[ilds] deserving of being called a "hero" or spokesman

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Thu Jun 3 13:38:43 PDT 2010


> The fact that Darley begins and ends four novels, that he is a 
> developing artist, that he suffers and endures, that he is the main 
> character through which events unfold or get reported, that he gets 
> his just deserts, that he surely ends up with the beautiful girl, that 
> he is the person who finally has "the whole universe" give him a 
> "nudge" — all that indicates to me that he has a close and special 
> relationship with his author and is deserving of being called a "hero" 
> or spokesman, for all his faults and however qualified you want to 
> define those terms.

I think that Darley is a favorite spokesman and hero for first time and 
inexperienced readers of the /Quartet/. With time and vantage, Darley 
becomes incredibly tiring, and the books undermine him in a devastating 
sort of way.

My first response would be to ask, "If we must look to literature for 
'morals'--enough character development is found in /Pilgrim's Progress/ 
and /Robinson Crusoe/ to satisfy such appetites--and 'authors with 
messages'--/caveat lector/, setting aside Durrellian skepticism!--why 
would in the world would we patently overlook Pursewarden?"

My second, more measured and patient response would be to chide myself, 
"Yes. Of course. The /Quartet/ occurs in the reader's time more than any 
other 'time.' The reader must have a Darley phase so that he or she 
might have a Pursewarden phase. Both phases matter. The only character 
development, in the end, is the development of the reader's character."

C&c.

-- 
********************************************
Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu
********************************************



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