“The Unexpected” by Kate Chopin and “News of the Engagement” by Arnold Bennett
The title “Togetherness? ” suggests that the stories in this section are about characters that seem really close but really there are not as close as they first seem. Particularly good examples of this are, “The Unexpected” by Kate Chopin and “News of the Engagement” by Arnold Bennett. At the beginning of “The Unexpected”, Dorothea and Randall appear to be very close. The writer suggests this by using passionate and sensual language, for example: “The good-bye dragged with lingering kisses and sighs, and more kisses… ” This suggests that Randall and Dorothea love each other passionately.
The writer suggests that they are in love because she has used ‘and’ over and over again to emphasise how long it took for Randall and Dorothea to say good-bye. In addition the ‘kisses … more kisses’ suggests passion and love between Dorothea and Randall. When Randall left, Dorothea seemed to be missing him terribly, so much so that it was “torture”. This suggests that the longer she is away from Randall the more pain she is in. The word “torture”, suggests that the pain she is experiencing while Randall is away is extremely intense and physical.
The writer also suggests that Randall and Dorothea are very close by how she describes the way Randall needs Dorothea, “… to appease the hunger for her presence, the craving for her lips that had been devouring him through all the fever”. By the writer using the extended metaphor “hunger” it gives the impression that Randall needs Dorothea like he needs food to live. When Randall is away ill, Dorothea continually reminds herself of him by reading his “impassioned letter almost to tatters. ” She also looks “for hours upon his portrait. She gazes at his picture because she wants to be reminded of his “manly beauty”. This suggests she is very much in love with him and misses him terribly.
However when Randall returns his appearance has altered because of the illness. Dorothea then appears to be disgusted and repulsed by him. The writer does not say that he repulsed Dorothea but it is suggested because “his breath was feverish and tainted”. Dorothea also begins questioning what she saw Randall as now his appearance had changed, “What hideous transformation had he undergone? This suggests that the writer wants to give us the impression that Randall is no longer desirable and the word “hideous” suggest he has a scary and disturbing complexion.
The ways in which the writer describes Randall, for example: “his eyes were sunken” and “his features pinched and prominent”, suggests that Dorothea is no longer attracted to him because he looks so repulsive. The writer has used this disgusting language as it suggests that Dorothea’s love was “shuddering, shrinking, shriveling” away. The writer using this sibilance suggests you can almost hear what Dorothea thought was love disappearing.
No matter how much Dorothea is repulsed by Randall, he is still very much attracted to and in love with her. The writer suggests this by using sensual language, such as: “he held her in his arms with what seemed to be a frenzy of passion; a keen and quickened desire”. Because he still loves her he offers her marriage, “let the marriage be at once”, and all of his possessions, “if worst should come I want you to have all I possess. ” But in response, “she attempted to withdraw from his embrace”.
This is different from the beginning when she clung to him “until the last wrench came”, and she also replies “never, never, never! This emphatic language suggests she does not love Randall and she is not going to change her mind. Therefore it is clear that Randall and Dorothea are not really as close as it first appeared. In the beginning the writer used passionate language, which lead us to believe they were really close, but when Randall got ill, Dorothea did not love him anymore. This suggests her love was based on desire and on his looks. At the beginning of “News of the Engagement”, Phillip and his mother appear to be really close. Phillip returns from London by train.
He plans to tell his mother about his engagement to Agnes. We believe Phillip and his mother are close because when he arrived home “she was more excited than [his] arrival ordinarily made her”. This suggests she wanted to see him and she was excited to see him. The language used at the beginning leads us to believe that they are really close, “I wrote to my mother regularly every week, telling her most of my doings. ” All this suggests that they kept in close contact while they were apart. However, as the story progresses we discover that Phillip is self-centred.
When his mother runs to the door instead of letting the servant go, he assumes that she has found out about his engagement to Agnes. Phillip also discovers dining table is set for three, he then assumes his mother has found out Agnes and she has invited Agnes to supper: “She must have discovered the state of my desires towards Agnes. ” When Mr Nixon comes for dinner, Phillip assumes that Mr Nixon has come to discuss his mother’s finances with him. In actual fact none of these things had anything to do with Phillip or Agnes.
Also Phillip just thinks of his mother as someone who needs him to look after her: “I was all my mother had. This suggests Phillip is self-centred because he assumes that his mother’s life revolves around him At the end of the story Phillip discovers he is selfish. “And I was ashamed of my characteristic filial selfish egoism. ” Phillip realises this because Mr Nixon was the person joining him and his mother for supper instead of Agnes, and Mr Nixon didn’t come round to discuss Phillip’s mother’s finances with Phillip, but he came to announce his engagement to Phillip’s mother. Phillip also realises he does not know his mother very well.
At the beginning of the story he thinks of her as his ‘plump little mother’ but when she tells him of her engagement, he soon realises that she is a woman, who attracts men, “I never realised that she was desirable, and that a man might desire her. ” This then makes the reader realise that Phillip and his mother were not as close as they first thought because it is obvious that Phillip does not know his mother very well. Also we know they are not very close because in their letters they just spoke of gossip and spoke nothing about any important things, i. e. engagements. You can’t write even to your mother and say in cold blood: I think I’m beginning to fall in love with Agnes. ”
Therefore it is clear that both of these stories are in the section called “Togetherness? ” because they are stories about characters that seem to be closer than they actually are. In “The Unexpected”, Randall and Dorothea seem to be close and very much in love but as the story progresses it is clear that their love and relationship is based on desire. In “News of the Engagement”, Phillip and his mother seemed to be close, but at the end of the story it is clear that they hardly know anything about each other.
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