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Student Task 1 - Reading and the Study of Texts - The Getting of Wisdom ( Henry Handel Richardson )

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Student Task 1 - Reading and the Study of Texts - The Getting of Wisdom ( Henry Handel Richardson) 1) This novel is set in the early twentieth century. Identify and discuss two ways in which the manners and behaviour of Laura's time differ from what is acceptable today. When Marina (Laura's Godmother's younger daughter) called for Laura at the College on a particular Saturday morning, they set off into town to visit a 'co-operative grocery store' (pg. 65), wherein an order for a quarter's supplies was to be given. During this time, Marina, who 'was her mothers housekeeper, and had an incredibly knowledge of groceries, as well as a severely practical mind' (pg. 65), took her time sampling the products she was considering purchasing - indeed, she 'stuck her fingernail into butter, tasted cheeses off the blade, ran her hands through currants, (and) nibbled biscuits' (pg 65). This sort of behaviour would be, and in fact generally is, sternly forbidden in society - health regulations are somewhat strict regarding consumerables in this day and age. Teachers in Laura's time generally demanded a considerable degree of respect, and this attitude has on the whole been carried through to today's era. ...read more.


- a trait that she had always freely exercised with her sister Pin - however this was usually a result of her hitting out at the handiest person due to some emotional shortcoming. Overall you would have to dub Laura Tweedle Rambotham as indeed having a fairly selfish attitude, however it can be gleaned that the girl is good at heart - she simply fell subject to the unfortunate event of being pushed into a corner by her peers, and thus having to conform to some extent in order to 'survive'. Laura does by no means ever conform to any ideals that she firmly objects to, with her rejection of the 'goal for women' - marriage - being a perfect example, however her intense desire to please those she desired acceptance from - 'for the desire to please, to be liked by all the world, was the strongest her young soul knew' (pg 34) - is a prominent feature of her person, and one that was also cause of much of subsequent anguish. 3) How does Laura imagine she will be received at her new school? Outline what Laura envisioned before she reached the school, and then the reality of what actually occurred. ...read more.


This is a good example of the girls' generally myopic view on life. 4) When Laura meets her fellow boarders, she is subjected to a barrage of questions from the other girls. What do the various questions reveal about the girls' views on life? The questions fired at the bewildered Laura revealed, in its most basic form, that the girl's believed that financial status was what gave you social acceptability. This said appropriateness was most often contained within the brief, but weighty question - 'What's your father (do for a living)?' If the inevitable response did not signify that the unfortunate pater made a considerable living from a civilised profession, then the burdened daughter was considered as having very low social eminence, and vice-versa. For everything was associated with what your father did - how much money you 'brought in' per year, the number of servants you kept, and the clothes you wore. What is being shown is a classic case of 'judging a book by its cover' - the girls are not concerned with whether or not you are a nice person with a good heart and soul. It reveals that the girls believe that such material attributes is what will get them through the ranks in life - a very shallow outlook that is extremely hard to overturn. ...read more.

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