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Daniel Deronda > Daniel Deronda - Book 5 - Mordecai

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Christmas at the Abbey, and we get to see the happy couple in all their glory. Does anybody feel sorry for either one of them, or is it more a matter of "a plague on both your houses, and you both deserve the bargain you have made"?

I am coming to appreciate more and more the little (or sometimes not so little?) philosophical thoughts that Eliot scatters in the book. For just one example, Gwendolen and Deronda in Chapter 35:

"Are you not a musician?"

"I have given a great deal of time to music. But I have not talent enough to make it worth while. I shall never sing again."

"But if you are fond of music, it will always be worth while in private, for your own delight. I make it a virtue to be content with my middlingness," said Deronda, smiling; "it is always pardonable, so that one does not ask others to take it for superiority."

"I cannot imitate you," said Gwendolen, recovering her tone of artificial vivacity. "To be middling with me is another phrase for being dull. And the worst fault I have to find with the world is, that it is dull. Do you know, I am going to justify gambling in spite of you. It is a refuge from dullness."

"I don't admit the justification," said Deronda. "I think what we call the dullness of things is a disease in ourselves. Else how can any one find an intense interest in life? And many do."

"Ah, I see! The fault I find in the world is my own fault," said Gwendolen, smiling at him.


There are two interesting points in here. One, I think Gwendolen is totally wrong in thinking that because her musical talent is limited (Klesmer really "got to" her) she will never sing again. I would argue that, on the contrary, making music badly is better than making no music at all (and remembering that we're talking of a time with no records, CDs, ipods, etc; it was live music or no music).

Second, and more interesting I think, is the question whether dulness comes from the outside or the inside. We are tempted, I think, to agree with Deronda here, also, because we are told that happiness comes from within, but if one is unhappy, as I think Gwendolen is at this point, isn't it easier to blame the external world?

Just one little example of where a small moment in the book raises quite interesting questions about living one's life.


message 2: by Everyman (last edited Feb 04, 2014 07:12PM) (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments When DD gets back to his room, "What is the use of it all?" thought Deronda, as he threw down his grammar, and began to undress. "I can't do anything to help her...

She's married. Why should he think it's his responsibility to do anything to help her? But it seems to me pretty clear that there is something between Gwendolen and Deronda that there shouldn't be between a single man and a newly married bride. Is this going to come to anything? Is Gwendolen already considering how to escape the trap of her marriage? Why is Deronda showing such attention to his -- shall we call him cousin's? -- new wife? Or am I reading more into these scenes than I should? Is it all innocence and light?


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Eliot does a beautiful job of summing up the change in Gwendolen.

In Book 1 we saw a young woman who had an almost imperious belief in her control over her life, over those she loved, who if not quite a spoiled child (as it is suggested she is) is at least very self-centered and self-confident.

And what has this young woman come to? In Chapter 35:

This beautiful, healthy young creature, with her two-and-twenty years and her gratified ambition, no longer felt inclined to kiss her fortunate image in the glass. She looked at it with wonder that she could be so miserable. One belief which had accompanied her through her unmarried life as a self-cajoling superstition, encouraged by the subordination of every one about her—the belief in her own power of dominating—was utterly gone. Already, in seven short weeks, which seemed half her life, her husband had gained a mastery which she could no more resist than she could have resisted the benumbing effect from the touch of a torpedo. Gwendolen's will had seemed imperious in its small girlish sway; but it was the will of a creature with a large discourse of imaginative fears: a shadow would have been enough to relax its hold. And she had found a will like that of a crab or a boa-constrictor, which goes on pinching or crushing without alarm at thunder. Not that Grandcourt was without calculation of the intangible effects which were the chief means of mastery; indeed, he had a surprising acuteness in detecting that situation of feeling in Gwendolen which made her proud and rebellious spirit dumb and helpless before him.

One is tempted to think she would have done better to have become a governess; that she has given up more for wealth and position than they are worth.


