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Lecture

Mavis Gallant - The Moslem Wife

3 Pages
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Department
English
Course Code
ENG353Y1
Professor
Vikki Visvis

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Feb 1st, 2011
Mavis Gallant: The Moslem Wife
1932-Netta marries 1st cousin, Jack, overcoming opposition.
Netta portrayed as being devoted and subservient, Jack as the golden boy, through the
eyes of guests.
Her new years during the war teach her about mediocrity, trauma.
1945-Return of Jack, considers freedom of whether or not to take Jack back.
A) Nettas development Does she grow?
i) Initially lifeless and blank
Asha-ash after fire burns, what is left after passion burns out.
Only her eyes had a pilot light, something perhaps Jack can ignite. Very worn out,
either underdeveloped, or past her prime. Her life and emotions are neatly
compartmentalized (p42). Discrepancy between her looks and inner world.
Public vs. Private, inside vs. outside, head vs. passion of her heart.
Color imagery used to depict and contrast these categories. Complexion = ashen-
white, but assigns herself black (p44). White complexion shrouds inner world. Also
something v. static about Netta, and takes for granted Jack had the same views as
her (p39). She doesnt read initially, indifferent reader of books and character (p46).
P40-Attire shes perfectly dressed, but Jack doesnt care. He is confrontational and
challenging.
ii) Marriage to Jack
Netta becomes only marginally more outward looking. Only opens her perspective
enough to include Jack in it.
P43 Multiple mirrors in their bedroom suggest things are bigger than they are, an
illusion of something deeper. She sees him as a kind of soulmate, but that may just
be an illusion too. Her commitment to Jack doesnt increase her experiences, but
forces her to be contingent to Jack, earning the nickname moslem wife, also
because of the women Jack attracts.
P48 Netta is still the same, physically. Arrival of Jacks mother provides her w/
excuse to let Jack socialize, and her to organize.
iii) Pre-war: Strict categories begin to collapse
Death begins to challenge tidy boundaries.
P48 hotel was a place where people had once come…” She has made the hotel
completely devoid of death- Nettas way of compartmentalizing her life.
Hotel=place of love and pleasure only now.
P38-9 Light vs. darkness, not so strictly organized anymore.
P56 Aunt feigns fall, crushes plants. Netta thought she was inhaling smells of
death.
Images overlap flowers and life, now associated w/ death. Destabilizes.
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Description
st Feb 1 , 2011 Mavis Gallant: The Moslem Wife 1932-Netta marries 1 cousin, Jack, overcoming opposition. Netta portrayed as being devoted and subservient, Jack as the golden boy, through the eyes of guests. Her new years during the war teach her about mediocrity, trauma. 1945-Return of Jack, considers freedom of whether or not to take Jack back. A) Nettas development Does she grow? i) Initially lifeless and blank Asha-ash after fire burns, what is left after passion burns out. Only her eyes had a pilot light, something perhaps Jack can ignite. Very worn out, either underdeveloped, or past her prime. Her life and emotions are neatly compartmentalized (p42). Discrepancy between her looks and inner world. Public vs. Private, inside vs. outside, head vs. passion of her heart. Color imagery used to depict and contrast these categories. Complexion = ashen- white, but assigns herself black (p44). White complexion shrouds inner world. Also something v. static about Netta, and takes for granted Jack had the same views as her (p39). She doesnt read initially, indifferent reader of books and character (p46). P40-Attire shes perfectly dressed, but Jack doesnt care. He is confrontational and challenging.
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