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An Explication and an Exclamation

June 30, 2011

Or an exclamation and then an explication.

First for the exclamation–“HOLY MOLY!!!”  You write to complain about the lackluster beginning to chapter seventeen (which I’ll address shortly).  But you make no mention (no mention!) of the fact that chapter fifteen deals with the crazy and unbelievable plot twist that Dr. John and Graham Bretton (Lucy’s god-brother from the early chapters of the book) are one and the same!

And not only that, but John Graham (as he’s called now) doesn’t recognize Lucy Snowe at all.  AND Lucy Snowe has known for chapters (chapters!) and not let the reader know this important piece of the story.

!!!

I’ll admit that when they made that revelation I was sitting in public, in a Starbucks in Vancouver and an unsavory expletive was uttered in disbelief.

Vancouver Starbucks

I'll have a tall latte...and a reliable narrator.

So wow.  I did not see that coming.

Now on to just what the hell is going on at the beginning of “La Terrasse”.  I believe that Bronte is using metaphoric language to show the anguish in Lucy’s heart with her unrequited love for Dr. John Graham.  She uses this admittedly high-falutin’ language to make the particulars of Lucy Snowe’s situation, more universal.

Let’s look at the first sentence:

These struggles with the natural character, the strong native bent of the heart, may seem futile and fruitless, but in the end they do good.

Here Lucy is convincing herself that her sorrow (remember she fell asleep in tears in the previous chapter…maybe because the man she loves doesn’t remember that they used to live together….for years) will be good for her in the long run.  These pillow tears will eventually pay dividends baby!

And then there’s stuff about Reason and Feeling and blah, blah, blah.  And then we jump to the last sentence:

To how many maimed and mourning millions is the first and sole angel visitant, him easterns call Azrael.

Here Lucy is showing off her pop culture knowledge by making an obscure reference to The Smurfs

Gargamel and Azrael from The Smurfs

Because Gargamel's cat was named Azrael...coming soon to a theater near you!*

So there you are!  You can read on now, with no more confusion.

See you in the funny papers!

Jon

*Image from Wikipedia entry on Gargamel

 

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