Thursday, February 16, 2012


While reading Dorothy's journals, I couldn't help but notice two things: the varying lengths of her journal entries, and the varying amounts of detail in each entry. I believe the lengths of her entries and the amount of detail are both strongly correlated to her perception of her natural surroundings at any given moment.

For example, in the entry on page 34 from May 15th, she writes, "A coldish dull morning - hoed the first row of peas, weeded etc. etc., sat hard to mending till evening. The rain which had threatened all day came on just when I was going to walk," and that's all she writes on that day. I wonder whether or not she is intrinsically driven to write, or if she does so due to immense pressure from her brother, William. Regardless, I think it is worth noting that she still manages to document her day on May 15th, though completely mundane. She does not go into ornate detail describing her daily activities on this day. For example, she writes that she "hoed the first row of peas," but she does not even bother mentioning any thing else she did that day. Rather, she believes "etc. etc." will suffice. Her lack of writing correlates to her lack of activities, which correlate to permitting conditions. Therefore, her writing automatically mimics her day: dull, which is how she describes the morning.

The following entry, however, is much more descriptive, as if Dorothy suddenly changed her mind about the rain that previously hindered her. She writes, "Warm and mild, after a fine night of rain," (34) yet in the previous entry the rain "threatened" her and kept her from her walk. However, this rainfall, which has now passed, seemed to have transformed her world and the way she views objects within it (or maybe it only appears this way since it is no longer raining). Dorothy writes, "The woods extremely beautiful with all autumnal variety and softness...All flowers now are gay and deliciously sweet...Foxgloves very tall, with their heads budding...The morning clear but cloudy, that is the hills were not overhung by mists" (34). Here, the way in which she describes her surroundings is through a thoughtful and observant lens. Actually, the fact that she takes the time to write about them, let alone in such detail, contrasts greatly from the previous entry. Dorothy even writes that, "After dinner Aggy weeded onions and carrots. I helped for a little," (34). The way in which she presents weeding in this entry, weeding itself does not appear so bothersome and boring as it did in the entry before. Clearly her current surroundings and conditions have altered her perspective.

I felt that these two passages clearly show how Dorothy's journal entries mirror not only her surroundings, but also her attitude toward them.

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