To see the finished project go to http://www.etsy.com/shop/Puppenduds
Puppenduds is my site on etsy. Check it out and let me know what you think.
To see the finished project go to http://www.etsy.com/shop/Puppenduds
Puppenduds is my site on etsy. Check it out and let me know what you think.
A Brief Examination of Moral Realism in Bronte’s Jane Eyre
By Trudy A. Martinez
Improvement of individuals through reading is the aim of Bronte in Jane Eyre. The novel is structured as a bildungsroman. In this structure, the narrator draws the reader into Jane’s world, confiding in the reader, sharing Jane’s inner most secrets and emotions as she grows as a person. The narrator conveys this sentiment by addressing the reader. For instance, “Reader, I climbed between the curtain and the winder to read, cutting off the certainty of my suffering at the hands of John Reed.” The reader cannot help but be influenced by this technique as the reader tags along with Jane as her life moves from a bitter nobody at Gateshead (hiding and suffering at the hands of John Read) to her becoming a deserving and resigned somebody. The narrator proclaims, “Reader, I married him.” when she finally marries Rochester and resides at Ferndeen with him.
Jane’s Journey is not an easy one. The narrator examines the events that influence her attitude; this sets the tone of the novel along the way. The reader is made to feel her suffering and experience with her. At Gateshead, Jane is frozen; snow symbolizes her position within her immediate society in the Reed household. It is not unreasonable for her to be bitter and rebellious: John seeks her out to make her miserable while Mrs. Reed ignores her and treats her like Cinderella, unworthy of recognition.
The narrator confides in the reader, saying: “Reader, I don’t deserve this treatment.” Jane’s world is a topsy-turvy world where the bad are the rich and the poor are the good, suffering. Jane is made to become humble as she moves on to Lowood. Hence, the rich Mr. Brocklehurst is exposed to be a dark sinister figure, not worthy of his position as administrator. The reader learns that just because he is a religious fanatic does not make him the best overseer of an orphanage.
The reader is exposed to possible avenues of life that are open to women and to Jane through the other characters. For instance, when Jane goes to Thornfield, she is allowed to experience life. She learns to love only to find herself unworthy of the love she has found because she set her love up as an idol; and he being already married exposes the sinister marriage without love, that of Bertha and Rochester, that his past and society endorse.
This endorsement is enforced, when Jane moves on. St. John affirms it when he tells her, “You are formed for labor, not love.” Jane is made to question life, to question servitude, to question her purpose, to question marriage without love. When she begins to weaken and is about to give in to St. John, the narrator informs us that it is Rochester that calls out, “Jane, Jane, Jane,” giving her adequate reason to reject the offer and leave to find him, to reassure herself of his love and her worthiness.
At Ferndeen Jane resigns herself and become accepting of a different type of servitude. The topsy-turvy world she has experienced has been reconciled during her absence from Rochester. Mrs. Reed lost everything, dying poor. Jane has become independently rich and no longer needs to feel a burden upon Rochester. She is his equal. Rochester has become humble and accepting of his station in life and free from his burden: Bertha, leaving him free to marry for love, and exposing the need for love in marriage. Consequently, the narrator’s exclamation: “Reader, I married him,” serves as a realization of the moral realism of the novel.
A Comparison between the Film, The Color Purple, and Alice Walker’s Original Work
By Trudy A. Martinez
The film, The Color Purple, and Alice Walker’s original work begin with a suppressive tone. The suppressive tone is accomplished through the utterance of “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.” The statement serves to qualify the guilt and shame Celie comes to feel. However, Walker’s qualification is instant, whereas the film suffers. In Celie’s first letter addressed to God, she writes “I am.” Then she crosses out these words and proceeds with “I have always been a good girl.” Through her indecisive expression of language in this manner, her feeling of shame and guilt surfaces. Even though Celie is not responsible for what happened because she had no control over her situation, nevertheless, she is made to feel guilty for what was forced upon her by her daddy. Fear and ignorance kept her quiet, enduring her dying mother’s screams and cusses. The film does not bestow the same impact or even make clear Celie’s personal dilemma.
Celie’s dilemma is masked by way of the beauty of the color purple in the first sequence as two young girls are seen happily singing and playing in a field of tall purple flowers. The scene merely emphasizes the closeness of two young sisters while it leaves questions concerning Celie’s pregnant condition unanswered. Consequently, the subtleness of the opening sequence renders the incident of rape exposed by Celie’s first letter to God as inconsequential. When she is seen giving birth to the baby with her young sister assisting, her father grows impatient and scorns her for taking so long.
