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2011 Group Reads - Archives > Uncle Silas - Ch. 29-35

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver XXIX. HOW THE AMBASSADOR FARED

XXX. ON THE ROAD

XXXI. BARTRAM-HAUGH

XXXII. UNCLE SILAS

XXXIII. THE WINDMILL WOOD

XXXIV. ZAMIEL

XXXV. WE VISIT A ROOM IN THE SECOND STOREY


message 2: by Susan Margaret (last edited Nov 01, 2011 03:31PM) (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) Whenever I am reading a book and one of the characters is compared to a character in another work of literature, I usually do a little research to find out exactly how the characters are similar. In Chapter 32, Uncle Silas compares Milly (Mildred) to Miranda in Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest”, and he compares himself to Prospero.

Prospero was the rightful Duke of Milan and his brother, Antonio, sent Prospero and his daughter Miranda out to sea, to be rid of them, and they eventually found safe harbor on a small island.

Uncle Silas states “I need not introduce my daughter; she has saved me that mortification. You'll find her, I believe, good-natured and affectionate; au reste, I fear a very rustic Miranda, and fitted rather for the society of Caliban than of a sick old Prospero. Is it not so, Millicent?”

So if Uncle Silas is Prospero, then Austin Ruthyn must be Antonio. Sounds as if Uncle Silas is a little bitter against his brother doesn’t it? (Also, Caliban was forced into slavery at the hands of Prospero while on the island.)


message 3: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 289 comments Seeuuder wrote: "Whenever I am reading a book and one of the characters is compared to a character in another work of literature, I usually do a little research to find out exactly how the characters are similar. ..."

I think he's being ironic knowing full well that most who are aware of him would consider him more Caliban than Prospero.

Silas is a slimeball. Don't waste your sympathy. Previous chapters should tell you all you need to know about him regardless how he tries to present himself and insinuate himself in the readers' sympathy.


message 4: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Nice comparison Seeudder. On the surface Prospero seems a good guy whose brother has usurped him but he is very deceitful and brainwashes Miranda and Ariel into seeing things his way. Only the maligned Caliban eventually sees through him. As in the novel, the reader/audience is tricked - magicked - into seeing things one way when they really are another. Like Silas, Prospero works to portray an image of a sympathetic, responsible father [uncle] doing his best, whilst manipulating everything and everyone around him. Prospero eventually gets his way - will Silas?

Maud is also like Miranda in that she has been brought up not to question authority - will she also be persuaded into marrying a Ferdinand?


message 5: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) Has anyone noticed that the names of many of the female characters begin with the letter "M"?

Maud, Monica, Milly, Meg, Mary (Quince)

I'm curious as to why Le Fanu did this. Was "M" his favorite letter?

Also I like the way Milly gives everyone a nickname. It is kind of cute. My nickname, Seeuuder, was given to me by my older sister when I was a young girl and the name has stuck. (My real name is Susan.)


message 6: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder Yes, I noticed that today when four of the women were in the same chapter.


message 7: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) Emily wrote: "Yes, I noticed that today when four of the women were in the same chapter."


I hadn't noticed it, but now that Seeunder's pointed it out, it is an intriguing coincidence.

For me, Milly is becoming the most interestingly dimensional character in the story so far, and I'm afraid I am becoming invested in her... I fear it because tragedy seems so subtly woven into everything about her.

It is Milly's innocence (and/or ignorance?) that makes her so vulnerable. She is a much more believable presence even than Maud, or Monica (who is very relatable, but I don't know just how trustworthy she is).


message 8: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) Janice George wrote: It is Milly's innocence (and/or ignorance?) that makes her so vulnerable. She is a much more believable presence even than Maud, or Monica (who is very relatable, but I don't know just how trustworthy she is).

