Martineau thus far has made a very strong case as to why the government is being hypocritical. She reminds the reader that the government is supposed to be for the people and its power is to be executed with the consent of those in society. By enforcing these laws that are unjust to women and slaves, they are going against their own ideas presented in the Declaration of Independence. Here in this passage, she enforces the notion that there needs to be “equal political representation of all rational beings.” She then excludes the groups of children, idiots, and criminals. Obviously, children, aren’t developed enough yet to understand all the aspects of a society, so it makes sense why she listed them. Criminals don’t respect others in a society, so by harming and taking advantage of others, they are required to reflect upon themselves for a certain amount of time in jail and until that time is up, they aren’t considered to be a “rational human being.” I find the second group on her list to be interesting and a little comical because of her word choice. She groups people together as “idiots.” Are these the people who think it’s okay to enact unfair laws to women and slaves? The language is a little silly, and it was surprising to read how frank she’s being; however, it is also revealing as to how over it she must have felt at the time. One can infer, she must have been having trouble being heard and listened to, as change was not being made. She even adds in the next paragraph that she could close the argument right there because she explained it so plainly and accurately, that there shouldn’t be any more explanation needed. Her frustration about not being heard or taken seriously because of her sex is unfortunately still relevant today, as well. No matter where you stand politically, I think she’s right that these “idiots” don’t have the common sense to realize that everyone in society should be equal to each other as long as they are rational human beings.
[Governments in the United States have power to tax women who hold property; to divorce them from their husbands; to fine, imprison, and execute them for certain offences. Whence do these governments derive their powers? They are not “just,” as they are not derived from the consent of the women thus governed.]
Harriet Martineau questioned the laws and motives of the government during 1837, which was unusual for the time. Rather than simply accepting the law, she wondered why many women were treated so unfairly for things that were out of their control. She recognized the fact that the government did not gain the consent of women when it came to forming laws that impacted their lives. I find it interesting that this passage is still relevant today. It seems as though government officials still believe that they should have control over certain aspects of women’s lives. For example, the government is still allowed to make decisions about female healthcare. Why is this allowed in the twenty-first century? You would think that women would be allowed to make decisions about their bodies, but this is not the case. It is discouraging that Harriet Martineaudid’s comment is still true today. Considering that she wrote this almost 200 years ago, I wonder if true equality will ever be achieved in America.
Harriet Martineau was a woman ahead of her time fighting to be a voice that was heard, regardless of what the consequences may be. This paragraph stuck out to me, because of the power behind the words and the fearlessness. Martineau writes “Any punishment inflicted on me for the breach of the laws, I should regard as so much gratuitous injury.” She knew understood there were women hearing her and agreeing with her, but too afraid to stand up, so she became a figure of encouragement for them. Although Martineau seems to agree with the idea of democracy, she finds some detrimental shortcomings such as how the greed of a few rich so easily trample the rights of many others, including women. Martineau was ready to change this and distribute rights and power equally, as well as educate the working class about economic exploitation and the oppression of women. “The plea of acquiescence is invalidated by us.” She was ready to protest and no longer accept the way women were being treated. This paragraph also caught my interest, because of how blunt she was about the issues she was discussing. Were there repercussions? How many people stood by her as opposed to how many against? I think this article could also be used to reflect on how things have changed and not changed today such as women’s power in society.
The concept of representation and consent to governance is one of the core and fundamental aspects of American freedom. The United States was built upon the idea that the government was a true representation of the people. This is the ideal that America prides itself upon, even to this day. The unfortunate hypocrisy is so clear when considering that 50% of the population had no political power or rights. I found particular interest the line “The question has been asked… how obedience to the laws can be required of women, when no women has, either actually or virtually, given any assent to any law”. Governments creating law without the consent of those they govern are tyrannical and unjust. The arguments in this text are even for their time nowhere near radical, they are just extensions of democratic concepts that were in many ways spearheaded in the United States less than 60 years before. From a modern perspective how this argument even needed to be made is baffling.
As it was uncommon for women to express their grievances like this in a public manner, what do you think enabled Harriet Martineau to express her views on womens rights? How is this similar to Mary Wallstonecraft? Although it seems her opinion was ahead of her time, have we even reached the equality that she speaks against?
How does the idea of consent translate to present government and politics? How does American politics and representation today parallel the issues that Martineau presents?
To what extend does Martineau’s refusal to acquiesce serve as an effective form of political action/dissent? To what degree has the effectiveness of this technique changed in today’s world?
To what extend does Martineau’s refusal to acquiescence serve as an effective form of political action? And how effective is the same technique in today’s world?
we should add “uncommon at this time in history”
I think what I find so intriguing about this is that usually having feelings like this – until modern day – get brushed under the rug. Here is an actual published account of experiencing some sort of depression. I feel that this also speaks to a very humanist idea these feelings are not just common products of the digital age, and not just “hysteria” that women got treated for. I feel that for an essay, describing raw emotions and hard times is a very risky route to take, and he does so with such poise. The eloquent and vivid nature of the writing itself, demonstrates not only intelligence, but also the ability of self-reflection and expression.
I thought the line, “What made Wordsworth’s poems a medicine for my state of mind, was that they expressed, not mere outward beauty, but states of feeling, and of thought coloured by feeling, under the excitement of beauty” is an accurate depiction of the works produced during the Romantic era. This emphasis on the individual with an appreciation for nature and emotional passion allowed Mill to have a “real, permanent happiness in tranquil contemplation.”I think it’s comforting that Mill found solace in Wordsworth’s poetry, that his depression was subdued because he allowed himself the space to grow as an individual and be at peace with himself through the means of Romantic poetry.
This paragraph speaks to me due to the cantor that the narrator speaks with regarding his own emotions and how the process of writing has helped him synthesize his emotions as well as the role of analyzing the past. The way he speaks about this gives the atmosphere of reflective memoir: “intense associations of pain and pleasure”, “habitual exercise of the power of analysis”, and “laws of human nature”. In my own writing as well as in others, I relish in the ability to unpack and assemble our feelings as well as create a certain awareness about where they come from and how they move us forward. Reading the reflection not only of the text but of reflection itself sparked a curiosity about the role of self-realization and reflection during this era. Where does this sort of thought come into play during a time like the industrial revolution and the age of enlightenment that paved the way?
How can Carlyle’s expression of hope in Sartor Resartus be compared to Mill’s experience with depression in Autobiography?
Mill juxtaposes the concepts of vanity and ambition, and in a moment of self-realization criticizes his venture into vanity at too young an age. Ambition, he maintains however, is necessary. At what point does one cross the line from ambition into vanity? What leads one down such a path?
How is Mill’s source of depression in his autobiography different from that of Carlyle in Sator Resartus? Why would Wordsworth’s poetry (which channels the Romantic concept of the sublime through the discussion of nature) be more impactful on Mill than Carlyle’s “anti-self- consciousness theory”
More specifically, where does Mill place the blame for this transition? What was he searching for in the journey that brought him to this end, and what are other consequences of it?
In this single paragraph, Mill really narrows in on the major insecurities that a massive number of consumers and authors of creative media face. The English alphabet has 26 letters; the human ear can only hear so many notes on the octaves; there are only so many plot lines that can be shifted and changed and tweaked before they all appear to glop together like a vast sea of homogeneous mediocrity.
So the question remains thus: why make anything at all when surely all great art has already been achieved already, all laurels already bequeathed, all Shakespeares and Mozarts and Van Goghs and Longfellows and Webers already emblazoned in the marble of public memory?
Well, that’s a good question. I myself often am discouraged from creation due to my inability to contend with the greats. But I suppose, like Wordsworth, one must simply create; if some “second-rate” poet can help bring a person out of depression, his poetry was worth it. Art is always worth it.
I really like this description of transitions because most times in life, our change is hard and painful, but also very necessary.
Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus is a work of fiction. Its main narrator is an Editor tasked with reviewing a book titled Clothes, Their Origin and Influence by a German professor of philosophy named Diogenes Teufelsdröckh. (The literal meaning of the name is “God-begotten devil’s dung.”) In his effort to obtain more biographical information about Teufelsdröckh, the Editor receives bags containing autobiographical jottings by the author on scraps of paper. Through the Editor’s quotations from these jottings, interwoven with his own commentary on them, we follow Teufelsdröckh’s spiritual journey as he struggles with matters of love, religion, and politics.
Here we see Teufelsdröckh coming to terms with his lack of belief in his faith. We then see that he feels a great disconnect from the rest of society and life as whole which shows how this impacted him mentally. It also shows the expectations of society during this time in that most people were religious and he feels as though he’s an outsider unable to communicate with people, seeing them as just figures.
I’m interested in knowing more about what readers of this time thought about this? Was it revolutionary for writers to write about not having any religious beliefs?
I thought this paragraph was interesting because of how Carlyle says “he has no other possession but Hope”. Yes in this world we can build a life for ourselves, make money, and buy materialistic things. However, at the end of the day we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or in a year and all we have to hold onto is hope. We base our lives and the things we talk about based on hope that it’ll work out for us.
