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The Trollope Project - Archives > Barchester Towers: Chapters 13-18 - July 31-August 6

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message 1: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments One, Mr. Harding is not only upset about having to turn down the warden position, but also is upset with the way Mr. Slope describes the way Mr. Harding conducts his religious beliefs. What is the word he uses that Mr. Harding continually refers to in Chapter 13?

Two, how does Mr. Harding's views change on allowing Dr. Grantly to help with the situation? In other words, normally, he doesn't like his son-in-law to interfere; what does he agree to?

Three, how is poor Eleanor's character being trampled upon due to Mr. Slope's attentions? Who is making those accusations? How does Eleanor truly feel about Mr. Slope? What did you think about Eleanor and Dr. Grantly's conversation in Chapter 18?

Four, Charlotte also has plans for Eleanor's affections. How does Bertie take those plans?

Five, There is a power struggle going on between the Bishop, Mrs. Proudie, and Mr. Slope, and the warden position is pawn being used in that struggle. I'm going to play devil's advocate with Mrs. Proudie. While she is an annoying woman, I think she's the one who is actually right. Mr. Harding did refuse the position; the Quiverfuls have been offered the position and it would be completely unfair to them to overturn that decision now that they are in the midst of selling furniture, etc.; and Mr. Slope's attentions to Madame Neroni - a married woman - are "not a fitting companion for a strict evangelical, unmarried young clergyman." What say you?


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2923 comments Mod
Mr. Harding is a sensitive, peace- loving person, but he actually gets angry when Slope refers to his religious practices as "useless rubbish of past centuries." The line has been drawn in the sand, and Slope has crossed. The two enemy camps have been formed, with Slope hesitating a bit. A well-to-do widow cannot be ignored.
Eleanor herself is not aware of potential suitors- yet. Her sister and the Archdeacon have already decided that she wil marry Slope (horrors).
I can't see that ever happening, for she would never get that close to Slope for he is physically not appealing.
Bertie Stanhope is the laziest character in the book. Will he even make the effort to visit Eleanor. Charlotte is the smartest of the three siblings, but I also the dullest. Madeline is a bitter cynic, who manages to make the most of her condition as an invalid.
At first I thought that the Stanhopes were harmless, but now I am not so sure.


message 3: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became "meta-literary" and talked right to the readers to say that Eleanor was not going to marry either Slope or Bertie, and then commented on games authors play with their readers.

Mrs. Proudie's attack on Slope for his behavior with Madeline may be justified by moral standards, but in reality she is miffed with the attention he paid her and also she now wants to find something to use against him in the current power play over the hospital. I've seen the same thing in the corporate world, some fairly minor act by a person out of favor is attacked because the company wants to scare or get rid of them. Of course, Slope is attacking her as well, in his sly comments to the Bishop. They both deserve what they get.


message 4: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 701 comments Robin wrote, “I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became “meta-literary’ and talked right to the readers . . .”

I feel like authors do that when they are a little uncomfortable with their material or feel a little too much like puppeteers—when they deviate from a more naturalistic storytelling. I’m reminded of several times Jane Austen breaks through that wall in Northanger Abbey. It can be really jarring and distancing for the reader.


message 5: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Robin wrote: "I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became "meta-literary" and talked right to the readers to say that Eleanor was not going to marry either Slope or Bertie, and then commented on games authors ..."

On one hand, I like a little suspense. On the other hand, I was relieved. :-)


message 6: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1417 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "On one hand, I like a little suspense. On the other hand, I was relieved. :-) "

Same here. Although I didn't really believe Eleanor would end up with either of them - I think, if anyone (and it probably will be someone; Trollope won't leave her single), it may be the new guy that Dr. Grantly is bringing in to fight Slope. She will meet him at Plumstead when they're both there next week, I suppose. I'm looking forward to seeing Bertie't attempts at courting Eleanor though. Should be some good comic moments, and I'm curious to see how she will react!


message 7: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2923 comments Mod
I made the mistake of reading the afterward in the copy of The Warden I had. It was about the clergy in Trollope's Barchester novels. It gave away some of the plot of this book- re Eleanor's marital state, but I really couldn't see her marrying either of the two mentioned here. My concern is that they will confuse her niceness with interest in their suits.


message 8: by Hedi (new)

Hedi | 978 comments Robin, I was also surprised about the author's address to his readers. It felt a little strange in this context. In the end, he is saying that it is not important for the novel how it ends, but the way there is the interesting part. Therefore, it does not matter if you know the ending. I am with Lynnm that some suspense is nice. It might keep you reading when otherwise hanging in there a little. How many times have we discussed the "Victorian cliffhangers" in our Dickens project, especially thinking of the monthly serialization and the suspense having to wait for a month to find out what happens.

