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Archived Group Reads - 2017 > No Thoroughfare: Act Four & Final Thoughts

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Act IV

Scene 1
-How is Marguerite similar to or different from the typical Dickens heroine?
-Where do we find Obenrizer after the events on the mountain? And what has he been doing?
-What's the deal with the clock?
-How do we know he is up to his old ways? Were you surprised to find what he wanted from the vault?

Scene 2
-How is Marguerite released from Obenrizer's authority as guardian?
-What revelations are uncovered by the vindictive Obenrizer, and what is the outcome of these revelations?

Scene 3
-How are the threads of the story brought to a close?
-Do you find the ending satisfying?

-What elements make this one of the Christmas stories for which Charles Dickens is known?
-Aside from a knowledge of which Acts are ascribed to Mr. Dicken and Mr. Collins, which elements do you see as typically Dickens and which more typically Collins?

message 2: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (kehalvor) | 21 comments I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am glad I read it. I have only read WIW from Collins and a few Dickens, so I do not have a deep sense of their work. I see as Collins' style the dreaminess, unreality of many elements, for instance the time in the Alps, which feels more like a fever dream than a carefully plotted narrative. From Dickens I get the questioning of money and class and, in a way, upending them. I don't know of any Dickens that left merry old England, so maybe that was also Collins.

message 3: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 499 comments I must confess, I considered not finishing this book (ever) during the holidays, but (the day after) I m glad I did. The Clock-Lock was an interesting mechanism, and I definitely feel the hand of Collins in that. As soon as the name of Bintry showed up in Act 4, my hopes kicked in. For me Bintry is the connection with the original Walter Wilding and the Foundling, and the way out of Obenriiezer duplicity and evil. The latter seems like a villain worthy of Dickens, and I am thankful to Collins that we didn’t have to put up with a myriad of new characters before the resolution plus the repentance of Obenriezer IN THIS CHRISTMAS STORY. I found the ending very satisfying.

message 4: by JJ (new)

JJ | 52 comments The clock lock was most fascinating. How would you like to have one of those in your house, haha. I guess that man got ahead of himself and wanted to show off his secret clock lock. It's rather vain for him to be so confidante/prideful in that contraption. So, Vandale was actually the heir in the end and Marguerite loves him even more than before they discovered his identity. I enjoyed this short read. I haven't read enough of Collins or Dickens to comment on each one's contribution.

message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Olesh | 39 comments I enjoyed the book as a curiosity. The plot was preposterous and the characters cardboard but it was fun. Dickens contributed the characters and Collins contributed the action as I see it. Dickens is full of foundlings and orphans who are rescued by benefactors in mysterious ways. Pip in Great Expectations is the most extreme example in my readings.In a lot of ways Obenreizer resembled Uriah Heep in David Copperfield in his oily serpentine villainy. While Vendale wasn’t exactly in the same league as Sidney Carton in Tale of Two Cities, his heroic efforts on behalf of Marguerite and the deceased Welling, were reminiscent of Carton but while Carton actually gave up his life and convincingly substituted for his double Charles Darnay at the guillotine, Vendale was miraculously saved. When Madame Dor is introduced at first, i took her for another Madame Defarge. There was nothing to indicate her subsequent kindness of spirit. Marguerite was a far stronger ingenue than most of Dickens’s fair young maidens, and a lot more interesting than Lucie Manette. Perhaps it is because of her peasant background that she is given more fire than the bourgeoise Lucie. Joey Ladle is also a stock Dickens figure, the comic loyal retainer, going all the way back to Sam Weller in the Pickwick Papers.

message 6: by Martin (new)

Martin Olesh | 39 comments Obenreizer is a bush league villain compared to Count Fosco. I don’t think that Collins who created the mephistophelean Fosco created Obenreizer though he probably wrote the violent and bloody Alpine drama.

message 7: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 499 comments I would add to Martin’s list of similarities. The “murder” scene reminds me of the “murder” scene in Our Mutual Friend. There the villain Headstone also relies on the natural elements to aid in the murder, being drowned in the Thames compared to being buried in an avalanche. There the heroine Lizzie Hexam, like Marguerite, uses her physical strength to plunge into the depths and raise the almost-dead lover. That the lover/victim survives, due to her love, is miraculous in both cases. Dickens seems to have relished this theme...the previously unexpressed love of the female brings the “Murdered” male back to least in these two works.

message 8: by Martin (new)

Martin Olesh | 39 comments I was just reading the Wikipedia article on Dickens. It quoted a description he wrote of the blacking factory to which he was relegated as a boy and it is precisely like the wine warehouse .

message 9: by Martin (new)

Martin Olesh | 39 comments It was his mother who sent Dickens to work in the blacking factory like Welling’s adoptive mother sent him to the wine warehouse. However, unlike the story, in which the son is provided for generously by his loving adoptive mother, Dickens’s mother treated him harshly and would not give her permission to leave the factory and return home after his father’s release from debtors prison. So it would seem that in giving Welling and then Vendale ownership of the business, Dickens was engaging in a form of wish fulfillment that he must have had while working, namely, being put in charge of the place and being in charge as a result of a mother’s love.

message 10: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 499 comments NT was published in 1867. Dickens died in 1870. He began supporting actress Nelly Terran in 1860.

Martin, Good analysis. Looks like Dickens was fulfilling wishes when he wrote NT.

message 11: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (kehalvor) | 21 comments Martin wrote: "I enjoyed the book as a curiosity. The plot was preposterous and the characters cardboard but it was fun. Dickens contributed the characters and Collins contributed the action as I see it. Dickens ..."

Yup and yup! Just read WIW, you nailed it.

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