HI. I’m feeling things!!! This is an unfairly dead blog. I’m not currently smart enough to formulate a coherent argument. Instead, I’m going to list off a few things that I know are connected, but cannot formulate a full argument on in any case.
- Naming a place (Penn?)Sylvania and the lack of forethought or foresight that Her attributes to this.
- “I am Hermione out of Shakespeare / I am not Hermione out of Shakespeare.” The way George attempts to tell Her she is Undine, or better yet the mermaid out of Anderson. Determination. External versus internal identity. Attempts to self-define. The mortifying ordeal of being defined by others.
- Pennsylvania = Sylvania = the Forest of Arden. Hermione and George as Rosalind and Orlando. (Surface-level associations this brings up – most important factor is two lovers in a forest; Rosalind is disguised as a man, but in the way of all Shakespearean comedies, ends the play in a traditional heterosexual marriage; Orlando writes very bad poetry because he is in love, George writes presumably-good poetry , may or may not be in love, can only conceptualize Hermione’s artistic experimentation within the boundaries of their experimentation.)
- Hermione-the-character is from A Winter’s Tale; the novel ends in winter. Is Her placed, at last, into the confines of “Hermione out of Shakespeare” by way of this season and what it represents? (Discussed more below.)
- Also, not to add Yet Another Thing That Is Only Connected To One Of These Factors, but … winter (and self-confinement) as blankness; both a blank slate and a blank page. A little bit of metafiction, as a treat? The word ‘palimpsest’ and all that this implies? (Her emphasizes blankness and newness at the end of the text, but we the readers know of all that has come before, especially as she is revisiting the place where she started.) Deliberate inconclusiveness or incompleteness? AHHH. If I’m mentioning metafiction, I also have to mention performance (both literal and figurative) and Her’s frequent assertions that she and George are “out of a bad novel”. Also, keen awareness of truth and untruth; is the winter at the end of the novel a triumph of untruth, or a truth of its own?
I meant to just throw all of these out and ask if anyone wanted to connect these between each other or expand these further, in an intended win for Making Conclusions About A Text Through The Power Of Dialogic Exchange. I realize this is an entire mess of ideas, though! Still, though, if anyone has further thoughts on HERmione and: references to Shakespeare, settings, the ability of names to determine identity, external vs internal determination of the self, metafiction, untruth, or any of the above, please jump in.