Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Welcome Students...

Good morning class! Welcome to your first day of English 12. My name is Miss.Blondé and I will be your teacher for the remainder of the semester. This semester we will be focusing on film adaptations of modernist novels, specifically Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End. I hope that everyone is as excited as I am to cover this novel. We will be looking at different topics such as feminism and politics which can be seen in both the novel and the movie. You will be expected to attend every class and read the supplimentary posts on this blog. Furthermore, I would like to hear what you think about the novel and the movie. So please feel free to comment on any of the blog post. At the end of the semester you will be expected to write an online quiz based on the readings presented and we will be going on a field trip to Ford Madox Ford's house! I hope you can all attend, I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


A Synopsis of the film Some Do Not

The film starts in a pre-war Edwardian setting. Two young men – Christopher Tietjens and Vincent Macmaster – discuss various matters of the day, from the fairly banal to the utmost important. Here is where the audience is introduced to an adulterous woman whom Macmaster very much dislikes: Sylvia Tietjens.

The audience then crosses the channel in the next scene to arrive on the continent. Lobschied Germany is where Sylvia’s mother Mrs. Satterthwaite, Father Consett and Sylvia are all residing. Mrs. Satterthwaite and Father Consett are seated alone, drinking tea and dicussing the possibility of divorce for Sylvia and Christopher Tietjens. Soon Sylvia arrives and immediately launches into a tirade of the reasons she hates her husband and ways in which to torture him. Sylvia receives a telegram from Christopher making tentative plans for him to come to Lobscheid on Tuesday and asking if this is good for her. Sylvia replies it is, but she wants her maid Hullo Central to come with Christopher. Father Consett then suggests for Sylvia to go on a retreat for Catholic women, but both Mrs. Satterthwaite and Sylvia say this is impossible. The ensuing conversation reaches a climax when Sylvia threatens to corrupt her and Christopher’s child which prompts Father Consett to throw holy water on her. Back in England, Macmaster and Tietjens wait for Sylvia to telegram back. They talk of Tietjens’ work – finding figures for the government, who always want the most flattering figures to keep the country from ruin. Tietjens receives Sylvia’s telegram.

This sparks a flashback of a short time earlier when Macmaster met with Christopher’s godfather General Campion. Campion interrogated Macmaster about whether Christopher (and supposed affairs) is the reason for the Tietjens’ marital difficulties. Macmaster is appalled at Campion’s assertion.

The next day Macmaster goes to Mrs. and Mr. Duchemin’s residence, where he immediately falls for Mrs. Duchemin. She invites him and Christopher for Saturday breakfast. He returns to find Christopher with his brother-in-law Sandbach and General Campion. They are discussing Tietjens’ work and Tietjens asserts he would rather resign than have to fake figures. Both Macmaster and Campion think his attitude is silly. From here the men decide to go golfing. At the golf course Tietjens meet two suffragettes – one named Gertie who has been hurt and another who does not introduce herself. A policeman tries to arrest them, but Tietjens helps them get off. Only Sandbach is annoyed with this. Sandbach recognizes the other suffragette as Valentine Wannop, the daughter of Professor Wannop, a woman he believes he has seen Christopher walking with through Pall Mall.

This is why Campion believes that Tietjens is wrecking his marriage, and promptly chastises Tietjens on his sloppy behaviour in terms of his alleged affair with Miss Wannop. Tietjens, though they are false, does not refute the claims, as he believes it is better for people to find him the problem than Sylvia.

The next day Macmaster and Tietjens arrive at the Duchemin’s for breakfast. Miss Wannop and her mother are there, among other guests. Mrs. Wannop monopolizes Macmaster’s attention and this greatly annoys Mrs. Duchemin. During polite conversation between the guests Mr. Duchemin has a fit. He is taken away under the pretence of working on the next day’s sermon. Back with the guests Mrs. Wannop screams when finding she is dining with a Tietjens: Christopher’s father saved Mrs. Wannop’s life. Shortly after they begin talking, Christopher leaves with both Mrs. and Miss Wannop. Back at the Duchemin house, Mrs. Duchemin and Macmaster make plans to meet at dusk by a white gate.

Christopher acquires a horse and buggy to take Mrs. Wannop back to her house, while Christopher and Valentine Wannop decide to walk. They discuss the suffragette cause and Christopher reveals he approves of their methods but not their cause. When they arrive back at the Wannops’, they have lunch with Mrs. Wannop and again discuss women – Sylvia, Valentine, suffragettes and reputations. After lunch Mrs Wannop retires to her room to write and Christopher goes to work in the study until 5pm, when he will drive Valentine to where she must go.

Christopher takes Valentine in horse and cart. During the ride they discuss Ovid and Valentine proves to be the more knowledgeable of the two. Christopher does not know where they’re going but Valentine insists she does. However, as it gets later and the fog starts to settle around them, she reveals that she does not know where she’s going and in actuality wanted them to get lost. While veiled in fog they continue to banter and argue and talk. Christopher wants to kiss her but doesn’t. When they finally they get on a proper road, it is 5 am. The horse is not long on the road when a car, driven by Campion, hits it. The horse is badly hurt and very bloody. It dies a rather gruesome death while Christopher stays with it and Valentine goes back to her house, and the screen goes black.

When the film comes into focus again, the audience sees Sylvia again. Through a series of flashbacks, we are acquainted with the men in her life – Drake, the possible father of her child, Perowne and Christopher, from her point of view. Back in the present, WWI is raging and Sylvia and Christopher are eating dinner. She throws her plate of food at him on whim. Hullo Central cleans it up and they begin to talk of the recent marriage of Mr and Mrs Macmaster (Mrs. Duchemin) and Christopher’s constant loans to Macmaster. Sylvia accuses him of taking both Valentine Wannop and Mrs. Macmaster as mistresses, and throughout their conversation Christopher keeps forgetting names of people and places. Sylvia asks him what happened while he was in the war in France. He cannot remember and misses three weeks of life. Aside from Christopher’s shellshock, they talk of the deaths of two of Christopher’s brothers, his sister and his mother. His father has also died. Sylvia asks if he thinks she killed his mother by coming back to him. Christopher does not answer and Sylvia is overwhelmed by emotions. She is calmed by Christopher allowing their son to be brought up Catholic and confirms that, through extensive research, the child is his, not Drake’s.

Later on, Mark, Christopher’s brother, and Christopher discuss a man called Ruggles who, on the urging of Mark, has been investigating Christopher and had previously come to Mark and their father to tell them Christopher is having an affair with Valentine Wannop. Christopher explains Valentine is not his mistress and the $3000 Mark thought was going to keep Christopher’s mistress decent was really loaned to Macmaster. They discuss their family’s home, Groby, and their father’s will. Christopher says he will never forgive Mark or his father for not outright asking him if he was having an affair. Mark asks him to have compassion for their father, since he shot himself over grief of Christopher’s affair.

Walking back to the war office, they run into Valentine. She pulls Christopher off to speak to him in private and asks if he’s having an affair with Mrs. Macmaster, for Sylvia has told her this. He tells her it is not true and she is so relieved she begins to cry. Christopher goes off to talk to some officers and leaves Mark to comfort Valentine. Mark tells her his father left money in his will for her and her mother. During his conversation with Valentine he comes to believe Valentine is perfect for Christopher. Christopher returns and Mark leaves. Christopher finally asks Valentine if she’ll be his mistress and she says yes.

In a flashback to a week prior Mrs Macmaster essentially ends her friendship with Valentine. She accuses Valentine of having Christopher’s child – something she heard from Sylvia – and thus does not invite her to their Knighthhod Party.

Christopher attends the Knighthood Party and figures that Macmaster has acquired his knighthood for work originally done by Christopher. He leaves the party to see Valentine. Though they had previously planned to sleep together, they don’t, and, instead, have a tearful good-bye, as Valentine shuts the door. Christopher catches a transport lorry to Holborn, ready to go back out to France the next morning.

