Monster in Disguise: Lady Audley Blog Post 1

“She looked a childish, helpless, babyfied creature; and Robert watched her with some torch of pity in his eyes, as she came up to the hearth by which he was standing, and warmed her tiny gloved hand at the blaze.” (Braddon 141)

In this passage, Robert encounters Lady Audley unexpectedly on a cold September morning. There is a lot of attention brought to how childish and babyish she is. This fragility brings out an emotional response in Robert, he feels pity for her. Lady Audley, as previously seen in a position of divine feminine power, is now described as this young and fragile thing that would shatter if anyone so much as touched her. There is a lot of repetition of the idea of her being small, helpless, and young. The reason the author is hyper-focused on making Lady Audley sweet and innocent is to distract from her hidden monstrous tendencies. If we refer to the passage, we see Robert pitying her. However, when Braddon decided to use the word “creature,” it alluded to the fact that she has a capacity for evil. That Lady Audley in a sense could be considered a monster, or a creature of the night. Later in the passage, the narrator talks about Lady Audley warming her tiny, gloved hand at the blaze. What stuck out to me here was the word choice for the fireplace. Blaze is very harsh and destructive, not a word typically used to discuss a fire in a fireplace. Going along with the theme of destructive fire, we also witness Robert with “…a torch of pity in his eyes….” Torches are historically associated with mobs and witch hunts, implicating Lady Audley. The theme of monstrosity is most powerful when Lady Audley is referred to as a “creature.” Even though the context surrounding the word is her innocence, the word creature makes her inhuman. I think the reason this passage is chock-full of evil and innocent comparisons is because Braddon wants the reader to start unpacking the paradox that is Lady Audley.

One thought on “Monster in Disguise: Lady Audley Blog Post 1”

  1. I think this is a common theme in much literature, when the villain is defeated, and it is revealed that deep down they are broken. The acts they commit are out of hurt, as seen here with “Lady Audley”. Once thought to be this conniving mastermind turns out to be weak and fragile. This also brings up the question of whether someone can actually be wholly evil, Lady Audley’s Secret seems to suggest they can’t.

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