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20091110-930 Hedda Gabler, day 1 (Group 6)

Page history last edited by lauren Semsar 10 years, 10 months ago



     Today in class we concluded our discussion of Henry James's Daisy Miller by comparing and contrasting Daisy to female characters in previous works from the semester. In doing so, not only did we characterize one of the central roles in our present novel, but we were able to relate common threads across works as we have done in the past with heroes and religion. While all the women from the Odyssey's Athena to The Bible's Eve had an uncommon strong minded stubbornness, not all of them concluded with success. Even our current woman counterpart ended in failure as we defined it. However, the conversation helped re-evaluate our perspective of women. 


     We also began our discussion on Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. This short novel introduces the theme or realism. Realism, as it sounds, relates to life as it really occurs and represents parts of society through the characters. The language paints a picture, giving the reader more basis to relate and uses everyday language. The title of the novel is Hedda Gabler, infering to the reader that Hedda is more of her father's daughter than of her husbands wife. 


     Hedda Gabler is much like the women we compared earlier in her strong minded tendencies. She begins by controlling her new husband, George Tesman. She then moves on to many other characters, such as Thea Elvsted who she notices has control over Lovborg, as the plot advances. Her high material expectations heed negatively on our evaluation of women, but is unusual to the stereotypical submissive wife. This led us to a discussion of lower, middle, and upper class. Quite frequently as Professor Croxall pointed out, no one wants to be upper or middle, but "normal".


Word Count: 287




Realism- a novelistic genre with certain objectives: 1.) portray life as it really is 2.) contain a larger society 3.) descriptive physical surfaces 4.) have representative characters 5.) use everyday, colloquial speech


Bourgeois- middle class, a negative connotation (The Tesman Family)




"A spacious, handsome, and tastefully furnished drawing-room, decorated in dark colours. In the back, a wide doorway with curtains drawn back, leading into a smaller room decorated in the same style as the drawing room. In the right-hand wall of the front room, a folding door leading out to the hall . . ." (page 1)


This passage depicts the descriptive vocabulary often used in realism so that the reader can understand to a better extent and begin to imagine the scene. While I only shared four lines, Ibsen goes on for fifteen more lines, giving the reader a complete vision before he can continue with the plot. 


"MISS TESMAN (going to meet HEDDA). Good morning, my dear Hedda! Good morning, and a hearty welcome.

HEDDA (holds out her hand). Good morning, dear Miss Tesman! So early a call! That is kind of you.

MISS TESMAN (with some embarassment). Well-- has the bride slept well in her new home?" (page 7)


This passage shows the formality and unnatural greeting between Miss Tesman and Hedda. Hedda addresses as Miss Tesman instead of aunt and shakes her hand instead of hugging which shows her negative feelings towards her. Hedda also so bluntly critiques Miss Tesman for her early arrival. 

Comments (1)

Brian Croxall said

at 5:18 pm on Nov 17, 2009

Your notes for the first day of Hedda Gabler are generally good. You handle our opening discussion of women so far among the different texts that we have read in a general way, but I recognize that providing more specific information would have been difficult given the limitations on the number of words that you can use. As far as Hedda Gabler is concerned, you should first note that this is not a novel but a play. Second, it doesn't so much introduce realism as that it is an example of it. The point isn't so much that the language paints a picture (in a sense, all language does this), but that the picture tends to be one that is objective and close to everyday life. Your first passage is a good one since it helps us think about realism, but you could have discussed how the vocabulary is particularly realist. As it is, you just tell me that it is rather than exploring it.

I was surprised that you didn't make more out of Hedda's desire for control in either the summary or the passages. If there were three topics for that day's class (and there were), this was the third. Finally, the explanation of your second passage is principally plot summary. Instead, you should be showing me how this relates to aspects of Hedda's character (her aristocratic nature, perhaps).

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