Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Villette" Read-A-Long: Chapters 23-25

Fifth post for this read-a-long, initiated by Unputdownables.

To see all the posts, click on "Villette read a long" in the right hand bar. 

NOTE: all posts include spoilers.

This post is on three chapters which will get me in line with our reading schedule.  And an interesting three chapters they are!

Finally, Polly enters the picture.  The daughter of a Count, she is young, beautiful, sweet and refined.  Having lived a privileged life in the constant care of her loving father, it strikes me how opposite her life is to Lucy's.

So a stranger has come to town (master plot).  But not a real stranger, in fact, this is more like a reunion.  Those who were together at the beginning of the story are keeping company again.  Dr. John has for the second time, rescued the "damsel in distress".  He brought Lucy to his home after her breakdown in the street and he is the one to carry Polly out of the theatre and the threat of fire.  Hmmmm - a bit of a pattern here?

I have said "poor Lucy" to myself numerous times throughout the book and I said it again - out loud - while reading about the seven weeks without any letter, word, or visit from Dr. John.  Lucy's description:
"I suppose animals kept in cages, and so scantily fed as to be always upon the verge of famine, await their food as I awaited a letter."
In another passage, she likens it to being in solitary confinement or being a "long buried prisoner".  This is how it was for her to have no word from Dr. John.  How sad.  What might have been opaque is now crystal clear - Lucy is attached to Dr. John and this separation nearly drove her mad.

My questions now:

  • Dr John seems enamored by Polly and she with him.  Is something going to develop between them, right under Lucy's nose? 
  • What is going to happen to our poor heroine?   


  1. I think there's going to be a twist in the plot.. at least I'm hoping so. I am imagining some things revealed that we were not expecting having to do with Lucy.

  2. After seven weeks without news, Lucy should have been able to detach herself from Dr. John, me thinks... I believe she'll only get hurt otherwise, but let's see what Lucy has to say on the next chapters!

  3. In my edition of Villette there are notes that discuss Charlotte's real-life hunger for letters and communication from home, and how she came to depend upon letters from George Smith, her publisher; confessing to her friend Ellen Nussey how painful it was to "be dependent on the small stimulus letters give". It seems so hard to imagine this in our connected world...

  4. Polly and Dr John: I think they'll end up together, and maybe that's for the best...

    "Poor Lucy", well, as we say in Portugal, better alone that in bad company. Although I am hoping for an happy ending :)