- Molly Sotham

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Opening Scene

"We are the origins of war," says Eleanor of Aquitane in The Lion in Winter. The first scene of Some Do Not... says essentially the same thing, although in a far more subtle fashion. Christopher and Macmaster's introductory conversation sets the stage for everything that is to come later in the film. They touch upon every subject that is later expanded upon: sex, class, adultery, poetry and literature, business, trust, divorce and war. Macmaster spends extra attention asking Christopher questions about Sylvia - who turns out to be a very important and interesting character. Here, in the comfort of the plush Edawrdian setting these ideas are safe and talked about with ease. The men jump from topic to topic seamlessly; everything of which they speak is obviously an integral part of their everyday lives. Christopher claims he "does not read poetry except Byron" (Ford 16) and later he tells Macmaster there is sure to be a war. These two topics may seem quite polar, and yet they are not so different. Both are important in every his life - the scholarly and the political.

This illustrates that though we may think the First World War would be the most important issue the characters face opposed to adultery, every aspect of life is given fairly equal weight - there are not even any explicit war scenes in Some Do Not...! War is then the amalgamation all of the many different parts of life, but also only one of these various parts. It is trust and mistrust, fidelity and infidelity, sex and divorce, and poetry and business that are the forces which drive our human life on and therefore what drive us to these catastrophic situations like the First World War. However, huge events like war are only facets of human life. So, from the beginning of Some Do Not... we see all the salient aspects of the subsequent film prefigured by Christopher and Macmaster's chat. We also see a Whig and Tory who, along with the rest of us, are the origins of war.

- Molly Sotham

The Lion in Winter. Dir. Anthony Harvey, 1968. DVD. MGM, 2001.

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin Books, 2002.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Tietjans as Dreyfus

- A Newspaper Cartoon suggesting Dreyfus' motives

After the incident at the golf course, when Tietjans assists Valentine in escaping arrest, General Campion has a discussion with Tietjans about his supposedly open and adulterous relationship with Valentine. In this conversation, General Campion refers to Tietjans as “A regular Dreyfus” for appearing in public with the girl he is apparently supporting with his wife’s money.

Dreyfus was a Captain in the French military and was wrongfully convicted of sending military secrets to the German government (Lynn-George, 2006). A man of Jewish religious affiliation, it is alleged that his conviction for treason was born out of deeply rooted anti-Semitism and supported by the belief that Jews were attempting to usurp control of the French educational system. Beyond personal injustice, however, the conflict deeply divided French society and instigated what is known as the Dreyfusard movement (Harris, 2006). This movement was associated with open enquiry into the actions of government and criticism of the French social hierarchy.(Lynn-George, 962-963) The established order, therefore, regarded the Dreyfusards as a threat to their position and livelihood because of their attempt to unsettle traditional power relations. The Dreyfusards rejected the notion that those in authority are beyond criticism and they suggested that Dreyfus' conviction and imprisonment represented the abuse of process that is endemnic of unchecked power.

To General Campion, Tietjans is a comparable to Dreyfus because of his apparent willingness to fly in the face of the established standards of propriety. Gentlemen do not appear in public with their mistresses - they keep them behind closed doors. Therefore, for Tietjans to supposedly do so with Valentine, would make it appear as though he is flaunting the established social order. To Campion it does not matter whether Dreyfus actually committed treason or not, the fact that he and his supporters had the audacity to challenge social norms makes him “worse than guilty” (Ford, 75). This reference also seems to foreshadow the displacement of the English Upper Classes that occurs as a consequence of WWI. While Campion is reflecting on a situation in a foreign country, the consequences the affair had for France mimics the consequences that WWI had for England – a dramatic upheaval of the English hierarchy.

There is also another parallel between Dreyfus and Tietjans that the General is not attuned to. At the time that he is speaking, Dreyfus has been exonerated (Dreyfus was released from exile in 1906) and can no longer said to have committed the actions in question. Similarly, at this point in the novel, Tietjans has neither committed adultery, nor given Valentine any money - let alone his wife’s. Through the association to Dreyfus, Ford thus represents Tietjans as a character unjustly impugned by the social order of England. He has not done what he has been accused of, but the appearance of impropriety makes him “worse than guilty”(75) in the eyes of people like General Campion.

- Taylor Buis

Lynn-George, Michael. “The Crossroads of Truth: Ferdinand de Saussure and the Dreyfus Affair.” MLN. 121 (2006): 961-988.

Harris, Ruth. “Letters to Lucie: Spirituality, Friendship, and Politics During the Dreyfus Affair.” Past and Present. August (2006): 118-138.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ford's Life Experiences Reflected in Some Do Not...

The characters and plot of Parade’s End are introduced in the first book, Some Do
Not…Many of these characters and their beliefs are reflections of Ford Madox Ford’s own living experiences. Some of the characters are either based on acquaintances or friends taken from some point of the author’s life. For example, the character of Christopher Tietjans is actually based on Ford’s friend Arthur Marwood (Gose 445).

According to Ford, Marwood was labeled the Last Tory, a man who “was physically very strong and very enduring. And he was, beneath the surface, extraordinary passionate—with an abiding passion for the sort of truth that makes for intellectual accuracy in the public service” (Gose 445). Marwood was also “a man of infinite benevolence, comprehensions and knowledges” (Gross 445). When hearing these characteristics of Marwood, which are further developed in Ford’s 1933 memoir, It Was the Nightingale, the reader instantly thinks of the novel’s protagonist, Christopher Tietjans, who is introduced on a “railway carriage” talking to his friend MacMaster about the struggles of his marriage (Parade’s End 3). Although it appears that Ford modeled his character after his friend Marwood, there are traits and experiences from Ford’s own life that appear in Tietjans’ character. Ford discusses himself as a “theatrical figure,” a man who acknowledges himself and the effects of his actions on those who surround him. This self-consciousness is shown throughout the novel, as Tietjans stood “rather clumsy and worn out, but completely expressionless. He had looked straight into the reflection of her [Sylvia’s] eyes and then looked away. He moved so that his profile was towards her” (Parade’s End 386). The significance of this passage comes from the stuffed head of the elk which is previously mentioned lingering on the wall, and the riding whip which he holds in his hands. Tietjans marriage to Sylvia is symbolized through the “whip” as he was constantly being ridden by her. Through this description Ford gives Tietjans his “own theatrical sense of the perfect ‘blocking’ of a scene” (Green 21).

Another comparison exists in that Tietjans, a man who worked behind the desk, participated in WWI, a reflection of the novelist, Ford, and his wartime experience where he reached the position of second lieutenant. Like Ford, Tietjans becomes wounded and suffers from weak lungs making him ineligible to participate in further battle, eventually being discharged from additional duties (Gose 446). Both men also feel the pressures in having to act like a gentleman, yet still act on their desires in regards to their relationships with love interests other than their wives. Ford eventually leaves Violent Hunt to be with the much younger Stella Bowen, similar to Tietjans eventually wanting to be with Valentine Wannop.

Ford wanted German citizenship in order to divorce his wife and become the husband of the much older Violet Hunt. In 1913, it appeared obvious that he would not attain citizenship, so Ford returned to England and suspicion of his connections to Germany grew. This portion of his life is evident in the character of Valentine Wannop. She is a woman who is criticized because of her peacekeeping beliefs, which as a result labels her in the public eye as pro-German, in a time where the English despised the Germans, labeling them as the obvious enemy.
Many of the comparisons between the life of Ford and the characters introduced in his first book, Some Do Not…are more distinguished than others. With even a brief biographical sketch of Ford, the reader of Parade’s End can see traces of Ford’s own life clearly flickering through the characters of his novel.

-Brian Barazzuol

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin Books, 2002.

Gose, Jr, Elliott B. “Reality to Romance: A Study of Ford's Parade's End.” College English 17.8 (1956): 445-450

Green, Robert. “The ‘Exploded Traditions’ of Ford Madox Ford.” ELH 48.1 (1981): 217-230.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Characters in Some Do Not...

In Ford Madox Ford’s first book of Parade’s End, titled Some Do Not… there are several characters which are not only introduced, but are the focus of the first book’s plot. The following people are greatly characterized throughout the first book: Christopher Tietjans, Sylvia Tietjans, Vincent MacMaster, Mark Tietjans, Valentine Wannop, Edith Ethel Duchemin and General Lord Edward Campion.

