Consider the Calm After the Storm

The passage I chose can be found on pg. 77, and describes the bright, natural beauty surrounding the estate after a dreadful storm. The passage can be found to use multiple different dichotomies that we have discussed as a class, but in particular the idea of light/dark, and using nature to facilitate an understanding of what is secretly happening within the lives of those so close by. The emphasis on nature is an objective passive way of making commentary on the lives in the estate. This could be connecting to current issues, or foreshadowing for the future of the text. There is not only descriptive imagery, but also usage of certain colors that evoke a specific emotional response. For example, the commentary on the color of the corn is more for the reader to see happiness or positivity will soon be following after a storm, inferring a conflict. This conflict could be within the self or interpersonal, but regardless the same point is illustrated. Using this same imagery of the bright corn, their stalks also lift high to the sun after missing it dearly in the storm, being battered by the elements. This might be a little crazy, but potentially the stalk is supposed to represent how the the “core” or inner self is seeking a greater good, is yearning for a newfound brightness in life, but also “brighter” qualities. When light and dark are brought up as a theme, this can be seen typically as a conflict between the two, but I’m challenging that in the instance of the Audley estate, the two actually exist in a parallel fashion. that although there may be calm in one aspect, there is a brewing storm in another. The “so what” of this is that it further bolsters the idea that the author using nature as a reflection of what is going on with the characters of the text.

6 thoughts on “Consider the Calm After the Storm”

  1. Your blog post reminds me of our in-class discussion about the passage describing the Audley estate towards the bottom of page 9. In this description, the author also utilizes the contrast between light and dark, juxtaposing the shaded and secluded area of lime-tree walk with the “normalcy” of the mansion. I believe the use of nature to create this scene reflects on the characters and their situations, circumstances, and interactions, and indirectly reveals that there are secrets hiding underneath the surface of many otherwise ordinary people.

  2. I find this idea very interesting. In class my group and I were discussing page 74 where it says “I think the storm will hold off to-night, but we shall certainly have it to-morrow” and how this could be alluding to not just a literal storm but a figurative one that occurs between characters. I like your thoughts about the corn and how the description of the color could correlate to emotional response. I think also that the description of the corn found on the top of page 77 saying it waves proudly after the storm tried to beat it down could possibly be diving into one’s perseverance and ability to overcome difficult times. Another thing I noted is that on page 72 while looking at the portrait of Lady Audley, the author points out her yellow hair, I am also reaching here, but I am curious to see if the corn represents her and the storm is the escalating conflicts she will be facing in the future.

  3. I never even thought about the importance of using the color of corn as imagery to the mood of a scene, but I really agree with it. It can be seen in other books and movies, one popular example being the Harry Potter title scene in every movie. As the movies go on, every title becomes darker and darker. This is an indication to the viewer that the movies are getting darker and darker. I think the corns color representing the mood of the scene/book is not far fetched.

  4. Yes, the author when there are instances of conflict and opposing statements tends to use nature and colors. Except for the trees or the wilderness in general the author also uses colors as a way to describe the relationships and personalities of different characters. For instance, Lady Audley is always being commented about her “shiny beauty” and “colorful” personality while other characters such as Phoebe are described as “pale” and “grey”, as the total opposite of the brightness that Lady Audley brings.

  5. I definitely agree with your analysis of the deeper aspects and multiple impacts of imagery. Another similar example is in Chapter IV, when Robert comments on a, “prim, square, red-brick mansion” (Braddon 183). Though this comment is directed toward the mansion of Harcourt Talboys, it also reflects the character of the owner. As we observe the remainder of the chapter, we come to know him as a stoic, forbidding man. Much like your analysis of the core, the nature of the house becomes indicative of the inner coldness and detachment of the owner by emphasizing its isolation and rigidity.

  6. I am intrigued by the theory that the imagery of light and dark reflect what is going on with the characters. To take it a step further, it resembles their internal conflict. The light is who they portray themselves to the outside world and the dark reflects upon their inner secrets. For example, Lucy is this outwardly beautiful woman with cheeks that have a bright red flush to them, as deemed attractive to the Victorians. However, her past is like a dark shadow that has yet to be revealed to others. I wonder how this reflection of light and dark to individual characters will tie into Braddon’s ideas of love.

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