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments I found the scene with Hans and Deronda delicious. Deronda sees the picture clearly and tries to dissuade Hans from his infatuation with Mirah; Hans is totally oblivious to Deronda, almost one might say besotted. What can Deronda do in this situation? Is he simply trying to protect Mirah from a clearly unacceptable misalliance, or is he seeing a serious rival for his own love, and if so, does he realize that?


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Does anybody understand the references behind what Mordeci tells Jacob:

"A curse is on your generation, child. They will open the mountain and drag forth the golden wings and coin them into money, and the solemn faces they will break up into ear-rings for wanton women! And they shall get themselves a new name, but the angel of ignominy, with the fiery brand, shall know them, and their heart shall be the tomb of dead desires that turn their life to rottenness."

I suspect that there is some reference here, but I don't know what it is.


message 6: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1729 comments Everyman wrote: "Christmas at the Abbey, and we get to see the happy couple in all their glory. Does anybody feel sorry for either one of them, or is it more a matter of "a plague on both your houses, and you both..."

I do feel sorry for Gwendolen. She is (or was) insufferably self-centered, but she has no malice in her, she can learn, and she truly loves her mother. She deserves a good talking-to, not the lifetime of misery she will surely have with Grandcourt.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments I'm still in the middle of reading this section, but I just wanted to say I loved the phrase "mealy-complexioned male" in reference to Grandcourt. What an image!


message 8: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Roger wrote: "I do feel sorry for Gwendolen. She is (or was) insufferably self-centered, but she has no malice in her, she can learn, and she truly loves her mother. She deserves a good talking-to, not the lifetime of misery she will surely have with Grandcourt."

I agree in part, but the other side of the coin is that she knows she's marrying not for love but purely for money and comfort, and that she doesn't intend to be a good wife according to what she knows to be the standard of her age (for example, hoping she doesn't give Grandcourt a legitimate male heir, and not intending to be subservient), so she chose a path of dishonesty and deception, and deserves what she got.


message 9: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Don wrote: "I've been wondering whether Eliot constructed Gwendolyn's character as something of a challenge to readers' attitudes towards women."

Great point. Emphasized, perhaps, by the fact that externally, to most of the outside world (except Mrs. Arrowpoint, who may not read her completely correctly but is certainly suspicious) she appears to be the model young woman of her (pre-financial disaster) class and age. She is lovely, dresses well, comports herself well, sings acceptably for a drawing room evening, is good at the lady-like sport of archery, rides, etc. It is in her inward life that the challenge to readers' attitudes takes place. Just as Eliot herself openly challenged the attitudes of her society.

What is interesting, perhaps, is that so far Eliot has not rewarded Gwendolen for her more modern views. We will have to see whether Gwendolen comes out okay in the end, but for the time being her more advanced ideas have been completely crushed by the smooth urbane tyranny of an extenally model gentleman.


message 10: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Everyman wrote: "She's married. Why should he think it's his responsibility to do anything to help her? But it seems to me pretty clear that there is something between Gwendolen and Deronda that there shouldn't be between a single man and a newly married bride. Is this going to come to anything? Is Gwendolen already considering how to escape the trap of her marriage? Why is Deronda showing such attention to his -- shall we call him cousin's? -- new wife? Or am I reading more into these scenes than I should? Is it all innocence and light?
..."


I think it's understandable that Deronda wants to help Gwendolyn, after all, she asked for his help. Part of Deronda's nature is to help people; look at him helping Mirah and now Mordecai; look at how he helped Hans. I think there's a psychological issue at play in wanting to help people as much as Deronda does, but that's way out of my league to even speculate about, except that I will say that maybe he feels inadequate about his identify and wants help himself in this area? Just my speculation.

Why can't men and women be friends without there being either a sexual or romantic component to their relationship? I think they can and should. In DD and G's case the relationship began with what she saw as criticism, it developed as she challenged his criticism, and now she realizes that he may be able to help her cope with or resolve the mistakes she has made. If you think about it, isn't your best friend probably your spouse or partner?


message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Everyman wrote: "Eliot does a beautiful job of summing up the change in Gwendolen.

In Book 1 we saw a young woman who had an almost imperious belief in her control over her life, over those she loved, who if not

One is tempted to think she would have done better to have become a governess; that she has given up more for wealth and position than they are worth.
..."


