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.... as We Go



IlanaSimons wrote:What do you think? I kind of resonate with your suggestions about his impotence.




So far I am absolutely flabbergasted by the interpretations here. I think you all guys are far too hard on him! Scapegoating him. They all play it together. The tension is in the quadrant not by the individuals IMHO. I'm thinking orchestra MAO. I can't blame the piano for being a piano. Florence is despicable. And Leonora pathetic. I encountered strange phenomena...I am constantly mixing those two names and for now i wonder if it is trying to tell me something.

But for me it is dangerous to read all these comments before I read the whole book (and if possible twice...)

and you are all so serious and intellectual about it, too....why?
Did I misunderstand something?

Look out of the window, six people out of ten are like him, succesfully lying to themselves and believing it without any reservation. They do not even need to be Brits.


ziki
quite surprised
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Re: Part One: Discuss Plot and Themes as We Go

[ Edited ]

Areopagitica wrote: Dowell initially seems to be relating the story in a rather insouciant manner, as if he were not directly involved in it....



But he is not involved....that's the whole point! That's his whole 'drama'.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-11-200704:06 PM

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Re: .... as We Go



ziki wrote:
So far I am absolutely flabbergasted by the interpretations here. I think you all guys are far too hard on him! Scapegoating him. They all play it together.

I am still trying to figure out, so far unsuccessfully, who is enabling whom. (Or should that be who is enabling who? Francine and the grammar school, where are you when I need you? [g])
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Re: .... as We Go

[ Edited ]

ziki wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:What do you think? I kind of resonate with your suggestions about his impotence.




So far I am absolutely flabbergasted by the interpretations here. I think you all guys are far too hard on him! Scapegoating him. They all play it together. The tension is in the quadrant not by the individuals IMHO. I'm thinking orchestra MAO. I can't blame the piano for being a piano. Florence is despicable. And Leonora pathetic. I encountered strange phenomena...I am constantly mixing those two names and for now i wonder if it is trying to tell me something.

But for me it is dangerous to read all these comments before I read the whole book (and if possible twice...)

and you are all so serious and intellectual about it, too....why?
Did I misunderstand something?

Look out of the window, six people out of ten are like him, succesfully lying to themselves and believing it without any reservation. They do not even need to be Brits.


ziki
quite surprised




Scapegoating, I like that, I am actually laughing. Who else is there to be the scapegoat?

He's the narrator; he clearly paints the pictures of all the other characters; - their behaviors, their decisions, their struggles, their family backgrounds, their historical life experiences, and their religious influences - final result ----
Defense is closed - no more questions. Mercy or Judgment?

But, about Dowell, the whole reason for the book, the questions will go on for eternity!

I would not find his character suspect, if he had been sucked into this whole affair immediately, when after having arrived in Paris they soon met the Ash's, and so begins the story.

His story with the Ash’s starts 2 years later, marriage never consummated and his wife was shacking up with Jimmy right under his nose the whole time. This to me hints of a potentially deep character flaw, and as noted with my other post I am not exactly sure what it is or why?

Message Edited by beshockley on 02-09-200712:44 AM

Message Edited by beshockley on 02-09-200702:08 AM

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Re: .... as We Go



beshockley wrote:

ziki wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:What do you think? I kind of resonate with your suggestions about his impotence.




So far I am absolutely flabbergasted by the interpretations here. I think you all guys are far too hard on him! Scapegoating him. They all play it together. The tension is in the quadrant not by the individuals IMHO. I'm thinking orchestra MAO. I can't blame the piano for being a piano. Florence is despicable. And Leonora pathetic. I encountered strange phenomena...I am constantly mixing those two names and for now i wonder if it is trying to tell me something.

But for me it is dangerous to read all these comments before I read the whole book (and if possible twice...)

and you are all so serious and intellectual about it, too....why?
Did I misunderstand something?

Look out of the window, six people out of ten are like him, succesfully lying to themselves and believing it without any reservation. They do not even need to be Brits.


ziki
quite surprised




Scapegoating, I like that, I am actually laughing. Who else is there to be the scapegoat?

He's the narrator; he clearly paints the pictures of all the other characters; - their behaviors, their decisions, their struggles, their family backgrounds, their historical life experiences, and their religious influences - final result ----
Defense is closed - no more questions. Mercy or Judgment?

