In The Purple Children by Ellis Peters, why does the boy enter the courtyard?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Ellis Peters is the "pen name" of Edith Pargeter. As Peters, she wrote mostly detective fiction and used other names for other genres. The Brother Medieval Mysteries is probably her best-known in this category and was made into a TV series, The Brother Cadfael Chronicles. Influenced by her own involvement in the Second World War as a WREN (Women's Royal Navy Service), Pargeter also wrote historical novels and, after a visit to Czechoslovakia, Pargeter translated Czech poetry and prose.

Edith Pargeter's short stories include The Purple Children which is about the British occupation of Cyprus. A young eighteen-year-old British sentry is on duty one evening and is he startled from a sleepy state by a local girl of about fifteen. He overhears her calling her cat and urges her to return home due to the curfew imposed on the town. She insists that she must find her cat because it runs away; her cat cannot be told to observe the curfew. 

The girl pleads with the sentry, certain she can find her cat if he will just let her through the gate. He is aware that she is close to tears and considers his "orders," thinking that he must treat the "natives politely," especially as the locals blatantly show their hatred. He decides that this "waif" could not possibly pose a threat and, although he doesn't intend to, he opens the gate and lets her through, staying close to her. Turning his back on the gate he is supposed to be protecting, he follows her. When he sees the cat, he is relieved but it takes a further ten minutes before they can corner it and catch it. She thanks him and almost immediately the girl's real purpose is revealed as a boy jumps down from the flagpole and he and the girl run away, leaving the sentry boy in the courtyard and a commotion around him because he fired his paintball gun to stop the "fugitives." The children have replaced the British flag with their own. 

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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The boy entered the courtyard so he could raise their flag as a sign of rebellion against the British (Cyprus, a British colony, was mounting a rebellion against Great Britain in order to unite with Greece). The boy managed to do this and coiled barbed wire around the flagstaff to make it harder to remove the flag.

“I need hardly tell you why I’m here… No doubt you’ve already seen the flag over Town Hall” The British major says to the headmaster of the school where the girl and boy study.

The boy was able to make his way into the courtyard after the sentry guarding that side of the wall got distracted. The sentry heard a little girl approach the gate while calling out to her cat. He approached the gate to talk to the girl who informed him that she had lost her cat and she suspected the cat made its way into the courtyard. Although her story was just a plot, she was able to convince the sentry to let her in and look for the cat which she did with the sentry’s help. All this was a distraction to provide time for the boy who was the girl’s partner to make his way into the courtyard.

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sonai | eNotes Newbie

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THE MAJOR.

The Purple Children is about the British occupation of Cyprus.

The major was an experienced officer of the British army.

He had been in the country for over a year and so he was well accustomed to the local style of warfare.

He was in the bed when the boy and the girl entered into the courtyard and raised their flag.

The inexperienced sentry informed him everything with every excuse he could conceive of.

After listening the whole incident, he understood everything.

He understood that the girl went there to engage the sentry whereas the boy materialized their plan of raising the flag.

And so it was his responsibility to recover out and stop them.

He asked the sentry if he could identify the native children, but the sentry replied negatively.

He watched the purple colour  on the ground  and realized that the colour would help him to distinguish the special girl.

Then he was determined to identify them.

Since he was an experienced person he understood that the children might be from the Grammar School.

Then he set about his business from there.

Here we can notice his sense of duty, responsibility and etiquette as well.

It was easy for him to enter into the school and drag forth the particular child.

But he showed his patience.

He was punctilious in waiting in the entrance hall while the master of the school was brought.

Informing everything to the headmaster, very confidently the Major strode across the lobby with the sergeant and his men.

Though he marched in confidently but the vision of the children with marvellous unanimity made him perplex and still.

He went there to find the particular girl splashed in purple colour but he saw the whole class splattered from face to chin with the resplendent purple colour.

Actually, he experienced the hatred of the natives once more.

 He could understand that they have to leave the place almost immediately.

 Very shortly, the flag of the natives was going to be set up permanently.

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sonai | eNotes Newbie

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Cyprus or officially the Republic of Cyprus , is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus was part of the British Empire from 1914 as a Military occupation from 1914–1922 and a Crown colony from 1922–1960 to when it became independent in 1960. Ellis Peters or Edith Pargeter was involved in the Second World War as a WREN(Women's Royal Navy Service).

The Purple Children is about the British occupation of Cyprus.

The word ‘partisans’ means the members of a group that has called for armed resistance against invading enemy forces.

The native boy and the girl were the partisans in this story.

They entered the courtyard so they could raise their flag as a sign of rebellion against the British.

 The Girl engaged the sentry to find the cat, whereas the boy managed to raise the flag.

The boy was able to make his way into the courtyard after the sentry guarding that side of the wall, got distracted. The sentry heard a little girl near the gate while calling out to her cat. He approached the gate to talk to the girl who informed him that she had lost her cat and she suspected the cat made its way into the courtyard. Although her story was just a plot, she was able to convince the sentry to let her in and look for the cat which she did with the sentry’s help. All this was a distraction to provide time for the boy who was the girl’s partner to make his way into the courtyard. The sentry realized everything when he heard the sound of the jump.

Straight off the girl's real purpose was discovered as a boy jumps down from the flagpole and he and the girl ran off, leaving the sentry boy in the court and a commotion around him because he forced out his paintball gun to break the "fugitives." The children had replaced the British flag with their own. Ultimately the fugitives disappeared into the dark street.

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