This comes at a transformative time in the philosopher’s life. He finds himself feeling stuck in this situation, something we as the readers can relate to. Whether that’s a breakup or a bad exam grade, we can sympathize with his seemingly impossible effort to let go and move forward. The “Everlasting No” could, therefore, represent a lacking faith that our life can improve. In the context of religion, perhaps Carlyle found himself doubting his faith in the Christian god at times. In this story, the editor feels as if the Devil has taken over. He deals with this by asserting he will experience freedom if he claims his hatred for the Devil. This part of the story stuck out to me as a reminder that we can always move forward.
I hope today’s discussion offered at least a partial answer to your question, Emily! Carlyle’s expression of doubt wasn’t revolutionary in its time. Undoubtedly many readers felt that he articulated just how they felt. His solution to this doubt — finding divinity in Nature and within human beings themselves — while not unique to him, was certainly controversial, however, precisely because it still represented a departure from traditional faith.
The text of Morris’ essay is from the Gutenberg.org version of Signs of Change: Seven Lectures Delivered on Various Occasions (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896).
I was immediately surprised by paragraphs 1 and 2. In paragraph 1, I was surprised by the language used. “Socialists are so often FORCED to use.” I think the tone here is interesting, it conveys determination and implies an objective in mind. Paragraph 2 then begins with hope and fear and goes on to say how these two names rule the race of a man. This interests me because of how prevalent it is. You are ruled by the emotions of fear and hope. As the paragraph states, they are specifically what “rules the race of a man.” I began to make connections to other male characters we have read about. Heathcliff’s actions were a result of being in fear of losing a connection or part of Catherine. Lastly, the uplifting tone of this passage kind of surprised me, especially pertaining to differences in social class as I didn’t see that much in the previous readings we’ve done. I think this reflective and sympathetic ways towards poor people reveals a different aspect of our course, the want to be better, to bring light to issues in order to create a better world. Morris strived for social equality. I think this reading shows hope. But, in putting this into perspective, how does this frighten society, why is hope something to be frightened by (even if it is supposed to be by few) here?
I think it is intriguing that he equates good health with pleasure and satisfaction, and he rejects abstaining from indulgence. By practicing severe self control and not indulging on the pleasures of life, he claims that as this gets passed down (presumably through religious contexts) it is a way to continue oppressing and degrading people in civilization. I find this notion interesting but also, it makes me wonder about the freedom that people have. Are they able to break these doctrines, or is this a choice?
The line: “the claim for equality of condition will be made constantly and with growing loudness till it must be listened to, and then at last it will only be a step over the border and the civilized world will be socialized; and, looking back on what has been, we shall be astonished to think of how long we submitted to live as we live now” reminds me of two things. The first being John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, in which he argues that dissent is the purest form of patriotism. As seen in the beginning of the document, Morris offers the argument that a revolution ought to inspire hope, not fear- which I believe is what John Locke might argue as an example of true patriotism. Morris is not calling for the destruction of the state, but rather the improvement of it. He recognizes that current living conditions could be improved, that men deserve to be treated as equals, and hopes to revolutionise traditional values and norms. The second thing this paragraph and overall document reminds me of a specific line in his poem, “The Defence of Guenevere,” “For no man cares now to know why I sigh;” (257). While I’m not entirely sure why I thought of this line when reading this paragraph, I do believe there may be parallels between the speaker in the poem and the men yearning for change, in that they are both helpless and at odds with their oppressors, and there is a recognition of the fact that the upper classes do not care to understand their strife, which the same can be said for the speaker because she also recognises that no one cares much about her problems and that they are only significant to herself.
This paragraph intrigued me to the fact that it is in my opinion, Morris’ boldest claim. His ideals throughout this text often fall into the category of basic human rights, with those being health and education, or even fair working conditions. His other claims are more subjective, with a “beautiful world to live in” being exceptionally vague, especially if his beautiful world involves a society-wide redistribution of wealth. My question is how this radical abolishment of profit is in any way different from a communist society; if one could infer that he insists on removing the upper class (a fair inference considering he would go on to say that profit-makers are not a necessity for labor.)
This paragraph’s focus on the capitalism of war both raises existential questions about the purpose of war/misery and the role of economy in human suffering–two themes that can link back to other readings from class. With the rise of machinery and the industrial era, there was a push for profit and a focus on capitalism, resulting in a questioning of the role of the economy.
The text and plate of William Blake’s poem “The Chimney Sweeper” printed here is from Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Copy N (1795) via The William Blake Archive.
In the Victorian era, children were known to become chimney sweepers. I believe the speaker is displaying a picture of a child covered in soot amongst the ice-cold snow. The speaker cries out that due to the parents’ ‘generosity’ giving their child warmth and clothes on their backs, that they are obligated to be happy and grateful. However, from the difficult and dangerous labor, they are miserable and dying from the sustained injuries caused by them working at this post.
I found this line to be the most interesting or eye capturing from the entire poem because of its theme of life and death. The irony is that their parents are at church worshiping and praising their god while their child is suffering and dying and even some entering the gates of this heaven. You can tell by this ending line that all the torment and agony is stressed to make a strong claim. Being a part of the audience and/or reader, I can empathize and feel the emotions throughout this passage.
I found this line to demonstrate the theme of the poem very well. The poem, I think, is a jab at the working class, and is saying that although impoverished peoples can survive and put on a brave face, they are still suffering. “And taught me to sing the notes of woe” I believe means the government forces the working class and lower classes to act happy and try to make the best out of their situations, even though their situations are tragic. This goes alone with the next few lines, “And because I am happy.&dance & sing./ They think they have done me no injury;”, which as mentioned before is the working class making the best out of their situations, and the upper classes and government then thinking they have done no wrong to the working classes.
What role did religion play for working class families during the industrial revolution? How (if at all) was this role different for children and adults?
Do you think this poem relates to the working class as a whole or is it more specifically referencing child labor? What clues in the text lead you to believe this, and why?
How does the speaker view the religious practice of the government/upper class? What is the relationship between the religious practices of the government/upper class and their treatment of the working class? Do you think the government/upper class uses religion to justify their actions toward the working class in any ways?
A fact rendered pathetically historical by Mr. Horne’s report of his commission. The name of the poet of “Orion” and “Cosimo de’ Medici” has, however, a change of associations; and comes in time to remind me (with other noble instances) that we have some brave poetic heat of literature still, — though open to the reproach, on certain points, of being somewhat gelid in our humanity.
The text of the poem printed here is taken from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poems (London: Edward Moxon, 1844), as reproduced at Representative Poetry Online.
The poem is preceded by this epigraph from Browning:
“Theu theu, ti prosderkesthe m ommasin, tekna;” — Medea.
Translation: Alas, alas, why do you gaze at me with your eyes, my children.
The poem first appeared in 1843 in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. You can read it as printed there, attributed to “Elizabeth B. Barret,” on the website of the British Library.
As explained on the website Rhyme and Reform: Victorian Working-Class Poets and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children”, EBB’s choice to publish the poem in Blackwood’s, a conservative magazine, is an interesting one.
Of interest, too, was her placement of “The Cry of the Children” in the second edition of her collected poems, where it falls between “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and “A Child Asleep.”
I like how Browning personifies the wheel and urges it to behave more tenderly, like humans. It is interesting to me that Europeans are beginning to come into contact with what is now a classic trope: man versus machine. The iron wheel that Browning describes must have been so foreign to him. It does not have “tender human youth;” it spins “blindly in the dark.” Coming to terms with this new facet of human life that is cold and unfeeling must have been a distinctly new experience, especially seeing as these machines were becoming an increasingly integral part of human life.
This line, paired with line 12, “In the country of the free,” shows a juxtaposition between England at the height of its industrial revolution, and America at the same time. In England, where the poem essentially “takes place,” child labor was standard, and young kids worked long hours in harsh environments. They were paid minimally and had few rights. I find these two lines particularly interesting because by saying that the flowers are blowing “toward the west,” it seems to compare the lives of the English children to the lives of the kids in the “west,” or, “the country of the free.” It can be deduced from these lines that Browning is referring to America. It highlights how the children in the United States at the time were allowed to behave like children, running and playing in meadows as the poem later tells the youth of England to do. But during America’s “playtime,” England is weeping. The industrial revolution had not yet started in America, and it wouldn’t for a while. This line also keeps to the poem’s comparative imagery of fields and animals. This stanza establishes that metaphor, comparing the children to lambs, birds, and fawns. What this stanza in particular does is emphasize that the animals in this context seem to have even more freedom than the children of England. The lambs are in that meadow that the kids have no time to run in, the fawns are playing in a way the children will never get to do. While all these animals are enjoying their relative freedom, the children are weeping bitterly. The imagery of animals in fields and peaceful farmland also directly contrasts the cold, harsh, dirty and mechanical world the children exist in.
How does the experience of the industrial revolution influence the expression of human nature (living standards, etc.)?