I am not sure yet what to make of the characters. Everything/ everyone seems so scheming, an open battlefield with different battles at different places and somehow a kind of chess game where people are put into places to throw out others, e.g. Dr. Grantly getting Mr Arabin to oppose Slope or in general the Proudies and Slope. Funny was the scene with Dr. Proudie going into the lioness's den in order to fight a battle for his power as the bishop and as the master of the palace. His fighting spirit diminished from minute to minute though it seemed to me.
I am also curious how Bertie is going to court Eleanor. He seems to be completely spoiled and not even willing to do anything even if it is to woe a rich widow to live off her. He just seems to be too lazy for anything.
Interesting is also the "war" between the former allies Mrs Proudie and Slope. He realizes that it is him or her, which might give this whole battlefield of Barchester a totally new twist.


message 9: by Hedi (new)

Hedi | 978 comments I feel bad for Eleanor that everyone is already assuming she will become Mrs. Slope only by a few visits on his side which I think was not uncommon for clergymen to visit their surroundings and neighbors. I did not like Dr. Grantly's way of accusing and judging over her. He was too patronizing to me, esp. For being the brother-in-law while her father (the main man of the family) is still alive. I am now thinking in terms of the Victorians, not wanting to measure this with today's standards. The title of the chapter is quite good, as it talks of the widow's persecution, like the persecution of the religious groups by the Church of England. I do not know whether that thought was behind it, but at least the title judges Dr. Grantly's behavior a little.


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Abigail wrote: "Robin wrote, “I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became 'meta-literary’ and talked right to the readers..."

...I’m reminded of several times Jane Austen breaks through that wall in Northanger Abbey...."


That's called "the fourth wall", isn't it? I.e., the story is being entered from a fourth dimension rather than the normal three dimensions of space where the story is occurring. Sort like someone is listening at the door and barges in to say "I can see what is happening," even if the players cannot. It is a technique I associate with post-modern writing, although I can't give an example off-hand. I found it rather fascinating to see it used here. I don't know where MFA schools are today in attitudes towards its use. I find it kind of fun to play with sometimes when writing myself (which I do a bit for my personal and family's enjoyment).


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "Five, There is a power struggle going on between the Bishop, Mrs. Proudie, and Mr. Slope, and the warden position is pawn being used in that struggle.."

It's going to be great fun to watch this one play out!


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "I'm going to play devil's advocate with Mrs. Proudie. While she is an annoying woman, I think she's the one who is actually right. Mr. Harding did refuse the position;."

Only conditionally. He refused it based on the conditions that Mr. Slope (not the Bishop) proposed. But any job offer can be negotiated. If every prospective managerial employee (and this isn't a clerk level position, but a management position) were assumed to have absolutely rejected a job offer because there were a few conditions in the initial offer that they weren't happy with, well, I wouldn't have had several of the jobs I did. Slope is the one who leapt from the conditional refusal to an absolute refusal. Should Mr. Harding be punished because Slope quite intentionally misrepresented his position?


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Robin wrote: "I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became "meta-literary" and talked right to the readers to say that Eleanor was not going to marry either Slope or Bertie, and then commented on games authors ..."

That was a fascinating passage! And then he goes on basically to demolish the very concept of spoilers and reading eagerly to find out what happens. "Nay, take the third volume if you please—learn from the last pages all the results of our troubled story, and the story shall have lost none of its interest, if indeed there be any interest in it to lose."

I can't agree with him, and I doubt that very many authors do.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lori wrote: I'm looking forward to seeing Bertie't attempts at courting Eleanor though. Should be some good comic moments,"

Oh, I agree totally!


