Poll

What did you think of The House on the Cliff?

5 stars - great
1 (33.3%)
4 stars - good
2 (66.7%)
3 stars - average
0 (0%)
2 stars - below average
0 (0%)
1 star - horrible
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Voting closed: July 19, 2010, 11:42:48 PM

Author Topic: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff  (Read 9717 times)

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Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2010, 10:58:35 PM »
That's how I feel about Brother Against Brother. The ending gets some criticism but I love it!!!!

As for TOTC, it's the 2nd one ever....so it could never be the best unless Dixon writers wanted to go downhill from there. Luckily, it was only uphill.

However, some writers were better than others....for sure. EX: UBs.
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)

Offline MacGyver

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2010, 01:34:48 AM »
I still don't understand the criticism about the ending to "Brother against Brother"- I suppose some readers were expecting an emotional outrush when Frank and Joe reunite and Joe regains his memory- but honestly, they did have a reconnecting scene and the readers' emotional strengths had just about been spent through all the build up throughout the book. There was still action going on in this reuniting scene and the Hardys being the professionals they are had to jump back to the situation at hand. This was the falling action at this point and after that comes the resolution. I personally think "Brother Against Brother" was very well written all throughout and I love it! I enjoy all of The Hardy Boys books to some degree at least- (although I certainly prefer the Originals, Digests and Casefiles and even the graphic novels to the UnderCover Brothers)- but all the Casefiles have been good with me. And this one is one of my top favorites.
    And to get back to the original topic- "The House on the Cliff" is quite incredible. The plot certainly has been pretty fast-moving in the original text version that I'm reading. (The storm scene at the Polucca house makes me think of "The House on Possessed Hill" episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries". Or at least makes me want to watch it. I love those kinds of episodes with the dark and stormy night settings! :D 8))
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2010, 02:26:20 AM »
And to get back to the original topic- "The House on the Cliff" is quite incredible. The plot certainly has been pretty fast-moving in the original text version that I'm reading. (The storm scene at the Polucca house makes me think of "The House on Possessed Hill" episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries". Or at least makes me want to watch it. I love those kinds of episodes with the dark and stormy night settings! :D 8))

Yeah, this story has very film noir feel to it in some ways.

Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2010, 11:34:05 AM »
MacGyver, I don't get the whole criticism for BAB either. I never thought the ending was a problem. Frank and Joe were never really that affectionate or emotional in the canons. A lot of ppl write them in fan fic as having more angst but it's not like that with the canons. However, I still love the story and thought the boys handled the situation well. They were a little preoccupied with living and getting out of the bad situation. Not a lot of time for hugging and etc.

Yeah, this story has very film noir feel to it in some ways.

I'm not very familiar with film noirs but I at least know of them. I get why you would think that. :)
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)

Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2010, 04:37:25 PM »
MacGyver, I don't get the whole criticism for BAB either. I never thought the ending was a problem. Frank and Joe were never really that affectionate or emotional in the canons. A lot of ppl write them in fan fic as having more angst but it's not like that with the canons. However, I still love the story and thought the boys handled the situation well. They were a little preoccupied with living and getting out of the bad situation. Not a lot of time for hugging and etc.

It's not so much the lack of emotion, it's how easily Joe recovered. Losing your memory's a big a thing, and it wasn't even mentioned in the next book. They should have treated it like Iola's death.

I'm not very familiar with film noirs but I at least know of them. I get why you would think that. :)

I'm a big fan of film noir and hardboiled detective stores.

Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2010, 01:47:01 PM »


It's not so much the lack of emotion, it's how easily Joe recovered. Losing your memory's a big a thing, and it wasn't even mentioned in the next book. They should have treated it like Iola's death.

I'm a big fan of film noir and hardboiled detective stores.

Well the kind of amnesia Joe had is actually quite rare. So using it in a book with less than 200 pages, is hard enough. It's even harder to explain how he regained his memory so quickly. Keeping in mind that these books were meant for young adults and/or children, they overlooked that part. I never thought it was a problem but I can see why it would be questioned. In fact, I hope to write my own fan fic with a similar idea but with a twist. I choose not to worry about the logistics too much. It's all for fun. :)

That's cool that you're a big fan of those! :)
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)

Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2010, 03:33:22 PM »
Joe Hardy: "He may have been-"
Frank Hardy: "He may have been murdered. And we're going to find out about it."

