Archive for the ‘marriage politics’ Tag

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So I’m driving in between radio stations with absolutely nothing to do but let my mind wander. It went to a conversation Lacey and I had last week, inspired by watching Belle. I started talking about marriage and courting conventions of the time and how they applied to Belle and her two suitors, Oliver Ashford and John Davinier. This turned into how our situations would look in the 1780s. Here is what our situation would be:

For one thing, I aged everyone down 10 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Hancher of Broad Run have run into financial trouble; because of that, their eldest daughter, Cathrine (affectionately called “Katie” by those who know her), became a governess of a house in Leesburg. Fortunately, she met the tutor of the elder sons of the house, a Keith Hughes, and it became love. Mr. Hancher had some objections to the marriage, as he was thoroughly Irish and not Anglican at all, but his heart was won over by the clear affection between the two and he agreed to the match.

Since the wedding, the two younger Hancher daughters, twins named Virginia and Sharon, have been let out into society. This is not much of a change for Virginia, who has been active in church since she was thirteen years old. She is beautiful, intelligent, and charming, and her parents hope for an excellent match for her. Since her coming out, she has caught the attention of a patent clerk named Brian King. Although not a member of the Broad Run church, his family is known to the the Hanchers. Altogether he would provide a comfortable middle-class life for Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Hancher have high hopes for the marriage.

The other twin, Sharon, has been sickly since birth. Mr. and Mrs. Hancher would love to see her become a wife, but fear her poor health would prevent it. She is being courted by a baker’s apprentice, James Meyers. This has scandalized the Hanchers, as they wanted to marry their daughter to a man who would be able to provide all the comforts for their frail daughter; not to mention Mr. Meyers’ position as a tradesman. Sharon claims to have great pleasure in his company, and unbeknownst to the Hanchers, the Meyers own land in Carolina and also lay claim to land out West past the mountains. As the sole male heir, Mr. Meyers stands to inherit a lot.

Posted July 31, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Knights and Knaves is still beyond me   Leave a comment

When I was in fourth grade, I was introduced to the horror that is logic puzzles. I’m terrible at them, but I remember the answers like nobody’s business, which has occasionally granted me clues to future logic puzzles. The most famous logic puzzle is, of course, the St. Ives conundrum.

As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven cats
Each cat has seven kits
How many were going to St. Ives?

The answer, in case you don’t know, is one. Only the protagonist is said to be going to St. Ives. This blew our eight-year-old minds and taught us to listen better to the way the story is told* (well, it taught me, at least). But about ten seconds after you’re told that only one person is going to St. Ives, you realize that we weren’t told the man wasn’t going to St. Ives. Perhaps you met him on the train to St. Ives. Apparently St. Ives is a real place in the Southwest of England^ which you can totally go to.

Also, is polygamy legal in Southwest England?** The man has seven wives. I suppose they could all be dead. Each wife was around for her cat to give birth to exactly seven kittens. How did they ensure that, anyway? Did the cat ever slip up and have too many kittens, at which point the man slaughtered them all, cat and owner alike? What if the cat did the more typical cat thing and give birth to less than seven kittens? Or did the cat give birth to a litter of three and a litter of four, say, and then the owner killed everyone? How did the protagonist meet this man anyway?

You see the problem with logic puzzles? As soon as you apply logic to them, they make no sense and you end up crazy. Perhaps the man from St. Ives encountered the Knights and Knaves puzzle.

*you could said that it molded our young minds, and impressed our character and ideals! To understand what I’m talking about, please see Britches and Hose’ production of The Hound of the Baskervilles
^You know what else is in the Southwest of England? My collection of Lepidoptera! It’s the most complete one in the area, I should think! By the time you are through inspecting it, lunch will be almost ready. You are resolute then? Very well. I shall see you March 29 and April 5 at 8:00 and March 30 and April 6 at 4:00
**That would explain — haha! I nearly told you a major plot twist to The Hound of the Baskervilles, which you should totally see!

I tried to find a funny quote to put here, but apparently the internet is very serious about Vestal Virgins   Leave a comment


I will admit that this is not the most exciting video out there, with its 17-minute run, necessarily-slow pace, carefully-enunciated narration, and slow, thrumming music, but hell yes. The particular points that made me squee were the parts where Janet Stephens announces that the hairdresses were lined in purple, then showed them lined with our modern-day red, and also her conclusion, where she compares the results of her hairstyle with non-Vestal hairstyles and indicates how such a hairstyle was a trend in Roman society, indicating modesty on the part of the wearer. Tying your research into general practice? Do I need to say hell yes again?

I nearly lost it when we saw the model all decked out in Vestal Virgin gear. HY.

If you’re not up on the basics of Roman society, the hearth was considered the most important part of the home, the hearth being the gigantic fire in the fireplace. Perhaps it was born up from prehistorical times, when fire was new and we didn’t necessarily understand the science of fires. It was easier and more understandable to maintain one constant fire than to try to start a new one every day (archaeologists once found a fire that had gone for twenty years). Because fire was so crucial to survival, the hearth reached a religious status within the home, and women in particular were tied to it, just as they are tied forever to child-raising, agriculture, and cooking. Vesta is a little-known goddess in the modern day; she was goddess of the hearth. She didn’t do a whole lot, being quiet, staying out of trouble, and maintaining the hearth, although she was very popular in early ancient Rome. By the middle period of Roman history even they had decided she was too boring to think about a lot. It was common practice to nominate your enemy’s daughter to become a Vestal Virgin. By the time she got out of Vestal Virginity, she was too old to be married off and would be nothing but a burden to your household expenses. Roman society ran on marrying your daughters off to strengthen political ties. Your enemy could not turn down a nomination of his daughter, but now his daughter was useless to his career.

