The Golden Thread?
I made a reference to Lucie Manette in one of my previous posts. I thought of her again as I was re-reading "The Goblin Market". Lucie is a typical Victorian female from A Tale of Two Cities. Her blonde hair is the "golden thread" that links and binds the characters through love, while her foil, Madame DeFarge knits them together with the black wool of hate and revenge.
I notice in Rosetti's poem there is a reference to a lock of golden hair, the lock that Laura uses to pay for the fruit.
But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
"Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather."
"You have much gold upon your head,"
They answered altogether:
"Buy from us with a golden curl."
She clipped a precious golden lock,
She dropped a tear more rare than pearl,
Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red:
I wonder what this gold hair might have represented to the Victorians. Here it seems to be something refined and innocent that Laura sacrifices. With Lucie, it is her care, concern, and love--her womanly gift to care for her family and her nest.
There are also references to nests in Rosetti's poem. (?)
I can't put it into words (that's what poetry is for I suppose) but both works seem to capture the special, almost unwordly, qualities the Victorians assigned to women. Victorians embraced the feminine so much that no woman could live up to the ideal. And of course, many women were trapped by it as well.
....But, it seems sad that some of it has been lost. To be a liberated woman in our time, we are often expected to look and act like men. Our feminine characteristics are seen as weak. Have you even been scoffed at when people find out that you are a knitter? Why? I have read a lot of Nathaniel Hawthorne. He longed for a different standard for feminity and admired the hardiness, strength, and grace of early colonial women. He complained that the Victorian woman had become weak and superficial. Why did this happen? Would Rosetti agree with Hawthorne's assessment? I am not sure.