Do you think Browning is really referring to America when she states “The young flowers are blowing toward the west” or were the flowers simply blowing to the west?
Estella admits to thinking about Pip even though they haven’t seen each other in years. It seems as though Estella regrets her treatment of Pip when they were younger. Is this Estella finally telling Pip he holds a place in her heart? Does she hope he will tell her he feels the same even after all this time? Although it is meant to be a moment of sweet remembrance between Pip and Estella, I can help but think of everything that happened between the two when they were younger. Is Estella just feeling sorry for herself and regrets not accepting Pip’s love or is she genuine in expressing her feelings to him?
It almost seems that we are once again at the beginning: with a young Pip beside Joe, so much life ahead of him. The novel is still consistent with the present Pip reflecting back upon all of of the events that have happened. What I wonder here is if Pip and Joe are possibly indicating here that perhaps Pip would one day like to sponsor the young Pip much like Pip himself was sponsored into becoming a gentleman? If so, it would continue a fresh cycle for the new Pip, making the narrative within this novel one circle that feeds into itself.
Pip is expressing how his perspective has changed about his pursuit of Estella.
[The figure showed itself aware of me, as I advanced. It had been moving towards me, but it stood still. As I drew nearer, I saw it to be the figure of a woman. As I drew nearer yet, it was about to turn away, when it stopped, and let me come up with it. Then, it faltered, as if much surprised, and uttered my name, and I cried out,—]
Good example of point of view.
Estella’s vision has been unclouded by the passing of years and the life experiences that she has accumulated. She is finally able to recognize the significance that Pip had upon her life and the place he has in her heart.
[now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape. Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends.”]
Estella’s perspective has changed through her suffering and realizes where Pip was coming from in his pursuit for her.
This text of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis is taken from Gutenberg.org.
De Profundis (the title means “from the depths”) is a letter that Wilde wrote, while imprisoned in Reading Gaol, to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas.
You can learn more about the circumstances of Wilde\’s letter, and examine the manuscript, on the website of the British Library.
Very interesting commentary on the prison system in Victorian England. Wilde describes the process by which society continues to punish people post-incarceration by treating them as a lesser person. He critiques the justice system’s tendency to dehumanize people and the lack of moral accountability for giving out “appalling punishment.” Wilde goes onto say that the system shuns former criminals because it is ashamed of the way it has treated fellow humans, and that for one to live a prosperous life post-incarceration, then one must take it upon themselves to forgive one’s own self. He asserts that if he can see the suffering the system has afflicted on him, the system should recognize it as well instead of casting him aside.
I find this passage particularly interesting because of its historical implications–How many well-to-do Englishmen living in the Victorian time were advocates for prison reform? I suspect not many, but because Wilde saw the injustice up close, he is able to empathize with prisoners and people society deems “poor poisoned things.”
I think this is a very interesting way to start a piece of writing. I think it’s true that if we experience some form of trauma, it effects our whole life and often makes us suffer in one way or another. However, after I continued to read it seems like the narrator is having sort of a pitty party. At some point people have to take their lives into their own hands and deal with such grief. In paragraph 8, he goes on to say [I must say to myself that I ruined myself, and that nobody great or small can be ruined except by his own hand.] So at least he realizes that it’s in his control.
Here Wilde claims that religion cannot help him.
This entire paragraph discusses Wilde’s lack of attachment to religion.
Wilde is not finding hope in religion the same way that many people do. His time in prison seems to have given him a bleak outlook on life but based on (para 82) he seems to find some spiritual comfort in his suffering?…
The fact that the little boy can see the spirits of Heathcliff and a woman, presumably Cathy, makes me think back to the conversation Prof. Schacht engaged the class in on Thursday’s class. Can we attribute the presence of the specters of Cathy and Heathcliff to a convention of the Gothic genre? As a testament to the power of imagination and as a tool by which inner desires may be measured? Additionally, is the presence of ghosts a coping mechanism for Emily Brontë, who experienced a fair share of loss in her own short life? Do the ghosts in the novel reveal Brontë’s subconscious desire to know that death does not terminate existence entirely? Or, are the earthly presences of Cathy and Heathcliff’s spirits meant to convey and strengthen the pantheistic vision of the novel’s author? Furthermore, is this a necessary binary? Perhaps all of these factors weighed into Brontë’s authorial decision to include the little boy’s perception of Cathy and Heathcliff’s ghosts.
In this final chapter, Nelly refers to Heathcliff by calling him: a goblin, a ghastly figure, a ghoul, a fiend, and a vampire. Are these monstrous references foreshadowing that Heathcliff is not long for this world and that he is to ascend to the level of a spirit? Also, how far removed from “reality” is Wuthering Heights? Obviously it is a work of fiction, but with the ghost of Catherine scene in the beginning of the book and Nelly’s musings here, where is the divide being fantasy and fact? Nelly daydreams here and Lockwood apparently dreamt his encounter with Catherine, but like how we talked in class, information not “found in reality” was revealed through dreams. Is this only to provide more information to the reader and the characters?
As we got to the end of the novel, I became really curious as to Bronte’s use of setting in Wuthering Heights. At first I thought back to the beginning chapters with all the descriptions of both Wuthering Heights and the Grange. Bronte sets up Wuthering Heights to be this dark and sombre place, whereas the Grange had more of a rich characteristic to it. Can we follow that throughout that entire novel? I couldn’t help but think how the setting at times could have influenced some of the characters behaviors. I thought of how there is this contrast between Wuthering heights and the Grange, and how this contrast shows societal symbols and norms of this time. Why do the characters fall in love in the specific setting Bronte gives them? What more does that say about their characters? I think Bronte does something very interesting with the overall setting of the novel.
This goes along with my thoughts about the setting in my other comment on the whole page. (paragraph 73 and 74). Here it states how Cathy and Hareton will be married soon and they are going to the Grange. What does that say about the power battle between the two settings? Why? I was really interested in this whole dynamic between the two settings and how it further portrayed the characters at times.
Heathcliff’s character throughout the text is a lens into trauma, obsession, and the relationship with the self. By the end of the book, this prompt to reflect on his role in the story is well earned as a thoughtful addition to his arc. My own curiosity leads me to wonder about the influence of the time period (one, in many ways, of repression) on the development of the characters in the story and people from the era. In a previous reflection, I noted the societal pressures in place that caused Catherine to choose to marry Edgar over Heathcliff in the first place. At this point in the novel, Heathcliff is accused of being selfish and unchristian throughout his life. If this story were given a different generational backdrop, would it unfold in the same way? How closely linked are the pressures of the time period (such as social class, gender, and religion) and the expression of human nature?
George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) published this review essay in The Leader for October 13, 1855. You can view a facsimile of the original publication on the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition website.
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) originally published Woman in the Nineteenth Century as The Great Lawsuit in 1843.
In this paragraph, the author shines a light on the inner workings of men with regards to their intimate relationships with women. The point is made that a society that suppresses women is detrimental to both the women and men in the society. Furthermore, men who are unable to give their wives space to explore their passions and aspirations are screwing themselves over as well as their wives. This is because these men will end up with women who have nothing to bring to the table. Relationship with women who are merely “doll-like madonnas” will surely not be filled with love or passion nor will they be emotionally fulfilling. In this type of relationship there is no space for men to be emotionally challenged or grow as a person. In general, it is clear that there is a level of insecurity felt by men as a collective at this time. Eliot mentions that men have a fear of “looking up to our wives instead of looking down on them.” Why could this be? The idea of masculinity at the time revolves around providing for women, having intellectual pursuits, working, being political etc. Many men couldn’t handle the women in their lives’ participation in any of these roles because they would feel too threatened. This threat widely felt by men is largely an explanation for the lack of government representation for women, the oppressive laws against women and thus the continuance of the suppression of women in Victorian society. Justice for women begins with changes in legislation. Thus, men need to let go of their egos and educate themselves on the facts in order for society to evolve into a supportive environment for women. The writings of advocates like Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret Fuller standing up for their rights are essential in this process of freedom for women in Victorian society. Their arguments appeal to many intellectuals because their points are logical, just, and honest.
The juxtaposing dichotomies on what it will take for women’s position to be improved in this paragraph were particularly interesting to me. Elliot’s belief that women need to be better as well as laws needing to be made more just implicates women as being partially responsible for their oppression which leads me to believe Elliot has his reservations about women’s suffrage. Furthermore, later in this paragraph he goes on to say that “overzealous” women sometimes claim to be equal, if not morally superior to men, and in doing this their arguments fall short since the latter is not true according to Elliot. The way in which Elliot advocates for women’s suffrage is reminiscent of Carlyle’s Past and Present in it’s underlying perceived superiority.
The comment was written as though Eliot was a male. Does it change your perspective of the paragraph when given the information that Eliot was actually a woman?
How does the persuasive approach taken by Eliot in this passage compare to the persuasive approach taken by Martineau?
