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By Gaslight > By Gaslight - Week 4 (February 05), Chapters 9-12

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message 1: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) 1. Boy, let me tell you (excuse my colloquial wording) the plot is thickening and new moves shake our usual expectations. There were several of them in these chapters, and which of them was/were the most "twisty"?

2. The presence of Charlotte is pervasive and diversely omnipresent. She is here as her body parts (?), as a memory, as a "trickstress" , as a dream, even as a femme fatal.
How do you define Charlotte? And the question that we should be asking ourselves - is she alive? Will she lead us to Shade? Is she Shade?

3. What are your thoughts regarding this quote? "How small we are, how blind. How little we see and how much we are seen." Is this the quote about as as readers? Do we see what what the author is showing us or do we see only our "watery [selves] reflected in the glass"? (Chapter 11)

4. Xan brought up the topic of dialogue in this book in the previous thread. It is not the conventional dialogue for the novel set in the 19th century. It is very modern in its composition; at the same time, it flows smoothly, and not a single awkward, immature and amateurish sentence or reply.
What are your thoughts regarding dialogue? Why does the author use it in the novel? Is it only to convey the mini-conversations that take place between the characters?

Post away, friends


message 2: by Xan (last edited Feb 06, 2017 03:10PM) (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments I still have two chapters to read, and I won't be commenting till I've finished all, tomorrow or the next day. But I wanted to proffer this food for thought. If it's already been said I apologize. The title "By Gaslight" I believe refers to the method of lighting London streets at night. The denizens of the night see by gaslight. But there is another "gaslight" with a different meaning, one that I believe originates from the movie of the same name. In the movie the husband tries to drive his wife insane by psychologically manipulating her into thinking she is going crazy, and I wonder if our title doesn't have a double meaning. After all, nothing is as it seems.


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1353 comments Every time "gaslight" is mentioned, I am reminded of the description of lighting the gaslights in the scene in Les Misérables (which, I'm sure along with everything else in that book, was described very thoroughly!)

Xan - that is quite interesting about the possible other meaning. I have not heard of that movie, but I think you are onto something with a double meaning here.


message 4: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotton, made in 1938.


message 5: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Linda wrote: ", I am reminded of the description of lighting the gaslights in the scene in Les Misérables (which, I'm sure along with everything else in that book, was described very thoroughly!) ."

The past books seem to haunt us all the time we read other books. Intertextuality in action!


message 6: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Chapter 11 is the most powerful chapter yet. That whole scene at the Sharper’s — the shadows, the blindness, the wooden fingers — is one of violence, horror, death, and evil lurking in the darkness.

quoting:

The dead do not come back, sister.

Is that not so child?

Both lifting their faces as one and searching with their milky eyes in the gloom.

Child?

Birdie?

Is it not so?

EndQuote:

What are we to make of that?

Molly is mesmerized (by fear or something else?) Adam should never have taken her there, but then, worse, she may have gone on her own. Like Charlotte and her uncle, Molly will do anything for Adam. The parallels between Molly’s life and Charlotte’s youth continue.


Then there is the scene from which the quote in Z’s opening post above is taken, at the aquarium, I believe. Both scenes leave vivid memories and would make great movie scenes, the last scene played to heart-wrenching music.


message 7: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments The dialog is indeed modern. Fludd uses modern colloquialisms. Perhaps the reason is simplicity. Would we even recognize century old colloquialisms? Foole and Pinkerton are American (or speak American) while Molly, Charlotte, and Fludd are British. This story is already complicated and complex enough without introducing two different century old manners of speaking. But given how nothing else is how it seems, I'm sure the reason lies elsewhere, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Anyone else?


message 8: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments The Trickstress.  Perfect.  

The quote in the opening post is from the scene at the aquarium. Memories and how they shape and fool us may be one of the motifs of this story. Molly stands on the other side of the aquarium opposite to Adam, and Adam sees Molly clearly, while Molly sees only a reflection of herself.

Sometimes others see us more clearly than we see ourselves. Memories can be true or false. The subconscious can change or suppress them to protect us. The Sharper sisters allude to a traumatic event Molly experienced with Jonathan Cooper. If true, does Molly remember, or has her mind changed the memory into something less traumatizing, or has it suppressed it completely? Again, Adam sees the true Molly, while Molly sees only her reflection.