I agree with you Janice, Milly is more believable than the other characters. She is also more likable. She does not appear to be secretive and her character is a kind of what you see is what you get.


message 9: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily  Ginder It is pretty amazing that Milly is likeable considering her father's neglect of her. She has basically raised herself, without guidance from a caring adult.


message 10: by Janice (JG) (last edited Nov 03, 2011 06:30PM) (new)

Janice (JG) Emily wrote: "It is pretty amazing that Milly is likeable considering her father's neglect of her. She has basically raised herself, without guidance from a caring adult... "


Yes, she did mostly raise herself. I think she has the same candor and blamelessness as some wild or feral animal might have... left on her own, she did not learn scheming or deceitful ways to survive. By raising herself, she used the qualities and energies she was born with. She looks and seems alarming because she tries to adapt her child-self to what she thinks might be adult sensibilities -- except good Lord, look at the adults she is modeling on.


message 11: by Liz (new)

Liz (lizziewhisler) | 13 comments Uncle Silas was my first read with Goodreads. I'm so glad I read this novel. I can't imagine why I had never heard of it before. I have been unable to become engrossed in a book for a long time -- they just weren't complicated enough or the characters were barely developed or not believable - and the plots seemed all the same--but this was a great book! I liked many things about it and I felt the author had a good understanding of human nature and what makes people tick. Le Fenu-- really knew how to weave a story!


message 12: by Christyb (new)

Christyb | 17 comments I'm so glad you enjoyed this book Liz! This was also the first book U have read by LeFanu. I don't generally like gothic literature, but I found myself engrossed in this book.


message 13: by MadgeUK (last edited Nov 05, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments In chapter 35 Mr Carysbroke says to Maud when she was looking at his sketch book: '...you really ought to go and see the places. Oh, no; not that,' he laughed, as accidentally the page blew over, 'that's the Cat and Fiddle, a curious little pot-house, where they gave me some very good ale one day.'

This sentence may be meant as a warning. The Cat and Fiddle mentioned in these chapters is a very old coaching Inn on the borders of Derbyshire and Cheshire, reputed to be the second highest in England at 515m. It is in a remote spot on one of the most dangerous roads in England which had many bends with steep falls from a carriageway edged only by low stone walls. It was dangerous in Fanu's time and is still so, even though a modern motoroway has since been built there (A537 - now very popular with motor cyclists!).

One story about the name of the pub, from an 1895 magazine, is that The Cat and Fiddle was built by Mr John Ryle, the father of the present Bishop of Liverpool, who was a banker at Macclesfield and the owner of the Errwood estate. ... a story which is accepted in the locality as being authentic, is that when the building was nearly finished, a friend of Mr Ryle's, a member of the celebrated Kit-Kat club, was out shooting with him near the building, jokingly suggested that the inn should be called the Kit-Kat; 'or rather,' he added, 'as the place is high enough for a cow to jump over the moon, as one did in the old nursery rhyme, why not call it the Cat and Fiddle.' 'So it shall be,' said Mr Ryle, and it was named so accordingly.

http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk/fun/pubs...


message 14: by MadgeUK (last edited Nov 05, 2011 11:51PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments The Windmill referred to in Chapter 33 is probably the 18C Heage Windmill, one of the most spectacular in Derbyshire and now restored. It is the only working, stone-towered, multi-sailed windmill in England:-

http://www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co...

References to the Peak in these chapters are to the Peak District, an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire and Yorkshire, one of the most beautiful areas in the UK and now a National Park. Americans may not regard it as 'mountainous' as the highest peak, Kinderscout, is only around 3000ft but the area has some of the highest hills in England. The railway line mentioned in the novel was closed in the 1960s but has now been turned into walking trails like this one:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjHam3...

Edit: A old pic of the Cat & Fiddle and of the terrain Milly and Maud are walking in:-

http://www.oldukphotos.com/graphics/E...

http://www.walksinthepeakdistrict.co....

This is an area I once knew like the back of my hand:).


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz (lizziewhisler) | 13 comments Very interesting comments from Madge. Thank you for sharing this geographical information.

I wanted to see if this book had been dramatized and found the "Dark Angel" series starring Peter O'Toole as Uncle Silas. Unfortunately the only copies in DVD are not USA-formatted. I hadn't realized until now that some dvd's were not released to different parts of the world. I could find it on VHS -- I may have to buy the tape and invite myself to someone else's house to watch it!


message 16: by MadgeUK (last edited Nov 05, 2011 11:52PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks Liz. There a couple of scenes on Youtube from the old 1947 film, which was renamed The Inheritance in the US:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiBucd...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M46hKf...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLkHAF...


message 17: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) MadgeUK wrote: "The Windmill referred to in Chapter 33 is probably the 18C Heage Windmill, one of the most spectacular in Derbyshire and now restored... This is an area I once knew like the back of my hand:)..."

I had an opportunity to spend a wonderful day touring the beautiful Chatsworth House many years ago when I was visiting England. Thanks for defining the setting of our story, because now I have a whole sense of the countryside where Maud and Milly roam.

