Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Episode Fifty: Just The Chapters, Ma'am

Waiting for word on the t-shirt glitch. I'll post here when I know more.

From Katie: I got a notice yesterday that CaféPress experienced storage and backup failure recently. My guess is our image was a part of the ones they were unable to restore. I still have a copy, so I’ll get those products put back up later on today.

I'm about to head out to see the oral surgeon AGAIN. My mouth is still stuffed with gauze and my head is stuffed iwth Vicodan (which, sadly, ain't workin' too well).

Today it's just the chapters. I'm sorry about that, but I'll post what tidbits I can here. And, honestly, you wouldn't be able to understand me talk about these chapters a sadder note, my friend Jeannie Townsend (of sock creating fame) who has given away literally thousands of sock patterns for free, is now supporting son and grandson (this would be the third grandchild she is raising!!). She is now trying to pay the light bill by selling a sock pattern. She's able to accept PayPal for $5 to JeanTownsend [at] earthlink [dot] net. Let her know in the note line that you'd like the Gold Sock Pattern.
She also donated a sock pattern which now comes free with the purchase of yarn from the Astrid Dutch Obsessions web site.

Some interesting info from Sandi (who, like me, should take up a collection for an OED):

I was just listening to episode 48, and I was curious about the last line in Congratulatory, which describes the winding sheet of the candle dripping onto Carton's sleeve. I got that it's an obvious omen of death, but I just couldn't wrap my head around how it would be possible to combine a burial shroud and a candle. So, I did a little internet searching and found this explanation:

“[a] mass of solidified drippings of grease clinging to the side of a candle, resembling a sheet folded in creases, and regarded in popular superstition as an omen of death or calamity” (OED).

Apparently, in Scottish tradition the same association is made between candle drippings and death:

"The common tallow candle in burning often gutters, and the tallow runs over the edge and down the side of the candle. It soon hardens. When the flame consumes the candle, at times the little column formed by the gutter is left standing unconsumed on the edge of the candle. It is called a "coffin-spehl," and is looked upon with suspicion as portending a death in the family at no very distant period."

Based on those two bits of folklore, I'm guessing that there is an association between candle drippings and burial shrouds because: a) the creased wax simply resembles the cloth of a shroud, and b) this creased wax is what remains of the candle after the flame has burnt out, the extinguishing of light, of course, being symbolic of death.

And then, there's today's chapters, Book 2, chapters 6, 7, 8.

Chapter 6: All About Foreshadowing–really. Nothing should be taken for mere "filler" in this chapter. Miss Pross and Mister Lorry are lovely here, and Lucie, you may notice, is in fact the "Golden Thread" that improves all it touches throughout the book. She's almost an archetype—certainly not a 'real' woman, but an important tool that Dickens is using in the book.

Chapter 7: Back to France. Pay close, close attention here. We get a little Madame Defarge here (I wonder what she'd knit?) and while this whole chapter reads like it's an extended metaphor or symbol or grand allegorical moment—it's not. Well...it doesn't hurt to see it that way, but sadly, these guys are real.
This is an ugly chapter, meant to parallel the earlier chapter of the wine cask breaking in the streets. Dickens may not like what the mob is up to, but he has no love of the aristocracy either (remember, he wasn't born rich himself).
As always with Dickens, whenever he gives you a physical description—listen closely. It's a representative of the person's soul. And speaking of souls, listen for the corruption of these men's relationship with God.
Some words for this chapter:
escutcheon the shield of a family crest.

"the merry Stuart who sold it" That was Charles II.

Convulsionists Um...think "Holy Rollers," an ecstatic religious group

Palace of the Tuileries Louis and Marie-Antoinette's digs in Paris.

Chapter 8: Lovely guy, eh? Note more red symbolism. And WHO exactly is coming to call at the end of the chapter? Hmmmm?
Some words here:
the heavy drag a carriage brake

the chase the hunt

the chain of the shoe chain connected to the brake (shoe)

And then, of course, my heart goes out to the poor students and families at Virginia Tech. I'd like to think that this finally will get us to deal with mental illness responsibly...but I think I know us too well at this point. We'll treat this guy like a freak, and the next time a teacher comes forward and says, "I have a kid in my class who needs help," that teacher will be told:
a) if he hasn't made a threat, there's nothing we can do
b) you're blowing this all out of proportion
c) you're white and he's (fill in your own) and everyone'll just think you're racist/sexist/elitist/ageist
d) we can't lock someone up for something they might do
e) look, they're just kids. They say dumb things.

And the kids who need help will continue to go it alone.

Makes me cry.

And the drop of the shoe: Vera Meiselas Mensher, 1914-2007.

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