Treating Celie with impatience and regarding her as unworthy of consideration seriously hampers her progress as a person. The actions of the father and later Mr._______ repress Celia and become the main hindrance to her happiness. An impatient tone exercises power over her. Celia’s ignorance and fear renders her powerless against abuse. She becomes accepting of her fate because she is made to feel ignorant, ugly, inferior, and unworthy of consideration; and therefore, she becomes a prime candidate for male domination.
While Celia is kept under male dominance, she works hard to ensure Nettie’s independence. Nettie does not feel Celie is ignorant. Nettie teaches her sister everything she learns and Celie promises Nettie she will take care of her with God’s help. In the original work, education is the key to Nettie’s independence and later becomes the key to Celie’s independence as well. In the film however, education is not an issue until after Nettie comes to live with Celie and Mr.______. When a few arises that Mr. _______ is about to make a move on Nettie, education becomes significant because Celie needs to be able to read and write to communicate with Nettie if they are forced to separate. Celie’s life is an education process in itself. As she meets new people, she learns from them.
Celie learns from Sofia that love has strength and the capability of conquering the opposition. Sofia’s vitality exposes the weakness of Mr.______- She stands her ground against him and gives Harpo the courage to stand up for himself. Sofia’s non acceptance of male dominance serves to contrast Celie’s acceptance of her inferior slave-like position. Shug Avery, Albert’s mistress, helps Celie to gain the self-confidence that she lacks by encouraging her to make difficult choices while Shug serves as a living example to her. Shug says what she wants and does what she wants without fear of reprisal because she insists on her own right to pleasure. Her reason for not marrying Albert even though she loved him was because “he be week”.
Even though Celie learned through Sofia and Shug that Albert is a weak person, she does not take action to eradicate her circumstances until she learns that Mr.______ took away years of joy from her life by keeping her sister’s letters from her. This spiteful action leaves Celie with the courage to speak out and act on her own behalf. As she learns from life’s experiences, she allows herself to grow and become educated to life itself. Ironically, after her stepfather’s death, Celie gains financial freedom as well as freedom from male dominance.
Freedom from male dominance in the original work is stressed through a learning process of both Albert and Celie, this is apparent through Albert’s acceptance of Celie as a person and his acceptance of learning the backwardness of his ways as they sit together “sewing, and talking, and smoking.” The film, however, did not portray this joint learning aspect. Instead, Mr.______ is seen in the field at a distance walking a mule, a symbol of stubbornness that depicts an unwillingness to change.
A Brief Analysis of Woman as an Object in Turn of the Century Literature
By Trudy A. Martinez
At the turn of the century in both beliefs and treatment, woman is an object that is either preferred for her outer beauty and nurtured or cultivated as a servant for the pleasure or the benefit of man. Woman was expected to become an extension of her husband in all respects: to become, in a sense, “his second self.” In principle, she is viewed as a possession that he controls at his will. She has no right to question her status and divorce is only an option of the husband. Consequently, she is suppressed and losses her identity and longs for freedom as Mrs. Mallard did in The Joy that Kills; or she is victimized and retaliates as Mrs. Wright did in Trifles; or she chooses death as a means of escape as Edna did in The Awakening.
Mrs. Mallard is a repressed human spirit hopelessly controlled and nurtured for the pleasure of her husband, Brently. He calculates her every move. For example, the time schedule he places on her allows him to know what she was doing every minute of the day. Her maid serves as an observer who reports non- compliance. Hence, Mrs. Mallard is like a bird in a cage that sings only for her husband and is resigned to experience life only through his eyes. Her weak heart provides him with justification. Consequently, she sees only what he wishes her to see of the outside world through pictures he supplies.
When Mrs. Mallard shares with the doctor her fantasy world in pictures, Brently becomes angry. “I never told about the light,” she said. Dissatisfied he responds, “Now that you’ve told someone—our world is over.” Defending herself she replies, “You always do the talking; I was trying to talk for myself.” Then he places his hand on her head and says, “Your mind in every thought.” In other words, you are not allowed to think for yourself. Even though the doctor advises she may now travel, her husband refuses to allow it.
Later, when new is received that Brently died in an accident while on travel, the tone changes from helpless suppressive tone to an optimistic tone. Suddenly, she is able to do things on her own, the thought of experiencing life invades her thoughts and she matters, “I am free, terribly free.” She is no longer forced to be a mere product of her husband’s desires. She approaches the front door filled with the thrill of finally being able to experience life for herself. The glow of the light from the outside world beckons her to escape. Then suddenly, the light is blocked by her husband’s form. The shock of her freedom again being obstructed deprives her of her strength of endurance and her escape is accomplished only through death.
