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The Golden Lion of Granpere
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Archived Group Reads 2018 > Golden Lion: Week 3: Ch. 10-13

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
I’m posting early because I have a full weekend. Don’t feel pressed to respond until you’re ready. I’m just making sure I don’t forget in the bustle.

Ch 10-13
•Finally some communication!! Does it help? Why or why not? And for whom?
•In what ways have good intentions and pride made the situation worse?
•How does George react when he hears about Marie’s engagement? In what ways is his memory selective?
•What comes of the confrontation? Has Trollope made Marie too quick to blame herself?
•How does Michele react to his son’s confession? Were you surprised by this reaction?


Rosemarie | 199 comments George now understands how Marie feels and I am glad of that for Marie's sake.
However, Michel is totally unreasonable and places his pride before his niece's happiness. He is blind to everything except what he wants. Poor Marie and George. Why is Michel so stubborn?


message 3: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
I was totally surprised by Michels’s reaction. I had really given him the benefit of the doubt. I can only imagine that either he still believes he knows what is best for Marie and/or he doesn’t want to lose face after agreeing to the match with Adrian.


Rosemarie | 199 comments I sure hope that Michel will come to his senses and stop thinking about himself. He will suffer too if Marie marries Adrian. She will be in Basel and George will probably never come home again.
So his family life and probably his business will be ruined. Marie pretty well does everything in the inn and George noticed how the lumber business was going down hill. To put it mildly-- he is acting irrationally and like a spoiled brat.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Michel's reaction was not surprising to me. He believes in his role as head of the household, expecting everyone to obey him, believing he knows what is right, dedicated to fulfilling his duty to Marie in securing a good marriage for her. He is also dedicated to being a man of honor, of keeping his word- and he had promised Adrian that Marie would marry him. He still rationalizes that George and Marie only had a childhood attraction to each other, any betrothal promise was just foolishness. He is so focused on these things that any other consideration, even unhappiness at Marie's leaving, will not cause him to reconsider.
While I don't like his behavior, I understand his conflict. He is behaving within the traditional expectations of a Victorian head of household. He does wield a great deal of power, but he is not malicious, his intentions are for the best- although we see them as misguided.
Marie is behaving in a totally spineless manner in this section. She is still not able to tell her uncle with finality that she will not marry Adrian, even after finding out the truth from George. As for that, her complete submission to George in apologizing for agreeing to marry Adrian and forgetting her anger and feelings of abandonment demonstrates how little she thinks of herself. She has thought this before, she is a little nobody and so what does her life or her decisions really matter. She defines herself by fulfilling her duty to others- the men in her life-her uncle, George and Adrian, if she were to marry him. Hers is the Victorian conflict of a growing female sense of self and the traditional expectations of women. She is so ambivalent, I'm not sure how it will turn out for her. At any rate, there seems a great deal to consider in this little "romance".


message 6: by Clarissa (last edited Aug 05, 2018 04:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments I wonder if this story has not aged well? Although there are still unfortunately cases of people, generally women, forced into marriages they don't want, all the characters here seem uninteresting to me at some level. George rushes back to stop the wedding after a short moments reflection about how pride has prevented him seeing the woman he's supposed to love for a year, but he expects her to keep completely faithful to him. Marie is completely incapable of expressing her own desires and sees her prime virtue as capitulating to her uncle. Michel ignores any of his doubts about Marie's happiness as long as he isn't seen as breaking his word.
I love a flawed character but the way it is written, it is as if their flaws aren't a problem but merely something to be accepted in how men and women work.
There are little moments such as Marie explaining her engagement to George by saying women are weaker than men, which is again just accepted within the text rather than challenging the fact that a responsible businesswoman as Marie has shown herself to be is treated like an ignorant little girl when it comes to choosing who she is to be married to.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments The more I read Trollope, the more I recognize how necessary it is to understand Victorian society which was vastly different from our own and also saw important changes throughout the 19th century. It’s almost as if the modern reader has to suspend disbelief in a way similar to reading a fantasy and accept the rules of that world. Or think about it in a similar way as one would the contemporary cultures which still are very restrictive compared to other more open societies. Otherwise, we will just end up frustrated with the sometimes seemingly ridiculous and illogical decisions by the characters which inhabit this world. Does that make sense?

