Ken's Interpretation of the Mushrooms

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Ken's Interpretation of the Mushrooms

Post  KenInGA on Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:36 pm

Gustafsson uses the motif of the mushrooms to convey and describe the life and existence of the main character.

EDIT: "The Daughters of the Late Colonel"

"And then she did one of those amazingly bold things that she'd done about twice before in their lives; she marched over to the wardrobe, turned the key, and took it out of the lock. Took it out of the lock and held it up to Josephine, showing Josephine by her extraordinary smile that she knew what she'd done, she'd deliberately risked father being in there amongst his overcoats."

I'm a bit confused as to whether they lock the wardrobe or open it. If they lock it, I don't entirely understand where the risk comes from. Perhaps from just being near the wardrobe?

Additionally, it is interesting to note how she did one of "those amazingly bold things" that she had only done "twice before in their lives." This shows exactly how timid and closeted their lives have been.

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Re: Ken's Interpretation of the Mushrooms

Post  MaryShelley on Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:54 am

good work, here. I like your answer to the mushrooms and the Catherine Mansfield passage you choose is excellent evidence of as you say the "closeted" lives of the daughters. From my reading, Constantia locks the wardrobe, on some level locking her father in, which seems bold but is nevertheless confirming/exemplary of the lack of freedom in her every move. Can you use the language itself to make your point, even more closely than you do, I wonder?

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Re: Ken's Interpretation of the Mushrooms

Post  KenInGA on Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:51 am

"And then she did one of those amazingly bold things that she'd done about twice before in their lives; she marched over to the wardrobe, turned the key, and took it out of the lock. Took it out of the lock and held it up to Josephine, showing Josephine by her extraordinary smile that she knew what she'd done, she'd deliberately risked father being in there amongst his overcoats."

This passage shows exactly how stunted and lacking of freedom the two sisters were while administering to their father. This whole section of them going into their father's room is dominated by the overarching theme of how "Father would never forgive them." The fact that they still are afraid of their father even though he is quite dead shows how much power he has had over them, and how his disapproval and his authority has essentially been hard-wired into their beings. They cannot escape their father even in death. By locking the wardrobe/chest, Constantia risks "father being in there amongst his overcoats," in that she risks upsetting him and earning his disapproval by locking him in there. Additionally, this could be viewed as locking the last physical manifestations of their father's control away, and it is bold in that they are effectively "rebelling" of sorts against their only authority figure in their entire lives.
This passage is also of note in that immediately preceding it, Constantia herself implores her sister to just be "weak" for once. This is ironic in that they have been weak and submitting their entire lives under the "reign" of their father. It is also immediately juxtaposed with the "bold" move that Constantia makes in the following passage as she locks her father's wardrobe, which could be interpreted as her finally rebelling and breaking out from her father's dominance: the exact opposite of being weak. She (if not her sister) is finally developing more of a figurative backbone.

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Re: Ken's Interpretation of the Mushrooms

Post  MaryShelley on Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:57 am

Nice work, Ken. You are doing good close reading, here. I think it's important to point out that this "bold" move is relative to the girls' perspective. Also that it produces an "extraordinary smile" illustrates Josephine's relief at having acted, taken action. The other funny thing is the last line of your excerpt, which suggests that the daughters imagined their father was inside the wardrobe. Stay as close as possible to the text. Allow it to do the work for you. Resist paraphrasing.

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