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments On Trollope suggesting that readers jump right to the third volume to find out what happens, I wonder whether he would have kept this view as his output increased. Barchester Towers is one of his earlier novels (1857). Some of his later novels seem very much like mystery novels where he is intentionally making the reader guess but not know. Can You Forgive Her, for example, I think is one such.


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lily wrote: "I'm looking forward to seeing Bertie't attempts at courting Eleanor though. Should be some good comic moments,."

And maybe some day for ours? There's a feature in Goodreads (if they haven't messed it up yet) where you can post pieces of writing. I bet I'm far from the only person here who would love to read some of your writing.


message 17: by Lily (last edited Aug 03, 2016 10:20PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Everyman wrote: "Lily wrote: "I'm looking forward to seeing Bertie't attempts at courting Eleanor though. Should be some good comic moments,."

And maybe some day for ours? There's a feature in Goodreads (if they h..."


Thanks for the encouragement. I'm a bit of a coward about sharing my writing beyond the posting I do here. I think it takes bravery to be a writer.

Incidentally, if you want to have fun comparing Henry James's and Trollope's uses of the narrator entrance, grab your copy (or an online one?) of Chapter 2 of The Golden Bowl. James uses the technique more as an observer in the ceiling looking at the tableau below and doesn't step in as author per se. In another comparison, he has the Prince blush, much like Eleanor, but the Prince doesn't rush from the room, but continues to engage in a complicated who-is-going-to-say-what-first-or-at-all discussion. In just this short excerpt, I could almost see the antipathy in writing styles that perhaps led James to make some of his disparaging remarks about Trollope (when Trollope was alive; he more eulogized Trollope after his death).


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Moved from the Chapter 7-12 discussion thread.

Wendel wrote: "Bold’s death has no function in the story, there is no 'logic'..."

But it was necessary to add the plot line about Bertie and Slope both pursuing Mrs. Bold, and the resultant panic in the Grantley family. All those are significant elements of the plot (and add some humor, particularly when we're let in on the secret that they're all scurrying around trying to marry her or fearing she'll marry one of them when can watch in the safe certainty that she won't. That makes it even funnier, at least for me.

If Bold hadn't died, of course, none of this could have been in the novel, and Mrs. Bold would probably have been relegated, as a dutiful wife with a baby, to a minor role supporting her husband in whatever new endeavor he chose to take on, though I don't see where he would have fit in to this novel.


message 19: by Dan (last edited Aug 05, 2016 07:45AM) (new)

Dan | 86 comments Lily wrote: "Abigail wrote: "Robin wrote, “I was surprised when Trollope suddenly became 'meta-literary’ and talked right to the readers..."

...I’m reminded of several times Jane Austen breaks through that wal..."


Don't know too much about modern theories, but this technique goes back to the very early days of the novel, starting with Don Quixote, and all the early English novelists - Richardson, Fielding, Sterne all spoke regularly to their "gentle readers" and I kind of like the "conversation". One thing that is most impressive about Trollope is that he seems to know exactly what I am thinking about everyone.


message 20: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 97 comments Re: death of Bold. Just can't let go of a loose end,and the reasoning expressed at mother service.org probably repeats what's been said, but I found it tied things up for me. (If you go, there are SPOILERS.)

Bold "gives up the principles he believes in, and dies within a year. His idealism died and with it his life""

"He came between the genuine affection of Harding and Eleanor. He died within a year and father and daughter are reunited."


message 21: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: Bold "gives up the principles he believes in, and dies within a year. His idealism died and with it his life."

Well, we as humans are quite capable of giving meaning to anything we encounter. Sorry to be quite so cynical. I have perhaps been reading too much on both (two?) sides of the American political madness.

Linda, how do we find the site to which you refer?


message 22: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 97 comments I was just stumbling around on my new iPad and I came across "Notes on Trollope's The Warden & Barchester Towers" which seemed to address Bold's death. The site is mother service.org which is associated with World Academy of Art and Science.

Sorry for the lack of rigor, Lily.


message 23: by Lily (last edited Aug 07, 2016 04:31PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: "I was just stumbling around on my new iPad and I came across "Notes on Trollope's The Warden & Barchester Towers" which seemed to address Bold's death. The site is mother service.org which is assoc..."

