- Bessie gains dimension! How shallow can she be if she sympathizes with Jane now that Jane's so pathetic, and yet amidst the sympathy she defends the honor of the family by lying to Mr. Lloyd as he questions Jane later in the chapter. What might this say of Bessie's true nature? Consider also Bessie's song, whose words are so pointedly directed at Jane, the orphan.
- "Vain favor! coming, like most other favors long deferred and often wished for, too late!"
- Jane says herself, in this same paragraph that also includes elves and Lilliputians (whose book, Gulliver's Travels, she considers "a narrative of facts"), that her imagination is just as alive and real for as is reality for the less fanciful, which tends toward a sore of hyper-reality, more real than real, and emphasizes the phantasmagoria of chapter II, for which she's still suffering; yet here, at the end of this very paragraph, the fantastical escape she seeks from Swift has lost its charm. Why? Has it also lost its perceived reality? A partial answer might be found in a connection between Gulliver and tart, but there's more here than what this connection is limited to.
- Further question along these same lines: How is it that fantasy can indeed be more real than reality, and why do we so crave it? Please use examples.
- Is the apothecary, Mr. Lloyd, playing devil's advocate through the questioning (example: "“Ghost! What, you are a baby, after all! You are afraid of ghosts?"), and if so, what are his motives?
- Whom does poverty strike harder, children or adults (a deliberately obtuse question)? I see Jane's preference of caste over liberty as surprisingly mature. It is idealism that tends most frequently to claim the contrary. Defend or refute.
- Guy Fawkes
- Abbott: "if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really can not care for such a little toad as that." (I love the "verbed" form of compassion, whose spelling is exactly the same as the adjectival!) In extra minutes of the science classes I'm currently teaching, we've been watching bits and pieces of the Discovery series Planet Earth. It's fun to listen to and watch the students who cheer and gasp at the surprises, triumphs, and brutalities of nature. There are as many grunts of disgust as anything else. And it makes sense. A lot of nature is gross--at least if you take our modern culture's little pettinesses and preciousnesses and fastidiousnesses (*so many Ss!*) and drape them over the animals and pretend they should fit. Anthropomorphism at its worst and most ignorant! Abbott here reminds me of my 7th and 8th graders, basing and justifying her entire opinion of Jane on appearance, hearsay, and opinion and looking nothing at the inner clockworks. Where's the informed objectivity? Further it reminds me of the mirror in the Pondicherry Zoo from Life of Pi, whose sign invites patrons to examine a picture of the zoo's most dangerous animal. The saddest thing is the truth of her statement, speaking generally of humanity. Why do we prefer pretty? Interesting, though: isn't her deliberately blind assumption that her ignorance is truth kind of the evil twin of Jane's preference for fantasy over reality?