The main features of the psychological novel. "The Good Listener" of Pamela H. Johnson as an example of a psychological novel (character system, the main problems). The problem of intergroup relations by the example of Toby and Maisie parents’ relations.
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I. THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL NOVEL
II. "THE GOOD LISTENER" OF PAMELA H. JOHNSON AS AN EXAMPLE OF A PSYCHOLOGICAL NOVEL
2.1 CHARACTER SYSTEM OF THE NOVEL AND THE MAIN PROBLEMS
2.2 THE PROBLEM OF INTERGROUP RELATIONS BY THE EXAMPLE OF TOBY AND MAISIE PARENTS' RELATIONS
I. The main features of the psychological novel
The main task of a psychological novel is to disclose a character, show all the smallest motions in his soul and thoughts. That is why many literary touch become tools in hands of the author.
Character system is often used to reflect the author's idea. There is no any heroes in a novel to be unnecessary. Every figure bears a notion load. Almost in every work we see a hero and anti-hero, through their opposition we understand the depths of the characters and author's intention.
It is usually attached such problems in psychological novels as love, friendship, social differences, human self-struggle, opposition of the generations, etc. These are the problems, which have been attracted thoughts of people for ages. What is sin? What do we do right or wrong? How to overcome the obstacles inside ourselves?
As a rule to create a full-fledged character author uses such methods as depiction of hero's dreams, reveries, childhood (to show a life way and character formation), thoughts, etc.
For a base of a plotline an internal personal conflict is taken: unfortunate love, crime, fear, betrayal. Then the author gradually leads the readers to the denouement of this conflict and we see, how the hero has changed or not changed and why.
The plotline is often not intricate and dynamic, but frequently strained. It even can be represented by a sequence of hero's dreams or meditations.
Internal effort is shown through the depiction of outside manifestations such as mimicry, body motions, intonations, word selection and so on.
The composition of such novels are quite different, but we rarely can see a fabula.
A great attention is paid to the creation of a hero. That is why all the details are so important. For example a hero's language, his appearance.
As a mean of character disclosure different monologues and letters in a novel are very important and common.
ii. "the good listener" of pamela h. johnson as an example of a psychological novel
2.1 Character system of the novel and the main problems
The novel "The Good Listener" is devoted to three young men. Before we will consider the main problem of this novel, we will consider the characters of the protagonists or main heroes.
In the novel the heroes we meet most frequently are the young men in conflict with society and with themselves.
The main heroes of the novel are Toby Roberts, Bob Cuthbertson and Adrian Stedman. Toby Roberts is putted in the centre of the novel. This irreconcilable youth, idealistic, passionate and unhappy, is the individualist who cannot fit into the society, which accept egoism.
Toby was perhaps the most conspicuous; he was double-jointed and sat with his legs crossed beneath him, like a partitioner of Yoga. He could even do a parlour-trick, performed on rare occasions, which was to twist his feet behind his neck, producing a risible egg-like appearance.
Bob, bullet-headed, of Scotch parentage but born and raised in Sheffield, where his father was foreman in a steel works, was reading Physics. He had hopes for himself, and not much feeling for the sensibility of others.
Adrian, austere, picked up each volume with a frown. He also was tall, but his Italianate face was sharp and ascetic. He was the son of a suffragan bishop, now dead. He was also less ecumenical, a man to appeal to rather perverse girls. Adrian was more or less committed to a life of celibacy.
The girlfriend of Toby was Maisie. She was not very communicative about herself, but she had a lively flow of chatter, and her curling smile charmed Toby. Maisie talked about theatres, gramophone records and films.
We must say a few about Toby's parents.
Mr. Roberts was a tall stout man, with hazel eyes that were like his son's and features that were blunt without the delicacy. He said affectionately: "How are you, boy?" Toby, who had a different idiom from that which he used to his friends, said usually that he was as fit as a flea and working like a beaver.
Mrs. Roberts was spotless in all her ways. Her plain blue stair-carpet, her white walls, did set her apart from the neighbors and she had had to pay a certain price for this. Only one patterned fabric to each room. Hand-hooked rugs. Her husband hardly noticed these things. Her artistic gift manifested itself in many ways, except in her dress: that was pretty drab. For one thing, she had little money for clothes. For another, she cared about what her hands could do, but little about herself personally.
