No Spark: An Analysis of Val and Euan’s Relationship in Possession 12th Grade

No Spark: An Analysis of Val and Euan’s Relationship in Possession The fictional poet of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Randolph Henry Ash. muses in his short poem. “And is love then more//Than the kick galvanic” (297). Byatt includes this poem at the start of the single chapter in her novel that accounts—from a first-hand perspective—Ash’s secret affair with fictional poetess Christabel LaMotte. Roland, an Ash scholar, muses over his own “kick galvanic” with fellow scholar Maud Bailey: “the stunning blow like that emitted by the Moray eel from under its boulders to unsuspecting marine explorers” (162). Byatt purposefully parallels the two love stories as they unfold to the reader, thereby highlighting many of the similarities. Unrelenting pursuance of both relationships led to a lot of harm to much harm to the other characters of the novel: Ash and Christabel’s relationship arguably led to Blanche’s suicide. However the other couple that emerges in her novel, Val and Euan, seemingly have a less relevant and purposeful love story. Byatt includes Val and Euan’s unique love story to isolate the “kick galvanic” as the reason for the deleterious effect the other characters’ relationships have. Byatt establishes Val’s hesitation to become...

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