Analysis Of Laura Brown's The Lady, The Lapdog, And Literary Alterity

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In “The Lady, the Lapdog, and Literary Alterity,” Laura Brown closely considers a single recurring image in the literary canon. Her analysis reveals its value as an image “mean[ing] more than any individual text that includes that image may actually say,” and as an indicator of “how Europeans at a crucial period in the expansion of their culture across the globe engaged the idea of difference” (31). This way, although she never explicitly labels her essay so by name, it is undeniably a history of a dynamic image within literature. In my emulation of her, I have crafted a history of men, tobacco, and class, where possible citing the very authors Brown incorporates into her essay. I doing so, I have sought to replicate the success of Brown’s…show more content…
Strangely, her essay begins at the end with Barrett-Browning (intro), jumps backwards to a social history of the topic (I), proceeds to an extended textual history of her image (II), and ends with a summary that confusingly begins to discuss human/orang-utan miscegenation before clumsily returning to Barrett-Browning (III). In the process, her strong arguments are nearly lost. I have moulded my own essay to this structure, with an eye to its weaknesses, hoping that a broader topic might yield more favourable results. I begin with Orwell’s “Books vs. Cigarettes” as the culmination of the image of the man and his tobacco (intro), discuss the simultaneous establishment of English “society” and smoking as social marker (I), note the shift of class membership of smokers from idle gentlemen to the working class (II), and finish by considering Orwell, smoking’s greatest apologist, and his depiction of the smoking man in non-fiction (III). This way, my history follows a logical progression in similarly sized segments. As this is an exercise in emulation, I have written conscious Brown’s voice, where possible, and even appropriated her language where it fit my…show more content…
Of all the tobacco-smoking writers in England across the last century, none wrote more about his smoking habit than George Orwell. Orwell considered tobacco so essential to human existence that he could force his everyman in Nineteen Eighty-Four to live without sugar, chocolate, or indeed wine, but could not imagine depriving him of his tobacco ration. It is in fact Orwell who best indicates where my history ends. He describes an Englishman’s dependence on Tobacco in his infamous essay published in 1946:
“Twenty-five pounds a year [his annual expenditure on books] sounds quite a lot until you begin to measure it against other kinds of expenditure. It is nearly 9s. 9d. a week, and at present 9s. 9d. a week is the equivalent of 83 cigarettes…I am spending far more on tobacco than I do on books. I smoke six ounces a week, at half a crown an ounce, making nearly £40 a year. Even before the war when the same tobacco cost 8d. an ounce, I was spending over £10 a year on it…[t]his was probably not much over the national average” (“Books vs. Cigarettes”

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