Seems like this is the first instance where we truly get background information on Heathcliff. Already, Bronte is asserting that Heathcliff is a miserable man, but there are reasons behind his behavior–here we see in Catherine’s diary writings that Heathcliff (or “H” as she abbreviates) is treated cruelly by Hindley and is not accepted as an equal member of the family. In Chapter 1, Heathcliff is described as having dark skin and is called a “gypsy” by our narrator. This may be connected to Hindley’s treatment of Heathcliff as being of a lower class or lesser because of his darker-skinned appearance. This is at least the second instance of referring to a kind of “otherness” about Heathcliff, so I will try and track of similar instances/themes moving forward.
This section peaked my curiosity because of the mystery behind it. Some of my favorite shows are Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU and this paragraph reminded me of those shows because of its strange histories of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood is clearly having this dream for a reason. The point of this dream is to teach the reader about Catherine’s history and for us to wonder why she wants to return and why Heathcliff wants her back. To be honest, I was a little confused after reading the first two chapters of this story, but after reading this chapter and paragraph specifically, I was interested in continuing.
Why is Hindley adamant on reducing Heathcliff to his right place based solely on his darker-skinned appearance or lower class status even though it was Mr. Earnshaw who introduced Heathcliff into the family in the first place? Why doesn’t Hindley share Mr. Earnshaw’s humanitarian and compassionate heart? Does Hindley feel challenged by Heathcliff’s presence? Is his rude behaviour a sign of jealousy?
Our group found it interesting that Logan, in the above comment, assumes that the scene described in the paragraph is a dream. Some members of our group agreed with this assumption and others dissented. Does our interpretation really change depending on whether we view this scene as a dream or as reality?
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection; Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. was originally published in 1859. These selections are taken from the 6th edition of the work, published in 1872.
The text here reproduces that available at Gutenberg.org.
Gutenberg.org also has the 1859 edition.
[There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one;]
Compare the first (1859) edition: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one …”
I was very interested in what Darwin had to say about resources not being unlimited, and species dying off because their countries were unable to sustain them. He begins to touch on how man has doubled in twenty-five years (in 1800 the population of the human species was around 1 billion) and yet because of the time he is in, he is unable to see just how accurate his statement is, especially for the modern world, which has 7.7 billion people. I think that much of what he is saying can be seen in science today, especially by climate change activists and environmentalists who talk about renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and recycling plastics. I wonder what Darwin would think about issues facing the world today, like how we are relying on oil and yet it is an irreplaceable fossil fuel.
Darwin’s talk of progenitors prompted me to think about some of the most recent lectures in my heredity class this semester on progenitor cells, stem cells, and stem cell research. Darwin’s definition of progenitor seems quite similar to today’s definition, if not identical, and this leads me to the possible conclusion that this area of science has evolved little since his time. In my heredity class, we were taught that progenitor cells are a type of slightly more specialized stem cells, still able to become many different things, but ultimately more limited in what they can become and how many divisions they can undergo. I wonder if Darwin realized the difference between progenitor cells and stem cells, since it seemed he had already intuitively hypothesized so much in this area of science that is now widely accepted as scientific fact (if there is such a thing). I also began thinking about stem cell research, what Darwin would think about it today, and if he could have predicted that scientists would eventually begin using these precious cells for research, as well as to attempt to accomplish amazing, life-saving feats, such as growing organs for people with the medical need, or growing meat to lighten the load on the environment and the issue of food insecurity. How might today’s uses of progenitor cells/stem cells affect Darwin’s views on his famous Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection?
When I read this paragraph it reminded me of the line “I am Heathcliff” from Wuthering Heights. I found it interesting that we see a similar line here “you are part of my existence, part of myself”. I was thinking, are there ways that Pip’s love for Estella compares to Heathcliff’s love for Catherine. I also like this chapter because we see another similarity in the fact that there is a love triangle in this novel as well. Estella chooses Drummle here for the same reasons as Catherine picks Edgar.. This caused me to think are these similarities due to the fact that marrying for social class is pertinent to the time period? Are Estella and Catherine similar in the sense that they are choosing class over true love? How should we view the relationship between Estella and Drummle? Is it real or is it simply a way for Estella’s character to remain at the top of the social class pyramid? How does this compare to how Pip feels about her?
This revelation makes me want to go back to earlier chapters and look at the clues that Dickens left to hint toward this. Did any events or narration on Pip’s part show any awareness or hints that he was just a servant? Another question that I wondered was how Pip’s feelings toward Estella would have been different if he knew he was a servant all along.
I find this Estella’s choice of words here quite fascinating, as she starts by asserting that her rejection of Pip is in her nature, but then begins to distance herself from this, stating that it’s in the nature formed within her. This, I believe, is an important distinction, as it plays into what we’ve discussed earlier about Miss Havisham and Estella. I believe that when Estella mentions the nature formed within her, she is really hinting at the nature Miss Havisham helped foster in her, implying that her true nature, had it been left unaltered, would have led her to a different course of action and possibly even different feelings towards Pip.
[ Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 It was past midnight when I crossed London Bridge]
In Pip’s quest to see Miss Havisham and Estella one last time, London Bridge serves as his gateway to see them.
This reminds me of the phrase, “history is meant to repeat itself” because we have young Catherine finding a liking to her cousin, Hareton, who despite not being the biological son of Heathcliff, is raised by him. Heathcliff has now taken in a child despite his intentions; and young Catherine has fallen for him as did her mother, the late Catherine, to Heathcliff when they were younger. How can the social confinement young Catherine was forced to live in for thirteen years affect the way she thinks and perceives the world versus how her late mother, Catherine, was raised and reshaped to change the way she thought while living with the Lintons?
[If a servant chanced to vex her, it was always—‘I shall tell papa!’ And if he reproved her, even by a look, you would have thought it a heart-breaking business]
This comment about Cathy represents the class difference that was around during the Victorian Era. This passage perplexed me because it shows that people saw no issue with treating less fortunate people differently than those who had a higher social ranking. As made evident in this passage, upper-class citizens seemingly taught this mentality to their children. Even though the servants did so much for Cathy, she still looked down upon them because of their job title. At the time, her attitude may have been considered “saucy,” but in today’s day, it would probably be considered rude. This mentality caused there to be an immense class difference during the time of Victorian Literature.
[The twelve years, continued Mrs. Dean, following that dismal period were the happiest of my life:]
So, Emily Bronte frequently uses this technique of jumping backwards and forwards in time throughout the novel. It is here, where Nelly glosses over a dozen years of her life, that I was left wondering: how might this temporal leap and others factor into the motifs of Wuthering Heights? Keep in mind the three major time periods: the 1801 present; thirty years previous to 1771 with the childhoods of Cathy, Heathcliff, and Hindley; and then almost twenty years later to sometime in the 1790s. Do each of these “acts” of the story serve a vital function to the narrative? What are those functions? And why did Bronte choose to portray the story in this way, with Lockwood coming upon this location only to have the vast majority of the novel take place decades in the past? It would have been easy for her simply to portray the story in real-time without Lockwood and Nelly, but she chose otherwise. How should we as the reader view Nelly as a window into the past?
Here Pip suddenly starts looking at himself in a totally different light. Before visiting Miss Havisham’s house, he did not seem to mind or notice his working-class characteristics like his coarse hands and thick boots. Pip is introduced to a whole new world when he visits Miss Havisham’s home because of her sheer wealth and her and Estella’s upper-class lifestyle. But what is it about this environment and/or Estella and Miss Havisham influence his view of himself so greatly? Pip is treated very rudely by the two of them and he is clearly uncomfortable by their strange requests and behavior. Yet, he seems to take Estella’s harsh words to heart. He does this so much so that he decides that he must now become “uncommon.” Before Pip meets Estella and Miss Havisham, we only see Pip’s interaction with working class adults. His sister and the other adults in his life, excepting Joe, all seem to target, blame and antagonize Pip. Whether they accuse him of being ungrateful or physically attack him, Joe is unaffected in the sense that these adults’ harshness/criticism do not spark any inner change for him. This is why it is interesting to me that the words of Estella cause him to look at himself so drastically and abruptly differently. What about Pip’s interaction/experience with Estella at Miss Havisham’s house do you think sparked this change of his view of himself? Why? How do you think Pip’s relationships with working class adults throughout his life have impacted his view of Miss Havisham and Estella when he meets them? What do you think Pip’s core reason for his sudden interest in self-improvement is? Why?
There is a very vivid mention of the color white here. The color white can be portrayaed as innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection, and can represent a successful beginning. The dress seemed so pure and full of hope in the previous paragraph, but now it is withered and like the bride and flowers, and the woman appears to Pip as a skeleton which is also white. Why the drastic change in tone? Can it relate to his innocence being taken?
In the serial version, Part 5 began with Chapter 8.
Here, Pip is feeling very guilty about stealing from his sister’s pantry for the criminal. Evidently, he condemns himself and views what he did as a negative and terrible thing. However, he has to feel some kind of justification for what he did because he still did it. Instead of telling anyone or informing the police, he takes pity on the man and steals for him. Indeed, his actions, while morally wrong, display his compassion towards others, whether they deserve that compassion or not. The idea that he has compassion and sympathy for others leads to his justification for what he did; yet, he doesn’t feel this way and he never justifies what he did. Instead, he just feels guilt and shame, while viewing himself in a very negative light. So, why is it that he focuses on the negative much more than the positive? How does his attitude about himself and his actions add to his characterization?
