After I posted this today on Facebook, a lot of people were asking me for the assignment:
Here is the one I am using this summer in my Shakespeare class:
An infographic is a mashup of information + graphic. An infographic provides readers with a succinct visual representation of gathered information. The goal is to provide take-away points from a project in a visually interesting way.
You will create a one-to-two-page infographic showing how Titus Andronicus portrays race (remember to consider blackness and whiteness). You will direct your reader to act, scene, and line numbers from the play as you provide a chronological overview (from Act 1 to 5) of the play’s handling of race. For each point/example, you must analyze in one-to-two sentences what this example shows us. Think of your infographic as a timeline with interpretations of the play.
Check out infographic-making sites such as Canva, Easel.ly, Piktochart, and Knightlab’s Timeline. They offer amazing templates, or you can design your own infographic. If you have used another application to make infographics before, feel free to use that one for this assignment.
Here’s an assignment from 2018 for a Romanticism course:
You will create a single-page infographic on one of the founding fathers of Romantic poetry: William Blake, William Wordsworth, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Rather than write a paper, you will create an infographic that provides a stunning visual representation of a topic, poet, and his poetry. The class will be divided into three groups to ensure coverage of all three poets, so make your pick ASAP to pick your poet!
Infographic is a mashup information + graphic. An infographic provides readers with a succinct visualrepresentation of information gathered by a researcher. The researcher presents the results of a project or an analysis via numerical data, her/his/their knowledge on a topic, samples from a source, images, etc.
An infographic is designed to educate and entertain readers in a small amount of time. The goal is to provide take-away points from a project in a visually interesting way.
Check out some infographic-maker websites (there are many more, but these are ones I have used):
You may sign up for a free account, and you do not have to pay for anything on the site unless you choose to purchase a special image. When you enter these sites search for “infographics.”
Your role in this project is fourfold: reader, researcher, writer, and designer.
You will read the poetry and annotate it.
You will select a topic/idea upon which to focus your study. You will track when and where you see this topic/idea showing up in the writer’s work. As you are reading (and rereading), you will keep a tally—a running list of poems and lines where you find examples of your chosen topic/idea. You are not required to include outside sources beyond the poetry, but you may choose to do so. If so, cite those sources.
You will write content for the infographic. Use short sentences and phrases to include in the design.
You need only include information your viewer needs to see to understand your argument. Your design should be well suited for a project on Romantic poetry—so no U.S. flags or things that obvious do not relate to the poet, England, the 18th/19th centuries, etc. Make it visually appealing and easy to read.
Consider making a timeline.
Collect passages that refer to a single concept or represent a particular theme
Perhaps something related to adolescence, nature, the gothic, religion, etc.?
Imagine how to visualize networks/relationships between poems.
Think about things that can be counted and how to create data (numbers and theories).
Documenting Your Work
Make sure that your name is listed in the infographic. If your name is not visible, you will not receive credit for this project. Also remember to properly cite any sources that you refer to in the project. Otherwise, you have committed plagiarism and will not receive credit for this project.
Your grade will reflect your ability to provide a thoughtful and useful infographic and to make clear references to the poet and poetry. Your grade will also be based on the visual appeal and quality of your infographic.
I have a couple more versions of the infographic assignment, but you get the sense with these two how works.
If you choose to use the assignments, I hope you find them a nice addition to your repertoire.
I sometimes teach a five-day-a-week, five-week (got that?) summer course. In the past few years I’ve only taught an Austen summer course, and this summer I am teaching a Shakespeare course. I love both authors’ works, so it’s all good. I only want to teach summer courses on authors or topics that I am absolutely in love with because as an instructor my summers are my time to recharge. I believe that we can recharge through teaching a class we love–summers are good times to try out new things (at least for me). Here’s hoping the summer course on Shakespeare and race goes as well as I hope it will.
I like to ask online summer classes to begin with introductions because the pace of the class is so fast, and we really just have a day before we jump right in to the work. For this class, I’m asking the students to introduce themselves in two ways:
as readers familiar with Shakespeare (to explain what their experiences have been with reading and seeing his works)
as readers who have a racial/cultural identity that affects how they read literature and live in the world.
For #1 the students will publicly post to the class discussion forum their answers. They will comment on each other’s posts. I, too, have posted in the forum, and I’ll share what I’m calling my “love letter” to Shakespeare.
Willy Shakes and I go waaaaaay back. We first met in high school when I read his play, Romeo and Juliet. I was the same age as Juliet. Then we met again a year later when Julius Caesar didn’t beware the ides of March. Then I found him again in Hamlet and Macbeth–two plays read in my senior year.