In Trifles, Susan Glaspell used a rebellious tone to describe Mrs. Wright’s escape. Because she was not present during an investigation into her husband’s death “from a rope around his neck”, similarities to her circumstances with that of other women surface; this is achieved as Mrs. Hale, and the sheriff’s wife, Mrs. Peters, piece together and ultimately eliminate the evidence. The two women are able to sum up the situation because incidents in their lives are quite similar. Mr. Hale perceived John as a selfish man who wanted things his way. It didn’t matter what his wife wanted only what he wanted and “all he wanted was peace and quiet.” The men laughed at Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters for dwelling on the trifles such as spoiled preserves or whether Mrs. Wright was going to quilt or knot her quilt when in their estimation there were more serious things to worry about.
The women could not bring themselves to judge or condemn Mrs. Wright. Instead, they found themselves defending her when the men started criticizing the appearance of her kitchen. Her table was only half cleaned. Mrs. Hale remarked, “It’s wiped to here” in expressive recognition that Minnie may have been interrupted, thus preventing her from completing her work. As she spoke, she completed the cleaning for her. Mrs. Hale maintains a resentful tone in response to the men’s outcry, while Mrs. Peters remains apologetic of their insensitivity. Together the women find certain conditions like the nervous stitches in the quilt block to be similar to their own. The “bad sewing” irritated Mrs. Hale so she pulled it out. They reasoned: “We all go through the same things.” In essence, they dismissed that the crime was not the death of John, after all, he got what he wanted: “peace and quiet”. The crime was their absence from the scene during a time when Mrs. Wright needed a friend. When it was decided that “Mrs. Peters didn’t need any supervising because she was married to the law,” the women quickly maneuver the last piece of evidence that represented the motive (the little box containing the dead canary with the wrung neck) out of sight. When a motive could not be produced, Mr. Henderson settles for a trifle: “Well at least we found out she was not going to quilt it—she was going to–.” “Knot it,” replied Mrs. Hale.
Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, questions the motives of society concerning the rights of women. This is done through Edna who marries outside her own culture, religion, and class status against the advice of her father to a man whom she did not love. As a consequential repercussion of her marriage, she is subjected to differences that leave her out of step with the cultural norm and leave her silently weighing the emotional oppression she feels. Her husband demanded she be a slave to his whims and that she understands his predominance. For example, he was to come and go as he pleased; she was not to question his actions or authority; she was to be attentive to his desires at all times regardless of the time of day or night. In short, he looked upon Edna as his property.
Edna’s anguished feelings resulted from her husband’s infliction of criticisms; she could not explain the reasons for her feelings. But she knew that because of this treatment she was being stripped of her individuality. For instance, when she dared to discourage him through inattentive behavior, her husband immediately reciprocated with criticism, finding fault where there was no fault and judging her guilty of neglect to him and to his children. It was something he “felt rather than perceived.” Consequently, she lives a “dual life”: outwardly conforming while inwardly questioning.
Edna didn’t want to be identified as a creole wife who had no identity and who worshipped her husband and relinquished her individuality, nor did she want to be identified as a mother who was treated like an invalid. She wanted to be free as a bird and flee her controlled existence, but she was not strong enough to endure. He need to experience life with a passion was secondary to her husband. He would not consider divorce and there was this honor among men that her love, Robert, would not betray. Consequently, Edna exercised her own choice of death as a means of escaping her misery.
A Look Back at History: Failure versus Success
By Trudy A. Martinez
Populism was a cry of reform from rural America as a result of economic expansionism and urbanization. When times were bad for the farmers in the mid-west, the new rural America, they called for reform for themselves and the working class in the eastern factories and industries in the new urban America. The Populist efforts to alter the status quo revealed a strong desire for reform, a sense of fair play, and a sense of hope. Their determinations to correct a dream of false optimism that was on the verge of reaching hopelessness presented political overtures. However, reform and enforcement would only be made through the Steward of the rich, the President, through Progressivism. The restructuring to come would produce a new hope for the rising, so the rich could continue on with the purpose of their nation, their religion, their goal in life, to bring America and eventually the world under their control.
