The Big House In The Last Septemren

1785 Words8 Pages
For a variety of Irish authors, the Anglo-Irish Big houses were symbolic structure used for various purposes. They were interested in depicting The Big has as a literal space. The Big house while big, was in no comparison to a palace or castle. The Big House was only considered big because of the size of the cottages that sprawled the Irish countryside. The vast size of The Big House represented the wealth and class of the inhabitants within. Elizabeth Bowens bildungsroman The Last September is set in the middle of the Anglo-Irish in the 1920’s with Danielstown, ‘’ under the imminent threat of violent destruction just like many Big Houses were in reality at that time ‘’ (Saeko Nagashima p 32) and is concerned with…show more content…
The house served its purpose for housing people of various social groups and for hosting parties, dinners and balls. The early 1900’s was dominated by land struggles. This conflict is minimally evident this novel. The troubles is outside the realm of the characters apart from the meeting between Lois and an IRA member, he is also the closest person she has had a sympathetic connection with. Laurence asks an English soldier, Gerald Lesworth, his point of view of the war. The conversation further highlights the Anglo-Irish detachments from the war. This is further evident at the beginning of the novel while at the first dinner of the Montmorency’s visit as they discuss the activity with humour ‘’ are you sure we will not be shot at if we sit out late on the steps? ‘’ ( pg ) when Lois questions if it safe to sit outside . When it is revealed that two soldiers may have been killed, the conversation quickly turns to Marda’s shoes. Marda Norton a new arrival to the house, develops a relationship with Hugo, but departs before it could develp any further. Likewise Lois is unable to connect emotionally with Gerald Lesworth. When Lois thinks she is ready to move on Gerald, Lady Naylor imposes and objects their relationship. Their marriage is not appropriate in the eyes of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy. Gerald has neither a fortune nor is part of a high social standing. Silence dominates the Bowen’s novel.…show more content…
In placing the Big House as a central character, the characters are shaped by the traditions that are enforced by certain characters try to preserve the past. Lady Naylor plays a key role in Lois abiding by the rules of etiquette. Climatically, the Naylor’s are left to watch Danielstown being destroyed, ‘’ The roads in unnatural dusk ran dark with movement, secretive or terrified; not a tree, brushed pale by wind from the flames, not a cabin pressed in despair to the bosom of night, not a gate too starkly visible but had its place in the design of order and panic ‘’ (pg ), the visual representation of the house in flames forces the Naylors to realise the Irish peoples hatred towards them. With Danielstown destroyed, it symbolises Lois’s emancipation from the Big House and its class. Both Lois and Laurence stated their desire to see Danielstown burn ‘’ I should like something else to happen, some crude intrusion of the actual. . . . I should like to be here when this house burns ‘’ (pg ). Lois departs from Danielstown and leaves for France and Gerald Lesworth is unfortunately killed in an IRA ambush, his relationship with Lois, however, was doomed from the beginning. Due to their blissful ignorance, it has ultimately resulted in them becoming homeless, powerless and
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