Actually I Don't Think It So Surprising
Posted by Cassia on October 29, 1997 at 14:30:24:
In response to Ellen Ash (spoiler here), written by Jane Elizabeth on October 28, 1997 at 14:35:27
] But Christabel: petite and calm, her tiny green-clad feet, her slender waist, her direct gaze. Odd that the Victorian heroine is the most physically self-assured.
] Does anyone have any take on Ellen's frigidity? I hadn't thought about it much, but when we were discussing the tragic outcomes of the Victorian women, I realized that it was why I found Ellen so sad. Not that she didn't enjoy sex, but that she felt she needed to spend the rest of her life making it up to Randolph by becoming a perfect helpmeet. Remember the scene where Randolph and Christabel are dining at the inn. He notices her total lack of wifely attitude. Would he have noticed it if Ellen didn't go so overboard? Perhaps Ellen's behavior was suffocating. She may actually have driven him into the bracing air of Christabel in her loving attempt to make up for her frigidity.
that the Victorian Woman is the most physically confidant. Although we find them restrictive, Victorian clothing was an asset to the figures of most women with it profound narrow shouldered, wide hipped pear shape. Also, Victorian women clothes fitted them rather than they having to fit their clothes the way we do. Also, their ideal form was one more women can fit into than our tall, long legged (which implies short waisted and this only works for tall women, I know I'm a litle over 5'2" and long legged, this means I tend to look really dumpy if I gain a pound or two but I, again, digress)narrow hipped ideal. Looking good in your clothes does make one more confident because it allows some controll in what the world perceives of you. Also, the mirror wasn't being held up to them as often as it is for 20C women and you only had to worry about being the prettiest girl in town rather than the prettist in the world.
As for Ellen, she did more than she had too because she felt she must do something to please him and being a helpmeet is what she has to offer, this agree with but I add that she also does this in an extreme manner because she perceives of Ash as being a man who would notice her efforts. She feels she must show her love in some way and this is her chosen task. Does this push Ash away? Perhaps. If we see Ellen as another type of Val, does this mean that as she transformed herself into the perfect helpmeet that Ellen too, stopped venturing her opinions and offered only his reflected back to him? Most likely, so Ellen can be accused of not giving Ash the type of sustenance he needed most. Poor Ellen.
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