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|The times they are a changing?
Written by Rachel G
(10/6/2011 2:09 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Musgroves and their house, penned by Cheryl
There is another passage in the paragraph immediately before your quote, which also describes the changing manners of the time with wonderful vividness:
"...the old-fashioned square parlour, with a small carpet and shining floor, to which the present daughters of the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a grand piano forte and a harp, flower-stands and little tables placed in every direction. Oh! could the originals of the portraits against the wainscot, could the gentlemen in brown velvet and the ladies in blue satin have seen what was going on, have been conscious of such an overthrow of all order and neatness! The portraits themselves seemed to be staring in astonishment."
I am beginning to detect a theme running through this novel suggesting change from the formality and stasis of the old ways, to something much more vigorous and free:
- Sir Walter and Elizabeth are stuck in the past, obsessed by the past glory of their ancestors, but who's own lives are utterly stagnant. Mary and Lady Russell are also constrained by conservative attitudes and respect for social rank.
- The family is ejected from Kellynch, to be replaced by a man who represents a profession characterised by energetic activity, and which enables the rise of men of obscure birth.
- The Navy itself represent wide-ranging movement across the world - a direct contrast with the stasis associated with the old order at Kellynch.
- Mrs Croft also represents change and new possibilities. She shows that a woman's life need not be static and confined - she too may sail the world's oceans
- Change is also evident at Uppercross. The village is 'improved' by a farmhouse elevated into a fashionable cottage ornee. The mansion is externally unchanged but it's younger inhabitants are turning it upside down with their modern minds and manners and mess.
Anne's former fiance is described as a particularly vigorous and brilliant example of the 'new' men of the Navy, who's energy and activity have won him promotion and a fortune. He will soon be coming to Kellynch.....!!
It will be interesting to see whether the winds of change continue to blow through the rest of the novel.
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