Maisie's mother Amanda Ferras was seemed, opened her house only to relations and to a vary few old friends. She postponed her more mass invitations until the mild weather came. She loved to entertain in the garden, whenever the climate made it possible. She had that rare thing, sweetness. Behaving was a conscious action, and she was perfectly natural in all things. Driffield, to whom she was not entirely a stranger, received her as if she were the Queen Mother.
"The Good Listener" is classically proportioned and beautifully told.
At its heart is Toby, a plausible young scoundrel: good at winning confidences, which he invariably turns to good use, but also at staving off troublesome, complicated emotions. Soon to leave Cambridge, he meets Maisie, slight, beautiful, tense - and vulnerable.
Maisie falls in love. He does not. She tries to force the issue.
"As the time for the opening drew nearer, Toby's gratitude towards and resentment against Maisie grew side by side. He knew she was sensitive to his least mood, so he determined that he would have no obvious moods. Though his common sense told him that she might have an immense amount to give him, and that she was by now deeply in love with him".
Maisie was so happy, so whole-hearted. She is a very delicate creature, and she's in love with Toby. She was happy for him. Maisie was waiting for him.
Maisie, however, felt the fever that any wedding is likely to arouse in a woman. Besides, she had had an unaccustomed amount of gin. When Toby said good-bye, she clung to him: "I think I love you".
Maisie astonished Toby by writing to him during the vacation. They never as a rule wrote to each other, perhaps because he did not to her. She wanted to come to his home again: she had tentatively been feeling her way towards plans for his mother.
Maisie remarked that he sounded surprisingly stern, and she raised htr eyebrows at him.
Toby takes what he can, as young men do. He makes off - warned by his egotism and a friend's disastrous shotgun marriage. Other girls are more cheerful and just as willing. Moreover, Toby never worries about little unpleasantnesses like the way separation corrodes its victim. The bitter surprises which are still in store stop him only momontarily in his tracks. After all, a good listener can always find a niche.
He had made an arrangement with Maisie to pay for the framing, and did not dare to look into whatever expenses lay beyond that. He closed his mind to them.
It was a divided mind. He realised that he would be taking a good deal from her, and that she loved to give it, but all this gave him a feeling of being trapped.
He believed he might come to love Maisie wholly in time. He rationalised this by the thought that he had as yet nothing to offer her. Also, he felt himself too young to make binding decisions.
"Why coudn't he love Maisie? For he didn't. She was a lovely girl: a Miranda of a girl. `The fringed curtains of thine eyes advance…' How often had he seen that! He liked being with her, being in bed with her, engaged with her in all the subterfuges of love. But he needed to feel free".
He felt free himself with Claire. Not because there would be anything serious in this, but because he leked to think he had a natural distaste for deception, which he thought of as "twotiming".
He had seen her once or twice, had given her dinner in London, taken her to the cinema. They had kissed lightly on parting, but not more than that. It seemed that Claire was no hurry. She had great self-confidence. She knew not only what she wanted, but in what precise space of time she might reach out to grasp it.
He thought about Claire. She seemed at times very nearly beatiful, but not quite. Did she lack temperament? If so, so much the better. But if temperament she had, she kept it to herself. On the surface an open-air girl, comradely, a little horsy, her interest limited. She would be peaceful, her nerve-ends deeply buried. Though, he suspected, not a good home-maker she had the knack of making things around her pretty easy and relaxed.
Toby told himself that the whole thing had really been Maisie's fault, all of it. If she had bothered to write to him, he would probably not have gone to Glemsford, certainly not have gone to bed with Claire. He could be sure of that. He felt for a second like Macheath, and he grinned to himself; but it was with discomfort.
With Claire, each time, he found it a new experience. She was made gleeful by intercourse; energetic; not for her, `every animal is sad after coition'. Far from it. It was in these aftermaths that she was most eager to talk.
As he drove home, he thought how much she puzzled him,believed she went out of her way to do so.
