55 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2020
  2. icla2020b.jonreeve.com icla2020b.jonreeve.com
    1. let him have his way

      Throughout this whole scene there is a strange dynamic where Maria does whatever she's told, and even though this is a cheerful domestic scene, there's something kind of sinister brought in by that dynamic.

    2. quaint affection at the diminutive body which she had so often adorned. In spite of its years she found it a nice tidy little body.

      This is such an interesting way of describing the body of a grown woman. In some ways Maria seems obsessed with her own smallness and almost seems to consider it a virtue

    3. Then she had her plants in the conservatory and she liked looking after them. She had lovely ferns and wax-plants and, whenever anyone came to visit her, she always gave the visitor one or two slips from her conservatory.

      I feel like Maria's character thus far ties together the maternal with giving and acts of service. For example, in this section, her nurturing of the plants is directly tied to her giving little pieces of them away.

    4. hopes and visions

      Maybe I'm just interpreting the tone wrong, but to me this ending seems really hopeful compared to many of the endings in this story. Are we lead to expect that Polly and Mr. Doran's relationship will be a good one, or are we lead to expect that it will reproduce the possessive and abusive cycle we have seen thus far?

    5. get their daughters off their hands

      Again, there's the implication that daughters are to be possessed, handed from their fathers to their husbands, but in this case Mrs. Mooney is stepping into the father role. This begs the question, when do women stop being daughters? Is it when their fathers die, as Mrs.Mooney's does right before her husband become abusive?

    6. he ruined his business

      I find it odd that it's being described as his business now when we just learned that Mrs. Mooney is the one who opened the shop and who has all of the ties to it. Maybe this is a subtle way of implying that he took it from her by ruining it?

    7. It was impossible

      This line stands out to me because it seems to imply that something held Eveline back, but that it was not necessarily her own will. It reminds me of the discussion we had about paralysis in these stories.

    8. Escape! She must escape!

      I find it interesting that her mother is both the main force that makes her want to stay and the driving reason why she wants to go. In general with this story, I think that Eveline's relationship with herself and her past relationship with her mother overshadows her relationship to the men in the story, even as their actions attempt to drive it.

    9. I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity

      This is such an intense and self-chastising thought for a young boy to have in regards to his first experience with desire. I feel like this comments on a similar theme as "The Sisters" surrounding the catholic religion's attempt to demonize and regulate natural emotions and desires.

    10. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree

      An apple tree in the garden of course calls to mind the temptation of Eve, especially when this paragraph is contextualized, presumably, through the previous story "The Sisters" that dealt with a broken vow of priesthood. This makes me wonder who, if anyone, the story is setting up as Eve. The priest from "The Sisters"? The boy in this story himself?

    11. set the boys free

      The Christian school letting out for the day being described as setting the boys free seems to play into themes that we've discussed surrounding the oppressive control of the church.

    12. He would love that, he said, better than anything in this world

      Yikes, this is so creepy. I'm trying to figure out what it means that the two boys go out to find an adventure and instead meet this really threatening and likely pedophilic man. Possibly, Joyce is making a point that the adults in these children's lives are concerned about the impropriety of their western books and games, when really the actual threats to their wellbeing are coming from within the proper, upperclass society they're raised in.

    13. to see had any of them green eyes for I had some confused notion….

      This line, and the redaction within it, is so interesting, especially considering that the older man at the end of the story has green eyes. The Norton edition of the text said that green eyes could have been associated with homosexuality, but I was unable to find anything else suggesting that.

    14. It was that chalice he broke

      The broken chalice and the priest's resulting anxiety seems to symbolize the ways in which the formal elements of organized religion can be harmful. If we go with the syphilis reading of the story, it also points to the idea of a broken sacrament.

    15. The duties of the priesthood was too much for him. And then his life was, you might say, crossed

      Out of curiosity, I did some research about this story and I found that a lot of people hypothesize that the priest suffered from syphilis, which is, of course, an STD, meaning he broke his vows. I think that theory helps to clear up lines like this, as well as why the older people in the story seem to simultaneously pity and distrust the priest.

    16. I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom as if I had been freed from something by his death

      I feel like the fact that the boy feels freed by the death of his religious teacher could be saying something about the restraining / restrictive nature of organized religion (which I think would fit with the priest's mental condition as well).

  3. Oct 2020
    1. She laughed her hard, bright laugh and patted her hair in a mirror. Strange! When she was a little girl she had such a soft, hesitating voice; she had even stuttered, and now, whatever she said—even if it was only “Jam, please, father”—it rang out as though she were on the stage.

