Posted by Kate on November 14, 1997 at 20:49:06:
In response to Beginning to Sum Up***Spoiler Alert***, written by Cassia on November 12, 1997 at 18:43:54
Was Christabel's going with Ash a mistake?
Ultimately? probably yes, but I don't think anything could have stopped her. She lost everything she had so carefully built up, the egg of her independence and autonomy, the opportunity to live, in a small way, an independent life, the deep love of another person, in return for a few short weeks of passion. She gained, and ultimately lost a child. Maybe she gained a new insight which enabled her to write her greatest work - she attributes it partly to him. Maybe she had to live through this pain to be able to articulate the pain of Melusina.
Why run to Britanny and tip Ash off to her condition?
well she had to have the baby somewhere - she couldn't have stayed in London without having been involved in the deepest scandal, which would certainly have tipped Ash off. At least by going to Brittany she could protect the reputation of the child, and, which may have been important too, of Ash.
What did Christabel owe Blanche?
Loyalty? maybe. I remain convinced that they had been lovers, despite our deep cogitations on this point. I think the poem at the beginning of Chapter 20 says much to this about Christabel's grief and guilt about Blanche's death, and about the sexual nature of that relationship. But in any case, I think Christabel at least owed Blanche an explanation (she may have given her one) of her departure.
Given their respective financial stringencies, it is hard to say that she might have owed her more. I wonder if Christabel planned to return to London to Blanche after Brittany - only to be thwarted by Blanche's suicide, or whether she had already planned to live with her sister as a "hanger-on" as she puts it in her letter to Ash.
Such a choice must have tasted like ashes in her mouth (!! I didn't realize the pun until I had typed that sentence!!). To have planned a life of autonomy, and to be reduced to be an outsider in another's home, watching your own child brought up as your niece and disliking you - a terrible fate.
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