Maisie had never done this: there had been nothing devious about her. But Claire's concealments both irritated and fascinated him. Always he was wishing to learn more about her. Why, for instance, did she pose as so ill-read, so indifferently educated? Certainly she was not an intellectual, but she was far from being a fool. He had discovered that she spoke French excellently, and had read a good many of the French classics; he supposed some sort of results must be achieved from expensive Swiss finishing schools. Why did she seek seek him out so boldly, and then treat him with a kind of affectionate flippancy? She did not seem in the least to care what she said - but there were a good many things that she did not say. It was scarcely thinkable that she really considered marrying him, yet Toby could not help but be glamoured by the life, which she might offer.
She was costing him a good deal, but indirectly; for her part, she always seemed to have invitations in her pocket in which he was included. Yet he had been forced, for the first time in his life, to buy a dinner jacket, and he now possessed what he could only call a best lounge suit, of a speckled greenish tweed with side-slits. She had told him that he looked very smart in it.
He decided that night that he must be honest with her. She must know where, and how, his family lived. He supposed she would react to Sei with the nonchalance with which she reacted to everything. But he was not so sure how his mother would react: she knew nothing about Claire as yet, though she was aware that his affair with Maisie was over.
Haddesdon faded behind them as they covered the miles: but not Maisie. Yet it was Claire whom he would see next week, happy Claire, with no problems, joyous in her own iron will which, he supposed, would eventually become his will too. Did he love her? Yes, he supposed he did, in a way. Perhaps ion so far as it was possible for him to love entirely. She would jockey him into some sort of success; she would see that he fitted his life to her own. But the ghost of Maisie infinite delicacy would not leave him that day.
He loved Claire, he believed, for her ease with him and for her pleasure in sexuality: though for him, this had never come with any difficulty. He did take her once more, as she laughed and protested, but this time plainly felt the satisfaction was all on his side. Nevertheless, her spirits were not dashed.
He thought, he would ask her to marry him, though there was still time, plenty of time. He had weighed up in his mind the advantages of this social connection: he had never much cared about such things before. The truth was that she made Toby feel well too, though he was not often accustomed to feeling other wise. She was a kind of ozone.
But he could not help but be haunted by Maisie. Maisie at Cambridge, Maisie in Paris, Maisie at Haddesdon. The thought of her nagged from time to time (when he was not in bed with Claire) at his spirit. He thought of htr damp-looking fair hair curling against the pillow, of her slender, almost bony, arms, of the dews of night on her forehead. The trouble is, he thought, that he has got himself into a bit of a mess, but there is no doubt, that he'll get out of it.
Toby did nit propose to Claire during the next fortnight. Hairy had left for Germany, they were having too good a time together for disturbances of any kind, no matter how agreeable. He had bought for her a large greenish turquoise in a silver setting, and had put it away in a drawer until the time was ripe. It was a very pretty thing in a modest way, and he hoped she would be pleased with it.
Meanwhile, his mother had had her show in New York. Nothing happened at first; the slenderest of press notices, few customers. Then there had arrived an elderly rich woman from Vermont, who had taken an enormous fancy to the paintings and had bought seven of them. Even Mrs Roberts showed signs of excitement. In anticipation of the money coming in, she bought Toby a handsome briefcase, which he was rather ashamed to take to the bank, especially as he usually had so little to bring home in it.
It struck him that, though he loved his parents, he had been singularly incurious about their past. He had not asked questions before, and he was unlikely to do so now. It was possible that the future might divide him from them even more than he was now divided: let the future take care of itself. They would never diminish in his affections. It would be their business if they even attempted so to diminish.
He believed that they had drifted from him, as he had from them: this thought brought comfort with it, his conscience was clear. His mother had now her own life to live, and his father a life to live which was agreeable to hers. He supposed all sons, all parents, did drift, and he knew a degree of sadness for the autumn garden, where he had been happy to be alone in the rain, but joyful when his mother came out to take him by the hand and hold the big umbrella a lot over him. But life was a staircase, as he had reflected before, not a ramp, and he believed that as he grew older it would seem so more and more.
