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Dad Post: Irony, Agony, and a Suitor

April 24, 2009

Dad on Chapt 3-4:
One of the early puzzlements about James is whether he really is as obsessed as he seems to be with matters of appearance, or whether he is using his narrator’s voice (will we be told who the narrator is, BTW?) to comment on the superficialities of the time.  We’ll hope for the latter, because so far, the continued profiling of young Catherine, her father and their world considers only their looks, their money and their station without the irony we’ve been told to expect.  (Exactly- narrator claims that Dr. S’s conversations and attitudes with his daughter are ironic.  I think Dr. S is just mean and unloving.  – Betty)
• At least in Chapter 4 the story is starting to move. Here comes the suitor with the murky past and the unexplained interest in plain old Catherine. Oh-oh.
• I liked this sentence: “In those days, in New York, there were still a few altar fires flickering in the temple of republican simplicity.” If only ….
• And for those of us still trying to figure out the time element in that impenetrable first sentence (““During a portion of the first half of the present century, and more particularly during the latter part of it…”), Hank cuts us a break and says it’s 1835.

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