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Stephanie
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Later Chapters Discussion: The World in the Letters

The Bracegirdle letters create an incredible sense of time and place, employing both the texture of a different era of English, as well as the physical details of Bracegirdle's world. What are the deepest contrasts you found between the world Bracegirdle inhabited and the one we do? Were they the differences you expected to find? What surprised you?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have finished or nearly finished reading The Book of Air and Shadows. If you have not finished reading the book, this thread may contain plot spoilers.

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Stephanie
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katknit
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The World in the Letters



Stephanie wrote:
The Bracegirdle letters create an incredible sense of time and place, employing both the texture of a different era of English, as well as the physical details of Bracegirdle's world. What are the deepest contrasts you found between the world Bracegirdle inhabited and the one we do? Were they the differences you expected to find? What surprised you?

What strikes me is the unpredictability of life and its vagaries. Richard starts his story being buffeted about by chance, and most of the decisions that he has had to make have been forced by circumstance. Even when he feels in charge, he truly is not. It reminds me a bit of the plight of many of the homeless today. It appears that it's mainly the wealthy and powerful (one can't really be one without the other) who have the luxury of acting upon their own beliefs and impulses.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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Stephanie
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The World in the Letters

Kat,

Good point- although I'm not even certain the wealthy could act upon their whims then. In order to keep their social standing (or their head), there would always be someone above them, dictating their actions. A king or queen to tell them how to pray, for instance (Henry VIII, his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth... etc.)
Stephanie
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michaelgruber
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Registered: ‎04-18-2007
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The World in the Letters

The vagaries of fate are a constant trope in Shakespeare. The difference is that in the Elizabethan age, every person was supposed to be embedded in some social structure. Their structure was far more stable and complex than ours. It was hard to get knocked out of the structure, but once out, there was nothing to keep you from falling to the bottom and becoming an outlaw, as Richard B. did. But Richard was fortunate in having a skill that he could trade, an in fact shooting cannons was one of the few skills open to a free-lance individual. The art was so new, relatively, that it was not constrained by the guild and household structure that most of the people in Richard's time had to set themselves within. In this, he's more modern than his contemporaries.

One opf the things I tried to show is that after his experience as a free-lance and a pirate, he's desperate to be accepted into some structure, which is why he falls in so readily with the plotters.
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Stephanie
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Re: Later Chapters Discussion: The World in the Letters

Michael,

I have learned so much from this novel, and from you. I am truly enthralled by the time period, and I really appreciate your sharing with us here.
Stephanie