Vestal Virgins were powerful women. They maintained the hearth of Rome. They were beautiful and powerful. They were elite. And now we know how they did their hair.

Posted January 21, 2013 by agentksilver in Latin

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Blog Post 9a: The Politics of Marriage in Disney Princess Films   5 comments

There is, in fact, a canonical list of Disney Princesses, a who’s-who of Disney characters as it were:

Snow White (Snow White)
Cinderella (Cinderella)
Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty)
Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Jasmine (Aladdin)
Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
Mulan (Mulan)
Tiana (Princess and the Frog)
Rapunzel (Tangled)

Clearly the superior princesses managed to get their movies named after themselves! Heck, Jazmine’s movie was named for her love interest! For shame, Jazmine.

See more on Know Your Meme, and know that I was tempted to link to, like, sixteen of these.

Ten princesses is way too many for one blog post, so we’ll see how I do at three per entry (I haven’t seen Tangled…yet). Tonight’s entry is the big three: Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

Snow White (1937)

Blatant lack of nose aside, Snow White is Disney’s take on the old German Fairy Tale, Sneewitchen, or “Little Snow White”, not to be confused with SchneeweiƟchen of Snow White and Rose Red, obviously. Rather annoyingly, the Disney version skips over the interesting part, where her mother pricks herself on a needle and wishes for a beautiful baby girl. Then she dies after giving birth to the baby. Then her father, for some insane reason, marries this woman:

The movie doesn’t say whether or not the father dies. Certainly if the woman can go scurrying off into the woods selling poisoned apples, she’s probably not running a kingdom, so I’d say, probably he is still alive. This is where the movie picks up. Snow White is forced to be a scullery maid and dress in rags, but she somehow manages to win the heart of…somebody good-looking.


I would like to say that, for the Record, we never find out how Snow White knows he’s a prince. We just assume, because we all know the fairy tale. And Snow White just assumes he’s a prince, because he’s a good-looking guy, and good-looking people back then tended to be either nobility (or demonically possessed). Snow and the Prince never actually talk. She’s singing about how much she wants to meet her true love; then he shows up and talks about how he has one song for her (creatively entitled “One Song“). She runs away before they have a chance to, like, tell each other their names.

Skipping forward to the end,

People talk about the Prince like he’s a necrophile, but actually this was a common thing to do at funerals, as a way to say goodbye to the dead. The ritual was practiced up into the 20th century. It…it very rarely ended in the princess waking up and marrying you though.

So that’s the situation. We have a young man, who may or may not be a prince, marrying a young woman, who may or may not be a scullery maid. Now, she’s definitely a princess. And he’s a prince. The story appears to take place in medieval-era Germany, judging by the outfits the characters are wearing. This would mean that the story takes place during the days of the Holy Roman Empire (962-1802), which was when Germany was a loose confederation of princedoms under the nominal rule of an elected Emperor.

What is an almost-king doing running around the backwater provinces, checking out scullery maids and attending funerals? That’s what I want to know.

Cinderella (1950)

Not to be outdone in the swishy dress department, Cinderella came roaring along in 1950, to prove that you could be a princess AND maintain a nose. Seriously. The nose thing bothers me.

The opening narration of Cinderella merely states that Cinderella father was wealthy and devoted to Cinderella. He remarries, in order to give Cinderella a “mother’s touch”, and then dies an untimely death. Her stepmother then squanders the family fortune and forces her to be a slave in her own house. At least this time we got to see some of the action, even if only in a brief montage!

Also this time, we know the person she ends up with is definitely a prince.

He’s in a palace and has a nose and everything! In fact, his father is a king sort of king, and is looking to marry him off! So he arranges a ball in the big fancy palace, and whoever the prince sets his eye on, he’s going to marry!

Excellent point, Agatha Heterodyne! How does Disney justify this complete lack of political brains? Why, by making the King absolutely baby crazy!

Grandbabies! They’re like regular babies, but GRAND!

If you read Disney’s version of “Extended Edition” or “Word of God” or “Behind the Scene Notes” you know that the stepmother’s name is Duchess Tremaine, implying that Cinderella herself is probably some manner of Duchess as well. This would make her fairly high up in the nobility. GOOD SAVE THERE, DISNEY. Of course, given that Cindy herself has very little to her name — her stepmother probably fired all the servants so she could save a little money to spend on her daughters, which is probably what led her to force Cinderella to do all the chores. The house is therefore a wreck, and she has no money, or clothes, and probably a horrible upbringing. Cinderella needs a little bit of princess school, and a lot of luck, to keep this marriage politically convenient.

She needs to have a boy. That’s what I’m saying.

A horrid, horrid little boy.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

What can I say about Sleeping Beauty? They cover all the angles here. The marriage between an actual prince and princess was politically arranged between two intelligent, friendly kingdoms. Or is it princedoms? Both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seem to take place in a weird French/German nation. Cinderella’s home is described as a “chateau” and the Duchess’ name is “Tremaine”, yet that castle is totally Neuschwanstein, in Bulgaria.

At least we get a sense of geography from Cinderella: southern Germany somewhere, or possibly France or something. Heck, people in France didn’t speak French until nationalism was invented in the mid-1800s! So either way works. But Sleeping Beauty manages to be really really vague: “Aurora” is actually a Spanish/Italian/Portuguese name. But those kingdoms weren’t really unified in any sort of manner until Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon hooked up in the mid-late 1500s. Philip specifically says, in the greatest line uttered in any Disney movie until Emperor’s New Groove:

Now, father, you’re living in the past. This is the 14th century!


It’s the 14th century, so teenagers can make out in the forest now!