The plot centers on the overly pleasant and considerate Christopher Tietjans, who is considered the last of the Tories. Being raised with the silver spoon, Christopher is the “son of a Yorkshire country nobleman,” maintaining a code of morals based on tradition (5). His marriage to his wife Sylvia, locates Christopher in a position of submission as he tolerates her punishing ways. Christopher eventually has an affair with Valentine Wannop. Even at this stage of his marital problems, he will not divorce his wife, until she decides it is necessary. Knowing that a divorce is the best possible remedy for his problems, Christopher still feels that “No one but a blackguard would ever submit a woman to the ordeal of divorce” (6). Christopher is described as being “twenty-six, but, very big, in a fair untidy, Yorkshire way, he carried more weight than his age warranted” (5). With a desktop job in London which requires Christopher no physical efforts, he surprisingly volunteers to serve his country in the British Military. Soon after being designated to the front line, he is wounded and sent home.

The doll-like appearance of Sylvia Tietjans is one the main factors her husband, Christopher, puts up with her antics. Physically, Sylvia is “immensely tall” with “reddish, very fair hair” and an oval face (28). Knowing that she could go wherever she wanted, Sylvia took advantage of having “all men at her feet” (28). Serving as a trophy wife for Christopher, Sylvia does everything in her power to upset and make his life a living hell. These acts include committing multiple affairs with several men. Sylvia admits throughout the novel that she despises her husband. She dislikes the war and disapproves of the English’s involvement. Although she is physically attracted to Christopher, her main objective is to crush him for being such a pushover in maintaining the code of ethics which his noble heredity taught him.

Vincent MacMaster, a financially strapped Scotsman, who is accepted nonetheless seems to be Christopher’s one and only friend. The consideration of MacMaster as a true friend is somewhat sketchy, as it may appear his friendship with Christopher is based on the money he has borrowed from him. Despite this, Christopher admits “he had a very deep affection—even a gratitude” for MacMaster (5). MacMaster was physically described as:

“smallish; Whig; with a trimmed, pointed black beard, such a smallish man might wear to enhance his already germinated distinction; black hair of a stubborn fibre, drilled down with hard metal brushes; a sharp nose; strong level teeth; a white, butterfly collar of the smoothness of porcelain; a tie confined by a gold ring, steel-blue speckled with black—to match his eyes” (4).

MacMaster eventually becomes financially secure when marrying his former mistress, Edith Ethel Duchemin. She is described as having a “dark complexion,” “pebble blue eyes,” “waved hair” and a “pointed chin” (53). Duchemin becomes a widow after her husband; "a scathological-- afterwards a homicidal--luncatic" dies (191). She than becomes romantically involved and furthermore, marries MacMaster the day after her husbands death. She devotes her life to harassing Christopher and his newly acquired love, Valentine.

Valentine Wannop, a smart and caring young lady becomes the love interest of Christopher Tietjans. Meeting one evening, they randomly chase a criminal in a horse drawn carriage. Getting lost they spend the night together, as their relationship becomes the basis of talk and rumors. Her reputation is also tarnished because of her pacifist beliefs, which many people think is the result of her secretly being a German supporter. She is also highly caught up with the suffragette movement of the time period, which highlights the hatred of women in Edwardian society (Parrinder 14). Even though Valentine realizes the near impossible situation that exists between her and Christopher, she continues to think about him.

Mark Tietjans barely knows his brother Christopher, who is fourteen years younger. Mark acknowledges that his disconnection to Christopher is because he can not stand Sylvia. Mark thinks that his brother should divorce Sylvia, for his new love interest, Valentine.

Although, General Lord Edward Campion is brilliant when it comes to military issues, his judgment of character seems to be incompetent. This is proven as he always praises his godson’s wife, Sylvia, and recommends Christopher to patch up his marital problems with such a breathtaking lady.

Through this brief, yet informative character sketch, the characters of Ford Madox Ford’s Some Do Not… are outlined for readers who wish to engage with supplementary material regarding the novel.


Works Cited

Ford, Ford Madox. Parades End. Penguin: London, 2002.

Parriner, Patrick. “Ford and the Spirit of Edwardian England.” History and
Representation in Ford Madox Ford's Writing
. Ed. Joseph Wiesenfarth. Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2004. 5-18.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ford and Freud

Like most other modernist novels, there is an underlying Freudian theory throughout Ford's work. In fact, the three main characters in Some Do Not could even represent the three agencies of the human personality.

Sylvia as the Id: The Id is described as being "the psychic content related to the primitive instincts of the body, notably sex and aggression..." (Id). Sylvia is a character of the flesh as she has had many affairs with other men. She also acquires the aggresson of the Id through her constant outbursts; she even admits to her family priest of entertaining thoughts of stabbig Christopherin the eye with a fork. As Brian explained in his character sketch: "Although she is physically attracted to Christopher, her main objective is to crush him..." The Id is also known for adhearing to the "pleasure-pain principle." This suggests that "its impulses either seeking immediate fulfillment or settling for a compromising fulfillment" (Id). Like the Id, Sylvia follows this principle as she can be seen as a sexual sadist. Like her relationship with Christopher, Drake and Perowne she knowingly hurts them and takes pleasure in their pain.

Valentine as the Ego: The ego is describes as being the portion of personality that has an idea of self or "I." It is "the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world" (Ego). Valentine best describes the ego because of her constant self evaluation throughout Some Do Not. She falls in love with Christopher and imagines herself with him but, through her self awareness and realization of her views on chastity and propriety, she chooses not to break her own code of conduct. It is important to note, however, that she does in fact think about Christopher and admit to herself that she is in love with him despite the social code of conduct with married men of another class. This then proves her selfhood. Finally, the ego acts and interacts in the social world through perception. This perception has "continuity and consistency to behaviour by providing a personal point of reference which relates the events of the past...with actions of the present and of the future" (Ego). Relating this to the text, Mrs Wannop can be seen as Valentines perception, in which she interacts with the outside world. For the most part, Valentine is self aware and makes her own decision but her mother is the most important person in her life as she grounds Valentine and provides her with a moral compass. This is also seen in A Man Could Stand Up when Valentine is reunited with Christopher and before deciding whether or not to become his mistress, she must consult with her mother first.

Christopher as the Super-Ego: Christopher completes this model of the human personality by representing the Super Ego. The Super Ego is described as being "the ethical component of the personality and provides the moral standards by which the ego operates" (Super Ego). As Brian explains, Christopher is the “son of a Yorkshire country nobleman,” maintaining a code of morals based on tradition (5). He exemplifies Toryism and English propriety and reflects on his social traditions while making any decision. He constanly refers to himself as "a seventeenth century man" -- this being "the only satisfactory age in England." (21).

-Darcy Broatch

"Ego" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007. .

"Id" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007 .

"Super Ego" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007. .

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade's End. London: Penguin, 2002.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ford Madox Ford and The Woman Question

Ford Madox Ford depicts the essence of the English identity in the early twentieth century, and the traumatic events of the First World War, in Parade’s End. His pluralistic and fragmented prose focus, among other things, on the woman question. His characters are overwhelmed by obsolete behavior codes, war, social shifts and by women’s demands. Men and Women, equally, are led into an extensive process of self-discovery. They are lost in a society that has varied perspectives of right and wrong, and introduced to their own compulsive actions and admissions. They are taught to discern between certain degrees of sexual awareness and depravity, and induced to understand their personal decadence.

In Some Do Not, Ford commits his characters to individual battles with sexual identity. The book analyzes the polygamous desires existent in the minds of all men. The General lectures the main character, Tietjens, about the dangers of adulterous relationships. The General believes that men are not saints, and he strongly recommends that, if Tietjens is going to engage in an adulterous relationship, he should “choose a girl” who can be placed in “a tobacco shop,” a girl who he can court “in the back parlour” and not “in the face of the society,” such as he will have to behave with Miss Wannop (74). In this scene, the general explains to Tietjens that their society treats with a certain amount of sympathy the questionable tendencies of men, but that their gentlemanly behavior and their reputation is put into question when trying to satisfy their sexual needs. In the General’s view, if men are not satisfied with their wives, they are allowed to have other women on the side, but only if they are discreet with their endeavors and do not spent the money of their wives on other women. Even though Tietjens did not think about adultery before, on a subconscious level, at least, he is invited to consider it. Tietjens soon resolves that having the love of another woman and engaging in adulterous relationships “were not inherent impossibilities” for him (87). Tietjens and the General symbolize the men’s improved ability of sexual response towards women. Tietjens is a man of principle who, traditionally, does not act to fulfill his sexual impulses; however, he transforms and allows himself more sexual freedom in order to love Valentine. Valentine’s presence triggers the General’s analysis of society, and Tietjens’s journey of transformation and self- discovery. The woman’s presence translates into the male intellect and sexual confidence. Valentine can not be the traditional discreet lover. Her value as a woman does not impel Tietjens to hide his love for her.

Valentine, in contrast to Tietjens, is a strong woman who does not have to be seduced into any particular sexual life. She decides on her own that “the right man for her … will be a married man” (83). Valentine is only concerned with her true love, not with the rules of her society; her interest lies only with the man that will be the “right man” for her. The novel shows that women are in touch with their inner mind, while men do not. Women know exactly what they want, and men have to work to discover it. Tietjens is spiritually elevated through his relationships with women, and so he becomes a man free of the social expectations of his time, a man given a new life. He changes his attitude towards love and chooses to love Valentine, who presents an abysmal psychological threat to him. Valentine is the only character who can compromise his morality, his principles and his aristocratic status quo.

Ford’s prose explores the contemporary signs of male aggression towards women and their fear to them. It develops the extent to which women pose a threat to their lives. When Valentine and Gertie protest for women’s rights in front to the men at the golf course, they are forced to escape away from them. As women, they are not respected, and as suffragettes who break the law, they put themselves at risk. The men do not understand them, nor their ideals, and their boldness poses a threat to men. The men’s first impulse is not only to put them in jail, but also to take advantage of them. Two men with “lurid and obscene” eyes were chasing Gertie, yelling “Strip the bitch naked,” while Tietjens thought “This is an assaulted female” (67). Women of the time were thought to be insignificant, unable to fight for their ideals. Any transgression of the submissive female patterns would be dangerous. In this case, Valentine’s and Gertie’s punishment is not only jail-time, but also an imminent sexual attack. Women were thought only to belong to the private sphere and not the political sphere. Ford clearly exposes this derisive treatment of women through Tietjens’s actions; he was watching the man who was unable to get Gertie and observed that the man’s gaze was as “if the bottom of his assured world, where all men desire to bash women, had fallen out” (67). Ford generalizes men’s negative impulses towards women; they wan to “bash” the women of their “assured world.” In Tietjen’s society is “all men desire” to humiliate and physically harm women. Ford criticizes this attitude by making Tietjens stand against it. Tietjens helps the women escape; he makes the policeman trip over his golf bag when he is eagerly pursuing the women. Tietjens does not care about the consequences of his actions; he only wants to see the women safe. Titjens’ attitude symbolizes the attitude that men should have towards women. Men should respect women enough to help them even if they are at risk of losing their reputation as proper Englishmen.

Women are purposely portrayed as valiant and strong, their dialogue depicts them acting offensively, fearless of confrontations with other people who have other ideas. On the other hand, men are portrayed continuously defending their actions. Valentine, fearless of her actions, tells Tientjens not to “be one of those ignoble triflers who say the vote won’t do women any good” (114). Valentine courageously accuses any men who oppose the women who work hard to get the right to vote of dishonorable conduct. Valentine furthers her feminist ideals through such arguments.

The debate over women’s rights and the expectations of women’s moral behavior help the audience to understand the extent to which the contemporary view of women is transformed into a reclamation of women’s rights.

by Tania Sanchez

Ford, Ford Madox Parade's End.London, England:Penguin Books Ltd., 2002.

Haslam, Sara. Fragmenting Modernism;Ford Madox Ford, the novel and the Great War. Manchester,UK: Manchester University Press, 2002.

Meixneir, John A. Ford Madox Ford Novels. Minneapolis, US: University of Minnesota Press, 1962.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sylvia's Feminism

On the other hand, Sylvia represents the modern woman of the time. She moves in a circle of decadent upper-class women. She is celebrated for her sophistication. She is a fearless ascetic who is not controlled by social norms; however, in contrast to Valentine, she is dangerously controlled by her selfish impulses. Silvia is not concerned at all with her society and its moral or religious beliefs. She is a rebellious woman who is displeased with the standards of her society. She shows that by making her own choices, she is in total control of her life.

The audience sympathizes with Sylvia because she represents all the expectations that women have of life and their relationships with men. Sylvia, like the heroines of many books, has a striking and classy beauty. She has a mysterious and enchanting personality that makes men want more of her – even if it is to their detriment. In contrast, Silvia’s attraction to men is only external; what motivates her to establish a love relationship is purely egotistic and social. She masters disdain when she is with her suitors. Even though she returns to Tietjens after leaving her lover, she does not do it for love; she does it to cause him torment, and, eventually, his ruin. Her anger is triggered by the fact that she is a catholic wife, and so unable to divorce him.

Sylvia is presented as a contradictory character; she represents the female’s repressive power over men. She is a woman who leaves and comes back, who destroys her relationships with men and renews them again and again. As an adulterous woman, Sylvia is not ashamed of her acts, but rather proud of them. In the novel, Sylvia also represents the struggles between the evil, amoral acts and the religious standards of her society. She turns out to be an ugly woman on the inside and a beautiful woman on the outside. Sylvia hates being a traditional, subservient woman. She is bored with tradition because it does not give her any options to exercise the freedom she wants to have. Therefore, Sylvia is forced to look for other men to free herself. Similarly, Ford portrays Sylvia as a character who represents the extreme opposite of the submissive view of feminism. She possesses all the negative male characteristics. She is cold, dominant, self-centered and aggressive. She looks only for social definition and advancement, is only interested in fulfilling herself, and no one else. She is unable to participate in a cooperative argument with males. Sylvia tends to manipulate and control any discussion through the explicit humiliation of the others. She demeans men with her prowess. She is seen to be a cruel, astonishingly attractive temptress.

However, let us not forget that, even though Sylvia is presented in a dark light, she is a kind of heroine in the novel. Her agency serves as a symbol that advocates a change to the classic female identity. Silvia’s agency and decision making expands the horizons of the females of her time.

by Tania Sanchez

Haslam, Sarah. Fragmenting modernism; Ford Madox Ford, the novel and the Great War. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002.

Meixneir, John A. Ford Madox Ford Novels. Minneapolis, US: University of Minnesota Press, 1962.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Valentine's Feminism

Ford introduces two female heroines in the novel – Valentine, a suffragette and a socialist; and Sylvia, a beautiful, classy aristocrat and legal wife to Tietjens. The suffragettes were women who campaigned militantly to be given the right to vote in public elections in the early twentieth century. These women are caught between their social status, their religion, and Victorian sexual morality.

Valentine is portrayed as an avid follower of the women’s movement. She campaigns ardently in support of the right to vote for women. Even though Valentine seems to be a sweet and innocent person, she is also direct and courageous. She tries to help everyone, and demonstrates extreme self-sacrifice, as any woman of the time will do, but she is also an extremely intelligent and self-confident woman who is not afraid to say what she thinks or fight for her ideals. Valentine is a woman who, in opposition to the women of the time, has not been formally educated, but has been encouraged to pursue athletic sports. Therefore, she has a slim, athletic figure. However, she is able to sustain scholarly debates with Tietjens and she demonstrates an almost professional knowledge of classical languages. Even though her mother is a writer and her father was an eminent professor, she is forced into poverty. The death of her father removed her from the social circles to which she was entitled. She is, lamentably, obliged to work as a housemaid for her own mother; therefore, her life circumstances make her seriously consider the prevailing socialist ideals and suffering of women. Paradoxically, Valentine proves to be an emotionally sensitive woman who is able to express what she feels, however, she does it without been overridden by her emotions or her female sensitivity. She appears to be the perfect women, a woman with the perfect amount of strength and sensibility.

