Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Moonstone 1: Or How Robinson Crusoe is the Greatest Ever

This post is part of a readalong, which means I will likely spoil the entire book, entirely. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


Our kindly narrator for this first section is Gabriel Betteredge — Lady Verinder's house steward — and he is just the greatest. I’m no expert on British culture, but he feels like the most Victorianly British man of all time. "We had our breakfast — whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast." A sensible man.

Merry and Pippin would approve.

Our Betteredge has some very distinct ideas about women and class and foreignness. His description of Mr. Franklin repeats and repeats how his foreign education has "coloured" him unfavourably, sullying his Britishness. It's funny how The Moonstone can be racist, sexist, and classist in most every sentence so far but, delivered by Betteredge (that old, harmless goof), my reaction is just "Lulz, oh Betteredge." Tricky, that.

I haven’t met a Marian representative in the story so far; could it perhaps be Rachel? She's not exactly as level headed, or really at all as awesome as our Marian. But she does have, as Betteredge reports it, that one fabulous flaw: independence. "She judged for herself, as few women of twice her age judge in general; never asked your advice; never told you beforehand what she was going to do; never came with secrets and confidences to anybody, from her mother downwards."

That's why the lady is a tramp.

My favourite character at this point is Sergeant Cuff, the wizard detective from London, with his love of roses and his hate of gravel. Also, can we talk about how much Wilkie is playing with names in this book? Sergeant Cuff: handcuffs and policing and junk. Gabriel Betteredge: same initials as Great Britain (bit of a stretch?). Dr. Candy: pretty much Dr. Drugs, let’s be real. It’s like he’s set up the novel as a bit of a pantomime, and I really, really like it.

But my question to you is, what do we make of Rosanna Spearman? Do we trust her? And what's going on with Rachel's sudden anger at Franklin? Does Franklin have a first name? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

NOW. I'm a tad later than I meant to be writing this post because I wrote this post on how Dickens and Wilkie maybe didn't see eye to eye on the whole India thing. I wanted to make sure I finished writing this post before I read all of yours, and they've been looking at me from my Google Reader all the livelong day. Now it's time to read and comment on ALL the posts! It's my favourite part.

20 comments:

  1. ...ahem.

    Also, you're the second person to notice the GB initials thing, and I feel like a terrible reader, so GOOD JOB THERE.

    I love Cuff soooo much.

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    1. I may have noticed the GB thing but I completely forgot that Mr Franklin Blake's first name is FREAKING FRANKLIN and Betteredge calls him Mr Franklin out of familiarity. Soooo, you win some you lose some.

      More Cuff! He's the greatest.

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    2. I totally did the same until I was reading people's posts and like "Hang on..."

      So there's that.

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  2. I totally FAIL and did not take note of all those silly names! thanks for pointing that out, my mind is now blown by Wilkie's silliness :)
    And it's terribly true - Betteredge is so sexist and racist, but his narration is so harmless and charming that every time I catch him, I'm like "ohhhh yoooou~."
    And no, i don't trust Rosanna - but she can't be the suspect, we still have a good 400 pages left!

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    1. Yes! Harmless and charming is right. 400 pages is a lot of pages left! How's he gonna fill that when the only question we're asking is "Who dunnit?"? Detective novels.

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  3. I feel the same way about Betteredge... I know most of the stuff he says (especially about women) should be offensive, but instead I'm just like "Oh you silly, hilarious old man!" and it cracks me up.

    Oh and isn't Franklin the first name? I think his name is Franklin Blake, though I have no clue why they call him Mr. Franklin. That's just silly. (I could be wrong here, I'm too lazy to get my book and check.)

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    1. Ahahaha, I even put a quote in saying "Mr Franklin Blake yada yada." Franklin is his first name. Moonstone solved! Maybe less blog posting for me when I'm a-sleepy.

      Betteredge totally tricks you into not caring about his offensiveness! And yet, even knowing that, I still love him. What can you do.

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  4. I'm still holding fast to my theory that Dr. Candy was poisoned by someone at Rachel's birthday dinner. A mysterious illness isn't mentioned early on in a mystery unless it means something... DUNDUNDUN.

    And I totally forgot about Cuff's hatred of gravel paths. How could I? He is fabulous.

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    1. IT'S NOT MYSTERIOUS HE GOT ALL WET

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    2. He invited misery upon himself by haughtily claiming that doctor's are waterproof...and failing to knock on wood.

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    3. I love that crazy Doctor and his social awkwardness. He's pretty much a Victoria Michael Scott. But what DO we make of his illness? And where DID he disappear to during the dinner party thingy?

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  5. Breakfast is SO IMPORTANT. The Hobbits get it.

    I don't think Rachel is our next Marian. Yeah she's independent but so far in this sense that just means she's being super stubborn and just let the guy look at your dresses, Rachel!

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    1. I STILL HAVE HOPE. But since she doesn't have a narrative, I think my hope of for naught. FOR NAUGHT.

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  6. I totally didn't at all notice the GB thing, and I live here, so... yeah. Although, was Great Britain even called Great Britain in the Victorian times, or was it more of a separate thing? I... have no idea.

    I ALSO HAVE MANY QUESTIONS AND I WANT TO READ IT ALL AT ONCE WHICH I SHAN'T DO. Dammit.

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    1. GOOD QUESTION. I do not know if it was called that. That might be a Modern-Reader-looking-back-on-the-past-and-figuring-we-understand-it-but-really-don't kind of thing.

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  7. The next time I have the sads, I'm gonna wish Betteredge were there to take me on his knee. I'm not proud of that, but there it is.

    I'm still holding out hope for Rachel that she has some super-awesome, incredibly smart reason for acting like such a brat. Don't you disappoint me, Rachel! But I do think Rosanna is just a pawn in this situation...at the mercy of her deep admiration for Mr. Franklin.

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    1. Oh Betteredge, you harmless lech.

      I still have hope too! SOMEone's gotta fill Marian's place. What will we do if there isn't anyone? I think we're going to have to start preparing ourselves for this possibility.

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