Yellow Fever is evidently a vital component of the novel, as it provides a framing for the events within the narrative. Today, we discussed the recurring theme of ‘stomachs’ in the book, and the link provided may go some way to solve this puzzle. The symtoms of Yellow Fever include nausea, much like the so often invoked feeling – both physical and metaphorical – in the book. The fever, perhaps, best represents the way the characters act: impulsively, heatedly, dangerously. Also available through some close reading, is the idea that it all stems from one event. The tales in the book begin at the fragile home revealed to Mervyn when he finds his father to have married Betty: rumours infect their relationship, and he feels compelled to leave. Yellow Fever originates from a single infected mosquito, perhaps represented by Betty when considering the fever as a state of mind as well as a physical ailment. Reading the introductory pages again with this in mind opens up another layer of analysis we can use, due to the addition of context.
Attached is also a visual representation of the market forces acting in Arthur Mervyn, which we considered towards the end of today’s class. As we progress through the second volume in particular, you may see how the ‘market’ or ‘novel’ gets resolved back to a sustainable market clearing point.
Market in Action – this is the graphical market explanation. I have an A3 Poster version available if this is too small for you to see properly, just let me know and I can bring you one to the next class.