Valentine represents the separation from patriarchal ideas; she stands against war, she pursues happiness over all – she is a woman who is extremely courageous and constantly searching for love. She is entirely truthful with herself. She is the perfect woman for Tietjens, a man who is trapped with his principles and his gentleman behavior. Through Valentine, Ford shows that women can live harmoniously with female and male characteristics. She is a proto-feminist who, at the same time, can fulfill the needs of her lover Tietjens. Valentine asserts her individuality through her own argument. She is ready to listen to the male perspective in ordinary and political issues, but she is not afraid to confront the men with her own argument in a peaceful and civilized manner. She cooperates in the argument without compromising herself, or humiliating others. Valentine not only self-sacrifices to help others, but she also uses this virtue to promote and help other people within the feminine system. She is not only interested in her personal advancement, but rather in the civil advancement of all women. She uses all of her energy to help women promote social change. Even though she is defined through self-sacrifice, Valentine uses her energy to achieve her own goals as well. She is a woman whose behavior significantly diverts from the moral standards of the time, but still achieves spiritual advancement.

by Tania Sanchez

Haslam, Sarah. Fragmenting modernism; Ford Madox Ford, the novel and the Great War. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002.

Meixneir, John A. Ford Madox Ford Novels. Minneapolis, US: University of Minnesota Press, 1962.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Feminist Ideals and the Roles of Society

Ford Madox Ford was brought up in a time where women were merely objects of men’s satisfaction; they were to cook, clean and produce the man’s children while the men were the apparent “bread winners”. When Ford states, “That’s been the first evil effects of giving women the vote!” he is clearly illustrating the disgust he felt as a result of women achieving the right to vote. However, I intend to argue that this is merely a result of the society Ford was brought up in. This ideal that Ford illustrates would have been a common one during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Women were not educated in the same way that men were; however, many of them took it upon themselves to ensure that they were. It was a common understanding that women were not as strong, or as intelligent as men. As a result of this, women did not have the same opportunities, the same rights, or the same privileges that men at this time had. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century proved to be a key time for women and the Feminist Movement. Women began to achieve higher status as a result of the events that were taking place, mainly, that of World War One. It can be understood why men like Ford would have “mixed feelings” with respect to what was transpiring.

Men like Ford were used to working for a living and providing for their families while the women were left to tend to the home. As a result of WWI and the fact that millions of men were shipped off, the roles of women drastically changed. Women were given the right to vote, and in many cases, began to work because with their husband’s off fighting in a battle, someone needed to provide for the family. Furthermore, there were limited men to work, so factories and plants needed to hire women in order to continue business. This proved to be great for the women of this time and even after the war, many women continued to work. Furthermore, many of the beliefs that had been falsely achieved began to disappear as women appeared to be much more competent than they were once considered. They could perform many of the same duties that men did and this was a major eye opener for people at this time. Women’s rights and the Feminist Movement continued to prosper and the status of women grew throughout the years to follow.

One can see why men like Ford would have the ideologies that they did. They felt threatened by what was taking place and they liked things the way they were. What was taking place was drastically changing what they were used to and accustomed to. Men at this time enjoyed being the “bread winners” and enjoyed being considered the dominant sex. The reason why we find such ideals so appalling is a result of the society we live in. Men are no longer the dominant sex. Women work for a living and provide for themselves and in many cases, provide for their families. They have many of the same rights that men have and though it is still not quite equal, it continues to grow. World War One proved to play a key role in the development of women’s rights and privileges in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and as a result, many men of this time would have felt the same way that Ford illustrates in his work “Some Do Not”.

Rob Shearar

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Enlightened Promiscuity?

Sex is a topic which runs throughout Some Do Not…. Whether it is infidelity or illegitimacy, there is always sex in some permutation affecting the characters’ lives. However, I found the idea of “enlightened promiscuity” (264) to be the most interesting for many reasons. First, some may think that sexual deviance originated in Studio 54 in the 70s and this is obviously not true. Also, this sort of promiscuity seems to be the norm for women in Some Do Not… and this is quite topical with shows like “Sex and the City” these days. While Valentine prefers chastity opposed to promiscuity, she still concedes “she would have stated herself to advocate an, of course, enlightened promiscuity” (264), had she not been brought up in service with a drunk cook to expel any glorification or tenderness comcerning sex. Valentine is not a character to simply take up a popular cause – or pretend to defend one – as she is against the war and also works hard to the suffragette cause. These two causes seem to be ones she has be thoughtful about before acting. Then why does she decide she would espouse this accord with enlightened promiscuity so easily? Why would Valentine’s views simply be a matter of nurture and luck? I believe this shows how this brand of promiscuity was closely tied with feminism – and indeed, in many ways, it still is – and how accepted it was by certain groups of people in the Edwardian era.

However, while Sylvia seems to be promiscuous in this enlightened sense – she goes after men simply for her own enjoyment and does not care at all what society or especially her family and husband think. She does not seem to care about what the consequences of these actions are either. “Enlightened” has quite positive connotations. It connotes a deep understanding and knowledge and also a great peace that comes with this. However, whilst talking with her mother and Father Consett, Sylvia implies she knows everything – in particular concerning men and her husband – and instead of this knowledge making her want to forgive all as Father Consett believes it would, it makes her exceptionally bored. This shows that this enlightened promiscuity is perhaps not the correct course of action for great happiness and peace.

Of these two women, Valentine, the one first takes up chastity on her own accord and then through perhaps fate has to keep her chaste ways in the end of Some Do Not…, is the woman more at peace while she still has much turmoil she must deal with. Valentine appears more “enlightened” on the whole than Sylvia. This appears to be another way in which Some Do Not… attacks this decadence, as Darcy explains, since Sylvia, while she may find her lifestyle boring, wholly encompasses the danger of decadence and, indeed, succumbs to the downfall later on in Parade’s End. Thus Some Do Not… presents this “enlightened promiscuity” as a euphemism for decadence. And decadence ultimately leads to death and destruction, as Ford Maddox Ford shows.

- Molly Sotham

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin Books, 2002.

Sign Up Sheet for Feild Trip

As you all know, we are privileged to take our class on a feild trip to Ford Madox Ford's house. We will be leaving on Friday April 13 at 12:00 PM where we will arrive at aproximately at 2:00 PM. Lunch will be provided but you need to remember to bring your pajamas as we wil be staying the night. We will leave the following day at 4:30 PM where you will be picked up by your parents. Remember: this is a school field trip so under no circumstances are alcohol and/or drugs permitted. Maintain respect for the late, great author and make me proud! Please sign up before April 1.


Todd Lawrence

Molly Sotham

Darcy Broatch

Taylor Buis

Britney St. Pierre

Brian Barazzoul

Rob Shearar

Tania Sanchez

Friday, March 23, 2007

Toryism in Ford Madox Ford’s “Some Do Not”

I would like to elaborate on Toryism as illustrated in Ford’s “Some Do Not”, and look closer at some of the key examples we discussed in class. Firstly, on page 79, Ford Madox Ford writes, “He accepted with gratitude several of Tietjens’ emendations in the actuarial schedules….And over their port they agreed on two fundamental legislative ideals: every working man to have a minimum of four hundred a year and every beastly manufacture who wanted to pay less to be hung. That, it appeared, was the High Toryism of Tietjens as it was the extreme Radicalism of the extreme Left to Left” (Ford 79). Toryism as we understand it was in favor of local agrarianism, and landed aristocracy; it ensured economic stability for the working class. By producing a legislative ideal that paid working class people a minimum of four hundred a year, though it seems quite insignificant, illustrates this idea of local agrarianism. It ensures that the working class people are benefiting from their labor.

Secondly, on page 163, Ford writes, “Our Minister for Water-closets won’t keep two and a half million men in any base in order to get the votes of their of their women at a General Election – that’s been the first evil effects of giving women the vote!” (163). Ford is illustrating the disgust he had with England’s involvement in the war which is another clear illustration of Toryism within Ford’s work. He is claiming that the Minister had ulterior motives within England’s involvement in the war. He is stating that by shipping two and a half million men off to war, the Minister was “forced” to give women the vote; this was of course self-beneficial as the women who received the vote would be easily persuaded to side with the current Minister as he was the one who had given them this right. Tories were opposed to involvement in international affairs. As a result, Ford exemplifies his opinion of giving women the vote. Unfortunately, it is quite biased as he feels that it is a result of something that he already disagrees with (i.e.: England’s involvement in international affairs). On the other hand, this quote demonstrates the effect the war had on feminism at this time. The roles of women drastically changed as a result of WWI, and one key element that proved to benefit women quite substantially was the fact that they achieved the vote.