The laws placed on the books by government through Progressivism were mere building blocks for future reorganization, clarification, and enforcement; they were to be utilized only if needed to give an influx of hope in the prevention of revolution. The Regulatory laws were supposed to STOP corporation corruption and monopolies in the process. The purpose of the regulatory laws was to give only a sense of purpose. It forbade railroads from engaging in discriminatory practices, required them to publish their rate schedules, prohibited them from entering pooling agreements for the purpose of maintaining high rates, and declared the rates should be reasonable and just. The purpose of controlling such actions was prevented by the way of vague and obscure language. Regulatory laws asserted the governments right to regulate private enterprise, but gave only a sense of purpose, an exerted means of dominance, allowing the elite to prosper and gain control of the largest businesses and corporations while government turned its back; this action (or inaction) by the government, allowed the owners of the means of production to capitalize at the expense of the working class.
America was now urban, not rural. The rural Populist wanted government control of savings accounts, women rights, income tax reform, more silver in circulation, and the gold standard dropped. The Knights of Labor, the urban working class reform agency, called for the recognition of labor unions and an eight (8) hour work day. The Populist reform movement raised some legitimate demands. However, the rural American farmers, the Populist, and the urban American workers, the Knights of Labor, the common man, wouldn’t and couldn’t join together to defeat the money elite during the period 1865 – 1900. We are lead to believe the reason no changes occurred for the good of the common man was because of this factor. The Populist, William Jennings Bryan, ran on the Democratic ticket for three elections. The Democrats lost all three elections. East versus West was the name of the game. Divide, conquer, and control was the method used to keep the common man’s demands from becoming reality.
Years later the same reforms would finally be given the common man, but by the Progressives, the Stewards of the rich. The Progressive movement, controlled by the social elite began to emerge in 1901 with the death of President McKinley. Theodore Roosevelt emerged as the Steward of the people, bringing Conservationism and a New Nationalism. Roosevelt had chosen his successor to the Presidency, Howard Taft. Roosevelt became angry with Taft, when he was unable to control him. As a result, he broke from the party and ran against him on a progressive ticket (the Bull Moose Party). William Jennings Bryan, the Populist, had little hope of winning as he was now running against an eastern Progressive Taft and a western Progressive Taft. This split lead to the election of Woodrow Wilson in the election of 1912 and a change in progressive measures from Conservationism and the New Nationalism of Roosevelt to the New Freedom of Wilson.
Wilson stressed individualism and state’s rights. “No one but the President,” he said, “seems to be expected . . . to look out for the general interest of the country.” He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I, a crusade to make the world “safe for democracy.” Wilson maneuvered reform legislation through congress, the Underwood Tariff Act, 1913; attached to the measure was a graduated income tax, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, 1914. Wilson also got passage of the Federal Reserve Act which provided for a more flexible money supply and the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices. Later legislation prohibited child labor, and established the eight (8) hour work day. Wilson’s actions towards these reforms and the slogan, “he kept us out of war”, insured his re-election to office in 1916.
Did Wilson know and plan our entrance into the World War? Was the legislation for the benefit of the common man passed to get the common man’s support for him so that he could lead them to war for his purpose?
Wilson asserted his international leadership in building a new world order. In doing so, the Clayton Anti-trust Act of 1914 was suspended and trade given to big business to produce war materials and would continue the big business spending into the 1920’s with military expenditures and exports. The Underwood Tariff Act of 1913 drastically reduced tariffs on imported goods allowing consumers low cost goods, but the action proves invalid because in time of war there are no imports.
Shortly after Wilson’s re-election, he concludes that America could not remain neutral in the world war. With the congress concurrence, America declared war on Germany, swinging the pendulum of balance in favor of the Allies.
The Treaty of Versailles reflects the winner of The First World War attempts at a peace conference with everyone in attendance, but the loser; this was a big mistake. The main four (4) writers of the treaty were Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America; Lord George, Prime Minister of Britain; Orlando of Italy; and Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France. The big three were no match for Woodrow Wilson who came to the Treaty with his famous fourteen (14) points already written, but then again, Woodrow Wilson was no match for them; he came to the conference with the attitude that he was the savior of the world, relinquishing his responsibilities of the Presidency in favor of this grand vision. The other big three were men of the world, ruthless, greedy, domineering, authoritarians with a stubborn revengeful streak. The personal traits of the big four exhibited, greed, and /or a lack of foresight on their part concerning the Treaty of Versailles. Their attitude and actions would instill the spark of the Second World War in the treaty of the first.
