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Post Info TOPIC: The Odd Word


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Date: Oct 31 7:10 PM, 2017
RE: The Odd Word
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I think we are going off-topic here, since we have strayed onto the TV Series.  Can we continue this discussion on the threads for each episode of Series 3?  I am about to reply to you, Little Henry, over in the TV thread now.

Mrs G



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Date: Oct 31 6:44 PM, 2017
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Little Henry wrote:

Regarding the drinking game about Ross, if I were playing the game I would be very sober.  I'm watching season 3 in Canada as I wasn't always able to catch all of the U.K. version when it was on and am also re-reading "The Black Moon" to compare and to remind myself what really happened.  I just haven't come across any big pronouncements in the book that Ross abandoned.  It has made me think long on his character though and although I was enjoying the series the negativity of Ross' character is really getting to me.  His flaws are made so much of it's really the theme of the whole series.  Someone said on one of these sites that Ross was portrayed as a saint but if you look closely everything good he does has a bad consequence.  The closing of Wheal Leisure is blamed on his actions of buying the corn but in the book Henshawe assured him it was not personal.  George's dislike of toads is blamed on Ross, making Ross the school bully and probably the cause of all the bad feeling and actions that have happened between the two (which is almost everything).  In the book he is responsible for getting Drake free but in the series his interference indirectly causes Morwenna to marry Whitworth.  He risked "respectable family men" on his expedition to save Dwight but not in the book.  And if his flaws run out, invent some more, like the verbal abuse to Demelza that is to come (some very odd and awful words pass between them). They make Ross look irresponsible for not acknowledging Valentine but what is he supposed to do?  His stubbornness is remarked upon too many times and poor Ross can never learn anything and Demelza apparently has absolutely nothing to learn.  I know that this is all in the name of "dramatic license" as the BBC wrote to me when I made a comment about this, but maligning the main character in a series doesn't make sense to me.  All so negative.

 

 


 Little Henry

I agree with all you say about the way is Ross is portrayed and also how Demelza can do no wrong. Even her relationship with Hugh Armitage is distorted to make it look as if she had every right to behave as she did. I have wondered why Ross' character is distorted in this way while Demelza is apparently a saint. Debbie Horsefield is clearly a feminist and I think she has deliberately changed the characters for her own reasons. It's a great pity because there is plenty of examples in the books of Ross' weaknesses and flaws so she doesn't need to create more. It makes me very angry.



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Date: Oct 30 10:58 PM, 2017
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Regarding the drinking game about Ross, if I were playing the game I would be very sober.  I'm watching season 3 in Canada as I wasn't always able to catch all of the U.K. version when it was on and am also re-reading "The Black Moon" to compare and to remind myself what really happened.  I just haven't come across any big pronouncements in the book that Ross abandoned.  It has made me think long on his character though and although I was enjoying the series the negativity of Ross' character is really getting to me.  His flaws are made so much of it's really the theme of the whole series.  Someone said on one of these sites that Ross was portrayed as a saint but if you look closely everything good he does has a bad consequence.  The closing of Wheal Leisure is blamed on his actions of buying the corn but in the book Henshawe assured him it was not personal.  George's dislike of toads is blamed on Ross, making Ross the school bully and probably the cause of all the bad feeling and actions that have happened between the two (which is almost everything).  In the book he is responsible for getting Drake free but in the series his interference indirectly causes Morwenna to marry Whitworth.  He risked "respectable family men" on his expedition to save Dwight but not in the book.  And if his flaws run out, invent some more, like the verbal abuse to Demelza that is to come (some very odd and awful words pass between them). They make Ross look irresponsible for not acknowledging Valentine but what is he supposed to do?  His stubbornness is remarked upon too many times and poor Ross can never learn anything and Demelza apparently has absolutely nothing to learn.  I know that this is all in the name of "dramatic license" as the BBC wrote to me when I made a comment about this, but maligning the main character in a series doesn't make sense to me.  All so negative.

