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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > The Moonstone: Second Period:First & Second Narrative

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver In the closing statements of Mr. Betteredge as he is about to hand the narration over to Miss Clark, he tells the reader

"I hear you are likely to be turned over to Miss Clark, after parting with me. In that case, just do me the favor of not believing a word she says, if she speaks of your humble servant."

What affect will it have on Miss Clarks narration to have Mr. Betteredge right off the bat instill doubt in the minds of the reader about her and suggests she may not always speak the truth about things, or that she may slant her views on people and cannot be altogether trusted in what she says?

As well in theses remarks Mr. Betteredge expresses concerns about what she may say about him, thus alluding to the fact that he is concerned about what others may think of him, knowing this how does it affect the readers view of his narration? Does it make one inclined to believe he may not have been altogether honest, or shied away from certain truths in the name of making himself look good to the readers eye?


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) It certainly forces us to consider whether the narrators are reliable or not, which is further explored as we meet the next narrator, Miss Clack. The novel somehow keeps reminding the reader that perhaps you can't trust anyone in this novel.

I just started the third narrative (by Franklin Blake) and I'm really enjoying it, even though I miss Betteredge's voice...


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Gitte wrote: "It certainly forces us to consider whether the narrators are reliable or not, which is further explored as we meet the next narrator, Miss Clack. The novel somehow keeps reminding the reader that p..."


What did you think of Miss Clark? Must admit she got on my nerves.


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) Vikz wrote: "Gitte wrote: "It certainly forces us to consider whether the narrators are reliable or not, which is further explored as we meet the next narrator, Miss Clack. The novel somehow keeps reminding the..."

She's absolutely awful! I wanted to slap her!


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Gitte wrote: "Vikz wrote: "Gitte wrote: "It certainly forces us to consider whether the narrators are reliable or not, which is further explored as we meet the next narrator, Miss Clack. The novel somehow keeps ..."

snap


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) Vikz wrote: "Gitte wrote: "Vikz wrote: "Gitte wrote: "It certainly forces us to consider whether the narrators are reliable or not, which is further explored as we meet the next narrator, Miss Clack. The novel ..."

I have to ask: what does 'snap' mean? Sorry, but English is not my mother tongue :o)


message 7: by toria (vikz writes) (last edited Nov 14, 2010 08:22AM) (new)

toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) It means -I agree


message 8: by Silver (new)

Silver I have just started Miss Clark's narrative, so I have not go that far into it, but at this point I have to say I find her a bit amusing.

Also as I am reading her narrative, I cannot help but wonder is Wilkie Collins making fun of charity? Or at the efforts of the wealthy to charitable works?

It seems that Godfrey was poked fun at a bit for being involved in his women's committees, and than when Miss Clark is talking about the Mothers-Small-Clothes-Conversion when she used the expression "as all serious people know" there seemed to be something almost mocking about it.


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahduncan) I find her narrative to be a bit stuck up. Like she feels she is above everyone else.


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver I have to say I quite enjoyed the way Miss Clack used Mr. Bruffs own words against him by using Rachael's testimony of Mr. Godfrey's innocence, Mr. Bruff was forced to either consent that Mr. Godfrey was innocent or recant his faith in Rachael, and thus making himself look like a fool.

Though I do not still know yet whom I think is or is not innocent in the disappearance, I enjoyed seeing Miss Clack out wit him because he was so sure of himself and patronizing.


message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian (regulator) | 12 comments Certainly a lot of anti-Christian sentiment in this book. First Betteredge's constant consulting of Robinson Crusoe and now the annoying Miss Clack with her out of control evangelism.


message 12: by Silver (new)

Silver Brian wrote: "Certainly a lot of anti-Christian sentiment in this book. First Betteredge's constant consulting of Robinson Crusoe and now the annoying Miss Clack with her out of control evangelism."

I found Collins' allusions to Christianity within the book to be quite interesting. In addition to the references to Robinson Crusoe throughout the narrative of Bettrededge he made constant remarks about ones "Christian Charity" in referring both to himself as well as to other characters, and the way in which ones Christian Charity is tried and tested and pushed beyond its limits of endurance.

And now coming into the 2nd narrative we have the overzealous Miss Clack. There is certainty seems to be something of a mocking tone in regards to religion here. Though I am not sure what its greater implications within the story itself are.

The Victorian age was a time in which there were conflicts between religion and the new age of enlightenment with growing scientific advancement as is demonstrated within the book in the battle of wills between Miss Clack and the doctor, and her references to him as an infidel because he does not see the merit of religion as being necessary in the treatment of Lady Verinder


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol Carr | 15 comments Miss Clack reminds me a bit of Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House, a truly odious character as she neglects her own children in the interests of helping some African tribe. Miss Clack's interference is annoying, but not, I think, actively malignant, merely misguided. However, as someone has pointed out previously, her fervor makes it difficult to see her as an objective witness. Betteredge's testimony is doubtful, too - as a trusted family servant, he's hardly likely to indict those he loves and serves. And now we have Blake, who is in love with the Rachel. Collins has done a masterful job (again, as someone has previously noted) of leaving the reader in doubt as to who can be trusted as a narrator. I think it's artfully done.


message 14: by Silver (new)

Silver Carol wrote: "Miss Clack reminds me a bit of Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House, a truly odious character as she neglects her own children in the interests of helping some African tribe. Miss Clack's interference is a..."