Whatever Claire might plan for their future, he knew that his mother would stubbornly refuse to be a part of it. If real fame came to her, and she had had a minimal taste of it, she would still be the same. She was like Antaeus, only secure when her foot was on the soil of her own earth. And would resist anyone who came to haul her up.
He wrote to Maisie. It was not a careful letter, as the last one had been: it was written in haste and with energy. It was absurd that they should not see each other now and then. They could simply be friends. He had missed her. He had not, he admitted, behaved so well before, but now he was prepared to behave precisely how she pleased.
He thought that when they met he would be able to convey to her that he loved her. For he did love her. He had never really loved anyone else.
He concluded by sending his love to Amanda.
But no answer came. Maisie was going to marry Edward.
2.2 The problem of intergroup relations by the example of Toby and Maisie parents' relations
Of all the marvellous characters perhaps the most remarkable is Maisie's mother Amanda Ferrars, a distinguished hostess whose opulent country house receives artists, musicians, novelists. And, from a different class, Toby's mother, shyer but wiser than she, whose talent for painting takes her wonderingly into Amanda's world.
Mrs Roberts really seemed to flourish. Her name had crossed the Atlantic - there had been a small picture in Time - and her work was selling, if not dramatically, with some frequency. Even her husband had urged her to leave the house and get a proper studio, as an artist should, but she was adamant. She did not propose to change her way of life. The back of a chair made a good enough easel, and they were comfortable where they were. This refusal to budge attracted the attention of a few reporters, who made occasional descents upon her, as usual coming away with precious little. She forced her generosity upon Toby.
Amanda was not a brilliant woman, not an intellectual, though she had taste, and kept abreast of contemporary art. Amanda didn't like when her called Mrs Ferrars. "I think you might call me Amanda" - said she.
What about Toby's parents we must say, that they liked Maisy very much. And when Toby wanted to bring Claire to tea, they have accepted her not well. Look for this scene.
"Mummy, I want to bring a girl to tea". He had already trained her to cucumber sandwiches.
"What girl?" Her voice was sharp with apprehension.
"You'll like her. We've been seeing a good deal of each other. Her namt's Claire Falls. She's pretty tall, and very good fun. But the way, you met her father at the Cambridge show".
"Who's her father?" - Mr Roberts put in.
"I can't remember everyone I met", his wife snapped.
This was not going at all well.
Claire was the simplest girl on earth; they would like her.
"Well, I can't stop you bringing her, if she'll take us as we are", - said Mrs Roberts. "Fix your day, then and I'll take a look at her".
But when the day came and Claire, blandly unruffled, arrived at the house, he found that his mother had taken a curious way of getting her own back on him for her distress over Maisie. There were no cucumber sandwiches. There was a mavellous high tea, planned with all her skill, and it was laid in the kitchen.
"You must take us as we are, Claire", she said almost at once, "we're too old to change".
And indeed, owing to the artistry of his mother, the kitchen was indeed attractive. There were new orange curtains at the windows, a cloth sprinkled with orange flowers covered the big table, on which there was a blue bowl full of zinnias. Mr Roberts did not appear: he had left his apologies to be conveyed.
Claire nearly approached Maisie's standards in doing justice to the meal.
"Now I shan't want to eat for the rest of the evening, and Toby, you mustn't try to make me. You're wonderful cook, Mrs Roberts. I must take some tips from you. I am perfectly terrible".
"There's nothing difficult about it", said Mrs Roberts, "it's all a matter of plain common sense".
Claire asked later if she might see some paintings, but Mrs Roberts said she hsd nothing finished. Toby knew this to be untrue.
Mrs Robert's manner was quite different from the one she had displayed to Amanda. She might have been caricaturing herself. Toby was embarrassed.
Claire deliberately set out to please. She had done so before, but now she was doing it with concentration. How did Mrs Roberts work?
Mrs Roberts could not help replying with some interest. After all, since Toby had trended to say away more and more, her painting had become the most important part of her life.
"I'm dreadfully sorry you can't show me anything", Claire said, "I'm a boob about these things, but I do love the pictures of yours that I've seen".
Mrs Roberts seemed all at once to make up her mind. "Well, I'll show you just one".
