Monday 30 April 2012

The Woman in White: That End Bit

Is it just me, or was that whole end thing... Unexpected? And by unexpected, I obviously mean completely MENTAL and FAR-FETCHED and yet still kind of super duper awesome! Even though this last bit of the book was the shortest of all, I embarrassingly made the most notes for it, which I can only attribute to reading the whole 100 or so pages in one position for a straight 2 hours or whatever, with my notebook right there. Had to be done.

ANYWAY, onto stuff that the people actually care about! But where to even begin?! Oh, wait I know: ANNE WAS MR FAIRLIE'S CHILD!!! Of course she was. I was so happy to be vindicated on that one point though that I actually slapped my own thigh and ended up really hurting myself. But it was a complete "I KNEW it!" moment. While we're on the subject of Anne, I have to add that her mother was really a stone cold bitch, and is probably now my least favourite of all the unsavoury characters of the book- her only concern is about her reputation, which she's determined to preserve without actually doing any of the things that would earn her a good reputation. UGH I really hated her! But anyway, I was glad there was a little bit of an ending to poor Anne's story:
"So the ghostly figure [HAH, GHOSTLY!] which has haunted these pages as it haunted my life, goes down into the impenetrable Gloom. Like a shadow she first came to me, in the loneliness of the night. Like a shadow she passes away, in the loneliness of the dead."
Cheery stuff!

Now I'm going to have a big moan about Walter, so brace yourself if you're still hot for him and his newfound balls. Because oh my GOD, the annoyance over how he treats Laura! And it was especially annoying because Marian was totally complicit in his treating Laura as a child, which made me a bit irritated by Marian of all people too! So here's one bit:
"The necessity of sparing Laura any sudden knowledge of the truth was the first consideration which the latter suggested to me. I wrote at once to Marian... warning her not to let any such thing as a newspaper fall in Laura's way while I was absent."
WHY THE HELL NOT?! Because Walter's presence is going to be better than Marian's in calming her down, Marian being her total rock and comforter and all? Or because she's going to be really upset that her abusive husband that she hated is dead? POOR LAURA CAN'T COPE WITH ANYTHING! And then there was also this:
"When Laura has left us; and when we could speak to one another without restraint, I tried to give some expression to the gratitude and the admiration which filled my heart [to Marian]"
"Oh Marian, thanks for looking after the child for ME, who otherwise you would have no interest in taking care of. Also, let's keep quiet about the death of her husband, even though she obviously finds out about it somehow because I marry her in a few pages, without explaining how that's possible since she doesn't have her identity back yet." Yeah, that annoyed me too. WHY ARE YOU SO ANNOYING, WALTER?!

Anyway, let's just ignore Walter for a sec (even though he's there all the fucking time) and get to the real excitement of this whole end thing which was OMG PESCA'S INVOLVED WITH SOME DODGY POLITICAL THING AND FOSCO'S A SPY! I mean, seriously, did anyone see this coming?! Because when Walter took Pesca to the opera, I was like "Why are you such a moron, Walter? Why would Pesca know Fosco just because they're both Italian? Stupid racist." and then, lo and behold, they did! I mean, I was totally like OMFG THIS IS AMAZING, but at the same time, couldn't Collins have thought of some other way to get the story out of Fosco without that whole (amazing) thing?! Because it definitely wasn't Walter's main concern, and it was just a bit like WOAH what's going on, and, well, DRAMA!

So anyway, then Fosco's narrative was pretty awesome and made me actually sort of love him. Hear me out: He loves Marian! Marian is his one weakness in life! (I've just remembered another annoying thing- where Walter wouldn't let Marian go to the final showdown with Fosco with him. ARGH, so annoying!) He has really amazing taste in women! Anyone who's in love with Marian is a friend of mine, you know? And even though he sort of killed Anne (except that he didn't- but he would have if he had had to) and he put Laura in the asylum (and was all like 'oh, but I was only going to take her identity and not her life!' apparently not realising that for a rich English lady, her identity is her life) I was still a bit like 'oh, ok... I'll let you off!' I was a bit disappointed by the realisation that he didn't have any special power over his wife or anything, and that she was just a bit of a nincompoop for completely sacrificing herself to him, but oh well. So, yeah, I ended up pretty much liking him and his massive ego, so I was actually a little bit upset by reports of his death.

And then they killed off Mr Fairlie too! Like, oh here you go, boring Laura and Walter, there are no interesting characters around anymore to interfere with your boring life together. Yawn. Although, obviously, happy ending and all, yay. I guess. Anyway, I was fairly happy that all the loose ends were tied up, and I can really only think of a couple of questions I still have-
1. Did Mrs Fairlie suspect that Anne was her husband's child, or was she just like 'ooh, what a coincidence!' I kind of hope the former, and that she was so lovely that she just had to take her under her wing.
2. Didn't Laura care that her half sister was dead? Or was that information just kept from her too, because she's too delicate? And how did she even have a child, if she's supposedly so weak?!

Here endeth my thoughts about The Woman in White. *Applauds* Good readalong people, good readalong!


  1. Yeah the whole spy thing came in from nowhere. It was kind of awesome, though. I do love Fosco, even as I hate him. He was a fantastic villain.

    1. He really is so excellent! At first I was not at all keen on him, but eventually I was just like DAMN Fosco, you're so awesome!

  2. I totes need to point out that they DO tell her, but it's in Hartright's understated, "I'm not really gonna tell you how it went down so let me just tell you in one sentence that it DID go down" way.

