behind the scenes at the museum revision pack

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Behind the Scenes at the Museum Study Guide
Plot Summary
Chapter Summaries
Characters
Objects/Places
Themes
Style
Quotes
Plot Summary
The main character of this novel is Ruby Lennox. She takes the reader through her life
from conception to being married with children of her own, to having to bury her
own mother. When Ruby begins she knows all the things her mother thinks and feels
about her life. The fact that her mother's life is not as she had imagined it is not lost
on Ruby. As she grows up she can no longer tell what her mother is thinking but she
never feels like her mother loves her. She always feels like her mother and father
loved her sister Gillian more than her. Then when Gillian is eleven she is killed on
Christmas Eve when she is hit by a bus. She feels her only friend in her home is her
older sister Patricia, but when Patricia has a baby and she has to put the baby up for
adoption and then later runs away from home, Ruby is left alone with just her
mother and father. Then when Ruby catches her father having sex with a waitress at
her uncle's wedding and then he immediately has a heart attack and dies, that leaves
Ruby with only her mother. Later, Mr. Belling, her mother's new boyfriend, gets mad
at her and tells her that she killed her own twin sister, Pearl. Ruby does not even
remember having a twin, much less killing her. After seeing a doctor, Ruby finally
remembers the day that Pearl died. Gillian had been telling Pearl to walk out on the
iced over pond, and Pearl had fallen in. Gillian had told everyone that Ruby had pushed
Pearl in by accident to keep herself out of trouble for telling her to walk on the ice in
the first place. Ruby's mother had blamed Ruby for Pearl's death even though she
knew it was an accident. When Ruby graduates from high school she goes to
Scotland for a summer job but never returns home. Instead she marries a man there
so he can stay in the country and the two of them have two daughters before they
finally divorce. Ruby learns her mother is suffering from dementia and comes back to
find her a nursing home and while home her mother suffers a stroke and soon after
dies. Patricia comes home before their mother dies and the two girls finally realize
that their mother did love them and they loved her too.
This novel also has a sub plot that tells about the lives of Ruby's mother,
grandmother and great-grandmother. Ruby's great-grand mother Alice leaves her
children when they are young because she feels she cannot continue in the life she
ends up with. The subplot takes the reader though these women's lives and shows
how each of them end up in marriages that are not what they thought they would
be. They all feel trapped by their husbands and children, and all live sad unhappy lives
because of this. The affect is that all three of these women pass these feelings down
to their children. In the end Patricia and Ruby stop this cycle as they realize that their
mother did love them as best she knew how to and they are not going to make the
same mistakes with their own children.

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Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1-3 Summary
Chapter One 1951 Conception
Behind the Scenes at the Museum is a story about Ruby Lennox and her family, both
her immediate family and her grandparents and great-grandparents. It is about how
the women of this family deal with the deaths of beloved family members, betrayal
of the ones closest to them and the consequences of their own decisions that
follow them through out their lives as they try to find happiness.…read more

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Bunty tells her that this photo is of Nell's real mother, Alice,
and that the other photo is of her step mother Rachel. This is the first she has ever
heard of Alice. Bunty tells her that Alice died during child birth with Nell.
Alice Barker is Nell Cook's mother; when Nell's mother is still pregnant with her a
traveling photographer comes by their country home and wants to take pictures of
her and her six other children.…read more

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Frank comes home from the war and ends up marring Nell. By the time Nell and Frank
have their first child Lillian has already given birth to a son who she has named
Edmund. Lillian will not tell anyone the name of the baby's father, and Nell is relieved
when the baby is born and he does not look like Jack Keech, but instead he looks just
like their brother Albert. Frank and Nell always wonder if the father is not Jack Keech.…read more

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When Nell sees Edmund she faints because he looks so much like her brother Albert
that she thinks it is his ghost. Edmund tels them that his mother is fine and that she
has another son named Nathan. Lillian took Edmund to live in Canada when she left all
those years ago and that is where they have remained.…read more

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Jack, but instead looks like their brother Albert who had also recently died. Nell always
feels like Jack is probably the father of Lillian's baby. She knows that the last time Jack
is home that things are different between the two of them. Nell can also see that
there is something between Lillian and Jack. Things will never be the same between
Nell and Lillian after Jack returns to the war. Nell ends up marrying Frank Cook who is
a friend of Jack's.…read more

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Samuel dies from a seizure. Soon after Samuel dies, Ada, Alice and Fredrick's oldest
daughter, gets diphtheria and dies. Lawrence, the next to the oldest child, leaves
home two years later. One year later Fredrick dies of hypothermia when he gets too
drunk and passes out on his own porch. Rachel moves the family into town.
Chapter Five 1958 Interlude
When a customer bangs on the door of Above the Shop it wakes up the Lennox
family.…read more

Page 8

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After dinner the Lennox family goes to a
pantomime, and they all enjoy the show. After the show is over the Lennox family is
outside the theatre and George is trying to catch a taxi. Gillian sees some of her
friends from school, and she starts across the road to say hi, and Gillian is hit by a
bus. Later that night Patricia and Ruby are at home with their grandma when Bunty
and George call and tell them that Gillian has died.…read more

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George makes the girls promise not to ever mention that Doreen was
with them.
On Christmas Eve, George and Bunty tragically lose another child. Gillian is killed when
she is hit by a bus when the family is leaving the theatre. This time it is George and
Bunty who do not come home and Patricia and Ruby are left with their grandmother
Nell for the next week. Bunty is back to the same state of mind she was in after
Ruby's twin died.…read more

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Footnote (vii) Zeppelin!
Tom, Nell's brother, has just gotten married to Mabel. Tom has not been sent off to
war because his employer is a member of the Society of Friends and goes in front of
the board and tells them that he needs Tom to stay and work for him. This request
buys Tom a six-month exemption, and Tom knows after that he will probably have to
go to war.…read more

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