The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by

Ann Shaffer

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society can help.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Part 2: 11 Aug, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Juliet tells Sidney that Stephens & Stark will very soon be the most famous publisher in the West. Last night, Isola's goat ate her notes, so she read letters that a man had written to her Granny Pheen instead. Supposedly, when Granny Pheen was a young girl, her father had drowned her cat. Pheen had been crying by the roadside when a carriage almost ran her over. The passenger, a big man with a fur collar, jumped out and offered to help Pheen. She explained that her father had drowned her cat. The man insisted the cat wasn't dead; cats have nine lives and Pheen's had six left. He said he had a gift for knowing these things, and he "visited" with the cat. He told Pheen that the cat was being born in a castle in France.
The story of Granny Pheen explores the power of oral stories to help someone deal with their tragedies, as this man's story helps Pheen stop crying. The fact that Pheen's father drowned her cat in the first place offers another example of a time when blood family doesn't actually behaving in a kind or caring way—in this case, blood family actually has the power to traumatize a family member.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
Granny Pheen was so entranced she forgot to cry. The man helped Pheen up and promised to check in periodically on her cat in its new life. He took down Pheen's address and left. Over the next year, Granny Pheen received eight letters about her cat's life as a French cat. The story told in the letters was magnificent. After Isola finished reading the letters, Juliet asked to look at them and noticed that they were signed, "O. F. O'F. W. W."—possibly, Oscar Final O'Flahertie Wills Wilde himself.
By then moving the man's verbal story to written letters, it brings the novel's exploration of the power of stories full circle: in this case, this story didn't just help Granny Pheen recover from the death of her cat, if the author is indeed Oscar Wilde, it'll mean that Isola can also benefit from Wilde's kindness to her grandmother.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon