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Edgar Huntly

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Reinier Macatangay

on 28 September 2012

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Transcript of Edgar Huntly

Charles Brockden Brown Edgar Huntly, Or, Memoirs of a Sleepwalker -credited with developing the American gothic novel More information on Charles... -one of seven children From University of Notre Dame "OpenCourseWare" -relationship with a woman named Henrietta G. -she left him due to religious differences and indecision on his career -later on married Elizabeth G. in 1800 -they had 4 children -always in poor health, died at age 39 What elements of Edgar Huntly
make it a gothic novel? Chapter 1 "I found that while lying in bed she had received a blow upon the side, which was still productive of acute pain: she was unable to rise or walk, and it was plain that one- or more of her ribs had been fractured by the blow" (7). -girl is severely injured? -a band of 10 to 12 people arrive -one of the men is the girl's father -the Indians are blamed for the attack -the narrator faints -wakes up, finds slain Indians -"My eye was now caught by movements
which appeared like those of a beast" (20) Chapter 1 continued... -another human -an Indian? "I left the savage where he lay, but made prize of his tomahawk: I had left my own in the cavern, and this weapon added little to my burden" (30). Who is Queen Mab? -old Indian woman -originally belonged to the tribes of Delaware or Lennilennapee -"The chief employment of this woman...was to talk. Though in solitude, her tongue was never at rest but when she was asleep; but her conversation was merely addressed to her dogs" (43). -he's on a journey of some kind Chapter 3 -he wants to know the condition of his family -he must scale a hill -later on...he hears people...he is detected -"Yet I only emerged from the gulf to encounter new
perils: scarcely had' I raised my head above the surface, and inhaled the vital breath, when twenty shots were aimed at me from the precipice above" (85). -avoided bullets by hiding in the water What group is chasing him? -escapes danger, but is convinced he will die Chapter 4 -headed towards uncle's dwelling -walks into another place before then, contemplates disturbing the tenants for some hospitality -he awakens a drunken man instead and chooses not to encounter him -sounds of crying infant, mother telling the infant to be quiet -dwelling of the Selbys -he decides this is no place for him to rest -comes across slain girl in meadow, proof that Indians came -comes across a dead Indian as well, takes his musket -questions someone about the Indians Chapter 5 "some alarm had indeed been spread about the Indians, and that parties from Solebury and Chetasco were out in pursuit of them-that many persons had been killed by them, and that one house in Solebury had been rifled and burned on the night before the last" (115). -he enters a mansion? he wants to talk to a stranger -he lost some important papers? -"the loss of these papers had excited transports of grief; and yet to have lost them thus, was perhaps the sole expedient by which their final preservation could be made possible: had they remained in my cabinet, they could not have escaped the destiny which overtook the house and its furniture" (132). ??? Brown creates the Gothic feel of the novel in order to create suspense.
He does this through scenery and setting, mysterious characters, hidden secrets, and so forth.
For example, the cave, which is a key element of the novel, is described as being
completely dark.

Not only that, but there are various paths within the cave that one can take, making the cave mysterious as well. Another example is the character Arthur Wiatte. His motives are to destroy and tear down. According to Wikipedia... (My obligatory cat picture) -Sarsefield tells him that his uncle is dead, sisters are alive Chapters 6-9 For the rest of the story, I was lost (or sleepy) According to Wikipedia... Questions of Morality -"In Clithero's mind, he reasons that Mrs. Lorimer would be better off dead then learning about the death of her brother, especially because she herself said that she could not live with the knowledge of his death. Clithero therefore thinks that what he is doing is an act of mercy instead of murder." Is Clithero right to think this way? -"Huntly mourns the fact that he had to take human life, however, later in the book he learns that one of the Indians he had slain might have been responsible for killing Waldegrave, and this knowledge comforts his conscience." Is Huntly right to feel comforted based on the possibility one of the Indians might have killed Waldegrave? -Is there a tension between individualism and community in Edgar Huntly? Why is that? More discussion questions... from Wikipedia again... Other themes... Sleepwalking -Clithero is sleepwalking near the Elm tree when Huntly first sees him -Huntly follows a sleepwalking Clithero into a cave -Huntly enters the bottom of the cave because he was sleepwalking -Waldegrave's papers disappear because Huntly loses them while sleepwalking Why does Brown use sleepwalking so much in his story? What is he trying to add to Edgar Huntly through sleepwalking? -the main part of Edgar Huntly is just one big letter The Use of Letters -then comes the smaller letters at the end -both Edgar Huntly and Reuben and Rachel make use of letters I'm stealing from Blackboard since
there is probably still time left Laura Does Clithero resemble Macbeth? “I was not embarrassed by the choice of expedients, for trammeling up the visible consequences and for eluding suspicion” (61) from Edgar Huntly... from Macbeth... “If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well/It were done quickly: if the assassination/Could trammel up the consequence, and catch/With his surcease success; that but this blow/Might be the be-all and the end-all here” (Macbeth I.vi.1-4) -the use of the word "trammel" -definition of trammel: "Deprive of freedom of action." Chris Is Edgar Huntly an illogical character? -he disorientedly wakes up in a pit on the point of starvation, according to Edgar, and the ingenuous idea of suicide seduces Edgar to near action, then a brilliant idea manifests--instead of committing suicide, he should first attempt to escape the pit.