This is only two of the many examples throughout Book one of Parade’s End, “Some Do Not”. I utilized these two examples because I felt that they provided the best understanding of Toryism as we have studied it this semester. As a result of the examples provided, it is fair to come to the conclusion that Ford was in fact a true Tory. He believed in local agrarianism and was opposed to involvement in international affairs. In consideration to this, it almost seems that his morals are quite twisted. Firstly, he believes that working class people should benefit from their labor (i.e. the upper class shouldn’t benefit from the labor of the working class). However, he also illustrates his disgust with women achieving the vote. This is clearly a result of the society Ford lived in at the time. This is another subject that I will discuss further in a later post.

Rob Shearar

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Last of the Tories

As explained in the previous blog entry, Ford discusses the issue of politics throughout the novel by presenting Tietjens as the epitome of Toryism. One aspect of Toryism is the conservation of old practices and the prevention against new technology and industrialization. Although Tietjens stands for these ideals, Parade’s End exemplifies the deterioration of Toryism in England right before the First World War. In Some Do Not, this deterioration of Tory ideals is illustrated when General Campion injures Valentine’s horse with his limousine.
"What the devil was the hissing? A small, closed car with crumpled mudguards, noiseless nearly, gleaming black…God curse it, it passed them, stopped ten yards down…the horse rearing back; mad! Clean mad…something like a scarlet and white cockatoo, fluttering out of the small car door…a general. In full tog. White feathers! Ninety medals! Scarlet coat! Black trousers with red stripe. Spurs too, by God!" (140-1)
The horse represents old practices idealized by Tietjens as a Tory and the fact that it is injured by a limousine shows how new technology, which is idealized by the military (symbolized by General Campion), is slaughtering these old values. In “The Impact of the First World War on Private Lives,” Vita Fortunati explains that “General Campion’s limousine lames a horse in an incident that symbolises the false progress of a civilization that constructs insidious weapons. Society has become the place where horrors, abuse and senseless violence reign” (61-2). Ford continues this idea of old values versus new ones in No More Parades when Tietjens explains that “…it was partly the simple, pathetic illusion of the day that great things could only be done by new inventions. You extinguished the Horse, invented something very simple and became God!” (496). Ford’s use of illustrating old values versus new values not only serves to further portray Tietjens as a Tory but also sheds light on his own ideas about the destructive power of new technology in the war and the increased fatalities that it caused.

-Darcy Broatch

Ford, Ford Madox. Parades End. Penguin: London, 2002.

Fortunati, Vita. "The Impact of the First World War on Private Lives: A Comparison of European and American Writers (Ford, Hemingway and Remarque)" History and Representation in Ford Madox Ford's Writing. Ed. Joseph Wiesenfarth. Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2004. 61-2.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Understanding Politics in Parade's End

This article discusses the politics of nostalgia in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End. Gasiorek reviews the four sections of Parade's End, suggesting that Ford's novel questions the nature of tradition and its relevence to modern English society. Ford's text is very ambivalent in that it criticizes both pre and post war England. This confusion is seen through the character of Tietjens. Readers struggle with this character, as they are constantly trying to figure out Ford's own political views and his attitude towards Tietjens. Gasiorek sees that there are two different readings of the text: the first suggests that through Tietjen, Ford displays a critique of England (its values, feudalism ect). The other reading, Gasiorek argues, seperates Tietjens from Ford; however, maintains the same idea. In other words, Ford may be cricizing England but is calling for reform not complete absolution from such values.
Gasiorek suggests that neither of these readings are accurate, and that they fail to recognize that feudalism and Toryism are under investigation in the text. He suggests that many readers and critics place their own values on the text which is why such readings have arisen.
In the end, he suggests that Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End uses nostalgia to allow the reader to identify with Tietjens indictment. He states that "on one hand, it offers a critique of Tietjen's Toryism...and showing it to be impotent and anarchronistic in the modern world, but on the other hand, it reveals a genuine, heartfelt sympathy for Tietjen's political views.

Gasiorek, Andrzej. "The Politics of Cultural Nostalgia: History and Tradition in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End." Literature and History. 11(2). 2002 Autumn. pp 52-77

-Heather Blondé

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Divorce..where did it come from?

The topic of divorce enters Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End through Christopher and Sylvia Tjetjans. Divorce was uncommon before World War II. The only basis for divorce before this time was adultry. The Church which held much power over the state, regarded marriage as a sacrament. This made it impossible to get a divorce without recourse to the Pope, who rarely if ever granted a divorce decree. The rules behind a null marriage were very strange. For example, Roger Donnington's marrige was nullified because he had sexual intercourse with a third cousin of his future wife. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century the confusion continued. The ecclesiastical courts could not grant a divorce as it was still against their beliefs. If a couple wanted a divorce they had to petition to the parliment by means of a private bill. Couples could now divorce on certain terms:adultry, cruelty, or unnatural offences. Nullification was granted on other terms: consanguinity or affinity, mental incapacity, impotence, force error impuberty (under age) or a prior existing marriage.
Some American states enacted divorce laws during the 1780s and 1790s. However, some states were more liberal than others. For example, Conneticut was seen as the most liberal. In 1849 the courts were given the responsibility of marriage and divorce and the grounds by which one could divorce were slowly changing.
Through the nineteenth century, divorce laws became more and more liberal and the grounds for divorce grew. By 1900, there were four recognized elements for divorce: 1)fault-based grounds 2)one pary's guilt 3) the continuation of gender-based marital responsibilities after divorce 4)linkage of financial awards to finding of fault.
Divorce became more and more available to American and Canadian citizens. This is an important aspect of Ford Maddox Ford's novel in that it contextualizes Christopher and Sylvia's relationship. It was a newer development during Ford's time and readers are shown this idea throughout Some Do Not.

"you want to know why I hate my husband. I'll tell you; it's because of his simple and sheer immorality" (Ford, 39)

After stating this, Sylvia's parents suggest she go off to a convent. They do not suggest divorce as it was still a new practice that was looked down on many. I think that it is important to see recognize the establishment of divorce in order to understand why Ford's characters do not just go out and get a divorce right away.

-Heather Blondé

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin Books, 2002.

Simmons , Charlene. "State Grounds for Divorce" California Research Bureau. pp 2-14

Monday, March 19, 2007

From Decadence to Death

As seen in the film, Parades End is filled with long sweeping scenes depicting the opulence of Edwardian England. This extravagance is particularly taken from Some Do Not, which takes place at this time in history. Recall the opening scene of the film where Tietjens and Macmaster are traveling in a railway carriage in pre-war England. This is taken right from the very beginning of the novel, where Ford sets his main characters in this era.
The two young men…sat in the perfectly appointed railway carriage.
The leather straps to the windows were of virgin newness; the mirrors
beneath the new luggage racks immaculate as if they had reflected
very little; the bulging upholstery in its luxuriant, regulated curves was
scarlet and yellow in an intricate, minute dragon pattern…. (3).
The railway carriage thus embodies Edwardian England. Its “bulging upholstery in its luxuriant, regulated curves” represents the “overstuffedness” of the time, while the “intricate, minute dragon pattern” represents the foreign decadence that took over England during this time.

While Ford introduces this era in his novel, he expresses the how shallow and morally depraved it is. In the opening scene he notes that “the mirrors beneath the new luggage racks [were] immaculate as if they had reflected nothing” (3). During his explanation of this decadence, he interjects his own ideas that this era is so lacking in substance that even the mirrors could not reflect anything. In the introduction to the novel, Max Saunders notes that the era before the war was a “descent into madness” (12) and that some “repressed Edwardian idylls figure only to be plunged into blood and darkness” (10). This Edwardian period is the catalyst that sent these figures into blood and darkness, which can be seen as the First World War.

