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Post Info TOPIC: Seduction scene in Ross Poldark


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Date: Aug 25 11:36 AM, 2012
RE: Seduction scene in Ross Poldark
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Yes , I too think  that Demelza's  relationship with her Father had great influence at this time; indeed she was instinctively fighting for her life. It may have felt catastropic at the time, but it worked! Both Ross and Demelza needed a 'Home'. They found it in each other.

The 'pregnancy' storyline added by the TV version made Ross & Demelza's life together feel compromised. They totally missed the point! In WG's version, Ross truly loved Demelza even if it took him a while to realise it. His idealised 'relationship' with Elizabeth had non of the rawness of his life with Demelza, but it had non of the earthiness that makes a marriage great either.

The seduction scene is echoed throughout the books in one way or another; on how many occasions did we witness Demelza tentatively approaching her husband, licking her lips and saying "Ross...."

I've said elsewhere that I often enjoy adaptations of classic works and find them interesting. I don't always enjoy this adaptation so much as I could've , but certainly find it interesting. It gives a great example for comparison though doesn't it.



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SMOLLETT


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Date: Aug 25 7:04 AM, 2012
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I loved that post of yours Smollett! Perfectly put, and a great summary. And reading yours Ross, yes now I'm thinking that Tom Carne may have influenced her too. I love the whole 'mood' which WG created in these scenes.....I always imagine the night to have been quite warm and humid....sultry....exciting in a way. Promise of things to come and one night which would change the lives of them all forever. And the scene the next morning when Demelza goes out for a walk and listens to all the animals and birds is just wonderful. In my life if ever I've been feeling sad or lonely or confused - or just not quite myself, reading these two chapters would always make me feel better.

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Demelza

 

A passionate child rolling in the dust with her ugly dog; a girl driving oxen; a woman....Did anything else matter?



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Date: Aug 24 8:16 PM, 2012
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Thanks for your astute and intelligently written post Smollett, your comparison of the filmed and written seduction scene is beautifully written and there is no doubt that the delicately sensitive and intimate way that WG wrote the story makes the filmed production of the blossoming love story between Ross and Demelza appear distorted, dishonourable and cheapens the whole relationship.  Such a shame that this very important part of the story had to be so unforgiveably misinterpreted. 

 

 

 



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Date: Aug 24 6:52 PM, 2012
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I've also often wondered just how much the sudden surprise visit by Demelza's now morally changed father, inevitably bringing with it some old unpleasant memories just a few hours before Ross came home that evening, might have influenced her later actions as well - i.e. the father/ daughter relationship. I also checked both a 1945 first edition Ross Poldark and a Seventies' paperback (R.P. Book 2, Chapter 5, Parts 1 and 2) to see if there were any differences and found one or two relevant omissions in the later book, mainly in Part 2 whilst she was feeding the calves and beginning just after the end of the paragraph - "They were all thinking that Ross..."

But I think it's these three sentences below, still common to both editions, that perhaps reveal the other side of the coin.

Part 1. "Though she did not consciously reason so, all the early part of her life was like a dark prenatal nightmare, thought and imagined and feared rather than suffered."

Part 1. Tom Carne trying to persuade Demelza to return home....

"After all," he said on a more palliative note, "I'm not asking more'n any dattur would do."

"No," she said. (Buckle end of a strap when it suited him; sores on her back, ribs you could count, dirt and crawlers; not more than any daughter would do !)

Part 2. "...... She shook her head. (In the 1st Edition this is followed by "A day dream"). Things would not turn out like that. Once home she stayed home. And whether the ruling force was the leather strap or religious zeal she had a feeling that her job would be the same."



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Date: Aug 24 10:33 AM, 2012
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The WG version is a masterful exploration of the psyche & motivations of a desperate and unsophisticated girl. Worldly as she might at first appear, Demelza has no inkling of the storm she is summoning up. I feel its a brilliant  piece of groundwork that is continued throughout the series as it was written, not filmed. This, one of the first missteps in the misinterpretation of Demelza, has, for me, prevented the televised version of her character from ringing true.

We read of a complex situation, & watch a seedy one. We read of an intelligent, if unlettered girl, and watch a clownlike, contorted faced manipulater, stomping down the well stomped path to ruin, unless rescued by the noble Ross who sacrifices himself for this uncouth interloper. WG has Ross drawn to and marrying  an appealing Demelza, even though his emotions are conflicted at times; this too is part of the groundwork for their long and eventful married life.

