The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1-3)
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2013 Group Reads - Archives > The Forsyte Saga - Interlude - Awakening

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Silver So concludes the second book and brings us to our second and last interlude of the story. We are approaching the home stretch now with the third and final book just around the corner.


message 2: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder Did anyone feel uncomfortable reading about little Jon's reaction to his mother?


Renee M | 747 comments Not uncomfortable. But, he did seem to be laying on the Freud.


Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments ☯Emily wrote: "Did anyone feel uncomfortable reading about little Jon's reaction to his mother?"

Read fairly quickly; didn't really think about my personal feelings about what was related, but wondered if Galsworthy was playing with being able to assume the voice and perspective of a child, as some recent writers notably have done.


message 5: by Kai (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kai Coates (southernbohemian) | 14 comments I thought it was a bit strange when he couldn't remember what she looked like - they didn't seem to have a very close relationship until the end. I liked the descriptions of Jon's dramatic play. I wonder how he'll grow up - he is very creative, but the way Jon is given everything he wants doesn't bode well.


message 6: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1820 comments Mod
This did seem to be an Idyll in many ways, and Jon does seem a charming boy with tremendous powers of imagination and with an amazing reading list for one so young. Also amazing that he had never heard an angry word, however I suppose as a likely somewhat pampered only child (and apparently he rarely/never sees other children) there wouldn't be much to cross him. His relationship with Irene seems very much like the intense relationship many children will have with a parent, and you're right, Renee, there is a very Freudian overtone to his supplanting his father in his mother's bed and his realization that his mother is beautiful, however I suspect it is a laying of the groundwork for him to find beauty elsewhere as he grows up.

Sadly, I do worry about what will happen when he does have to go to school and encounters other boys.


Silver I thought it was quite interesting the way in which Galsworthy tried to capture the child's voice within this section. I did find this to be a rather enjoyable section to read. It posed an interesting contrast to the first interlude which brought the end of Old Joylon, so here we have the start of the next generation of Jolyon.

In regards to his reaction to his mother, I definitely agree that it had a very Freudian feeling to it. It did borderline upon feeling a bit disturbing.


Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Silver wrote: "In regards to his reaction to his mother, I definitely agree that it had a very Freudian feeling to it. It did borderline upon feeling a bit disturbing...."

I couldn't sense whether Galsworthy shared that feeling and had so written the passage deliberately. By that time, Galsworthy must have been aware of the work of Freud. (He's later than Thomas Mann, who certainly was.)


Silver Lily wrote: "Silver wrote: "In regards to his reaction to his mother, I definitely agree that it had a very Freudian feeling to it. It did borderline upon feeling a bit disturbing...."

I couldn't sense whether..."


I cannot recall how hold Jon was supposed to be during this time (cannot remember if it stated his age) but I wondered at times if Jon's reaction to his mother, and his sudden realization of her beauty was meant to suggest his own awareness of his own masculinity, and marked the beginnings of the transition from child into manhood.

It also had the ring to it of a typical mamas boy. A pampered child who is much used to having the company of his mother (and from the sound of it other women as well). Other than his father there is not the sense that he has really been around men, or other boys very much.


message 10: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder I remember his age as being about seven.


message 11: by Lily (last edited Sep 02, 2013 10:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments ☯Emily wrote: "I remember his age as being about seven."

Good call, Emily!

"In that summer of 1909..." p. 597

"A child of 1901, he had come to consciousness when his country, just over that bad attack of scarlet fever, the Boer War, was preparing for the Liberal revival of 1906...."

Galsworthy, John (2012-05-17). The Forsyte Saga - Complete (Kindle Locations 8709-8710). Kindle Edition. [p. 598]

"It was a disillusionment, then, when at the age of nearly seven she held him down on his back, because he wanted to do something of which she did not approve. This first interference with the free individualism of a Forsyte drove him almost frantic...."

Ibid. (Kindle Locations 8722-8724). [p. 599]

"The leaves also were thick by now, and it was time for his birthday, which, occurring every year on the twelfth of May, was always memorable for his chosen dinner of sweetbread, mushrooms, macaroons, and ginger beer.

"Between that eighth birthday, however, and the afternoon when he stood in the July radiance at the turning of the stairway, several important things had happened."

Ibid. (Kindle Locations 8775-8777). [p. 602]


message 12: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 03, 2013 12:43AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Lily wrote: "Silver wrote: "In regards to his reaction to his mother, I definitely agree that it had a very Freudian feeling to it. It did borderline upon feeling a bit disturbing...."

I couldn't sense whether..."


The later Victorian writers were very aware of Freud and other emerging psychoanalytical ideas so we frequently find such references in their novels. Freud was developing and lecturing on psychoanalysis around 1896 so his ideas permeated science and literature from that time.

http://psychology.about.com/od/sigmun...

He articulated his ideas about the Oedipus complex in the case study of Little Hans (1909), though he also discussed Oedipus in The Interpretation of Dreams (1905) and other early works. In Little Hans, Freud puts forward the theory that every little boy wishes to have sexual intercourse with his mother and wants murder his father in order to gain exclusive possession of her.

http://www.simplypsychology.org/littl...


message 13: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments I got way behind, and just finished this section this morning. Like Emily, I did feel uncomfortable reading about little Jon's reaction to his mother. I was also very much reminded of Swann's Way.


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