Posted by Cassia on October 30, 1997 at 17:02:29:
In response to Blanche and Christable, written by Kate on October 29, 1997 at 22:13:17
...he places his lovers in the reality of mid-Victorian fashion and decor. Intimacy and consummation of love are evoked by the glove, a fan, the curtains of a room, the cushions of an empty sofa bearing a faint perfume of the woman whose skirts have pressed casually against them.
] ] So, does that mean there really was a relationship between Christabel and Blanche? Could be, but that it was over in the same way that Roland/Val's was and had entered the stage of "silence."
] Firstly, there's definitely Val/Blanche parallels.
] And secondly, IMO there is definitely a sexual relationship between Blanche and Christabel. There are a number of clues apart from the settled acceptance of it by everyone, including Maud, who I think is a fairly reliable witness.
] Maud thinks that references to gloves in Christabels poetry are related to Blanche. Have a look at the poem at the beginning of chapter 18... phew!
] Then there is Ash's surprise on discovering that Christabel was a virgin,because she was so sexually sophisticated. He considers the "possibilities" and although Byatt doesn't articulate the thought, I think it's clear he's thinking about her and Blanche.
] Blanche, in her diary, speaks of them being "quiet together, in our special ways".
] And finally, I think that Blanche's overwrought reaction to C's "betrayal" has to result from more than just friendship.
] I think there are other clues too, but this is a start.
Have you seen a film called Chasing Amy. One of the things discussed is the feeling that some people feel that lesbian sex is not real sex because there is no penetration. I'm not accusing Ash of that kind of thinking but I do think that is how Blanche thought. Remember, when she goes to Ellen she emphasises that her relationship with Christabel is innocent. IMHO, she feels it is more to do with love than the 'animalistic acts' of sex.
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