This is another quote I liked from The House on the Cliff. Frank and Joe are talking about Fenton and I think it sums-up some of the differences between them pretty well. Joe the eternal optimist. Frank the realist.

Offline MacGyver

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2010, 08:46:31 PM »
For the record, I finally did finish "The House on the Cliff" (the original text) and it was quite good! I do have to say though- I can definitely see where people would complain about racial stereotypes. I don't think the characterization of Li Chang was a big thing, though some people would get upset over the "Chinaman" phrase. He's a man from China- it works. Of course, of much more concern than this was the phrase Frank uses on page 77. Whoa! I had never heard that phrase before though I can figure out the meaning from the context. For those wondering, yes- he used the "n-word" in referring to black people. I have never used that word and never would condone that- but at the same time, I also know that it was used by a lot of people in society in 1927. It doesn't mean it's right, but it is what was accepted then. I think Frank's phrase was supposed to be referring to a runaway slave or perhaps a perception that a black man might be likely to attack or rob him in a dark alley, which honestly isn't far removed from some people's racial stereotypes today.
   So though I know I would never see Frank or Joe saying that word today in any context, I'm also trying to remember that Frank was probably repeating a popular phrase he had heard from others, but it still doesn't excuse it.
Well, I'm sure this is a major reason (alongside the stated reason of updating to modern police technology and such) that the books were revised in 1959. And it is nice to note to The Hardy Boys' credit that they were good friends with Tony Prito, son of Italian immigrants (which this book states pretty clearly) as well as Phil Cohen, who I understand is later identified as Jewish. So they do know and are friends with people of different backgrounds. And much later in the Digests, The Hardy Boys gain a recurring friend in Jamal Hawkins, who's probably the only recurring black character I can think of offhand. (I assume he's meant to be black in any case, given the illustration from "The Hypersonic Secret" and "Slam Dunk Sabotage". The name is a clue too, but I can't necessarily assume that he must be black just because "Jamal" seems to be a stereotypical "black" name.)
      And The Hardy Boys cartoon is the first cartoon to have a regular black main character in Pete Jones, so especially for 1969, that's a nice feat too. At least there's some feeling of redemption there.
          But aside from these things, the pacing was definitely quick and the plot certainly had a number of cliff-hangers that really kept you interested. I was quite excited to finish this book (probably because I was getting frustrated at not having enough time to read it often along the way).
        I also wonder though- I don't think the note that Fenton supposedly sent his family was ever really cleared up. Did he send it or not? I'm guessing the gang sent it, but I suppose it doesn't really matter honestly.
Snackley is also an interesting name for a villian or for anyone for that matter. And I liked the twist at the end about Jones (actually Yates) being one of the smugglers and threatening to go to the police. Yeah, it may not seem probable to readers today (or maybe even back then really) that either Yates or Fenton would've been kept alive that long (and in Fenton's case, much less allowed to be freed if he signed a paper saying he wouldn't go to the cops)- but it does say something about Fenton's integrity. It's nice to see someone of such strong principles portrayed. But I think there also may have been a stronger concern at that time at what level of violence children were allowed to see.
I also thought the passageways underneath the cliff leading up to the house was great! I love that kind of stuff- reminds me a bit of Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five" (which I also love reading 8)).
I also find it funny that Redhead Blount's first name apparently actually was Redhead- at least he's referred to as such. But I assume that's a nickname.
Oh yes- and I find myself highly skeptical of Chet's handspring on page 211. LOL! ;D
(Considering that this is the boy who also works up to at least 3 dishes of ice cream at the victory celebration. ;))
       Overall though, "The House on the Cliff" (both original text and revised text really) is a great story. It definitely ranks as one of the best.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2010, 01:28:50 AM »
I've seen the word "Niger" used in other The Hardy Boys books ("...there's a Niger in the woodpile"), but I missed it in this one. Which page was this?

Also, I never found The Hardy Boys very racist (at least compared to other books of the era), considering the fact that the boys had, like you mention, Italian and Jewish friends. In The Tower Treasure, Tony even had an accent which some people might find racist, but, in my opinion, is realistic for kid who just moved to the US in the last few years and is new to English. Strangely enough, both Tony and Phil became more and more American (starting with Tony losing his accent), until, in later books, their ethnic backgrounds aren't even mentioned. Eventually, though, I think Tony's Italian roots were acknowledged again, but I think it was only his parents who were from Italy, not Tony, himself.

