Monday, April 9, 2012

We don't want genius in this country, unless it is accompanied by respectability

First post actually about The Women in White and not about Wilkie Collins crazy big forehead and Scheherazade-esque bullying. Readalong post ahoy!

So even though it's been made very clear, I'm still sort of in denial that there's no ghost in this story. So when Walter sees the woman in white walking along the road I kept expecting her to suddenly disappear while wearing his jacket and then he goes to find her and is told she's dead and then he sees his jacket on her grave AAHHHHHH!* So what I'm saying is "escaped from insane asylum" while fun, is not quite the same. But given that disappointment is my own fault even though I knew better, I can't hold this against Wilkie.

Besides, what the story lacks in ghosts, it makes up for with amazing characters. Professor Pesca, the Italian almost-but-not-quite dwarf. How fantastic is he? A little ball of energy who is SO EXCITED that he got Walter a teaching job, even if I don't think "got you a 4 month teaching job" is quite equal to "saved you from drowning", but if Walter's cool with it, that works.

And there's Mr. Fairlie, master of the house where Walter is teaching art. He's a hypochondriac. Or really suffers from maladies that make it so things that annoying him will kill him. Also he has super human smell, given he was offended by the "odour of plebeian fingers" on some art he'd asked Walter to take a look at. That was pretty awesome. So really, he's an ass who is rude to his servants and wants to stay away from everyone. We don't see him much (so far) but he's pretty great in that one scene.

But the best character is Miriam. Even if she keeps talking about how lame ladies are. At first when she's all like "Ladies, we suck don't we? Man I wish I could say the things that guys do." I was taken aback. But then she'd go ahead and say what she wanted. So I'm thinking (because I love her character) she's voicing the position most people at this time have about ladies and she's being sarcastic about it. Every once in awhile I remember it's Wilkie who wrote this and think maybe he really feels this way, but then why would he make Miriam so amazing?  Anyway, here are some of her gems I highlighted
"How can you expect four women to dine together alone every day, and not quarrel?"
"no woman does think much of her own sex"
"Women can't draw - their minds are too flighty, and their eyes are too inattentive."
"Don't shrink under it like a woman. Tear it out; trample it under foot like a man!"

Yeah, yeah, there's the actual plot involving Walter falling for the most boring person in the Limmeridge House (Laura) but she's getting married to a Baronet (Sir Percival Glyde) that the asylum lady hates. Oh also asylum lady has a name (Anne) and she grew up for awhile with Laura and sent a message talking about how much of a jerk Glyde is. Walter is sad Laura's getting married to someone that's not him, so he leaves the house. End of Walter's narrative!

So what's going on with Anne?
Why'd Glyde (probably) send her to the hut house?
Will Professor Pesca show up again and be hilarious?
Will we see more of Miriam being awesome?
Will Laura and Walter get together, even though they're both pretty boring so I'd rather spend time with the other characters?

Onto The Story Continued by Vincent Gilmore!

*I like urban legends...

Yes, yes I know it's Marian. But I like Miriam better so I'm sticking with that at least when I think about her name. Also I've been calling her that for whatever reason for this long so now the name has stuck in my mind.

Title quote from location 148, page 11

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Originally published 1860