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ConnieAnnKirk
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Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

If you would like to discuss Volume 2 of the novel without reading spoilers from after Chapter 27, please post here.
 
~ConnieK
~ConnieAnnKirk




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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

[ Edited ]

jhowell wrote (in another thread):
 
As this is "below the line" I guess it is OK to mention a SPOILER     ------------  the first time I really noticed her addressing us is when Lucy lets on she knew who Dr. John was from the very beginning.  Why, I wonder, does Bronte have Lucy keep this from us?  Is it simply just to serve dramatic tension or is it somehow manipulating this relationship between "the reader" and the narrator.  Do we trust Lucy?  I am on the fence here.  Is she really as self-effacing as she would have us believe? 


Lucy is certainly very secretive!  I remember when she said how she suddenly stared at Dr. John in the garden.  I thought it was probably because she suddenly suspected that Dr. John was Ginevra's "Isidore", which I had suspected all along.  Of course, that turned out to be true, too, but we find that Lucy's revelation had been that Dr. John was Graham.  I guess when she wasn't going to tell him that she knew him, she decided not to tell us, either!

What I found even stranger was when she came to and found herself in Mrs. Bretton's home, and met Mrs. Bretton, she didn't reveal herself.  Although they hadn't seen each other in a long time, Mrs. Bretton was her godmother with whom she had once lived, and it sounded like they had had a good relationship and that Mrs. Bretton had been kind to her.  Why didn't she want to immediately renew that acquaintance, but preferred to remain as a stranger in her godmother's home?  Luckily, Mrs. Bretton did eventually recognize her, or who knows how this story would have developed?:smileywink:

I wonder if it is Lucy's tendency to reject companionship, as she did with the other teachers, and so she even does not want to be friendly with those she was once close to.  Perhaps fearing eventual rejection.  Or is it that, as long as they do not recognize her, she somehow has the upper hand in knowing something that they don't?  Perhaps the latter, as she says:

To _say_ anything on the subject, to _hint_ at my discovery,
had not suited my habits of thought, or assimilated with my system of
feeling. On the contrary, I had preferred to keep the matter to
myself. I liked entering his presence covered with a cloud he had not
seen through, while he stood before me under a ray of special
illumination which shone all partial over his head, trembled about his
feet, and cast light no farther.

I'm surprised that the revelation when Mrs. Bretton recognized her was so calm, and they were not more upset with her, as she obviously had recognized them much earlier and said nothing.

I actually had suspected when Dr. John helped Lucy on her arrival to Villette, that he might be Graham, but then because she continually saw him at the school and said nothing, and he used a different name, I figured I had been wrong.  But in many of these novels, characters who appear early on tend to reappear unexpectedly later on.  So, once I knew of the Brettons, I was just waiting for Polly to appear!  I knew we hadn't seen the last of her!

I was a bit surprised that the Brettons practically dropped Lucy once they started associating with the de Bassompierres.  From what Lucy said, she had been visiting with them every weekend, and when Mrs. Bretton was unable to go to the theatre, her first thought was that Lucy should go in her place.  Then, nothing for weeks or even several months.  I'm not so surprised by Graham; I think he is kind, but not particularly thoughtful, and easily distracted into forgetting.  But his mother surprised me - she seems kind and considerate of Lucy.

I also think Lucy is in love with Graham - what does everyone else think?  I don't remember any hints of this partiality from back near the beginning of the novel; I thought she found him to be a rather spoiled, thoughtless boy.



Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 04-14-2008 01:03 PM
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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
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jhowell
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

I finally finished Volume 2.  Yes -- Lucy is most definately in love with Graham.  Unfortunately Graham is in love with Paulina.  But --- M. Paul is in love with Lucy.  lots of unrequited love going on and a bit too much waxing melodramatical on Lucy's part for my taste lately.  I agree -- I was just waiting for Polly to pop back up and was not surprised at the de Bassonpierre revelation.  I, too, was surprised that the Breton's dropped Lucy like a hot potato -- I felt bad for her.  I am liking her more and more -- she is reminding me of the older Dashwood sister - the 'sense' in Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
 
So, what is the seal with this nun business -- I am half expecting it to be either Madame Beck or M. Paul playing a trick on her.  I don't think we will really be expected to believe it is a ghost.
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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

Well, at least Graham is no longer in love with Ginevra!  I sometimes wonder about Polly, though - does she still remember how he hurt her when she was a child and felt rejected by him, and will she take revenge for that?  I love the relationship between her and her father.
 
M. Paul is very funny with his over-the-top jealousy.  I'm not sure Lucy quite understands what is going on with him.  I think she just thinks he is being critical.  He certainly expresses very strong views on what he thinks is appropriate or not for a woman.  If they do get together, she will have to be very strong to not let him subdue her into a demure little thing.
 
I agree that, as Lucy's life has gotten a bit more interesting, she is letting her personality and feelings show a bit more, and it is easier to understand and like her.  She was so overly-repressed in the beginning, that I knew something had to change.  And I am also somewhat irritated at her reveries - sometimes I have to just skim them, because they seem like a lot of sermonizing or something similar, and I don't understand many of her references.  I know she's not going to say anything relevant to the storyline when she gets going like that.
 
