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.

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