The French, the Italians, and the English would not accept some of the fourteen (14) points that Woodrow Wilson had written and brought with him to the conference. Instead, they insisted on excluding five (5) of the points that promoted open diplomacy and then, to top it off, refused the admittance of Germany, the loser, to the conference. The big three, George, Orlando, and Clemenceau force feed an additional paragraph to the end of the treaty. The guilt clause placed all the blame and responsibility for the war on Germany. Germany was required to pay 33 billion in restitution and only allowed to have a 100,000 man security force; it could not fortify its boarders, and the rivers were to maintain a free status, whereas, anyone could use them, not just Germans.
No one bothered to get input from Germany or their side on any of the issues. As a result of the winner’s ignorance by ignoring the loser, not including the loser in the peace conference, not clearing up all the issues on both sides (the winner’s and the loser’s) and the treaty’s placement all the guilt of the war solely on Germany, the treaty in itself served as the spark that would generate and unleash the Second World War some twenty years later.
Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America (a Democrat) not only made the mistake of going to Paris for six months, leaving America without a President to guide it, but also failed to appoint an influential Republican to the American delegation at the peace conference at Paris. This was a critical error on his part. Wilson was so set on doing everything himself, and of getting all the credit for a peaceful resolution to the war, he failed to see that he was in error with his totalitarian attitude. Wilson ignored the obvious. Although he was a brilliant historian and an intelligent man, Wilson was not strong enough to go up against men like George, Orlando, and Clemenceau. When President Wilson took the treaty back to the United States to get the Senate to sign it, the Senate refuses, mainly because they had not been advised. Therefore, the U. S. officially stays at war with Germany until 1921, when congress puts some insignificant thing through that ultimately determines that no state of war exists. This is an embarrassment to Wilson. The Treaty of Versailles births the League of Nations; the fore runner of the United Nations, a brain storm of Wilson’s which gave the nations of the world a method, a way, and a place to discuss its problems. The League of Nations would help to prevent wars by using reason as an alternative, gaining membership of all nations, except that of his own nation, the United States of America.
In conclusion, and in my opinion, our destiny was and is guided by diversion. Populism was a means of recognizing the need for reform in America, giving only a sense of hope for reforms, whereas Progressivism were actions taken by the Steward of the rich, the President, an approach to appeasing the masses with reforms that were only temporary measures that would prove worthless. The failures of the Treaty of Versailles may have been avoided and the Second World War prevented had President Wilson stayed at home, leaving the negotiation of the peace treaty to others who were more qualified in influencing and handling men like the big three. Had President Woodrow Wilson sent his famous fourteen (14) points to the conference with equal representation of the two main political parties in America in delegation, the out-come of the conference and the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles may have been avoided. The treaty as written in Versailles was the spark that ultimately brings on the Second World War and the rise of power in Germany of Adolph Hitler. Hitler used the guilt excursion of the treaty as basic fuel for the buildup of emotions of the German people, an unsurpassed hatred which gave rise to the Nazi Party, the Third Reich, and the unheard of destruction and death that followed.
Rosenberg, Dr. Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC). Ridgecrest, California. History 17B. Summer 1990
A Brief Note on the Perfect Ending of Dickens’ Bleak HouseBy Trudy A. Martinez
In Bleak House, Esther is the pill capable of curing society of its ills. Her marriage to Woodcourt was the perfect coming together: Woodcourt administered aid to the poor as a doctor. He had the power and capability of tolerating the poor without complaining about their disagreeable condition or any contagion they might spread. For instance, to Joe, the doctor showed compassion; and he was gentle and patient and caring, recognizing what all the Mrs. Jellabys’ of society were too blind to recognize: that charity begins at home, that the poor at home need the attention of the populace more than those who have been encroached upon abroad with only the hope of the blind being able to lead the blind.
Esther’s own blindness in her earlier illness reveals a sort of prophecy: “and the blind shall be made to see.” Esther was made to see. The scars on her face could not hide the beauty within. She knew it was her duty to help others. Dickens made it her duty to open the eyes of the public to a different attitude. Her presence exposes the ills of society. For example, her mother married for position, leaving love to the way side, causing her separation from her lover and from her illegitimate child, Esther. Jarndyce can be seen as a disciple, holding Ester’s hand and guiding her through while she exposes the ills of society and then relinquishing her promised hand when the opportunity arose to unite her housekeeping cures with the doctor able to administer the cures necessary for the poor. Woodcourt, her husband, had remarked to her, when she looked in the mirror, that her beauty within was shining through. Esther, herself, recognized that it was not only her husband that administered an antidote to society. This is reflected and emphasized in her narrative comment through the use of the uppercase M to express Me when she reflects the reaction of the community to her as Mrs. Woodcourt. Esther held the key to the housekeeping chores of society; Mr. Jarndyce had given her the key. Hence, it is only proper that with her marriage to Woodcourt, she should become the housekeeper of the new Bleak House, capable of curing the ills of society.
