There’s so little and so much to on with Une Semaine de Bonté. On one hand, if we assume there’s a plot, the structure of that plot is a lot of speculation. For simplicity’s sake I go with what we decide in class and make alterations from that. On the other hand, there is so much content to experience! Every plate is its own work, and we could go into depth on all of them.
All that is just to say that I’m going to talk about one aspect of a few images, but that’s only because I have to focus to get anything said.
Looking at Tuesday today in class, Professor Serrano pointed out just how many images it takes for the sleeping lady to notice the flood. As the city is ravaged around her, as so many crowds and individuals can’t escape the water, it takes her four plates to wake up, even when she’s knocked out of bed. And as soon as the water touches her, it skips to her servants drying her feet. And that’s the last we see of her, because as a beautiful woman of the upper classes, that’s as much as the drama touches her. As much as Ernst considers femininity to be sacred, there seems to be an injustice illustrated by the ease, even the laziness, of her escape when others struggle so. It seemed like one of the plainer class statements so far. The fact that it was a woman is interesting, though, because they are often depicted here being violated or erased, not usually as figures in power unless you count their power to captivate the male gaze.
What do you guys think of the implication that class superseded gender as a fact of life for the Victorians, as far as their power over their own worlds? Can they even be equated?