When I went to college I found Shakes again. I read Othello as a new English major. Then I took an entire class on the bard: the later plays. I read plays I had never heard of like Coriolanus, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. I even tried my hand at writing stage directions for a scene from Macbeth (the one where poor Lady Macduff and her boy are murdered), and to prove my dedication to the play I also performed a black-light scene as one of the witches. My teeth glowed. Another cool thing I did was help the London Stage Actors, who came to my uni once a year, put on their plays. They do a bare-bones staging–no props, not elaborate costumes. It’s all about the body language and the words. I saw performances of TheTempest and TwelfthNight that blew me away. (That’s a pun, y’all.)
After this, I felt like Will and I had a thing going on. I actually read his plays for fun on my own time. Imagine how excited I was when I went to graduate school and got to take another class that focused on his plays. It was a class called “Shakespeare and Tragedy,” and, you guessed it, we read his tragedies, including my favorites. But I also read a new-to-me play: TitusAndronicus. What was this revenge tragedy?! I was hooked, and I decided thereafter to write my doctoral dissertation on revenge tragedies and an adaptation of this play. So, yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Willy Shakes.
I’ve taught his plays many times. Sometimes I teach a single play in a class; sometimes I teach a class, like this one, focused on his works. Sometimes I teach his sonnets. I love his sonnets. I love his structure. I love “that time of year thou may’st in me behold….” I love his eternizing conceits–we all die, but literature never does as long as there are people reading it. I read one of his sonnets at my wedding (Sonnet 116) and cried my way through it. “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments….” Blubbering like a fool I was.
One summer in 2007 I even spent a couple of weeks studying his works in his birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England. I went to his house, his wife’s farm, and his final resting place. I went to two theaters in his hometown and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust learning center. There I got to sit with Shakespearean actors and talk about staging. I got to meet the costumers and makeup artists–I even volunteered to let them use me as a model one time to show a crowd of students how quickly they can transform actors’ costumes and appearances. I saw RichardII, Macbeth, and Macbett (an adaptation) in Stratford-upon-Avon. I saw The Merchant of Venice in London at the Globe theater, too, that year. By the way, the Globe is a reconstructed version of Shakespeare’s famous theater.
^^that’s the Globe! I took this pic.
In 2017 I returned to London and visited the Globe once again. This time I saw a really cool reinvention of TwelfthNight. It had a drag queen, y’all. Cool, right? Funny story–that night I got separated from my spouse who had all of my belongings on him–including my phone–and it was 11 p.m. at night, and I didn’t know what the heck I was gonna do until we finally found each other after 30 minutes of searching in the dark. Sounds like a play, right? After we were reunited we wandered down a dark corridor near the Thames and found this mural.
^^you’re seeing this pic a lot this semester.
And now here I am again teaching Willy Shakes again, and I’m excited to teach some plays I know really well from a different perspective. I’m excited to teach some reinventions/adaptations of his work that I love and some that I’m reading or viewing for the first time along with you.
I’m looking forward to this course, and I hope you are too.
For #2 students will email me either a written narrative or a video where they talk through their response. I, too, share my own narrative because I am a part of this class. At first try, I made a video, but it was not coherent, so I tried my hand at a narrative today. It’s so hard to talk about these things, and that’s why I have to do it. Here’s what I’m sharing with my students.
I asked you to think about how your racial/cultural identity affects how you read literature and live in the world. You might think that race doesn’t affect you at all, or you might feel like your race affects who you are as a person. Everyone has a different relationship to race–their own and others–but sometimes people have things in common because of their race, and they might not realize this. What they might have in common is privilege or discrimination.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot for the last five years–the American and British literary canons have been shaped for most of their existence by whiteness. White people–particularly white aristocratic men–have decided what counts as “literature,” and what has been hailed as “universal” in literature is often really assumed to be white. To be a person of color and a writer that is a person of color, is to be marked in literature. White has been the baseline, the standard, the norm (and it was carefully crafted to be that way). Black, on the contrary, has been the deviation.
You have “American” literature, and then you have “African-American” literature, or “Mexican-American” literature, or “Asian-American” literature. What is “American” then, according to this label, if not white (this is what is implied but never stated)? You have “British” literature, and then you have “Afro-British” literature. Again, it’s the same thing. White is assumed to be the majority, and a space for non-white authors had to be carved out by name for these writers to gain a foothold in the canon. To do that, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) writers’ works have been curated by race or ethnicity to show that literature is as diverse as people on this planet, but this literature is still ironically marginalized because it is always situated as something that needs definition in relation to the seemingly non-racialized “American” or “British” monikers.
