Pride and Prejudice

The Moonstone questions???

1. Describe the frame sort of The Moonstone.

2. What does the moonstone symbolize?

3. List two standards of the detective genre of fiction first presented in The Moonstone.

4. How do Blake and Cuff discover who took the diamond to London?

5. Compare and contrast the narratives of Drusilla Clack and Gabriel Betteredge. Explain what they reveal to the reader and the way that each reveals the information.

6. Compare and contrast the characterization of Rachel Verinder and Rosanna Spearman. Give examples from the novel about their backgrounds, actions, and personalities. Write at least 5 sentences.

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2) The Moonstone stands, in the first place, as a symbol for the exoticness, impenetrability, and dark mysticism of the East—Gabriel remarks that the stone "seemed unfathomable as the heavens themselves" and "shone awfully out of the depths of its own brightness, with a moony gleam, in the dark." In the second place, the Moonstone is associated with femininity and even feminine virginity, through its associations with the moon and with pricelessness. The theft of the Moonstone from Rachel Verinder's bedroom by her nearly betrothed, Franklin Blake, can be read as a metaphor for her deflowering.

3) genre · Victorian novel; sensation novel; detective novel

5) narrator · The Moonstone features eleven different narrators: an unnamed cousin of John Herncastle; Gabriel Betteredge (steward to Lady Verinder); Miss Clack (Lady Verinder's niece); Mr. Bruff (Lady Verinder's lawyer); Franklin Blake (Lady Verinder's nephew); Ezra Jennings (assistant to Dr. Candy); Sergeant Cuff; Dr. Candy; Sergeant Cuff's investigator; the Captain of the steamboat Bewley Castle; Mr. Murthwaite (traveler to India). Gabriel Betteredge and Franklin Blake narrate more than two sections each. Everyone else narrates one section.

point of view · The point of view is first person, according to whoever is narrating. Franklin Blake has solicited all of the characters' first-person narrations and acts as editor. He occasionally steps into a narrative with a footnote to offer a different viewpoint.

tone · The tone differs according to narrator. Betteredge's narrative has a tone of provincial good humor. Miss Clack's has a tone of self-righteous piety. The tone of the remaining narrators is mainly journalistic.

tense · Franklin Blake begins to solicit the narratives in May of 1850, so the narrators are writing in 1850 of events that took place in 1848 or 1849. Their narratives are largely in the past tense, slipping into the present tense to describe current interactions with Franklin as editor.

6)Rachel Verinder

Rachel Verinder stands at the center of The Moonstone's plot, yet never speaks her own narrative. In fact, her character is defined largely by omission—omission of her own story—and her withholding of her knowledge about the theft of The Moonstone. This reticence makes Rachel an alluring heroine, according to the cultural logic by which women in a position of holding back are invested with a particular attractiveness. Aside from this quality, Rachel seems an un-idealized image of a heroine. Collins makes clear that she is slightly unconventional, physically, with small stature and dark features. Rachel challenges Victorian propriety and gender roles by treating men and women alike with a straightforward manner that can be startling in its lack of coyness. Rachel's most important character trait is her unwillingness to tell on the misdeeds of another. Collins is clear on the fact that this never amounts to dishonesty—instead of lying about a delicate subject, Rachel says nothing at all.

Rachel's main conflict in the novel is an internal one: the evidence of her senses, which tell her that Franklin Blake stole her diamond and lied about it, must combat her passionate feelings of love and trust in Franklin. Rachel seems to have a tragic counterpart in the outcast Rosanna Spearman. The two women are kindred in their impassioned natures and love for Franklin Blake.


Poor Rosanna. She's not a major character, but she plays an important role in moving the story forward. Like Rachel, if Rosanna had been more forthright, the mystery would not have been as long and drawn out. If Rosanna had gone to Lady Verinder with the stained nightgown, or even to Franklin himself, instead of hiding it in the quicksand, the mystery would have been solved. But Rosanna's reticence, or unwillingness to speak out, isn't the same as Rachel's. She refuses to speak because she's in love with Franklin Blake.

This is actually kind of scandalous: a female servant in love with someone from the upper class? Especially a female servant with a disability? It was practically unheard of during the nineteenth century for any woman to admit that she was in love with a man before he made advances first. It was considered improper. And for a servant girl to admit that she was in love with a social superior? That was just socially wrong.