[I fully expected to find a Constable in the kitchen, waiting to take me up.]
It’s interesting that even though Pip helped feed the convict, he feels so much guilt at the same time because of the man’s criminal past. It’s almost as if he couldn’t have done any good regardless of whether he helped him or not. If he didn’t feed him, Pip likely would have felt bad for not feeding the hungry. However, he now feels guilty for helping to fuel a criminal. This dilemma is a good example of the inner conflict most people face. We are all trying to be good humans, but sometimes it’s difficult to know what the right answer is.
I am particularly interesting in this paragraph because there is a negative tone in regard to this time of industrialization. However, this is not an uncommon view from writers of this time period. The maltreatment of the workers was one rising concern. I think in bringing this to light he is trying to work towards making this more well known so something can be done about it. I am wondering if we can look into this more in depth. The word “noble” is repeated a lot on this page. Is it the characteristic of being noble that will help manage this industrialization?
[ if Industry is ever to be led]
This invites me to feel like anyone can lead the industry and it is only a matter of who will step up. It also leads me to think who can lead the industry? Who specifically is the captain of the industry and what do the people have to do with it?
What is Carlyle’s opinion of the current leaders of industry and how they should be viewed? What kind of traits does Carlyle believe that that these leaders should have? Why does he feel this way?
This sentence’s use of polysyndeton I think is very interesting considering it’s placement in the text and its function, to describe Pip’s lineage. The expansiveness of this sentence doesn’t only come from the actual physical length but also the vast amount of details given in it. The list of Pip’s dead relatives along with the heavily detailed imagery about the landscape creates this complex backstory of Pip. This depiction is directly juxtaposed with the last two words ‘that reveal Pip. Does this sentence alone give a hint to Pip’s characteristics?
Or is this just a stylistic technique that can be attributed to the time?
In the serial version, Part 8 began with Chapter 12.
Miss Havisham is encouraging this vicious cycle of class division between Pip and Estella. It seems like this may be for her own entertainment, as she is always prompting Pip to play with Estella, and to be involved with Estella. By asking if she’s growing prettier, it’s almost like she wants to make sure that Pip is in a vulnerable position for Estella to be condescending to him and beat him down. Miss Havisham is directly feeding and puppeteering this relationship to root both of them of their class status. What I do find interesting is that class roles seem to trump gender roles here.
[ My mind grew very uneasy on the subject of the pale young gentleman. The more I thought of the fight, and recalled the pale young gentleman on his back in various stages of puffy and incrimsoned countenance, the more certain it appeared that something would be done to me…]
Pip in this paragraph describes quite vividly the violence of his encounter with the pale young gentleman. While it is an important event in Pip’s development as a “gentleman”, it is interesting to note that his guilt over the encounter is completely overblown to the actual impact on Herbert, the pale gentleman himself who becomes one of Pip’s best and most loyal companions. This is just another example of Pip’s imagination (his mind’s eye) creating overblown expectations and crafting his own misery.
This text of “Agnosticism and Christianity” is taken from the Gutenberg.org edition of Thomas Henry Huxley’s Essays Upon Some Controverted Questions (1892). The essay first appeared in 1889 in the journal Nineteenth Century.
One thing I find fascinating here is how Huxley prefaces his definition and understanding of agnosticism. His statement of “speaking for myself, and without impugning on the rights of any other person to use the term in another sense” seems to have some fascinating parallels with how members of the LGBT+ community speak about some of the more nuanced terms relating to sexuality and gender today. For example, some people who identify as pansexual define pansexuality as an active attraction to all genders, while others who identify as pansexual define pansexuality as being attracted to people regardless of their gender. When terms like this exist, with multiple and increasingly fluid definitions, it become increasingly important for people to, like Huxley does, preface that when they are defining these terms, they are speaking for themselves, not sharing the concrete definition. For when you don’t make that distinction, you risk impugning on the rights of others to use the term in another sense.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature (7th edition) provides this translation: “No one, therefore, should seek to learn knowledge from me, for I know that I do not know — unless indeed he does not know.” (Saint Augustine, City of God 12.7).
Why does Mr. Jaggers wash his hands, and even, at times, wash his face and “gargle his throat” after seeing clients? What does this practice suggest about his internal life versus his daunting outer life as a successful and ruthless lawyer? How can this be compared to Wemmick’s tactic of retreating to his “Castle” and not talking about his home while at work and not talking about work while at home? Also, how does the division between these two character’s personal and work lives differ from the division between internal and external lives that Joe experiences as a blacksmith? Why might Joe not be able to, or even not want to, enjoy the work-life balance experienced by Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick?
What does Mr. Jaggers mean by “‘You know what I am, don’t you?'” How can one begin to answer this question? And why is Mr. Jaggers so fascinated with Drummle, yet so insistent that Pip stays away from him?
Washing his hands of his clients and opening Pip’s eyes.
I picked this paragraph due to how it had piqued my interest both in its argument and context, especially when reading this in conjunction with “Captains of Industry”. From an argumentative standpoint, I think Carlyle juxtaposes the generosity of the Dahomey with the “Mammonist” ideals of England well. One of Carlyle’s major gripes with the political and social landscape of England is that although there is a surplus of wealth, the country is still plagued with the poor, while many work through a life of misery with little to show for it. On top of this, he expresses his aggravation towards the greed of man, and how society has allowed monetary interest surpass the importance of morality and nobility. The juxtaposition is a basic one: the African women were poor yet still gave what little they had to Mungo Park, which is more noble and moral effort than what the people of Carlyle’s country were doing. However, this sparked an interest in me and lead to me researching and asking many questions about Carlyle’s and Britain’s views on Africans at the time, Mungo Park, and the Black Dahomey.
Is Carlyle’s view of morality determined by how a person acts in contrast to capitalist tendencies?
Based on the way Carlyle speak about the poor African mother and her child, what can we as a group extrapolate about Caryle’s feelings toward Africans and Colonization as a whole?
Pip paranoid about the way other people may view him after death.
The Sluice-house is described in a sinister and mysterious manner. By Pip putting himself in this anxiety-inducing situation, he is proving how he is willing to put himself in a place of danger for Provis to protect him.
The marshes are a major setting in the novel. They are discussed in chapter 1 where Pip lives, in chapter 53 where Pip is attacked, and when he crosses through them to his new life. The marshes show Pip’s development over time and are key.
The text of these excerpts from Robert Chambers’ Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) is taken from Gutenberg.org.
This paragraph particularly interested me because I am usually looking forward to how an author will close out a piece of writing. As I am reading I am always forming different concluding paragraphs in my head and can usually predict endings well. However, this paragraph was worth commenting on because I did not predict it to be closed out this way. The premise of the piece of writing is interesting in general, the connection between the vegetable and animal development, and the idea that these developments are apart of a plan and are designed to happen, is not something we would normally put together. It is also important to note another reason why this paragraph stood out to me, it recognizes the “unknown”. Making it clear that there is still much we do not know about the past, present, and of course the future. This left me thinking about the very last line. Since we are reading this in the future from the time it was written, do we see some philosophical evidence for the conclusions that were drawn?
[But add the case that you had loved her, Pip, and had made her the subject of those ‘poor dreams’ which have, at one time or another, been in the heads of more men than you think likely]
Jaggers is really hammering in his points in this passage like a true and proper lawyer (his usage of the “Put the case” phrase is a run-through of logical deduction frequently used in courtrooms). However, it is his appeal to pathos, rather than logos, that finally tips Pip over the edge and causes him to rescind his indignant comments. This chapter in general adds a great deal of depth to Jaggers, who up ’til this point in the novel has been a somewhat controversial character. He projects stiffness and stodgy bussinesslike behavior to Pip in public, but has been extremely helpful in his times of need. To what extent is his somewhat improper behavior an egregious misuse of power on his part? He frequently helps criminals or the accused escape judgment. To what extent is Dickens saying that the law should be subverted in order to do the morally correct thing? Are there other examples of systematic or governmental corruption in the novel? Are Jagger’s acts condemned or condoned by the rest of the novel? Was his attempt to save Estella a misguided endeavor that actually ended up causing her more suffering?
shows Mr. Jaggers doesn’t have a complete view of Wemmick as he truly is
This shows how Miss Havisham’s view of Pip changes. She sees him through a “looking-glass” that, not only allows her to see Pip’s perspective, but also to empathize with him by equating their experiences.
Pip states that he “alighted at the Halfway House, and breakfasted there, and walked the rest of the distance.” (Chapter 49, Paragraph 1) His stay there led him to witness Miss Havisham go up in flames in her house. He rushed inside and saved her, but her injuries caused her to become disabled. Who knows what would have happened if he had not been there to save her.
