Topic: Give a detailed analysis of a key scene or passage from "My Brilliant Career" by Miles Franklin.
The focus and essence of My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin is centred on the relationships and interactions of Sybylla Melvyn (the key character of the novel), towards other characters. The ways in which she reacts to different people and why she reacts in a particular manner, are perhaps more crucial and intriguing to the reader, than any distinct event throughout the novel. Sybylla's logic and thinking about herself, others and life, have been moulded by her very influential relationships with her mother and father. Her view on life and the roles of men and women has also been influenced by literature she has read. Moreover, her affinity with her parents in childhood and as a young woman has plainly made its mark on her further relationships, especially with men.
The most prominent male relationship Sybylla encounters is with her lover, Harold Beecham. Sybylla's relationship with Harold as described in Chapter 20 illustrates the influences of her parents and literature. In Chapter 20, Sybylla hits Harold across the face with a riding whip, when he tries to kiss her. Yet Harold Beecham appears to be the perfect figure and the perfect man and indeed, Sybylla loves him, although she does not like to admit this. For example, her "train of thought was interrupted by our host, who appeared in the doorway, clad from sole to neck in white" (Franklin 137). He is her knight in shining amour, but even so she strikes him. To Sybylla, Harold always appears somewhat 'forbidden'. Perhaps subconsciously, he is the materialised embodiment of her father, Richard Melvyn. In her e...
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...y saying "Is this not rather sudden? You have given me no intimation of your intentions" (Franklin 140). Perhaps still disturbed by his manner, this is partly the reason why she hits Harold afterwards.
Sybylla Melvyn is simply a confused adolescent, with all the problems and feelings of a young woman growing up. She has a large amount of emotional turmoil in her mind and is doing what she can to adjust to her ever changing environment. Sybylla is paranoid and neurotic and her values, beliefs and ideals have been easily influenced by her childhood relationship with her parents. As a consequence, her actions reflect these influences, which are deeply etched in her mind. By examining her relationship with Harold Beecham we are able to understand that her attitude towards his affections are a result of both her parents influence and her reading material.
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