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Elizabeth Bowen-- The Death of the Heart

a discussion of character purpose and analysis
by

Alex Gamez

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Elizabeth Bowen-- The Death of the Heart

The Death of the Heart
Elizabeth Bowen Alex Gamez November 2012 Portia Thomas Ultimately Anna | Recognizes her status as an outsider to the Quaynes (itinerant with no established manner of communication)
| Confused by the facades of others around her (opposite nature to her own)
| Frustrated by the inconsistencies of statements and behaviors of those around her (societal norm) St. Quentin | Repression of feelings as communicative norm in his society
| Shield themselves from their feelings
| Fear of knowing themselves and fear of knowing other people How does Portia fare in her struggle to understand those around her? "No, really, Portia, believe me: if one didn't let oneself swallow some few lies, I don't know how one would ever carry the past" (327). St. Quentin Anna sees that Portia can see past her unemotional facade. Disconnect Portia is unable to understand the Quaynes. "Why do you want to start breaking your heart" (98)? Matchett Confused Portia struggles with the tension: nothing but words left unsaid "What's not said keeps. And when it's been keeping some time it gets what not many would dare to hear" (100). Matchett "But I don't see how you can say you are serious if there's no one thing you keep feeling the whole time" (260). Portia Frustrated Characters:
Answering the Question Portia
Matchett
Anna Thomas
Eddie
St. Quentin The Question How do certain characters contribute to Portia's understanding of knowing others? Matchett Portia Matchett | Understands the difference between Portia and the Quaynes
| Things left unsaid Eddie Determined to keep distance from others emotionally
His feelings are transitory in nature
His feelings remain intractable to Portia; differentiates their two natures "How can I keep on feeling something I once felt when there are so many things one can feel? People who say they always feel as they did simply fake themselves up" (260). Eddie "But I don't see how you can say you are serious if there's no one thing you keep feeling the whole time" (260). Difference from Eddie Portia On Portia's frustration "We all create situations each other can't live up to, then break our hearts at them because they don't" (315). Anna St. Quentin | Recognizes Portia's need for understanding others through communication
| Yet, upholds societal standards for distant communication, nebulous understanding Recognition "What I'm certain you do have are reactions. And I wonder what those are, whenever I look at you" (326). St. Quentin | Understands the disconnect between Portia and the others
| Yet, participates in the acceptable practice- remaining elusive to Portia, others "We are minor in everything but our passions, I woke up and heard myself saying one night," (43). Thomas Understands Social Conformist "I don't create situations, I don't think" (315). Thomas Lessons from these characters The Right Thing "She is waiting to see whether we do the right thing" (398). Anna
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