POOR MISS FINCH by Wilkie Collins

POOR MISS FINCH by Wilkie Collins

09 June 2014

POOR MISS FINCH (chaps. 44-46), installments #22-24

Dear Serial Readers,

Each of these three chapters appeared as a separate installment when first published. Is there a suspenseful break after each of these chapters accordingly?

As for general observations about the Ramsgate seaside chapters 44 and 45 and Lucilla's journal, I have two comments that I'm titling "The Tyranny of Sight" and "The Tyranny of Oversight."

Getting to use her eyes is a confusing matter for Lucilla.  She doesn't "feel" the same about "Oscar" (who everyone else knows, except of course the aunt who'd never seen the Dubourg twins, is really Nugent), but she can't quite figure this out.  When she was blind, Lucilla seemed rather confident and bold in the department of desires, but not so now where her vision is beset by mists--both optically and the deception plotting of Nugent.  I'm less interested in the deception and traded places of the twins than in how Lucilla's sense of regained sight is rendered--and it's not an advantage for her.  Even her handwriting was better when she was blind and not confused by mists.  The Tyranny of Sight.

Mme. P's frequent interruptions of her supposedly faithful transcription of Lucialla's journal while in Ramsgate is the Tyranny of Oversight.  I get that she's filling in plot points, that she's showing us what Lucilla didn't know--such as the encounter between Grosse and Nugent--but still, these asides and reflexive commentaries take up pages sometimes.  It almost seems like the delays are padding to get to a particular length.  I also don't discern a clear, distinct voice from Lucilla's journal writing in contrast to P's voice, and I know from many other novels that Collins is able to devise very different voices for first-person narrators (such as Marian Halcombe and Walter Hartright and the peevish Frederick Fairlie, just from one serial).  Somehow Lucilla's voice seems too consistent with Pratolungo's narration which of course is the filter.  Voice and vision are less individual and instead rather misty. 

Time for finishing up this serial!  I guess that Lucilla and the real Oscar will be reunited before the elopement is completed, and that Nugent will be banished somehow. 

Rachel will see us through to the end next week!

Serially sighted,

No comments: