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By Andrew Norman

Within the yr 1900, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was once on the top of his good fortune as a physician, a sportsman, a author of historic novels, a champion of the oppressed and, such a lot significantly, the author of that honorable, courageous, and eminently brilliant grasp detective, Sherlock Holmes. each new Holmes tale was once greeted with nice anticipation and self belief within the wisdom that, besides the fact that advanced the crime, the supremely clever and logical detective could resolve it. yet in 1916 Conan Doyle shocked his readers through pointing out that he believed in Spiritualism. And while, in 1922, he released a publication within which he professed to think in fairies, his devotees have been rather non-plussed. How may perhaps the guy who invented the ultra-rational Holmes declare to think in anything as imprecise and unproven because the paranormal? Andrew Norman delves into either Doyle’s scientific files and his writings to solve the secret.

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The first indication of this theme is the novel’s epigraph, taken from The Rose Tattoo, which implicates an entire community, a “they,” in the speaker’s nonconformist assertion of self: “Nobody knew my rose of the world but me.... I had too much glory. ” But nearly everyone has an opinion about Sula’s medallion: a sign they believe of her “evil,” her “too much glory” in flaunting her disregard of social conventions. At first Sula’s birthmark is described as a “stemmed rose” (52); as she matures, it becomes a “stem and rose” (74), suggesting the duality in nature as well as Sula’s developing thorny yet attractive personality.

It was through carefree sex, nonetheless, that Sula found the cutting edge and the leap of free fall, her performance: During the lovemaking she found and needed to find the cutting edge. When she left off cooperating with her body and began to assert herself in the act, particles of strength gathered in her like steel shavings drawn to a spacious magnetic center, forming a tight cluster that nothing, it seemed, could break. And there was utmost irony and outrage in lying under someone, in a position of surrender, feeling her own abiding strength and limitless power.

7). 10. p. 11. , my italics. 12. p. 13. Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough (New York: Macmillan and Company, 1950), p. 456. 14. According to Frazer, in the original Homeric myth Persephone, drawn by the sight of narcissuses, moves beyond the reach of help. The choice of this particular plant as lure is of interest not only because of the Narcissus myth, but also because of recent psychoanalytic readings of this myth. These readings stress the importance of a child’s progression through a stage of narcissistic self-love and suggest that this progression can occur only with the help of a mother-figure who assures the child of external love.

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