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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

“Snowed Up”

Feminine Desire vs.

Patriarchal and Class Relations

outline snowed up
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
richard jefferies 1848 1887
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

snowed up4
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)
snowed up5
“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?
characters in binary opposites
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.
patriarchal order and edith s position
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;
edie in between these men and in social order
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
edith s desires
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


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
the snow a test of humanity and human values

The Snow: A Test of Humanity and Human Values

The Characters’ Views,

its Influences and Implications

the other people the helpless and helpful
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)
the other people physical force and courage
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)
edie s changing views of the snow and the others
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
edie s changing views of the snow and the others 2
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
edie s changing views of the snow and the others 3
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.

snow meanings
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)
historical backgrounds
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
snowed up contradictions embodied in phillip and edie
“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
summary theoretical issues
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
next week from the psychic to the social
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)
  • 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