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“ Snowed Up ”. Feminine Desire vs. Patriarchal and Class Relations . Outline-- “ Snowed Up ”. General Introduction Questions The Issues of Class Patriarchal Control Edith ’ s Position and Desire The Snow : its Influences on the Others and Edith Historical Backgrounds Summary

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Snowed Up”

Feminine Desire vs.

Patriarchal and Class Relations


Outline snowed up l.jpg
Outline--“Snowed Up”

  • General Introduction

  • Questions

  • The Issues of Class

  • Patriarchal Control

  • Edith’s Position and Desire

  • The Snow: its Influences on the Others and Edith

  • Historical Backgrounds

  • Summary

  • For Next Week

  • Reference


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Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)

  • Hard to categorize, he is an essayist (on natural history, rural life and agriculture in late Victorian England), a novelist (with futuristic fantasy After London) and a children’s book classic, Bevis .

  • After London (1885) a futuristic England in barbarism with only a few outposts of civilization remaining. London in poisonous swamps; much of southern England is covered by a large lake; some city states along the shores ruled by petty tyrants and their corrupt courts.

  • Having a short life--38 years, he died in penury.

Image and info


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Snowed Up

  • The story was sent to ”London Society” once for publication but was rejected.

  • The manuscript was ’probably’ purchased by Sir Hugh Walpole at Sotheby’s, or from a bookseller, during 1920 or early 1930s. It has, since Walpole’s generous donation, remained in the Walpole’s collection at King’s school.

  • With inconsistencies and gaps—reasons unknown (intended or due to health)


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Snowed Up”

  • What are the binary opposites in the story?

  • How is Edie related to the men around her?

  • What gets "snowed up" in the story?

  • What do you think about the ending? Is Edie finally subject to both the control of her society and the belittling of her author?


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Characters in Binary Opposites

  • class and appearance: (pp. 20-21)

  • --> Aurelles' playing chess -- "trying oh, so hard to play chess--which he does not understand--with papa; and all just because."

  • father's position: in financial trouble, to be saved only by being appointed by the government.


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Patriarchal Order and Edith’s Position

  • The father’s desire –

    • play chess with me as the queen (20)

    • to be an ambassador, to save his estate, to keep the family name (20-21)

  • The suitors: “come to the point” with her father, not with her.

  • like a shuttlecock or tennis ball;


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Edie in between these men and in Social Order

  • She prefers Aurelles over the other two suitors, though she is aware of the former's clumsiness in social games.

    • reflected in her terms of address--> Aurelles or Phillip or Phil (p. 20); Lord Bilberton– cannot call him Charlie, “such an old thing”

    • Rebellious, she is not to be sold. (20)

    • find them “laughable” (20)

    • (22) “I won’t, no I won’t…”

  • order vs. Edie's giddy head (p. 20)

  • She is self-contradictory;

  • not aware of her real desires


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Unnamed or Vague Desires

Luxury and fun at remote places:

Go to Nice (20)

pp. 21-22; run away with "Philip or somebody“ (21);

Romantic/sexual love: tired of someboby; be loved ‘forever.’

Power of Language: Will be a poetess someday(20); laugh at Thrigg’s language 21

Contradictions

Fur jacket (with money from Thrigg); “penniless soldier”“That was just what I wanted.”

If the guardsmen would only manage to be rich; but I’m not to be sold exactly.

Freudian slips?

p. 20 …Thrigg, who I believe has been lending paper (papa) money, and now I think of it…”

“snowball Aurelles” (21) ?

Edith’s Desires


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The Snow: A Test of Humanity and Human Values

The Characters’ Views,

its Influences and Implications


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The Other People: The Helpless and Helpful

1) Lord B:

  • 1/5 -- courting E. with his "poor shivering ancient body“; the snow as his best friend to imprison him with her (22); half silly with fright (23)

  • 1/14 – completely helpless

    2) Papa, cynical

  • 1/5 a judgment

    3) Mr. Thrigg

  • 1/5 -- "I shall perish with an angel!" is not good at using metaphors;

  • 1/6 – in despair, afraid of losing his business; regret how he could have made a fortune

  • 1/14 – helping in the kitchen (23-24) There’s some good in him.

  • Buried in snow (24)


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The Other People: Physical Force and Courage

Mostly helpless:

  • 1/14 -- All the servants left but the maid,

  • papa an invalid, Bilberton helpless;

  • Thrigg trapped in snow;

  • 1/17 -- Papa and the Alderman may die.