 

 



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Date: Oct 25 1:48 AM, 2017
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JanetMaison wrote:
Dark Mare:- thanks for the etymology; it's always important to remember that word meanings change.  However, when    Ross says to Elizabeth "It's time you were so treated [as a slut]" in Warleggan, it does seem to have a sexual connotation. What do you think?________________________________________________________________________

 

I remember the exchange and thought as you did before I went searching for the contemporary definition of "slut." Thinking it over in light of that, I remembered this statement from Mrs. Teague: 

A gentleman, said Mrs. Teague, knows where to draw the line. Toward a lady of his own class his intentions should be most strictly honorable. His attitude to a woman of a lower class is different. ..." 

In that moment on May 9th, Ross was essentially telling Elizabeth he had treated her as a lady for too long and she didn't deserve that consideration because she continually led him on and then withdrew behind her social standing when he rose to the bait, leaving him feeling like a fool, and he was sick of it. She had teased him for the last time. (Do I think he had a right to feel that way? No, I don't.) 

_____________________________________________________________________________

JanetMaison wrote:

It is jarring for me when Ross calls Demelza any name.  Throughout the books, Ross is always kind to Demelza, even in their most difficult moments.  That's one of the reasons their marriage works.  But when I rewatch the series - even the 1st series (2015) before DH went off the deep end - I'm always struck by how mean Ross is to Demelza. The Warleggan ball is a good example.  The book really conveys their anger, yes, but also their love and connection.  The 3rd series is on TV in the U.S. now and although I'm not watching, I just briefly tuned in on Sunday and Ross was writing a letter to Aunt Agatha.  Demelza put her hand on his shoulder and left disgusted for some reason. I left disgusted, too.

___________________________________________________________________________

I rather like that Debbie Horsfield has seized on something about Ross that became akin to a drinking game with me as I read the books. He was forever making big pronouncements that he would abandon within a few chapters, a chapter, a section of a chapter, a page or even a paragraph. Remember the scene on the beach in "Warleggan"? In the days after the mine collapse, he had insisted he was through with mining, Grace had killed three people, he would never reopen the mine, etc., etc. He went to Looe to see Blewitt and Tonkin's shipyard and to collect the repaid loan, and when he returned, he looked for Demelza on the beach. He finds her and tells her he now has the money to reopen Grace. When she laughs at him, he gets offended. Imagine how offended he would have gotten if she had reminded him of the vow he had made just days earlier? In that episode of Series 3 Demelza was disgusted by the letter inviting Agatha to the christening because Ross was again going back on one of his big vows. However, he had made this vow to George, who is not one to roll his eyes and laugh at Ross being Ross. He will make someone -- or multiple people -- pay for Ross' change of heart. Likely Agatha, Geoffrey Charles and/or Morwenna.

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Wednesday 25th of October 2017 01:49:35 AM

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Date: Oct 24 11:29 PM, 2017
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Mrs Gimlett wrote:

Interesting to note, too, Janet, that Demelza also thinks of herself as a slut the day after the Blue Dress scene.  Elizabeth makes her first call to Nampara and Demelza recognises her breeding and beauty - she is a lady and I am a slut.

Demelza also uses the word in a sexual connotation.


 I went back and reread the passage and must disagree. Here it is:

        ... Demelza had not followed them, but watched while seeming not to watch from the window. 
She's slenderer than me, she thought, even though she's had a child. Skin like ivory; never done a day's work. She's a lady and Ross is a gentleman, and I am a slut. But not last night, not last night. The memory of it swelled up in her. I can't be a slut: I'm Ross's woman. ...
 
If the connotation were sexual, why would she say "But not last night, not last night" -- which was most definitely sexual? She has to be using "slut" to indicate her social inferiority to Elizabeth and Ross, but she is also saying that in that moment, in that room, in that bed, she was Ross' equal.
 



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Tuesday 24th of October 2017 11:32:09 PM



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Tuesday 24th of October 2017 11:36:27 PM

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Date: Oct 20 9:10 AM, 2017
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Interesting to note, too, Janet, that Demelza also thinks of herself as a slut the day after the Blue Dress scene.  Elizabeth makes her first call to Nampara and Demelza recognises her breeding and beauty - she is a lady and I am a slut.