Where does Shakespeare belong in this literary history? He’s like an old grandpa that everyone loves, despite some of the awkward, uncouth things he says. But he’s the granddad who has authored great stories that keep getting passed on to the next generation, and then the next gen picks them up, and they become their stories, and then those stories get passed down, and so on. Shakespeare didn’t create the canon. Nah, he was just a working stiff trying to make some money. He was a poet/playwright, yes, but he was also a businessman. It was the next generation that made him into “the bard,” that picked up his image and his writings and began to immortalize them through staging them and adapting them. The people who did this were…wait for it…white until the 19th century when Black actors/actresses began to play roles, such as Othello and Cleopatra, and 20th-century BIPOC directors make his works accessible to non-white actors and audiences. (This is what we’re going to focus on in the latter half of our course.)
So you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get around to telling you how my racial identity affects the way I read literature and live in this world. Well, I had to tell you about the canon before I could tell you how I see myself in relation to it. For most of my life, I, a white American (family is German descent) never thought about how racialized the literary canon I’ve devoted my life to studying actually is and how I as a white person just accepted this as the norm. I didn’t think about how I too assumed characters were white unless I was told otherwise.
I didn’t think about how being white meant that I didn’t feel compelled to think about my race, how being white meant that I felt that I wasn’t raced. I was just like, I’m white, but I don’t really have a racial/cultural identity. I didn’t realize what a privilege that position is. I didn’t realize that not having to worry about race and being seen as white means that I live in the world of white supremacy. I don’t think any person is biologically or socially better than another. I am not talking about the version of “white supremacy” you’re familiar with (KKK, Arian nation, etc.). I’m talking about the fact that to be “white” in America is to live in a privileged position, and that I believe that white people do not face the barriers that people of color face. I believe that white people need to think about their/our own whiteness in order to try to understand what life is like for people of color who grow up in a culture of fear and hostility that is ingrained in our society. I believe that white people need to consider how they/we are complicit in systemic racism.
This has affected how I teach. In the last five years, I have looked at my syllabi and realized how “white” they have been. I mean, I taught entire courses where only white men, or white women, were the authors, and then I had a reckoning. I needed to replace white authors with more diverse authors, and that’s what I did. I wanted to give authors of color a more prominent place in my classes, but this didn’t mean I didn’t teach any white authors. I just needed to consider that unless white English teachers make space for authors and characters of color in their literature courses, these authors and characters will always be at the margins, or worse, go entirely unread.
So my race affects me on a daily basis because I have inherited the white privilege that was passed down from a society built on the backs of slaves. I live in a society that still upholds white supremacy (not just the KKK kind) as the norm. This is not OK, and it’s not OK for me to pretend that not being racist in the aggressive prejudiced way some people are gives me a pass. I have come to realize that I need to sit with this idea, to recognize that it is a problem, to engage in race talk, to confront the racial biases I was taught as young as five years old, and to lean in to amplifying the voices of people of color because they have been suppressed or sidelined or demarcated as Other for far too long.
I’m not claiming that I have all the answers or can even fathom all the problems associated with race, which I agree with many scholars is really a construct. I am saying, though, that I’m ready to think more deeply about it and to talk about it in my classes, and to begin to address how, at least in this course, the study of Shakespeare has been a study of whiteness put into conversation with blackness, both culturally and symbolically.
Talking about race in Shakespeare’s plays, racism in Shakespeare’s time, and even race and racism in my time doesn’t scare me. Talking about my own race does, and I’m doing my best to lean into this discomfort.
It’s been a while since I wrote a What Professors Wear blog post. Thanks to my friend Lu for the reminder! Like all of you I’m hella busy and spend so much time on my electronic devices. This has made me feel reluctant to devote time to my blog. Sheesh, I haven’t blogged in almost two months!
To be honest, I haven’t devoted much attention to my fashion either! But there have been days where I said, “hey, I can do more than simply put on pants and a top!” In this post I’ll share some of those days.
There were days where I put on some earrings. Psst: they’re clip-ons.
On the left you see some long dangly earrings with a black turtleneck. Barely trying there, right? But I put on earrings. I guess the red glasses and lipstick count as accessorizing? On the right you see that I tried a lot harder that day. I call this look, “You might as well face it. You’re addicted to love.” If you don’t know the reference here, are we even friends? 🙂 I also call this look “lumberjack chic.” The shirt is the lumberjack part. The earrings, hair, make up, and earrings are the chic.
Other days, I added to necklace to show how little I was trying. 😀
Notice the non-bright clothing above and how much my hair has faded in two months.
Looking through my pics showed me that I wore black shirts a lot this semester. Dunno why. Anyway, below is a pic of me wearing a black MK lightweight sweatshirt to an online academic conference! 😀 Next to it you see a pic of me wearing ANOTHER black shirt, but at least I put on a colorful scarf.
