Corinna K. 10-15-12

In the beginning of Monday’s seminar class, we talked about the book Washington Square that we had read and written a paper on.  While a majority of the points made were in agreement with my thoughts while reading the book, a couple of interesting and new observations came up as well.  For one, I never really gave much thought to the time period that this story was placed in.  After discussing it in class, it was brought to my attention that selecting the setting is actually a thoughtful process.  Henry James wrote this book to take place in the 1850s with the purpose of having the events occur at a time that was calm.  No war was going on and there were not many worries; it was a time of relative prosperity.  I also never realized the possibility that the story was given its title to evoke all that is bright and calm.  I was actually a bit disappointed that I did not make this connection, in that I know the area of Washington Square quite well.  Lastly, James’s comment of Catherine carrying everything on her broad back came to mean something different to me than to many of my fellow classmates.  To them, I believe it was taken as a negative comment that put Catherine down.  However, to me, it seemed that James was just bringing to our attention that there was much that Catherine had to deal with.  Therefore, she needed a broad back to get through it all.  I did not pick up on the negative connotation of being open and making everything visible to others.

After discussing the book, we watched a couple of films based on it.  First we watched parts of The Heiress, and then we watched Washington Square.  The Heiress was a more dated film, but it was also my favorite of the two.  The Heiress was more true to the book than Washington Square. In Washington Square, the cousin had to introduce Morris to Catharine, which made it seem like he had no idea she even existed.  I didn’t like how Catherine seemed so uneasy and hyperactive.  On the other hand, she did a good job of showing how desperate she was for her father’s acceptance.