Oh yes! But... if she hadn't had this experience with Grandcourt would she have changed to the person she is becoming? Now she's in a living hell. If she finds her way out of this relationship, she will make a much kinder and wiser governess, and she'll be a better person.


message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Everyman wrote: "Does anybody understand the references behind what Mordeci tells Jacob:

"A curse is on your generation, child. They will open the mountain and drag forth the golden wings and coin them into money,..."


I looked up Mordecai on Wikipedia a few days ago. He is associated with the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. I haven't read the Book, but in the summary there is an indication of a plot to destroy the Jews and Mordecai convinces Esther (a queen) to avert the plot. I'm sure there's much more to the story, and I'll read it pretty soon, but I hope this steers you in the right direction.


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Roger wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Christmas at the Abbey, and we get to see the happy couple in all their glory. Does anybody feel sorry for either one of them, or is it more a matter of "a plague on both your hou..."

Oh yes, I do agree. There is hope for her, even if it's only an internal overcoming her misery and mistakes. On the other hand, I see Grandcourt as pure evil -- I should have known that by the way he treated his dogs! I think he's gotten exactly what he wanted -- today we might say the he acquired a trophy wife, and a challenge. I wonder how long it will take him to get bored now that he's gained victory?


message 14: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Does anybody understand the references behind what Mordeci tells Jacob:

"A curse is on your generation, child. They will open the mountain and drag forth the golden wings and coin..."


I just read the Book of Esther and my suggestion is wrong. In my kindle version of the book there wasn't any asterisk by the quotation so I'm really stumped.


message 15: by Laurel (last edited Feb 06, 2014 03:32PM) (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Everyman wrote: "Does anybody understand the references behind what Mordeci tells Jacob:

"A curse is on your generation, child. They will open the mountain and drag forth the golden wings and coin them into money,..."


I think he is talking about the desecrations of the Temple in Jerusalem. There were several of them. In one, the Babylonians raided the holy place and looted it, taking back the golden vessels as instruments of their drunkenness. (See Esther and Daniel, especially the handwriting on the wall.) Like the Temple, the Jews have been hunted down and defiled over and over again. We can see it again in our own day. I hadn't thought of the two Mordecais being similar, Elizabeth. That's a great point. Esther was a Jewish woman, unbeknownst to her husband, the emperor Xerxes, or Ahasuerus. The emperor established a program, or persecution of the Jews, and when Mordecai persuaded his relative Esther to stop it, she told the emperor who she was. He couldn't change his decree--the laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed-- but he added a decree that the Jews could fight back. Jews all over the world celebrate that part of their history every year. http://www.jewfaq.org/m/holiday9.htm


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Part of Deronda's nature is to help people; look at him helping Mirah and now Mordecai; look at how he helped Hans. I think there's a psychological issue at play in wanting to help people as much as Deronda does,"

That's an excellent point. He is indeed a natural helper, though you, I'm not sure where it arises from.


message 17: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Elizabeth wrote: " On the other hand, I see Grandcourt as pure evil .."

And yet, what does it then say about Lydia Glasher that she not only went from her husband to him, but had four children by him? Would she really do this if he were pure evil? I think perhaps he is more complex than that.


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Elizabeth wrote: " I wonder how long it will take him [Grandcourt] to get bored now that he's gained victory? "

Oh, you cynic! [g]

Bur really, the victory was too easy, wasn't it? Even he can hardly feel any credit for subduing her so quickly and completely.

Will she stay subdued? Or will something (Deronda perhaps?) emerge that gives her some of her backbone back?


message 19: by Kathy (last edited Feb 06, 2014 06:49PM) (new)

Kathy Chumley (kathleenchumley) | 8 comments Elizabeth wrote: "except that I will say that maybe he feels inadequate about his identify and wants help himself in this area? Just my speculation.
."


I think he said something to that effect too, though I don't have my Kindle in front of me right now to look up the exact passage. Deronda said something about feeling for others because of his background.

