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The Collector Seminar on Narrative Perspective in Act 2

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Chelsea Wang

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of The Collector Seminar on Narrative Perspective in Act 2

The Collector
Act 2 - Narrative Perspective
How has the reader’s opinion of Miranda changed from how she is portrayed in Frederick’s narrative and how she presents herself in her narrative?
Is Miranda a reliable narrator?
Presented by: N. Bonder, M. De Conno, J. Neilson,
G. Perdikoulias, C. Wang
As seen through Miranda's narration, a story changes based on its narrator. This concept is even seen today in a wide range of situations.
What is her emotional state of mind?
Why is GP so important to Miranda?
"He’ll be all alone with his sex neurosis and class neurosis and his uselessness and his emptiness" (209)
"I'll never escape. It drives me mad...I feel as if I'm at the earth's heart. I've got the whole weight of the whole earth pressing in on this little box. I want to scream sometimes. Till my voice is raw. To death...Utter despar" (254)
"I've got to get this meanness out of the way. I've got sunk in a sort of despair. Something will happen I say. But nothing will, unless I make it. I must act." (256)
"There are two things. One's the need to make him let me go. The other's me...I love everything which is not sitting and watching. But I'm not being to the full at all. I'm just sitting and watching." (255)
"I hate the uneducated and the ignorant. I hate the pompous and the phoney...I hate all the ordinary dull little people" (221)
"I can't stand stupid people like Caliban, with their great deadweight of pettiness and selfishness and meanness of every kind...The doctors and the teachers and the artists...what hope there is, is with them" (220)
"Her hair was very pale, silky, like burned cocoons. It took my breath away, she was so beautiful, like a mermaid." (9)
“You’re so stupid. Perverse” “I always seem to end up by talking down to you. I hate it. IT’s you. You always squirm one step lower than I can go.”
“Don’t you feel this has gone long enough?”
“I mean, now he’s got me at his mercy, he’s not going to do what anyone would expect. So he makes me falsely grateful. I’m so lonely. He must realize that. He can make me depend on him” (135)
“Depressed. I’m so far from everything. From normality. From light. From what I want to be.”
“He’s not human. Oh God I’m so lonely so utterly alone. I can’t write”
In Frederick's narration we feel bad for Miranda and sympathize with her, how does her narration, despite her being kidnapped, make us dislike her and make us unable to connect with her?
Is the relationship between G.P. and Miranda a healthy one or is it just as unhealthy as the relationship between Miranda and Frederick?
Do you think that Miranda is more at Fredrick's mercy, or Fredrick is at Miranda's mercy? Who controls who more?
Why do you think art and beauty are so important to her?
What did you make of Miranda’s frequent references to literature, art, and pop culture throughout the novel?
Did these cultural touchstones help establish the novel’s timeframe and setting?
Were any of them unfamiliar to you?
Miranda considers herself an aesthete and often discusses her fondness for beauty in her journals.
Compare the personalities of G.P. and Frederick. If the two were to meet each other, how would they react?
“He’s chipped off all... my silliness, my stupid fussy frilly ideas about life and art, and modern art. My feyness. I’ve never been the same since he told me how he hated fey women. I even learnt the word from him.” (151-152)
"You have to be left politically because the socialists are the only people who care…" (152)
"You live seriously…don’t go to silly films…don’t read cheap newspapers…don’t listen to trash on the wireless…don’t waste time talking about nothing. You use your life." (153)
How does her relationship with GP affect her sense of self worth?
Consider the author's use of point of view to manipulate the reader's response to the characters and ideas in the novel.
Is there a connection between Miranda's

feelings toward GP and Frederick?
“G.P, I shall be hurt, lost, battered and buffeted. But it will be like being in a gale of light, after this black hole. It’s simply that. He has the secret of life in him.” (266-267)
“I must have always wanted to believe in those things; I did believe in them in a vague sort of way, before I met him. He’s made me believe them; it’s the thought of him that makes me feel guilty when I break the rules.” (153)
"Because [G.P. has] changed me more than anything or anybody…It’s not just that he’s seen so much more life. Had so much more artistic experience…" (151)
“I’ve been daydreaming (not the first time) about living with G.P. He deceives me, he leaves me, he is brutal and cynical with me…I shall throw myself away, lose my heart and my body and mind and soul to some cad like GP. Who’ll betray me.” (254)
“Her hair swept back into the pigtail. Her lovely face. She looked brave.” (34)
“He loves me desperately, he was very lonely, he knew I would always be “above” him. It was awful, he spoke so awkwardly…” (128)
“There was something so nice about her you had to be nice too, you could see she sort of expected it” (36)
“I’m so superior to him. I know this sounds wickedly conceited. But I am… I feel I've got to show him how decent human beings live and behave.” (137)
“There was something mischievous about her sometimes, you could see she was looking for trouble, in a nice way. Teasing like.” (51)
“The curse is with me. I’m a bitch to C. No mercy.” (166)
“Go away. You exhaust me. You’re like a sea of cotton wool” (143)
“I had had enough, most men would have had it long before.” (117)
“I’m so frightened. I don’t know what will happen if I’m really ill…He might kill me, but he couldn't just let me die.” (275)
“…I think she thought I was going to attack her. Full of tears her eyes were. Cheeks wet. It really upset me to see her like that.” (46)
“I’m so superior to him. I know this sounds wickedly conceited. But I am…I feel I've got to show him how decent human beings live and behave. He is ugliness. But you can’t smash human ugliness.” (137)
Who is the more reliable narrator, Miranda or Frederick?What qualities or voiced opinions justify this choice?

Frederick and Miranda are often struggling to gain power over each other, even though she is his prisoner. What do you think this says about their respective personalities?

Which character is the real evil in the novel Miranda or Frederick?
Aside from being kidnapped, chloroformed and held in a dingy cellar with no fresh air, is Miranda innocent and sane? Or is she just as guilty and unstable as Frederick?

Because Miranda has been kidnapped, does that mean we disregard the kind of person she is and describes herself to be?

What kind of impact did she have on how Frederick treated her? How could this have been different?
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