Remembering and forgetting
Posted by Hil on November 03, 1997 at 19:38:11:
In response to Knowing, written by Jane Elizabeth on November 03, 1997 at 11:44:28
I was reflecting on this too, Jane Elizabeth. Those few pages where the poets come to life are central, and its interesting after what you have posted to see in that passage this interchange:
'Then he did speak again.'You see, I know you,' and she answered breathless, 'Yes, I concede. You know.'
About the strand of hair in the watch: Did Ellen know? In Chapter 25 Ash tells Ellen it is there, and we know in retrospect he is talking of Miai, but Ellen may easily have thought he meant Christabel, as he was not very lucid.
Another interesting theme coinciding with the knowing one is that of remembering and forgetting. In the letter where Ash returns the letters to Christabel he says:
'I shall forget nothing of what is passed. I have not a forgetting nature. (Forgiving is no longer the question, between us, is it?) You may rest assured I shall retain every least word, written or spoken, and all other things too, in the hard wax of my stubborn memory.'
Then when he is dying and wants Ellen to tell C about the strand of their daughter's hair in his watch, so that she knows he knows she exists, he says:
'In my watch. Her hair. Tell her.'
'Tell her what?'
His eyes closed.
Ash's forgetting this most precious thing, is the sign that he has really died in spirit, if not as well in reality.
There are so many of the big issues tackled in this book, so many threads you can follow, I feel like I am swimming in a sea of them, unable to order them. And an HTML version with search would be a great help, I agree!
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