By Carol Hanbery MacKay
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Extra resources for Soliloquy in Nineteenth-Century Fiction
But Pen's accompaniments of laughing and blushing are external marks, which blur the distinction. And what are we to make of the phrase that follows: 'as he thought how dearly he would relish honour and fame if they could be his'? Does it introduce thoughts that next appear, or does it summarize thoughts that in fact precede external remarks? ' record an oral outburst or an emotional response on an internal plane? Then Thackeray proceeds to complete this scene in a more descriptive, summarizing vein, one that is richly ambiguous: He went on with these musings, more happy and hopeful, and in a humbler frame of mind, than he had felt to be for many a day.
Heathcliff's selfdivision is already in effect, for he is physically separated from the part of him that is Catherine. And by addressing herself in the third person, 'poor Rebecca' emotionally distances herself from her role as friend to Amelia, thereby making it easier to attack Amelia verbally and dramatize their social differences - differences that pique Becky and push her to overturn them in her plans for the future. Once that drive towards solution is unleashed, however, it takes different routes towards different ends.
This summary shifts from the internal world of thought to the external world of reported speech and action. On the one hand, the omniscient narrator notes Pen's review of the past; on the other, he can only guess at the impulse that leads Pen to kiss the picture of his home- 'which we hope was a good one'. We learn that the scene ends with Pen 'mechanically' repeating the words of some childhood prayer- a repetition which, like his 'musings', could be silent or out loud. At one time, however, he 'had been accustomed' to recite this prayer aloud, and the image of this oral recitation and his mother silencing it with her 'benediction' bring into play the conclusive power of oral resolve.