NABOKV-L post 0017305, Mon, 10 Nov 2008 13:17:06 -0500

Re: QUERY: Aunts and orphans, THANKS
Speaking of aunts & uncles and Joyce and Dubliners: the unnamed (because
first-person) narrator and protagonist of Joyce's "Araby" in Dubliners
is, or seems to be, raised by an aunt and uncle. He depends on his
uncle for money and appears to be living with them. There is no mention
of parents, and because the narrator is adolescent or pre-adolescent,
the inference is that there are no parents.

Eric Hyman

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On
Behalf Of Matthew Roth
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] QUERY: Aunts and orphans, THANKS

Thanks to all for the responses below. I had thought of Jane Eyre and
Tom Sawyer, but I hadn't thought about David Copperfield, Vashtar, the
Wiz of Oz, or Pollyanna. I can now add that Tolstoy himself was an
orphan and was raised by his Aunt Alexandra. Also, the title character
in Mary Shelley's novella Mathilda is raised by her severe aunt after
her mother dies and her father abandons her. It might be interesting to
think about why exactly VN chose to make JS an orphan, and whether or
not this fits with the way orphans have traditionally functioned in
literary narratives.

Many thanks,


>>> On 11/6/2008 at 8:26 PM, in message

Tom Sawyer was raised by his dead mother's sister, Aunt Polly.

Gavriel Shapiro [and Michael Donohue]

Sredni Vashtar, of course.

Carolyn Kunin

Just barely [September 1900] "Aunty Em, Aunty Em!"

Sandy Drescher

Jane Eyre was raised by her heartless Aunt Reed. David Copperfield is
adopted by his kind, eccentric aunt Betsy Trotwood and even renamed
"Trot" (an apt word for Pale Fire) in her honor. Also Pollyanna (1913)
-- but Jane, David, and Tom are probably the best examples.

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

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