Ginger's age

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Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 12 Apr 2014, 12:10

Please could anyone tell me why we are all so concerned with Ginger's age? It has bothered me for years - even as a child I used to keep trying to work it out. We know he was a good deal younger than Biggles and therefore less experienced and it made sense for him to be Biggles' protégé but in the later books it really did not matter at all and yet a lot of us seem to feel the same way that we want him to be young or we feel WEJ always wanted him to be young.

Of course he would always be younger than Biggles at whatever age Biggles reached. WEJ does vary on this in some books he does not mention Ginger's age at all and sometimes Ginger does come up with a good plan or make a big contribution to the story but in other books he is portrayed as being very young and inexperienced.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 12 Apr 2014, 14:46

Then it's not about his age but about his behaviour and how it's portrayed.
He was so feisty in that first book, pitching straight in, he'd even shot a couple of people by the end. Where did it all change?
If he'd been the silent type and hadn't revealed his inner dialogue he'd have seemed quite different. There's a missing part to it all I can't put my finger on, a sense of being short changed. What would he have to have done to have achieved equal status?

KK's little extracts are doing a lot to flesh him out.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 12 Apr 2014, 16:37

Thanks TS! I'm flattered.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 12 Apr 2014, 18:13

Some of Ginger's "pizzazz" gets mellowed by his time with Biggles. Biggles snaps at him when he makes funny or sarcastic comments so as a result, he makes them less and less as time goes on. Later on, when he's snarky, Biggles just flat out ignores him.

In my opinion, because their friendship/partnership starts off with such a difference in age, ability, income, class, etc., Biggles will never see Ginger as an equal in the same way that he sees Algy as one. Ginger will always be the junior member of the team, even if he moves up from being "the kid".
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tracer » 12 Apr 2014, 18:45

Rather like the way we are always children as far as our parents are concerned.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 12 Apr 2014, 19:10

Tracer wrote:Rather like the way we are always children as far as our parents are concerned.

Exactly
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Lacey_266 » 12 Apr 2014, 19:58

I would say he was about 15 or 16 when Bigles found him. Then, during WW2, (5-6 years later) he would be 20 or so.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 12 Apr 2014, 20:10

So would Ginger still seem childlike if he had independent means?
Is his child like status out of dependency for a job etc.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 13 Apr 2014, 03:47

Lacey_266 wrote:I would say he was about 15 or 16 when Bigles found him. Then, during WW2, (5-6 years later) he would be 20 or so.


Yes, I think this was the general consensus in the threads below [20 yrs old in 1939, i.e. if Ginger was born in 1919 & approx. 15 yrs old in Black Peril, which was set in 1934]:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=710&p=11909&hilit=age#p11909

And some more discussion here about his age:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=689&p=12127&hilit=age#p12127
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 13 Apr 2014, 08:06

I think WEJ kept telling us Ginger's most innermost thoughts in quite a "young" way to engage his readers. After all each new generation of Biggles readers would have been comparatively young boys. The idea works extremely well when the readers are young and not perhaps too interested in timelines but to older readers it seems a bit strange.

If you start life as a very loving, caring, affectionate person putting other people's lives and well being above your own at what point do you have to change? I think if Ginger always wanted to protect his hero - which he did - he would have been a very loving caring husband and father when he was older although I have to admit never, ever sexy.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 13 Apr 2014, 08:20

I really think I have found the answer to the question of Ginger's age. It only took me 50 years to think of it :shock: I think if WEJ did not want to introduce another really young character he had to keep Ginger young for his new readers and towards the end his target readers were even younger than when he first started writing which explains why Ginger seemed younger in the much later books than he did in 1935.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 13 Apr 2014, 09:54

I think you are right, and after all they are a lovely mix of personalities, why spoil it.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 13 Apr 2014, 12:38

That is true. It is the same with a lot of children's books which were written over a period of years - how long was Billly Bunter in the same form at school? He never grew up or even went on to the next form.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 15 Apr 2014, 08:18

Billy Bunter was in the same form from 1908-1961. I'm only glad my school days didn't last that long
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 15 Apr 2014, 08:47

elderlyfemalerelativ wrote:Billy Bunter was in the same form from 1908-1961. I'm only glad my school days didn't last that long EFR


Good grief! :lol: I don't watch the TV programme the Simpsons [& never have], but apparently none of them have aged for 25 yrs since it started in 1989.

[Reminds me of the old joke: "Grade 4 was the best 10 yrs of my life"...Boom Boom! Or words to that effect, lol].
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 15 Apr 2014, 11:11

Mind you, I spent time in school that felt like 50 years. Hot Tuesday afternoons with the French mistress droning on. Bitterly cold hockey lessons. Swimming. yuck, the soggy sock syndrome after you'd dropped one in the puddles round your feet.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Apr 2014, 11:19

Tommy Smith wrote:So would Ginger still seem childlike if he had independent means?
Is his child like status out of dependency for a job etc.


In "Biggles in Spain" he says something about his two friends and then hedges it with "one of them is my boss really" or words to that effect.

Not only did Ginger depend on Biggles for a job/income, but also for a place to live. If Biggles had actually fired him, as he threatened in "& Co." (although of course we know he wasn't serious), Ginger would have been truly screwed.

There's never any chance for Ginger to say something like "I've just got a job offer from this other company and they promise a regular paycheck with proper benefits, so .... see ya."

Plus, there is no chance of promotion unless someone dies, which of course they don't. Ever. They're still here, right... right?
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 15 Apr 2014, 11:40

Is there a 'you're here because of our charity' thing attached to Ginger? But, if you were lucky enough to fall in with such an uncommonly decent bunch of chaps you would be counting your blessings.