      Once again, this story talks about the transition from childhood into womanhood. In this story this stage seems to be characterized by brightness, urgency, and also a degree of brashness and hardness, which is fascinating because usually young womanhood would be characterized by gentleness.

    2. Was this first ball only the beginning of her last ball, after all?

      This scene seems to be saying that, as soon as a girl becomes a young woman, society expects her to start worrying about becoming an old one. In "The Young Girl" the dangers / expectations of society were also brought into the story though an "old fat man" character.

    3. the voice

      It's really strange how he is referred to mostly as a disembodied voice when they are engaged in a very of-the-body activity - dancing. Maybe this speaks to the confusion of the senses Leila is experiencing from being overwhelmed by the ball? Or maybe it comments on the weird half-intimacy of dancing with a stranger but not really being able to engage with them?

    4. the Sheridan girls and their brother

      This suggests that at least The Garden Party and this story are taking place in the same world, within the same society. This makes me even more curious about the question of the narrator.

    5. And, laughing, in the new way, she ran down the stairs.

      I'm not sure how we're supposed to read this ending. On the one hand, it's pretty sad. But on the other hand, it feels very free. Isabel has the agency to make a choice, and after she makes that choice she literally runs into it. I do feel bad for William, but I don't think that I can read this ending as tragic. This is possibly because I am reading Isabel and her relationship with the other artists as a queer relationship, so I can't root for her to re-enter the normative structure.

    6. their laughter interrupted her

      The fact that the group of artists are laughing at an earnest expression of love is really interesting. Maybe this is Mansfield attempting to show us that this group of people appreciates the aesthetics of being an artist but actually lacks artistic depth and understanding. Sort of as if they're adopting the lifestyle as a fashion statement.

    7. “A Lady in Love with a Pineapple,

      By having Dennis speak in portrait titles and making other references to art throughout the short story, Mansfield sets up a sort of tension between the bohemian world (with Isabel's polycule of artists) and the business world with William's job and desires. This tension plays out as an anxiety surrounding change as well. In a way it seems that Isabel is representing anxieties about a loss of the traditional family structure.

    8. I’m going to rescue your wife

      There's something so fascinating about this line. It seems that Moira is challenging William's masculinity in some way, threatening to disrupt his stereotypical domestic life by simultaneously inserting herself into it and taking his wife out of it, which is exactly what she does.

    9. her

      I'm really interested in how this short story is both very general and very specific. By calling the young girl "she and "her" through most of the story, there's a sort of universalizing effect - she could be any young girl of a high standing, a portrait of adolescence. At the same time though, there are so many specific details woven throughout the text, like the names of other characters, specific foods, etc. that make me question this reading.

    10. a flower that is just emerging from its dark bud

      This line carries with it language that is commonly used to describe the transition into womanhood ("blossoming into a young woman", etc). But at the same time there is something sinister going on here. There seems to be a focus on vulnerability and exposure, rather than beauty. I think we could connect this to the couple points in the text where the girl mentions that she does not want to be looked at by older men, and when an older man is staring at her and she does not see him. It seems that with the transition into womanhood there comes the possibility of harm.

    11. the vulgar act of paying for the tea

      This line seems to speak to a consistent theme in the novel - that everything seems to be mortifying to the daughter. I feel like this is pretty common in the way that we discuss adolescence now - a key element of teen angst is coming to terms with the fact that it's kind of embarrassing to exist and be perceived. But I think that at the time this short story was written, before YA literature was really a thing, this would have been a pretty groundbreaking portrayal of adolescence.

    12. I'm just putting this at the end because it's a commentary on the whole thing - I think that the way this short story keeps drifting into the past, exploring really intense feelings through super mundane things, and ultimately arrives at a point where neither of the characters can remember what they wanted to say about the future is so brilliant and really accurately captures the sort of haze and estrangement from reality that comes with grief, especially if there are complexities in that grief like there are in the sisters' occasional relief that their (likely abusive) father is gone.

    13. What did it mean? What was it she was always wanting? What did it all lead to? Now? Now?

      This moment reminds me of the end of The Garden Party where Laura tries to explain that she has just confronted mortality and can't find any words. Similarly to Laura, I think that Constantia witnessing death in this way is causing her to recognize her own mortality, but rather than be awestruck by it, it's sending her into an existential crisis.

    14. “But nobody sees us,”

      This line, combined with how Josephine feels like she can't laugh at anything, makes me think about the outward performance of grief, and the feelings you are expected to include in that performance. By asking why they would dress in black if nobody can see them, Josephine is recognizing that dressing in mourning is just a part of playing the role of grieving daughter.

    15. It was simply marvellous

      The way this story is handling death seems to be almost positive in a way. Laura found the body of the man to be extremely beautiful, and here it seems again like she is struck by the beauty of death.

    16. “Not in the garden?

      This line shows really clearly how the Sheridans don't care about anything happening outside of their comfortable domestic sphere. Literally, if it's happening beyond their garden they don't see it as their problem. Of course, this has really classist implications when they live right next to a poor neighborhood.

    17. This life is Weary.’

      I'm interested to know if this was a real song or if the author made it up. I did a search for it and only found things related to The Garden Party, so I think maybe the author wrote it. Paying attention to the lyrics, they're actually kind of ominous with their emphasis on death as the hope for escaping the weariness of life. The last line is especially strange with the way it's chopped up. it could be "a dream, a wakening" or "a dream awakening". I would have to think more about what the difference between the two would be.

    18. “Only a very small band,” said Laura gently. Perhaps he wouldn’t mind so much if the band was quite small.

      This attempt to downplay the obvious wealth and luxury of her party when confronted with how someone of a lower-class views it is really fascinating. It seems that Laura is experiencing class consciousness for the first time and experiencing shame because of it.

    1. Moonstone looks forth once more, over the walls of the sacred city in which its story first began.

      I have been trying to figure out what exactly the commentary on imperialism in this novel is, and one thing that I have been waiting to find out is where the diamond ultimately ends up. With the diamond ending up back where it began, restored to its religious function, I think that we can read this as a rightful returning of property and as a warning against imperialist impulses towards control and ownership.

    2. Confining myself merely to results, I have to report that Rachel and I thoroughly understood each other, before a single word of explanation had passed on either side. I decline to account, and Rachel declines to account, for the extraordinary rapidity of our reconciliation.

      I find it so funny that he says he's not going to tell us and then pretty much tells us anyway. Also, this is pretty bold in comparison to a lot of the Victorian novels I've read. I'm not surprised, necessarily, because I think that Collins has shown us pretty clearly by now that he's comfortable with rejecting propriety and conventions of purity in his writing. Even the genre of the novel (sensationalist) speaks to this rejection.

    3. We followed him along the corridor. We followed him down the stairs. We followed him along the second corridor. He never looked back; he never hesitated.

      I think that this little paragraph exhibits what stands out most about Ezra Jennings' writing. Compared to the other narrators, he is extremely matter-of-fact and easy to follow, and he doesn't go off on major tangents. His sentences are usually very short and his language is pretty simple. I like that he tells us what we need to know really concisely while still making it entertaining and occasionally humorous. He's for sure one of my top narrators.

    4. You shall be obeyed. The maggots notwithstanding, sir, you shall be obeyed.

      This is such classic Betteredge to take his duties so seriously while at the same time being so opinionated and bold. Since Lady Verinder is dead he's sort of running the house most of the time now, so I find it funny that, even though he disagrees with the plan, he still seems so eager to do a good job of overseeing everything perfectly. It seems that he genuinely enjoys being given a task and doing it well.

    5. The hysterical passion

      The way I read this, what got Franklin into a large portion of this trouble in the first place was brushing Rachel's earlier behavior off as "hysterics" instead of recognizing that she had genuine reason for being upset with him. It seems he hasn't learned this lesson though, because he is still characterizing her passion as hysterical (a word which we know is extremely loaded with assumptions about the female body and lack of emotional control and strength). Ironically, it seems that Rachel has been very in control of herself and what she reveals for this whole narrative, whereas Franklin (SPOILER ALERT) was the one who was out of his own control at the pivotal moment of the text.

    6. A time was settled between us for paying the money back; and when the time came, I found it (as thousands of other honest men have found it) impossible to keep my engagement.

      As I'm reading Franklin's narrative, he seems so put together that I keep forgetting about this aspect of his character. The way that he attempts to absolve himself of blame here, by brushing aside the matter entirely and even equating it with "honest men", emphasizes the degree to which he doesn't see his tendency to amass debts he can't pay as an issue, or, it would seem, as a priority to change. I think that this emphasizes the degree to which all of these characters have different concerns and moral systems. What would be a major fault of Franklin's in another narrator's section is able to be thrown away in a quick aside in his own.