Demelza also uses the word in a sexual connotation.



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Date: Oct 20 2:42 AM, 2017
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Mrs Gimlett wrote:

Janet, that phrase offends me, too.  It seems very out of character for Ross.  He rants and rises quite quickly to anger, but he rarely curses or uses coarse language.  I can only think that, in the first realisation his wife has overdone the port, he says the first thing that comes into his head.  Ross does have a history of calling some women sluts, mostly Lucy Pipe and her ilk.  However, you would hardly expect him to use it to describe Demelza.  That he dislikes seeing drunkenness in females I can understand.  It offended his idea of how they should behave.

He does redeem himself, though.  Ross is extremely worried about his beloved wife and cannot understand her behaviour.  It occupies his mind for some while and he does correctly divine that something extraordinary has happened and somehow it involves Jeremy.  What he never knows is what really occurred.

I can offer no reason why WG wrote that line.  Perhaps he felt those words would best express Ross' shock at discovering Demelza drunk.


Mrs. G and Stella - Thanks for weighing in; I'm glad I'm not the only one bothered.  I suppose it's a reflection of how upset he is and, of course, his tone changes when he realizes something must really be wrong.

Dark Mare - thanks for the etymology; it's always important to remember that word meanings change.  However, when Ross says to Elizabeth "It's time you were so treated [as a slut]" in Warleggan, it does seem to have a sexual connotation. What do you think?

It is jarring for me when Ross calls Demelza any name.  Throughout the books, Ross is always kind to Demelza, even in their most difficult moments.  That's one of the reasons their marriage works.  But when I rewatch the series - even the 1st series (2015) before DH went off the deep end - I'm always struck by how mean Ross is to Demelza. The Warleggan ball is a good example.  The book really conveys their anger, yes, but also their love and connection.  The 3rd series is on TV in the U.S. now and although I'm not watching, I just briefly tuned in on Sunday and Ross was writing a letter to Aunt Agatha.  Demelza put her hand on his shoulder and left disgusted for some reason. I left disgusted, too.



-- Edited by JanetMaison on Friday 20th of October 2017 05:26:56 AM

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Date: Oct 15 11:29 AM, 2017
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Ladies,

I had the same reaction to Ross' comment that you did when I first read it, but reading this whole entry got me thinking that maybe the word's meaning changed over the years so I checked the two dictionaries of the period I consult when I come across an unfamiliar word or usage in a "Poldark" volume (Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1756 edition, and Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition). 
 
And it looks like we owe Ross an apology for thinking he had called his wife a stupid whore/strumpet/whatever other synonym for prostitute you choose. In his day, "slut" had no sexual connotation at all. Instead it meant a woman who did not keep her body, her clothing or her surroundings clean and tidy aka Prudie, but it was also a term "of slight contempt for a woman." 
 
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1756 edition (available online at whichenglish.com): 
SLUT. . [pdde, Dutch.]
1. A dirty woman. King.
2. A word of light contempt to a woman. L'Etrange.
 
Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition (available online at webstersdictionary1828.com):

SLUTnoun

1. A woman who is negligent of cleanliness, and who suffers her person, clothes, funiture, etc., to be dirty or in disorder.

2. A name of slight contempt for a woman.



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Date: Oct 9 11:51 AM, 2017
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JanetMaison wrote:

In the The Loving Cup after Demelza discovers that Jeremy has robbed the stagecoach, she gets drunk. Ross comes home, realizes she's drunk and says "You stupid slut. How long has this been going on?" I don't know what I'm more shocked about. Ross calling Demelza stupid or calling her a slut. Every time I read this passage, I feel a little upset.   Does anyone have any insight as to why Winston Graham would have Ross saying this? 


 Janet Maison - I am so glad you posted this. When I read those words "You stupid slut" I felt hatred towards Ross for the first and only time. Even the night with Elizabeth didn't shock me like these three words did. As Mrs Gimlett has said, it seemed so out of character.



