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February 27, 2007

Gilbert and Sullivan....wait, no, Gilbert and Gubar.

“Certainly the righteous Doctor John – whose name links him to the anti-hero of Charlotte Bronte's Villette – has been temporarily defeated, or at least momentarily stunned. 'Now why should that man have fainted?' the narrator ironically asks as she creeps around her attic.”

I think we all were able to agree in the defeat of John, though we debated about why he fainted. It seems as though these two answer that question as a self-serving observation. He fainted because he was defeated. He didn't see rope. He didn't see writing. He finally saw, in the metaphysical sense, his misdirection and his wrongdoing embodied in his wife as defeat. It was a sobering experience for him and it was just a little too much for him and he passed out.

I'll let the debate rage on.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at February 27, 2007 9:40 AM


I'm glad you discussed this. Most of us girls jsut bitch that the women make themselves the victim and I like that you brought up an entirely different point about the man not being able to handle defeat. I think you are right, because back then, men really didn't know how to handle one-upmanship (literally, in this instance, accept he's man-down) because that was so rare then. Now men are more used to women defeating them and most are able to put on happy faces about it because they either know better or know they don't want to have to sleep on the couch later. These opinions are not necessarily my own, by I'm throwing them in the ring for some fun.

Posted by: Erin at February 28, 2007 2:35 PM

Good point. I would have to agree with both of you when you say that the men of this time period were not willing to admit defeat or that they were wrong. (In my opinion there are still people that can not admit defeat and I say people because I don't know when it's time to throw in the towl half the time.)

Erin: I have to tell you that I laughed out loud when I read "or know they don't want to have to sleep on the couch later." That was a good one.

Posted by: Tiffany at February 28, 2007 7:37 PM

Thank you Kevin, you have exercised the demons of this debate once more. We could look at what is realistic for a change, rather than make speculation. The character was suffering, we know that for a fact. The women could relate to this imprisonment because of how rest treatment was occurring for women more than men. It's a good point to mention that men did not accept defeat, but is it realistic for men to faint over defeat? I think that is a question for you Kevin. I think that the only way a man would ever faint, is if he saw something so horrid, or something so unbelievable that he could not cope, and his own defeat is certainly not a reason to faint, because it is not realistic (mimetic criticism).

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 28, 2007 11:20 PM

Jay, there is no way at all we can properly infer what the end of the damn story is fully about. We have enough context clues throughout the story to come to different conclusions.

Personally, I don't really care. I think attempting to divine some kind of resolution about what happened after the close of the story is, well, pointless. A lot of it goes back to the continual debate of "did she kill herself?" What does it really, ultimately matter? We're dealing in speculation no matter what.


That doesn't mean we can't discuss and debate it, even though we'll most likely never know precisely why John fainted at the end.

I also find it thoroughly sexist and, for lack of a better word at this ungodly hour, pigheaded to assume that "men did not accept defeat." Last time I checked, pretty much every war was had a losing side, which was, you know, run by men, and one of them had to give up. General Lee gave up and he was the far, far superior general. Men have been handed one crushing defeat after another. We just don't entirely hear about it because when you have men writing the books and dictating the history the view becomes skewed.

Also (and I'll allow the direct disqualification in relation to the story as John was a doctor), but I know a lot of people, men especially, who do faint at the slightest things, but usually when it comes to needles and blood.

Posted by: Kevin at March 1, 2007 1:36 AM

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