Conrad's Fate

minnow at minnow at
Fri May 27 15:13:25 EDT 2005

Verity wrote gnomically:
>> >I strongly disagree.

and I asked:
>> What with?  and why?

to which her response:
>With the quoted text you removed, about centrality and neutrality.

The exchange as quoted went:

>> to the other characters, the fact of his centrality to the plot and the
>> fact that he isn't an objective viewer at all seems to not occur to us
>> as much.
>I strongly disagree.

and I really cannot make head nor tail of this.  Are you saying that you
feel strongly that it does occur to us? (to which of us?) or that it occurs
to the other characters?  or that he is in fact an objective viewer? or
that he isn't central? ...  could you expand a little on your disagreement
and its causes?  By removing most of Aimee's sentence there, you left an
ambiguity ("to the other characters [x] doesn't occur to us" is
gobbledegookish, which I don't think her original remark was, though it
took me a while to find it), which I found opaque.

>Very naughty fish, to delete something and then ask what it was!

Play fair, I asked what you were disagreeing with, and why, and I didn't
think it would help if I left the quote in, because I had already given up
on "which bit of the above does this disagreement apply to?".  I got a
feeling that your reply must be a reference to some other part of the
Aimee's paragraph, which you'd already snipped.  As it stands, I was
baffled by it.  I was asking for clarification, not just to be sent back to
what I'd already failed to grasp.

I suppose I could have inserted the whole paragraph and asked which bit you
were disagreeing with.  So I'll do that now

Aimee's whole para went

By acting as this ëthird person viewerí, always trailing in the wake of
Christopherís proactivity and witness to things going on, Conrad seems
to echo his role in the house as the servant who should be unseen and
unheard, and as in the book Conrad manages to melt into the background
to the other characters, the fact of his centrality to the plot and the
fact that he isnít an objective viewer at all seems to not occur to us
as much. It seems to me to be a quite sneaky way of getting a reader to
both trust Conrad and not suspect heís been damped down by
enchantments, and of echoing the theme of servanthood and invisibility
in the novel. All the while completely maintaining integrity with what
is going on in the novel itself in terms of character and events."

(I haven't corrected the apostrophes/quotes, because if I have to cope with
them coming out as something Other I don't see why everyone else shouldn't
suffer too.  Why my Mac insists on interpreting Aimee's Apple Mail this way
I don't know, but it does.  It sometimes looks quite like an OE genitive
case, anyhow, as in "Christopheris", so I read it without too much sweat
even on a phewwhatascorcher like today.  <grin>  "Isnit" needs a hyphen to
become that state of mind DWJ calls "offending oneself", but if it has one
then it works very well.  I-snit, the state of mind of having taken
exaggerated offence at a trifling matter.  Probably to be found somewhere
in Trevisa.  Conrad caused this in an objective viewer.  Go, Conrad!)

"I strongly disagree."


Expand!  Expound![1]

o go on I do think you mite


[1] note that I don't add the last in that series of exhortations: please
do not explode, too messy a thing to do on the hottest May day in fifty
years.  Please note also that I seem now to be in frivol-mode, for which I
can only apologise: the chances of correcting it are small.  I blame the

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