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    John Durbeyfield's heart condition

    We are told that John Durbeyfield's serious heart condition was 'fat round his heart' but what would be a modern day medical interpretation of this?
  2. Why does Mr Ablewhite destroy Rachel's letter?

    I never quite understood why Mr Ablewhite burns Rachel's assertion of his innocence. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  3. Thread: Next read

    by Catriona L
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    I've not read either The Black Robe or Queen of...

    I've not read either The Black Robe or Queen of Hearts. What would you say their merits are? I have read The Moonstone but did not enjoy it as much as either The Woman in White or Armadale because it...
  4. Thread: Next read

    by Catriona L
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    Armadale should definately be your next read....

    Armadale should definately be your next read. It's a little in the line of The Woman in White which I consider to be his best novel. Armadale is not only extremely exciting but the characters are all...
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    Character influencing circumstances

    In the introduction to this novel, Wilkie Collins stated that he wished to write a novel in which character influenced circumstances rather than circumstances influencing character, as he had done in...
  6. It seemed to me that at the beginning of the...

    It seemed to me that at the beginning of the novel Hardy was advocating Angel's views i.e. no religion but by the end was showing that Tess's misfortunes had been brought about by lack of religion. ...
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    The final line

    I loved this short story even though I'm not generally a fan of short stories but the last line continues to irritate me. I wish that there hadn't been that tie to life round the sofa, it was so out...
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    Favourite Gaskell longer novel and why

    Which is your favourite of Mrs Gaskell's longer works and why?
    These are the options:
    Mary Barton (1848)
    Cranford (1851)
    Ruth (1853)
    Biography of Charlotte Brontė (1857)
    North and South (1855)...
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    I think that one of her weakest moments was...

    I think that one of her weakest moments was turning home without seeing Mr Clare when she had walked 15 miles. She is strong in many other ways, however, and did not really have much guidance in the...
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    Can I add John Durbeyfield to the list of...

    Can I add John Durbeyfield to the list of villains? He seemed to care very little for Tess' well being, being merely concerned with his own social advancement. When his elaborate tombstone is...
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    Thoughts on Mr Gibson

    What did everybody else think of Mr Gibson? It seemed to me that Mrs Gaskell really liked this character and of course Molly and Cynthia adore him. However, I never came to like him. I didn't like...
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    Victorian seamstresses

    I'm doing some research on Victorian seamstresses and I was wondering if there any books on the subject which anyone would recommend?
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    It might as well have been filmed in black and...

    It might as well have been filmed in black and white there seemed to be only three colours - grey, green and yellow. Also, did they have to make Orlick look like a zombie? Who would ever employ a guy...
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    Poll: I am glad that we are able to see both endings....

    I am glad that we are able to see both endings. Estella has been widowed for 2 years and having had no affection for her husband it is reasonable that she would marry another quite quickly. Also, she...
  15. Thread: Weddings

    by Catriona L
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    Dickens says that Miss Havisham's wedding dress...

    Dickens says that Miss Havisham's wedding dress was white but is now yellowed. I wondered if maybe this was because by 1861 white wedding dresses had become common practice (inspired by Queen...
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    Lady Scatcherd

    I love Lady Scatcherd, she's so kind you would just want to be with her! Why then does she not decide to stay with Mary and Frank at Boxall Hill? She is like a mother to both of them but perhaps she...
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    I would say that in many ways Miss Havisham's...

    I would say that in many ways Miss Havisham's self-deceit is like that of someone who's decided that they're an 'invalid' (such as Mrs Carson in Mary Barton). Yes, there is some reasonable basis for...
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    I find it interesting that at first it seems as...

    I find it interesting that at first it seems as if Pip has all the advantages - he beats Herbert in their fight, he has money and a future whereas Herbert is at a loose end, 'looking about him' and...
  19. Why was Mary Barton set around 7 years previous to the time of writing?

    It seemed a little strange to me that the tale is set about 6 years previous to the time of writing. I would have thought that Mrs Gaskell would have wanted to show the social problems as current...
  20. Thread: long winded

    by Catriona L
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    I cannot agree here. The central theme of the...

    I cannot agree here. The central theme of the book is the winning of a parent's love, which of course in the case of Mr Dombey will naturally be a long process
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    Actually, Gaskell was annoyed when her purpose...

    Actually, Gaskell was annoyed when her purpose was misunderstood as nothing was further from her thoughts than stirring up strife. In a letter to Mary Ewart in late 1848 she wrote 'No one can feel...
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    I did not like Villette but I was entranced by the section of her loneliness during the summer holidays and consequent feverish flight. It was the outburst of all the tense and weighty sadness she'd...
  23. For How Long Was David Married to Dora?

    It's just a quick question, but for how long were David and Dora married?
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    Cynthia is one of the most interesting Victorian...

    Cynthia is one of the most interesting Victorian novel characters, I think, because she is so elusive. She's quite difficult to understand. When I first read it I didn't like her either, but I...
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    I'm reading his books in alphabetical order and...

    I'm reading his books in alphabetical order and so far I've read Barnaby Rudge, The Christmas Books, Bleak House and have started David Copperfield. I have really enjoyed them all, apart from The...
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