Mushrooms and Daughters

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Mushrooms and Daughters

Post  Admin on Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:49 pm

Gustafsson uses the motif of the mushroom to convey a theme of eternity.

"Josephine was furious. 'Oh what nonsense, Con!' she said. 'What have mice got to do with it? You're asleep.'

'I don't think I am,' said Constantia. She shut her eyes to make sure. She was."

I'm so confused about what's going on here. Is it a bizarre dream? Are they awake and Josephine is just trying to convince her otherwise so she will sleep and give her privacy? Who says that in dreams or not? And how ever would closing your eyes confirm or deny whether or not you're actually asleep?

I enjoy the dialogue. It's quite funny and flows in a very spontaneous way. I wonder sometimes, I'm not sure I follow it fully all the time. It's like watching any conversation or reflecting on your own- there are inside jokes or situational distractions that change the flow of discussion and it leaves you curious or a little bit confused even when you're inside it and is amplified when you aren't.

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Re: Mushrooms and Daughters

Post  MaryShelley on Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:58 pm

yes, it's a funny little passage. The daughters are talking in bed and this exchange is in the last moments before falling asleep. They are like little girls in their responses. Constantina doesn't know whether she's asleep, shuts her eyes to find out, and falls instantly asleep-- so like an exhausted child, talking nonsense and then suddenly just giving in to her weariness and dropping off. There is a quality of wonder conveyed by the dialogue that really attests to the sisters' lack of experience.
The banter is funny, often hysterical, but always hinting at something darker given the reality of the sisters' ages.

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Re: Mushrooms and Daughters

Post  Admin on Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:54 am

This passage is one of the many where the dialogue seems representative of young girls. The dialogue in this passage wanders off subject with distractions, like the mouse, and is very juvenile in the uncertainty the girls have even of themselves, such as when Constantina closes her eyes to check if she is asleep or not. There is a lot of energy and frustration in the girls, despite the grief of their recently deceased father. Josephine is frustrated by Constantina's asking about stamps earlier in the dialogue, and again when Constantina's mind wanders to the mouse, which she pities for its lack of food. The sympathy toward the mouse seems partially inspired by her father's recent passing- her father has died, and this mouse would too without crumbs to be found. Constantina wondering deeply about how the mouse survives, though, and Josephine's quick frustration with silliness and distraction hint, along with such affairs as returning the letters consoling their loss, at the fact that they are much older than the young girls they seem to be. That they are in fact, as we find later, women likely in their forties.

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Re: Mushrooms and Daughters

Post  MaryShelley on Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:46 am

Your response is very thorough and nicely synthesizes the girls interactions. I do want you to get closer to text, however. Actually analyzing the language and lines. "Oh what nonsense, Con!" are the words of an older sister, and no doubt ironic in Josephine's case because she is just as guilty of talking nonsense much of the time. But, it's interesting how they fall into the older-younger roles here. Josephine asking what mice have to do with it is also interesting because the conversation is never really on point. At a general loss, Josephine reverts to criticizing what her sister says.

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