Yes I agree, I do not think that Miss Clack is acting in a way which is intentionally malevolent but doing what she thinks is right.

It struck me as interesting the differences between Betteredge and Clack, and the way in which Betteredge seemed more passive in his narrative. For the most part it seemed Betteredge was but an observer of the events which took place around him.

There is a feeling of Clack putting forth more of her own personal opinions and theories forward, rather than just reporting what is going on around her, she seems to take a more active role within the case and seems to have it decided in her mind who she thinks is innocent and guilty.

Though she would drive me up the wall if I knew her in person, I have to say as a narrator I find her hysterical.


message 15: by Chris, the Dalek King (last edited Nov 16, 2010 11:39PM) (new)

Chris, the Dalek King (largerthanlifeus) I'm not so sure that Collins is mocking religion, it is more like he is showing the hypocrisy that those of religious faith have. Miss Clack spends so much time judging people (Rachel especially) and then saying that it is ok because she (Miss Clack) is such a religious person. But then she will say she is only human when she fails to act like what she believes a proper christian lady would. A good example of this is when she is eavesdropping on the proposal of Godfrey and Rachel and she claims to want to turn away from their embracing, but it was the hysterics that kept the curtains parted. I love that scene by the way...pure hilarity.

Reading Bruff's narrative right after Clacks was kind of refreshing though. He is a lawyer, so his narrative has a kind of ordered sense to it. No large amounts of admonishment or ranting on and on about the tracks that ponder the various places Satan is going to pop up next. Plus his section seemed to advance the story a lot more quickly and succinctly than Clacks did.


message 16: by Silver (new)

Silver Carissa wrote: "I'm not so sure that Collins is mocking religion, it is more like he is showing the hypocrisy that those of religious faith have. Miss Clack spends so much time judging people (Rachel especially) ..."

I think that is the reason why I am inclined to like Miss Clack as a narrator, though I do not agree with her and the way she acts, it is refreshing to me, that thus far she is the only person in the book that does not act as if Rachael walks on water, next to Sergeant Cuff that is. And I am not Rachel's biggest fan. I think someone needs to strangle that girl she drives me crazy, and the way everyone else orbits around her.


message 17: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 31 comments I didn't see an anti-religion sentiment in the book - I think Miss Clack's evangelism and self-righteous behavior is exaggerated just to add to the breadth of characters in the story as well as to provide some comic relief in a mystery. I just love the chapter where she records the letters between herself and Mr. Franklin and she tries to push her 'Extracts' onto him. Very hilarious!


Chris, the Dalek King (largerthanlifeus) Silver wrote: "Carissa wrote: "I'm not so sure that Collins is mocking religion, it is more like he is showing the hypocrisy that those of religious faith have. Miss Clack spends so much time judging people (Rac..."

I agree. Rachel needs to be slapped. I haven't yet clearly understood what is going on in the "moonstone theft" plot line, but I am almost convinced all of this could have been resolved if the girl stopped having hysterics at ever little thing. People's constant belief that she can "walk on water" so to speak, is enough to drive me nuts.


message 19: by Silver (new)

Silver Carissa wrote: "Silver wrote: "Carissa wrote: "I'm not so sure that Collins is mocking religion, it is more like he is showing the hypocrisy that those of religious faith have. Miss Clack spends so much time judg..."

Clearly she knows all about what happened with the Moonstone, so it seems that all this could be resolved if she would just tell the truth of what really happened instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off and turning into more of a conspiracy than it probably needs to be.


message 20: by Silver (new)

Silver I was completely shocked to discover that Godfrey wanted to marry Rachael only for her fortune, and this revelation in reviewing the past narratives does put a rather comic spin upon the story in considering how much Miss Clack and Betteredge praised Godfrey and seeing how mislead they truly were.

I think the way Collins wrote this story in the form of several different narratives is a sort of study in different perceptions and the way in which we see thing, and how easily we can be mislead. The way we only see what we want to see, or project our own views onto others, and thus completely missing the truth.

It also makes the reader question if any of the narratives can be relied upon at all, because if they could be so wrong about Godfrey, than would else might they have misperceived and what other characters might we have been given a mistaken impression of and have been so easily misjudged.

It reminds of this study that was done in a Criminal Law class in which the professor completely unannounced, so none of the students knew it was going to happen, had someone run through the classroom and than leave, and after each of the students were told to describe him to a sketch artist, and they ended up with like 50 different descriptions.


message 21: by Sasha (new)

Sasha | 0 comments Silver wrote: "I was completely shocked to discover that Godfrey wanted to marry Rachael only for her fortune, and this revelation in reviewing the past narratives does put a rather comic spin upon the story in c..."

I agree Collins style of using different narrators demonstrate the fallibility of perception and memory. Reading The Moonstone is like looking at the same view through a kaleidoscope, or perhaps through the prism of a....moonstone? Whereby the view is split into many images, all slightly different.

I must admit I was wise to Godfrey-having read lots of Dickens, I know characters who wear their Godliness on their sleeves are too good to be true.


message 22: by Jamie (last edited Dec 17, 2010 01:17AM) (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) I was also in a law class with a similar experiment. The teacher called me out in the hall and told me a story. I then was told to tell the person next to me and so it went through the class. Needless to say I couldn't even remember half of what he said since I didn't know I would have to repeat it. Even with people keeping diaries how can you rely on them remembering whole conversations from hours before?


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