Monday 10/15

In today’s seminar, we spoke about the novel Washington Square by Henry James. When I was first reading it, I could tell that Dr. Austin Sloper had a very sarcastic and condescending tone when speaking to his daughter, Catherine. He never considered his daughter anything special, and that is shown in his cruel words. In class, we spoke about a particular line from the novel in which Dr. Sloper really insults Catherine. She comes downstairs in a vibrant red dress, of which she feels very confident about because her late mother always wore red. She was very excited to wear the dress and be closer to her mother. However, when she walked down, Dr. Sloper immediately shot her down. First, he exclaimed that it was improper to “wear her wealth on her broad back.” He then said that she looked ridiculous because her mother “was dark; she dominated the color.” ¬†The class discussion really helped me to grasp even the smallest details with big significance in the novel.

We also watched clips from the movie and play versions of The Heiress¬†in class. While watching the movie, I felt that the producer did not do the novel justice. He cut out the part about Catherine’s red dress, and he seemed to modernize it. The party Catherine had attended and the way the characters acted made it seem like any high school or college party someone would go to today. Morris seemed like “prince charming” discovering the painfully awkward girl at the party. It just seemed weird to me more than anything. The play was much different, however. The play preserved more of the literary elements and James’ tone while adding a whimsical aspect through dramatic acting. I look forward to seeing it on Wednesday!