A little context, please!
Yesterday, I mused on the sexual tension 'eisegetically' possible in a hermeneutic of suspicion foisted on this line uttered by Judy (Jerusha) Abbott, the protagonist of Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs:
"If you just want a thing hard enough and keep on trying, you do get it in the end."I don't think the girl Judy recognized any sexual overtones in her own words, but as for Webster, the author, I can imagine some low chuckles . . . but you'll want context, so here's the letter from Judy to her unknown benefactor, whom she calls "Daddy-Long-Legs," or just "Daddy":
LOCK WILLOW,This is a broad context, but we see that the sentence in question ("If you just want a thing hard enough and keep on trying, you do get it in the end") is followed immediately by Judy's expression of desire directed toward her benefactor: "I've been trying for four years to get a letter from you - and I haven't given up hope yet." The irony is that she has had contact with him, for he is "Master Jervie"!
Do you observe the postmark? Sallie and I are embellishing Lock Willow [Farm] with our presence during the Easter Vacation. We decided that the best thing we could do with our ten days was to come where it is quiet. Our nerves had got to the point where they wouldn't stand another meal in Fergussen [Hall]. Dining in a room with four hundred girls is an ordeal when you are tired. There is so much noise that you can't hear the girls across the table speak unless they make their hands into a megaphone and shout. That is the truth.
We are tramping over the hills and reading and writing, and having a nice, restful time. We climbed to the top of 'Sky Hill' this morning where Master Jervie and I once cooked supper - it doesn't seem possible that it was nearly two years ago. I could still see the place where the smoke of our fire blackened the rock. It is funny how certain places get connected with certain people, and you never go back without thinking of them. I was quite lonely without him - for two minutes.
What do you think is my latest activity, Daddy? You will begin to believe that I am incorrigible - I am writing a book. I started it three weeks ago and am eating it up in chunks. I've caught the secret. Master Jervie and that editor man were right; you are most convincing when you write about the things you know. And this time it is about something that I do know - exhaustively. Guess where it's laid? In the John Grier Home! And it's good, Daddy, I actually believe it is - just about the tiny little things that happened every day. I'm a realist now. I've abandoned romanticism; I shall go back to it later though, when my own adventurous future begins.
This new book is going to get itself finished - and published! You see if it doesn't. If you just want a thing hard enough and keep on trying, you do get it in the end. I've been trying for four years to get a letter from you - and I haven't given up hope yet.
Goodbye, Daddy dear,
(I like to call you Daddy dear; it's so alliterative.)
Labels: Literary Criticism