Exploring Recurrent Imagery: WATER

SnakIris Murdoch readers

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Exploring Recurrent Imagery: WATER

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dec 10, 2015, 9:13 pm

In another thread the idea came up that it might be fun to gather specific Murdochian imagery from book to book to see what emerges. So here we go with perhaps the most prevalent and constant of all: Water. Whether appearing as a canal, a swimming hole, the sea, rain, or flood . . . water and immersion in water, drowning, being saved, getting very wet . . . in one book a man tries to kill another man with an umbrella . (If I remember correctly!) You bet that is on purpose!

I'm not sure how to lay this out, it seems there are several elements, the imagery itself--the many ways IM sneaks water and watery-related items into her novels, what its presence presages or announces, and the specifics of each novel. The most interesting to discuss, perhaps is the second?

dec 10, 2015, 9:17 pm

In my most recent read, The Italian Girl there is a stream to a hidden pool with a waterfall, that is the 'secret place' of the daughter of the house (aged 16 or so). The protag. ends up chasing her in the pouring rain at a climactic moment. He goes behind the waterfall, where the girl has climbed up through an opening of some sort and starts throwing rocks down at him. He gives up following and goes back, through a golden mist, where he encounters the Italian girl of the title (the housekeeper and no girl at all) who then loses her shoe in the mud . . . hm..... what story does that make one think of?

Redigeret: dec 11, 2015, 3:12 pm

In The sandcastle, Rain's Riley (a car) falls into a stream the first time Rain and Bill are alone together. I found the incident amusing and perplexing, I mean purely as an occurrence at that point, really would not have seen the plot going that way.

Bill's daughter (I can't believe I've already forgotten her name; ETA: Felicity!) performs a magic ritual on a beach, between low and high tide.

In The flight from the enchanter there's a dramatic, overwrought scene at the beach the "enchanter" Mischa Fox and teenage Annette had driven to. Fox had almost driven into the sea, then he stands staring at it with terror and fascination, gets his shoes wet and tastes the water, then Annette, for no discernible reason, hurls herself (dress and all) into the water and he basically has to fish her out before she drowns.

I'll be terrible at this, I have no idea what any of this means. :)

dec 11, 2015, 8:41 pm

Ah yes, Felicity's ritual. Now I can't remember the purpose of it.

And of course we know Rain will be nothing but transformative trouble the minute we hear her name. When reading it I didn't think about that at all, I have to confess!

I want to write about The Bell one of my favourites so far, but I'll have to get home to flip through it and remind myself of the watery details.