OT: Willis (Arabel, All my Darling Daughters)

Rebecca Ganetzky jlynn_cmc_edu at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 21 23:11:59 EDT 2001


I hate to be blatantly obvious with my attempts to derive symbolism, but, at 
least in my copy of Fire Watch, the blurb (isn't blurb a great word?) 
basically declares that the story is an allusion to Elizabeth Barrett 
Browning, and ends with "But she left her sisters _Arabel_ and Henrietta 
behind." (Emphasis my own).  Zibet is obviously (given the intro) derived 
from Elizabeth, and takes on the Barrett Browning character.  Henra is 
Henrietta, one of the two sisters.  Octavia could be the servant Octavius, 
from the beginning quote, trying to stand up for Elizabeth at the end.  That 
leaves Brown and Arabel.  One would think Brown is Browning (from the name) 
but he seems to be more of a symbolic Barrett -- with Daughter Ann, etc.  
Arabel seems to be a name thrown in.  She doesn't seem to be in any way 
related to Arabel Barrett, except for when she agrees to sleep with the 
admin, who may be her father, although that doesn't seem to fit completely 
correctly.
Also, if I have my allusions right, and I may not, I thought that there was 
an Arabel who was a female demon -- hold on (to the book of baby names we 
go.) Okay, wow, I ws wrong, apparently Arabella means prayerful (I didn't 
know that was a word) (www.babynamer.com (nice site for looking up allusions 
by the way) doesn't have Arabel)  I don't know what to make of that at all. 
Anyway that's what I've gotten so far, I may have some more coherent stuff 
when it is morning, and I am actually awake.
RDG
-"I don't have a lot of patience with Shakespeare conspiracy theories.  They 
all, with the exception of the Bacon theory seem to be based on the 
inability to accept the obvious: that Shakespeare was Shakespeare. (The 
Bacon theory seems to be based on a decoder ring" -Connie Willis, intro to 
Winter's Tale
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