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The Woman in White
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Archived 2010 Group Reads > The Woman in White 12: III - I (547-603)

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Kristi (kristicoleman) Week 12!! One more week! What are you thoughts on this section?


Jillian Nice job Hartwright! I loved seeing Fosco tremble--the man had it coming to him! Though I'm not entirely convinced that he's out of the picture yet. I'm sure he has some mischief up his sleeve. Finally--some good news for our trio.

Did Fosco's devotion to Marian creep anyone else out? So strange that he clearly dominates his own wife (you have to wonder: what kind of abuse goes on behind closed doors), and yet admires a strong-willed, independent woman. Does he secretly wonder what it would be like to have an equal partner? Someone who thinks her own thoughts and could engage in intellectual dialogue? Or does he see her as a sort of challenge? If she was his wife, would he take a special pleasure in breaking her spirit and bending her to his will?

Excited to finish this up--but also, sad that it will be over. This is definitely one of my favorite classics!


Denise (momtoconnor) It didn't creep me out..I think it showed that although he was a creep and horrible man, he had some level of intelligence and recognized it in others.

I can't wait to finish it up...although I have a feeling its going to have a happy ending.

This was a great book to read...and so much fun to read it with other people like this!


Andrea Jillian, great thoughts towards this sections. I agree with you that I think Count Fosco has a twisted obsession with Marian and that he did have thoughts about her. On the other hand, he seems to also be very true to his wife.


Jillian Andrea--you are right. Fosco is faithful to his wife...but I think he looks at her like one of his mice. Does that make any sense? She entertains him, does what he asks, and when he has had enough, back in the cage she goes.

Collins paints a very bleak portrait of marriage in this novel. Perhaps I'm looking at this from a much too modern point of view, but it seems that he is saying that the institution of marriage is built for the Laura Fairlies and Madam Foscos of the world...but there really is no place for the Marian Halcombes. Maybe this is why Fosco is intrigued by her?


Andrea Jillian, I didn't think of it like that! I was thinking that Marian had an attitude of not wanting to marry. I got this idea from things she said about dedicating her life to Laura and being wherever she is therefor taking herself out of the position to marry. However, I see your point now and it also seems like a good possibility.


Melissa Jillian wrote: "Andrea--you are right. Fosco is faithful to his wife...but I think he looks at her like one of his mice. Does that make any sense? She entertains him, does what he asks, and when he has had enough,..."

I think you make an excellent point. He does love her - just like he loves one of his mice. He would be very sad if his wife died but he would be equally devastated (if not more devastated) if one of his mice died suddenly.

I see in Fosco a very well written psychological portrait of a brilliant and cruel man who has his blind spots where his heart gets the better of him.


Melissa Jillian wrote: "Collins paints a very bleak portrait of marriage in this novel. Perhaps I'm looking at this from a much too modern point of view, but it seems that he is saying that the institution of marriage is built for the Laura Fairlies and Madam Foscos of the world...but there really is no place for the Marian Halcombes. Maybe this is why Fosco is intrigued by her?"

I have two thoughts about this. First, doesn't it seem typical of a man (a man who the reader is to perceive as a good and decent man rather than a scamp) of that era to love the ideal rather than the better woman.

It seems that we often find examples of men who love the insipid woman rather than the strong woman in works of fiction from by-gone eras. It seems that the best examples of good men loving strong women is found in the writing of women rather than men. It works of fiction by men, the man often seems more permanently attracted to the insipid woman.

Yet, I think the good man does find an appeal in the strong woman. Hartright's reflections on Marian reveal a strong affection and reliance that doesn't seem to exist at the core of his relationship with Laura. Laura is his ideal and he gaurds and protects that ideal as a good man ought but he relies on Marian in a way that I would say a man should rely on his wife (in a good, solid marriage).

It seems a shame. In my innermost heart (even though I knew it a completely unrealistic dream for a book of this era and genre), I was hoping something would happen to Laura that would force Hartright into Marian's arms (I think Mariann had a soft enough feeling for Hartright to accept him).


Kristi (kristicoleman) Ok, I'm just starting this section, but I was struck by the opening sentance of IV...

"The course of this narrative, steadily flowing on, bears me away fron the morning-time of our married life, and carries me to the end"

Am I seeing some foreshadowing of Laura's actual death? Ok...off to read again.

I am loving the comments in this thread, and I'll be back as soon as I've read far enought to know what you are all talking about...lol.


Melissa Towards the end of II there is a fascinating quote that I think it would be interesing to use on someone who has never read the book. I think to have someone read the following quote and then read the book might lead to some interesting interpretations as the book unfolds.

"As this surmise floated through my mind, there rose on my memory the remembrance of the Scripture denunciation which we have all though of, in our time, with wonder and with awe: 'The sins of the fathers shall be visited on the children.' But for the fatal resemblance between the two daughters of one father, the conspiracy of which Anne had been the innocent instrument and Laura the innocent victim, could never have been planned. With what unerring terrible and directness the long chain of circumstances led down from the thoughtless wrong committed by the father to the heartless injury inflicted on the child!"


Kristi (kristicoleman) Oh wow...who would have ever thought Pesca was an assasin?!? I love Pesca!!!


Melissa I do too...but don't you think he is very repentant?


Melissa I do too...but don't you think he is very repentant?


Kristi (kristicoleman) No, I don't think he's too repentant, but has also been waiting for 10 years to go back to Italy, so maybe he's got no reason to be repentant.

Well, I finished this section and I can't help but agree with you all about Fosco! I loved seeing him quake in front of Walter! I am a bit concerned about the duel that Fosco made him promise to tho. And he is entirley creepy in his love for Marian! I am also worried for her, since he seems to be focused on her. Off to read the last section!


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