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Day 6 - Elissa (Hope) 
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Post Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
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Here begins the Sixth Day, wherein, under the rule of Elissa, the discussion turns upon those who, on being provoked by some verbal pleasantry, have returned like for like, or who, by a prompt retort or shrewd maneuver, have avoided danger, discomfiture or ridicule.



Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:06 am
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
Comacho, did you find that this day didn’t amount to as much as the others? The stories were fairly brief and the choice of topic seemed to limit the storytellers somewhat. The punchlines lacked punch, which could be partly due to the difficulties of translation. But I did like the second story, in which Cisti very cleverly shows that he’s as noble in spirit and intellect as the aristocracy. I like when B. punctures the myths of noble breeding.
The story follows Pampinea’s speculation that both Fortune and Nature purposely hide their bests gifts in people where it’s least likely they would be found.

The seventh was good, too. This is where Filippa cheats on her husband, is caught, and hauled in front of the magistrate to plead a case that would seem to be hopeless. But she insists on facing death rather than submitting to what she sees as an unjust law. Her defense is radical—that if her husband can’t satisfy her, she deserves the right to go to another source—but it wins the day. Once again, love trumps everything else, even something as sacred as the marriage bond.

As an aside, I’ve been wondering about the view of female sexuality in the book. The women seem as sexually out there as the men. It’s refreshing to see the attitude that women have desires and that they’re normal ones, even ones that must be allowed to be satisfied. But I still wonder if a degree of male fantasizing isn’t involved by our male author, B. If it’s true in general that women love and then lust, while for men the opposite is true, then maybe the sexual adventurism of B.’s women isn’t exactly realistic. It’s nice, though, for a male to be able to think that opportunities could just fall into his lap without having to do all the advance work himself.

Not that B. has invented women as sexually aggressive. That charge was brought against women through the ages, regardless of the hypocrisy it shows in the men who brought it. B. simply seems to have a positive attitude toward it, again whether it’s strictly real or not.

In the tenth story, things pick up, with the story of Friar Cipolla. Always count on the clergy to provide some entertaining avarice.

In the conclusion, B. again tries to preserve the illusion that the ladies must be persuaded to tell bawdy stories. The ladies object that it would be unseemly for them to tall tales about tricks women have played on their husbands. Dioneo tells them they won’t be tainted just by discussing any subject freely, and he even uses the ploy that that their reluctance would point to a guilty conscience. So the ladies fall into line.

And then we have the most otherworldy scene yet described to us, as the ladies and then the men frolic in a garden the size of a national park. The ladies skinnydip, and unfortunately for the men, they don’t get to see the ladies' “chaste white bodies.”


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Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:25 am
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
Yes, the stories in this day were all very short, with the exception of the very last story. They really depended on, like you said, a punchline. To be honest, I think that most of these stories would be appropriate for an elementary school student because most of the witticisms were trite. They weren't only trite as in the case of the woman who shouldn't look in the mirror, but they were also lost in translation somewhat like the story about the poet who jumped the tombstone and made the remark about saying whatever you wanted to say to him while he was in your house. Yeah, this whole day was a dud but like the other days, Dioneo's story was worth reading even though it was another attack on the clergy's dishonesty, greed, and deviant behavior. To be honest I could have done without this day. It wasn't necessary.

The stories were just too short and didn't have any umph as they rested entirely on their little punch line that wasn't entertaining enough to warrant reading the entire story. Dud here... I have my notes at home but I can't remember a really good story in this day.

The 7th story: This story didn't rely on a punchline like the others, although the question about throwing the surplus to the dogs was probably meant to be just that. It was a really good line considering that in the proper Italian it would have looked very close to a line in the bible. I have a feeling that this day is meant to cool down the reader in preparation for more shock value in the next day. This day was very tame. How many other stories in this day had sex? Tomorrow we can expect the entire day to be about adultery.

I totally agree that there is male fantasizing... and a lot of it. The story about Massetto and the nuns (one of my personal favorites) is pure male sexual fantasy. And although the main character is male it is the female characters which initiate sex/match male sexual desire.

I don't think he shows women as sexual predators - not that you said that - but he does show that they have needs. I don't mean wants, I mean needs placed upon them by nature. They naturally seek coupling as did the little mountain boy that came to town where he saw his first woman and knew, although he had never seen a lady, that he must have her.

Notice all the talk about the relics in the 10th story? That's really interesting to me. I want to know real stories about this.

Yeah, B.'s crafty side comes out with Dioneo's little lawyering. You can get an idea for what banter may have been like between the sexes here. It definitely encourages women to be a little more provocative without sacrificing their virtuosity or dignity in public. It's common latin behavior.

"chaste white bodies" hahaha, yeah. I remember that. That was a nice image of the girls naked trying to grab fish. I won't get crude but with all the doubles entendres in the book, it's hard to take B. at face value anymore.



Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:00 am
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
"Like a vulture descending on carrion, down he swooped." In describing a poor ugly man trying to pick up a poor ugly woman. That is hysterical.

"And without a doubt he could easily have got away with it in those days, because the luxuries of Egypt had not yet infiltrated to any marked degree into Tuscany, as they were later to do on a very wide scale, to the ruination of the whole of Italy." I wonder what he meant by this. Some kind of trade or lifestyle change occurred. I'm guessing it's along the lines of when Holland went crazy for tulips... and not Robert variety.