I can't wait to find out the mystery of the Nun, either!  The first time Lucy saw it in the attic, I thought afterwards it might be Ginevra in disguise, waiting for an assignation with Graham, because he was in the house at the time, and from the way he spoke afterwards when he was treating Lucy.
 
He laughed, and answered, "My nature varies: the mood of one hour is
sometimes the mockery of the next. Well, Lucy" (drawing on his
gloves), "will the Nun come again to-night, think you?"

"I don't think she will."

"Give her my compliments, if she does--Dr. John's compliments--and
entreat her to have the goodness to wait a visit from him. Lucy, was
she a pretty nun? Had she a pretty face? You have not told me that
yet; and _that_ is the really important point."

"She had a white cloth over her face," said I, "but her eyes
glittered."

"Confusion to her goblin trappings!" cried he, irreverently: "but at
least she had handsome eyes--bright and soft."

"Cold and fixed," was the reply.

"No, no, we'll none of her: she shall not haunt you, Lucy. Give her
that shake of the hand, if she comes again. Will she stand
_that_, do you think?"

I thought it too kind and cordial for a ghost to stand: and so was the
smile which matched it, and accompanied his "Good-night."

But when Lucy saw her in the garden, I think she had just left Ginevra in bed upstairs.

I have to say that I was a bit shocked that M. Paul had apparently gone into Lucy's room, looked through her things, and read her private letters.  I expect that from Madame Beck, but it somehow seems more shocking in a man.

I was a little surprised that Lucy didn't take the position of companion to Paulina.  She seems to like their company, and also would see Graham more that way (of course, that could also be painful, but Lucy strikes me as the type who would prefer to see him and suffer), it would get her out of the school, and she would make three times the salary.  She does talk at times about wanting to move on and better herself.  But she says that she couldn't be a companion.  That seems strange, since she was Miss Marchmont's companion and seemed content.  Speaking of which, too bad that Miss Marchmont didn't get a chance to provide before Lucy before she died, as she wanted to!



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jhowell
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

Hmm?  I did not really pick up on that interchange re Graham and "the Nun".  The other thought I had was maybe it is M. Paul spying or otherwise harrassing Lucy.  That almost seems like something he'd do.  I don't think Lucy will ultimately end up with him though.  As we have discussed she is tougher than she lets on.  She is beginning to embrace her independence, if only subconsciously.  I think that is why she can't bring herself to be a 'companion' again -- feels to much like going backwards to her.
 
I don't really get the seemingly wide disparaties in Lucy, Paulina, and Graham's memories for the time in Bretton.  Paulina remembers everything, Lucy has selective memory, and Graham vacillates between barely remembering Polly to suddenly remembering all.  What gives?
 
I am moving on to Volume 3 now.  Overall I am enjoying the novel, but some parts do drag -- slow going when I am constantly flipping to the index to check my translations of the French.  I am definately ready for some sort of climax.
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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

I'm almost done - another night or two of reading should do it!  I have to be careful to remember where each part breaks off so that I don't post spoilers!  Mine is not divided into volumes.  Thank goodness for Gutenberg, so I can just pull up the text and check!
 
At this point, it looks like it's just you and me, Jen.  Unless maybe the others are just having a difficult time keeping up.  I'm enjoying our discussion, though!
 
Yes, the differences in what everyone remembers from Bretton is a bit confusing to me, too.  Even that Polly seems to have such affection for Lucy, and apparently had spoken to her father often about her.  She didn't seem to care for her much at the time, although she did open up a bit that time she wanted to get into bed with her.  I suppose that as she grew up, she was able to see that Lucy gave her some good advice and came to appreciate her more.
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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
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jhowell
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

Geez, I know -- I feel like as soon as I joined the club everyone else stopped posting.  I am not too far behind you ~ 120 pages or so left -- I figure I'll proably finish Saturday.  Here is a few other thngs I've noticed lately --
 
Lucy is so disparaging to the 'continent' girls!  They can't possibly put in any effort and do a good job at their schoolwork like the Anglaise.  And their version of 'beauty' is totally different from the nymph like English girls?  Do you think Bronte felt this way as
well?
 
Also -- why the heck is the portress (Isn't that like the wardrobe girl?) going in and out of M. Paul's classes all day long calling girls out for music lessons or visitors?  No wonder they never learn anything!  I would be aggravated too.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

I can't keep up with the reading -- I have too many other books going right now -- but I am enjoying your postings, so hope you keep them coming.

My reaction from this distance is that the story sounds very autobiographical.

Pepper
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Volume 2: Chapters 16-27 (No spoilers, please)

 


Peppermill wrote:
I can't keep up with the reading -- I have too many other books going right now -- but I am enjoying your postings, so hope you keep them coming.

My reaction from this distance is that the story sounds very autobiographical.

Pepper


Villette is a long book, and perhaps spring fever is moving some people outside a bit more.  Now that some of you are getting closer to finishing, I'll go ahead and begin posting some of the B&N Classics edition questions (that usually are most appropriate for those who've finished the novel).
~ConnieAnnKirk




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