    "Like, oh here you go, boring Laura and Walter, there are no interesting characters around anymore to interfere with your boring life together." Hah! Accurate. Oh well. At least Marian's there to raise their child to be an unboring person.

    ALSO, they kind of addressed #1? Meaning Marian was like "Oh, I don't think from her letters that she knew."


    1. But HOW DID SHE GET MARRIED TO WALTER? Seriously, when they couldn't prove her identity or anything? I'm still so confused! (I sense that I didn't even write about this, which is MENTAL, because it's like the thing that most bugged me!)

      Also, yes, Marian will save their child, and any subsequent children. Phew!

      I guess that's right- plus if she'd said in her letters 'and I can tell she's my husband's child' then there really wouldn't have been a mystery... Although MAYBE she suspected and never told anyone because oh! The scandal!

      I AM SAD TOO! But I'm happy I have another Collins book to read because DAMN, the excitement!! :)

    2. Ohhh you mean without proof of her identity...hmm...maybe they didn't need that back then? I don't know. This is a good point.

      THERE IS THE MOONSTONE. And Armadale. And I'm reading some short stories of his which are kickass already. Oh, Wilkie. At least we didn't learn to love you when we were like 40.

    3. Maybe- like maybe you just walked into a church and the vicar guy (HAH so much I know about churches...) was like 'yeah, ok you're married now, go and have sex already.' Maybe.

      I have Armadale! I feel like I may have started The Moonstone once at school and then it got swapped for like Oliver Twist or something, which, if that's the case now I feel robbed! And you're right- at least we can spend the years of our youth loving a dead guy with a massive forehead. All is right with the world :)

  3. I really wanted to find out Fosco had something over his wife. I still don't understand how she went from this outspoken woman to Fosco's personal cigarette rolling factory.

    I wish we could have had a narrative from Laura's point of view. I mean, why didn't we. She's sort of the main character. Or at least the reason for all of the action even though she doesn't really do anything except be pretty and rich. But still, she had to have some opinion on what happened.

    1. Well, in his narrative he does say that he doesn't have anything on her or anything, so maybe she's just one of those women who knows how to be submissive to a man? Also, wasn't she kind of old when she married him, so she's just so grateful to be married that she's like 'I will do anything for you, master!'

      Also, she's Mr Fairlie's sister, so, in terms of weirdness, that should really explain everything you have to know!

      Aw, I would have loved a narrative from Laura's PoV! Obviously Walter would never think to ask for it, because she's just a delicate little woman, but I feel like she totally could have been like 'I do wish Walter and Marian wouldn't fuss over me, I know what's going on and I'm ok with it- and I didn't even bloody like Percy anyway, like I care that he's dead!' Money making idea from WiW, #12985439- the story from Laura's point of view!

    2. I would LOVE Laura if we got to hear from her PoV how she's annoyed Marian and Walter are treating her like a child BUT she feels it will make them feel better so she goes along with it. How great would that be?

    3. YES! I'm deciding that's the truth anyway, because AWESOME!!

    4. Jumping on this bandwagon ASAP. Maybe Laura was really the mastermind behind everything but she lets Walter have all the credit because, you know, men can be so sensitive about being upstaged.

      Laura can't be ALL bad; Marian loves her, after all.

    5. I want that to be true SO badly! And I don't think Laura's bad at all! It's just that rargh she's not allowed a voice and she's all frail and annoying and whyyyy?!

  4. Yeah, how did they get married, if Laura didn't have her identity back? That is a conundrum.

    There's coincidence but also a symmetry in the way that Pesca proves instrumental in providing the key for Fosco's downfall, as it was Pesca's action that got Walter involved with Marian and Laura in the first place. But yeah, the whole "well, hey, Pesca's Italian - maybe he knows this guy" thing was ridiculous reasoning on Walter's part. He was pretty desperate though.

    1. That's true- there's some nice symmetry there! But it's not like Walter was like 'hmm, Pesca knows these people, so maybe he can help', it was literally just 'all Italians know each other!' But I guess it was necessary for the plot, and also maybe Collins just couldn't think of a way to do it a little bit more smoothly/for a better reason.

  5. I was so happy that they didn't dig up Anne's grave after Laura was outed as being alive -- now Anne gets to be buried where she's always wanted, under her own name. Pretty morbid, but still a happy ending.

    Also, EXCELLENT QUESTIONS at the end. Walter kind of just skated over telling Laura anything of importance. Because, you know, she's just a ~delicate woman~ and all. Walter is lucky that he's fictional or I would slap the stupid off his face.

    I'm sad this readalong is over, but it was so much fun! *scurries off to read the rest of the posts*

    1. Yeah, isn't that literally all Anne wanted anyway? Just to be dead and with Mrs Fairlie? I did like that she got what she wanted, but I think I would have slightly preferred a bit of a '*gasp* you're my sister?!' kind of thing. But it's not that kind of book, so I'll get over that!

      Ha, you'd have to get in line for the Walter slapping because omg I hate him SO MUCH! Laura isn't that weak! She stood up to Percy that one time, I think we'll all remember!

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  7. I have few words to say about this book, which I enjoyed for the first half.
    All of the magnificent, well written, distinguishable characters die. Anticlimactically, may I add.
    (Except mrs. catherick. Thank goodness. At least one woman with a personality was let alive)

    All of the predictable boring characters are spared.
    Anticlimactically, may I add.

    I threw the book when I was finished with it. He really had me going for about 400 pages. It all went downhill after Anne died.

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