On the minor characters - Does anyone else feel sympathy for Lady Malinger? The poor thing is blamed for having only daughters, and when she was first married some thought she looked like she would produce a son (whatever that "looks" like).


message 20: by Sue (last edited Feb 07, 2014 06:10AM) (new)

Sue Pit (cybee) | 329 comments It does seem that Deronda has an empathy toward others founded upon his own troubled sense of his origins/lack of knowledge as to his biological parents. Both Mirah and Gwendolyn are unattainable to him at this point due to either ethnicity or marriage. I do think that Deronda is attracted by Mirah but has suppressed it as an impossibility only to have that notion somehow challenged by Han's expressed feelings toward Mirah ( Hans is oblivious to any such possibility in Deronda and thus speaks quite freely on the matter to him) (also causing an uncomfortable new feeling in Deronda as to Hans). As to Mordecai, Deronda certainly could have perceived Mordecai's words as ravings but Deronda is undertaking to meet him yet again. Deronda is indeed a helper…but seems no closer to resolutions in this chapter beyond finding Mirah employment.


message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethHammond) | 233 comments Everyman wrote: "Does anybody understand the references behind what Mordeci tells Jacob:

"A curse is on your generation, child. They will open the mountain and drag forth the golden wings and coin them into money,..."


Please help. There is a quote in Ch 38 where Mordecai is reciting a Herbrew verse which I cannot read because my kindle versions has the whole verse writing vertically (as do all of the anagrams (annoying, oh well).

I think this verse ties to Everyman's question/comment above "a curse on your generation".

Thanks Laurele for your response to the question. I've just started reading the Book of Daniel and see strong references to the quotation, but I haven't been able to figure it out yet (if I can).


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Everyman wrote: "Christmas at the Abbey, and we get to see the happy couple in all their glory. Does anybody feel sorry for either one of them, or is it more a matter of "a plague on both your houses, and you both..."

I'm glad you pointed out the scene discussing music, I liked the bits of wisdom here too. I thought it a pity that since Gwendolen did not sing very well, that she thought it better not to sing at all. I liked Deronda's view, and yours, that it is better to have some sort of music whether it be great or not, than to have no music at all.

And as to Gwendolen's finding the world dull, but Deronda pointing out that it is the unhappiness within her that is the cause, I agree there too with Deronda. If you have no happiness within yourself, it's easier to find fault elsewhere than with yourself. But really, the cause is usually within yourself.

And on that note, I never felt sorry for Grandcourt after their marriage - he knows what he is doing and seems to have no love within him for anybody. His marriage to Gwendolen is so that he can have a young beauty by his side, but also it seems like a game to him, she is just another someone who he enjoys manipulating.

But I did feel a twinge of sadness for Gwendolen, although not so much to feel that she put herself in that situation. If she feels that money will provide her with happiness (having the pleasantries of higher society) instead of finding that happiness comes from within, and your love for your family and friends, then she is going to learn that the hard way. Even if part of her entered this marriage for the sake of her mother being able to live more comfortably, she doesn't understand that what her mother really wants is to be close to her daughters. I think her mother would much rather live poorly and have Gwendolen close in her life rather than live with a bigger house and more furniture and not see her daughter as often or to know that she is miserable in her marriage.


message 23: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Everyman wrote: "When DD gets back to his room, "What is the use of it all?" thought Deronda, as he threw down his grammar, and began to undress. "I can't do anything to help her...

She's married. Why should he t..."


I feel as if it's Deronda's natural character to want to help people, whether it's his place or not. But on the other hand, he did get her necklace back for her before she was married, so perhaps he has some feelings in him that he is not quite acknowledging?


message 24: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Everyman wrote: "Is he simply trying to protect Mirah from a clearly unacceptable misalliance, or is he seeing a serious rival for his own love, and if so, does he realize that? "

I wondered this myself, what was Deronda's actual intention here in trying to dissuade Hans from pursuing Mirah.

Later on when Hans is home and there is some conversation with Mirah, I felt bad for Hans after reading the close of this chapter. I like the analogy, though.

