Autumns Destroying Hand

On Page 109 there’s a passage that I really found compelling. It describes the coming Autumn and the changing seasons’ impact on the grounds of the home and its influence over the characters. We as the reader see potential in the home as a place to harbor secrets and recognize that formally beautiful places have potential for corruption just like people. Darker descriptors like sharp, withered, ghostly, black and broken are used to set a chilling scene. The picture it paints of a crumbling well and suffocating vines are all recurring themes made throughout the novel. It more importantly juxtaposes the descriptions used for Lady Audley whose beauty is as fresh as sunlight and innocent as spring. Her beauty is what causes her to be underestimated by other characters in the text. She uses her charm and her appearance to manipulate others in order to climb the social ladder. Robert and Lady Audley have similar motives in that way, his pursuit of her is driven from an eagerness to prove himself and the crumbling of the house signifies a changing historical period where roles in society are beginning to shift. Which also may tie into a feeling of dissatisfaction within domestic and gender roles. After this passage, Lady Audley remarks on how much October displeases her which I interpret as a recognition of the darkness within herself and how it’s something she isn’t proud of or doesn’t like to acknowledge. There’s a reason she’s come to start anew at Audley Court and her actions to not come without motive.

3 thoughts on “Autumns Destroying Hand”

  1. Your interpretation of this passage and its connections to the rest of the novel are so fascinating! I had never thought of Lady Audley’s connection to spring, especially in the context of the novel’s setting, but you touch on a very interesting point. As the weather grows harsher and colder throughout the novel’s timeline, Lady Audley begins to become more and more suspicious until at last she is snuffed out by someone with connections to the autumnal house and its legacy (Robert). Amazing work!

  2. I felt it necessary to comment on a post about the changing seasons considering that my handle is, “Persephone”. Regardless, I think that your post brings up several valid and interesting points. I wonder if, in part, Lady Audley also does not like October weather because it ushers out the warm and sunshine of spring and summer. Could it be that the cold feels like it is ushering her out, or that there is a realization of her dark side potentially coming to light? I also wanted to think back to one of our first discussions regarding the role of the “house” in Victorian literature. I think that the crumbling of the house not only signifies a change in time and gender roles, but also a web of lies that are about to be revealed. The secrets that are housed in this dark setting are seeming to slowly make their way out into the open.

  3. Your comparison of seasons to how they affect the characters is fascinating to me, I never thought this closely into how this affects the characters. Focusing on your notes about the crumbling house, that was one of the first things I noticed when we had began reading this book. The house to me signifies an example of something that is still functional, yet wear and tear are starting to show. The entire book leads into Lady Audley’s downfall, and the seasons changing (warm and sunny–> cold, windy, grey) pairs well with the theme of a crumbling house (the metaphor for a secret, which eventually comes undone).

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