I did wear some bright colors this semester!
See! Turquoise and cherry red!
I also wore two Magnus collars my niece and sister gave me last year. One is a flower collar, the other a cat collar. By the way, Magnus has a lot of other designs. Thanks to my friend Jessie for introducing me to this co. years ago.
I wore that cat collar in honor of teaching Poe’s “The Black Cat.” No, I did not wear black on that day!
I also gotta share this image of my favorite accessory: the book I edited.
I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me. Probably the most interested element was seeing how different my hair looks every day. The shirt I wear, the light in the room, the lipstick, how I wear my hair (down, parted this way, parted that way, up, etc.) seems to affect the color and vibrancy.
Can’t wait to get my hair colored again after I get my second vaccine. I’m gonna change it up!
I finally did it. I finally bought a sweatshirt dress! I have wanted one of these for a long time. I like to wear dresses sometimes, but I love to wear sweatshirts. Why not combine them? It’s a mashup, y’all!
Last year on Black Friday (which, I repeat, is like a week long now), I bought this dress from the Gap Factory store online and got it on a deep discount:
This dress is super comfortable and comes in four colors. I love this color: it’s called “beach plum.” I don’t know if such a thing exists–beach plum?–but I like it.
I also love that this dress has POCKETS. I know, right?! Pockets!
But the best part–and pockets are already the tops–is that this dress comes in petite, regular, and tall lengths! I got a tall dress, and when I sit down the bottom does not come up near my booty! This is amazing.
I might go buy some more. Maybe one in every color? 😀
It’s January 26, 2011, and the sun is out in my neck of the woods, which means that it’s a cold day in Maine. What better way to warm up than by putting on some sweats, right? Well, I’m teaching online today, so I shouldn’t be wearing a sweatshirt. Sweatpants–no problem; sweatshirt–not really teaching attire for me. I’m one who enjoys dressing up for class, but today I decided to wear a sweatshirt anyway!
Not exactly. I’m wearing my new Big Bird yellow, “cozy snood sweatshirt” from the Banana Republic factory store.
I got this item on a deep discount during Black Friday (which was really a week at the end of November). Here’s the model wearing the shirt:
She looks so happy and relaxed. Cargo pants? Cowl neck sweatshirt? Yeah, she’s ready to sit in her house for months on end and chill.
Oh, wait. She’s going out for a run or a walk:
I’m ready to sit here on Zoom and teach:
Zoom teaching and bright colors go together like peanut butter and jelly. The first day of class is definitely a wake up and get excited about the semester kind of day.
As you can see I’m also showing off my new hair color–supposedly “Midnight Amethyst.” I normally go to the hairdresser to have her color my hair, but with COVID on the rise I decided to try my own fashion color dye. This was a first for me, and the color turned out kind of blue-purple. I guess blue is the midnight and purple is the amethyst. Anyway, it doesn’t look like the color on the box, but that’s OK.
Also: I didn’t do fish face or duck face when I took my selfie.
So, I’m curious to see how this color washes out. I’ll post some updates. For now, I am enjoying the dark color. I’ve always had light colored hair (until it fell out), and now I’m experimenting with different colors. I thought I might hate the dark color on me, but I’m enjoying it!
I’m also feeling good about this color combo: canary yellow + midnight amethyst + plum lips = win!
I hope you enjoyed your first day back in the classroom–whatever that means for you.
This is a fashion blog post, and you might have thought I would talk about what people were wearing at the inauguration. After all, ABC decided that we needed to know which designers Biden and Harris were wearing. But I’m not. Today I am interested in the symbolic.
On this historic day, I join hundreds of thousands of women who are are wearing pearls to honor the inauguration of our new U.S. vice-president, Kamala Harris. This fashion statement is encouraged by Hope Aloaye, seen below wearing her pearls before inauguration day:
“I wanted a group that was inclusive because we already have so many other things that are so divisive in this country, especially right now,” Aloaye explained in an interview, so she created a Facebook page. She’s not alone in turning to social media and creating groups to encourage people to dress like Kamala on this inauguration day. The “Chucks and Pearls Day” Facebook group has over 90,000 members! Check out the group’s moderator Felicia Cheek getting ready for today:
I am wearing my mother-in-law’s mother’s pearls today. I only wear these pearls on special occasions, and today is certainly one of those! Some of my friends are wearing their pearls too!
Today is a day of celebration. It marks the first time a woman has become vice-president, and I’m so pleased that she is the woman who is our new vice-president.
I first felt a personal connection with Kamala Harris during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. I applauded her direct questioning and refusal to back down: “I’m asking you a very direct question. Yes or no?”
