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Excellent Women > Anthropology

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments 5. Helena and Everard are anthropologists—students of human societies. How perceptive are they about their own lives and society? Compare their skills to Mildred’s own social acuity. What does Pym suggest about the gulf between science and lived reality?


message 2: by Ayse_ (new)

Ayse_ (ashlie_k) This is a a major comedy theme going on in the book.


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol (cajonesdoa) | 690 comments Mod
I think I might be dense here. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not seeing the "major comedy theme" so much here. I never broke out in laughter, yet it was a comfortable book to sit back and enjoy.


message 4: by Ayse_ (last edited Jan 27, 2017 12:50PM) (new)

Ayse_ (ashlie_k) Carol wrote: "I think I might be dense here. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not seeing the "major comedy theme" so much here. I never broke out in laughter, yet it was a comfortable book to sit back and enjoy."

Carol what I meant was Pym's cynical side coming out. Pastors interested in women, seemingly perfect couples in search of flirts, anthropologists estranged to their own selves.. I explained it poorly, sorry..


message 5: by Darlene (new)

Darlene I think that Helena and Everard were much "into" their research and studies and that as such, they were less inclined to be in touch with the "outside" world and how people live. I think that for Helena and Everard, their world WAS their studies and research and that the societal concerns of living was a secondary aspect of life.


message 6: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments I agree, Darlene. I thought it was just so crazy that these "experts" in studying human societies had no idea how to deal successfully with the people around them.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments Carol - I went back and looked thru to see what things I found to be funny - and I know that's another "eye of the beholder" thing, but I found this book to be quite amusing. (But maybe I have a bizarre sense of humor!)
- William didn't like his new office because "different pigeons come to the windows."
- Mildred mentions that they ought to love the eccentrics they see in the restaurant because they are their "neighbors". Mrs Bonner replies, rather shocked, "Oh, I don't think the Commandment is meant to be taken as literally as that."
- Sister Blatt on widows re-marrying: "Oh, they have the knack of catching a man. Having done it once I suppose they can do it again. I suppose there's nothing in it when you know how."


message 8: by Pam (new)

Pam | 218 comments It's possibly Pym's writing style but that was interesting how, to me, all the relationships were so stiff and mechanical. I found no 'connection' relationships at all in the book. So many of the characters had zero passion or exuberance. I also found myself wondering about the biases of today....they may exist because of the extreme bias from earlier times.


message 9: by Darlene (new)

Darlene Cindy wrote: "Carol - I went back and looked thru to see what things I found to be funny - and I know that's another "eye of the beholder" thing, but I found this book to be quite amusing. (But maybe I have a bi...

Good examples! Sometimes I think I take everything so seriously that I miss the humor!! The Brits have a different style of humor and upon reflection, I realize there was definitely some humor that I mistook for eccentricities.



message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments Pam wrote: "It's possibly Pym's writing style but that was interesting how, to me, all the relationships were so stiff and mechanical. I found no 'connection' relationships at all in the book. So many of the c..."
Good point! I think this is very British too. At least, that's the stereotype of them - stiff upper lip, etc.


message 11: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 522 comments Darlene wrote: "Cindy wrote: "Carol - I went back and looked thru to see what things I found to be funny - and I know that's another "eye of the beholder" thing, but I found this book to be quite amusing. (But may..."
Yes - not really "laugh out loud" funny for sure. I think eccentricities is a good way to put it - they made me smile.


message 12: by M.E. (new)

M.E. Hembroff (mhembroff) | 93 comments This is a very British book and a different life style and way of talking. It was an easy read but I didn't see much humor in it.


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