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Rachel-K
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Murdered fathers?

[ Edited ]
Dr. Miles’ story of the adoring husband with the murderous wife. Or the story of the Burnhams. Two stories (maybe three, if you count this one?) of a father dying violently, after some kind of sexual perversity inflicted on loved ones. (Certianly pretty Freudian!)

What do you make of the stories themselves?

We get the impression from Anne that it’s a pretty standard hat-trick in her trade, but I don’t think we ever “see inside” Dr. Miles' head in the course of the novel--do you believe this story in any part is true?

Message Edited by rkubie on 07-27-2007 11:16 AM
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x-tempo
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Re: Murdered fathers?


rkubie wrote:
Dr. Miles’ story of the adoring husband with the murderous wife. Or the story of the Burnhams. Two stories (maybe three, if you count this one?) of a father dying violently, after some kind of sexual perversity inflicted on loved ones. (Certianly pretty Freudian!)

What do you make of the stories themselves?

We get the impression from Anne that it’s a pretty standard hat-trick in her trade, but I don’t think we ever “see inside” Dr. Miles' head in the course of the novel--do you believe this story in any part is true?

Message Edited by rkubie on 07-27-2007 11:16 AM





But Burnham wasn't murdered and the adoring husband wasn't a father. And the adoring husband didn't die violently after inflicting sexual perversity, he died after finding his wife with another man. Joseph may have been murdered but he didn't inflict sexual perversity on either his wife or his daughter. If one believes that he did, I don't see how the story can make any sense, but I could be wrong.

I mean there's ambiguity in the story but the only logical explanation for the reader is that when Joseph becomes a father, Angelica remakes him in the image of her own father.

What to make of the stories themselves? Well the Burnham story, judging by the frequency with which Anne, with Angelica's help, foists it on her clients, might indicate female anxiety about sexuality and/or fear of incest in Victorian England.

The point of the story about the Russian soldiers seems to be about retribution or "the capability of a wronged wife to act with all cunning for justice." In this case it means feigning insanity and committing murder in order to get her impotent husband's cash after he discovers her with a Russian soldier and threatens to either divorce her or cut off her allowance.

So it's that story, especially the legal complications of assigning blame (at least in the fanciful comic interpretation of the law in this novel) is what interests Anne when she's told it by Miles, presumably the night he comes to put Constance away. Assuming that that's what he was there for, he must have been influenced in some way, either through food or sex.

Probably wrong, that's my interpretation.
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Re: Murdered fathers?

It's curious that when Angelica tells her own ghost story at the party, a woman is horrified to realize that Angelica is the awful little girl that she's apparently heard of or read about.

So my first thought was that Dr. Miles is the analyst. Probably a wrong interpretation, right? :smileyhappy:
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