Out of the Fog Came Life: A Stylistic Analysis of Dickens’s Bleak House
The imagery in Bleak House reveals a revelation of possibilities that petitions both a pessimistic and an optimistic existence. The beginning is the end. The end is the beginning of judgment. The words paint a picture, a warning of a possible end, giving a pessimistic view of that city coming into judgment. The four elements: earth, water, fire, and air that frame the beginning of the earth in the Holy Bible also frame the desolate beginning of Bleak House with its possible end. The middle links the beginning and the end through the characters representative of both good and evil who guide the societal participants at all levels of existence to their destination in life or death. In the end, the ending is a new beginning, mending a separation between man and woman, joining them in both love and marriage; this scene paints an optimistic view of a promise land free from destructive imagery.
Dickens inaugurates his imagery by using a verb style hypotaxis where the ranking is done for us while the all knowing narrator informs the reader of any judgment lest we be guilty of judging. His play on words in the hypotaxis style creates an image of the beginning of the end with all of the four elements at work. For instance, the weather issues forth the mud, symbolizing corruption, where the “foot passengers . . . slipping and sliding” in and out of their faith add “new deposits” of “crust” to the earth. The retirement of the water (a symbol of the pure at heart ascending to Heaven) is seen “hanging in the misty clouds” protected from the fog that weaves in and out, spreading corruption everywhere at all levels of society and to all its classes, while at the same time, destroying the natural elements. The pure at heart are protected from the destruction and blindness created because they are housed within the structure of a prepositional phrase “as if they were up in a balloon.” Hovering above and “Peeping” down upon a pestilence in progress (Dickens 49). The fire issues forth its aftermath: the “smoke making a soft black drizzle with flakes of “soot” raining on and “mourning . . . for the death of the sun” (Dickens 49). The air, suffering from the effects of the death of the sun, produces a “haggard and unwilling look,” forming a gaseous appearance that looms “through the fog in divers places (Dickens 49)” toward those who are deserving of God’s judgment.
Period writers arm themselves with His judgment, prophesying the coming of the bridegroom who, ridding the earth of the “Megalosarus,” a dragon simulating the devil, brings about the death of the elements. Why else would “the two speechless gazers” after “justice was done” bend “themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer” in Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles? Were they not made aware of His presence? Was it just a coincidence that Adam’s occupation was a carpenter capable of winning over the priestess Dinah presented as if she was pure and innocence in Adam Bede or was it merely that the author, George Eliot’s vision blurred? I think not! After all, the all-knowing narrator allows her to confess in the novel, hinting of her defect and her judgment before God:
“The mirror is doubtless defective: the outlines will sometimes be disturbed, the reflection faint or confused; but I feel as much bound to tell you as precisely as I can what that refection is, as if I were in the witness-box, narrating my experience on oath (174).”
Others in the same period present and depict London in a similar light, exposing situations deserving of God’s judgment, while at the same time, teaching the eye to hear as if fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah (Matthew 13:13-17) while focusing on the position of woman in society. For example, Blake’s central concern was the Infants cry, pointing to the sin of man as the reason for the Harlot’s curse we hear while he hears the Harlots (plural) curse (swear) because of the tear (separation) of the Infants tear from their rightful place. Blake teaches his reader to hear with their eyes through the transparent chiasmas he creates. Similarly, one must question whether the Harlot’s curse put upon Lady Deadlock in Bleak House is actually man’s curse for allowing and bringing about her separation from her child, Esther.
Mrs. Rouncewell announces that the sound of the Ghost’s Walk must be heard when she tells a child, “I am not sure it is dark enough yet, but listen! Can you hear the sound upon the terrace, through the music, and the beat, and everything? This sound she says, “You cannot shut it out” (Dickens 141). And then again one might ask how was the blind man in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary able to see Emma’s sin and rebuke her for it when he could only hear? Could it be he is a messenger sending forth a rebuke to all of us so that we will become aware of the writing on the wall and hear with our eyes the same beat and music being played for us by God Almighty from the break of His day? Although each instance centers in on a different aspect of woman’s existence, all communicate a need for change.