Mirah had been smiling at the swiftly-made image, and she smiled still, but with a touch of someething else than amusement, as she said-- "Thank you. But you could have never done anything I did not like. I hardly think he could, belonging to you," she added, looking at Mrs. Meyrick.

In this way, Hans got food for his hope. How could the rose help it when several bees in succession took its sweet odour as a sign of personal attachment?



message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Roger wrote: I do feel sorry for Gwendolen. She is (or was) insufferably self-centered, but she has no malice in her, she can learn, and she truly loves her mother. She deserves a good talking-to, not the lifetime of misery she will surely have with Grandcourt.

Good point.


message 26: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Kathy wrote: On the minor characters - Does anyone else feel sympathy for Lady Malinger? The poor thing is blamed for having only daughters, and when she was first married some thought she looked like she would produce a son (whatever that "looks" like).

Yes, I do feel sympathy for Lady Malinger. I found the line about "looking like she would produce as son" humorous, though. Did people really think this way?


message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments I had underlined this passage where Mordecai is speaking to DD on the bridge, I thought it was lovely:

"...when I was stronger I used to stay and watch for the stars in the deep heavens. But this time just about sunset was always what I loved best. It has sunk into me and dwelt with me--fading, slowly fading: it was my own decline: it paused--it waited, till at last it brought me my new life--my new self--who will live when this breath is all breathed out."


message 28: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Linda wrote: "And on that note, I never felt sorry for Grandcourt after their marriage - he knows what he is doing and seems to have no love within him for anybody. "

Does anybody feel sorry for Grandcourt? In a broad sense, I suppose one could feel sorry for him for having made himself into what he is. But feeling sorry for him for having married Gwendolen? Not I. I agree with you that he knows what he is doing and is getting what he wanted. Gwendolen thinks she knows what she is doing -- making the better of the two choices facing her (marriage or governess), but he winds up being right about how the marriage will turn out and she is very badly wrong.

But since you made me think (which I hadn't before) about feeling sorry for him, in a generic sense I guess I do feel sorry for him that he is who he is, that he has chosen this sort of life for himself, and that he is ignorant of what it means to be a healthy human being. Although he got what he wanted, I see him not as a winner but as a loser.


message 29: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Linda wrote: "I feel as if it's Deronda's natural character to want to help people, whether it's his place or not. But on the other hand, he did get her necklace back for her before she was married, so perhaps he has some feelings in him that he is not quite acknowledging? "

Yes, we haven't really talked yet about why he bought the necklace back for her. At that point, they had never met. She was just a stranger across a crowded room. And he must have made an effort to find out that she had pawned the necklace in the first place. How did he know? Did he just happen to see her go into that shop, and follow her in (unnoticed to her?) I briefly thought about that at the time I was reading it, but quickly lost the thought. But you bring it back up, and now I have to wonder how, and why, that all happened.

It seems that Deronda is quite impulsive in quickly inserting himself into peoples' lives. The necklace with Gwendolen. Saving Mirah and taking responsibility for someone he had never met before. And Mordecai, almost immediately linking himself, and it's obvious that he is doing that, though not why or what it will come to. In each case, he seems to create an almost instant bond of significant commitment and interaction without really thinking about it.

What is it in his character that makes him this way? It's more than just helping others, I think, though that's part of it. But one can help others without getting as quickly and deeply immersed in their lives as he does.


message 30: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments I was struck by the discussion in Chapter 37 around the story of the Buddha and the tiger.

"Pray don't imagine that," said Deronda, who had lately been finding such suppositions rather exasperating. "Even if it were true that I thought so much of others, it would not follow that I had no wants for myself. When Buddha let the tigress eat him he might have been very hungry himself."

"Perhaps if he was starved he would not mind so much about being eaten," said Mab, shyly.

"Please don't think that, Mab; it takes away the beauty of the action," said Mirah.

"But if it were true, Mirah?" said the rational Amy, having a half-holiday from her teaching; "you always take what is beautiful as if it were true."

"So it is," said Mirah, gently. "If people have thought what is the most beautiful and the best thing, it must be true. It is always there."


Two things strike me here.

