What does “time” mean anyway?
Megan Reynolds: Last week my partner in crime Emily Alford beautifully explained how My sweet Audrina is an entry into the canon of the female Gothic novel, sitting next to works like Daphne du Maurier Rebecca but intended for adolescents and not for adult women. Perhaps that explains why MSA traffics in such a high melodrama, but I’m ready to attribute this to the genre. What I don’t want to let stand however, it is the question of time and how it works in Whitefern.
Truth be told, the responsibility for choosing the topic for this week’s book club discussion filled me with the same kind of terror that I have experienced in other real book clubs, but luckily the topic I chose is very important and also very apparent. The weather is cloudy in Whitefern; he is moving forward in spite of everything. BBut the way our sweet Audrina lives the passing of time does not make sense!
Audrina struggles with time, simply because her father has kept her in the dark and any questions she might have about her age or month are cleverly evaded. His confusion is not due to the fact that there is a contradiction in what his father is telling him; it is simply because, in the eyes of his monstrous father, he cannot be trusted with this information. Audrina’s memory is flawed, so much so that she begins to keep a journal so that she can try to remember anything concrete about her life. Living like her, in this sepulchral house, in the shadow of the memory of the first Audrina, the present-day Audrina exists as if she were trapped in amber at an unspecified age, either seven years or, I suppose, approximately. 14? As a narrative device, fucking over time the way MSA gives a threatening air to the procedure, even if it is a bit heavy. Consider this passage on Mercy Marie, the older sister of Lucietta and Ellsbeth, who is not alive, as I thought before, but is he dead? I think? When our sweet Audrina asks when was the last time she saw Mercy Mary alive, Papa embraces her in his greasy little arms and says:
“Honey, stop confusing your brain with efforts to remind yourself of the past.” Today is what counts, not yesterday. Memories are only important to seniors who have already had the best of their lives and have nothing to look forward to. You are just a child and your future is long and inviting in front of you. All the good things are in front, not behind, you can’t remember all the details of your early childhood, but neither can I.
Here we have the most succinct explanation of how time works in the world of VC Andrews. The past is the past, but it is also mutable. Memories are subjective, and change with each story; adjust the truth enough when telling it, and the edited version of the past finally becomes a fact.
Émilie Alford: “The past is the past, but it is also mutable. The memories are undersubjective, and changes with each story; adjust the truth enough times when you tell it, and the edited version of the past tends to become fact, ”could be taken from a Faulkner novel if it was a rehearsal and had a few parentheses aside. Which brings me to my take on how time is used in this and other Andrews novel: No Southern writer ever escapes Faulkner’s shadow.
I have long been of the opinion that, Did William Faulkner write Flowers in the attic, the resulting novel would have been the greatest of all American letters. This theory was not well received in my doctorate. defense, and it is not endorsed by any white man Southern writer or modernist scholar to whom I proposed it, and for these reasons, I know it is solid. But VC Andrews is undoubtedly a writer from the South, and his ramshackle mansions reeked of old wounds are absolutely adjacent to Compson. The cornerstone of Southern Gothic is the idea that an unrecognized trauma is never fully buried because the past does not die, and ghosts are just Lichtenberg figures reflecting the South’s refusal to recognize how its violent history has shaped its current reality. In the short story “A Rose for Emily”, a corpse decomposes in an upstairs bedroom, while the titular Emily sleeps next to him each night, keeping Hope alive despite the grotesque reality as time goes on. ‘stop in his decaying pre-war mansion.
And that brings us to Audrina, where everyone is both young and old and yesterday might as well be ten years from now, all because no one will be honest about what happened to Audrina, maybe because the to do would be to recognize that no matter who killed the first and best Audrina, the violence and hopeless misfortune of the house and all of its occupants exists both before and after her individual trauma. In a Faulkner novel it can always be 1865 or 1935 because Faulkner, as well as all revisionists-it must be both and neither. Likewise, these early VC Andrews novels are loosely set in the southern part of the 20th century, haunted by characters who never get away with it no matter what the actual ending says.
Before we move on to next week’s reading question, I need to make a correction and my sincere apologies. Last week I suggested that Andrews longtime ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman wrote Audrine, but it was released in 1982, four years before Andrews died. He later wrote a sequel.
I think part of the reason I misinterpreted my source when saying that Neiderman wrote this novel is that it’s hard to believe that a grown woman wrote the ideas for this book and thought: “Yes, it’s a pretty good representation of what women think about themselves and the world around them. However, it does play into my ideas as to why these books were so popular with young girls – Audrina and the book itself seem to determine which misogyny is good and which misogyny is bad, much like Cathy Dollanganger from Flowers in the attic. For example, Audrina and Audrina’s father may agree that the standards of beauty are good because in the world of novels a woman’s inner goodness is a direct reflection of her outer beauty. But Audrine and the novel seem to be suitable that a career, as long as it is an artistic career, is also good for a woman, although Audrina’s father disagrees.
These decisions about cultural misogyny to internalize and cultural misogyny to reject are an integral part of pubescent girls’ playground policy. Looking back, it’s easy to see why Audrina’s struggle to analyze the constant mixed comments regarding gender expectations was so appealing, especially in the land of the Good Woman of the South and all the baggage that comes with her. accompany. So here’s next week’s question: In the world of Audrina, what is the definition of a good woman? How has Audrina’s definition of good femininity changed over the first three quarters of the book?