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SenaJeterNaslund
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Re: Jacques - Page 242-3

I wish, too, that she could have bonded better with Jacques.



marcialou wrote:
I feel more sympathy for Jacques than I do MA in this situation. She essentially adopted him, but didn't live up to her implied promise to care for him. Still, he may have led a better life than he would have in complete poverty.

Marcia


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SenaJeterNaslund
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Re: Jacques - Page 242-3

No one expected Antoinette to marry the future king of France for the first ten years or so of her life just as no one thought Louis Auguste would be king, since he had a much beloved older brother. When the brother died, their parents could not accept Louis Auguste as an adequate heir, so he grew up feeling inferior. So the pair had something in common in their background; I think it played a role in their becoming friends and trying to be understanding and appreciative of each other.




marcialou wrote:


Fozzie said:

Interesting. From what I have read, in general, royal parents, or members of the court who were parents, didn't spend much time with their children anyway.





You're probably right about that. Louis Auguste didn't get much attention according to Wikipedia but MA seemed to give her own kids more attention than was "normal". She was even faulted by members of the court for spending too much time with her kids instead of performing her queenly duties and paying attention to them. In the book, Jacques gets dropped from the narrative like the dog, Mops, so it's like he doesn't exist for her anymore.

As you say, it's interesting to hear different perspectives. Different people will see different things in any work of art.

Marcia


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Fozzie
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Re: Literary Highlights-Page 330

"The loss of my mother sits like a stone in the base of my throat. At this point, it is a smooth stone, a weight, an impediment to happiness, but my swallowed tears have worn it smooth."

I thought this passage was beautiful.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Literary Highlights

Here is another poetic passage (pg. 439):

"He has made this most terrible year into one of bliss. I call those moments 'islands of timelessness,' for when he is with me, we are out of time and space and into a realm that surely partakes of eternity."
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Literary Highlights

On page 456:

"A handkerchief is meant to wipe away tears. But what of sorrow?"
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Literary Highlights

I noticed how Sena had MA refer to herself and her family in the third person in the chapter of Act Five titled Terror, Fury, and Horror Seize the Earthly Powers (pg. 496). I thought this was a clever and effective way of conveying MA's difficulty in understanding and accepting what was happening to her and her family.

I also noticed how the book's last sentence ended without a period. Again, I thought this was a clever way to convey the speed of MA"S death by guillotine. She didn't quite complete her last thought.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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marcialou
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Re: Literary Highlights

Laura,

How perceptive you are to notice the lack of a period and infer its meaning.

What struck me about the end is how much MA welcomes death and does not even fear the moment of dying. Her body feels weightless and she moves with ease. She is polite to her executioners and apologizes for stepping on one's toe. When they prepare her for the guillotine she describes how they "help" her get into the right position. At the final moment she reports "no need to hold on - I open my hands at the small of my back."

This last line is a reference to several times earlier in the book when she recalls thinking "hold on tight Marie," as she was instructed as a child when she was about to descend a snow slope (p 151, in a sleigh, I think.) Here she is in what should be the most terrifying moment of her life and she feels no reason to hold on.

I think this is supposed to me that she was required to hold on to herself so tight in her role as a potential royal wife (as a child) and an actual royal wife, she could not be fully be herself until she was about to die.

This made for nice literary symbolism, but I have to add, I doubt if anyone could meet her own execution without a moment of dread and clenched fists. Never-the-less, I suspended my disbelief while reading the line.

Marcia
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viva2
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Re: Literary Highlights


Fozzie wrote:
I noticed how Sena had MA refer to herself and her family in the third person in the chapter of Act Five titled Terror, Fury, and Horror Seize the Earthly Powers (pg. 496). I thought this was a clever and effective way of conveying MA's difficulty in understanding and accepting what was happening to her and her family.



Nice point, Laura. I also noticed that and wondered about it. It felt like MA was distancing herself from her inner self by using the third person to speak of herself and her family. It reminded me of the royal "We" of Queen Victoria, when she said of a response of hers, "We are not amused." In the case of MA, the causality was probably quite different. It also made me wonder if MA ever wrote to others of herself in the third person? Certainly this is a large change in style within the book, and it comes in time of crisis for MA. Fascinating.
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viva2
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Re: Literary Highlights


marcialou wrote:
Laura,

How perceptive you are to notice the lack of a period and infer its meaning.

