You are on page 1of 3

v-d \-toVP'\

English 2008 Patrick McEvoy-Halston


//)
Dr. Miller 9712576/ Sept.28

Responses
to Readings

#l: In classit wassuggested


thattheorganof Caesar'sthatis featuredmostprominently
in the encounterwith the two tigerswasCaesar'sheart. I think a casecanbe madethat
this honourbelongsto anotherof Caesar'sorgans.I'll let my readerguessthis organ's
identity,but herearesomeclues,somesnipetssnatchedfrom the paragraphs
involving
the tigers,andfrom other paragraphs
falling within Behn'sdescriptionsof her "sports"
with Caesar,I offer to assistmy readerin this guessinggame:"tigersof a monstroussize
. . . andwonderfulsnakes"(2177);"takingMr.Martin'ssword. . . follow theladies"
(2179);'Aast limbs" (2179);"ran his swordquitethroughhis breastdownto his very
heart,hometo the hilt of the sword"(2179);"fixing her long nails in his fleshvery deep"
(2179);"might, great,andstronglimbs" (2179);"shewasravenous"(2180);"calleda
numbeel(aneelof whichIhave eaten)"(2180);"greatcuriosity''(2180);
"alittle {t^
it wide" (2181);"theygrewmore
countries"(2181);"spreading
ashamed"(2180);'hot
bold" (2181);"they touchedus . . . feelingourbreasts";"moreour garters,whichwe
gavethem" (2181);"surveyusastheypleased"(2181),andfinally, "I took out . . . flutes"
(2182). PerhapsI am too boid: perhapsyou feel Disappointment
that I assumeBehn
capableof imaginingswords,eels,flutes,or snakesasmetaphorsfor a certainmale
organ. I think I will only agreethat Behnwould preferwe not "turn on" our poetic
imagination,andinsteadtakeher tale asan objective,exact,replicationof events,andnot
of herfancy. I'11explorethis furtherin my essay.

asa masterof people,than asa masterof


#2: I think that Dorimantis bettercharacterized
with beinga masterof people--and
words--orthatbeinga masterof wordsis s5mon)4nous
I suspectthatthe aristocracy,includingthe King, who viewedTheMan of Mode,would
agreewith me. If all Dorimantls is a masterof words,with this masteryconnotingonly
a powerto createfancy,andplease,thenhis elevatedpositionmight seemaspureartifice
ashis skill or tradeis. If the aristocracy
are aristocracy of theirmasteryof a
because
theKing, a merepillar
seeminglyuselessskill, thenis the Courta mereplayhouse?
the fun? Surelythis might help distinguish
aroundwhich to organize,andsubstantiate
usedto judge
by the standards
the aristocracyasbeinga breedapart,not to measured
wherepeoplehaveroleswhich
tradesman,and"lesser"men,but, in a Commonwealth,
English 2008 Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Dr. Miller 9712576/ Sept.28

sustainan organicwhole(Hobbes?), it wouldsurelybe betterif beinga masterof words


is a masterskill in a 'lrtilitarian" sense.(Cromwellmight be deadandburied,but his
alternativesocialordercompletelyforgotten?Unlikely.) If beinga masterof words
meansto havesucha profoundknowledgeandunderstanding
of the ways of all (wo)men,
so asto offer the "proper" (i.e.,mostpointedor precise)word to articulatea particular
situationor behavior,thenthereis "more substance" put to "bad"
to this skill: it suggests,
use,manipulatingthe obtuseness to stealtheir wives,but also,put to "good"
of tradesmen
use,beingableto sizeup the strengths of foes,or potentialfoes,to help
andweaknesses
divine waysto defendthe Commonwealth(includingthesevery sirmecuckolded
tradesmen)againstforeigners(theFrench?)intenton stealing,ravishingit's best"fi:uits."
Richardllcomesto mind. TheKing's son's(RichardIII?) skill in
(Shakespeare's H."'/ ,.
manipulatingcommonersin barsis madeto seemthe sameskill (put to constructiveuse) lv. rf. l
I{.\ $ A,
that makeshim the naturalleaderof menon a battlefield.) The triumphof Dorimantover
but onewho "affectsin imitation of the peopleof
Sir FoplingFlutter(not a Frenchman, I f J'1$
quality of France"(2215)andwho has"arrivedpiping hot from Paris"(2215))might be
V
takenin this lisht. Sucha skill makesthe "man of mode"andan aristocraticorder,a
more "natural" leader, and social ordering for a Commonwealth of English men. N'est - c (
pas?

this week,but I'll rackmy brainto comeup with


#3: I reallyonly havetwo comments
anotherone. Hmmm. . . Okay,how aboutthis: Oroonokoseems"novelistic"to me in a
really insubstantialway: thereis a lot of prose,brokenup into paragraphs,
over a
thattell a"tale." What is missingis any elementthat I
sufficientnumberof paragraphs,
might takefrom the readingto help imaginemy own world in a differentlight. I guess
a moreconscious
that it is fair to saythat for me,it lacks"novelty." If I hadencountered
in readingher poetry,capableof making
narratorAphra Behn--theoneI encountered
convincing,or at leastacfuteobservations abouthow andwhy people
or speculations
more attentively. I
behave--Ithink I would ilurrcfollowedandexploredher characters
believethat the experienceof readingthe storywould havemorecloselymatchedwhat I
asnovel-like. She
think typifies the readingexperienceof what I would characterize
doeslittle betterwith the setting;everythingis describedas"diverse","wonderful", and
English 2008 Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Dr. Miller 9712576/ Sept.28

"strange" without it seemingso. However, the narrator's description of her house on St.
John's Hill seemed"novelistic", at leastintially, to me, and I think the reasonfor this is
that at least part of her description seemsthe result of Behn tryrng for accuracy,the right
mixture of words to convey to me how her house once appearedto her, or even how her
experienceof the house made it seemto appearto her. I am thinking off this phrasein
particular: "It [the house] stood on a vast rock of white marble, at the foot of which the
river ran a vast depth down, and not to be descendedon that side" (2179). This seems
much more "novelistic" to me than the subsequentsentenceof her description: "The little

I! waves still dashing and washing the foot of this rock made the softest murmurs and
purlings in the world, and the opposite bank was adornedwith such vast quantities of
different flowers eternally blowing, ffid every day and hour new, fenced behind them
with lofty trees of a thousandrare forms and colors, that the prospectwas the most
\ ^groJ' ravishing that sandscan create" (2179). Too fanciful; a mind at work pleasing itself with
.f a lovely rhythm. Shakespeare'splays (As You Like It (I think this is the one in particular
I am thinking o0), with the keen observationsby feature charactersof how things differ
S'ir;' between realms (the Court, ffid the "green" world), seemmore "novelistic" to me than
),tno.rf
doesBehn's Oroonoko. Perhapsthis meansI take as 'hovelistic" any prose where I

$::.,
o(. .
sensea critical, observant,"conscious" mind at work; and take as non-novelistic prose
where I sensea predictable pattern, or prose where I catch novel imaginings, but where I
guessthe writer is not wholly consciousof having made them. There is much in

\')"fl Oroonoko that illuminates interesting,revealing things to me about Aphra Behn, but this

v'7 does not seemto make her work seem"novelistic" to me.