Or was it? Collins makes Rosanna a very sympathetic character. She doesn't have a lot going for her – she doesn't have a pretty face, one of her shoulders is deformed, she used to be a thief, and the other servants don't like her. But Collins shows that it's totally natural that she should fall in love with Franklin Blake. She has as much right to fall in love as Rachel has, even though Rosanna has less chance of happiness.


The Moonstone Narrator:

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

First Person (multiple central narrators)

The Moonstone is composed of a series of first-person narratives, memos, letters, and journal entries. The bulk of it is told retrospectively, from the points of view of the people involved in the action. Franklin Blake, one of the main characters, is responsible for collecting all the documents, and Gabriel Betteredge, the first narrator, quotes Franklin Blake's explanation on the first page of his narrative:

'There can be no doubt that this strange family story of ours ought to be told. And I think, Betteredge, Mr. Bruff and I together have hit on the right way of telling it. […] We have certain events to relate, […] and we have certain persons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them. Starting from these plain facts, the idea is that we should all write the story of the Moonstone in turn—as far as our own personal experience extends, and no farther. (

So the first assertion Franklin Blake makes is that the story "ought to be told." He thinks that it's important for future generations of their family to know the truth about the Moonstone. He also thinks that there's a "right way of telling it." Lucky us! We're sitting down to read a story that needs to be told, and we're going to hear it the only "right way" that it could be told. Of course, Franklin Blake wants to make sure that the bare facts are told – the reader (his imagined future generations) should be allowed to judge for him or herself. So that puts us in the position of detective – we hear the events just as the characters themselves experienced them, and we know only what they knew at the time.


Rachel is one of the central characters of the novel. You might even think of her as the romantic heroine, since she's the pretty girl that everyone wants to marry. Yet we never hear the story from her point of view. Why is that? Well, for one thing, it would spoil the suspense: she knows from the beginning that Franklin Blake took the Moonstone, although she doesn't know the reason why. And she keeps that knowledge to herself for most of the book, right up until Franklin forces her to speak out.

That reticence, or unwillingness to speak out, is one aspect of Rachel's character that is continually brought up. She's not chatty or gossipy like the other girls of her age. She doesn't tend to ask for advice. She is stubbornly secretive. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? On the one hand, it makes her very independent. She doesn't rely on anyone else to give her advice. When she has a difficult decision to make, she takes her time, considers her options, and makes up her mind on her own.

Being self-reliant is a good thing, right? Isn't it good that she doesn't tattle-tale on people she likes, even when it means getting in trouble herself? Sure, but up to a point. Think about how much time and trouble would have been saved if she had just confronted Franklin the morning after the diamond was stolen, and said, "Look, Franklin, I SAW you take it!" They would have figured out pretty quickly what must have happened, and the novel would have ended about three hundred pages sooner.

So Rachel's reticence is partly a plot device: for the story to go forward, it's necessary that Rachel should withhold what she knows. But it's also a comment about gender and femininity. When Gabriel Betteredge first describes her, he compares her to "other girls of her age," saying that "she judged for herself, as few women of twice her age judge in general" ( Betteredge describes this as a "defect," though – it's not a compliment to say that a young woman is "independent" during the Victorian period. Mr. Bruff thinks so, too, generally speaking. But in Rachel, he considers it a virtue:

This absolute self dependence is a great virtue in a man. In a woman it has the serious drawback of morally separating her from the mass of her sex, and so exposing her to misconstruction by the general opinion. I strongly suspect myself of thinking as the rest of the world think in this matter—except in the case of Rachel Verinder. The self-dependence in her character, was one of its virtues in my estimation. (

Most women, according to Mr. Bruff, should allow themselves to be guided by outside advice, while it's good for men, in general, to think for themselves. He's willing to make an exception for Rachel, though, because he knows that she's intelligent and sensible enough to make good decisions, even without asking advice.

So where does that leave us? Most characters in the novel seem to hold the general view that women need guidance from men. But then, Mr. Bruff makes exceptions for women like Lady Verinder and Rachel who don't actually need guidance. It seems that Wilkie Collins might be making fun of the commonly held, sexist belief that women need men's advice to make important decisions. Everyone keeps saying that women need help, but in practice, none of the main female characters actually do.