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2033E (200)
Lecture 3

English 2033E Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: The Butler, Wine Cellar, Hellmouth

Course Code
English 2033E
Clarissa Suranyi

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Unit 3 George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin
A Fatas oel situated hroologiall etee  great traditios of hildre’s lit: it
looks back to the fairy-tales and folk-tale traditions and looks forward to 20th century
fantasy novels.
It evokes several fairy-tales:
o The miners seem reminiscent of the hard-orkig dares i “o White
o The gradother spiig i the atti eokes iages of “leepig Beaut (the
spinster is usually evil, it plays upon readers knowledge of fairy-tales and upsets
their expectations when he introduces the good grandmother)
o MacDonald explores the definition of what is means to be a princess, offering
several competing ideas:
Lootie believes that being a princess means holding oneself aloof from
the lower class. MacDonald rejects this social snobbery and bias, he also
iplies that Lootie’s failure to uderstad priess-hood is linked in ways
to her position as a vulgar servant.
Iree’s defiitio of priess-hood focuses not on social status but on
moral correctness. She seems to be bravely free of snobbery but uses her
social position to put Lootie in her place.
MacDonald seems to be trying to establish that princess-hood is entirely
a moral matter. The implication is that all good children can be princes
and princesses but princess-hood is never entirely divorced from social
MacDonald also incorporates another genre: the Christian allegory. An allegory has 2
levels of meaning: a surface level and a symbolic level. It can be seen as a way of looking
at the world it sees ordinary objects as charged with spiritual significance and assumes
that this world and everything in it points to God.
The story endows physical locations with symbolic meaning:
o The outai: Iree’s house is loated halfa up a ountain if you go
dohill ou get to the goli aes, ad if ou go uphill ou reah Curdie’s
o The house: Iree’s house has  leels ithi it. The atti, here the great-
grandmother lives, and there is the wine cellar in the basement (where the
goblins eventually break in), and in between is the ordinary part of the house.
The 3 levels can be interpreted in different ways:
o Heaven, Earth, and Hell:
The top of the house represents heaven, the great-grandmother = God.
She is nearly 2000 years old, can only be seen by those with faith, she is
associated with light and water, her name is associated with peace.
The main floor is like earth, a mixture of good and evil.
The basement functions as some kind of hell mouth.
The same can apply to the mountain. Curdie’s other has ade their
hoe ito heae o earth, Iree’s house is loated halfa etee
there and the goblin caves.
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