Clergyman: "Liarland, where I found a large number of friars belonging to various religious orders including my own, all of whom were forsaking a life of discomfort for the love of god, and paying little heed to the exertions of others so long as they led to their own profit. In all these countries, I coined a great many phrases, which turned out to be the only currency I needed."

Who is Elissa in love with? I couldn't find the answer... Maybe you can deduce the answer from her song.

Nature: "who is the Mother and the motive force of all created things, via the constant rotation of the heavens." It's hard to sound intelligent and religious at the same time. Good job here.

"every woman taken in adultery was to be burned alive, whether she was with a lover or simply doing it for money." Simply doing it for money? I guess these women lived on an allowance and if it wasn't ample enough they sought out fun-ds.



Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:54 pm
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
memorable line from the intro: "John Thomas had to force an entry into castle dusk, shedding blood in the process; but I say it is not true, on the contrary he made his way in with the greatest of ease, to the general pleasure of the garrison."

on women, Filomena: "few if any women now remain who can produce a witticism at the right moment, or who, on hearing a witticism uttered can understand its meaning."

The story that the previous line comes from is the 1st of the sixth. The purpose of this story is so that B. can relate to his audience how difficult it is to actually tell a story or rather how easy it is to mess one up. This is brought to the reader's attention in the translator's notes. There's no other explanation for this very short and very limited in scope/content tale. It's almost over before it's begun like most of the stories in this day.

The second story contains a beautiful intro by B. via Pampinea that showcases the author's artistic way with words. He has a way of finding an area between analogy and parable - I don't know how quite to classify or describe it. I always feel as though I receive not only his intended imagery and emotion but also a message. The baker IS a hidden gem and I shouldn't be surprised that he is.

The reader on digesting the first two stories should be a little surprised by the departure from the norm this day seems to bring.

I think I'm going to need to read the second story over again. Its message hasn't really sunk in yet. Maybe the wine represents a daughter? Something of value that is made more valuable/honorable/virtuous by its exclusivity/loyalty. Maybe the Baker is actually playing the part of a successful father? I like to think that.



Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
President Camacho wrote:
"And without a doubt he could easily have got away with it in those days, because the luxuries of Egypt had not yet infiltrated to any marked degree into Tuscany, as they were later to do on a very wide scale, to the ruination of the whole of Italy." I wonder what he meant by this. Some kind of trade or lifestyle change occurred. I'm guessing it's along the lines of when Holland went crazy for tulips... and not Robert variety.

It might be similar to what curmudgeons like yours truly say about all the luxuries of the current generation, all the electronics and staying indoors. When people have too much stuff to pamper themselves with, they get soft and in love with themselves.
Quote:
Clergyman: "Liarland, where I found a large number of friars belonging to various religious orders including my own, all of whom were forsaking a life of discomfort for the love of god, and paying little heed to the exertions of others so long as they led to their own profit. In all these countries, I coined a great many phrases, which turned out to be the only currency I needed."

The friar comes close to defining himself as the devil here.
Quote:
Who is Elissa in love with? I couldn't find the answer... Maybe you can deduce the answer from her song.

She doesn't say, if she really does have a lover and this isn't just a song she sings about an ideal love. I'll note here that at the end of the next day, Filomena sings a similar song that makes the other ladies wonder if she's gone beyond the platonic stages with the guy, and they're envious of her. That another thing that makes me think that our ladies are still virginal.
Quote:
Nature: "who is the Mother and the motive force of all created things, via the constant rotation of the heavens." It's hard to sound intelligent and religious at the same time. Good job here.

I agree. When the theology is this general and kind of philosophical, I don't object.
Quote:
"every woman taken in adultery was to be burned alive, whether she was with a lover or simply doing it for money." Simply doing it for money? I guess these women lived on an allowance and if it wasn't ample enough they sought out fun-ds.

We probably don't get a full picture from the liberal B. of the oppression of women's lives in those days. Women must have loved listening to tales such as these where women have a lot more power and ability to get what they want than they had in reality. But note that although Filippa is spared and the law is changed, it still is lawful to burn a married woman at the stake if she accepts money from a lover.


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No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Last edited by DWill on Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:40 am
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
President Camacho wrote:
on women, Filomena: "few if any women now remain who can produce a witticism at the right moment, or who, on hearing a witticism uttered can understand its meaning."

This is the women's technique, to say the acceptable things about the inferiority of women, then to go on and show them being superior to the men.
Quote:
I think I'm going to need to read the second story over again. Its message hasn't really sunk in yet. Maybe the wine represents a daughter? Something of value that is made more valuable/honorable/virtuous by its exclusivity/loyalty. Maybe the Baker is actually playing the part of a successful father? I like to think that.

I suppose you always have to keep the symbolic reading in mind, this being Medieval times and all. Symbolism in literature isn't something that interests me, though. I get satisfaction from the story without allegorizing.


_________________
No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:46 am
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Post Re: Day 6 - Elissa (Hope)
"When people have too much stuff to pamper themselves with, they get soft and in love with themselves." I think people who are well fed and inactive are more concerned with sex for the immediate gratification it brings.

"The friar comes close to defining himself as the devil here." Not only himself...

"But note that although Filippa is spared and the law is changed, it still is lawful to burn a married woman at the stake if she accepts money from a lover." Lmao... that's pretty funny. At least they've managed to separate Love and business??? It's almost like saying cheating is ok, isn't it?



Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:27 pm
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