I'm still lost, Linda. "mother service.org" does not seem to be an Internet address? I did find an organization called "The Mother's Service Society" with the web site name "motherservice.org (no space) and a section on literature at that site. However, I did not find the article there. (That site is associated with http://www.worldacademy.org/content/w..., so I presume it (motherserice.org) is the one to which you are directing us.)

However, I did a search on the title you gave above. Is this the site and article you cite?

http://www.karmayogi.net/?q=node/1385

(It may be related back to motherservice.org -- I didn't try to do the tracing. I don't have an iPad, but from other comments over the years, I do have a sense that sometimes paths to the same material do differ, perhaps because of different programs, perhaps because "who knows why or what." ;-) )

Incidentally, I find some of the reasoning expressed in the article quite surprising and am unsure how to justify all of it from the text. It is, however, at the least, provocative conjecture that can encourage one to carefully consider or reconsider the story Trollope tells. (E.g., working backwards, did or didn't Harding want Archdeacon Grantly to succeed his father? I don't understand point 18. Or 16 -- maybe that is a quotation I haven't seen yet....)

Thanks for getting back, Linda. I would have just let it slide instead of going searching.


message 24: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Lily wrote: "... did or didn't Harding want Archdeacon Grantly to succeed his father? ..."

Wouldn't it be most characteristic for Harding to have no opinion on the matter?


message 25: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 97 comments Thanks for your thoughts, Lily.

The writer of The Notes seems to have some agenda about "social goodness" as opposed to "true goodness", and I still don't get that overarching thesis, even after reading this again. I was just struck by the fact that he came up with a reason why Mr Bold died. He calls it "violence to his consciousness"; I just read it as stress, and stress made him vulnerable to some malady, for which there was no cure.

There is no excuse for sloppy citations. Consider me chastened. ;-(


message 26: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: "....The writer of The Notes seems to have some agenda about 'social goodness' as opposed to 'true goodness', and I still don't get that overarching thesis, even after r..."

Good! LOL I didn't either. Frankly, I found some of the thinking muddled and not clearly derived from the text. But perhaps I am being unfair. Some that seemed conjecture was at least fun to consider.


message 27: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 97 comments Lily, Unfair to the writer we have both puzzled over? Not at all. Glad we wound up on the same page.


message 28: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: "Lily, Unfair to the writer we have both puzzled over? Not at all. Glad we wound up on the same page."

[g]


message 29: by Veronique (new)

Veronique Well, I'm truly enjoying the reading.

Mr Slope is indeed odious in his behaviour with Mr Harding, and I also believe he is the culprit, jumping to the conclusion that Mr Harding had refused the position (which he hadn't, just the conditions) because it suited his plans At that time. The poor bishop's position I guess is going to get worse with Slope and his wife at war with each other, although it seems the two men are now accomplices...

I found it horrendous to see two men only considering Eleanor for her money, and I was very happy to learn that she wasn't going to end up with either of them! What a relief, but then I also didn't see Eleanor liking either of them when her heart is full of her son.

The narrator's meta comments didn't surprise me since he did the same in The Warden. I did annoy me then but I'm getting used to it now - like an old friend reading to me and joining in every so often. It did remind me of Jane Austen, not just when she defends the Novel, but also when she comments that since there are not many pages left in the book, a conclusion is soon to take place.


message 30: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Aug 28, 2016 08:34AM) (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1900 comments Mod
Tremendous development of plot and characters in this section.

We learn more of Mr Slope's particular skills during his meeting with Eleanor:

Mr Slope read all this in her hesitating manner just as plainly as though she had opened her heart to him. It was the talent of the man that he could so read the inward feelings of women with whom he conversed. He knew that Eleanor was doubting him, and that, if she thanked him, she would only do so because she could not help it, but yet this did not make him angry or even annoy him. Rome was not built in a day. "I did not come for thanks," continued he, seeing her hesitation, "and do not want them-at any rate before they are merited. But this I do want, Mrs. Bold, that I may make to myself friends in this fold to which it has pleased God to call me as one of the humblest of his shepherds. If I cannot do so, my task here must indeed be a sad one. I will at any rate endeavour to deserve them."

