Getting The Job Done

April 21, 2011

I’m sure at the tip of your typing finger you’ve got all sorts of sassy taunts just ready to add to the Internet.  Things like “Jon have you forgotten about this blog?”  or “Lose your copy of Villette?”  (Okay those don’t sound very sassy…you’d probably make them more interesting.)

And my response to your, as yet unwritten, witty rejoinders is…a blanket admission of negligence.  I’ve got no excuse.  Sure this book starts off really boring-ly and has yet to provide me with any meaty topics to expound upon, sure I’ve recently discovered The Good Wife which is compulsively watchable and sucks away gigantic portions of my night, and yes, I’m lazy (I like doing nothing, is that so wrong?).  All true.  Mea Culpa.

But I plan to atone, and the atonement starts now.  I will force myself to march on in this book and excavate the compelling factors well, well hidden behind the seemingly (oh so seemingly) uninteresting action of the book.

First….feminism.  I realize (and appreciate–I’m such an enlightened male!) that this book may well have been unique (and empowering) for its time, telling the story of brave, intrepid (and unfortunately, painfully boring) Lucy Snowe as she went out on her own, traveled to France, and found gainful employment.  I dig that she’s choosing her own adventures…I just wish we could pick up the pace a little bit on getting this particular scene set.

On a completely unrelated note…I always want to spell traveled as “travelled” — is that just me?  I feel like some time (perhaps long, long ago) I learned that the correct spelling was double-l.  But the red squiggle of spell checker tells me I’m wrong.  Just thought I’d share (Bronte doesn’t have a corner on the market of boring!).

Second–employment.  If nothing else we are getting an interesting snapshot on the hiring practices of the Victorian era (is it still the Victorian era if the story takes place in France?).  First you rightly point out Miss Marchmont has an odd approach when it comes to reeling in prospective “talent”.  Then we get Madame Beck’s negligence in checking references–she just calls M. Paul has him give Lucy a once-over and when he likes what he sees (lascivious eye brow wiggle) engages her on the spot.  Employment sure was wacky back then.  Mon Dieu!

There I’ve tried.  So let’s move this conversation along.  What do you see in this trope of employment…what is Bronte commenting on?

Oh God…if we have to talk about that for the next 400 pages I will cry real tears.

The tears are forming as I type…



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