But, about Dowell, the whole reason for the book, the questions will go on for eternity!

I would not find his character suspect, if he had been sucked into this whole affair immediately, when after having arrived in Paris they soon met the Ash's, and so begins the story.

His story with the Ash’s starts 2 years later, marriage never consummated and his wife was shacking up with Jimmy right under his nose the whole time. This to me hints of a potentially deep character flaw, and as noted with my other post I am not exactly sure what it is or why?

Message Edited by beshockley on 02-09-200712:44 AM

Message Edited by beshockley on 02-09-200702:08 AM








Another Point of View

This previous post is strictly looking at Dowell within the text as a novel narrator and the mysteries of his character.

Perhaps, the real problem is I find this whole FLO/Jimmy affair a weak point in the story. Maybe, FMF in character development - to further demonstrate FLO's unfaithful spirit and Dowell's naivete added this FLO/Jimmy affair for emphasis.

Who knows why it is in the story, but for me, it is a kink in the fabric. It actually seems to discredit the narrator, rendering him too non-particpating in life.
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Re: Part One: Discuss Plot and Themes as We Go

I agree Everyman and perhaps the alleged heart conditions are yet another fiction?




Everyman wrote:


JaceChrzanowski wrote:
I was touched by the nurse/invalid theme as presented in the story. In a book where apparent "heart" maladies are the least concern for many of its supposed victims- as most characters have come to Nauhiem for a cure- none really exhibit symptoms with the exception of Mrs. Maidan who dies of a heart condition.

I can't help comparing Ford's Nauhiem with Mann's Magic Mountain. In both, the setting of the medical spa gives a distance from the world and an air of unreality to everything that goes on. In both institutions, the looming presence of death as a regular visitor to the isolated community puts the characters in a distorted reality.


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Re: Part One: Discuss Plot and Themes as We Go

I have been waiting for some insight into the narrator's physical relationship with Florence and have gathered (still on Part 1) from the reading and the postings that there is not one due to Florence's 'heart'.

I feel like some of the things he mentions - like about his imagining himself kissing Leonora's cold white shoulders - are written to try to fool himself - to convince himself that he does have sexual desires, but there was some sort of flaw in the woman that would keep him from acting out on them. Or perhaps he feels too moral of a person to have an affair? The impotent idea seems more likely - particularly if he neglected his wife to the point of her having an affair.

He interestingly mentions that in E.A.'s "final burst out to me..." that "I suppose he regarded me not so much as a man. I had to be regarded as a woman or a solicitor." What do any of you make of this comment?
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two marriages

It is suspect of course how Dowell focuses on Ashburnhams and calls it a sad story while his own story (marriage) is no less than depressing.

ziki
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Re: .... as We Go



Everyman wrote:I am still trying to figure out, so far unsuccessfully, who is enabling whom.




(I think whom is correct there)

It is an intricate net of deceptions, lies and manipulations. It makes your head spin and your stomach churn. We can get pretty skillful in not seeing that which we do not want to see. Dowel is a great example of that.

ziki
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Re: .... as We Go



ziki wrote:


Everyman wrote:I am still trying to figure out, so far unsuccessfully, who is enabling whom.




(I think whom is correct there)

It is an intricate net of deceptions, lies and manipulations. It makes your head spin and your stomach churn. We can get pretty skillful in not seeing that which we do not want to see. Dowel is a great example of that.

ziki




ziki wrote:


Everyman wrote:I am still trying to figure out, so far unsuccessfully, who is enabling whom.




(I think whom is correct there)

It is an intricate net of deceptions, lies and manipulations. It makes your head spin and your stomach churn. We can get pretty skillful in not seeing that which we do not want to see. Dowel is a great example of that.

ziki




After spinning and churning, does anyone laugh? I'm finding a lot of the sickness, the dysfunctional relationships, so apt a reading of humans in society that I end up, after cringing, being pleasantly amused by the style FMF employs to render Powell's ever-striving attempts to be grander than he is.
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Re: .... as We Go



cosmotrotter wrote:After spinning and churning, does anyone laugh?



