Monday, September 19, 2011

Required Blog Post: Kirsten Mendoza

      In volume II, we learn why Squire B. has chosen Pamela as a wife. On page 445, he explains that he believes that fewer Men than Women love better after marriage. This is why, the woman he should marry must be a woman he prefers above all her Sex. Secondly, he must be assured of her fidelity to him and preference of him over all other men. He states, “The Word Command, on my Side, or Obedience, on hers, I would have blotted from my vocabulary” (446).  Although he declares that his married life would not be like the relationship between a master and a servant based on command and obedience, it is rather interesting that pages 448-451 are devoted to forty-eight rules upon which he expects Pamela to OBEY.

It may seem as though volume II is nothing less than an instruction manual on how a good wife should be. Squire B. alludes to his imperfections, and advises her to be free to tell him anything so that “nothing may lie upon either of our minds that shall occasion the least Reservedness” (368, Richardson).  Pamela, in response, does not point out any of his flaws, but rather, informs him of her graciousness and subjection to his will. She continuously refers to Squire B, as the “charming Man” and her “dearest dear Sir.” Squire B describes how many women lose their figure and dress after marriage “as if she would take no Pains to secure the Affection she had gained” (368, Richardson).  He even tells her that he will rise in Summer at six in the morning, and that he will ALLOW her to lie “half an Hour after me, or so” (368, Richardson).

            A man such as Squire B. who wishes to never be denied chooses for a wife, a servant girl. He does not want a relationship based on command and obedience, and yet he constantly instructs her on how to be the wife he envisions her to be. One must wonder if such liberties would have been taken had she been a woman of noble birth.

1)   Do you believe that part of Pamela’s appeal to Squire B. is not just her beauty and chastity, but also the fact that as a servant girl brought to a higher status because of matrimony, Squire B. can expect nothing less than obedience due to the wife’s gratefulness? (An interesting passage showing the double standard of a woman descending to a lower class based on a marriage to a man beneath them and a man raising the woman he marries may be found on Page 422)

2)   Richardson gives Squire B. a past with Sally Godfrey. He even has an illegitimate child, Miss Goodwin.  Are these experiences meant for us to have a harsher and more hypocritical look of Squire B., or rather, are these meant to show us Pamela’s bountiful love and goodness? Pamela is able to look past his double standard and manipulatively controlling ways and still remains faithful and always praising of his person.

3)   What do you all think the lengthy Volume II is meant to signify? Do you think Victorian women would have read his instructions on being a good wife with complaisance or do you think they would have viewed his ideas critically?


  1. I feel like with the part about her dealing with Squire B's illegitimate child, was not put into make us more critical of Squire B's character but for me it kind of conjured a bit of sympathy. He is struggling with romance. :P And I feel like that part was added to show the complexity of statuses and stations in life and the consequences of it having so many layers and strings; how people are so bound to their culture that it almost paralyzes them. Which is why I think Pamela marrying Squire B makes Pamela and Squire B commendable to a certain extent, because they are challenging society in a way. Lady Davers was very challenged by it.
    And I wonder too, how Victorian women took this novel. But I have a feeling that they may have liked it very much. I think every girl likes a Cinderella story. Haha! But I may be wrong about that too.

  2. In all honesty I believe that a majority of Volume II was completely unneeded. A good chunk of it was spent going over rules that he expects Pamela to obey to and I think that we could have done without the continuous repetition. However, on another note, volume II did give more depth to how naive Pamela really was. After they even had sex we see how she is still a little awkward the next morning. This goes to show that Pamela didn't really grow as a character. I would have expected to see some sort of growth in her character in the second Volume.

    Additionally, I don't think many women of that time would have looked at the instructions and been critical because many of them I feel followed the doings of society. They didn't speak out against their own cause and they simply acted accordingly to their status before and after marriage.

    I agree with Christina, I definitely think women took it as a Cinderella story.

  3. I think immediately Squire B was attracted to Pamela due to the fact that she reminded him of his deceased mother. Besides having the connected memory, he also thought Pamela was very beautiful. He complimented her good looks upon attaining her as his servant. I felt like he always thought of her as more of an object than an actual person with feelings. He thought he was able to buy her affection by giving her beautiful clothing and money, instead of being genuinely kind to her. He was very attracted to her beauty and chastity, but I also think Mr. B liked to be in charge. Since he is a member of the upper class and is considered Pamela's master, that gave him the ability to control her and make her obey his every rule - or so he thought anyway. He expects her to always be obedient and be a good wife, although he is able to cheat on her with other mistresses whenever he pleased. There is a double standard because he thinks that he has complete control due to the fact that she is a woman and also a member of the lower class. Looking at their relationship from a current day perspective, no strong woman in their right mind would settle for a man that was this controlling and sexist.

  4. I agree that much of Volume II was unneeded and simply repetitious. The volume goes to great links to demonstrates just how much control Mr B expects to possess and, as such, shows how much control a C18 husband had over his wife. I do not believe most C18 women would of viewed this critically, these idea were the norm, they would of accepted them for the most part. To the C18 reader, the knowledge that Mr B has a daughter would of been accepted out of hand. It was the wife who was expected to be chaste coming into a marriage, husbands could sleep around with little to no repercussions. Nowadays of course it is easy to point at the hypocritical nature of this expectation, however for the time it was written it showed not much more than what was to be expected.