Ford continues to represent Edwardian decadence throughout the first novel; he switches his focus from English decadence to German decadence. The scene at Lobscheid shows Sylvia Tietjens on vacation with her mother and her priest. However, it is important to note that her decadent lifestyle was what sent her to Lobscheid as she needed a place to hide her mother to cover her story while she had an affair. The resort itself is extremely decadent, which had “large verandahs and several square farmhouses, white with grey beams, painted in the gables with bouquets of blue and yellow flowers or with scarlet huntsman shooting at purple stags” (23). The difference between English decadence and German decadence is expressed in this chapter, as Ford describes that German decadence is focused around blood and death. Not only are there pictures of huntsman shooting stags, but Sylvia’s room embodies this violent decadence.
The walls of the large room were completely covered with pictures
of animals in death agonies: capercailzies giving up the ghost with
gouts of scarlet blood on the snow; deer dying with their heads back
and eyes glazing, gouts of red blood on their necks; foxes dying with
scarlet blood on green grass. (26).
Ford uses imagery of this violence to show the danger of decadence in Edwardian England. Sylvia is associated with this violence and as we see in The Last Post, she literally and figuratively destroys the house of Groby, which represents traditional and aristocratic England. Also, as this imagery is set at Lobscheid, Germany is directly associated with this violence, which Ford uses to foreshadow the First World War.

-Darcy Broatch

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin, 2002.

Saunders, Max. “Introduction” Parade’s End. London: Penguin, 2002. 7-17.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Groby in Some Do Not...

The Groby Estate is first introduced when it is stated that “tobacco smoke had never been known inside Groby Hall” (7). To avoid smoking in Groby, Mr. Tietjans would have his people fill twelve pipes and strategically place them “in rose bushes down the drive” (7). He would then smoke them, while doing his daily chores around Groby. As the smoke drifts, Tietjans felt “Groby and the neighbourhood were unsafe,” because of the immoral actions of his neighbours (11).

Tietjans was often identified by being “a Tietjans of Groby,” but “was that going to be enough to live on for ever?” (49). One point of the novel states “the most brilliant man in England, of the best stock too [was] Tietjans of Groby…” (103). This title did not impress everyone, as “Sandbach hated Tietjans for being a Tietjans of Groby” (64). However, Christopher Tietjans was not going to inherit the estate, as his older brother Mark was “head of the family, heir to Groby” (127).

After hearing so much about Groby, Christopher finally describes his home as a sanctuary of family history, being built by his “great-great-grandfather” (143). In front of the estate, it is described to have “an avenue that turned into the road at right angles” (143). When building the house issues such as privacy and invisibility became focuses of its construction, as the Tietjans “didn’t want the house visible by vulgar people on the road” (143). This barrier of privacy creates a separation of class between the Tietjans of Groby, and the common folk within the surrounding neighbourhoods. By not having children with his wife before she died, Mark leaves the only possible heir to Groby, as Christopher’s son, who may not actually even be his biological heir (143).

Christopher lives in Groby, as Mark asked him and his wife Sylvia “to come and keep house for him” after his wife had passed away (210). The traditional forms of Groby become questioned when Christopher tells Mark, his son will be raised as a “papist,” so he will “have to stomach a Papist coming into Groby” (219). Christopher tries to justify his change on tradition by saying “it won’t hurt a Papist boy to have a father with dishonoured cheques as much as it would a Protestant. They’re not quite English” (219).

-Brian Barazzuol

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade’s End. London: Penguin Books, 2002.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lost in Translation...

As modern readers, we sometimes get lost in translation. We come from a completely different society and may not be aware of some allusions and grammatics which were commonly known in the past. In Ford Madox Ford's Some Do Not.. readers are often confused by grammatical and contextual problems. For example why some letters are captalized and others are not. It is important to recognize these problems which are often lost in translation. Ford Madox Ford was writing in a completely different society and time and it is imporant, when studying his novel, to find these small changes and determine what they would mean during Ford Madox Ford's life. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers related to translation:
Questions asked by Translators, with responses

Question 1: Mr Tietjens had suggested that, and after an interval had asked:

["You will permit her to divorce you?"]

I find the "that" very strange. If it’s the demonstrative pronoun, it should refer to the previous utterance, but it doesn’t seem to do so. If it’s the subordinating conjunction, it should introduce a following subordinate clause, but it doesn’t seem to be doing so either. How do you interpret the sentence?

Answer: if it’s correct, it could mean that the way Mr T asked his question had already implied that C would be a blackguard if he did divorce S. But the US first has ‘digested’ instead of ‘suggested’!

Question 2:

Old General ffolliott:

Why a small first letter? Could it imply that he is foolish?

Answer: No. My 'Dictionary of English Surnames' (Don't ask: but I knew it would come in useful one day) says its medieval use of 'ff' for 'F'. We have a Patrick ffrench at King's, so it's all true.

Question 3:

Is he synonymous with General Lord Edward Campion?

Answer: No

Question 4:

Why is the boy referred to as Tommie when his name is Michael/Mark?

Answer: This is generally thought to be a mistake that crept in during the years of composition. Though it's still common for the upper-class Brits to get called names in the family that aren't their given names, so it might be that.

Question 5:

As between the heroes ... choosing.

I don’t understand the meaning of the "As". Could you explain it?

Answer: It’s just an idiom that doesn’t really add much – perhaps something like ‘As far as . . . was concerned’

Question 6:

"a lady who should contribute to..."

Is the ‘should’ a ‘should’= ‘ought to’ or does it correspond to a modern ‘would’?

Answer: I'd go for the 'would' here. I think it's playing on the 'will' in the lines before.

Question 7:

And M., who would have sentimentalised the plump girl to the tune of Highland Mary, ...

Does this mean that he idealised the girl


Question 8:

"it’s a back door way out of it. She’s cheated me."

Why is me stressed?

Answer: Pride, I think: ME of all people, who am supposed to be shrewd

Question 9: Is it the fact that the wedding is to take place in Paris that is said to be a back door way out of it? Out of what? I found that ‘a back door way’ is ‘unworthily secret, clandestine’. Could it also mean ‘paltry/cowardly/dishonest?

Answer:I think he means S's trick to use T's honour to get him to marry her even though the child may not be his.

Question 10:

"She gives me the benefit of the agreeable doubt."

I know the idiom "give somebody the benefit of the doubt", but find it difficult to know how to render the broken idiom. What I have in mind is something like ‘she chooses to let me believe it’s mine’. How do you read it?

Answer:Complex irony here: the doubt is maddening to T, but the only thing for him to hold onto is the hope the child is his, which is the only ‘agreeable’ possibility. I think the point is that Sylvia is using the idea to torment T, but won’t go as far as saying the child isn’t his (and anyway she may not be sure). So she’s put him into a very disagreeable doubt!

Qusetion 11:

"Leave the furniture out!"

Does ‘the furniture’ refer to the picture (misunderstood by MacMaster?)or something else? If so, what?

Answer: This is a very cryptic moment, I think. You might be right about the ‘picture’, but it doesn’t quite cohere. I think it’s supposed to convey the lightning movement of T’s mind. He might be saying that the PRB furniture is fine, but their morality not. I think Ford had an affection for William Morris’ ‘Firm’, and certainly had some Pre-Raph. Relics of his own.

Question 12:

"some Mrs W. Three Stars"

Does this refer to some well-known rich personage?/Does it have a military connotation?/Does it refer to some mediocre person?/ or...???

Answer: The stars are asterisks concealing the person’s identity, as in ‘Mrs W***’ – it’s a slightly comical, or at least ironic way of putting it.

Question 13:

"in placket-holes"

Does it mean ‘under skirts’ or the older "in vaginas"?

Answer: The latter by way of the former

Question 14:

"She walks..."

Is this a travesty of some (Byron?) poem I should know, or ...? Help!

Answer: It’s a poem by Alice Meynell, ‘The Shepherdess’ – not at all well-known now, though I think F knew her personally

Question 15:

"The gods..."

