Posted by Cassia on November 04, 1997 at 15:35:32:
In response to Quiet, written by Karen R on November 03, 1997 at 15:01:37
Having conversation, real conversation, that people like Christabel and Randolph and Roland and Maud embark upon, is frightening to them because it represents the real, the physical--not the romantic idealization of love. ("Maud and Roland...were nervous of real conversation." p. 264) When they spend their day at the Boggle Hole, "the moment had come for a personal conversation. Both felt this; both were mostly willing, but inhibited." (p.293) Forgive me, but it will expose the core of their beings and encroach upon their private space--their freedom.
They were also fighting there preconception of each other. For Roland people like Maud aren't quite real despite their noisy hunting and landscape doniatiing houses. Maud has a similar problem in that she's made her world so small that Roland, a semi-employed postgrad, has no place in it. To speak would ruin their mutual image of wanting and having nothing. The clean, white beds, unruffled by want or need, serene in a clean, white room. To dream the impossible dream. To converse is to exchange, to express, reinforce wants and needs. No wonder these two idealists couldn't find anything to say beyond non-sequetors, the place keepers of dialougue.
I love that Byatt kept the passion with the Victorians. I think she may feel that they in their relative innocence were much more cpable of passion than we are. Passion had become a tired, dingy emotion with unpleasant associations for Maud and Roland. Can they ever get back the purity? Byatt doesn't tell us.
There Karen, fait accompli.
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