibility of an important turning point in the novel.
* This is further accentuated by Charlotte constantly “nodd[ing]”and agreeing with Levade portrays her to be at mercy and the tension increases.
* The atmosphere begins to change from there onwards because Levade offers her the room and allows her to stay. Moreover, he accepts her cooking as seen by “when you’ve made dinner”. Also, as Julien enters the house the atmosphere relaxes because he cares about Charlotte.
* Peter Kyle stands for ignorance, selfishness and disrespect i.e the exact opposite of the ideal war hero in WW2 context. The audience see him to be unpatriotic and only be concerned about his own purpose. Also, the fact that he is being disrespectful to Mrs Oakes (someone who stands for a true patriotic woman in the WW2 context) emphasises to the audience about the personality of someone who is disliked during WW2.
* Charlotte stands for a strong female character that every woman should aspire to be as she believes in her morals and rights. In context of the 1990’s there was a huge gender equality shift as women were gaining more power in society and hence Charlotte stood for everything that women should be.
* Doris and Julien have a minor role in the scene and they stand for characters who aid the main/ important protagonists. Perhaps portraying the idea of helping others. Moreover, both of them also stand for love as Julien is attracted to Charlotte whilst Doris is “attracted” to Peter Kyle showing that love is possible in the WW2 context.