I suppose this was not the best time of year to make my entry into the book-blogging world! I just bought the book two days ago after a long, fruitless search of the library for two lost copies. I almost never buy books, having limited funds and space, so I am savoring the quirkiness of the cover art and the freedom to underline and write silly notes in the margins!
I watched this movie a year or so ago, and though I loved the bizarre mood of the movie, a lot of it went over my head and I didn't really get the point. I also don't remember it too well. (I only came upon it because one of my favorite actors was in it--Rufus Sewell who plays Seth.) I've always wanted to read the book to see if I can get more out of it, so, despite the lack of enthusiasm from other entries, I've begun the novel with what can only be described as giddy pleasure (perhaps this is due to Rufus Sewell flashbacks?)
What do you think of Flora Poste?
If I knew Flora personally, I would hate her. As a character in a novel like this, I admire her lack of desire to please anyone no matter what they may think of her, and am amused with her goal to "civilize" the residents of Cold Comfort Farm. I am interested in her name, "Flora" representing the plant world, or flowers? There are also several references to seeds and their fruit. I also looked up "post" in the dictionary, and thought there were many directions to go there: post as in the mail (her letters to the family), post as in to enter on a public listing (she almost advertises herself to her relatives to get them to take her in), or post as in the prefix meaning after ("after"-maybe her name meaning after dwelling on the plant world--the novel being written as a reaction to the agricultural/rural novels of the time.) Does anyone have any other thoughts on that?
What do you think of the other characters?
Again, I was drawn to the names:
The last name Starkadder: "stark"-rigid, conforming, absolute; "adder"- a venomous viper. There are numerous descriptions comparing the land and characters to snakes--like Judith' hair. The snake references also make me think of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Adam Lambsbreath: Adam makes me think of the first man, and Adam must be the oldest person there?"Lambs breath maybe refers to the fact that he is so close to the animals, or like one himself. On page 46, it says of him, "He was a tree-trunk; a toad on a stone; a pie thatched owl on a bough. Humanity left him abruptly." Hilarious, though, that he does not realize that his beloved cow has lost a leg!
Mrs. Smiling: It just fits her, doesn't it? And how can you not love a character who collects bras?
Amos: The name of a prophet in the Old Testament. He does seem to have a bit of "fire and brimstone" in him so far. I want to say that Ian McKellan plays him in the movie, but I'm not sure.
Aunt Ada Doom: This name just speaks for itself, though we've only gotten a glimpse of her character.
Seth: Another Biblical name--a son of Adam and Eve. He is someone I would also detest in real life, but in the setting of the book/movie is comically endearing. He seems to represent the basic instincts of man without any societal constraints.
Judith: I don't know much about the name Judith, but she is often described in snake-like terms (Starkadder), and it is always noted that she is wearing a bright red shawl. What's the significance of that? She is definitely obsessed with her son Seth, what with all those picture of him in her room (poor Reuben!) which is slightly disturbing to me.
The Cows: I just love their names, but don't know if there is any further meaning!
I still feel that there is a lot going over my head that was probably more humorous for contemporaries of the novel, but I still enjoy the quirkiness. I feel like there is more behind the characters that was making fun of specific situations in these rural novels she was poking fun at that I will never get, having never read them. I keep trying to think of parodies of our time, and all that comes to mind readily is Spaceballs (sorry!) A movie like Spaceballs would only be mildly funny if you hadn't seen Star Wars or Star Trek. Maybe someone else can think of a better example!