Amidst his scaling of the pit, he kills a panther which he uses as food to abate his hunger. After he convulses on the ground for a period of time due to the health effects of eating a bloody, uncooked animal, he feels himself enlivened and concludes that it was wise to eat the bloody animal. The illogic of Edgar Huntly exhibits a common aspect of Gothic literature, the elevation of passion and emotion over reason. The End What is the context behind the Elm Tree? The meaning of the Elm Tree "The site of Waldegrave's murder, a locale that returns throughout the first half of the narrative, is the giant Elm that is one of the leitmotif's of the plot" (xx). What is a leitmotif? "This Elm is the place where Edgar's friend Waldegrave was
mysteriously murdered, the place that first joins him to
Clithero, and the obsessive point around which
the novel's sleepingwalking proliferates" (xx) "Scholars beginning with Daniel Edwards Kennedy in the 1930s that this Elm, with its centrality to sleepwalking
and frontier violence, condenses into a single image the long
history of betrayal and violence in eighteenth-century Quaker-Indian relations" (xx). Treaty Elm Friendship treaty...possibly fake? http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/WalkingPurchase.html After William Penn's death... Back to the Elm Tree... -Promise of friendship... -Instead a symbol of false hope, betrayal, and suffering "This Elm is the place where Edgar's friend Waldegrave was
mysteriously murdered, the place that first joins him to
Clithero, and the obsessive point around which
the novel's sleepingwalking proliferates" (xx) Back to the earlier quotation... Nothing good happens around the Elm Tree... Elm tree is a center of violence, distrust -similar to how the Treaty Elm is a sign of violence and distrust to Lenape Indians that were betrayed by William Penn's sons What do scholarly authors think? Author(s): Sydney J. Krause Penn's Elm and Edgar Huntly: Dark "Instruction to the Heart" "Given a capital "E" and well neigh personified, mentioned by name eight times in the first two chapters of the book (more than any other named object or person, given a commanding presence in the center of the road, to which traffic must defer, and given the narrative centrality as well, it is the crucial
landmark from which action springs and nexus of the collision and divergence of major plot lines (murder, guilt, pursuit, sleepwalking, and Indian warfare) -- this great Elm functions as a psychological magnet on Huntly, fateful as much as "fatal" (464). "For Edgar Huntly to learn...than an Indian savage killed Waldegrace and that there was no large unexamined complex of motives behind the deed, means...that everything connected to that mystery has been...erased.

The elm tree ceases to act as a force field, collecting around its shadowy base all the unassimilated horror and guilt of a fathomless crime" (143). Charting the Hidden Landscape: "Edgar Huntly" George Toles "The few phenomena we are permitted to view distinctly, such as the elm tree under which Waldegrave's body is discovered, are those that most vividly mirror his obsessions, and serve to raise his illness to the fever point" (134). "Huntly's searches in the past were principally his 'midnight wanderings and reveries beneath the shade of that fatal Elm' (33), so that his recollection of the past virtually propels him into another reviving and reenacting...the criminal, Huntly believes, would be prompted to return to 'the scene of his offenses' "(269). "Edgar Huntly" and the Coherence of the Self Beverly R. Voloshin "But, most telling of all, while West records the moment of Penn's original purchase of land from the Indians, the tall buildings of the colony, and of what will be Philadelphia, already rise in the painting's background" (560). Framing the Fabric: A Luddite Reading of Penn's Treaty with the Indians From... What other meanings could the Elm Tree have, if any? Discussion Questions... William Penn had high hopes for peaceful relations.
The Indians (supposedly) liked him. The relations change when Penn dies and the Walking Purchase is made... Chapter 20... She talks...but her conversations are limited to dogs, not human beings. Queen Mab represents the "demasculation" and betrayal that occured at the Treaty Elm She has no "real" power... It is a source of tension in the novel... Some quotations containing "Elm" in Edgar Huntly -Elm Tree is haunted -Ch. 2 -Ch. 3 -Elm Tree is a source of suspicion, distrust p. 240 -talking about Queen Mab? Possible Discussion Questions... -Is the "Friendship Treaty" made under the Treaty Elm fake? -Would William Penn have approved of the Walking Purchase? Can anything about the future of Delaware/Lenape Indian and white settler relations be deduced from this picture? Discussion Question... Any last thoughts on the Elm Tree? What are the implications for Edgar and Clithero's interactions around the Elm Tree, conisdering the context behind it? Does this painting portray William Penn's relationship
with the Indians in a mythical light, as the article points out? Discussion Question... by Reinier Macatangay Is there a slant to how it's painted?
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