Bleak House calls to mind the sin of Eve and the need for the removal of false images before the sight of God. For instance, Esther’s aunt, her godmother, assumes the role of a god, issuing forth judgment when she says, “Your mother, Esther, is your disgrace, and you were hers” (Dickens 65). Further evidence of her role as a god is given through her paralleling herself to Christ: “I have forgiven her,” she said, “I, the sufferer” (Dickens 65). But only God in Heaven can truly forgive and Christ already paid with his life by suffering for our sins. Why then is Esther’s aunt taking on such a role? Why is Esther made to suffer at the hands of another and a woman at that?
In essence, Esther asks these questions herself when she reads the book of St. John to her aunt and exclaims, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her! (Dickens 66)” At this point, an abrupt switch from the verb style Esther reads from the Holy Bible to the noun style hypotaxis where the aunt’s role is cast within a different structure. Esther is “stopped by her godmother’s rising, putting her hand to her head, and crying out in an awful voice, from quite another part of the book . . . “ (Dickens 67). Here again, there is an abrupt change; this time to a verb style as she attempts to assume a different role, deceiving the child and freeing herself from her confinement. Unfortunately, the role she attempts to assume is that of a false god, using God’s words as her own, warning Esther of destruction: ‘ “Watch ye therefore! Lest . . . he find you sleeping” ‘(Dickens 67), and forgetting that God is an angry God and a jealous God; the aunt makes the mistake of overly extending her influence, and she unthinkingly spouts out: “And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!” Consequently, God struck her down. He Judged her instantly.
At once, the verb style returns to a noun style when the aunt is spoken of by the naïve narrative of Esther, but the noun style works against its subject: Esther’s emotional plea to her aunt, the anaphora: I + kissed, [I] + thanked, and [I] + prayed, [I] + asked, [I] + [asked], [I] + entreated, failed because the aunt had over stepped her bounds by assuming the character of the antichrist and was, therefore, instantly judged.
Esther avoids an immediate judgment because she is still a child, investigating the choices available to her with the words of her aunt still ringing in her ears: “Pray daily that the sins of others be not visited upon your head, according to what is written” (Dickens 65). From this point, the novel becomes Esther’s bildungsroman as she moves from an unfavorable light toward a more favorable one. Just as Esther moves, the written word moves. For instance, noun style changes to a verb style, the hypotaxis style, where everything is determined for us, changes to a parataxis style where the choice is left up to us; and we are made able to link good to the bad as if administering a pill to cure its ills.
The change in Esther, just as the change in the written style of the words on the page, becomes apparent in Esther when she administers a pill to herself. Here, she stresses self-denial and a willingness to seek and discover the answers. The absence of prepositional phrases, the jailed structure that inhibits choice, highlights the change in the structure just as it highlights the change in Esther and favors her for her choice of thinking of others first:
“I don’t know how it is; I seem to be always writing about myself. I mean all the time to write about other people, and I try to think about myself as little as possible, and I am sure, when I find myself coming into the story again, I am really vexed and say, ‘Dear, dear, you tiresome little creature. I wish you wouldn’t!’ But it is all of no use (Dickens 163).”
It is of no use not speaking of Esther because speaking of Esther is the only way to reveal the methods and the formula for change and its reward or damnation. The others around her paint the picture of how things are going to be. For example, Mr. Skimpole is seen receiving his reward for his faith. The table was set for him: “There was honey on the table, and it led him into the discourses about the Bees. . . He protested against the overwhelming assumptions of bees.” The status the “busy bees” sold their souls for was given him by them. He stood firm and did not allow them to be a model. The station of the bees “was ridiculous:” a “position, to be smoked out of your fortune with brimstone” (Dickens 143).
Mr. Jarndyce guides Esther from the fire and smoke to discovery of the unknown and to her pleasure as if throwing water on her, baptizing her, and awakening her from a sleep. Esther tells us that the signs were “At first,” only “faintly discernible in the mists,” and acknowledges that “above them . . . later stars still glimmered” (Dickens 142). Is it just a coincidence that Esther is sent for and brought out of the mist “On the” very “day, after” her false image, the “poor good god mother, “the antichrist, “was buried,” and “the gentlemen in black with the white neckcloth reappeared,” announcing: “My name is Kenge . . . you may remember it, my child; Kenge and Carboy, Lincoln’s Inn?”(Dickens67).
