Our year-long Mary Elizabeth Braddon read-along continues on Twitter (and via the comments section on these monthly update posts) this month as we read and discuss installment number four (chapters 10-12).
If you’re interested in what has been going on over on Twitter but don’t want to sign up for an account, you’re in luck. It is possible to see discussion in real time via our searchable Twitter archive.
You can also see a visualization of our conversations (including most used hashtags, top conversationalists, top tweeters, and more) via TAGSExplorer.
Below, you’ll find chapter summaries and some questions to get discussion started. Feel free to answer them or to pose your own.
Ch. 10. After Bulstrode’s confrontation, Aurora falls ill. Mellish hangs about.
Ch. 11. Aurora and her father go abroad. John Mellish accompanies them. Aurora and Mellish reach an understanding.
Ch. 12. Aurora and Mellish get married. Aurora moves in at Mellish Park and meets the staff.
Q1: Let’s talk about the whats and whys of Aurora’s illness. Should this be read as a real illness or a socially expected period of invalidism? Or something else entirely?
Q2: Why does Mrs. Powell read Romantic poetry to Aurora when she’s sick? What does Aurora’s impatience with that poetry tell us about her?
Q3: What do you make of Mellish’s second proposal? Aurora’s response to it?
Q4: What do you make of Aurora’s return to the stables in Ch. 12? Is it symbolic of something? Foreshadowing?
Q5: In Ch. 12, Bow-Wow and “Softy” are both described in terms of their impairment, but only one gets sympathy. Consequently, the encounter between Bow-Wow and “Softy” raises interesting questions about who counts as a person and under what circumstances. Discuss.
Q6: Free for all – use this question number to pose questions of your own!