Yes, I did go there!
I’m re-reading the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads (because I can, and I’m doing research for a “maybe” paper which will link to my topics kinda) and I have always loved the way in which Wordsworth always capitalises the word “Friend” (hence the Inbetweeners reference – “Ooooh, Friend!”) – he mentions Coleridge pretty early under such a guise as giving him assistance “for the sake of variety, and from a conscious of my own weakness”. Poor bub, I do prefer Coleridge more than you I admit, but I still love you! Don’t fret, pet.
Anyway, the whole point of this post was actually another random connections of the day – with Huxley still remains fresh in my mind (and I have my name tag on my table next to me… maybe I can add a picture so this blog isn’t entirely text heavy), I went about reading some of STC (not Sonic the Comic)’s offerings. One of them, the Foster-Mother’s Tale, reminds me a lot of the plight of the Savage in BNW – obviously with some subversions/tweaky things.
BTW, here’s the tag!
If you change the religious theme to Fordism, you can see the ties – the little tyke preferring instead to “get down” in nature’s garden and not to indulge in prayer or rosary beads:
“And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
A pretty boy, but most unteachable–
And never learn’d a prayer, nor told a bead,
But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
And whistled, as he were a bird himself.
And all the autumn ’twas his only play
To gather seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
With earth and water on the stumps of trees.”
The Savage in BNW isn’t too hot on the idea of the rituals in the disturbing saccharine sweet Utopia in much the same way. The escapisms of literature also prove the same point (the Savage being a real Shakespeare-phile of course):
“when the Friar taught him,
He soon could write with the pen; and from that time
Lived chiefly at the convent or the castle.
So he became a rare and learned youth:
But O! poor wretch! he read, and read, and read,
Till his brain turned; and ere his twentieth year
He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
And though he prayed, he never loved to pray
With holy men, nor in a holy place.
But yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet/The late Lord Valdez ne’er was wearied with him.”
The Savage does charm Lenina (who saw that coming?) and with this, with much encouragement from her, manages to attempt a visit to the “Feelies” and to observe the “world’s happenings” – as well as the plight of his poor mother. Of course, this addition to the world is where it all goes tits up – starting off a whole new trend of mania on his own, escapes in his own way having felt that he had betrayed his former life, if you get me.
“the youth was seized
And cast into that hole. My husband’s father
Sobbed like a child — it almost broke his heart:
And once as he was working near this dungeon,
He heard a voice distinctly; ’twas the youth’s,
Who sung a doleful song about green fields,
How sweet it were on lake or wide savanna
To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
And wander up and down at liberty.
He always doted on the youth, and now
His love grew desperate; and defying death,
He made that cunning entrance I described,
And the young man escaped.”
So in fact, I guess you could say even the last line has the same sort of resonance (depending where you look at it, of course):
“And ne’er was heard of more: but ’tis supposed,
He lived and died among the savage men.”
Also, remember that it is only alleged that he’s taken his life (OK, maybe I’m grasping at straws here).
I just realised that I haven’t proven my point well but going off on a Coleridge tangent, but you insisted. It’s only fair. I will get back to reading you… after lunch.