Literary References to Teenage Drama

In Hartly House Calcutta, Sophia Goldborne obsessively quotes English literary works to convey her own ambivalences. She uses references to other works to express Sophia’s emotions in a way that ordinary language wouldn’t be able to. Sophia emphasizes her British materialism, “The furniture was all Chinese, of the elegant materials and manufacture of which, even you people in England have a very tolerable idea; but the vases and the perfumes were superior to everything of the kind within my knowledge, and as such had a time effect on my feelings ” (24).

Sophia uses literary work quotes to also express her outrage, awe or childishness many times throughout the novel. For example, she uses a reference from William Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night” to demonstrate her displeasure of her father being “friends” with an English widow, “—-She never told her love, But let concealment, &c., &c.”(110).

This quote belongs to Viola, who disguises herself a man but falls in love with Duke Orsino. However, Orsino is in love with another woman and as a result, Viola keeps her feelings a secret, “She never told her love,/ But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,/ Feed on her damask cheek.” Sophia uses this literary reference to illustrate that although Mrs. D says she wants Sophia’s father’s friendship, Sophia is doubtful and believes that she is really hiding her real feelings to deceive her father. This quote demonstrates that she is keeping her English sensibility. Although it does portray her as childish and jealous because she doesn’t want her father to be with anyone else, she is also just expressing herself as a normal teenager who has experienced the loss her mother feeling threatened  and insecure at the possibility of her father having another wife.

Sophia uses this literary reference to illustrate that although Mrs. D says she wants Sophia’s father’s friendship, Sophia is doubtful and believes that she is really hiding her real feelings to deceive her father. This quote demonstrates that she is keeping her English sensibility. Although it does portray her as childish and jealous because she doesn’t want her father to be with anyone else, she is also just expressing herself as a normal teenager who has experienced the loss her mother.

-Ana Diaz-Galvan

 

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One thought on “Literary References to Teenage Drama

  1. I like your focus and analysis on what Sophia says and what it means, I think your blog could be made further great by continuing onto why this space is created. What I mean by this is answering why the gap in what Sophia means and says exists. Why would the author choose elite English quotes for Sophia to express herself instead of justs saying it outright?

    Thanks!

    Like

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