Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter 26 - The Hearth

Trivia - One of the literary structures found in the Bible (and most of the Book of Mormon) is chiasmus - where there is a list of things stated and then is repeated in reverse order. I can't claim to be formally injecting chiasmus into the book, but there are a number of places where earlier events resonate with later events. This chapter allows me to inject three such events - the kiss on the fingers, the sleeping on the floor, and failing to love fully enough. It also gave me the chance to let Jonathan overtly mourn for Marietta and to let Elvira fully realize her culpability in the torment Jonathan has been experiencing.


pat said...

I thought that you intended to have Joseph and Elvira consummate their marriage because of the evidence of what Elvira told her daughter years later. So why are we having three chapters worth of skirting around and making it apparently plain that she has not intention, nor does Joseph or whatever. Frankly I'm confused. You have built up a pretty strong case for assuming they never had a 'real' marriage in this life. So how does that add up with what she told her daughter? Did she lie? Was it just to make her daughter do what she chose not to do when all was said and done? Either way or somewhere down the middle this is not adding up.

daughterofheaven said...

What I've done is remove sex as the focus of the truth that Joseph loved Elvira and Elvira loved Joseph. And I've created the conditions where the future marriages (for example, the marriage between Joseph to Melissa Lott, the sexual nature of which Melissa testified to in the Temple lot case) make sense.

Before I was going to have to have Elvira lie for Phoebe to understand that Elvira had lived with Joseph as his wife during his lifetime. Now I've created the conditions where Phoebe can have an honest misunderstanding that being married to Joseph and being given to Joseph by Emma and Jonathan never becoming Elvira's husband in very deed until after Joseph's death meant Elvira physically consummated the relationship with Joseph.

That Titanic movie went on at the end about how a woman's heart is secret, etc. Why can't the secret be one of unconsummated love that would have been legitimate rather than illicit sex?

I've fully conveyed that Joseph had sexual relations with some of his plural wives. And that he taught those who would hear to do the same, in pursuit of establishing the New and Everlasting Covenant firmly in the hearts and minds of those who would survive Joseph's death.

I have Joseph and Elvira locked together overnight for as many hours as they wish - in a room that includes a bed. I have Joseph declaring his passionate desire to hold Elvira in his arms, and have him understand that she has desired him for years.

I managed to pursuade you (and Todd Compton, apparently) that Elvira and Joseph were physically intimate in life. But while the data suggest that, the data are also consistent with this alternate story I've written.

I think the truth that Joseph was a man of principle, love, honor, and self-denial is more important that the possibility that he had sex with Elvira.

daughterofheaven said...

By the way, ktb put together a spreadsheet showing the numerical implications of polygamy (from 10:1 polyandry to 1:10 polygyny). It was fascinating, and provides a view of why the Lord would have done this from a pure social science perspective.

pat said...

Sorry, but for me it just doesn't 'cut it'. In a way, Joseph and Elvira have cheated both Jonathan and Emma by failing to honor the explicit permission each gave for the consummation. Whatever, I guess as the author of a fiction you have the right to write it your way. By failing to consummate, they kept a spurious kind of virtue from my point of view. So I just feel that they are 'super righteous' sort of like the women I knew in my early married years

This thing of having Phoebe misunderstand what her mother was saying and leaving Elivira virgin until Joseph died just seems sort of crank. I can easily get with your version if nothing had been recorded about the situation. In that case, we don't have to assume that somehow the record was wrong.
I guess I'm just too easy going about the whole idea of polygamy. I think it can be terribly abused in situations where it is not a commandment, or a long-time well excepted practice in a culture. Just a quick consideration of the stupid stuff going on in our local polygamist communities where the 'leaders' give each other daughters as young as twelve and almost everyone is within first cousin relationships could make a rational person get the creeps.

Yes, love is more than sex, but sex is part of marriage. Loving 'pure and chaste from afar' is for Don Quixote.

Anyway, go ahead and write it your way. I'm just sort of pissed.

What I mean is, I now feel distanced from the people you are writing about. I feel they are part of some 'romance' instead of being real as they were more and more as you went along. It's like Elivira is 'gooder' than anyone, including Emma, those nasty sexual beings. Were her daughters born from immaculate conceptions that was made possible because she denied her 'lust' for Joseph and stayed 'pure'. I just don't associate the marriage covenant with keeping virginity and denying the bond that comes from that connection God designed for joy. Chastity is what we aim for. Virginity is pretty fragile and can be destroyed by act of someone evil, but the destruction of virginity does not destroy chastity.

ktb said...

A good chapter. There is a lot of symbolic emotional description in this chapter, causing me to beleive that you are leading up to a realization in the next by one or both characters (Elvira and/or Jonathan). Hurt on Jonathan's part I think, but what is it that Elvira is trying to understand, what is going through her mind that just does not yet make sense yet, what feelings is she experieincing that cause so much confuson. Either she knows and you are not yet telling us, or if she does not know herself yet, it would benefit the reader to have a little more insight into how she feels to better understand the actions in the chapter without necessarily understanding where the feelings are leading her.

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