    7. my own name

      I find it so interesting that Franklin chose to write "my own name" here in his explanation of what he saw instead of "Franklin Blake". Maybe this stood out to me more because in my print edition (Penguin), they format this by putting it on its own line in a different font in all caps, so that it looks like he's showing us what was actually embroidered. At risk of reading too much into this, it's almost like the impact of seeing his name there was too much for him to revisit in his writing, and that he couldn't deal with the reality of it even as he was recounting this narrative. Or, he could just be adding some drama for effect.

    8. I call it the detective-fever; and I first caught it in the company of Sergeant Cuff

      For some reason this little section is so funny to me. It almost reads like a Buddy Comedy or something. I also think that it's sort of supposed to feel like a bit like things are starting to come full circle as we get near to the end of the story. The same setting is back, the same jokes are back, we're back with Betteredge and encouraged to feel comforted by that through Franklin's narrative.

  4. Sep 2020
    1. If I am told that this is a mere speculation, I ask, in my turn, what other theory will account for his giving up a marriage which would have maintained him in splendour for the rest of his life?

      In reading Bruff's section, I am struck by how lawyer-like his language is. Here, he is clearly telling us what he thinks of Godfrey's motivation, but he does so by placing the ultimate responsibility onto the reader. He's not going to come out and say that this is the only possible option, but he sets up his question to lead us to that conclusion anyway. This makes me somewhat cautious as I read his narrative. I get the feeling that he could potentially know more than he lets on, and that he would be very good at hiding it if so.

    2. The moment she mentioned the doctor’s name, I knew what was coming. Over and over again in my past experience among my perishing fellow-creatures, the members of the notoriously infidel profession of Medicine had stepped between me and my mission of mercy

      In a class I took last year I did a lot of research surrounding the ways in which Victorian women would use religion as a sort of rhetoric tool in order to claim authority where they otherwise would not have been able to. If they were acting not as women but instead as instruments of God's will, to question them was to question God. I wish that I had read this novel at that point, because I think that Clack is an example and a half. Here she's literally asserting that she knows better than a trained medical professional, and a couple pages ago she was out-lawyering a lawyer. I think that there's an argument that she knows how to use her religious rhetoric to absolve herself of guilt, blame, and embarrassment, and that this is something she does very intentionally in her writing.

    3. “I am charmed to see you, Godfrey,” she said, addressing him, I grieve to add, in the off-hand manner of one young man talking to another.

      I find it to be really interesting that there is such an explicit flipping of gendered behavior in this section. In Victorian literature young women are often criticized for being "un-ladylike", but I don't often see that taken so far as to actually compare their behaviors to men. Later, in Bruff's section, there is also a comment about Rachel withdrawing into herself in a way that is more common amongst men (according to Bruff). It seems that there is some sort of traditionally masculine quality to Rachel that characters either are drawn to or scandalized by.

    4. I was also deprived, at the time, of the inestimable advantage of hearing the events related by the fervid eloquence of Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite.

      I find it really amusing to see how we get different characterizations of all of the characters now through the new perspective. In the context of a detective novel, I find this especially interesting because the differing opinions of Betteredge and Clack present different cases for who can be seen as suspicious and who is above reproach. In Betteredge's narrative, I read Godfrey as a kind of annoying, potentially suspicious character. In Clack's narrative, however, he is presented as an exceptionally good man. This puts the reader in an interesting position of trying to see through the narration to the truth of the characters.

    5. I am acting under orders, and that those orders have been given to me (as I understand) in the interests of truth. I am forbidden to tell more in this narrative than I knew myself at the time.

      I think it's super fun how this novel has us trying to keep up with the detective work in the moment it happens in the narrative while also trying to do our own detective work to find moments in Betteredge's narrative where he lets something slip or hints to something. At this point I really have no clue who we're supposed to align ourselves with as readers, and I think that adds to the themes of suspicion, paranoia, and surveillance.

    6. In a minute more, Miss Rachel came downstairs–very nicely dressed in some soft yellow stuff, that set off her dark complexion, and clipped her tight (in the form of a jacket) round the waist. She had a smart little straw hat on her head, with a white veil twisted round it. She had primrose-coloured gloves that fitted her hands like a second skin. Her beautiful black hair looked as smooth as satin under her hat. Her little ears were like rosy shells–they had a pearl dangling from each of them. She came swiftly out to us, as straight as a lily on its stem, and as lithe and supple in every movement she made as a young cat.

      There is so much going on in this description of Rachel. For one, there's so much emphasis on words like "soft" and "little". The pastel colors she is wearing play into this delicate description, and the comparison to shells and flowers add to this image of Rachel as a hyper-feminine, gentle, fragile character. However, the way that her movements are described as catlike kind of throws this whole thing off, because it hints at some sort of slyness and calculated gracefulness. I am not sure if this passage is Betteredge still trying to convince us of Rachel's innocence, or if he's dropping a hint.