One is that Deronda, for the first time I can recall, notes for himself the aspect of his character that we have been speaking of, that he thinks a great deal about others, that he has a helping/involving personality, but we adds the side note that we haven't articulated, that this doesn't mean that he doesn't have his own separate wants and needs. This seems significant to me, especially when said to Mirah. He almost says that he has a hunger himself. I think we pick up on this, even if Mirah doesn't. I think she still thinks of him as a disinterested savior (just before this passage she calls him "divinely-sent"), whereas I think we realize that he is saying that he is something more than that, that he has his own hunger.

The second interesting thing in the passage is "If people have thought what is the most beautiful and the best thing, it must be true. It is always there." Practical minded Amy doesn't understand (note that Eliot makes specifically clear that Amy is speaking as a rationalist, implying to me, at least, that Eliot here is speaking of something non-rational).

But is there a sense in which, if you can imagine something that is the best and most beautiful, it must be true? Doesn't this take us back to that proof of the existence of God, that since we can imagine God therefore God must exist?

One way I interpret Mirah is that since she sees Deronda's rescue of her as "divinely-sent," and therefore somehow pure and disinterested, it must be that. But is it?


message 31: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Don wrote: " When he sees someone in trouble, he feels compelled to help as a matter of instinct. Not just Mira and Gwendolen, but Hans too. I think such an instinct and need is fairly common to all men."

I'm not so sure it is a universal human trait or instinct. There has been a lot of research recently on tribal links, and with respect to one's tribe, I think there is an instinctual desire to help, but the research I've been seeing suggests (doesn't prove, but suggests) that the cross-tribal link either doesn't exist or is very weak. As far as he knows, Jews are cross-tribal from Deronda, who is (and has clearly stated a desire to be) of the English Gentleman tribe. Yet he goes out of his way not to help other English gentlemen, but the wife of an English gentleman (to some extent against the interests of the gentleman himself), a Jewess, and a Jew.

This seems to me to be setting up some sort of conflict that needs to be resolved some way or another.


message 32: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1729 comments There is a human instinct to help a member of your own tribe, but you have to be taught that all people belong to one tribe. Such teaching is basic to Christianity, which Deronda would presumably have learned at least to some extent.


message 33: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Roger wrote: "There is a human instinct to help a member of your own tribe, but you have to be taught that all people belong to one tribe. Such teaching is basic to Christianity, which Deronda would presumably ..."

Isn't part of the point Eliot is making that Jews were not, at that time, considered of the tribe of Christians?

And did the Victorians think that the South American natives who were paraded as oddities were part of their Victorian tribe? Or Muslims?

I'm not an expert on Victorian Christianity, but it's not my impression that they they would have considered Chinese, Roma, Indians (of India, then part of the Empire but harshly ruled), etc. part of their Christian tribe.


message 34: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1729 comments Everyman wrote: "Roger wrote: "There is a human instinct to help a member of your own tribe, but you have to be taught that all people belong to one tribe. Such teaching is basic to Christianity, which Deronda wou..."

The brotherhood of all men has always been a Christian teaching, though it has not always been followed well. Eliot regards Jews as a separate race or ethnicity, but clearly we are to admire Deronda, who accepts them as fellow members of the human race. The question is, where do you draw the boundary of those to whom you owe benevolence?


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Don wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I'm not so sure it is a universal human trait or instinct. There has been a lot of research recently on tribal links, and with respect to one's tribe, I think there is an instinctu..."

Very interesting points. I'll be looking into that reference when I get an hour or two free.


message 36: by Susanna (new)

Susanna | 160 comments Don wrote:"Nurturing behavior, such as keeping pets (Grandcourt's dogs?), maintaining gardens (a notable feature of many of the scenes in this novel), high standards of animal husbandry (ie keeping stables of well-bred horses), as well as the more direct acts of a knight errant (rescuing damsels in distress), might be understood as reproductive signalling, one that fulfills a similar sort of evolutionary role as the male peacock's plumage."

I never thought of beautiful gardens and full stables as reproductive signaling, but it makes sense. So interesting.


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