Mrs Roberts came back with a canvas which she held with its back to them. Then she turned it round, and propped it on a chair.
It was the painting of a golden-haired girl in a meadow, less the representation of a girl than of a smile, and it was a smile that Toby knew. She sat wearing a daisy-strwn dress, among daisies. Behind her was a bright blue sky sprinkled with small puffs of white cloud, as if it were with cannon-smoke.
Now Toby had never, not in his hole life, known his mother to be cruel, and he was deeply troubled. She had deliberately raised a ghost, though how near this had been to a metaphorical truth she could not have known.
Claire, who had seen nothing, remained gay and comradely till a quarter to seven, when she and Toby went off to Shepherd Market to meet her brother there. "No", she said thoughtfully, as they were on their way, "I am not liked. I suppose it is still Maisie for your mother".
In mid-June Toby was astounded - and made apprehensive by - a friendly but cool letter from Maisie inviting him to a luncheon at Haddesdon to celebrate her mother's fiftieth birthday. Amanda wanted, she said, to have everyone about her.
For a moment Toby had forgotten that he was not supposed to know of Maisie's sucide attempt: no one did, except Edward, the housekeeper, the doctor and himself. He thought about the whole thing. He imagined that Amanda must believe affair with Maisie had blown over: which, to the best of his belief, it had done by now.
Maisie was urgent about only one thing: this time he must persuade his father and mother to come with him. Her letter concluded with the usual platitudes, enquiries about his health, his career.
When he told his parents what she had written, his father said, "Catch me. Who do they think's going to take care of the shop?"
But Mrs Roberts said, to Toby's amazement, "If they're all that keen, I'll go with you. I wouldn't mind seeing this wonderful Haddesdon for once. And I want to see Maisie again". She added that she supposed he would drive her down. "Mind you, I'll be a fish out of water, but if all these clever friends of Mrs Ferrars can do something, at least I can paint".
By this time she was established in a modest position, and the dealer was making a respectable profit out of her.
He wrote to tell Maisie that they would both come, but by road, so that nobody need meet them at the station. This brought a cordial note from Amanda herself. She was so thrilled that he was bringing his mother! She had almost lost hope of it. She must not be shy, because everyone would be trilled to meet her.
It was not, this time, Amanda's weather. A biting June day, the rain lashing the trees and battering the flowers into the earth.
The next scene is by Amanda, that describes the life and society of Amanda.
They were a little late, and by the time they arrived the whole company seemed to have assembled. Both Llangains, Moria clutching her glass of vodka and - this was troubling - Claire, Peter Coxon. Edward, cordial but remote. A Scotch girl painter who had had a recent success. The string quartet. The art critic. A pianist who had made a name for himself in an international competition in the Soviet Union. One or two of Amanda's more elderly and anonymous friends.
It was Maisie who greeted them, a calm little girl wearing slacks - he had not seen her in them before - and a light sweater. She kissed Mrs Roberts, kissed Toby brushingly on the cheek. Then Amanda descended in a flurry of scarves, and caught the reluctant Mrs Roberts to her bosom.
Amanda responded with smiles and tears: tears came easily to her when she required them. They were all wonderful, they were all dears. She had done nothing, except to please herself. It was they who gave the pleasure.
Mrs Roberts was as good as her word. She did go to and fro, hanging curtains, laying carpets, washing everything in sight. She repainted the wall of the sitting-room cream, with a peach-coloured underglow. She gave Toby two of her paintings to display. During these decorative visits she seemed to have warmed to him somewhat at last. Perhaps she was beginning to understand what the nature of his job would be. But disappointment lay benath it all, disappointment that he was not to become a don and not to have Maisie. He tried not to show that he noticed this. He would have done much for her except to allow her to direct his life; she had never before tried to do so, and he took it hard that she was just a little wretched because now she could not have her qwn way. He hoped she would come to like lively, good-natured Claire in time, but he doubted it. He knew her stubbornness, the stubbornness that made her cling to the small house in the shabby street. She was, as Claire had once said, "an original", but now he was beginning to believe that a little unoiginality would not have come amiss. And he also believed that his father, too, had his regrets.
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