I think she became a personal hero for many of us in the U.S. during that time. She stood up for us against a man who was accused by multiple women of being a rapist and yet had the support of so many people to gain the honor of being appointed to the Supreme Court. It was a dark time for many of us, but Harris’s determination offered a glimmer of hope.
Today Kamala Harris makes history, and she makes us proud. Oh, and she wore some pearls. 🙂 Harris has a penchant for wearing pearls, as shown here.
They are symbolic for the sorority Harris joined in college, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was the first sorority founded at Howard University by women of color. The founders and incorporators are known as the Twenty Pearls, too.
Just look at those pearls!
Even with a mask on you can see her smile. I finally have real hope after four years of hopelessness!
P.S. If you want to learn more about gemstone symbology, read on. I like to read these kinds of things, and I love to wear pearl jewelry (even fake pearls–y’all know about my pearl tie, right?)
Here we are, dear reader, at the end of Bridgerton, season 1. Did it end the way I expected? In some ways, but not in all. In this post I’ll address the expected and unexpected denouement of your beloved show.
Expected: Of course, I expected Daphne and Simon to turn this marriage around and enter happily-ever-after mode. If they had not resolved their marital conflicts by the end of episode 8 I would have expected a season 2 where that would have occurred. Of course, I’m also expecting a second season. Aren’t you? Though I expect we won’t see as much of Daphne and Simon humping. I’m sure the actors will be glad of that. It looks exhausting!
Unexpected: I was not expecting for the show to fast-forward nine months in a split second near the end of the episode and show us Daphne giving birth to a boy. Why not save that for season 2? Give us a chance to anticipate something. Geez. Unless we’re done with Daphne and Simon, which would explain why that plot line is wrapped up in this episode so quickly.
Expected: Marina’s tea concoction did not abort her baby. It would have been too easy. For the tea to work, I would have expected it to kill Marina (which was a question I had at the end of episode 7) and show the world why you don’t try to abort a fetus. I’m not saying I support or do not support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy; I’m just saying that it could have been a lesson for young female viewers. Instead, Marina lives, and she is still with child.
Unexpected: Baby daddy George’s brother showed up not only to tell Marina that George is dead, but also to ask for Marina’s hand in marriage. While at first she (expected) rejected him (after all she thought she wasn’t pregnant anymore), she later accepted his offer because she needs someone to care for her and her baby. She did “the right thing,” at the expense of her happiness. Let’s hope the brother isn’t such a bad guy, though.
To be honest, much of what occurred in this episode was unexpected (at least for me), so what remains of this post will focus on the unexpected.
I did not expect Mr. Bird Brain Featherington to get killed. He definitely did the bookies dirty, but I kinda expected them to steal all his money and rough him up as a warning never to do it again. At the close of the episode, we are to believe that Mr. F is dead. What will become of his family now? Will Marina show them some kindness and give them some money? 😀 Nah.
What about the poor eldest Bridgerton brother–man, that guy has been suffering this entire season. I felt sorry for him in this last episode because he was willing to destroy his reputation for love. He “burns” for that singer, and he was willing to take her to his sister’s ball! That’s major, y’all! How scandalous would that have been? His dear mama would’ve dropped dead on site. But Siena shunned him and his flowers and chose to stay with that other unnamed dude. Why? Because she had to look out for #1. She had to know that Anthony would dump her again after that night, or if he didn’t she would have to become like all of those other stuck-up ladies, and she really didn’t want that. She was really sick of getting her heart broken. She deserves better. So poor Anthony threw down the flowers and skipped the ball. At the end of the episode he hinted that he will search for a viscountess soon. Hints for season 2, yeah?
The most expected-yet-unexpected event in episode 8 was the big reveal: Who is Lady Whisteldown? For a few episodes, my husband was convinced that it was Eloise. I didn’t think so, but the show did a good job of suggesting that it was. I mean, come on, she carried a little notebook on her wrist everywhere. My hubs thought that she was faking shock and surprise at all the Whistledown stuff all season, but I was convinced that Julie Andrews (who voices the Whistledown narrative) was going to appear and delight us all. NOPE! Penelope is Lady W? Huh?
So Eloise explained rationally that Lady W couldn’t be a servant, and even though she offered a good explanation for why it could have been the modiste (I actually liked this theory a lot), we learned that brother #2 had been with her that night, so it couldn’t be her. (Side note: is this brother not gay?) Who was left? Lady D would have been a great choice, but alas no. Penelope is our writer. Really? That seems highly unlikely.
