Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

Because everyone needs a hobby …

A Short Exhausted Post June 3, 2010

RDJ expressing my current state (aka an excuse to post some RDJ)

I could pretty much drop over asleep right now – my mater had a doctor’s appointment so it was left to me to take care of my Gramma, who’s recovering from her total knee replacement. I’m by no means complaining, but I am extremely tired so this is a short, but sweet post – I’m just going to talk about the sensibility found in this novel.

I know in the first post I was playing around with time period. If this is indeed the 19th century and let’s say we’re in the relatively early 19th century, then the idea of sensibility fits.

Sensibility – okay, thinking of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Marianne is the ‘sensibility’ side of the novel, obviously – able to feel extreme emotion, connected with sympathy and sentiment blah blah wiki it. It’s major movement is around the turn of the 18th century, but you can see it carried over a lot in the gothic, which is probably where one could situate If He’s Wild on a very  VERY broad scale.

So – extreme emotion.

I’m not talking about the intense passion or sex – I’m talking more about the emotion I found in this novel – points were I made the marginal notes reading ’emotion’ or ‘sentiment.’

It’s present in the other two novels – but not as explicitly in this. Of course, one would almost expect to find sensibility in these novels. Remember Hartley choking up at the sight of Alethea’s naked body? Yeah – it’s that sort of over-emotional stuff I’m getting to in this post.

More tired RDJ. You're welcome.

Bringing in some quotes:

“[Iago] had made use if her sketchbook, but [Alethea] had not yet found the courage to look at what he had drawn. After what he had seen clinging to Claydette, she knew the images would be sad, even dark …

‘No, and in your heart, you know that to be true. You were right to say it has become our responsibility … I was prepared this time, but you must give me leave to suffer a moment’s weakness after the ordeal …” p.53

These ‘gifts’ are highly tied with the emotional side of the character. They become weak by the emotions they experienced – ie: huge emotional feeling, huge emotional response.

“‘His preferences?’ Alethea frowned as she tried to guess what Iago meant and then suddenly smiled as comprehension came to her. ‘Oh, you mean that he preferred men. No, I think not. I do not believe my husband ever preferred men to women. I think he had no preferences at all, actually. He had no passion in him at all, not for anything or anyone. What I had seen as a calm, even-tempered man was actually a man who was, well, dead inside. Something was missing in him, that something that makes us cry, laugh, hate, love, even fear and rage. Whether something happened to him to make him that way, we shall never know, but he may have even been born that way.” p.158-9

The quote above is Alethea talking about her late husband (with whom, obviously, she had never had sex with). The kicker of the quote is the end when she talks about what’s he was missing: all emotions, all feelings. Of course, Hartley has these feelings so he’s just what Alethea is looking for … and he’s pretty much an overemotional sap.

“Sitting in the chair by the side of the bed, he took her hand in his. In his arrogance ha had believed that when he married her, liking her, even enjoying her company and the fierce passion they shared would be enough to hold the marriage together and make it a good one. Now he needed more. He wanted her to love him as he did her.” p.212

My marginal note: Yawn.

Like the pacing of the sex scenes and the kisses, the pacing of emotion makes the characters too overwrought – reading it is like walking through thick mud and hoping you don’t lose a shoe. I don’t care about them. I want to hit them. Let’s just be blunt. I’m tired – no more metaphors. I would have rather had this Claudette person kill everyone than have the happy ending.

But more on the happy ending tomorrow. Okay?


And for a little tangential news, I watched The Full Monty for the first time last night. I had been kind of scarred by the musical – that is, I really didn’t like the music and always associated Patrick Wilson’s ‘Artificial Flowers’ rendition with it (even though it isn’t related and is in Tenderloin). I hate that song. Hate it. Really really hate it. Anyway – all bad association until about two days ago I learned it was actually a British movie (yes, I know, it’s been out since 1997 and I never knew that – go and laugh – but you see how badly listening to it on the Sirius Broadway station affected me?). So, IMDB pretty much told me, by way of the cast list, to watch it.

And I did.


Epic film. Great acting, great comedy, great emotions – and it makes you actually enjoy secondhand embarrassment (which I pretty much get … constantly – even talk shows give me secondhand embarrassment). I enjoyed every bit of the film, I’ll probably watch it again tonight.

Why did Broadway have to go and Americanize it? Gah. See – this is a result of what happens when you ‘Americanize’ something … just let it be …

Okay. Tangent over.



Howell, Hannah. If He’s Wild. New York: Zebra Books, 2010.


3 Responses to “A Short Exhausted Post”

  1. Sarah Says:

    1st. you never need an excuse for a little RDJ
    2nd. mamma watt is sitting across from me and she’s waving and saying HI LIZ
    3rd. people should Scotlandize things. americanizing is so 90’s
    that is all.

    and i miss you.

    • Gizzard Says:

      in reply to:

      1st – truth. Maybe I’ll just do an RDJ spam one day.

      2nd – Hi Mamma Watt!! (and I’m waving too!)

      3rd – I could agree with that … like a Scottish version of some terrible show like Grey’s Anatomy – it may make it actually watchable haha


      • Gizzard Says:

        P.S. I literally just bought the special edition of the film off B&N for like $10 – discount & free shipping! How do I pass that up? It’s not even a splurge! It’s like buying very fine quality toilet tissue! Another reason to love that store …

        P.P.S. But going on B& made me MISS YOU EVEN MORE!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s