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The Wife of Bath alongside Behind the Scenes
Transcript of The Wife of Bath alongside Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes at the Museum Self-Knowledge Thematic Comparatives Narrative Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Intertextuality Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Identity is important to Ruby, reminding herself of who she is: 'I am a precious jewel. I am a drop of blood. I am Ruby Lennox' She realises she is special and delicate like a jewel and as precious as blood, most importantly she ends the novel as a self-assured character. Ruby is very aware of history despite her young age; she sees language and learning as a way out of Auntie Bab's house: 'words are the only things that can construct a world that makes sense'. Ruby is an omniscient narrator (most of the time), shown through her use of parenthesis: '(Nothing in Sandy's case)' As a narrator we
cannot rely on Ruby
due to her young age and amnesia of Pearl's death when a child. Ruby understands the relationship between her parents as troubled and witnesses numerous times throughout the novel that her parents are both having affairs; Ruby catches George's 'floozy' at a wedding, alongside finding her Mother with Mr Roper. The Wife of Bath: In a passage the Wife shows her self-knowledge; she confesses to her own deceitfulness and claims that her manipulative methods are part of a gift from God that all women have: 'For al swich wit is yeven us in oure birthe: Deceite, weping, spinning God hath yive To wommen kindly, whil that the may live' The Wife makes herself appear stupid:
'For as an hors I koude byte and whyre'
She is comparing herself to a horse- ironic
as she previously stated that she was nothing
like a horse: 'thou seist that anoxen, asses,
hors and hounds...thou seistow, olde barralful' The Wife comes across as seemingly unaware about the
contradictions within her narration; she accepts the fact that she's getting old: 'Youth and beautee will foole and be stollen' and 'The flour is gone'-the flower can bloom no more. Behind the Scenes at the Scene: As well as Ruby's narrative, intertextual references also appear through setting, such as the Queen's coronation in 1953 and the 1966 football world cup. (Historical Metafiction) Ruby's enthusiasm at this reference, as Great Expectations is Bildungsroman: 'There's something eerie about it, with its microscopic plumbing...and little, little leather bound books'. Bunty regularly compares herself to famous movie stars such as Doris Day; self-deceit, not like any of them and her character changes regularly. She is not her own person, trying to be someone else all the time. Ruby often refers to The Wizard of Oz: 'Beyond the fence are clouds' The Wife of Bath: Sources of: 'authoritee'; biblical exegis, personal
interpretations of the Bible. Jankin's books of women have excessively graphic and cruel imagery towards women. This length of singular reference, emphasises the male ideal of women in society: 'Of Eva first, that for hir wikkednesse Was ak mankynde broght to wrecchednesse...' Wife refers to Jankin's book of:
'wikked wives' There are stereotypical views of women; Ruby's rejection of being a stereotype is highlighted, being expected to be a 'housewife'. Bunty was a housewife although she was not content being one: 'I don't see why a house needs a wife', Ruby notices this: 'She has begun to make strange unwomanly announcements'. Nell was unhappy as a stereotypical housewife:
'Nell broke off to grab Ted who was stuffing something
down his mouth and she had to wrestle him'; the verbs 'grab' and 'wrestle' convey physical anger due to the stress of her children. The Wife of Bath: The 'Wyf' is shameless about her sexual exploits and the way she uses sexual power to obtain what she wants. By doing this she is portraying a negative stereotype of women. Tries to challenge preconceived ideas about women being liars but actually ends up reinforcing many of these stereotypical ideas-highlighting her stupidity. Women are manipulative and deceitful: 'Of tribulation in marriage. Of which I am expert in al myn age- This is seun, myself have been the whippe.' The Wife seems to be in control over all her husbands being the more powerful figure in the relationship, having possession of their: 'Londe' and 'Tresoor'. The Wife seems to know and understand the fact that she is getting older: 'That I have had my world as in my tyme' and 'But age, allas, that al wok envenyme. Hath biraft my beautee and my pith.' Death and Guilt Behind the Scenes at the Museum: The Wife of Bath: Form and Structure Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Use of Imagery Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Fairytale elements in BtheS Magic: Fairytale elements in WofB Moral: Death is significant in both Behind the Scenes at the Museum and The Wife of Bath. Both Ruby and the Wife have apparently resilient responses to situations involving death. This is shown through the use of black comedy: '...George is not in a stupor of satisfaction but is quite, quite dead' (BtheS) 'After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire of legges and of feet so clene and faire' (WofB). Both Ruby and the Wife strive to show some sense of appreciation of life, and wish to hinder their mortality, literal or metaphorical: 'This woman is my great-grandmother. This women is lost in time' (BtheS) 'Upon my youthe, and on my jolitee. It tikleth me aboute myn herte roote' (WofB). Death is also shown in a more dramatic and graphic view in BtheS: 'Screaming at the top of his voice because this was one of the pits of hell and it was going to be bottomless' Ruby resurrects the tale of her