Does he not call to mind one holding the balances in his hand? He sure appears so on the page for Kenge first appears in the noun style and then abruptly switches to the verb style when he speaks. It stands to reason that just after Jarndyce announces “that Boythorn,” who was “the loudest boy in the world, and now the loudest man”, was coming down on a visit that he and his guests “observed the favorable omen” (Dickens 166). The opposite occurs on page 66 when the one that was, the god-MOTHER OF HARLOTS is struck down after trying to steal the thunder of the words of THE KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
We are told by Boythorn, “We have been misdirected” by “the most intolerable scoundrel on the face of the earth” (Dickens 166). Mr. Boythorn asks, “Is there anything for me from your men, Kenge and Carboy?” after he identifies Sir Leicester as Sir Lucifer and “calls attention to” the controversy of trespass., concerning “the green pathway” that Sir Leicester claims right away to but that is “now the property of Mr. Lawrence Boythorn”(Dickens 166-170). Did not he state: “No closing of my path, by any Deadlock!”
In contrast, Richard, thinking only of himself, “one of the most restless creatures in the world” takes a different route: He goes from what is considered a favorable light to an unfavorable one. Richard stresses self-love and a willingness to accept a different calling: “. . . The inclination of his childhood for the sea” (Dickens 163-164). Unlike Esther, Richard’s speech moves from a verb style to noun style. For example, Richard says: “So, cousin . . . We are never to get out of Chancery!” And the style abruptly changes to a noun style as he continues to say: “We have come by another way to our place of meeting yesterday, and – by the Great Seal, here’s the old lady again!”(Dickens 97) His choice was that of the easy way out as if he could change the direction the wind blows.
Finding that he has to work for his place, he places his confidence in the world whose outward appearance of luxury and fashion veils the inward corruption. The same becomes his religion and the High Lord Chancellor becomes his idol. This is evidenced when he confides in Esther:
“So I apprehend it’s pretty clear . . . that I shall have to work my own way. Never mind! Plenty of people have had to do that before now, and have done it. I only wish I had the command of a clipping privateer, to begin with, and could carry off the Chancellor and keep him on short allowance until he gave judgment in our cause. He’d find himself growing thin, if he didn’t look sharp! (Dickens 164)”
Hence, Richard becomes the kindling that fuels the wheels of corruption, thinking his dream of success lies just around the next turn as the wheels forever grind him further down toward his desolate destination of destruction and death. For example, his guide toward destruction, Mr. Vholes issues forth all manners of lies, eating upon Richard’s very flesh as if he were a cannibal (Dickens 605). And then again, he listened to the wrong voices when Mr. Vholes says, “A good deal is doing, sir. We have to put our shoulders to the wheel, Mr. Carstone, and the wheel is going round” (Dickens 607):
“I ought to imitate you, in fact, Mr. Vholes? Says Richard, sitting down again with an impatient laugh, and beating the Devil’s Tattoo with his boot on the patternless carpet” (Dickens 607).
In the beginning of the end, all the pestilence that was weaving through the streets in the fog was directed toward “the Lord High Chancellor” who having:
“A foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains . . . outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog” (Dickens 50),
Let his house become desolate and unworthy of praise.
Quite the opposite of the Chancellor, Mr. John Jarndyce who converts his inheritance of a Bleak House left to him by his ancestors to a house of beauty by ridding the inside of its corruption of dirt with the application of a little water as if sent from God to bear witness of Truth.
Jarndyce compares the likeness of the former state of Bleak House to that city, burning in brimstone and the House built to fulfill the bridegroom’s coming, a promise, to the bride (earth). For what other reason would everyone at Bleak House view Mr. Boythorn’s coming as “the favorable omen,” confirming Jarndyce’s role as the baptist when he says, “Now, will you come upstairs” and Boythorn answers:
“By my soul, Jarndyce, . . . if you had been married, I would have turned back at the garden-gate . . .I wouldn’t be guilty of the audacious insolence of keeping a lady [bride] of the house waiting all this time, for any earthly consideration. I would infinitely rather destroy myself – infinitely rather! (Dickens 166-168).”
The end is left for the reader to decide whether it is a new beginning or an actual judgment of earth. Jarndyce sums it up:
“I have never lost my old names, nor has he lost his; nor do I ever when he is with us, sit in any other place than in my old chair at his side. Dame Trot, Dame Durden, Little Woman! – all just the same as ever; and [Esther] answer[s], Yes, dear Guardian! Just the same . . . (Dickens 934).”
The hypotaxis style changes to a parataxis verb style on page 892, leaving the reader to interpret how to avoid judgment by linking back the participants in the society to see where each went wrong.