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Buddy Reads > The Odd Women Chapters XXVII-XXXI

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Elizabeth (Alaska) Couldn't wait to finish this last night. These last 10 chapters were more plot-driven and read more quickly.

I think Gissing included all the significant women in his life in this one. He got the alcoholic first wife with Virginia, the prostitute with Miss Eades, and I think Agnes Brissenden represents his last liasson of Clara Collet. Perhaps Monica is something like his second wife Edith, but she and Rhoda both appear to be more composites.


message 2: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 66 comments Wow. I just finished the novel. What a bleak ending! Though from the beginning I knew this would be no riding off into the sunset story, I was still struck by how dark the ending is. All the way to the last paragraph, when Rhoda calls Monica's child a poor thing. In this society of odd women, what chances, what opportunities will this baby girl have?

And my goodness, Gissing is definitely not a fan of marriage.


message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna | 30 comments Kristen, you are right this was never destined to have a happy ending but I was still surprised by how bleak the ending was. It was also significant that the baby was a girl. I wonder whether we should see her as another 'odd woman', another product of the marriage machine or as the next generation who would view things more as Rhoda and Mary did?


Elizabeth (Alaska) I really like how Rhoda decided that, though it was thrilling to have been wooed, going it alone was the right thing for her.


message 5: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 66 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I really like how Rhoda decided that, though it was thrilling to have been wooed, going it alone was the right thing for her."

I found Rhoda and Everard's stubborness at the end to be irritating. They are both so strong willed that neither wants to give up their pride.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 30, 2011 02:44PM) (new)

I'm so far behind in this novel, but I'm far enough to jump right in.

I was not bothered by the the end of the relationship between Rhoda and Barfoot. Barfoot seemed to view their relationship as competition--not a particularly good thing for the basis of marriage. Rhoda doubted his sincerity toward her most important ideas about the autonomy of women. And, I think, she was right in her assessment of him.

Gissing allowed readers to get inside the "heads" of both of these characters---and then see how they acted out on their thoughts. This is my personal preference in literary narration. Gissing does it quiet well, I think.

But take what I said above with a grain of salt. After all, I haven't finished the novel yet!


Elizabeth (Alaska) Jim wrote: "Gissing allowed readers to get inside the "heads" of both of these characters---and then see how they acted out on their thoughts. This is my personal preference in literary narration. Gissing does it quite well, I think. "

This is my preference too. Only need enough plot to move people from one person and/or time to another. And yes, I quite agree, that he does it superbly!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished the novel and my immediate assessment was the cleverness of Gissings narrative "exchanges" especially between Rhoda and Everard but also between Monica and Bevis and Monica and Edmund Widdowson. Most of my marginal notes are clustered around these exchanges. I was especially impressed with the sequence of The Perfect Day (Rhoda and Everard) at Seascale. Gissing gave us their words as well as their thoughts. So much depended on the weight of a word or phrase: "marriage", "union without forms". And later after the fatal letter from Mary Barfoot: their thoughts: "win", "triumph", "prevail", "submission" "victory".

Gissing's two main male characters seem so much alike by the end of the novel. Marriage must be based on control, not mutual love and respect.


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