The Duchess and the Jeweler is the story of the world’s greatest jeweler who had promised his mother to become the richest jeweler in the world in his childhood but now that his dream has materialized he does not feel satisfied. So trying to achieve satisfaction, knowingly he buys fake pearls from a Duchess in exchange for passing a whole weekend with her daughter whom he is in love with.
The purpose of this essay is to show how Virginia Woolf has successfully presented the inner mind of the characters, their struggle and their communication through the least amount of verbal communication among them.The silent communication created by Woolf’s “The Duchess and the Jeweler” is firstly the communication between the reader and the story and secondly the communication between the characters in the text themselves. In better words this story firstly reveals the mind of the characters to the reader through the least amount of explicit expression of their states and secondly presents the interaction among the characters of the story through the fewest possible dialogues among them.The first stance in the unvoiced communication between the reader and the story is the revelation of the childhood memories of Oliver Bacon that takes place without the author’s giving voice to them. The very first acquaintance of the reader with Oliver’s childhood takes place when he addresses himself: “you who began life in the filthy little alley” and then falls in to his childhood memories.
This very short statement of Oliver to himself is very expressive of his c...
hildhood and also of his attitude towards this period of his life.Through the author’s prior descriptions of the living place of Oliver, his servant and his habits it is revealed that Oliver Bacon is a very affluent man now while this short self-address reveals his childhood poverty. Also it is through his retrospections that the readers get aware that he has started with selling stolen dogs, continued with selling watches in a little counter, and finally has promoted to his present profession as a jeweler.So it is mostly through Oliver’s silent remembrances that the reader gets familiar with his early days.
Also this little talk of Oliver to himself shows the reader that he has a pre-occupation with his childhood and all the efforts he has gone through in order to save all his money. Though he never mentions this, his constant retrospections show the importance that his childhood has for him. As an example when Oliver is in his room just before the entrance of theDuchess, he starts thinking of his boyhood passed in misery and hard times. This shows how Virginia Woolf cunningly, without explicit mentioning of Oliver’s pre-occupation with his childhood, interacts with the reader through the character’s retrospections and gives the reader the chance to get involved with the text.
Therefore the mind of Oliver and also his general history is disclosed to the reader through the least number of spoken words of the character.Woolf has also took the advantage of using imagery in order to disclose to the reader this state of dissatisfaction of Oliver through her language o
signs and images as an alternative to the words. She resembles Oliver to a camel that is entrapped in the zoo, and is not satisfied with its life, because it can see “the blue lake and the fringe of palm trees in front of it. ” In other words, Oliver wants more and more and in spite of all his gatherings he feels like a mere camel that is thirsty of the water it sees but is not able to reach it.
Also the reader reads the Oliver’s loneliness and his need of a soul mate, when Oliver remembers the days when “mademoiselle used to pick one (red rose) every morning and stick it in his button-hole. ” This picture gives the reader the understanding that Oliver is feeling the lack of an anima in his life; that there has been someone who probably Oliver had a sense of love for (image of red rose) and who has left Oliver due to his greed for money. This is confirmed later on by the text itself: “but mademoiselle had married Mr.Pedder of the local brewery- no one stuck roses in his buttonholes.
” This sentence again confirms his loneliness and his need of a wife, though this is not mentioned directly by Oliver himself. The revelation of the dominance of Oliver’s mother over his life and the fact that she has been dictating him all her life and is even now after her death dictating her, is understood through his constant remembrance of his mother in all his choice makings in his life though this is never mentioned directly in the story.He remembers his mother reprimanding him when he stole dogs as a child and when he buys the fake pearls from the duchess at the end of the story he asks the forgiveness of the old woman in the picture and again feels like a little boy. So these constant rememberings of his mother also imply to the reader his mother’s dominance over him even after her death though this is just understood and never stated.The reader also gets aware of Oliver’s arrogance and pride, in his contacts with his workers though there hardly takes place a conversation with them; In the first contact of the workers with Oliver at his shop, there is no spoken communication; however through their “envying look” the reader understands their attitudes to Oliver and his indifference to them is revealed as the author says ” it was only with one finger of the amber-colored glove, waggling that he acknowledged their presence.
This unspoken interaction between them is to a large extent expressive of their attitude towards each other. As mentioned earlier, this unspoken communication between the reader and the text takes place among the characters of the story as well. The very first silent communication among the characters occurs when Oliver as a youngster is passing through a group of jewelers discussing the price of gold and “one of them would lay a finger to the side of his nose and murmur, ‘hum-m-m,’ as he passed.It was no more than a murmur; no more than
- Child Development
- Decision Making
- Foster Care
- Common sense
- Growing Up
- Child Observation
- Childhood Memories
- Parenting Teens
- Baby Clothes
- First Love
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