Continuing thoughts of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White (part 2)

Previous editions: Walter I-X, Walter XI-Gilmore I

This bit’ll be continuing on with Mr Gilmore’s narrative and into Marian’s, up until the end of the first epoch. I probably won’t post again on TWIW until at least next week– I don’t want to get TOO ahead of everyone else.

Also, I should have mentioned this before, but these posts might make more sense if you’ve read TWIW or are currently reading it right now. I’m not entirely sure how much sense it’ll make if you’re not already familiar with the story.

Gilmore II.

  • It’s interesting how Gilmore talks about Glyde’s good points a lot, especially in regards to how he’s treating Laura. If we base our opinion solely on Gilmore’s narrative, Glyde seems like the perfect husband for Laura, one who’ll dote on her, take into consideration every need she has or wants, being respectful to the family, etc. It all sounds lovely, but because we’ve also been shown that Glyde may not be all he’s cracked up to be, it all has a very sinister edge to it. Is he being so lovely because he actually is lovely and Anne Catherick is truly insane (and thus accusing him of fiendishness falsely) or is he doing it to lure Laura into his clutches?
  • Anne’s mother’s letter? IT’S A TRAP! Bah.
  • Okay! Also! When Marian talks about Laura’s mentality about things, about how once she’s promised to do something she’ll do it even if she doesn’t want to– doesn’t that remind you of Ann Catherick’s problem? About how she can’t change her mind once something it put into it? Yes? Yes! Or at least it does to me.
  • Oh, and Laura’s dog: it’s a bad sign when animals don’t like you! Her dog likes Gilmore, which is appropriate. But he barked at Glyde! Bad sign! Bad sign! (As if we already didn’t know Glyde is the villain.)
  • Poor Laura, trying to clutch and keep Marian in her life. I understand wanting to keep one’s sibling near, but once you’re married you’ve got to grow up sometime, Laura. Gilmore says she and Marian cling to the past, and that’s definitely true. Just think of how their house hasn’t changed ever since their parents died.

Gilmore III.

  • I can’t help but feel that it’s a BAD THING that Laura is getting married before she’s officially an adult. Glyde must have something up his sleeve; why else would he insist on getting married before the end of the year?
  • The whole inheritance thing was actually quite interesting, plus it gives us info that we’ll need later, I’m sure.
  • Oh no, greedy Mr Glyde, you’ve just made yourself look like a villain again. Does Marian know about this whole thing, where Glyde wants the principal of Laura’s inheritance? I can’t remember. (Bugger.)
  • Oh, poor Walter! He’s a total mess, and Gilmore doesn’t seem to have much hope for him.

Gilmore IV.

  • Interesting how the state of the house)hold) reflects the state of Marian/Laura’s minds. Dark, depressing, etc. Very atmospheric, as well.
  • Mr Fairlie is annoying the crap outta me now, and I’m sure he’s in league with Glyde. He just reeks of something foul lurking beneath the surface.

And now we come to Marian’s narrative.

Marian I.

  • Diary extracts! You know I love me some diary.
  • Okay, listen. Does anyone else get the feeling that Marian might have a little crush on Walter? She talks about how his “delicacy and forbearance and sense of honour” drew her to him, and how they’re the same things that made Laura fall in love with him. But I think Walter and Marian would make a splendid couple, if only Walter could get over his unfortunate propensity for Delicate Young Flowers.
  • Blah blah blah, Laura is so perfect. WHATEVER. She’s also weirdly forceful one second and placidly allowing everyone to step on her the next. I like how she says that she’s going to tell Glyde that she’s in love with another guy, but then to let HIM be the one to decide if the marriage is going to continue or not? GROW SOME BACKBONE, PLEASE.
  • Walter’s letter to Marian: Poor Walter is being stalked! That Glyde is a real piece of work, I tell you.
  • Laura & Glyde’s discussion: Blah blah blah, ridiculous Victorian crap. I hate Glyde, I really do. He’s pretending to be a gentleman when he’s obvious a leech, and unless something radical happens in the course of the book to dissuade me of that idea I’m sticking to it LIKE GLUE.
  • Ha! I did like this bit: “If you persist in maintaining our engagement, I may be your true and faithful wife, Sir Percival– your loving wife, if I know my own heart, never!” Of course, he doesn’t actually care if she loves him or not. Who wants to bet that he tries to kill her within three months of their marriage?
  • Here’s the thing about Laura’s character I wanted to quote, because it’s everything I hate about Laura: “She used to be pliability itself; but she was not inflexibly passive in her resignation– I might almost say in her dispair. Dearly as I love her, I should have been less pained if she had been violently agitated; it was so shockingly unlike her natural character to see her as cold and insensible as I saw her now.”
  • You know, thinking over that quote again– it’s almost funny, because Laura IS showing a backbone, kinda. It’s like peaceful resistance. She doesn’t want to marry Glyde, everyone knows she doesn’t want to marry him, but because she’s trapped by her own sense of honor and his greedy clutches, she can’t do anything about it but be cold and passive-aggressive. I almost like her, now.

Marian II.

  • Oh look, Marian actually wants to ask Laura’s permission for something before doing it! What’s the world come to.
  • It’s extremely interesting here how Marian is the one crying and being melancholic, while Laura is stolid and like ice. It seems like it should be the other way around.
  • Marian burning Walter’s letter: don’t do that! What if you need it in the future for evidence or something? I don’t like this burning business. Surely just hiding it somewhere would have been better. Doesn’t Marian seem like the type to have caches of stuff somewhere, anyway?
  • “…as if writing of her marriage were like writing of her death.” Dun dun duuuuuuuunnn.
  • Marian’s ruminations on Glyde’s bald forehead making him more handsome: oh, Mr Collins, you are so transparent. (Collins was bald over the forehead himself!).
  • Marian is all over the place in this section. For most of it she’s trying to convince herself that Glyde is a Good Man. Then she finally reveals her true feelings–she hates him! But is it hatred because he’s slime, or just because he’s taking her sister away? She already showed some possessive feelings towards Laura in the same section as the quote up there. Is she simply pouting like a child who’s favorite toy was taken away, or is her Woman’s Intuition telling her something more?
  • “It is all over. They are married.”

And here ends the first epoch. 😀 I took a break from the book for a few days to read other mysteries, but now that I’m no longer so far ahead of everybody else I’m ready to start reading again! Second epoch, here I come!

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0 thoughts on “Continuing thoughts of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White (part 2)”

  1. I’ve also been wondering if Marian might have some romantic feelings for Walter — it seems like EXACTLY the sort of thing she WOULDN’T write about in her diary.

    Re: Wilkie’s baldness — Ha! The more tidbits I get about him, the more I want to read a biography.

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