Unless Penelope has a dual personality (dissociative identity disorder), this role does not fit what we’ve seen of her in the show–we’ve seen her in public, yes, but in private she also doesn’t seem to have the kind of personality that would befit a Whistledown. I’m sure many of you are sitting here thinking, but wait, you can be nice and sweet to people but a viper in print. You can take on a persona. That’s what being an author is about. I’ll grant you those objections to my claim.
Indeed, I could totally get onboard with a character having a side not shared with all that know her, but it still seems to me that she would have shared being Lady W with Eloise. Ah, maybe you’re thinking that Penelope just wanted something all for herself and that’s why this has all been a secret. There are a ton of theories floating around the internet, even some that suggest she was trying to prop up the Bridgertons because she loves Collin, or because her bestie is a Bridgerton. Maybe. Doesn’t seem too plausible to me. The only plausible theory would be that the wallflower was sick and tired of all of the marriage market shit and wanted to stick it to everyone of polite society, including the queen. Still, I stand behind my argument that this is a gimmick and so out of character for Penelope.
Another thing–who’s paying for the printing of these zines? We know that the Featheringtons are broke as hell, so where’s the money coming from for the printings? Eloise’s idea that Lady W must be a rich, old widow would have explained this. How is Penelope paying for this?
As with the big reveal of the Hastings baby, I don’t think it was the smartest idea to reveal the identity of Whistledown at the end of this episode. Give the viewers something to chew on as they wait for season 2. Draw this out a bit more. Ending the season with Daphne and Simon having sex with ejaculation (in the body, not the sheets) was enough. It was enough to satisfy the viewer. That happy ending was enough! The pacing was all off when the episode fast-forwarded and then flashed back to reveal Penelope as Lady W. Meh.
So Bridgerton is done, at least series 1, and we can now all find something else to entertain our fancies. I never finished season 3 of The Crown. I guess I’ll go do that now.
After watching episode 7, I said to my partner, “This episode was so boring. I don’t feel like writing about it.” He had a lot of things to say, so I suggested that he write the post, and he did! So, dear reader, I give you a guest blog post on Bridgerton by Mr. B.:
Ah, episode 7, the beginning of the end. This episode begins with a passion fueled performance of Beethoven’s Sonata 21 by Daphne on pianoforte repeatedly interrupted by the Duke’s gun shots (is there a metaphor here?). She totally rocks this piece and it is clear that sexual tension does wonders for her piano playing. This scene reminds me of siblings trying to annoy each other while pretending they are not annoyed, another testament to this young couple’s immaturity.
Duplicity is a major theme in this show, and it is present at many levels. Daphne calls out Simon for it in this episode but his is just the tip of the iceberg. There is the thing and the appearance of the thing and in the world of Bridgerton appearance matters most. The Whistledown pamphlet acts as the great equalizer by which the truth is made public – a threat to power that the queen decides she must extinguish even while reveling in it.
The perfect marriage is fundamentally duplicitous. In public men must maintain the appearance of control and provide for and protect their helpless wives and daughters. But in private, the women run the show and clean up the messes made by their male counterparts. Maintaining this charade requires significant effort which is probably why the general’s wife tells Daphne that a far away husband is the best possible scenario.
Daphne is right to be so angry at her mom for keeping her in the dark about life and sex, but neglects to recognize the values she instilled. This world has prepared her to be a starry eyed blank slate, cheery and utterly naïve. Fortunately, she is a “quick study” as Lady Danbury points out. I do wonder what she thinks “matters most” that her mom neglected to tell her though. Ironically, Daphne’s naiveté is what allows her to so naturally break down the female roles of private power and public dependence. She does not know what she cannot do (e.g. force a man to take responsibility for his actions) and so, like Whistledown, threatens the duplicitous nature of this society.
While the ladies are drinking, gambling, and having fun at Lady D’s married women only party, Simon and Anthony get in a testosterone fueled punching match complete with a body slam into a breakaway table. The injuries give Simon the opportunity to lie to Daphne about their source, proving that while he may not have technically lied about his progeny issue, he certainly is willing to lie about other things. In any case he does finally open up to Daphne about his reasons for not wanting kids. She sees the ridiculousness of it but calling out the vow as such doesn’t help matters. She doesn’t know much about the emotional scars Simon’s dad left on him or consider how much the deathbed vow means to him. If she just listened with an open heart and helped Simon heal from his tortured relationship with his father, then perhaps it would bring them closer.
Daphne and Simon still can’t seem to get over their own insecurities about deserving each other’s love. I suppose it is too much to expect that a few days of fornicating could change these characters, but I had hoped they would grow in respect for themselves and each other after marriage. What strikes me about these two more than anything is that they have everything they need to live an incredibly happy and fulfilling life together, if they would only get out of their own way, relax a little, and practice communicating effectively (perhaps what “matters most?”).