Offline MacGyver

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2010, 08:54:17 AM »
Quote
I've seen the word "Niger" used in other The Hardy Boys books ("...there's a Niger in the woodpile"), but I missed it in this one. Which page was this?
Actually, that's exactly the phrase that was used and Frank says it at the top of page 77. (that's in the Applewood reprint version anyway.)
At the end of the book, Tony says that the excitement he had the day he helped Frank and Joe catch the bad guys was more fun than he had had since his family moved to the US. So apparently he at least remembers some of being in Italy, unless moving to the USA is in fact his earliest memory.
 But yeah- I've never known The Hardy Boys to be racist and I don't honestly think they were meant to be portrayed that way even in this instance I quoted. I think Frank was repeating something he had heard and using a phrase that was accepted at the time, but he was using it to be illustrative and was not necessarily trying to be racist (although the word itself would certainly be considered racist today.)
   But it certainly wasn't just The Hardy Boys that used this word in books of that era... Pretty sure I've seen it in other books- "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain and "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
(and in all three of these I can generally understand the reason it would be used, but I still don't like seeing it. But it is what it is...)
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2010, 02:05:29 PM »
That is heartbreaking to have that word associated with something I love so much. AND it was Frank who said it? Even more heartbreaking.

It's obviously been changed since then because I never saw it in the newer version I read.

I realize that it was a "sign of the times" but still... Wholesome Hardys used that word?!

So glad they don't anymore.
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)

Offline MacGyver

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2010, 05:42:54 PM »
It's funny that the word was originally derived from the Latin "niger", which means black. Also, in Spanish, "negro" means black.
But regardless of its origins, the word is definitely offensive and I'm glad the 1959 revisions cleaned that junk out. I wish it wasn't such a commonplace phrase in 1927 that Leslie McFarlane would've even thought it would be okay for The Hardy Boys to be using such words. But it's important to remember history and understand what America really was like then- and try to learn from it and be better for it now.
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2010, 11:12:15 PM »
I don't think moving to the US is Tony's earliest memory since, like I said, Tony had an accent in the first book.

That is heartbreaking to have that word associated with something I love so much. AND it was Frank who said it? Even more heartbreaking.

It's obviously been changed since then because I never saw it in the newer version I read.

I realize that it was a "sign of the times" but still... Wholesome Hardys used that word?!

So glad they don't anymore.

It doesn't really bother me. At all. This book was published in 1927. If this book was published last year, I'd be upset, but this is how everybody talked in the 1920s. We've talked about the language of The Hardy Boys series being outdated before, such as the use of "gay", and this is just another example.

Offline MacGyver

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2010, 09:05:26 AM »
True, but with the usage of "gay", that word does still mean "happy". (As in The Flinstones' theme song wherein "we'll have a gay old time!") But the word is just not commonly used with that meaning anymore. That usage is more of an unintentional thing where the writers could not possibly know that the word would come to have a very different meaning.
(Like how "fanny" has a quite different meaning in British slang than when Enid Blyton was using it as one of the character's names in her "Famous Five" series of books back in 1942. And modern reprints now actually change the character's name to Frances or Franny because of this.)
     Since it first gained common usage, "nigger" has always meant the same thing and it's always been derogatory. Unfortunately, that is how some people talked then and so I can accept it as a reflection of the historical times, but I still don't like it.

(And hey- just noticed this was my 777th. post! Seven being the number of perfection and/or completion and 3 being the number of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit)- that's pretty awesome! Stryper used to hang this number as a banner sometimes at their shows and I know they've used it in their albums and such. 8))
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 03:45:18 PM by MacGyver »
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
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Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2010, 03:48:27 PM »

     Since it first gained common usage, "nigger" has always meant the same thing and it's always been derogatory. Unfortunately, that is how some people talked then and so I can accept it as a reflection of the historical times, but I still don't like it.


Agreed. Spencer, I see where you're coming from totally. However, since MacGyver pointed out that it has always been a nasty word...it still upsets me that it was written in a children's book.

But then again slavery and other inhumane events still bother me. I really don't have a right to be so offended by certain things, as they are not part of my personal ancestry.  In general, I  can get passionate about human rights sometimes.

It might make for an interesting debate, but I am glad it was taken out and changed from the original text.
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)