Posted by Kate on November 06, 1997 at 21:17:17:
Sorry I dropped out of the conversation last week!
The Christabel/Blanche thing is rather complex isn't it? I never thought there would be so much controversy about it. I beg to differ from whoever it was that described it as an "unequal" relationship. Yes, Christabel brings more money to the relationship, and possibly more talent (though no one knows this because no one has seen any of Blanche's pictures), but I think their endeavour to live as independent women was a partnership in which they were equally commited. I actually think that Blanche is a nice person who is betrayed by someone she loves very dearly, betrayed not only as a lover (or if you will, a close personal friend) but also financially. In legal terms she had altered her position in reliance on Christabel's assurance of support, and as a result is left destitute when Christabel deserted her, with apparently no consideration of how her actions would affect Blanche whom Christabel knew to be without any income.
Yes, Blanche behaves badly by stealing Ash's letters, but this is only at the point where she sees the correspondence as potentially destroying the endeavour, the household, the relationship and her capacity to be independent. Selfish, yes, but also understandable IMO.
As to the vexed question... I have just come across the poem at the beginning of Chapter 20. This is obviously written to someone who is dead. We don't have a date, but I think it's highly unlikely to be about Ash ... so is it about Blanche, for whom, as we know, she felt such guilt?
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