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08 January 2010

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The Story Begun by Walter Hartright, Chapters IX-XV
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bellezza

That schoolroom scene almost broke my heart, being the teacher that I am for twenty-five years, because I hate it when no one believes little kids. So often they're not lying, and it's the adult who's too 'stupid' to realize it. The dialect in that scene was also great; you could practically hear the boy tell his story.

(My post for this section can be found here.)

Gina

And now you know why I said that Marian can be annoying at times: She has that tendency to try to keep Laura in a bubble. (Walter does too, but Marian has clearly been doing it for a lot longer, and with greater effect.) It's obvious that she loves her sister very much, and I know from experience that older sisters can truly be overprotective. But as you say, it might be nice for Laura to have SOME say in the events that have a greater impact on her own life than on anyone else's!

Ms Avery

Ugh, Laura. She's so insipid -- Collins never does anything to make her interesting. She's just a pretty love interest, all innocent and vulnerable and... zzzzzzz. And yes, Walter and Marian encourage those traits in her by overprotecting her, but I think she's just badly written as well.

It's like with Dickens -- the love-interests are totally boring, while the other women are actually fun and interesting (e.g. in David Copperfield -- Dora and Agnes compared to Betsey Trotwood). I think it was a cultural thing, or at least a cultural idea surrounding fiction at the time, that 'nice' women weren't supposed to have strong personalities.

Bellezza

I agree that Marian's good intentions seem a bit ?! controlling. As a big sister myself, I have to guard against that tendency! I think it comes with the territory: being oldest, you try to protect the littler ones, even when they're adults.

It is interesting that Laura is nothing more than a beautiful, albeit insipid, woman. Despite Marian's faults, I'm much more impressed by her strength than Laura's beauty.

Gina

But you gotta give Dickens this much (of course I'm always going to argue for Dickens, being a Dickensblogger! :-) ): At least most of his heroines get to be involved in the main action and not sent off to sit in the corner. They don't have their own correspondence hidden from them because they're too frail to deal with it. And many of them become self-supporting too (e.g., Agnes, Amy Dorrit, Lizzie Hexam, Esther Summerson). One gets the sense that poor Laura wouldn't be able to pick up a pen or tie a shoe if Marian weren't there to support her arm.

Jes at YI

Here's my first impressions. They'll probably change 30 times by the end of the book. That's usually how I roll. I love reading all the comments. I find myself agreeing with everyone, no matter what. ;-)
http://www.yellowinkling.com/yellow_inkling/2010/01/the-big-read-v-the-woman-in-white-by-wilkie-collins-walter-hartrights-first-divulgement-.html

Anastasia

Ugh, Laura and how everyone infantilizes her is starting to grate on my nerves. And the worst thing is that Walter does it, too! I know they're in love with each other any everything, but Laura needs to grow some balls (and Marian needs to let her grow them). Here's my thoughts on about these sections: http://wp.me/pmXiL-153

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