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ENG252Y1 - Lecture #6.docx

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Vikki Visvis

ENG252Y1 – LECTURE NOTES October 21, 2013: Sinclair Ross’ As For Me and My House Introduction:  Roy Daniels: Mrs. Bentley as "pure gold:  Considered a "great Canadian novel"  The novel follows the theme of realism, based on reality  Ross makes an effort to write a narrative that is more serious than the pulpy fiction intended for the mass during that time  During this time, poetry became more experimental and so became a theme on its own, modern experimentation, very fragmented  The novels during this time were following realism, poetry followed modern experimentation  It created confusion because of it's ambiguity  Ross doesn't indicate if Horizon is a Canadian or an american prairie town; wanted to market form both readerships, so he made a vague description so that readers could toe relate to the town  Wasn't popular until the 1970s, and it was only popular academically and then renamed it as an english-Canadian classic  Presented two ideas that are Canadian: nature as a malevolent void and an agent of inspiration Nature: Malevolent void  Nature is described as a monster  Characters are fearful due to the wind  There is something sinister about the natural world, repeated throughout the novel  The world is so big that people are reduced to nothing  April 8 o Relates to the garrison mentality, the small town acts like a garrison, protects its citizens from the dangers of nature o The description of the homes show the presence of nature, the house is always broken, damaged due to the weather  April 27 o The threat that nature provides is existential, it is Mrs. Bentley's identity that is threatened, her sense of self becomes nothing  Kirby's Ranch o Entering wide open spaces o Is also menacing as the nature that surrounds the town o July 11  Personification of nature, sees it as alive  Mrs. Bentley is worried about the loss of her identity  Nature makes one feel insignificant  Nature is also terrifying because it also mirrors human emotional states o Reflects Mrs. Bentley's emotions back to her o July 5  When her husband leaves to finish a painting, her feelings of abandonment and rejection is reflected onto the nature  She encodes her emotions to the natural world  Very egocentric and individualistic, she perceives nature based on conceptualizations of herself  Droughts o April 16  Spiritual faith is dying between the couple  Philip argues that faith protects the residents of Partridge Hill from the terror of nature  Philip finds consolation in his painting  "god is dead", a sense of nothingness, of a lack of faith is linked to modern experimentation  Mrs. Bentley spends much time in her garden and walk in the snow storm o Nature has a revivalistic aspect o But she suppresses this o A process of her turning on nature and nature turning on her when her hands become brittle and hard like lead October 28, 2013 The representations of Mrs. Bentley:  Roy Daniels says that Mrs. Bentley is pure gold; as readers we are very sympathetic towards her Mrs. Bentley as unreliable and manipulative  This criticism started with Cude who argues that she is the only who ruins her marriage with her manipulative  There is misinterpret between herself and other people  She is unreliable because of the inconsistencies between what she says and what she does, and what she says and what other people say  What Philip says is contrary to what the wife says about situations  There are discrepancies between how she's assessing other people and herself  Inconsistencies of assessing herself o Assumes that the relationship between her and Paul is platonic o Philip thinks there is an emotional attachment between the two o Paul's attraction to her makes him go to church although he is an agnostic, he prides himself in dressing up nicely and being a disinterested philologist o June 7  Paul refers to cupidity  Suggestively flirting with her o Mrs. Bentley uses other men to sharpen Philip's jealously o When she dances and flirts with Sam, only Paul is jealous o Inconsistency between how she sees herself as a pious and loyal wife and how she behaves with other men to provoke her husband o November 3  Questioning why she practices for the recital  Practicing irritates the husband but she still practices; she doesn't please her husband by stoping o May 13  Uses her playing the music to lure Paul and Steve away from Philip  Says that they should have a concert for themselves without Philip, she purposefully does it to hurt him o April 9  Describes Paul and Philip as sexual rivals  Describes how they each approach fixing the broken car o December 2  Philip is disgusted that his wife is using her music to manipulate Paul  After the recital is done, Paul is overcome with emotion  Provokes Philip but doesn't admit this and doesn't realize the consequences of her actions until Philip confronts her and she can no longer deny this o April 2  She recognizes the implications of what she's doing to Paul, how she's manipulating the poor man  Inconsistencies of assessing other people o Subject to unreliability of the depictions of herself o Philip is described as incompetent as a frustrating artist, gives him tactile tasks so he can stay away from housework o May 30  Paul is able to fix the house when Philip cannot o September 11  Philip becomes competent when he takes charge and stops the fire in town  Describes Paul's brawn and Philip's brain  Philip is really capable and useful o April 9  The husband is described as handsome  She is threatened and envious of him  She gives negative associations to him so that he doesn't seem so threatening to her  minimizes the positives to make her seem better o Suggests that Philip is a religious hypocrite o But Philip does show his care for the people's spiritual needs, particularly in Partridge Hill comp
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