[I was on the point of attaining my object, when it seemed that I heard a sigh from some one above, close at the edge of the grave, and bending down. “If I can only get this off,” I muttered, “I wish they may shovel in the earth over us both!” and I wrenched at it more desperately still. There was another sigh, close at my ear. I appeared to feel the warm breath of it displacing the sleet-laden wind. I knew no living thing in flesh and blood was by; but, as certainly as you perceive the approach to some substantial body in the dark, though it cannot be discerned, so certainly I felt that Cathy was there: not under me, but on the earth]
Throughout this whole passage, Heathcliff vividly describes the torturing he feels of Catherine’s ghost haunting him. Considering that no one else in the family has felt the torment of her spirit in all these years, are we inclined to believe that her ghost is at all real? Is she actually there wanting to be with Heathcliff in the physical world? Or does her spirit represent something else? Could it symbolize her memory that Heathcliff can never let go of?
This was a big moment for Cathy as she took a stand against Heathcliff’s attempts to control her and his son Linton. It’s Cathy’s love for Linton that gives her strength in this moment. Love made Cathy strong enough to stick up for herself and Linton. This got me thinking about Heathcliff and Catherine’s love, did it make them strong or was it love that brought out their weaknesses? Was their relationship purely brought about by their sexual urges or was it a love that was built to last? Did Heathcliff and Catherine only really care about themselves or did they want to see each other happy?
The role of nature that was such an important theme to the Romantics has all but disappeared in the much more urban and industrialized settings common of Victorian literature. Sometimes the theme peeks through, as is the case here. Pip pledges to Joe and Biddy that he will come to visit more often, as he feels such guilt over the way he has treated them. While the two appear skeptical of his vow, Pip remains resolute. However, his genuine and deliberate intentions are contrasted by the mists that rise around him as he leaves. Looking back, the grown Pip even acknowledges the mist’s representation of the uncertainty and ambiguity of his promise.
There are one or two other instances of similar situations of nature I can think of, but they are not nearly as significant as those found in Romantic literature. Rather, the role of nature seems to have been replaced with the role of setting. The locations of Pip’s various stages in life reflect his experiences and internal struggles. The primary of these settings, of course, being London, and the marsh country where Pip grew up. He acts as two separate personalities in each of these places and finds that he cannot carry one over into the other. This is a source of great conflict for Pip, as he tries to find a balance between the two in these chapters. Once you go into more specific locations, such as the Havisham residence, the churchyard, Wemmick’s “castle”, and the Joe household, even more aspects of Pip’s character, and others, are revealed. What do these settings say about the story and the plot that it follows? Can elements of Romantic nature be found in them? And what effects do the locations of Great Expectations have on the characters that inhabit them?
It’s clear that Pip is a very classic bildungsroman character–the novel is quite literally a coming of age novel centered around him. This is, as he quotes, “The first time a grave had opened up” in his rode of life. What’s the significance of the first time Pip encounters death, it is his sister? How will the absence of her, his only mother-like figure, effect his character development?
Pip’s lack of insight as to why Abel carries around the Testament makes me wonder about the deeper-rooted reasons Abel may have been carrying around this little black book for so long. While we know fairly little about Abel, as his character is absent for significant portions of the book, we learn that he lived a difficult life and began thieving at a young age. It is therefore plausible that he carries around the Testament “solely to swear people on in cases of emergency” because he craves some sort of structure and source of accountability in his life. After all, he is certainly not a totally dishonest man. Abel lives by his own moral code, eventually repaying Pip for helping him all those years ago. Perhaps Abel places such a heavy emphasis on making and keeping vows on the Testament because he feels it compensates for breaking the law. What else might this quality of Abel’s say about his character?
This meeting in a good marker in time to show how Pip is changing over the course of the story. How do you think his perspective on the convict has changed and why? Do you think Pip is right to judge the way he is eating even comparing him to a dog or is that the way he has been trained to think within the new society he lives in?
In the serial version, Part 9 began with Chapter 14.
Paragraphs 2 and 4 discusses Pips apprenticeship at the Forge with Joe and how his expectations and dreams for his life have changed, adn he believes he is destined for more.
I am super interested in the development of Pips character throughout this piece. Is he honest? Is he a good person? Does he care for others? How will all the things we know of him as of now change? The divide in societal structures and classes is evident here and brings out a different part of Pip. Overall, I think I am waiting for some sort of ball to drop in Pips characterization and development, something that I think may be foreshadowed a little here specifically when he says “he might be worthier of my society.” Pip is increasingly becoming aware of his status in society, but what is interesting to me is to see how he grows as a character with it. I guess I’m curious as to Pips overall end goal with wanting to educate Joe, we know because he may be a little ashamed of him but what will eventually happen? What impact does Estellas disapproval have on him? And further, what do you think will happen with Joe and his relationship eventually? Overall I am just very interested in Pips character development the impact of class systems on his character.
Although brief, I feel that this coupled with paragraph 70 perfectly embodies Miss Havisham as a character. Asking if Pip is looking for Estella while knowing she is gone is a blatant set up for disappointment. In this paragraph, her abruptness signifies almost everything her character seeks to achieve in regards to causing Pip pain. Explaining how she is unattainable due to distance while also making it apparent that she is educating to be a lady, Miss Havisham is once again injecting the class differences between Estella and Pip, something uncontrollable but nonetheless upsetting for Pip to deal with. This paragraph is a fantastic indicator of how Miss Havisham executes her revenge towards men.
Chapter 32 gives a description of Pips impression of the prioson in paragrph 15 and paragraph 16 shows how he is stunned by the way Wemmick is interacting with the prioners.
Pips love for Estella is shown here when he arrives early in anticipation for her coach.
I am particularly struck by the “virtuous and superior tone,” that Pip uses in his conversation with Biddy and Joe in this chapter. Gaging by this conversation, it seems as though Pip has picked up on quite a few of Estella’s mannerisms as his exhume a snobbish attitude to those closest to him. Interestingly enough, in the previous chapter Pip expresses his dissatisfaction with himself and his desire to become a gentleman, and while this goal comes into fruition, I begin to wonder if Pip’s quest for self-improvement will alienate him further from kind-hearted child he used to be and whether or not he will regard Joe as his equal or his inferior when he obtains his property.
Gaging by this conversation, it seems as though Pip has picked up on quite a few of Estella’s mannerisms and begins to exude snobbery.*
Back in Chapter One, we see Pip establish himself as Pip and not Phillip. That was the point where he kind of realized who he was in relation to the word. Is this nickname of “Handel” a turning point that we are supposed to pick up on? Is this where Pip’s identity shifts from being the blacksmith’s apprentice to a gentleman? And, if that is so, then why is his new nickname related to blacksmithing? Is this a attempt to state that Pip, no matter where he goes, he cannot escape his past?
[“I didn’t care much for it. She’s a Tartar.”]
Unless “Tartar” is some sort of chic Victorian slang that I am unaware of, my random compendium of history knowledge tells me that the Tartars were a group of people hailing from the steppes of central Asia. When Pip prompts Herbert further, he continues his explanation by calling Estella “hard and haughty and capricious to the last degree,” (15). Herbert is casually demeaning Estelle by referring to her as a member of another race, and rather than comment on that fact, Pip just accepts it as an understandable thing to call her.
Later on, Pip mentions that the dinner itself was “heightened by a certain gypsy character that set the banquet off,” (38). The presence of the gypsy, according to Pip, makes the luxurious dinner almost have an air of danger due to its close proximity to the sitting-room, which presumably is filled with lower-class individuals. Like the criminals of earlier chapters, the minorities have become the “other” that threatens Pip’s world.
So, now I am left wondering as to what degree Pip’s comments about the gypsy are just emblematic of general Victorian England ignorance or are meant to signal a shift in Pip’s perception of the world. Is he perhaps picking up on Herbert’s language and attempting to shift his demeanor to reflect this new man who he admires? Are the lower-class individuals of Great Expectations coded as racial minorities as well? How does Pip refer to criminals before and after this point, and is the language similar to how he describes racial minorities?
The text of this excerpt from Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments is taken from Gutenberg.org.
This passage intrigues me since it appears to best represent the effects of Darwin and Lyell on the general public, which is to say, an ultimately revelatory and indigestible one. Also, there is something deeply comedic about Gosse’s father envisioning himself as the man who could figure out how the world was created, and put to rest the ideas of Lyell for good. Although, and in the interest of fairness, the passage is more emblematic of a tragicomedy. The ideas of Darwin and Lyell surely caused a large stress on the populace that was too old and/or too far into their beliefs to account for these new theories, be they Christian or not. However, the effort put forth by Gosse’s father to make his theological and scientific system axiomatically consistent is inspiring. All of this leads me to wonder, was this a common experience? And moreover, did these works inspire a deep crisis of confidence in faith, and a pressure for a more axiomatically secure system of monotheistic belief? Finally, I wonder if there is any utility in using the term ‘cognitive dissonance,’ and how that term operates in post-Origin of the Species society.
