While Charles is still trying to sort out his feelings for Sarah, he receives word that his uncle wishes to see him immediately. So he sets off for Winsyatt at once. It turns out his uncle has finally married. Which would, logically, take away Charles’s inheritance. But his uncle has promised him one of the smaller houses on the estate that he can share with Ernestina. This is quite the shame for Ernestina, who was looking forward to redecorating Winsyatt’s manor house. She actually has a crying fit over it. That girl needs a hobby. There’s more to life than fancy houses.
Fowles now seems to claim ownership of his characters, even if he expects them to obey him. How can they disobey him if he’s writing what they do?
In this first section of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles seems to be taking on the role of an anthropologist – observing his characters rather than just telling a story. If readers keep going with this metaphor, they will find that Fowles has a lot of biases even though anthropologists are supposed to keep their observations neutral and objective. This may be because he connects events in the story – set in the Victorian Era – to events that happen in the future – circa 1967, when the book was written. Even though I may not understand all of the historical references, it makes the story more interesting.
There would have been another section post for Tess, but it’s been rough at school lately and I couldn’t keep up. You know something’s wrong when blogging doesn’t sound like fun. But I’m not as stressed anymore, so I will try to aim for consistency. We’ve already finished the book, so this post is going to go to the end.
I was really happy for Tess and Angel. I was hoping they would get together, and they did. Angel leaves the farm for a bit to go talk to his parents about his intentions to marry Tess. They are not too happy, but it doesn’t matter to him.
Meanwhile, Tess is back at the farm wondering why he left. She thought he didn’t really love her. But when he comes back, they are more in love than ever.
After a few months of working for the D’Urbervilles, Alec takes Tess for a ride in the woods known as The Chase. In class yesterday, I realized I completely missed something. While they were in the woods, Alec raped Tess. So, I spoke up:
Am I missing pages?
Professor Cadwallader later explained that no, it was just written about in a Victorian way, and I wouldn’t be able to miss references to it later. And I didn’t.
I’m super stoked to read this one because fun fact:
When Mom, my Aunt Tracy, and I were in England, we visited a town called Bere Regis. It’s the part of England the Turbervilles are from. My aunt’s maiden name is Turbeville. We stopped in the town’s church and everyone was really excited because they’d met Turbevilles before, but not from the United States.
The letters that Rochester receives give him details about her family and her past. Like the fact that her mother was mad, and she apparently tried to kill her husband. Antoinette is headed down the same path.
Because this section was narrated by Rochester and I had a better idea of what was going on, it was much easier to follow.
The marriage of Rochester and Antoinette was awkward at first, with neither person completely comfortable. However, a few days later, they both seem to relax and let their guard down, becoming at least friends. There was also something more in that they both desired each other. Rochester is still skeptical and apprehensive. He repeats “Not now. Not yet,” as if he is waiting for the right moment to act on something.
During the day everything is fine. At night, however, Antoinette seems to slip into madness, which scares Rochester. Because he doesn’t trust Antoinette or her servants, Rochester takes to sleeping in his dressing room. Antoinette wants to love him, but Rochester doesn’t see her as an equal or actually love her, so he stays away.
As if their relationship was strained enough, Rochester begins receiving strange letters with information about Antoinette and her family. He isn’t sure what to make of these, so he ignores them at first.
In English today, I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one having trouble following Wide Sargasso Sea. We discussed that it may be a series of vignettes because A) Either Bertha is trying to write her story while she is locked in Rochester’s attic and she fades in and out of reality due to her madness, or B) because Antoinette is remembering things from her childhood, and no memory is perfect.