Daphne has been raised with the express purpose of producing a child and wants to fulfill that purpose as soon as possible it seems. Little does she know that waiting a few years would probably be pretty enjoyable and give her some time to learn the ropes of Duchess-dom without also learning to be a mom. The Duke wants to keep the vow to end his father’s line, an act of revenge against a man who, while utterly despicable to the point of being almost comical – Mr. “All I want in life is an heir but god forbid my son has to overcome a mild speech impediment” – also happens to be dead. The Duke’s vow is only hurting himself and the people he cares about and as he has already given in to marriage, the other shoe will drop eventually. The Duke’s prized pull out method is not known for being an effective way of preventing pregnancy and after a few years of wedded bliss Daphne would get inevitably get pregnant and Simon would be like, “Ah, what the hell, life is good.”
Misty is right that the men in this show are awful. Colin is “good and decent” but fails in the rules of the man’s world. Marina’s story turns into a real tragedy. My favorite character is Eloise who wants nothing to do with the marriage market and instead wants to get an education. Perhaps with her brother Benedict’s help she may even be able to escape the system and become, oh I don’t know, a writer?
So, there you have it, dear reader, your bloggeress needed to put down the pen (er, stop typing) for an episode. With one episode left, and one blog post remaining, we’ll see what there is left to say. Will the final episode clear up all matters? Is Marina dead? Is Benedict (so that’s his name) gay? Will Eloise really go on the market? Will Anthony ever actually get over himself? Will Colin realize that Penelope is his love match? What is going to happen with Will and Mr. Featherington? Will Mrs. Featherington ever get back into proper society? Will Simon and Daphne make up and have a lot more sex? Will we ever find out who Lady Whistedown is? So many questions surely will remain unanswered. Till then……..
How many meanings could one word have? This episode is named “Swish.” Let’s look at all the ways one might swish:
swish | swiSH |
verb 1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] move with a hissing or rushing sound: a car swished by. • [with object] cause to move with a hissing or rushing sound: a girl came in, swishing her long skirts. • aim a swinging blow at something: he swished at a bramble with a piece of stick. 2 [with object] Basketball sink (a shot) without the ball touching the backboard or rim.
noun 1 a hissing or rustling sound: he could hear the swish of a distant car. • a rapid swinging movement: the cow gave a swish of its tail. 2 Basketball, informal a shot that goes through the basket without touching the backboard or rim. 3 North American offensive an effeminate male homosexual.
adjective informal 1 British impressively smart and fashionable: dinner at a swish hotel. 2 US offensive (of a man) effeminate. ORIGIN mid 18th century: imitative.
Well, I did not know the offensive term or the fashionable definition. My understanding of “swish” has always been to move with rushing sound (or just the sound itself) or to aim a swinging blow at something (or simply the movement itself). I was also familiar with the basketball image, for I like to watch basketball. (Go, Spurs, go!) But that definition might be the one we actually need to pay attention to in this episode of Bridgerton:
a shot that goes through the basket without touching the backboard or rim
Yes, this is the episode where we see Simon and Daphne humping every five minutes. When they first started shagging in the episode my partner and I laughed and said, ha, a sex montage! Indeed, we had no idea that it was actually going to be a sex montage. While some viewers might have gotten all hot and bothered by the sex scenes–so. much. humping–I found it kind of awkward because it seemed so impersonal and detached. It felt a little robotic for my liking.
Yes, Daphne is getting a lot of pleasure, but it feels like a fraud because we know the whole time that while she has given herself over to intercourse, he really hasn’t. He’s on guard: can’t let that sperm escape and set up shop in Daphne’s body!
Now that Daphne is a sex veteran, though, she’s catching on to the feeling that something is amiss. Indeed, why does dear Simon pull out at the end of every sexcapade? As I said before, Daphne doesn’t know shit about sex, but she knows that something ain’t right here, so she eventually asks the wonderful maid, Rose, who tells her (off screen) all about how one actually makes babies.
Swish! Simon’s shot is going through the basket, but his penetration isn’t really touching the backboard or rim. Once Daphne figures this out, she decides to test her theory–which is that Simon can do more than swish. She learns that he does not have erectile dysfunction. He has prideful dysfunction!
The scene in which Daphne pins Simon to the bed and forces him to ejaculate inside her has been called a “rape scene that is not a rape scene”–that was a spoiler I saw on the internet without knowing which episode it would be in and what it would look like. I’m not sure all viewers would agree, but Daphne doesn’t give the duke much of a choice but to slam dunk it. Then she tells him off, as she should, for lying to her, and he, of course, says he never lied. Right. He said he “cannot” have children when he really meant “will not.” Those are two different things Daphne tells him, and she’s right! You can’t help but feel for this poor girl. I mean, the duke already broke his vow to his dad–he married–he might as well just give it up and sire some heirs. Maybe he already has.