In paragraph 16, Nelly is describing the fit Heathcliff falls into after hearing of her death. Based solely on the language used to convey his feelings, Heathcliff is obviously unable to cope with his grief and reluctant to let go of his grasp on Catherine. Interestingly enough, his plea for her to take any form, however, is realised much earlier in Chapter 3, when Lockwood narrates Heathcliff’s frazzled state of mind when he calls out “hear me this time, Catherine, at last!” How are we, as readers, supposed to grapple with this behaviour? Is Emily Brontë trying to humanise Heathcliff with his grief earlier on in the novel? Or is his hope that Catherine might “wake in torment” as opposed to finding peace in heaven another example of his selfishness and villainy? If we compared the narration from both Nelly and Lockwood, what emotions are conveyed and most importantly, how is Heathcliff depicted? Can we find traces of bias? Is he being presented as a Byronic figure through his use of evocative, damning language? Is Emily Brontë criticising the Byronic character trope or is she strategically manipulating this character to propel the story forward? It begs the question, if Heathcliff were the sole narrator of his transcendental love story- how radically would the novel change?
To clarify: In paragraph 16, Nelly is describing the fit Heathcliff falls into after learning of Catherine’s death.*
The text of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “England in 1819” printed here is taken from Poetical Works, ed. Mary Shelley (London: E. Moxon, 1839) via Representative Poetry Online.
I really like the last two lines of this poem because despite all of the bad things being mentioned in the piece (i.e. the”old, mad, blind, despis’d, and dying king” and the “sanguine laws which tempt and slay”) and ultimately all of the bad things going on during this time, the author manages to conjure up a sense of optimism in this dark time. It is true that many people were fed up with the injustices of new industrial and political order in Britain, and demanded change, but beyond that, they should also have a sense of hope FOR such change. Although this “glorious Phantom” that will “burst” and “illumine our tempestuous day” is unknown, this sliver of hope for a much needed change is very nice.
Do you think Bronte believes that women of the socially elite are negatively affected by their upbringing/ status? What examples from the text support your opinion?
How does Cathy’s social mobility alter her relationship with Heathcliff both internally and externally (ie within herself and from a broader, societal perspective)?
This was an interesting first look into Heathcliff’s life because we see the prejudices that were directed at him from the moment he comes into Victorian society. Mrs. Earnshaw is inherently racist towards “gypsies,” and he is labeled as such due to his different physical features. As he grows up, he must learn to grapple with being an outcast.
To what point does the language used in reference to Heathcliff in this passage serve? How does it contrast the others’ views on him later in the story?
[’ve no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am]
I was drawn to this quote because of how it shows how important social status is in this novel. Catherine knows that she loves Heathcliff, but she also knows that if she married him her social reputation would not be the same and she would be looked down upon. On the contrary she knows that she isn’t fit enough to marry Edgar so this is an opportunity for her to raise her social standing. If she marries Edgar, then she would be able to be “the greatest woman of the neighborhood” as she refers to it in paragraph 49. I was most drawn to “he’s more myself than I am”. Catherine is expressing this desire to be able to be herself, which she is when she is with Heathcliff, but due to expectations from her brother and society, she is no longer able to be this person.
Catherine declares that she loves Edgar, but given the reason she gives as to why she loves him being “he’s more myself than I am”, as well as what we know about her situation as a whole, do you think that she truly loves him, or does she simply wish she could be more like him?
Nelly Dean tells Edgar immediately of Cathy’s late night adventures. Up until then, she had allowed Cathy to do what she wanted and kept her secrets from her father. To me, this seemed like the responsible thing to do.
How do you perceive Nelly? Are her actions confusing to you? Does she really care about Cathy’s best interest or is she merely acting the part of the unreliable gossip she has been purported to be?
The disagreement between Linton and Young Cathy over their idea of a perfect day highlights how they are not actually compatible as a couple, and perhaps not even as friends. But what do their individual fantasies say about each of their characters? How is this significant to their parentage? In other words, do their answers reflect the personalities of their respective parents?
[I shall be your father, to-morrow—all the father you’ll have in a few days—and you shall have plenty of that. You can bear plenty; you’re no weakling: you shall have a daily taste, if I catch such a devil of a temper in your eyes again!’]
Catherine has displayed a bad temper on several occasions throughout this book. However, I believe that this is because of the way she was raised. The adults who raised her seem to have a bit of a violent streak themselves. I was quite surprised when Heathcliff struck Catherine because of the way she behaved. Rather than backing away from Catherine and trying to resolve the matter civilly, Heathcliff decided to resort to violence which only made the situation worse. It was bad that he struck her once, but Heathcliff planned on continuing to hit her as a way to “father” her. This passage represents the resentment that is held by several of the characters in this book. Since they do not seem to understand how to deal with situations properly, anger and betrayal have become common themes in Wuthering Heights.
How does Linton’s self deprecating language, both in this passage and previous ones, effect the reader’s understanding of his character? Is it a ploy for love or a form of manipulation? Do you trust him?
Here, Teufelsdrockh discusses temptation and acknowledges the fact that even the most pious humans find themselves faced with the “old Adam” inside of them which cannot “be dispossessed.” He reasons that temptation is part of human nature, and that we have a constant battle within ourselves between “Necessity” and the “Gospel of Freedom.”
The following lines confuse me but I will try my best–the Bible is directly quoted twice in this passage, yet Teufelsdrockh seems to question the validity of these verses and whether or not one can really live up to their true, aspiration meaning.
Did not mean to click ‘post’ before proofreading, but can’t figure out how to edit…meant to write “aspirational” rather than “aspiration” in the last line.
To conclude…I wonder, is Teufelsdrockh committing blasphemy or as I misinterpreting?
The cruelty of this particular line of dialogue brings into perspective all of Heathcliff and Linton’s actions. There is a lot of depth to many characters in Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff in particular. Linton at points can be seen as a pawn of his father, rather than starkly evil. But when considering passages such as this, are there any redeemable things to say of Heathcliff and his son? Can their actions be defended or looked upon with any sort of nuance after they have constructed such a horrible situation?
If Heathcliff is an especially malevolent force in Wuthering Heights, using institutions such as marriage to further his revenge, what does this say about Victorian society in a wider context?
The “kidnapping” of Catherine surprised me, because it is one of the first times Heathcliff completely disregards the law in a desperate act to protect himself. Linton needs to marry Cathy before Edgar’s death to benefit Heathcliff and himself by making all Catherine’s possessions his own. Heathcliff’s actions demonstrate he is living with the thought process that the ends justify the means and has no regard or remorse for anybody, even his own son seems to be terrified of him. When he locks them away it reminds me of when Heathcliff was locked away and how revenge is a reoccurring theme that seems to recreate past events. But is any of this really worth it? What also caught my attention was that Catherine tries to physically fight off Heathcliff, but since the beginning of her relationship with Linton she has appeared to be the pursuer defying traditional roles. Is this fiasco all for love, revenge, status, all of the above, or nothing?
I found this part of the chapter very compelling because when Isabella gains control of the knife, she feels this sense of overwhelming power. It’s in this instense that she feels secure and in a way, independent. Up until this point she has been a very passive character who rarely has her own thoughts because she is always under the influence of Edgar or Heathcliff. I think this is a big turning point for Isabella’s character as she has gotten that first taste of independence and power and hopefully she will use this to her benefit as the novel progresses.
Will Isabella embrace and use this new found power in the future or continue to hide beneath the shadow of Heathcliff and Edgar’s influence?
Visiting Miss Havisham and Estella for the last time is a big turning point in Pip’s life. Once the maids informed him that Estella had traveled “to Satis House, as usual,” Pip decides to go there to see them.
It is quite hard to not empathize with Abel in this paragraph, and for that matter, paragraph five as well. For all in all, Abel is the epitome of the man who was offered no chances, and accordingly, found no reason to peacefully co-exist with a society that actively scorned him. And this was a truth made clear to him from an early age when he was penalized for stealing food so that he may subsist. As it follows, this paragraph is the culmination of Abel’s journey, and it encapsulates the hollowness of Victorian society and its morals. Summarily, Compeyson, the finely dressed actor of gentility, is able to receive half the sentence Abel is given. There is no foundation for this but the fact that Compeyson performs, and signifies, to a higher class than Abel. It’s hard not to see this as a stand in for a larger question that Dickens is making, what makes a person good? And in a more oblique (but also more relevant) sense, why are certain individuals deemed more worthy of forgiveness in the same crime of theft? The first question is far broader than this comment allows, but the second I can touch upon. Clearly, the wealthy Victorian elites are wrapped up in the facade of righteousness as they signify towards a certain type of nobility, but if these cultural signifiers were stripped away, then the common thief and the Victorian capitalist are all too similar. This brings me back around to the point of this paragraph acting as an effective metaphor for the greater state of Victorian society. Compeyson can adequately be seen as the Victorian capitalist, that is the people who actively profit from criminally underpaid laborers and British colonial efforts abroad, whereas Abel merely attempts to subsist in a society that has placed him low, and keeps him low to maintain slanted hierarchies. All in all, my interest in this passage is due to its reflection on culture legitimizing certain types of theft, how such cultural signifiers offer all too reductionist classifications, and why these signifiers were necessary to keep Victorian England’s classist structure alive.
