22 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2020
  2. icla2020b.jonreeve.com icla2020b.jonreeve.com
    1. Perhaps they could be happy together….

      I like how the narrator (unlike in previous books we've covered), is narrating from a humble and unassuming point of view, not purporting to know the absolute truth, not blatantly taking a stance on the matter.

    2. marriage.

      I'm honestly surprised by this. As a strong woman who's endured a terrible marriage, why is she setting her daughter up for potentially experiencing the very same struggles she'd encountered? And for what.. vengeance? I would have expected her to make sure he'd be punished in a way that is both humiliating to him and (more importantly) empowering to the daughter, but I can't seem to understand the rationale behind this..

    3. Mrs. Mooney

      I wonder why she's still being referred to (and sort of identified) as Mrs. Mooney, even though she divorced him and clearly moved on with her life. doesn't sound like she's looking to carry his family name..

  3. Oct 2020
    1. But she felt that even the grave bedroom knew her for what she was, shallow, tinkling, vain...

      Ouch! I like how the omnipresent narrators in Mansfields' stories are so not objective, like goggles through which we must see the world. Exposed to merely a few short scenes from which we extrapolate to the characters' entire personas, our judgments are very susceptible to the narrators' stance. There's little room for us to perceive Isabel as the martyr, or her friends as exuberant rather than shallow, or William as an ignorant, sullen person who doesn't care much about his family. I wonder if/how narrators' subjectivity could be measured by inspecting adjectives in unquoted lines (e.g., how to distinguish between a description of a person in a scene and a description of a person in general).

    2. please

      I think this is the first and only time the word 'please' is uttered in the story. And I would not have expected it to come from the young girl. There's something very seemingly obnoxious yet profoundly mysterious about this girl. She pleads to wait in the car, finally not exposed or seen by others. It sounds like her appearance has shaped her life and defined much of her identity thus far, but she's fighting not to let it be everything (e.g., she's seeing through people who are staring at her). Symbolically, when her dark coat, perhaps symbolizing her beauty as a curse rather than a blessing or her rude demeanor, falls, revealing her opposite-colored skin, and, "like a flower... emerging from its dark bud, " she's becoming herself again.

    3. vague

      The word 'vague' seems to repeat quite a lot in descriptions of Constantia's gestures and behaviors. She reminds me of Laura from the Garden Party, having her own inner world nobody knows of. But she's more reserved and reticent, which might stem from her insecurity and dependence on her older sister's views.

    4. He quite understood

      I wonder if he did. Laurie and Laura seem to have fundamentally disparate views about life and the value of the lives below their aristocratic class. Also, the narrator is conspicuously not objective and is leaning toward Laurie's and the the mother's side in their view. That makes me doubt assertive and seemingly objective remarks they make, as this one.

    1. So the years pass, and repeat each other; so the same events revolve in the cycles of time. What will be the next adventures of the Moonstone? Who can tell?

      Not sure why but I was waiting until the very last moment for a plot twist, a more thrilling resolution I didn't see coming because I was mislead by the narrators/narrative. Considering that the book was a pioneer in its genre, it's undoubtedly incredible. But I guess the exposure to thousands of other plots that followed and built upon this one has fed my adrenaline-seeking mind and the need for a sophisticated deception.

    2. page one hundred and seventy-eight

      I don't know why it's caught my attention, but I find it funny that it's always page one hundred and something, as if nothing's going on in the first hundred pages (or anywhere else)... Assuming the guy has perused the book through and through as he purports to, it's just odd to me that we keep getting information from the same, narrow range of pages.

      It's a wild guess here, but maybe this is Collins trying to portray Betteredge's character as one who claims to be a know-it-all (Robinson Crusoe, women, the house affairs, etc.) but, really, has such a narrow and restricted view on life that he will always be surprised or caught wrong; that there isn't that much wisdom in him after all.

    3. “Mr. Jennings, do you happen to be acquainted with Robinson Crusoe?”

      Hilarious. Reminds me of Ms. Clack and her tracts..

    4. The doctor’s pretty housemaid

      It appears to me that Franklin is very sensitive to beauty, or the lack thereof. He almost never fails to present a person without describing their looks (for better or worse). It seems to almost define them, in his eyes. It would be interesting to search in his text for mentions of appearance and compare it to other narrators.

    5. Ezra Jennings

      Interesting that he refers to Ezra by his full name (as opposed to the pretty servant). Even though he doesn't know anything about the person but the way he looks, Franklin appears to admire him. On the other hand, perhaps so as to subdue his admiration/jealousy for him, he pities Ezra for "being unpopular everywhere," implicitly preening himself for being so well-known.

