Presentation on theme: "Possession A Romance By A.S Byatt. Characters in Possession Roland Mitchell - Researcher in the life of Randolph Henry Ash Maud Bailey - Researcher in."— Presentation transcript:
Characters in Possession Roland Mitchell - Researcher in the life of Randolph Henry Ash Maud Bailey - Researcher in the life of Christobel LaMotte Randolph Henry Ash - Victorian Poet Ellen- Ash Randolph’s wife Christobel LaMotte- Victorian feminist poet Blanche Glover – LaMotte’s female companion ( possibly lover) Mortimer Cropper- American doctor of literature chasing Maud and Roland Blackadder- Roland’s Boss Val – Roland’s long time girlfriend Fergus Woolf- Maud’s one time lover Beatrice Nest- Researcher of Ellen Ash (Quite a repressed character)
Possession won the booker price in 1990. It is based around a journey to uncover a literary mystery Roland Mitchell knows everything about the poet Randolph Henry Ash but discovers that he once had a lover who he suspects was a famous Victorian feminist named Christobel LaMotte. His search to discover the truth leads him to Maud Bailey, a rich and experienced feminist who makes a living from researching the poet Christobel LaMotte Together they follow the footsteps of the two poets and embark on their own path of love. At times in the book it is as if Maud and Roland are living their love story through Ash and LaMotte. As well as finding out a great deal about the two poets they also discover each other and their true selves. An outline of the Plot
Themes Within the Novel Include: Feminism Love/ Romance Poetry Mythology Struggle for Identity Detective mystery/ letters etc.
Feminism Christabel is supposed to be the epitome of Feminism in the Victorian Era. She is also thought to have had a homosexual relationship with her companion Blanch Glover. This is a theme that runs throughout the Novel. For example there is also homosexual inuendo between Maud and her friend Leanora Stern who are also both femenists. Stern’s Lesbian tendencies seem to stem from her bad relationships with men. However Christabel was seen to be homosexual before her newly discovered relationship with Ash. A lot of the statements within the book seem to signify that Feminism relates around Homosexuality and that Christabel was seen to be in a lesbian relationship with Blanche as she had no mention of a man in her life. A point that is proved to be false throughout the novel. Maud refuses to believe that Christabel would have an affair with Ash, refuses to believe that she would let a man use her in any way.
Ellen Ash is very similar to Ernestina in ‘The French Lieutenants Women’. She tries her best to please her husband in all aspects of life and seems quite frail. For example she is always having to lie down and rest over simple little things that seem to cause her distress. She completely disregards feminism, for example one part of the novel shows her to be in great pain because of her period yet she wants to get rid of the pain to please Ash on his return and not for her own well being. She is aware of her Husband’s infidelity yet never mentions it and clearly forgives him. There is also an ambiguity within the Novel that seems to suggest that either Ash and Ellen had no form of Sex Life ever or that he in many ways raped her on their honeymoon. “An attempt. A hand not pushed away. Tendons like steel, teeth in pain, clenched, clenched. The approach, the locked gateway, the panic, the whimpering flight”
Love/Romance and Self Discovery. The novel features heavily the idea of unhappiness in a persons life, especially at the beginning. For example Roland is unhappy with his life, occupation and Val: “I don’t know why you should want me, I’m no good but you do” “Of course I do, Of Course!” Val seems insecure and Roland seems just to be going along with his situation as he fears there is nothing better. Maud also seems to be un- happy in life, her failed love affair with Fergus seems to have left her persueing a life of celibacy. She keeps her hair wrapped up in a turban as if she is afraid of revealing any more of herself so that she won’t get hurt as she did with Fergus. The Romance between Christabel and Ash has previously been undiscovered and it seems that Maud and Roland are persuing their Romance through the lives of the two poets. They always seem to be living their lives through the perspective of the poets.
Christabel seems to really love both Ash and her illegitimate Child yet she gives them both up. She writes to Ash at the end confessing this love that has hurt her immensely yet she admits that if she had to be hurt she was glad that it was Ash who it was with and that the passion they had she will always remember “I would rather have lived alone, so, if you would have the truth. But since that might not be-and is granted to almost none-I thank god for you- if there must be a Dragon-that he was you” Possession symbolises her possession of Love for Ash but not the man himself, he belongs to someone else.
Mystery Many aspects of the two poets lives are discovered throughout the Novel. We discover their actual relationship The love child they had together The fact that Ellen Ash was always aware of her husbands infidelity. The suicide of Blanch Glover was down to her knowledge of the love affair Maud being a descendant of both Christabel and Ash. At the end of the Novel we learn that Christabel gave her child, a girl, to her sister. She writes a letter to Ash as he is dying to inform him of what became of the child. She died thinking she deprived him of his child when in fact the very end of the Novel suggests that he did meet his child.(Relate back to Feminism)
Conclusion Possession is a complicated Novel to read, it skips between the modern day period in which is set and the Victorian Era Of Christabel LaMotte and Randolph Ash. It also feature poems by the two poets and areas of mythology that relate to the Novel I the form of evidence that helps uncover the secret love affair. It is a Novel that is about the pain and destruction that love can cause and the fear people often have about it. However it promotes the idea that taking chances in love can result in people getting hurt but leaves them with memories that last a lifetime.