    Brutal Force and Basic Survival:

  • 1/14 -- the arrival of Phillip and his brutal threat (25)

  • 1/15 -- eat the cat;

    Courage: Philip is the only one active to get food.

  • 1/18 the last try by Phillip; 1/19 a feast; The Alderman eats a long time. (27)


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Edie's changing views of the snow and the others

1) Pleasure: 1/3 snow like death; "Why it is beautiful! I wish I was snowballing Aurelles." (21); fun (22)

2) Discomfort but Still Able to Laugh No Fun:

  • 1/4 nothing to do; hate the snow (21)

  • 1/5 - 6, laughs at her suitors.

  • 1/10 "we shall be starved." Misses "Phillip." --a very short entry.

  • * turning point: 1/14 "Nothing but snow.""Such fun! The Alderman has been helping me in the kitchen." no laughing matter  Thrigg buried in snow Philip arrives; he is willing to rescue Thrigg only if he gives up his pursuit of Edie. Edie changes her tactics. p. 26


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Edie's changing views of the snow and the others (2)

  • 3) Writing to Survive, Submit to the Larger Forces

    • 1/15 must write to pass away the time (26);

    • * Edie's weakness and incisive comment on the "weakness of the snow": 1/17 cries;

    • comments on the snow. "the weak, feeble despised flakes of snow.“

    • 1/18 waiting;

    • * turning point: 1/19 he has all my heart


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Edie's changing views of the snow and the others (3)

3) Submit herself to the Larger Forces

  • 1/22 the roughs invasion; nice to have a soldier around.

  • Hope for us at last--fog.

  • 1/15 Is aware of her being a commodity between two men. Will be a good girl and make Phil a first rate wife.

    4) Failure of her Language:

  • Gaps appear when the snow becomes a ‘serious matter’ (22); on 1/14 when they use up the coal and are afraid

  • As quiet as a dormouse (28)

  • The end of her diary/female subjectivity.

    5) More to analyze: the dashes.


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Snow: Meanings?

  • Snow =

    • “Romantic”– beauty, fun, used in courting.

    • effects of global warming as a consequence of industrialism; the story as an apocalyptic allegory

    • the physical and brutal, the most powerful, next to which is economic (Thrigg), the patriarchal (father) and political power (Bilberton)

    • ‘weak’

  • Question: the physical-brutal, sexual and military (gun) = courage (25, 26, 28)


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Historical Backgrounds

  • Jeffries –tries to get “Disraeli’s endorsement”; wins public attention through becoming an authority on agricultural economy (though he is not really equipped with the knowledge). (textbook p. 33)

  • Expresses anti-Darwinism and theories of social degeneration (in the tradition of Hardy, Wells, Forster and Woolf—Lawrence, too). (34)

  • around 1870’s –national pride and fears

    • 1875年時,埃及蘇丹破產,拋售埃及所持有的Suez Canal 運河股權; 英國首相狄斯累利(Disraeli)將它買下

    • “the absent presence of national anxieties” in 1870's: over the wars, the end of protected market which opened Britain to the import of foreign goods, over whether the nation can still dominate the world market


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Snowed Up”: Contradictions Embodied in Phillip and Edie

  • Although Jeffries writes a cautionary take about what happens when society is deprived of technological support (e.g. transportation), there also appears to be an unarticulated desire for such a catastrophe to occur, a desire for devastation and for reversion.

  • [He expresses] liberal anxiety but also a reactionary 'back to nature' impulse. (Meynard 139)

  • Back to social patriarchal order


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Summary: Theoretical Issues

  • Factors influencing/forming our personalities:

    • Childhood (development of sexuality, Oedipus complex, incest taboo)

    • repression and re-channeling of desire (reactionary symptoms, neurosis, psychosis, sublimation, need-demand-desire)  Unstable and insatiable desire

    • Entry into the Imaginary order and then the Symbolic order;

    • Sense of lack and splitting of identity


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Summary: Women’s Experience of Love since the 19th Century


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Summary: Women’s Experience of Love since the 19th Century


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Next Week –from the Psychic to the Social

  • Major Input (1) due

  • Karl Marx (Reader: chap 5 to p. 79-85)

  • American Beauty –de-construction of masculinity in some nucleus families in American suburbia in the 90’s

  • (review The Great Gatsby if you like)


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References

  • Maynard, Jessica. “A Marxist Reading of 'Snowed Up.‘”Literary theories : a case study in critical performance. Eds. Julian Wolfreys and William Baker. London : Macmillan Press Ltd , 1996


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