Thursday, March 24, 2011

Villette by Charlotte Bronte Read-a-long:: Week Seven

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

This is the Week Seven of the read-a-long hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables. This week's reading includes chapters 31 through and including chapter 35.

Summary: (this section contains spoilers)
Spring has come to Villette and with it warmer weather. Lucy's outside walking in her alley. It isn't dark yet so she's comfortable here. Lucy's thinking about her future and gaining some independence. She thinks about the possibility of starting her own school. . Her thoughts eventually drift to Dr. John. Lucy has finally realized his manner and behavior towards her is nothing special, its just the way he is. Aloud she says good-bye to Dr. John and who should overhear her but M. Paul, of course!

M. Paul thinks Lucy looks pale. He tells Lucy that he has a room at the boy's college that overlooks the Rue Fossette garden and he watches everyone and knows "you all by heart". M. Paul also as a key to a door that allows him to come & go as he pleases and he uses it as he pleases. Lucy doesn't think he means any harm but she tells M. Paul that what he's doing is undignified. It was growing dark in the garden and M. Paul asks Lucy if protestants believe in the supernatural. M. Paul has also seen the ghostly nun . The tree under which the nun is buried begins swaying, the branches waving around although the night is still. The tree stops, the school bell rings and suddenly out of the arbor rushes the black & white figure of the nun!

In chapter 32 Lucy visits Paulina who has been away with her father. Paulina tells Lucy the Dr. Bretton wrote to her while she was away. She wants to know what Lucy thinks of Graham. Finally after much equivocating Paulina admits she loves Graham but she's concerned about hurting father because M. de Bassompierre treats her as a little girl. Lucy tells Paulina that she should talk to her father soon, when she feels it's a good time. But also that she shouldn't worry, just be patient and let things work them selves out as they will because Paulina and Graham have fate on their side.

In early May, M. Paul takes the school to the country for a morning picnic. He encourages Lucy to come along. M. Paul is in a happy, Pleasant mood. At first Lucy is wary of him, but he's too happy to become cross and they have a very nice time together. Lucy sits with M. Paul after breakfast and read to him and they had a nice conversation during which he called Lucy his little sister in French.

Later on in the day Lucy sees M. Paul outside pacing and talking earnestly with M. Beck. When they finished M. Paul walks in Lucy's direction but he because looked strange to Lucy she runs and hides. M. Paul leaves for the night when he can't find Lucy.

M. Beck asks Lucy to run some errands for her. She wants her to deliver a small basket of fruit to a Madame Walravens and be sure to put it in her hands. Lucy saves this errand for last. Lucy has quite an interesting experience at Number 3, Rue des Mages. She finds a very elderly, unpleasant servant, an elderly priest who's familiar to her and M. Walravens. who first appears to Lucy as Malevola, an evil fairy! This is because the extremely old M. Walravens is about 3 feet high, dressed lavishly and dripping with jewels. She's also very inhospitable to Lucy. As Lucy is leaving, the elderly priest invites her to visit with him. Lucy recognizes him, he's Pere Silas from many chapters ago. He proceeds to tell Lucy a story which she realizes is about M. Paul who the elderly priest has known for a very long time as M. Paul was once his student.

Lucy finds out that M. Paul is a very charitable man, extremely kind man. Lucy also comes to understand that M. Beck and Pere Silas arranged all of this in the hopes that Lucy would be put off M. Paul. But this has only increased Lucy's interest in M. Paul and caused her to think of him as a hero.

Lucy is anxious to see M. Paul now that she knows so much more about him. When they are finally alone and can talk, Lucy first asks him about his living situation, eventually letting M. Paul know that she knows all about him. M. Paul wonders if Lucy will still be his friend now that she knows his faults and responsibilities. He wants Lucy to be his close, intimate friend like a sister. Lucy is thrilled and can think of nothing better. He also asks Lucy's opinion of the nun and together they assure themselves that their earthly friendship will not be upset by or upset "heavenly creatures" and ghostly apparitions! won't be bothered by

My Thoughts: I am very happy that Lucy has put to bed her "obsession" with Dr. John. I think she's fully realized that his charming, kindly attentions when he sees her are nothing special but simply his natural behavior and don't mean anything.

I was also happy that her friendship with M. Paul has become stronger. Lucy is so pleased that M. Paul thinks so highly of her that he wants her to be his close, real, true friend. But I'm not as much a fan of M. Paul as Lucy is, I think she's selling herself short. I think she decided long ago that love isn't to be a part of her life and so she's content with M. Paul's friendship. I think it's ridiculous that he is giving most of his money to support the old shrew M. Walravens while she adorns herself in expensive jewels. She didn't approve of M. Paul for her grand-daughter but is fine taking his money for herself. It seems like M. Paul has some huge guilt about something and this is how he's paying for it.

The chapter about Lucy's visit to Rue des Mages with all the Gothic elements was great even though it wasn't very creepy or dark. I also thought it was clever how Bronte brought Pere Silas back into the story.

I find the little games Lucy played regarding M. Paul annoying. Why wear the pink dress to the country breakfast if she was so worried about what M. Paul would say? And it wasn't as if she could use Ginevra to block his view the entire morning. Weird! And then running away and hiding after she watched M. Paul walking and talking with M. Beck. Even when she knew he was looking for her, she hesitated when one of the teachers said Lucy was in bed!

M. Paul’s ego is ridiculous! The scene in which the 2 male teachers “kidnap” Lucy and quiz Lucy to prove, not Lucy’s intelligence, but M. Paul’s ability as a teacher is ridiculous. Lucy should have got up and left the room! It’s completely obnoxious that M. Paul believes that if Lucy does well after he has taught her it’s no reflection on Lucy’s intelligence and abilities but all of the honor is his and proves he’s a great teacher.


  1. "It seems like M. Paul has some huge guilt about something and this is how he's paying for it."

    Good point! Either's he's compensating for something (wasn't there a hit somewhere that he did?) or it' a matter of pride.

    Completely agree with you on the interrogation scene - the nerve of the three men!

  2. It seems that M. Paul has lost affection from all of us this week. We have seen his true colors and instead of being awed (as Lucy is) we are all disturbed. Haha, I wonder what Bronte would think of that.

    I also wondered at Lucy's insecurity on wearing the pink dress... why wear it then??? Weird indeed. My only thought was that she wanted to impress him but then got shy about it. A little immature perhaps?