But this episode probably wasn’t called “Swish” because of all of this. No, it’s a reference to Lady Featherington’s instructions to Marina to swish in her new gown before attending an important dinner with the Bridgertons. I gotta say, I have mixed feelings about Marina. I mean, I do get why she is looking to find a baby daddy quickly, and Collin’s a decent chap, so why not? But I don’t see how she’s gonna have a decent life once he finds out she has been keeping this secret and set her cap at him because she wanted to cover up the secret. On the other hand, I kinda respect her for looking out for herself and her unborn child. She does feel bad about taking Penelope’s beau away from her, but it’s more like a sorry not sorry kind of thing. Poor Pen does everything she can to thwart Marina’s intentions, but Marina’s swishing has everyone fooled (except the Featheringtons).
It’s interesting that by the end of this episode, Pen has told Eloise what happened and then the next day Lady Whistledown has shared Marina’s secret. I wonder how she knew! 🙂
Happy New Year! On New Year’s Eve I watched episode 5 of Bridgerton, and there were some fireworks for sure! Lots of explosions.
This episode…where should I begin? I’ll start by saying that if I complain about something in an episode it is surely going to be addressed in the next one.
Last time I questioned when George III’s madness would find its way into the show, and in episode 5 we saw that. I suggested that one of the Bridgerton brothers was gay and that we’d see signs of this in future episodes, and voila the artist is caught by brother #2 (who is so unimportant to me that I can’t even bother remembering his name) in flagrante delicto with a man. We also learn in this episode that the artist Granville is married (to a woman) and that brother #2 is totally fine with keeping his secret. Why? Because I’m guessing he knows he’ll be the artist’s next lover. What else? Hmm. In this episode Marina alluded to the fact that old geezer guy sizer her up like a commodity. Surely there are other things that I questioned that have been verified or resolved.
How about the fact that the duke does a 180 in this episode. He can’t marry, he says, one episode before, and by the middle of episode 5 he’s hitched. He’s confessed his affection for Daphne to the Queen in public, but not to Daphne directly, and then he avoided her for days before their marriage and at the wedding reception. Sheesh. This guy.
Everything in this episode was pointing toward the wedding night. We have all the hints about how Daphne and Simon are going to make excellent babies–which makes Daphne cry because she thinks Simon has a physical inability to have children (oh ho ho no, girlie, just wait til you find out why). Daphne’s own mother gives the worst birds and the bees talk on her wedding day about what happens on wedding nights. Dear, do you remember our dogs who had puppies, well, that’s all you need to know. Everyone in this show is so daft when it comes to sex.
As the duke and now duchess travel to an inn for the night–ew–instead of his estate, Daphne is appalled to find that he has booked separate rooms. Why? Well, they each believe that the other person can’t stand them and wants to be alone. OMG. I yelled at the TV: “He needs to fucking grow up!” These two are infuriating–but he more than she. She is just doing her best in such a stupid world, and he is a part of the reason the world is so stupid. Patriarchy.
I had to laugh at the writing in this episode. I mean, come on, “I burn” is a pretty silly way to tell someone you love them passionately and want to have sex with them. As each of the two lovebirds exchanges their “I burn” vows–a true wedding ceremony here–they can’t help but grope each other. Finally. Fireworks! Of course, she has to be undressed first. Unwrap the present, which is literally tied up in a corset! Then he drops his drawers eventually so that she can see his package (alas, the viewer does not), and then they have have an orgasmic first sexual encounter which includes his insistence that she touch herself and then his words of warning, “This might hurt at first” (or something to that effect). She seemed fine, though. “How are you feeling?” he says afterward. “Wonderful!” (I gotta admit, this sex scene lasted a little longer than I expected, and a lot of the focus was on Daphne’s face; she seemed to be having a much better time than the duke was.)
But there’s one more thing that we need to address, and that’s something Daphne doesn’t quite understand: the duke’s pull-out method. You see, Daphne don’t know diddly squat about sex, so she has no idea that he’s not ejaculating inside of her because he is trying to avoid impregnating her. Wow. He pulls out, rolls over, jerks off, and she’s none the wiser. O-M-G. This guy. No wonder he wasn’t enjoying the sex. He was too worried about his sperms’ journey.
So, I’ve got a few more episodes to suffer through–and I will get through them–and I’m curious to see when Daphne will find out about the duke’s attempts to thwart her dreams of becoming a mother because he’s too damned proud and is still trying to uphold a stupid vendetta against his dead daddy. 🙂