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Archived Group Reads 2014 > No Name 2014 Scene 6; Mar 1

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message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments This is for discussion of this section of the novel.


message 2: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments It was nice to have the focus on Magdalen again. I am surprised that she is trying another scheme, somehow for me it seems more doomed to fail than the first one.

Aside from the plot, the interesting thing for me in this section was where Magdalen coaches Louisa to be a lady, and says the only difference is the silk clothes and attitude. This is a direct reference to the underlying theme I see about the falseness of a class based society. Magdalen at the beginning is a confident, spoiled girl enjoying flirtations and going on stage playing at being a maid. A turn of fate, and she loses all claims to be a lady, is illegitimate, the name of her father officially doesn't belong to her, and she is playing at being a maid in the real world in a desperate attempt to cling onto her notion of justice.


message 3: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Clari wrote: "It was nice to have the focus on Magdalen again. I am surprised that she is trying another scheme, somehow for me it seems more doomed to fail than the first one.

Aside from the plot, the interest..."


Couple of things. Can you expand on "the theme of the falseness of a class based society " as it pertains to "No Name"

Secondly, I am trying to understand the second part of your opinion about Magdalin or is it an observation?


message 4: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Good point Clari, I didn't catch it. Magdalen plays a maid in the play, and then plays a maid at St. Crux. She also plays Norah at the play, and then plays Miss Grant later. Oh, you are good!


message 5: by Clarissa (last edited Feb 19, 2014 03:34PM) (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Whimsical wrote: "Couple of things. Can you expand on "the theme of the falseness of a class based society " as it pertains to "No Name"

Secondly, I am trying to understand the second part of your opinion about Magdalin or is it an observation? "


I think Teresa puts the point I was trying to make about the plays a lot simpler and better than I did, Whimsical!

My idea of 'the theme of the falseness of a class based society' relates to the play-acting of Magdalen. With a little tutoring a girl who has worked all her life, Louisa, can pass as a lady, and a girl brought up to be a lady can find herself working as a maid.
In addition Louisa is a fallen woman and has an illegitimate child so she is at the bottom of servants and has to forge a reference in order to get a job. Yet Magdalen says there is no difference between them (it may be that she needed to go through the experiences she has to feel like that).
Throughout the novel Collins explores the idea of identity and playing roles, and I believe in this scene he explicitly applies this to class divisions.


message 6: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Clari wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "Couple of things. Can you expand on "the theme of the falseness of a class based society " as it pertains to "No Name"

Secondly, I am trying to understand the second part of your..."


Got it. Thanks Clari.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments Clari wrote: "Throughout the novel Collins explores the idea of identity and playing roles, and I believe in this scene he explicitly applies this to class divisions. ..."

Indeed it sounds like he's doing that. Seems to me that Collins was indeed trying to change the perceptions of the society of his times. Makes me like him even more.

And I had forgotten that it was a maid that Magdalen was initially playing in her first performance.

By the way, as long as the 4th scene was, the 5th and 6th ones make up for it in shortness, I guess.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments However, I'm really glad about Louisa. At least somebody's happy in this story.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments I've just started scene 7, so this will be a little out of place, but this is relevant because of what Clari said. wasn't the first maid she played at the play also named Lucy? if it was, I think Clari is absolutely right, and it's obvious what Collins was going for here. That's why this will probably be Magdalen's last character - because it both started and will probably end with the same Lucy.


message 10: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Evelina wrote: "I've just started scene 7, so this will be a little out of place, but this is relevant because of what Clari said. wasn't the first maid she played at the play also named Lucy? if it was, I think C..."

Yes, the first role she takes is Lucy, the smart and scheming maid who uses the other characters' lack of knowledge of each other to her own financial advantage.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Clari wrote: "Aside from the plot, the interesting thing for me in this section was where Magdalen coaches Louisa to be a lady, and says the only difference is the silk clothes and attitude."

Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
King Lear, 4.6


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Clari wrote: This is a direct reference to the underlying theme I see about the falseness of a class based society. Magdalen at the beginning is a confident, spoiled girl enjoying flirtations and going on stage playing at being a maid. A turn of fate, and she loses all claims to be a lady, is illegitimate, the name of her father officially doesn't belong to her, and she is playing at being a maid in the real world in a desperate attempt to cling onto her notion of justice. "

A nice post. We had been talking at some length about the issue of illegitimacy and inheritance, of the unfair (by modern standards) restrictions placed on women, but your point that the novel is also about the class system more generally is a good one.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Evelina wrote: "Seems to me that Collins was indeed trying to change the perceptions of the society of his times."

Oh, I definitely agree. Which makes this novel different from the few other Collins novels I've read. But the use of literature to highlight social problems was fairly widespread -- it's central to several of Dickens's and Gaskell's novels, and even has a place in some of Thackeray.


message 14: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Good eye, Clari!! I did not see the Lucy connection until you pointed it out. I love that evidence of Collins's plotting. So tidy!


message 15: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Everyman wrote: "Oh, I definitely agree. Which makes this novel different from the few other Collins novels I've read. But the use of literature to highlight social problems was fairly widespread -- it's central to several of Dickens's and Gaskell's novels, and even has a place in some of Thackeray. "

I think with this novel, it is interesting how Collins is evolving his work beyond the sensation novel into the territory of the other writers you mention. Maybe a modern day example would be a rom-com film that also addresses social issues?


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