To see all the posts, click on "Villette read a long" in the right hand bar.
NOTE: all posts include spoilers.
I am continuing to enjoy this book in which Bronte has created in Lucy, a complex and interesting character. I have recently finished listening to the audiocourse, Art of Reading, and am using Villette as a vehicle to practice the newly learned tools.
In the course, Professor Spurgin suggests writing down the chapter numbers and next to each, noting the entrance/exit of a main character, any changes in setting, if there is a destabalizing event, etc to determine if a pattern exists. As I look back over the chapters, there is something significant that happens in every one. For example, the changes to setting are numerous: the Bretton home, leaving for 8 years (where does she go?), London, boat to France, Villette, Rue Fossette, La Terrasse, art gallery, concert hall, back to Rue Fossette. The list is longer if the places within Rue Fossette are noted: classroom, garden, alley, attic, fete, etc.
In last week's post, I wrote of the contradictions within Lucy's character. Turns out, she is not the only one.
"The reader is requested to note a seemingly contradiction in the two views which have been given of Graham Bretton - the public and private - the out-door and the in-door view. In the first, the public, he is shown oblivious of self; as modest in the display of his energies, as earnest in their exercise. In the second, the fireside picture, there is expressed consciousness of what he has and what he is; pleasure in homage, some recklessness in exciting, some vanity in receiving the same. Both portraits are correct."Lucy observes and notes the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies and nuance contradictions in the people around her. I also find this idea of a "public and private" face or an "out-door and in-door" view of a person thought-provoking. Isn't this true of most people? Of me? Is this part of human nature to show different sides of ourselves in different situations? And as Lucy says, all sides or "portraits" shown are correct? And therefore, to really know someone, you must see both public and private life. The only way for Lucy to have seen the "private" face of Dr. Bretton was to end up in his home.
Another thought from the Art of Reading. Prof. Spurgin talks about looking for the conflicts either outside or within the main character by asking questions like: what do they want? If the conflict is outside of the character what are the external obstacles to obtaining what they want? And if the conflict is within the character, this question is a good one: Do they want what they shouldn't want? And how do they deal with this?
Lucy struggles with internal conflict. She wants Dr. Graham but doesn't want to want him. This inner fight shows up in the passage where she talks to the part of herself called "Reason". They argue about Lucy's response in the event Dr. Bretton should write as promised. Reason is harsh, unrelenting and downright horrible.
"This hag, this Reason, would not let me look up, or smile, or hope: she could not rest unless I were altogether crushed, cowed, broken-in, and broken-down. According to her, I was born only to work for a piece of bread, to await the pains of death, and steadily through all life to despond."So the questions I have after finishing this section are:
- Is there going to be a love triangle? Two men are in Lucy's life now: Dr. Graham Bretton and M. Paul Emanuel. She is drawn to one who appears to view her only as a close friend while the other shows interest in her, but she finds him annoying.
- What does Dr. Bretton think of Lucy? Who will he love, if not Ginerva?
- Why the conversation with "Reason?" Why is she so harsh?
- It feels like Lucy has a secret. What is it? Who is she? Where did she come from? These questions remain unanswered and I am beginning to wonder if they ever will be.