What struck me about the end is how much MA welcomes death and does not even fear the moment of dying. Her body feels weightless and she moves with ease. She is polite to her executioners and apologizes for stepping on one's toe. When they prepare her for the guillotine she describes how they "help" her get into the right position. At the final moment she reports "no need to hold on - I open my hands at the small of my back."

This last line is a reference to several times earlier in the book when she recalls thinking "hold on tight Marie," as she was instructed as a child when she was about to descend a snow slope (p 151, in a sleigh, I think.) Here she is in what should be the most terrifying moment of her life and she feels no reason to hold on.

I think this is supposed to me that she was required to hold on to herself so tight in her role as a potential royal wife (as a child) and an actual royal wife, she could not be fully be herself until she was about to die.

This made for nice literary symbolism, but I have to add, I doubt if anyone could meet her own execution without a moment of dread and clenched fists. Never-the-less, I suspended my disbelief while reading the line.

Marcia




Laura and Marcia, thank you for observing and commenting on so many things that I have missed altogether.

I did not have to suspend disbelief, as there were several and repeated hints that MA was completely worn down physically (Her appearance was greatly aged, her hair was white, and her weight had declined quite noticeably.) and emotionally by her horrendous trials and losses.

For some people the horror of their own final situation is so intense and unremitting that they welcome death quite genuinely.

MA had turned to her Catholic practices with a newfound intensity, finding some solace while still at the royal chapel at Versailles. She indicated, on later occasions, that she would meet her death not with fear but as a release. The last instance I recall was her response when the priest said,"Courage." She replied,"The moment when my ills are going to end is not the moment when courage is going to fail me." It seems like welcome and determined release. I have seen this, literally, in others.

Sorry, I could find the other quotes if I took the time, but I am too tired.
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Fozzie
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Re: Literary Highlights


viva2 wrote:

marcialou wrote:
What struck me about the end is how much MA welcomes death and does not even fear the moment of dying. Her body feels weightless and she moves with ease. She is polite to her executioners and apologizes for stepping on one's toe. When they prepare her for the guillotine she describes how they "help" her get into the right position. At the final moment she reports "no need to hold on - I open my hands at the small of my back."

I think this is supposed to me that she was required to hold on to herself so tight in her role as a potential royal wife (as a child) and an actual royal wife, she could not be fully be herself until she was about to die.

This made for nice literary symbolism, but I have to add, I doubt if anyone could meet her own execution without a moment of dread and clenched fists. Never-the-less, I suspended my disbelief while reading the line.




I did not have to suspend disbelief, as there were several and repeated hints that MA was completely worn down physically (Her appearance was greatly aged, her hair was white, and her weight had declined quite noticeably.) and emotionally by her horrendous trials and losses.

For some people the horror of their own final situation is so intense and unremitting that they welcome death quite genuinely.

... It seems like welcome and determined release.


I have to agree with both of you. I was not surprised that MA faced her death with more than dignity --- she welcomed it. I cannot imagine living for years, imprisoned, hearing of the people you love being executed, having your children taken from you, and trying to hold out hope. I think she felt powerless in her surroundings, so she controlled what she could, which was herself. I can understand her wanting the whole ordeal to be over so she could finally be at peace. However, not to flinch, cringe, or something as the guillotine is dropped is amazing. It is not something I can imagine ever being in a position to do, but I think MA was.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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SenaJeterNaslund
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Re: Literary Highlights

Thanks, Laura. One of the ideas that Antoinette comes to understand more fully is the gulf between the material world and the immaterial world of the emotions. Certainly she came to rely on her feelings as her guide and to honor feeling as an important aspect of being human. She was in tune with Rousseau in stressing the importance of feeling over convention.



Fozzie wrote:
On page 456:

"A handkerchief is meant to wipe away tears. But what of sorrow?"


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