An Englishman’s Home

Task

Get together (2-3 people) and choose 5 questions to explore in detail. Write the answers in your blog.

 

1) Compile a list of lexis about social hierarchy. What does this tell the reader about the characters, the setting and the ideas?

2) Later on, when conflict between the characters becomes more obvious, Waugh uses semantic fields of war and battle. Find examples and comment on what this conveys about the changing characters, their relationships and the ideas behind the story.

3) Find examples of how Waugh conveys the importance of maintaining status through appearance and how we can see social hypocrisy through this

4) Look at the binary oppositio between the dialogue of Metcalfe and Boggett. Comment on how this is both comedic and how we are manipulated to view the characters in certain ways as a result. Why is this important? How are the rural working people described throughout the story? What is interesting or unusual and how does Waugh therefore use them as a device?

​5) Waugh sometimes builds long descriptions which seem to lead to a climax but in fact end anticlimatically. For instance, look at the over romanticised ideal of the rural life of a ‘landowner’ on p135 and Metcalfe’s ‘sudden change’ into the ‘Lion of the Rotarians’ on p142. Explore how Waugh builds up his initial crescendo of feeling and what this leads us to expect. Then consider the anticlimactic end and what the effect of the irony is. How can this reflect further ideas about the text?

6) Consider how architectural and other landscape features (of buildings and fields etc) are used to convey the ideas of the text. Compare the rural and industrial imagery.

7) How are the characters shown as outsiders compared to the rural working people? What is the effect of this? How does Waugh show that they view each other as outsiders and what is implied by this? To what extent are the newcomers accepted into society by the end of the story?

8) Explore how Waugh uses language to change the tone when the threat of building development is discovered. What is implied through this use of language? In addition to considering this from the character’s viewpoints, look at this from a societal viewpoint. Why is the difference important and what does the reader therefore feel about the characters as a result? What can this tell us about British society?

9) To what effect are the letters used in terms of character, narrative and reader response? What is interesting about these letters and why is that important in terms of the overall message of the story?

10) What is the effect of the coda (Webster’s says:  Coda – an ending part of  a work of literature or drama that is separate from the earlier parts)? How does Waugh manipulate the reader through the way he structures the events and reveals the motives behind Hargood-Hood’s actions? What is deeply ironic about what has been revealed, given the characters and events of the main narrative? What can Waugh be telling us about British society and the Upper Class? If viewed through Marxism, what can we believe about the Upper Classes?

OUR CHOICES

1) Coda is an ending part of  a work of literature or drama that is separate from the earlier parts. In this story called “An Englishman´s Home”, Coda is present due to the fact that it speaks talking about Mr. Metcalfe and his desire of becoming a true countryman. Then, as we get on reading, we realise that the end is completely separate from all the earlier parts. I´m saying this because this story ends with the two enigmatic men, which were the enemy, that were the ones which bought the landscape. So we can say that this story can be considered to contain a coda because the mainly situation changes completely from what it previously was and from the main events that were taking place.

 

3) In the analyzed text, the group which tried to maintain that high status was, as we know, the aristocracy or land gentry by not gathering with new rich or even using the obscene word “build”.

The first example which is repeated constantly in the story is the hard work made by the old rich to keep their distance to Mr Metcalfe, a new rich. This issue makes the body develop and it is a way in which the writer criticizes the aristocracy. “I was just getting ready to go out, she explained”. This phrase shows how Lady Peabury lies not to talk with a new rich, which in those times was seen as an atrocity.

The second example in which the aristocracy tries to maintain an elevated status, also very repeated, is making the impossible for businessman not to build in their territory, in the countryside. For decades land gentry lived in those lands so for them it was a tragedy to build in those lands as they would lose their freedom, beautiful place and as the order of things would be changed. “Build. It was a word so hideous that no one in Much Malcock dare to use it above a whisper.” This quotation shows the exaggerated this word was by the land gentry who were not used to buildings or other types of lifes than theirs.

 

6) While analyzing this idea we can find two main positions. First, the countryside in which countryman used to live and second, the urban area where most people worked and where industries started to take place.

The countryside was an extensive and green area better known for its big but few houses owned by the aristocracy or land gentry, a reduced group of people who lived in those lands for decades and were not used to work. As I said, this area was not used to buildings or industries as it was kept green and open by the old rich who seemed to be experts on it, this terrain was mostly used to live or spend time as it had no other utility.

The urban area is almost not mentioned in the story. However there are some detail revealed and thanks to the context we can know which event was taking place at the moment. First, the text shows us the presence of people using suits in the urban areas which in my opinion gives an impression of business and job which was not present in the countryside. Then, thanks to the context we figured out this story took place during or at the beginning of the industrial revolution. This means that a lot of jobs were taking place and industries started growing, mainly in the urban area. Finally, we also can see the influence of the industrialization in the characters who cheated over the aristocracy by trying to incorporate the industry into the countryside.

7) The rural working people are clearly a more isolated and humble group of people. Bogget is an example of a rural working man, and metcalfe of an outsider. They are totally subordinated to their land owners, and in a way they are stuck in society, as they do not have many opportunities to develop and grow. In difference, these characters shown as outsiders, arrive with a completely different view and aim, a much more optimistic and ambitious one. These outsiders have the desire of developing and growing, and so they do something about it, while the rural working people do nothing. In a way, we may conclude that these rural working people receive influence from the aristocrats, and as them, they cannot see that these outsiders are in fact useful as they represent an opportunity and they should not seen badly.

As a consequence, this rural working people in a way are afraid of the outsiders, as waugh shows, they do not take advantage of the changes that are about to come. Finally, we may say that these newcomers are not well accepted at all, as finally they gain a lot of dislike, and are in a way feared. Again, this is caused because everybody except from them wants to stick to the past and the traditions, and cannot accept that a big progress is being made, and that they should get adapted(Finally only them have success).

Of course, the aristocrats, have a great influence in this “conflict”, in the newcomers being rejected, what contributes a lot to the themes of Snobbism and egocentrism.

 

9) These both letters show a clear disagree between Mr Metcalfe and Lady Peabury. As we can see, Metcalfe´s letter is totally formal, is friendly and shows well his real intention of reaching an agreement between both Hargood-Hood, and Lady Peabury, in order gain her acceptance and divide the costs. On the other hand, we can see something totally different in Peabury´s response, as she in a much more aggressive tone leaves clear that she has no intention of accepting, as she believes she has a superiority over Metcalfe, and that there cannot be a “principle of equal obligation” between them.

This letters provoke a great effect on the writer, as lady peabury gains all our hate as she is too stubborn to see things as they are, and we understand that a miracle must occur for her to finally open her eyes and realize what she should really do.

Of course, these letters are very interesting and they contribute a lot to the final message of the story, as they finally portray how stubborn, egocentric, narrow minded and snob Lady Peabury and the other aristocrats were, who were blinded by their feeling of superiority and could not accept that they were becoming weaker, and so they keep on rejecting all the opportunities presented, rejecting Metcalfe as well. By rejecting Metcalfe and his offer, Peabury is rejecting her opportunity of progressing, and not getting stuck in her supposed superiority, stuck in traditions.

 

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