Trollope’s novels contain so many strong women, but who are usually constrained by society’s rules in how far they can, or even want to, assert their independence. In another Trollope novel I’m reading, one of the female characters has left an emotionally abusive husband who accuses her falsely of adultery. She cannot divorce him unless she can prove he committed adultery or deserted her or is dangerous to her- and that is a recent advance in the law! Many of the characters in the novel believe she is wrong and needs to return to her husband. For the modern reader, this situation is unbelievable.

So far in the novel, Marie only defines herself by her sense of duty, a model Victorian female behavior. She doesn’t think of herself as a successful businesswoman, but as a young woman who is dedicated to helping her aunt and uncle in the running of the Golden Lion. In Madame Faragon, Trollope does present a woman who has been running an inn as an independent woman, but even there, it seems that George comes in to take over the running and improve the hotel.


message 8: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
You really put that well, Linda! It’s one of the things with which I struggle when reading novels from the past. Especially when it comes to the hero/heroine!

One of the things I like be about Trollope is the way he writes women or rather the variety of women that he writes. Some of those like, Glencora Palliser, Madame Max, and Lady Laura Kennedy, have been mentioned in our discussions. They are such wonderful, fully developed characters! So full of life that they seem to exist beyond the page. Yet others, like Lilian Dale or Emily Wharton, or Alice Vavasor, are equally developed, but vastly different in nature. I struggled with each one as she navigated the confines of Victorian expectation, social pressure, sense of duty, and sense of self. It took longer, but, I’ve come to appreciate them, too. Each of Trollope’s women navigates the waters of Victorian constraint according to her nature and her circumstances.

If Marie were a Dickensian heroine, we wouldn’t expect her to be developed beyond her sense of duty and inherent goodness. But Trollope gives us some idea of her inner conflict.


message 9: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
P. S. I’m glad you mentioned Madame Farragon. She one of my favorite characters in the book.


message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Renee wrote: "You really put that well, Linda! It’s one of the things with which I struggle when reading novels from the past. Especially when it comes to the hero/heroine!

One of the things I like be about Tro..."


Thanks. Sometimes it’s hard to know if one’s point is getting across coherently! I think your observations are spot on also. Trollope wrote a short story called “Journey to Panama”. The lead female character would have readers looking for a strong independent heroine cheering. A retired English lit professor from whom I’ve taken several courses on Trollope noted that he was more experimental and pushed the envelope further in short and minor works than in his major novels. She also often reminds us that authors had to sell their books to the Victorian reader which had its own impact on a novel.


message 11: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments Linda wrote: "The more I read Trollope, the more I recognize how necessary it is to understand Victorian society which was vastly different from our own and also saw important changes throughout the 19th century..."

I totally agree. One of the things I most like about Victorian literature is that it is a historical document of the era as well as great entertainment. We see the attitudes and societal conventions of the past revealed, both through the characters on the page, and in the subtext where the author's own thoughts and values seep into the story.

I also agree with Renee when she says that if Marie was a Dickensian character she would not be developed beyond her Victorian-heroine qualities of duty and goodness. Trollope does develop Marie by showing us her inner thoughts, including her occasional bursts of bad temper and obstinancy, but he is still very careful to maintain her as absolutely devoted to her uncle, the patriarch of the family.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Nina wrote: "I also agree with Renee when she says that if Marie was a Dickensian character she would not be developed beyond her Victorian-heroine qualities of duty and goodness. "

There are incredible heroines in Victorian literature whose passion and vitality and hopes and dreams reach across the century though, such as Maggie Tulliver, Tess of the D'urbervilles, Jane Eyre for starters. And I think Dickens creates some of these complex female characters himself in Miss Havisham, Estella and Biddy all in 'Great Expectations', Honoria Dedlock, Esther Summerson in 'Bleak House' and one of my favourites (although have to admit it comes from childhood watching of the muscial!) Nancy in Oliver Twist.


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Nancy has always been an interesting one for me, I also remember watching the musical, but technically she’s not really the heroine, Rose is. But I do agree about the well rounded characters.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Brittany wrote: "Nancy has always been an interesting one for me, I also remember watching the musical, but technically she’s not really the heroine, Rose is. But I do agree about the well rounded characters."

Nancy is much more interesting than Rose though! Wasn't Rose allegedly based on some idolized love of Dickens?


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