Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bonnie's answers ~ Flora fixes Meriam's problem

3. What "problem" does Flora think each character has?
4. How does Flora "fix" each character's problem?

I'll start with Meriam Beetle, the hired girl. In chapter 6 Flora, wanting her curtains washed, went to visit Meriam. It was just after the birth of a fourth child, whose father was apparently Seth Starkadder. The problem, as Flora saw it, was that Meriam needed to know about birth control. So Flora proceeded to explain contraception. [Sukebind is a weed whose flowering in the spring symbolises the quickening of sexual urges in man and beast.]
"...I will tell you how to see that nothing happens. And never mind about the sukebind for a minute (what is this sukebind, anyway?) Listen to me."

And carefully, in detail, in cool phrases, Flora explained exactly to Meriam how to forestall the disastrous effect of too much sukebind and too many long summer evenings upon the female system.

Meriam listened, with eyes widening and widening.

"'Tes wickedness! 'Tes flying in the face of Nature!" she burst out fearfully at last.

"Nonsense!" said Flora. "Nature is all very well in her place, but she must not be allowed to make things untidy. Now remember, Meriam -- no more sukebind and summer evenings without some preparations beforehand..."
5. Does Flora herself have a problem?

Yeah, I think she's a busybody. On the other hand, maybe it was helpful to bring Meriam up to date with the world as it was in 1932, when this book was first published.

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