Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sally & Lucy Snowe

Sometimes I like to go back and watch an episode or so of The Dick Van Dyke Show--it's just such a positive show with pain-free comedy, contrasting greatly with many (not all) of the darker fiction today. Even still, there are a few darker threads, if you will, in this show.

Darkness is also something that lurks within Villette, Charlotte Brontë's last published novel. The heroine, Lucy Snowe, grapples constantly with isolation. But the question some critics have brought up is whether she in fact makes her life and human relationships more complicated than they need be. Could she, for instance, have had a relationship past friendship with Dr. John? Although she constantly thinks about loneliness, is she in fact as willing to have companionship as she lets on?

Back to the TV show, Sally reminds me something of Lucy. She is constantly going on dates and telling herself she's gorgeous and saying she's so desperate she'll marry anyone. But she never does. She has quite a few moments of loneliness, but still her situation doesn't change. We realize she isn't so desperate and willing to settle as she says. But does Sally also, like Lucy, complicate things more than they need to be?

Further, can we fault either character if the answer to the question is yes? Or do they act the way they do simply because that's who they are?

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