The televised scenes of this seduction were perhaps simplified in order to emphasise the difference between the (the tv producers') slightly stupid foul mouthed urchin who has designs on the hero, and the gracious, cultured,  ever virginal and beautiful Elizabeth, but in doing so, they have created a new Demelza that never really captures the multi dimentional, warm and canny character that  WG dreamed up; who, in a naive moment,  began to capture the heart of the hero.

 There's loads been written about the mother/son relationship. The wearing of Grace's frock draws on this. I feel that it was  written to be in the subconscious of Ross & Demelza(both motherless) ie, not in the subconscious of WG or his readers. Its mightily written, very powerful and touching and this scene, at first considered by all the characters to be a terrible mistake, in fact cemented the seed of commitment, compatability, and mutual need that lasted for ever. To have Ross  obligated to marry a pregnant Demelza to prevent the possibility of her dying during an abortion, turns it into something quite differrent. That seed flowered during the night of the pilchard catch, but it was planted during the seduction.

As WG said, Angharad Rees, Rest her Soul, took the role as she was given it & was directed accordingly, and 'made it her own'. She had a difficult task indeed to privide credibility to a character that had had her credibility, at crucial moments, written out.



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SMOLLETT


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Date: Aug 24 12:02 AM, 2012
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I'm just going to paste my thoughts (which I put on the PAS Facebook page where Offerashillin initially posted her query) here. I would be very interested to read everyone's thoughts on this, one of the most wonderful parts of the Poldark novels.

My first post on Facebook:
One of my absolute favourite sections in all the Poldark novels - which show WG's genius as an author. Every time I read this section with all the thoughts going through her head, it opens up more 'doors' for me into her character.
The 'most terrible thought of her life' (which makes her drop the bucket!), I think, is what she calls 'The Idea' - that is the fact that she would approach Ross with a view to sleeping with him that very night. She really startles herself because The Idea comes to her very suddenly. She hasn't even thought of it until then, which shows that it hadn't been a long term plan of hers. And she tries to push those thoughts down. She also isn't sure how he will react, and is worried that he will kick her out! This is all just my interpretation and I could be completely off track!

My second post in response to Offerashillin's second post on FB which I've also pasted here:
Offerashillin: So because she's expecting her father to drag her away any moment anyway, and because the rumours of her and Ross already exist, perhaps she thinks "well i might as well go for it" or maybe she thinks it will make Ross 'fall for her' and want her to stay and refuse Tom taking her back...there's so many ways you can look at it. Got to love WG... :)

Bron: That's possible - as you say, many ways of looking at it. But although she feels guilty for thinking of 'The Idea', I think that knowing Demelza's character, she simply loves Ross so much that she wants to be closer to him and mean more to him than just a servant. He already has shown that he has a special place in his heart for her. WG was a man ahead of his time, and I believe he thought of sex much in the way as we do now.....as did many of his characters. A true expression of love regardless of social constraints of the time. (that's not to say that people don't have sex for lusty reasons too, with no further attachment of course!). I don't think that the TV series played this scene out faithfully to Demelza's character as WG wrote it.....it was done in such a way that she planned it....and as for the fact of her getting pregnant and then him marrying her - don't get me started grrrrrrr!!!!



-- Edited by bronny on Friday 24th of August 2012 12:16:41 AM



-- Edited by bronny on Friday 24th of August 2012 01:24:50 AM

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Demelza

 

A passionate child rolling in the dust with her ugly dog; a girl driving oxen; a woman....Did anything else matter?



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Date: Aug 23 8:09 PM, 2012
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Hi all, As I'm new to the forum, I wasn't sure of the correct place to post this but I thought I'd give it a go here, it might have already been discussed but....I'm just wanting to know the opinion on this of you lovely lot as I think there could be may different views.

I'm re-reading Ross Poldark and I've just got to the "seduction scene" and, it seems that Demelza plans it (wearing Grace's dress etc.) but why?

She's terrified that at any moment her father will request her leave to return home and look after his wife and her new baby and be part of the family again and she doesn't want to leave as she is in love with Ross. There is the moment where she has "the worst thought of her life" (to seduce Ross that very night) but why does the idea pop into her head? And how does she think it will help her? 

I thought maybe because she's expecting her father to drag her away any moment anyway, and because the rumours of her and Ross already exist, perhaps she thinks "well i might as well try and sleep with him" or maybe she thinks it will make Ross 'fall for her' and want her to stay and so refuse Tom taking her back...I'm worried I'm being really thick and missing something but perhaps it's just WGs fantastic writing that means it's up to you how to interpret it...




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