And can’t the same be said of Adam? Are his memories of Charlotte faulty? Has he romanticized her, placed her on a pedestal?  Is their relationship anything like he remembers? Do Molly and Fludd see Adam clearly, while Adam sees only a reflection of himself?

It looks like Charlotte rolled him. She is a con-artist, and Adam learns later that she involves herself with a man to rob him of bonds and marries another to pull off a theft.  Yet the memory persists. Is he willfully blind? Or is he no longer the fool and has taken on the moniker Foole to remind himself of his foolishness?


message 9: by Xan (last edited Feb 09, 2017 07:18AM) (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Another thought on dialog. Perhaps it is modern for authenticity. Victorian era dialog, no matter how pitch-perfect, may not sound as authentic to our modern ears.

Okay, time for someone else to post.


message 10: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "Then there is the scene from which the quote in Z’s opening post above is taken, at the aquarium, I believe. Both scenes leave vivid memories and would make great movie scenes, the last scene played to heart-wrenching music"

I am sorry for posting it s late, but yes, I fully agree with you - it is very cinematographic, and will translate perfectly into a movie or a TV version.


message 11: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "And can’t the same be said of Adam? Are his memories of Charlotte faulty? Has he romanticized her, placed her on a pedestal? Is their relationship anything like he remembers? Do Molly and Fludd see Adam clearly, while Adam sees only a reflection of himself?."

There are more questions than answers in this novel, and I am really enjoying this quest. I am also enjoying the the feminine part of the novel is so noticeable and so sensual and even graphic. Women are not just by-standers like in many Victorian novels, they are more like femme fatals, like creatures of the earlier period; they are creatures and beings of poetry, even earthy poetry, but most definitely not of prose.


message 12: by MichelleCH (new)

MichelleCH (lalatina) | 41 comments Great comments on the dialogue by everyone. I agree that the story is very complicated and using a more modern speech pattern keeps it engaging without overwhelming the reader.

The Sharper sisters and the Saracen is a new twisty thread. I was reading the visit to the Sharper sisters alone at night and have to admit it gave me the chills. The Saracen fits in with the mood and evokes memories of Jack the Ripper.

And what has happened to Sally Porter? Why and where to did she disappear? That was surprising and also twisty.


message 13: by Zulfiya (last edited Mar 17, 2017 07:32PM) (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) MichelleCH wrote: "Great comments on the dialogue by everyone. I agree that the story is very complicated and using a more modern speech pattern keeps it engaging without overwhelming the reader.

The Sharper sisters..."


Does it seem to you that Price is using all the iconic images of Victorian London? Because to a point this novel is an intertext, do you think it is reasonable to suggest that the author is using the recognizable literary tropes to re-create this ambiance?


message 14: by MichelleCH (new)

MichelleCH (lalatina) | 41 comments I think Price expertly uses the iconic images of Victorian London without It being over the top. I was thinking of the amount of thought, planning and research he must of engaged in to create such a compelling narrative. He is detailed and precise. Every sentence feels like it serves a purpose. Being able to take the reader through an emotional journey using metaphor, personification, etc. is an amazing skill.


message 15: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Price is a wonderful find. Indeed, every sentence does serve a purpose.

I'm ahead of you in reading Michelle, but one thing that dawned on me from the very beginning is all the prisons people live in. Perhaps another tip of the hat to Dickens.


message 16: by Deana (new)

Deana (ablotial) Completely agree about every sentence serving a purpose. Even when I'm exhausted, it's necessary to read every sentence, because nothing can be left out.

The section with the sisters and the Saracen just creeped me out. I was not a fan, and the description of his teeth visible through the holes in his cheeks *shudder* I can definitely understand why Molly wanted to get out of there!

On the other hand, I rather enjoyed the interaction between Adam and William, and am looking forward to more of that.

Sally disappearing is the biggest twisty-turn, in my opinion. It was wholly unexpected, although I also didn't expect him to try and go back and see her. She wasn't doing so well at his first visit, so when someone else was there I thought maybe she'd died .. but it seems to be indicated that isn't the case.

Then again, I'm sure a much bigger deal will be made out of the revelation made in the final sentence of this section, regarding what happened to Shade.


message 17: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments The sister with her wooden fingers she screwed on the nubby vestiges. I doubt that made any sound but my mind kept screaming SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK!


message 18: by Deana (new)

Deana (ablotial) Ohhhh I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, it's all I can think! Like fingernails on a chalkboard.... *shudder*


message 19: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments LOL! Exactly like fingernails on a chalkboard.


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