Course they're still here, and more solid and reliable than a lot of people.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 15 Apr 2014, 11:52

What about PAYE? What about pensions? What about the NHS? Especially around the later books it would be very difficult to live and have no official standing/paper trail.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Kismet » 15 Apr 2014, 11:56

kylie_koyote wrote:
Tommy Smith wrote:So would Ginger still seem childlike if he had independent means?
Is his child like status out of dependency for a job etc.


In "Biggles in Spain" he says something about his two friends and then hedges it with "one of them is my boss really" or words to that effect.

Not only did Ginger depend on Biggles for a job/income, but also for a place to live. If Biggles had actually fired him, as he threatened in "& Co." (although of course we know he wasn't serious), Ginger would have been truly screwed.

There's never any chance for Ginger to say something like "I've just got a job offer from this other company and they promise a regular paycheck with proper benefits, so .... see ya."

Plus, there is no chance of promotion unless someone dies, which of course they don't. Ever. They're still here, right... right?


I think Ginger was perfectly capable of getting another job if he wanted, but why would he leave the best job ever? What else could have matched up to what he did with Biggles and Algy? He does have some ambition - he tells Biggles he'd like to run the squadron in in Borneo.At the end of the day, he decided that he'd rather remain the junior member of the team than branch out on his own.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 15 Apr 2014, 12:02

They would all have paid Tax and NI contributions etc. etc. in the Forces and the Air Police. I do not think they would have worried overmuch about such things before WWII when they were much younger. We must not forget just how many times Ginger used his own initiative in the interwar books to save Biggles and Algy when they were captured or how often he came up with a good plan or suggestion or just spotted something going on. In Black Peril Biggles called Ginger a genius and although he never reached the same heights again in any of the other books he certainly paid for his keep many, many times over. Apart from anything else he patched up all the bullet holes in the machine.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tracer » 15 Apr 2014, 16:59

It's a good job they were all employed by the Service and so tax, NI etc. was done for them, otherwise Biggles' tax returns would have been highly amusing! :lol:
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Kismet » 15 Apr 2014, 17:07

Tracer wrote:It's a good job they were all employed by the Service and so tax, NI etc. was done for them, otherwise Biggles' tax returns would have been highly amusing! :lol:


I'd like to see his expenses claims.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Apr 2014, 17:11

Kismet wrote:
Tracer wrote:It's a good job they were all employed by the Service and so tax, NI etc. was done for them, otherwise Biggles' tax returns would have been highly amusing! :lol:


I'd like to see his expenses claims.


I love how at the end of "in Spain" he says the govt has agreed to pay their out of pocket expenses. Did they save their receipts? Did Ginger get paid for his legionnaires service? Lol.

Then biggles gets in touch with his bank and buys everyone new clothes. For some reason this strikes me as funny.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 15 Apr 2014, 17:11

Kismet wrote:I think Ginger was perfectly capable of getting another job if he wanted, but why would he leave the best job ever? What else could have matched up to what he did with Biggles and Algy? He does have some ambition - he tells Biggles he'd like to run the squadron in in Borneo.At the end of the day, he decided that he'd rather remain the junior member of the team than branch out on his own.

D'you think he'd have made a good squadron leader?
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Apr 2014, 17:14

Tommy Smith wrote:
Kismet wrote:I think Ginger was perfectly capable of getting another job if he wanted, but why would he leave the best job ever? What else could have matched up to what he did with Biggles and Algy? He does have some ambition - he tells Biggles he'd like to run the squadron in in Borneo.At the end of the day, he decided that he'd rather remain the junior member of the team than branch out on his own.

D'you think he'd have made a good squadron leader?


Would people have listened to him? He tends to get dismissed by those who don't know him. At their peril of course!
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Tommy Smith » 15 Apr 2014, 17:28

Wonder why. Bit dismal if its all down to stature.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Apr 2014, 17:37

Tommy Smith wrote:Wonder why. Bit dismal if its all down to stature.


Maybe it's only in comparison to Biggles, who has such a strong personality.

Or the fact that everyone keeps calling him "lad", well into adulthood.

He's still "lad" and "young man" in "Dark Intruder", which is quite a late one. Oh, and let's not forget that he can still pass as a "smart young woman" in "Nobel Lord".
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Kismet » 15 Apr 2014, 18:10

kylie_koyote wrote:
Tommy Smith wrote:Wonder why. Bit dismal if its all down to stature.


Maybe it's only in comparison to Biggles, who has such a strong personality.

Or the fact that everyone keeps calling him "lad", well into adulthood.

He's still "lad" and "young man" in "Dark Intruder", which is quite a late one. Oh, and let's not forget that he can still pass as a "smart young woman" in "Nobel Lord".


I expect he would have been capable once he got used to being the one making the decisions and not being Biggles' gofer, just lacking Biggles's unorthodox brilliance.
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Re: Ginger's age

Postby Inactive User 171 » 16 Apr 2014, 08:10

I think WEJ had a lot of trouble with Ginger's character as the books progressed. The longer he wrote the younger his target readers became and so he made Ginger a younger, weaker character in the later books. Towards the end of the series there was no indication whatsoever that Ginger had been a fighter pilot during the whole of WWII in fact in Noble Lord the baddie had no difficulty in spotting Ginger and Bertie following him when in earlier books they would both have known how to keep in his blind spot. In the early Air Police books Ginger sees a great deal of the action.
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