Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chapter 9 - The World of the Dead

Trivia - Many stories we take for granted today did not exist in their current form in 1841. Goldilocks first appears in literature in 1904, for example. And it isn't clear whether Elvira would have known the tales of the Grimm brothers. Yet stories must be told to fill time when small children are about. The myths of Greece and Rome, however, would have been known.

I enjoyed the idea that Hades suffered some punishment for stealing Persephone, although the damnation of never knowing his children is nowhere in classical literature to my knowledge. I got the idea from hearing about the men who serve on ballistic missile submarines. With their on again, off again schedules, it is apparently rare to be present for both a child's conception and his/her birth. They universally agree that they'd rather miss the birth than the conception.


Pat said...

You are getting very subtle and complex. I think it is useful to remember that the people of the era Elvira lived in were familiar with the stories of Greece and Rome. The fashions of the mid-nineteenth century were often based on what was known of the classical world. Thus it was that Joseph died at Carthage and the names of many people of that time are drawn from the myths of Olympus. It is quite valid that the stories she told would be just as you have imagined.

daughterofheaven said...

So... 'subtle and complex' is good or bad? I hope good.

Pat said...

Good, if not carried to the extreme, and I don't think you have. As we get to know people, whether real or fictional, we come to know more about them on a more subtle level. I think this is what is happening with Elvira. She has gone from being a mere acquaintance to where we can enjoy knowing more of her heart.

ktb said...

That was outstanding in both flow and content. This is the level of complexity that I enjoy reading at, thoughts, feelings, and personality all combined with balance to tell us who the person is - in this case Elvira. This depth of character should not be pursued in every chapter since it would become difficult to follow the story, but on occassion, I think it lends a clearer glimpse into what is below the waters so that we might enjoy the surface, the surrounding landscape, and better appreciate what is below more fully as we travel to the destination.

las said...

Re: submarines:

Of course, if you miss the conception, you miss the birth!

The long breaks where Elvira stops to tell a story give the book a leisurely pace--like riding in a wagon instead of a jet. It’s working. I think.

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