Pip states that “we went to Gerrard Street, all three together, in a hackney-coach: And, as soon as we got there, dinner was served.” (Ch 48, paragraph 13) While at dinner, Pip realizes that Molly is the person that Estella resembles and concludes that Molly must be her mother. He becomes certain of this realization once he realizes that Molly was accused of killing a woman and her daughter. If he had not gone to dinner on Gerrard Street, he wouldn’t have gained this information.
[The Castle battlements arose upon my view at eight o’clock.]
Once Pip enters the Castle, he is greeted by Wemmick. If Pip had not visited, Wemmick would not have told him that Compeyson was trying to pursue Magwitch. He learns that Magwitch is being held at Clara’s house, which causes him to travel there. His visit led to an unexpected change of plans to find Magwitch.
While on a boat, Pip “came ashore at the wharf at dusk. [He] had pulled down as far as Greenwich with the ebb tide, and had turned with the tide.” (chapter 47, paragraph 6) Once arriving in Greenwich, he goes to the theatre to forget his troubles. It is here that Wopsle informs him that a convict was in the audience behind him. He realizes that Compeyson must be following him and he grows quite terrified of this knowledge. Upon learning this, he goes to tell Herbert and Wemmick about the situation. Had he not traveled to Greenwich, he would not have had this realization.
This text of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights is from Gutenberg.org.
Release Date: April 19, 2007 [eBook #768]
[This file last updated on August 28, 2010]
Transcribed from the 1910 John Murray edition by David Price.
Release Date: April 19, 2007 [eBook #768]
[This file last updated on August 28, 2010]
Transcribed from the 1910 John Murray edition by David Price.
This paragraph pays substantial attention to boats and lists many different kinds of boats and details the form and function of said boats. This concern with and extensive description of boats makes me think back to when Pip first met Estella and Miss Havisham. Pip was so taken with their upper-class status that he began to see Estella and Miss Havisham in the beautiful sailboats he would see across the marshes of his home. What can we make of the fact that boats are such a predominant motif in this novel? Are they mentioned so extensively merely because of the nature of Pip and Magwitch’s escape? Or is it something more? Could boats serve perhaps as an extended metaphor here that could lead readers to hypotheses regarding the nature of identity? Indeed, boats are made in a particular form to serve certain functions, yet their ability to enact their designed function is often dependent upon the condition of the water that the boats traverse. Is this idea paralleled in any way by the characters of Great Expectations and the way in which their identities are perceived?
Here is a place where Pip’s perspective changes. Now that he realizes that what he once had wanted so bad was no longer attainable, he wanted to go back to Biddy and live a life with her. He is aware of his shortcomings and that he has wronged Biddy but he does not know that it is now too late for what once could have been.
[Many pleasant pictures of the life that I would lead there, and of the change for the better that would come over my character when I had a guiding spirit at my side whose simple faith and clear home wisdom I had proved, beguiled my way. They awakened a tender emotion in me; for my heart was softened by my return, and such a change had come to pass, that I felt like one who was toiling home barefoot from distant travel, and whose wanderings had lasted many years.]
This is an example of how Pip’s character starts to change as he imagines and visions the life he could have had.
The text of Edwin Mead’s poem “The Steam King” printed here is taken from the online exhibition Rhyme and Reform: Victorian Working-Class Poets and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children”, a companion to a symposium of the same name held October 4-5, 2018 and sponsored by the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the University of Manchester in England.
This paragraph conveys how Pip is able to see other people. He is able to perceive this man as violent and desperate–able to formulate how to feel (terror, dreadful burden) from what he’s seeing.
What exactly is Nelly getting at here? What does she mean when she says that “we must be for ourselves in the long run?” Furthermore, what is the implication of saying that the mild and generous are only more justly selfish than the domineering? Can this statement be interpreted as a pessimistic perception of human nature on the part of Brontë? Moreover, I ask myself whether or not I agree with what I think this statement is saying. Is it really selfish to be mild and generous when it comes to navigating interpersonal relationships, as Nelly seems to be claiming?
As they grow apart from their childhood memories and grow into the adolescent stages of life, they begin to grow out of childhood personas and create new ones through experiences. Does Estella remind Pip of someone else he knows or is he referring to Estella’s past self?; Someone he was familiar with but is no longer close with?
I found this paragraph to be a little humorous in Pip’s analysis of the world around him, and also interesting. It seems that his sister is the dominant force in his domestic world. We learned through our previous readings that usually within Victorian society the father figure seems to rule the domestic sphere, but Pip seems to think otherwise within his household. Could this be because we are introduced to Pip’s world through his eyes, the perspective of a child?
In the serial version, Part 3 began with Chapter 5.
In the serial version, Part 4 began with Chapter 6.
Mr. Wopsle’s Great Aunt’s Educational Institute
I find the psychological insight that Bronte has into her characters to be striking and ahead of its time. It seems as though Catherine was coaxed into falling in love with Linton partially as a result of her being forbidden to see him. When this is further enforced, she finds herself in despair because of the void cut through her passions; she is no longer able to correspond with Linton, so the affection that she has grown to be dependent on has vanished.
In the serial version, Part 6 began with Chapter 9.
At the Three Jolly Bargemen Pip thinks he meets the convict again and is overcome by guilt.
In the serial version, Part 7 began with Chapter 11.
In the serial version, Part 2 began with Chapter 3.
Catherine initially appears lukewarm to the prospect of a romance with Linton. Heathcliff repeatedly questions her: “don’t you like him?” “Is he not a handsome lad?” In response to this, it is only said that Catherine “looked queer.” That said, how is it that Catherine finds herself exchanging passionate love letters with him? What facilitates this transition?
This quote by Heathcliff reveals a lot about his character. For starters, he refers to his son as “property”, and this is very telling to what he thinks of his son and whether or not he truly cares about him. Heathcliff is prone to judging people based upon how he can use them to his advantage. Heathcliff also does this with Cathy when he wants her to marry so he will get the Grange. Do you think Heathcliff is truly that cold to seeing his son? Do you think perhaps he hides his emotions so he can be strictly business?
I’d love to know what exactly Catherine was thinking of when she heard the chapel bells, and why they triggered such thoughts. Is this just foreshadowing her death, or is there some deeper meaning here? Also, how does this speak to the novel’s ongoing relationship with religion and how it affects its characters?
I find it interesting that Nelly tends to speak her mind to whoever she chooses, regardless of class. Not only does she speak this way to Heathcliff, but also Isabella, Edgar, and Catherine it seems.
To focus on this comment specifically, Nelly implies that Heathcliff is not giving Isabella enough love and care, which is why she isn’t doing well. Heathcliff right after claims that she doesn’t have self love. Are either of them completely correct? Is Isabella suffering only because her life with Heathcliff isn’t the fairytale she assumed it would be, or does she also have a lack of self love that perhaps got her into this situation? Or perhaps, are neither of them correct, and Isabella is missing her brother?
Refer to my earlier comment in Chapter 22, this seems to reinforce my theory about the identity of “Pip” versus “Handel.”
This scene where Pip is being openly mocked by the tailor’s assistant grabbed my attention because Pip does nothing about it in the moment. He makes it sound like he narrowly escaped from his tormentor and then once in the safety of his own home, he write an angry letter to Mr. Trabb. It seems like Pip has a certain way of dealing with conflicts and events, a sort of removal from the moment. This happens not only with the letter, but also with his sending Joe a barrel of oysters because he didn’t go to visit him and also when he complains about Orlick to get him fired but doesn’t actually do anything himself. Is this a way that Pip has learned to cope with things? Does the way he reacts/copes with things reveal something about an indifference he has with people now that he has achieved gentlemanly status? Does Pip think he is better than others? In a nutshell, what sort of inferences do you draw about Pip from his “long distance” dealing with things?
The text and plate of William Blake’s poem “London” printed here is from Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Copy AA (1826) via The William Blake Archive.
It is interesting that after all that Heathcliff has done to Hareton and his horrible that Hareton continues to treat Heathcliff with respect. Hareton says to Cathy that no matter what he will stand by Heathcliff and that she must not say any words against him. In addition to this, his request of Catherine occurs right after Catherine is brutally abused verbally and physically. I find this continued loyalty peculiar on both Hareton and Cathy’s part. Hareton had been ignored, neglected and barely raised yet he In addition, Cathy, who Hareton loves, has also been repeatedly abused by Heathcliff. I wonder if this loyalty truly stems from a deep love of Heathcliff.Cathy’s response is also surprising considering the immense hatred that has built up towards Heathcliff throughout the past couple of months at Wuthering Heights. Her acceptance of Hareton’s request could reflect her true love and passion for Hareton. But it may also further represent the playing out of gender roles.
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December 17, 2019 at 11:48 am
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