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 2: Detection Notes Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Isola writes that this notebook is from Sidney. She's going to write only facts in it as she observes the people around her. Today, she observed that Kit loves Juliet and no longer makes faces behind people's backs. Sidney is coming to visit and will stay with Juliet. Daphne Post dug a hole under a tree in the dark, looking for her silver teapot. Isola thinks they should just buy Daphne a teapot so she can stay home.
Though Isola writes down "facts," she doesn't analyze them at all. This suggests that she believes the facts themselves will be all she needs. She shows how kind and caring she is when she writes that they should buy Daphne a teapot; this indicates that Daphne is a valued community member.
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For the next few days, Isola notices nothing. On Thursday, Remy comes to visit with a letter from the French government. Isola makes a note to find out what the government wants; this is the fourth letter they've sent Remy. Isola observed that there was something going on in the market, but she figures it's nothing. She has decided that she's going to look at things like artists do: they don't look directly at what they're trying to draw and instead look at things sideways.
As Isola begins to ask questions about what she observes, she only asks one-sided questions (i.e., she doesn't wonder what Remy might want with the French government). By not asking all of these questions, Isola cuts off some possible avenues that might help her come to conclusions and better embody Miss Marple.
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On Friday, Isola tests her idea to look at things sideways. She accompanied Dawsey, Juliet, and Remy to fetch Sidney from the airfield. She observed that Dawsey shook Sidney's hand but refused to stay for cake. On Saturday, Remy, Kit, and Juliet came with Isola to gather firewood. Sidney and Dawsey are polite but Dawsey seems to stare strangely at Sidney. Then, Isola noticed Eben patting Remy on the shoulder. This is strange. When Juliet and Sidney walked with Kit and lifted her up between them, Dawsey watched them and then stood looking at the water. Isola thinks that Dawsey seems to suddenly be bothered by being lonely. She wonders why.
As an outside observer who's aware that Juliet is in love with Dawsey, it's easier to see that Isola's sense that he's unhappy being lonely is because he reciprocates Juliet's feelings. It's also easier to see that Dawsey likely doesn't know that Sidney is gay and guess that he sees Sidney as a rival. Notably, Isola only sees Remy's sadness; she hasn't observed any sadness from Juliet. This suggests that Isola may come to questionable conclusions.
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On Saturday night, Isola records her observations from the picnic. As everyone was poking the fire, Eben made an announcement, flanked by Remy and Dawsey. Juliet went strangely rigid. Eben explained that this is to be a farewell party for Remy, who will leave for Paris next week. Everyone cheered, but Juliet flopped back into the sand. Dawsey looked sad and suddenly, Isola knew what was going on: Dawsey is in love with Remy but is too shy to say anything. Isola believes that she needs only to tell Remy this and then, things will be well.
Remy's departure to Paris explains her letters from the French government. Notice that Isola misreads things entirely: Juliet likely flops backwards in relief, and Dawsey is friends with Remy—he can be sad about her departure without being in love with her. This in particular shows that Isola believes that men and women cannot just be friends.
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Sidney then poked Juliet with his toe, asked if she felt better, and she said yes. Because of this, Isola decided to stop worrying about her. Isola decided to look for evidence of Dawsey's feelings to share with Remy and so offered to scrub Dawsey's floor on Monday. On Sunday, Isola writes and wonders what she'll find at Dawsey's house. She hopes she'll find proof and that then, Dawsey will be happy.
Because Isola decides to take Juliet's assertion that she's fine at face value, she misses out on noticing other clues that might lead her to a more correct conclusion. Isola's desire to snoop through Dawsey's things suggests that she's taking the Miss Marple embodiment very seriously and that it might have a negative impact on her relationships.
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Isola recounts what took place on Monday. She checked trees for carved hearts on her way to Dawsey's house. After two hours of cleaning, she'd found no evidence. She began to dust the books, but found no loose papers. She did find the Charles Lamb biography, which Isola thought was odd: she'd seen him put it in his treasure box. Isola went looking for the box and found it under Dawsey's bed. There were no notes from Remy. It contained a handkerchief of Juliet's, which Isola figured he meant to return. Isola admitted defeat.
The things that Isola is looking for—hearts and letters—remind the reader that Isola has learned about romance primarily through romance novels, where such things occur more often than they do in the real world. Notice how much Isola's belief about what's true colors how she interprets her findings: not considering that Dawsey might love Juliet shows that Isola isn't truly acting as Miss Marple would.
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To make herself feel better, Isola called on Juliet. Juliet invited Isola in and asked her what was wrong. Isola began to bawl that she failed and Dawsey will be unhappy. After Isola calmed down, she told Juliet about Dawsey loving Remy but finding no evidence. There were plenty of photos of Juliet and Kit, and Juliet's letters tied up in one of her hair ribbons, and Juliet's handkerchief. Juliet got up, picked up her paperweight with Carpe Diem etched on it, and said that it was an inspiring thought. Then, Juliet asked where Dawsey is—at Sir Ambrose's house—and ran for him. Isola was thrilled that Juliet was going to tell Dawsey off for not confessing his feelings for Remy.
Though Isola doesn't know it, she found the evidence that Juliet needed to know that Dawsey is in love with her. By choosing to go confront Dawsey, Juliet chooses to flout traditional gender roles, take matters into her own hands, and make the relationship happen whether Dawsey will bring it up or not. Despite Isola's wrong conclusions, her desire to care for Dawsey shows how powerful of an effect the Society's friendships have had on the members.
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Isola followed slowly and then hid herself by the library. Juliet entered the library, where Dawsey and the workmen were, and asked for a private word with Dawsey. Isola was sure that Juliet was going to tell Dawsey to propose to Remy, but instead, she proposed to Dawsey herself. Dawsey swore, said yes, and sprained his ankle falling off the ladder. Isola wonders how she could've seen everything so wrong and concludes that she just isn't as good as Miss Marple. She wonders if she should train for motorcycle races instead.
Now that Juliet has proof of Dawsey's feelings, she finally feels safe acting as an independent woman who knows what she wants. This shows that for a woman like Juliet, she can have both a career and a marriage—as long as she finds a partner like Dawsey, who will support her career and allow her her independence.
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