Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We need to talk about Rachel

I will get to my usual numbered points in a minute, but whoa you guys.

Everyone in this book has gone on and on about how Rachel couldn't possibly be guilty of stealing her own diamond -- "if you knew our Rachel" blah blah blah. There were some serious crimes of Telling Not Showing being committed in this book. And all the while, Rachel was acting guilty like sin.

AND THEN, Wilkie drops the bomb. I NEVER saw this coming; I would never have guessed that she saw Franklin take it (oops, spoiler). Insanity. And it totally explains all her behavior, which I really could not make sense of.

Get yours! Be a cool kid!

And once again, I'm left thinking that Wilkie has used "bad writing" (or just dull/cliche writing) deliberately as a red herring. "Once again" because in Woman in White I had a similar reaction once the craziness broke loose of Walter "Boring" Hartright's initial narration.

Well, well, well.

1. How tempted was I to change the name of this blog to "Rampant Spinster"? Most excellent.

For a week I and my people waited, encamped on the borders of a desert.
Once again, Wilkie sends his heartbroken hero out on some sort of ludicrously adventurous quest in order to forget his lady love. REAL TALK: Franklin Blake and Walter Hartright, in reality, would have just spent several months moping around their mothers' basements. But no, Wilks sends them to the ends of the earth.

3. Oh, Betteredge.
"Facts?" he repeated. "Take a drop more grog, Mr. Franklin, and you'll get over the weakness of believing in facts!"

4. I thought Rosanna's letter was fairly harrowing, myself. Maybe because it was so incredibly long? Girl held nothing back. Her bitterness about Miss Rachel not being all that pretty...

"By-the-bye, Mr Franklin, you will be sorry to hear that the little doctor has never recovered that illness he caught, going home from the birthday dinner. He's pretty well in health; but he lost his memory in the fever, and he has never recovered more than the wreck of it since. The work all falls on his assistant. Not much of it now, except among the poor. THEY can't help themselves, you know. THEY must put up with the man with the piebald hair, and the gipsy complexion--or they would get no doctoring at all."
Setting aside the fact that this is OBVIOUSLY going to be become significant (could a South Asian complexion be mistaken for "gipsy" in WilkieWorld?) how ridiculous is this? How is Mr Candy still a doctor?

6. Also, on what planet is "Ezra Jennings" an ugly name? Oh Wilkie.

7. I can't even comment on the ridiculous characterizations of Indians in this book. Victorians: so special. And racist.

8. Also, LOL women.
But women, as you may have observed, have no principles. My family don't feel my pangs of conscience. The end being to bring you and Rachel together again, my wife and daughters pass over the means employed to gain it, as composedly as if they were Jesuits.
Somehow, whenever Wilkie writes this kind of thing, he manages to do it in such a way that it sounds like he's teasing his female readers: you know, throwing something really outrageous out there to ruffle some feathers and see what happens.

After the lapse of a minute, I roused my manhood, and opened the door.
That's FILTHY.

I saw her, and heard her, no more.

Just pretend it says "next week" instead of "manana".


  1. "After the lapse of a minute, I roused my manhood, and opened the door."

    YES. THANK YOU. I was reading this last night and like "Erm...ahem...there's a lot of reference to manhood and unmanning and...yeah. Here. In this section."

    Rosanna's letter was so. very. disturbing. And on one hand, it's like "Ok, she had no one, and she was suicidal, so who says she has to be all noble?" But on the other hand, she's being kind of terrible and CRAZY. Like "Oh, you didn't know that you were doing this, but you totally drove me to suicide, but DON'T feel bad about it, but it's totally your fault."

    Damn, Rosanna. And the nightgown-wearing and the rose-switching and...agh.

    Wilkie is the best in all ways. We need those shirts.

    1. So much manhood, so many trousers.

    2. YEEEESSS...thank you so much, both of you, for justifying myself to myself. Because I was afraid my mind had gone to the bad place all alone, and I was so very ashamed. But MANHOOD...I mean, seriously.

  2. Need that shirt. Must order it soon.

    I still think Rachel acted like a brat and all BUT she has redeemed herself because she had REASONS for her behavior and it turns out everyone was right about her being all good and upstanding and loyal and whatnot.

  3. I absolutely saw 'roused my manhood'! And then I didn't mention it because I ALWAYS pick up on things like that (there are a couple in P&P, for instance) and always always get told off for it! So THANK YOU!

    Rosanna's letter was totally harrowing, and I somehow managed to forget how much she hated Rachel, I guess cause I was feeling sorry for her. But daaaaamn, she really hated her!

    I am totally getting a Wilkie t-shirt. Just need to figure out which one to get!

  4. "After the lapse of a minute, I roused my manhood, and opened the door."

    I totally snickered at this. Wilkie needs to get his mind out of the gutter.

    AND I need one of these shirts in my life STAT.

  5. 1. Rampant Spinster: I would read the heck out of that blog.

    4. I KNOW. Definitely makes you see Rosanna in a new light. I may have to taker her down off the badass-master-thief pedestal.

    5. Why are they so mean to Ezra? The Victorians put a weird amount of importance on hair, it seems.

  6. HAHAHA "I roused my manhood". All I could picture was him adjusting his junk, like guys do, before opening the door. LOL.

    Duuuuude I need to order one of those shirts!

  7. Thing I learned from your post and the comment thread that followed: We all have DIRTY, dirty minds...every last one of us.

    I wonder if Rachel really ISN'T as pretty as everyone thinks? More likely, Rosanna just didn't think she was pretty because she was so BITTER in general. Not that I'm GLAD Rosanna took a sand nap, but who knows what she would have done if she had decided to fight for Franklin's affection or something. She may have started disposing of more than just Rachel's roses, if you know what I mean.

  8. I would very much like the back of my WILKIE (omg) shirt to say "Rampant Spinster."