It Just Gets Stranger Book Club discussion

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Woman in White > Quotes

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
Share any quotes or excerpts here that stood out to you!


message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
The opening sentence really stood out to me.

"This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."

I wonder if that refers to Anne, Laura, or Marian? Or even Anne's mother? Or perhaps just the gender in general.


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
"My first glance round me, as the man opened the door, disclosed a well-furnished breakfast table, standing in the middle of a long room, with many windows in it. I looked from the table to the window farthest from me, and saw a lady standing at it, with her back turned towards me. The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well-developed, yet not fat; her head set on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place, it filled out its natural circle, it was visibly and delightfully undeformed by stays. She had not heard my entrance into the room; and I allowed myself the luxury of admiring her for a few moments before I moved one of the chairs near me, as the least embarrassing means of attracting her attention. She turned towards me immediately. The easy elegance of every movement of her limbs and body as soon as she began to advance from the far end of the room, set me in a flutter of expectation to see her face clearly. She left the window—and I said to myself, The lady is dark. She moved forward a few steps—and I said to myself, The lady is young. She approached nearer—and I said to myself (with a sense of surprise which words fail me to express), The lady is ugly!"


message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
"Not a whisper, Mr. Hartright, has ever reached me, or my family, against him. He has fought successfully two contested elections; and has come out of the ordeal unscathed. A man who can do that, in England, is a man whose character is established."


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
"I am a citizen of the world, and I have met, in my time, with so many different sorts of virtue, that I am puzzled, in my old age, to say which is the right sort and which is the wrong. Here, in England, there is one virtue. And there, in China, there is another virtue. And John Englishman says my virtue is the genuine virtue. And John Chinaman says my virtue is the genuine virtue. And I say Yes to one, or No to the other, and am just as much bewildered about it in the case of John with the top-boots as I am in the case of John with the pigtail."


message 6: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
I have always loved his gift of description.


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
"Human ingenuity, my friend, has hitherto only discovered two ways in which a man can manage a woman. One way is to knock her down—a method largely adopted by the brutal lower orders of the people, but utterly abhorrent to the refined and educated classes above them. The other way (much longer, much more difficult, but, in the end, not less certain) is never to accept a provocation at a woman's hands. It holds with animals, it holds with children, and it holds with women, who are nothing but children grown up. Quiet resolution is the one quality the animals, the children, and the women all fail in. If they can once share this superior quality in their master, they get the better of him. If they can never succeed in disturbing it, he gets the better of them."


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
"It is not for you to say—you Englishmen, who have conquered your freedom so long ago, that you have conveniently forgotten what blood you shed, and what extremities you proceeded to, in the conquering—it is not for you to say how far the worst of all exasperations may, or may not, carry the maddened men of an enslaved nation. The iron that has entered into our souls has gone too deep for you to find it. Leave the refugee alone! Laugh at him, distrust him, open your eyes in wonder at that secret self which smolders in him, sometimes under the every-day respectability and tranquility of a man like me; sometimes under the grinding poverty, the fierce squalor, of men less lucky, less pliable, less patient than I am—but judge us not! In the time of your first Charles you might have done us justice; the long luxury of your own freedom has made you incapable of doing us justice now."


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 5 comments Mimi wrote: ""Human ingenuity, my friend, has hitherto only discovered two ways in which a man can manage a woman. One way is to knock her down—a method largely adopted by the brutal lower orders of the people,..."

I love this one as well, "Women can resist a man's love, a man's fame, a man's personal appearance, and a man's money, but they cannot resist a man's tongue when he knows how to talk to them."


message 10: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Mimi wrote: ""Human ingenuity, my friend, has hitherto only discovered two ways in which a man can manage a woman. One way is to knock her down—a method largely adopted by the brutal lower orders o..."

Ooooooooo that's a good one.


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 5 comments Mimi wrote: "The opening sentence really stood out to me.

"This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."

I wonder if that refers to Anne, Laura, or Marian..."


I find in relating to the gender in general with the first examples coming to mind in the form of various activist movements. Whether it stems from the feminist movement campaigning for the right to vote or a modern example of say the #MeToo campaign. I find I and my female friends are very persistent in the various causes we advocate for, but for some reason campaigns don't actually gain traction unless men are involved as well.

And while this quote may have some reference to the patriarchy present in that society, I like to think it references how complementary women and men naturally are together. Yes, a woman can be just as resolved as a man or a man be just as patient as a woman, but that might take more effort than is needed to effect the change that we want. However, if we learn to work together and use our differences wisely instead of discounting them, we can achieve more advances in society with few troubles.

This is shown primarily through Marian and Walter's relationship. Marian showed just as much resolution to find the truth when she risked her life spying on Sir Percival and Count Fosco, but without the help from a male counterpart, like Walter, I don't think she would have discovered the whole truth about the situation.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mimihalley) | 84 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Mimi wrote: "The opening sentence really stood out to me.

"This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."

I wonder if that refers to Anne, Lau..."


I like that analysis—that idea of how we're stronger working together.

Walter also could never have had his happy ending without Marian, since she was the one (barely recovered from her debilitating illness!) who managed to free Laura from the insane asylum.


message 13: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
Finally have time to contribute some of my favorite quotes:

"Who cares for his cause of complaint? Are you to break your heart to set his mind at ease? No man under heaven deserves these sacrifices from us women. Men! They are the enemies of our innocence and our peace -- they drag us away from our parents' love and our sisters' friendship -- they take us body and soul to themselves, and fasten our helpless lives to theirs as they chain up a dog to his kennel. And what does the best of them give us in return?" (pg. 178, in my copy, Marian speaking to Laura)


message 14: by A. (last edited Mar 12, 2018 01:18PM) (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"Being, however, nothing but a woman, condemned to patience, propriety, and petticoats, for life, I must respect the housekeeper's opinions and try to compose myself in some feeble and feminine way." (pg. 195, Marian to herself)

I love this because Marian is unquestionably the strongest character in the book. Walter has his moments, and I love him dearly (of course) but Marian had to be a witness to it all, had to bite her tongue and hold her peace, when it would have been impossible for a weaker character to do so.


message 15: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"He looks like a man who could tame anything. If he had married a tigress, instead of a woman, he would have tamed the tigress. If he had married me, I should have made his cigarettes as his wife does -- I should have held my tongue when he looked at me, as she holds hers."

Wilkie Collins' true gift is in forming characters, and Count Fosco is one of my "favorites" - not as a person, no way, but as a literary character to hate.


message 16: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"What answer can I make? I could only take her hand, and look at her with my whole heart as well as my eyes would let me."

(pg. 253, Marian in response to Laura.)


message 17: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"I want to see it, Laura, because our endurance must end, and our resistance must begin, today."

(pg. 293, Marian to Laura)

Um, how obvious is it that Marian is my favorite character?!


message 18: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper."

TAKE HIM DOWN, MARIAN!! (That's my battle cry.)


message 19: by A. (new)

A. (amyrose4801) | 40 comments Mod
"Who gets the first of a woman's heart? In all my experience I have never yet met with the man who was Number One. Number Two, sometimes. Number Three, Four, Five, often. Number One, never! He exists, of course -- but, I have not met with him."

(pg. 325, Count Fosco to Percival)


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