Monthly Archives: February 2013

Musings: On Proseminar and Heroes

Hello friends!

Reading has been slow, mostly because I have several fairly time-consuming assignments for school that need doing: the proseminar paper, a literary essay, and exchange application. The latter is progressing very slowly though, but I’m doing my best to hand it in on time  – because I really fancy the idea of going to the UK for a year!

But now you’ll get a little bit of ranting about the candidate’s essay. It’s getting slightly muddled in my head. I’m having trouble trying to decide on the structure, and figuring out whether I should alter the thesis statement slightly (which would lead to more trouble with the structure) or not. You see, I have noticed that there is something very interesting in the George/Amelia/William plot: George and Amelia’s relationship, while not a romance, has a lot of the elements. Their courtship is clearly described, there is a barrier, an attraction, a declaration, a betrothal – but the point of ritual death turns out to be insurmountable and recognition comes too late. A romance needs a happy ending, and there is none for the Osbornes. What is wonderful is that the reader knows all the time that this is not a romance plot, despite it exhibiting the elements: George Osborne’s character is not that of a hero, and therefore he can’t be the heroine’s match. According to Kay Mussell in Fantasy and Reconciliation, the qualities of a hero are among other things:

  • Eases the heroine’s transition from childhood to adulthood, from father to husband
  • Authority figure; multiple functions
    • Protects heroine from consequences of immature behaviour
    • Teaches her to behave in an appropriate manner as his wife
  • Must be powerful in traditionally masculine qualities while retaining sensitivity to recognize the heroine’s needs
  • Hero and heroine have complementary qualities instead of identical traits, but both place a value on domesticity and love
  • Possesses great skill and status (top of profession or landed gentry)
  • Self-motivated, stable, exciting; resources to support a family in comfort
  • Suitability as head of a family

(from my notes on Mussell; there are other qualities as well but all are not relevant to Vanity Fair)

William, unlike George, is all of these things. Therefore it’s fairly obvious to the reader that he deserves Amelia more than George does.

The problem is, bringing this comparison up would be tricky considering the structure, and besides, it’s only a 15–20 page paper. If I had my way, it would be much longer…

Well, that was my rant this time. You get another picture of the books I’m using at the moment, because just text can be a bit boring:

Research material

There’s one there that might actually be of no use, but we’ll see.

I hope to see you guys soon again – I intend to write a rant/review of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film in honour of the book’s 200th birthday (I know, I know, the actual day is long gone, but it’s still the right year!) and I hope to get to that soon!

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