Posted by Karen R on October 21, 1997 at 14:48:00:
In response to The theme of possession, written by Jane Elizabeth on October 21, 1997 at 13:32:52
]Who and what is possessed - that certainly is the major theme, and you rightly point out that by stealing, possessing the letters Roland sets everything in motion. Is he possessed by Ash, or does he possess the poet by so minutely studying the work? It is not enough, suddenly, for Roland to possess the knowledge in the letters. He wants the physical objects so badly he takes them.
Possession is certainly a main theme of the book and there are so many forms to discuss. Of what? By whom? By what? Each of every character--past and present--has a "possession" story. Where to begin...
Roland IMO is not an object possessor. Cropper is the epitome of a collector of relics, and he will preserve them in hermetically sealed glass cases. Blackadder's possession of relics appears to be more nationalistic. He wants them kept in his country as a source of pride or identity. Beatrice is just feathering her Nest (sorry about that). In my quest for meaning, I may have stretched things by connecting Cropper's name to the part of a bird's stomach where food is stored or partially digested. Cropper collects relics associated with Ash, wears them, but doesn't have a clue as to what the real man was all about.
The reason I don't think Roland needs the objects (or for that matter Maud) is that their quest is for something deeper. Maud has already donated all of her family's Christabel collection to the University. Roland gives up the letter after he has made his great discovery. Certainly, there was a momentary attachment. The excitement of having discovered the scraps of paper. He couldn't have turned it over to Blackadder at that point. He was chosen by destiny. His research on Proserpina (the opening poem) is so integral to this understanding. He is after the "golden apples."
Taking the letters serves a more practical purpose as well. He can use the letters to entice Maud to join in the search. Both of them are at stages in their careers where something must give. She appears to be quite bored with the feminist approach to literary criticism, even though she is at the top of her profession. Symbolically played by Leonora, Maud rejects the feminist interpretations and hooks up with Roland. They become soul-mates.
Enough on this for now!!
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