I look forward to seeing how this talent of his works with Madeline Stanhope!


message 31: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1900 comments Mod
I also really enjoyed seeing more into the Bishop and Mrs Proudie's relationship and characters, when Slope comes to call on the Bishop concerning the Wardenship of the hospital. She is hiding in the adjacent room eavesdropping, while the men are discussing the matter in the Bishop's study. However the men communicate wordlessly about her presence there, and that they will in future be aligning themselves against her, with gestures, glances and the pressure of a handshake. Such delicious machinations in the Cathedral Close.


message 32: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Aug 28, 2016 09:05AM) (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1900 comments Mod
Finally, I loved the passage when Dr Grantly and Mr Harding are discussing Eleanor's possible alliance/marriage with Mr Slope, and Mr Harding has told Dr Grantly about Slope now appearing to support his acquiring the Wardenship again:

"I see it all," said the archdeacon. "The sly tartuffe! He thinks to buy the daughter by providing for the father. He means to show how powerful he is, how good he is, and how much he is willing to do for her beaux yeux; yes, I see it all now. But we'll be too many for him yet, Mr. Harding," he said, turning to his companion with some gravity and pressing his hand upon the other's arm. "It would, perhaps, be better for you to lose the hospital than get it on such terms."

Such tremendous scheming and plotting-reminds me of a Game of Thrones in Ecclesiastical garb!


message 33: by Lily (last edited Aug 28, 2016 10:34AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Frances wrote: "Such tremendous scheming and plotting-reminds me of a Game of Thrones in Ecclesiastical garb! ..."

Twas fun to me here to perceive, much as this was scheming concerning Eleanor, dear Archdeacon Grantly saw it through male machinations for power and control, rather than something approximating how the world might look from Eleanor's perspective. No one seemed to be able to see inside her head, father, sister, ..... Mary, who probably would have been most likely to be able to reflect on her, Trollope keeps removed from the story line.


message 34: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2923 comments Mod
The various machinations, misunderstanding and marriage thoughts make for a fun book. I like to see the interactions between the different factions as they plot to make an advance on the other side. And poor Eleanor is caught in the middle.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lily wrote: "No one seemed to be able to see inside her [Eleanor's] head, father, sister, ....."

Except, as Frances points out in [30], Slope. He does seem to see inside her head, doesn't he? Of course his view is imperfect, but it's more accurate than her father's or Grantley's.


message 36: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rosemarie wrote: "The various machinations, misunderstanding and marriage thoughts make for a fun book. I like to see the interactions between the different factions as they plot to make an advance on the other side..."

I agree with all the comments on the great machinations, the plotting, the misunderstandings (and intentional misunderstandings).

But while we see Eleanor, as you say, "caught in the middle," I don't think she sees herself that way so much. A bit, perhaps, but I don't think in a major way. She just goes on doing her thing.


message 37: by Lily (last edited Aug 28, 2016 08:51PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Everyman wrote: "Lily wrote: "No one seemed to be able to see inside her [Eleanor's] head, father, sister, ....."

Except, as Frances points out in [30], Slope. He does seem to see inside her head, doesn't he? Of c..."


Thx for these comments, Eman and Frances. But Slope sees only the part that serves him, he doesn't see the basic decency of the woman -- that's what she takes for granted about herself and doesn't think she should have to make any more obvious to others than via her actions (e.g., being careful about castigating someone who she perceives as having some good qualities as well as his odious ones -- which would generally be considered an appropriate Christian and gentlewoman way of being). Slope deludes himself, as much as the others, that she doesn't see his odious side. He only sees he hasn't won her over yet.


message 38: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2923 comments Mod
Lily, those are very apt comments about Eleanor. She is trying to be fair to Slope, even though she doesn't like him at all. She is upset because the members of her family to not know her as well as they should. I am sure she is especially angry because they also seem to be treating her like a child who can't be trusted to make wise decisions on her own.


message 39: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I am sure she is especially angry because they also seem to be treating her like a child who can't be trusted to make wise decisions on her own...."

Interesting perspective. I hadn't gone there, but there is certainly textual evidence to support your observation. Thx, Rosemarie.


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