House Essay, Research Paper
Imaginative Center uncut, uncensored: Philip Bentley
In order to fully understand a piece of literature and authorial intent, the reader must utilize unconventional methods of perspective. In Sinclair Ross f, As for me and my House, the use of perspective becomes climacteric in determining a veridical comprehension of the imaginative center of the novel, Philip Bentley. In order to gain the full understanding of Philip Bentley, the reader must dismiss the biased unreliable narrative of Mrs. Bentley. With reference to the methods of perspective, they can be used to fully understand and dismiss the dubious narrative in Philip Bentley fs relationships, occurrences, and Imagery. It then becomes feasible to appreciate an impartial understanding of Philip Bentley.
The individuals who surround Philip Bentley, assisted in shaping and influencing his character. Initially, Steve was introduced, and this contributed to a number of family problems. These problems lead to the frustration and jealously of Mrs. Bentley towards Philip.
gTrue to his promise, Philip took Steve to the country with him this afternoon. I could feel that he didn ft want me along, so at noon I complained of a headache, and stayed home to finish putting in the garden. h (45) This clearly displays the beginning of Mrs. Bentleys resentment towards Philip, and the relationship that he and Steve share. She desires such a relationship for herself and Philip, only to be faced with the realization that it will never transpire. This hinders the legitimacy of what she sees, as it is now biased; influenced by her resentment. gAbout a horse for Steve, then about Steve himself. He likes Steve, and as we talked I saw Philip fs mouth get a little contentious. h (85) As her resentment grows, so does her unreliability to present to events clearly as they occurred. Up until Steve left, Mrs. Bentley continued to express her displeasure with the relationship that Philip and Steve remained to share. gI played brilliantly, vindictively, determined to let Philip see how easily… I could take the boy away from him h (Ross, 63). Mrs. Bentley observes that her relationship with Steve is becoming not a companionship, but ga conspiracy h (Ross, 95). After Steve left, Philip began spending a great deal of time with Judith. Philip was using Judith as an escape; an escape from his wife, Mrs. Bentley and her world. Judith offered everything that Mrs. Bentley could not; excitement, mystery, and lust. This prompts a mood change in Philip. gPhilip acts different now… h (Ross, 143). Philip appears to almost come around now, supporting Mrs. Bentley. All of this happens after Philip finds something special with Judith. gPhilip fs been changing of late, growing harder, more self-assertive h (Ross, 113). After Judiths death, Mrs. Bentley goes on to say gFor me, its easier this way. It fs what I fve secretly been hoping for all along. I fm glad that she fs gone – glad – for her sake as much as ours h (Ross, 161). The death of Judith effects Philip more so then Mrs. Bentley. She sees it as gaining her husband back, while he sees it as losing party of himself. gHe was crying h (Ross, 162). Something that Mrs. Bentley is not used to seeing. Mrs. Bentley blames Judith for the hardships that plagued their marriage, instead of blaming Philip, or even herself. Mrs. Bentley almost appears to come across as being vengeful, and one can not help but to question her propriety. Paul Kirby had a profound effect on Mrs. Bentley then he did on Philip. Paul can be seen as keeping Mrs. Bentley occupied, and distracting her from the true Philip Bentley. gI walked up the railroad track this afternoon as far as the ravine with Paul h (Ross, 158). A safe sanctuary where Philip and she once shared, is now shared with Paul. She now goes with Paul, Philips temporary replacement. Since Mrs. Bentley is so involved with Paul, it then becomes impossible to capture the true understanding and essence of Philip. Mrs. Bentley never has the opportunity to talk with, or share Philips feelings. gOnce again, he closed the door behind him while entering his study h (Ross, 64). Due to Mrs. Bentley fs involvement with Paul, the new male of the house, and Philips involvement with Steve and Judith, it becomes impossible to recognize her views or narrative as be legitimate or true.
Similarly, there are also a number of events in the novel that display that Mrs. Bentley is an unreliable narrator, that ultimately inhibit the reader from understanding the imaginative center. Throughout the entire novel, Philip had always retreated to his study. Mrs. Bentley never truly discovered the significance of this, and because of that, failed to accurately describe him, and the events. By entering into his study, Philip isolates himself, creating tension in the marriage. Mrs. Bentley is attention and love starved; Philip only withdraws. g eI thought it would sound silly f I said, eto tell you I was sitting in the rain with El Greco down by the elevator f. Then I put a pail to catch the drip from the ceiling and went back to his study h (Ross, 175). In fear of facing the truth, Philip once again returns to his study, a vacation from reality, a place where he is free to wander away from Mrs. Bentley and her overwhelming suffocating personality. Along with Philip fs preoccupation with his study, Mrs. Bentley became obsessed with collecting one thousand dollars to open a bookstore, away from Horizon. In her constant letters to her past parishes to get money, she becomes distant from Philip, focusing the majority of her time on getting the money that is owed to them. Once again, this hinders the perspective that Mrs. Bentley transfers into her diary. It is most likely not the true perspective as she does not pay attention to Philip, like she claims to.
Comparatively, along with the events in the novel, there is also different types of Imagery that can be used to dismiss Mrs. Bentleys bias. Once again, touching base with the imagery value of Philip fs study. It plays a large role in defining his character. Despite being ga big able bodied man h (Ross, 3) Philip is quite weak emotionally. He can not cope with many of the day-to-day stressors he is encountered with. When something of some uncertainty arises, Philip always retreats to his study. It is there, where he expresses himself. gIt seems that tonight, for the first time in my life I fm really mature… it leaves me alone outside his study door h (Ross, 136). By closing the study door, she now sees Philip is shutting her out psychologically and spiritually as well as physically. It is his way of fighting her possessiveness. Along with his study, imagery is also present in the gfalse fronts h (Ross, 6) of Horizon. The false fronts can be compared to Philip. He puts up a false front on himself to present to the town he preaches to, the word of God, however, it is ironic how he does not take comfort under such beliefs. Horizon sees him as a religious, trustworthy, confident man, while in reality all of those are untrue. When Judith dies, the gfalse fronts blew over h in the wind storm, Philip was finally exposed. The wind storm is evident throughout the entirety of the novel, as it suppresses, and then acts out, remaining unstable. The wind blows the dust over the house, the dust smothers the house, as Mrs. Bentley smothers Philip. They have no control over the dust, and it becomes clear that Mrs. Bentley also has no control over the dust, and it becomes clear that Mrs. Bentley has no control over Philip. gI must keep on reaching out, tying to possess him, trying to make myself matter h (Ross, 99). She attempts to reach out, Philip sees it as smothering.
By looking at all the aspects, and dismissing Mrs. Bentleys bias, it becomes clear, the true understanding of the imaginative center, Philip Bentley. His role is to keep everyone in the Horizons together, along with Mrs. Bentley. This is palpable through his relationships, occurrences, and imagery. After the unreliable narrative is dismissed, the reader can gain a full understanding and appreciation of the imaginative center.
Ross, Sinclair. As for Me and My House. Ed. Malcom Ross. McClelland and Stewart Lt. Toronto / Montreal 1941.
Stouck, David. Five Decades of Criticism. Ed. David Stouck. University of Toronto Press. Toronto. 1991.