When I first read these lines, I thought M. quoted them to underline the difference between CT and himself, saying that some get to Heaven via the main entrance, some maybe not at all or through a side door or by the backstairs. I also thought they were by D.G. Rossetti or came from some well-known work, but I see from A Dual Life, part II, that they come from Ford’s poem Mister Bosphorus and that you take it that they are there to, at an early stage, establish CT as a heroic figure (after he has successfully got his kit bag, and himself, on to the train). Could you comment some more on this?

Answer:I think in Macmaster’s use of the lines, the portals are social – the entrance to high society. The porter recognizes T as a gentleman, so he’s allowed to do this kind of thing. Ford keeps playing with the idea in the poem, and it gets considerably eroticised too.

-Heather Blondé

Max Saunders, "Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End: Annotating, Editing, and Translating."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just Another Tommie

As an interesting aside to Heather’s comments in her Lost in Translation post, the name “Tommie” in Some Do Not is also used to refer to an average or generalized male. When Tietjans is explaining why there aren’t any war babies to speak of, he suggests to Mrs. Wannop that any decent “Tommie” wouldn’t leave a girl in such a predicament before going off to die – that even the average soldier would have this amount of decency. In this sense, Tietjans is revealing a set of socially indoctrinated beliefs that even the average person is not selfish enough to offend. The comments thus represent another instance in which Ford is developing Tietjans sense of morality.

While the word spelt “T-O-M-M-I-E” does not appear in the OED, the same word with a different spelling does. The term “Tommy” is used to refer to a simple-minded or unintelligent person. Therefore, when reading into Ford’s usage of the term “Tommie”, it can be inferred that Ford is making a statement about Tietjan’s belief in his own superiority. By suggesting that even the average Tommie wouldn’t think of getting his mistress pregnant before going back to war, he is implying that he is either better or more circumspect than the average person. Interestingly, however, Tietjans finds himself in a situation where his principles are called into question.

The use of this term is later used to complicate Tietjans sense of propriety. When Tietjans is contemplating an affair with Valentine, Ford writes, “In ten years he had learnt that a Tommie who’s a decent fellow ….”(281) Tietjans is about to leave for war and therefore, having sex with Valentine would have the potential to leave her pregnant with no man to support her – the very situation that he feels any decent man would avoid. While it would seem hypocritical for Tietjans to even contemplate something he himself condemns in others, it is suggestive of the larger contradictions that exist for a man with Tietjan’s set of values. For the beliefs that he has come to cultivate stand in stark contrast to the fulfillment of his most basic desires. To deny his desire for Valentine would be to deny himself the intimacy that is absent in his life, but to give it ascent would be to induce guilt and to expose Valentine to an undue risk. Thus Ford may be suggesting that Tietjans is an archetype of moral beliefs. While his principles are noble, they are incompatible with the world that he lives in. In consequence he is placed in a situation of perpetual inner turmoil.

Although Tietjan’s does not in fact become an indecent Tommie – he and Valentine do not sleep together before he leaves – it is interesting to note which side wins out. Tietjans succumbs to his desire for Valentine and he asks her to become his mistress. Even though the consummation of this relationship is prevented by her drunken brother, the fact that he makes this resolution is significant. He chooses needs over propriety. Therefore, while people like Tietjans can construct rules and principles to compass their lives, they are still subject to the most elementary human needs.

- Taylor Buis

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Foil or Foe?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet, is frequently referenced and alluded to in Some Do Not. Although Ford grew up within Pre-Raphaelite circles, as his grandfather, Ford Madox Brown was an intimate friend of the Rossetti family; Gabriel Rossetti finds himself the object of much criticism from Tietjans. However, whether this criticism is truly a rejection of Rossetti’s subject matter or suggestive of the larger contradictions that exist within Tietjan’s morality is ambiguous.

Gabriel Rossetti happens to be the subject of Macmaster’s monograph and the two share many parallels. Rossetti was known for his erotic and highly idealized portrayals of women, while Macmaster is prone to sentimentalize “girls of the most giggling, behind-the-counter order, big-bosomed, scarlet cheeked.”(13) In fact, the narrator’s criticism of Macmaster foreshadows his relationship with Mrs. Duchemin. Macmaster canonizes Mrs. Duchemin almost instantaneously, a characterization that certainly does not mesh with the power-hungry and vengeful woman she reveals herself to be. However, by suggesting that Macmaster’s judgment of Mrs. Duchemin is questionable, it seems as though Ford is also questioning the efficacy of Rossetti’s portrayal of women. If Macmaster is Rossetti’s manifestation and supporter in the novel, his elevation of a flawed woman to the status of sainthood seems to suggest a similar criticism of Rossetti. Rossetti in fact, used both his wife(the model for the famous painting Beata Beatrix pictured top left) and his mistress (who also happened to be the wife of his business partner) as models for many of his paintings. Therefore, by using women he knew as the basis for representations of the ideal of feminine beauty, it seems as though Rossetti exaggerating these woman’s qualities.

Tietjans also explicitly suggests that Macmaster has fallen into the same trap as Rossetti. Ford writes, “you can write it on his card that a young man tacked on to a paulo-post pre-Raphaelite prostitute.”(105) As Dr. Ogden discussed in class, the phrase “paulo-post pre-Raphaelite” is a play on the very name pre-Raphaelite and a parody of the pre-Raphaelites self-appointment as representatives of a certain period of history. However, the phrase also makes an allusion to one of Rossetti’s more famous poems, “Jenny”. The poem itself is a young man’s evaluation of prostitution and offers a very sympathetic view of the women engaged in the proffession. In this sense, Tietjans implies that Mrs. Duchemin is a pre-Raphaelite prostitute – a woman undeserving of Macmaster’s exaggerated praise.

Another point on which Tietjans and Rossetti differ is in their standards of propriety. Rossetti was severely criticized in his day for being overly erotic and sexually suggestive in his content. Many of Rossetti’s poems imply lovemaking and the poem referenced in Some Do Not suggests surrender to adultery:

“Lest thy sad eyes meeting mine,
Tempt my soul away!” (16)

Tietjans, on the other hand, “stand[s] for monogamy and chastity. And for no talking about it.”(18) In this sense, Tietjan’s country gentleman morality stands in stark contrast to Rossetti’s pre-Raphaelite ideas. Tietjans believes that sexuality is not a topic that should be openly discussed and, therefore, criticizes Rossetti’s work as a mere justification for the seduction of common-place women.

Nevertheless, Tietjans reproach of Rossetti is also somewhat inconsistent with Tietjan’s views. Although Tietjans rarely displays emotion, he is at heart a sentimentalist. He idealizes both the English countryside, as well as Valentine’s altruism in working as a domestic. Therefore, the image he portrays is incongruous with his deeper feeling and his criticism may amount to a projection of his own undesired qualities.

In fact, Tietjan's feelings toward Rossetti are further complicated when he is debating whether or not to commit adultery with Valentine. A line from one of Rossetti's poems is one of the voices debating his internal dillemma: "Since when we stand side by side, only hands may meet." In this sense, the lines represent the sentamentalization of adulterous desire. While this conflicts with Tietjans ideas about monogamy and chastity, it seems as though the subject matter of Rossetti's work touches him in the deeper recesses of his conciousness. He might not detest Rossetti an artist, but the light that Rossetti sheds on his own repressed feelings.

- Taylor Buis

Passage From Rossetti's Jenny:

So pure,--so fall'n! How dare to think
Of the first common kindred link?
Yet, Jenny, till the world shall burn
It seems that all things take their turn;
And who shall say but this fair tree
May need, in changes that may be,
Your children's children's charity?
Scorned then, no doubt, as you are scorn'd!
Shall no man hold his pride forewarn'd
Till in the end, the Day of Days,
At Judgment, one of his own race,
As frail and lost as you, shall rise,--
His daughter, with his mother's eyes?

Kathy Alexis Psomiades "Rossetti, Dante Gabriel" The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. David Scott Kastan. Oxford University Press 2005. Simon Fraser University. 16March2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Final Quiz

Here is the final quiz everyone. I hope you do well. Can you find the mistake in the quiz? Let's see how you do. I look forward to seeing your final marks and reviewing your comments. Don't forget to fill out your form for the field trip. If you are not coming on the field trip, I hope you have a wonderful summer.

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