To be honest: I didn't.
ziki
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Re: two marriages

I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.
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jd
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Re: two marriages

So I see Dowell as unbelievable when he says he does not know or understand the events but only reports them. I am afraid he does not want to see what is going on around him, i.e., his wife's adultery with two different men and his friend being one of them. His impotence is far more than sexual, jd
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Re: two marriages

Maybe both 'saddest' and 'cheerful' are ironic?




Everyman wrote:
I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.


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chearful?



Everyman wrote:
I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.




Wasn't he trying to be ironical there?
I remeber I reacted when I read but I can't find the place right now in that chapter...

ziki
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JD's impotence

I do not think he was sexually impotent, but as Ilana said he lived an asexual life.

ziki
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Re: chearful?



ziki wrote:


Everyman wrote:
I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.




Wasn't he trying to be ironical there?
I remeber I reacted when I read but I can't find the place right now in that chapter...

ziki


That was my first reaction. But then, I thought, if he's being ironical here, was he also being ironical at the opening of the book?
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Re: two marriages

Choisya, I agree - Dowell is often speaking with something less than full sincerity, even when he is asking for our sympathy.
That's why, I think, I kept laughing during the book. Maybe I read the whole thing incorrectly, but I got quite a few chuckles from this American sentimentalist trying to play the stiff upper lip, trying to uphold an image of his British lion, failing to realize that it is himself who has the stiff lip and is playing sentimental. At the end of the day, his contradictory assertions enslave him in the same way he has observed real living enslave everyone around him.
He is at times very naive, like the woman he says he loves (little Nancy), and learns and shows us how he learns in the book that social relationships require compromise, which inevitably embroils the individual into a network of associations in which all is reversed, smoke and mirrors prevail, and one's sense of direction is lost. Yet everyone continues to assert individuality. No wonder everybody bagged all this Modernist stuff after the War and took up grand, sweeping nationalistic ideologies in which the self could get good and lost! While Hemingway, Woolf, and everyone drank and sighed themselves into suicide, their literary offspring could disappear into movements and become martyrs for something 'greater'... or so they thought, I guess.



Choisya wrote:
Maybe both 'saddest' and 'cheerful' are ironic?




Everyman wrote:
I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.





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Dowell's decision to marry

Why do you think that Dowell decided to marry Florence? What was his main motive?

ziki
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Re: two marriages

Excellent post Cosmotrotter and yes, an 'American sentimentalist trying to play the stiff upper lip, trying to uphold an image of his British lion, failing to realize that it is himself who has the stiff lip and is playing sentimental.' Full of irony. I really must read his England and the English:smileyhappy:



cosmotrotter wrote:
Choisya, I agree - Dowell is often speaking with something less than full sincerity, even when he is asking for our sympathy.
That's why, I think, I kept laughing during the book. Maybe I read the whole thing incorrectly, but I got quite a few chuckles from this American sentimentalist trying to play the stiff upper lip, trying to uphold an image of his British lion, failing to realize that it is himself who has the stiff lip and is playing sentimental. At the end of the day, his contradictory assertions enslave him in the same way he has observed real living enslave everyone around him.
He is at times very naive, like the woman he says he loves (little Nancy), and learns and shows us how he learns in the book that social relationships require compromise, which inevitably embroils the individual into a network of associations in which all is reversed, smoke and mirrors prevail, and one's sense of direction is lost. Yet everyone continues to assert individuality. No wonder everybody bagged all this Modernist stuff after the War and took up grand, sweeping nationalistic ideologies in which the self could get good and lost! While Hemingway, Woolf, and everyone drank and sighed themselves into suicide, their literary offspring could disappear into movements and become martyrs for something 'greater'... or so they thought, I guess.



Choisya wrote:
Maybe both 'saddest' and 'cheerful' are ironic?




Everyman wrote:
I was taking the "saddest story" line at face value until I came across this passage in Part II Chapter I: "Nancy Rufford was her name...She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story..."

If that's a cheerful story, what are we to make of the saddest story? Are we to see his story as so much worse that it makes Nancy's story cheerful by comparison? Or is Ford using reversal, and her story really sad rather than cheerful, and thus he is saying that his story is really cheerful rather than sad?

I'm confused.








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