The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by

Ann Shaffer

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Part 1: 4 Mar, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Clovis Fossey writes to Juliet. He says that at first, he didn't want to go to Society meetings. Then, he started courting the Widow Hubert and noticed that she accepted another man's advances. That man would brag about using poetry to woo women, so Clovis decided to find poems to woo the Widow Hubert. He found a book of poetry by a Roman named Catullus. Clovis found Catullus's poems horrid since most of them were mean to women. Eben eventually gave Clovis poems by Wilfred Owen, who fought in World War One. Clovis also fought in that war and found the poems very moving. Eventually, Clovis successfully wooed the Widow Hubert and now, she's his wife.
Clovis's experience with literature and the Society shows that the power of literature to bring people together doesn't just stop at friendship; it can actually give a person the tools they need to convince another person to marry them. Further, Clovis also insists that Wilfred Owen's poems in particular gave him the language to describe his experience of the war, which shows that literature can also help a person make sense of their world.
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Clovis includes a postscript about a book that Amelia lent him, The Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892-1935. Yeats selected the included poems and deliberately chose to exclude poems from World War One; he felt those poems were about "passive suffering." Clovis finds this outrageous.
The outrage that Clovis feels stems from his recognition that by excluding World War One poems, the book is shutting out  a number of potential readers who may have connected with those poems, thereby depriving them of the power of literature.
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