-- Edited by Stella Poldark on Monday 9th of October 2017 11:52:17 AM

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Date: Oct 9 9:19 AM, 2017
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Janet, that phrase offends me, too.  It seems very out of character for Ross.  He rants and rises quite quickly to anger, but he rarely curses or uses coarse language.  I can only think that, in the first realisation his wife has overdone the port, he says the first thing that comes into his head.  Ross does have a history of calling some women sluts, mostly Lucy Pipe and her ilk.  However, you would hardly expect him to use it to describe Demelza.  That he dislikes seeing drunkenness in females I can understand.  It offended his idea of how they should behave.

He does redeem himself, though.  Ross is extremely worried about his beloved wife and cannot understand her behaviour.  It occupies his mind for some while and he does correctly divine that something extraordinary has happened and somehow it involves Jeremy.  What he never knows is what really occurred.

I can offer no reason why WG wrote that line.  Perhaps he felt those words would best express Ross' shock at discovering Demelza drunk.



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Date: Oct 9 7:51 AM, 2017
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In the The Loving Cup after Demelza discovers that Jeremy has robbed the stagecoach, she gets drunk. Ross comes home, realizes she's drunk and says "You stupid slut. How long has this been going on?" I don't know what I'm more shocked about. Ross calling Demelza stupid or calling her a slut. Every time I read this passage, I feel a little upset.   Does anyone have any insight as to why Winston Graham would have Ross saying this? 



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Date: Oct 9 3:17 AM, 2017
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I was just reading "The Twisted Sword" and came across the word "brat" in this case used by Katie, and I realized it was one word that irritated me.  It is used a lot in the Poldark books, especially by Caroline, but it rubs me the wrong way because of today's connotation of being a child that is ill-mannered and/or spoiled.  Apparently it used to be used in a good sense but knowing Caroline's attitude towards children there still seems to be a slightly negative connotation.   I don't think Ross or Demelza ever referred to their children as brats but I believe Ross used the term for other people's children, not in a negative way.  Also, I often thought the word "desultory" was overused but may perfectly describe the after-dinner conversations that they had. 



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Date: Oct 8 9:30 PM, 2017
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Mrs Gimlett - Just to let you know that I am looking out for odd words as I read. I may have found one but I want to ponder a while before posting.



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Date: Oct 5 10:09 AM, 2017
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WG wrote millions of words. 

Are there any which irritate you?  Do you find yourself wishing he had used a different word at certain times?  Are you surprised by some of the writing?

 

Sometimes, when I have been reading the books, I have thought how odd it is that WGs characters nearly always FUMBLE in their pockets for items.  Ross does it often, others do too.  They never rummage or dig around or grope, search or even feel around the said pockets.  Fumble seems to indicate a clumsiness, which personally I don't think applies to Ross.  Perhaps it is just a word WG liked using.

Another word which I remember discussing with someone a few years ago occurs in the First Edition of RP.  It is STRUMPET.  When the 'blue dress scene' is playing out, many different thoughts go through Ross' mind and one of them is his relationship with his kitchen maid.  'It would degrade her to make a strumpet of her...'  It seems a very odd word choice for WG to use.  The definition of strumpet is a prostitute, a trollop, a whore.  None of these appellations would apply to Demelza, whatever had happened that night.  Somehow it disrupts the flow of narrative because it seems out of character for WG to use it, particularly in that context. 

Stephen Carrington's use of MISANTHROPICAL.  Given what we know of his background, would Stephen even have known the word and if he did, how likely would he have been to use it?

I am sure there are things which all members have noticed.  These are not meant as criticisms, I but just want to open up a discussion to find out what other members think. From an author who measured his words and wrote such beautifully rounded passages, I find the odd word occasionally jars. It is probably because there are comparatively few of these that they stand out.  Do you agree?

 

 



-- Edited by Mrs Gimlett on Thursday 5th of October 2017 07:04:51 PM

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