Archive for November, 2015

Summerhills (book #152)

29 November 2015

DE Stevenson, 1955. Sequel to Amberwell.

Not reading much at the moment, but have to take this back to the library so thought I would log my brief comment. There is a spoiler at the end.

I thought it was interesting and impressive that Stevenson appears to refer to rape in marriage and the long-term effects, as well as to emotional abuse. Anne marries young and quickly, partly because of the pressure put on her by a relative and partly to get away from her unloving family. After her husband’s death, she talks to the vicar, Mr Orme.

” … Martin frightened me so dreadfully.”
“Frightened you?”
“Oh, he didn’t – hit me. He was just unkind. I don’t know why I was so frightened – really.”
… There were some things she could not tell anybody – least of all Mr Orme. She could not tell him the worst things, the things that made another marriage utterly impossible, but she might tell him some of the smaller unkindnesses which she had had to endure …

She describes finanancial dependence and having to account for everything she spent, and being mocked and criticised. Mr Orme

knew quite a bit about life, and was not quite the innocent Anne imagined, so he could fill in the gaps in Anne’s story of her marriage without difficulty. He was so distressed; he was so furiously angry with the unspeakable Martin Selby that he found himself shaking all over and it took him several moments and a tremendous amount of will-power before he could control himself.
“Other men – are not like that.” he said at last.
“Oh, I know,” agreed Anne. “Arnold would never be horrid to me, but all the same I couldn’t marry him – nor anybody else. It’s all spoilt and – and dirty. … “

Stevenson shows that Anne may not recover enough to marry again, not within the timescale of the book, in any case.