Somewhere in that same neighborhood (if my memory hasn't failed me), there is a church with a soaring crooked steeple, which always made me feel like I was in a fairy tale. Does this sound familiar?


message 18: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) Chapter 34 is titled "Zamiel". I realize that Zamiel is not a character in our book but who is Zamiel and what is it referencing?


message 19: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) Ok, Zamiel is a character in the book and he is Meg's father. For some reason I was confused.


message 20: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments ...Thanks for defining the setting of our story...

Yes, it is the Buxton area Janice - Chatsworth is a beautiful house with splendid gardens,home of the Duke of Devonshire. The church with the crooked spire (steeple) is in Chesterfield, a bit further south, nearer the Dukeries. I was born quite near to Chesterfield, in Sheffield.

http://www.visitchesterfield.info/dms...


message 21: by SusannaW (new)

SusannaW (susannauk) | 42 comments Odd name really Zamiel, not seen it before in a C19th English novel - its German, a varient of Samiel (English Samuel). In von Weber's 1821 opera Der Freischüt (The Shooter/Marksman) Samiel is the devil in disguise.


message 22: by Liz (new)

Liz (lizziewhisler) | 13 comments I decided to buy the Dark Angel VHS - this will involve visiting my daughter to watch it--should be a fun event! The Inheritance didn't appeal to me--looks like they changed Maud's name to Caroline, etc.


message 23: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) SusannaW wrote: "Odd name really Zamiel, not seen it before in a C19th English novel - its German, a varient of Samiel (English Samuel). In von Weber's 1821 opera Der Freischüt (The Shooter/Marksman) Samiel is th..."

Thanks Susanna!


message 24: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Yes, the film is even more gothic than the book!

I find it interesting that le Fanu is having Maud drop theatrical names at this late stage of the novel - perhaps it is to remind us that she is now a sophisticated woman of the world dictating her past experiences?


message 25: by Terri Lynn (new)

Terri Lynn (terrilynnmerritts) Maud's life at home was quite a bit different from life at her Uncle Silas' home. Though she had adults around her when her father was alive, she was so innocent of the dark side of life (except for that horrid Madame) and of people her own age, the move has been something of a culture shock to her. I have already finished the book so I will not mention anything that happens further on in the story except to say that it gets worse before it gets better. At this point of the story, she is having to grow up very face and face realities she had never dreamed of. It is interesting to see how she is becoming more mature in a hurry.


message 26: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Maud's life at home was quite a bit different from life at her Uncle Silas' home...

You can say that again! I am reminded of the scenes when Catherine Earnshaw is lured back to Wuthering Heights. She too goes from a civilised environment to a much rougher one amongst uncivilised people.


message 27: by Liz (new)

Liz (lizziewhisler) | 13 comments I admit I skipped ahead and finished the book - it gets really hard to put down. Tonight's the night- I got the VHS tape of "Dark Angel" in the mail yesterday- We had to go to the second hand store to get a cheap VHS player as we didn't even own one. We'll see how machevillian they make Madame de la Rouggiere--I hope the actor's costumes are period. I could mail the tape to anyone else in this group that would like to see it when I'm done with it.


message 28: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) Peter O'Toole sounds like perfect casting for Uncle Silas.


message 29: by Liz (new)

Liz (lizziewhisler) | 13 comments I thought so, too--but the video struggled with the massive amount of content it had to cover in 140 minutes. They used a sort of "after the fact" storytelling method for the first third of the story that seemed clumsy and if you hadn't read the book would probably have been lost to the viewer. Then, as always happens in films, the points that I thought the author most was trying --the most deliious parts--were completely skipped over. They did get Madame de la Rouggiere though- so I wondered that they couldn't have made use of Uncle Silas's character a little betterr. It was worth watching, I thought, but it was done a long time ago and would probably benefit from a remake by a master in psycho writing. Just my opinion.


message 30: by MadgeUK (last edited Nov 21, 2011 05:07AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Because my puter has been playing up, I got the DVD of Wings of a Dove over the weekend and very much enjoyed it. Some beautiful shots of Venice and excellent casting with Helena Bonham Carter, Linus roach and Charlotte Rampling. I recommend it although of course it is a Spoiler before you read the book - I won't be reading it so thought watching the DVD would keep me clued in.


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