This is the semester of artistic statements- I have three due to write, just this week alone. And the phrase “political through the personal” keeps running through my head. I want to talk about it with my undergrad students this semester. How do you read a play, and understand the politics of the play through the personal interactions and qualities of the characters? How do you stay true to the holistic individuality of the character while understanding what the play is saying (if that’s the right word) on a macro level?
Theatre is activism, Playwrights are activists. I love this post.
And of course, these thoughts are compounded by the fact that I just finished Persuasion today, and it kind of blew my mind, page after page. This is the first Jane Austen novel I’ve read cover to cover without having seen the movie/BBC television series first. And how amazing. How did a woman like this live and breathe among us? Political through the personal.
Yes, the romantic ending made me cry. But this was the section that made me gasp out loud, and put my book down for a minute to process what I’d just read. When Captain Harville and Anne are in the midst of their discussion of whether men feel heartbreak more acutely than women, or whether women remember their lost loves long after men forget. Anne, of course, asks Harville not to dismiss the depth of women’s feelings.
[Captain Harville]- “Well, Miss Elliot… As I was saying, we shall never agree, I suppose, upon this point. No man and woman, would, probably. But let me observe that all histories are against you–all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.”
[Anne]- “Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”