ENGLISH 1022E September 21 , 2010
ENGLISH – Lecture 3
The artist usually sets out—or used to—to point a moral. The tale, however, points the other way, as a
rule. Two opposing morals: the artists and the tales. Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper
function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist – D.H. Lawrence.
FAIRY TALE: not only do we draw parallels to Christianity, but also to a fairy tale. Cinderella, specifically.
Three brothers, one slaving sister, etc. The doctor wears a purple scarf, meaning he is a proud character,
much like a prince, but needs to reach that potential.
TRANSFIGURATION: They both need to undergo a very serious change in order to become prince and
princess from fairy tales. Because the doctor is at first sickly, weak, etc., and in no way a prince in the
beginning. Mabel is in the position of being the slaving sister from fairy tales, but doesn’t want to be
saved, and so she too is not in the position to become the fairy tale princess. This change starts on pg.
2592, when they exchange glances for the first time. She is cold, and her gaze is penetrating to the
doctor, rendering him shaken in her presence.
o STEP ONE: Transfiguration of sight… When the doctor sees her down by the graveyard/pond.
“Some mystical element was touched in him”. Touching by something mysterious, beyond
comprehension, mystical. Slow, spellbound. “They looked away, each feeling sought out by the
other”. So here, he acknowledges her as a female, then passes by, but unable to forget her.
o STEP TWO: Transfiguration of SUPERFICIAL touch… The pond. She has tried to drown herself,
and he is willing to help her, to save her. It’s the climactic moment, given that everything leads
to it, and everything descends following this towards the conclusion. “He touched her clothes”,
the superficial touch that begins this next transfiguration. Another Christian resonance as the
doctor “rose again” from the water, just like Christ rising again on the third day. In addition, a
reference to Greek Mythology with Aphrodite/Venus, who is said to have been born from the
water, risen from the water and born again. The two of them, the doctor and Mabel, rise from
the water as if “born again”, paralleling Christ and Aphrodite/Venus. A final reference to
Baptism, in water to cleanse the person at birth. Superficial touch is all that has happened now.
o STEP THREE: Transfiguration of PHYSICAL touch … The doctor is torn, conflicted between
remaining the doctor, avoiding Mabel, remaining doctor and patient, but on the other hand he
wants to touch her, be near her, etc. Water and fire = the wetness from the pond and their
clothes, the fire being the fire burning. Water and fire = sexual. He