Sunday, February 27, 2011

Foster, The Coquette, Day #3

--There are a number of different morals offered up for Eliza's end by different characters in the novel. But is this really the moral that Foster wants us to derive from Eliza's story?

--In Letter LII, Lucy Sumner complains of seeing "Romeo & Juliet," suggesting that "Are there not real woes...sufficient to to exercise our sympathy and pity, without introducing fictitious ones into our very diversions?" (870). How do we consider Foster's own introduction of tragedy, even fact-based, to her audience? Is Foster critiquing the kind of narrative she herself has written, or endorsing it?


  1. I found this reference to “Romeo & Juliet” very interesting. In Foster’s writing I found it very easy to get caught up and interested in the drama and all of the characters were going through. I looked at their experiences as being solely part of the novel and didn’t think about it in relation to my life. I think that in mentioning this tragedy Foster was intending to give the audience a little shake to wake them up from being engrossed in the characters lives and make them realize that all of these things happening to characters could happen to them as well. The fact that she is using a fact-based tragedy, also signals that she was trying to bring the audience back to reality by using a reference that is so well known. By endorsing the narrative of tragedy, Foster may have thought that people would be more open to recognizing problems within families and people and openly confronting them. It could also almost be seen as a kind of challenge to readers to try to eliminate tragic things that could happen to them. By writing about tragedy, perhaps Foster was trying to teach her readers how to fix tragedy in the real world.

    --Jessica Schuster

  2. I believe the Romeo and Juliet comment made by Lucy was a critique on the people who share her sentiments. Throughout the novel, Lucy constantly acts as the voice of the social majority, encouraging conformity and the status quo. Considering that her novel is based on actual events, it seems to me she is trying to say that hard times and tragic events are unavoidable in life, and that burying oneself in fantasy will do nothing to hide it. Instead, maybe it is best that people embrace works that deal with such matters so that those who experience it can learn to recognize and cope with tragedy once it strikes. I also agree with Jessica on the idea that perhaps she was "bringing the audience back to reality". By doing so, it may have been an attempt for the readers to realize that fiction is not always much different from reality.

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  4. It is not uncommon for writers to assess one another's work, especially when they have different styles of writing. The character Lucy (throughout the novel) was looked at as a confidant, someone whom, for the most part had all the answers and was rational. The part that seemed to irritate her the most was the fact that Shakespeare showcased death in a fictional sense, and she believed he "sported" with death. Maybe back when Romeo and Juliet was first performed, it was controversial for Shakespeare to present death in an entertaining aspect. Even though Romeo and Juliet was a story of fiction, I believe that the situations were rational, even the death scene.