grandparents, and in this she expresses some empathy for their situations, and she uses this poetic description in footnote 1 to introduce her great-grandmother and how she becomes lost; through her departure as well as the direction of her life: 'I want to rescue this lost woman from what's going to happen to her (time)'. The Wife expresses remorse over the fragility of life in her reminiscence of youth. This contrasts with her brazen attitude towards sex and male oppression. The Wife experiences some wish-fulfilment at the end of the Tale, relates to her lamenting on her youth; as the old woman becomes beautiful in the Knight's Tale: 'the Knight sough verraily al this, That she so fair was, and so yong therto' The Wife of Bath: Interchanges between footnotes, that act as more detailed illustrations of Ruby's persona, as they predominantly describe events pertaining to Ruby;s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, whose lives and perspectives resemble Ruby's own:'This woman has had enough'. Overall form is Bildungsroman; a novel portraying characters' journey into adulthood and their development as a person. This defines Ruby's quest for self-discovery and knowledge; similar to Pip's journey in Great Expectations: 'I am Ruby Lennox'. The Wife of Bath is set in poetic form using rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter; the Wife is an older female narrative voice than Ruby is, therefore a different reader/listener relationship exists: 'For sothe, I wol nat kepe me chaast in al'. The Wife often appears to have a one-track mindl being only concerned with her own: 'Soverainetee'. The original audience may have considered the Wife's prologue and tale as satire and farcically funny: 'Myn housbonde shal it have both eve and monve'. The Wife of Bath: Atkinson uses lots of imagery in order to describe what Bunty sees, we read the book from Ruby's perspective: 'I don't like this.' Atkinson adopts a childish and imaginative language style, although its style does mature with her age: 'We can feel the hot breath of the wolves on the back of our necks'. Atkinson's description of fire in chapter 7 is told in two long sentences, highlighting how everything is happening at a fast pace. Using long sentences throughout the novel e.g. chapter 11, Pearl's death: 'As Patricia was dragged out of the pond, screaming and kicking...' Atkinson uses regular parenthesis to give a more detailed description of Ruby's thoughts to thoroughly understand her character: 'Everyone is related (unfortunately) to each other'. By using brackets Atkinson allows the reader to gain a better understanding of how Ruby thinks creating a link and intimacy between the reader and character. On numerous occasions, the Wife compares herself and other women to loaves of bread. She associates virgins with wheat bread whilst she compares wives to barley bread: 'I nil emya no virginitee, Lat hem be bread og pure white-seed. And lat us wives hoten barley bread' The Wife is arguing that although white bread may be more tempting and preferable, barley bread is just as good. There is a lot of animalistic imagery, highpointing her physical and childish narration: 'For as an hors I koude bite and whine'. The Wife uses the excuse for her strong sexual nature as the cause of being influenced by the planets: 'For certes, I am al veneien' and 'In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcian' Metaphor: ;And to my fadres folk and his allies Thus seistow, olde barel-ful of lies' men are full of lies according to the Wife of Bath. magic realism imaginative co-operation mimics fairytale style birth awareness:
'I exist!' time frames irony specific 'I'm begun on the first stroke
and finished on the last' Cinderella time frame Is Bunty like the evil
Step-Mother? 'Oh! It's only you...'
not very motherly Bunty: Moral: Doris Day Deanna
O'Hara 'Her personality shifted up several gears: From Deanna Durbin to Scarlett O'Hara' Doesn't have her own character based on everyone elses Love Self identity 'I am a
precious jewel' Acceptance Understanding Alice and Wonderland: 'I don't think
this is Kansas
anymore Teddy' 'Soon I'll reach the bottom and find my lost memories' Ruby alike Alice is trawling in her own wonderland and fairytale to understand her past and self. Based on girls leaving home to explore elsewhere. Family members
disappear e.g. Patricia Similar to The
Wizard of Oz Intertextuality: 'I am a dalek' Does she
and alone? 'I feel like Alice...' Her only friends
are fictional characters Lost in her own fairytale world 'She cast all the
children as Lost
Boys' Peter Pan Bildungsroman
style Appearances aren't
everything Woman will always prevail;
power Women always want what they can't have, but eventually they get it Women have
dominance Knight's Tale: Direct speech Time frame Succeeds on
last day Year a day 'A tvelf-month
and a day' Moral Fairytale within
itself Quest Ironic Mimics Fairytale Style: Simple syntax 'In al this care, under a foreswt syde,
Wher as he saugh a daunce go,
Toward the whiche daunce he draw ful yerne,
Of laydes faire and twenty, and yet mo;
In hope that som wysdom sholde he lerne' The beautiful women
leaving an old woman Recalls the Princess and
the Frog tale; ugly
turns beautiful Reality? Or a change of heart? Chaucer's Moral: Little Red Riding Hood consequences of talking
to strangers consequences of
actions If Men let women
have power then
a happy marriage
can exist Remorse for past raptus? Setting: 'fayerye' 'elf queen' magic Arthurian setting Is the Wife a villain? greed wrath pride wealth hungry materialistic lustful hypocrite Both texts feature a first-person narrative from the main characters Ruby and Alison: 'I exist!' (BtheS) and 'I have this power duringe al my lyf' (WofB).