    7. It isn’t their fault (poor wretches!) that they act first and think afterwards; it’s the fault of the fools who humour them.

      This is pretty bold coming from a man who just pinned Sergeant Cuff to the wall in a moment of anger a few pages ago. I think there are a lot of behaviors that Betteredge identifies as feminine that he himself exhibits throughout the novel (this being one example). At several points in the novel he comments on the nosiness of the women servants, but he himself is snooping around and gossiping for his entire narrative. Additionally, in the power dynamics of the house, he is in a subservient position to "his Lady" and Rachel who, in the absence of a man in the family, are the masters of the house.

    8. Rosanna’s acquaintance with them had begun by means of the daughter, who was afflicted with a misshapen foot, and who was known in our parts by the name of Limping Lucy. The two deformed girls had, I suppose, a kind of fellow-feeling for each other.

      In the context of foreignness and otherness in this novel, I find this grouping of the two girls to be really interesting. It's almost like their physical deviation from the norm is acting as a type of queerness in how they're perceived and grouped apart from the other women. It's also interesting how their physical deviations from the norm seem to supersede their womanhood in some ways (for example, Franklin not even being able to look at Rosanna to be polite, and Lucy literally having her name preceded by her disability).

    9. there was a hole in Mr. Franklin’s pocket that nothing would sew up. Wherever he went, the lively, easy way of him made him welcome.

      It seems that Collins is almost, but not quite, setting Mr. Franklin up to be the Victorian "rake" stereotype.

      (From wikipedia: "In a historical context, a rake (short for rakehell, analogous to "hellraiser") was a man who was habituated to immoral conduct, particularly womanising. Often, a rake was also prodigal, wasting his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, and incurring lavish debts in the process.")

      I say almost because, even though this description is classic "rake" behavior, the narrator seems invested in seeing the good in Mr. Franklin, and the narrative seems to be somewhat invested in redeeming him (unless that's just to throw us off). Overall, I find it interesting that this novel seems to simultaneously present stereotypical and tropey characters, but at the same time complicate them and present their contradictions and complexities.

    10. Crowds at the performance with the legs. Ditto at the performance with the tongue

      When I've read critiques by Victorian critics of popular novels, they often criticized novels for being too sensationalist (speaking to a general Victorian uneasiness with the body and the erotic). However, I see this novel as being extremely unapologetically sensationalist and of the body. I think that is highlighted here where a powerful dance, communication of the body, is held up on the same level as a speech. In fact, Collins takes it one step further by tying the speech itself directly to the body part that performs it, erasing the divide between the intellectual and the erotic/sensationalist.

    11. Including the family, they were twenty-four in all. It was a noble sight to see, when they were settled in their places round the dinner-table

      I really enjoy the "dinner party mystery" trope, and am super excited to see it here. I found this scene as a whole to be extremely entertaining and humorous, and I think the campiness of the characters and the painful awkwardness of the dialogue heightened the drama and the wacky vibe of the novel. (sidenote: it reminds me of the game Clue). I also imagine that Victorian readers found this scene to be extremely entertaining and relatable, especially upper-class women who frequently hosted dinner parties.

    12. my lady

      The constant repetition of "my lady," heavily emphasized throughout this passage and consistent in the rest of the novel so far, speaks to the interesting and complex domestic politics of the Victorian household. There is a dynamic of mutual ownership and possession in the domestic master/servant relationship that Collins is bringing to light here, which is significant in the context of a novel examining the subject of possession in a more literal and tangible sense with the diamond.

  5. Sep 2018
    1. lines 351-352: The contrast between all of the compassion/sympathy we see from women and Demeter's willingness to destroy the world for the mortals if Persephone does not come back is interesting. Why is this contradiction of theme here?

      370-373 and 411-413: Hades stealthily sneaks the seed to Persephone, but when she retells this story to her mother, she implies that he used force. This brings up an interesting question of whether or not Persephone is trying to put more blame and evil action onto Hades than she really feels he deserves. This relates to the poem "Miss Persephone".

      line 4: It is interesting that the wrongdoing focused on is that Persephone was given to Hades without Demeter's consent (there is no attention given to Persephone's own consent.) This is somewhat of a tension in theme because we see Hades as the antagonist for ignoring Persephone's consent, but doesn't Demeter also do that to an extent?