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Monday, February 25, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Hat Box, parts 1266 - 1269

1266. Then comes the last character in Festini's story, the Bolivian student whom she names Charles Ralston-Purina. Ralston-Purina is a company that makes dog foods. No matter how much she may try to be objective in her story, treating both characters with a mixture of amusement and pity, still in her heart she identifies with Emma, and for her, Charles Ralston-Purina is just some dog food.

1267. If we go back to her original story about the painter in a garret doing the detailed painting, that is really her as a student, trying, because of her background and training, to do things in a perfect and meticulous way. The reaction to the expressionistic picture in the gallery is an example of her envy of the works by people like Dubious and Ralston-Purina. She envies them, and is irritated by them at the same time.

1268. It is her military hat box that is the key to it all. The hat box represents all the strict and demanding strictures of a repressive childhood. Most likely her parents were antagonistic to her studying art in the first place, pointing out to her how she would never be able to make any money, and would need to do something practical. The only type of art they probably admired was the type measured only in hours put in and the smallness of the detail.

1269. Parents like that will grudgingly admit the value of artistic ability when it is expressed in time consuming drudgery at the service of petty subjects of a sentimental type. Like aristocratic families of old, painting and piano playing are abilities developed by young girls to make them more attractive to wealthy suitors; as a serious pursuit, art is out of the question because it probably will lead to the opium den and murky inexplicable poetry ending in suicide.

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