    6. I never noticed her.

      Well, at least he's honest about that. it's incredible to me how self-centered Mr. Franklin could be. Up to that point, he barely even recognizes the excruciating pain she must've endured, being treated as non-existent by him; he doesn't exhibit any empathy or sympathy (which is hilarious given that he's chasing Rachel so desperately), as if it is so inexplicable and absurd that she's had feelings for a person so above her societal rank, that it can simply be disregarded. Notice how the entire time he's reading the letter, all he cares about is finding a clue for the Moonstone, or his own ostensible guilt.

      However, he's surely endeavoring to justify himself here, not to be seen to the reader as a supercilious, ill-mannered man!

  4. Sep 2020
    1. “I break the agreement, Rachel, every time I see you.”

      I don't know why, but Godfrey reminds me of Don Giovanni... which is probably not a good sign...

    2. I sowed the good seed, in spite of him, by throwing a second tract in at the window of the cab.

      It's just mind-blowing how satisfied she gets from distributing her tracts among random people who could not be clearer about their reluctance to receive them. Clack, much like Betteredge, assumes she knows the depths of people and is so judgmental of the unconventional (e.g., Rachel) but completely fails to recognize that her own behavior is far from being desired, and is, to all eyes, the unconventional and deplorable one.

      I wonder if this is Collins' way to humorously ridicule this phenomenon. More broadly, I wonder if Collins' use of extreme and blatantly hypocritical narrators who inspire hatred (e.g., Clack and Betteredge), is his calling for moderation in society.

    3. Clack, you’re dying to hear the end of it–I won’t faint, expressly to oblige you

      The mutual enmity between Clack and Rachel is evident. The question is -- who or what started it? It is very reasonable to assume, based on Clack's language, that her overt hatred towards Rachel has caused Rachel to hate her in return (who wouldn't?). But I'm wondering if Rachel's always had some kind of a "sinful" inclination (which could perhaps explain why she, of all, has the Moonstone) that triggered the conservative mind of Miss Clack to develop envy and detestation.

    4. my superior sense

      This is the second time in not-so-long that Betteredge is mentioning or implying his superiority. It might be that the interaction with Sergeant Cuff appears to him as derogatory in nature (since he's often wrong or impulsive and Cuff is often right and calm), and his standing in the house, as well as perception of intelligence and good judgment, is compromised. And now, he is trying to boost his confidence back by being blatantly sexist and pejorative.

    5. Nothing goes right, father; nothing is like what it used to be. I feel as if some dreadful misfortune was hanging over us all

      Sounds like the curse of the Moonstone, which should be rightfully cast on the family, if Rachel has, in fact, stolen the stone!

    6. for Rosanna, as you know, had been all the Thursday afternoon ill up-stairs in her room.

      It's interesting to see that Betteredge's infinite confidence and sense of "what you see is all there is" when it comes to household matters forbid him from developing any suspicion. Upon reading this hasty refutation, I found myself very discontented with the lack of any additional information to support it -- not even a naive exhibition of blind trust in her, let alone factual evidence that displays the impossibility of this event.

      Even if he's right and she is to be trusted, I'm starting to feel that his complacency allows things to slip under his nose without his knowing.

    7. and I keep up with the modern way

      Here we can clearly observe Betteredge's double standard. Just a few lines above, he ascribes a contradictory behavior to women, and now he exhibits it gloriously himself. It's very apparent throughout the story that Betteredge cares a great deal about whether someone is "a Dustman or a Duke." He never fails to talk highly about people of rank, and scarcely about people of no particular hereditary rank. It even manifests itself in the way he values himself (albeit with some insecurity), as opposed to his servants. But here, he so blatantly declares himself free of any prejudicial behavior... This is one of various instances in which his hypocrisy is showing face.

    8. Add one thing more to this, and I have done.

      It strikes me now just how much rank is deeply interwoven with Betteredge's relationship with women. He's rambling here three lengthy paragraphs about Miss Rachel, his lady's daughter, describing anything but the color of her back teeth, while designating about two dry sentences to describing his previous wife, Selina, and same for his own daughter!

      It can also be seen in the way he unfailingly refers to Rachel as Miss Rachel, whereas to his female servants (even Rosanna, who's 25!) as "girl."

    9. “It looks as if it had hundreds of suffocating people under it–all struggling to get to the surface, and all sinking lower and lower in the dreadful deeps! Throw a stone in, Mr. Betteredge! Throw a stone in, and let’s see the sand suck it down!”

      In hindsight, this appears to be a portent of the harsh discussion regarding the Diamond. As somebody has already noted, this conversation happens at the Shivering Sand - which alludes to the shocking news that was soon to be delivered. But furthermore, the "hundreds of people suffocating..., all sinking lower and lower," now strikes me as the curse of the Diamond being propagated in the Verdiner family, through Rachel. Funnily enough, Rosanna says "throw the stone in, and let's see the sand suck it down." In reference to the Diamond, maybe this symbolizes the right thing to do - which Betteredge would, actually, humorously suggest to Mr. Franklin - to get rid of the Diamond.