David Lodge’s novel ‘Author, Author’ is one of the most common novels used by many teachers and students of literature studies due to its unique presentation that moves it far from other literature pieces. The author has embraced the use of various styles to develop and advance several themes and any reader will not compromise his work for another author’s when given a chance to choose between the two.
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It should be noted that not all literature pieces have the ability of conveying their intended message in a precise yet rich manner the way ‘Author, Author’ exposes all its contents with ease. This essay analyses the relationship of Henry James and his personal secretary Theodora Bosanquet and how the author has portrayed the secretary’s personality.
David Lodge has approached the relationship between James and Theodora through two main perspectives as depicted by the passage. The first perspective that the author has successfully used to portray a picture of their relationship is through their formal interaction. The author describes their relationship as being formal and that of an employer and an employee.
The passage explains that Theodora did not just wake up one day and went looking for a job just like any other person. Instead the author tells us that Theodora did taught herself how to type and get used to the Remington machine in order to pass the interview that was ahead of her.
This means that she was not going to be given the position of a secretary on a silver plate but had to work her way to get the job. This shows that James and Theodora have a formal relationship governed by professional ethics like offering vacancies to qualified candidates rather than on their appearances.
This creates a possibility that there were several candidates interested for the job but only Theodora had the required skills and experience needed. This is illustrated by the phrase that explains how James had got used to the ticking sound of the keys of the typing machine to an extent that it had become necessary to his work while Theodora felt like it was a rhythmic session that was fascinating. The author describes how James tested Theodora’s typing speed and capability before giving her the opportunity to be his secretary.
On the other hand their relationship is also portrayed as an informal association just like any casual encounter between a man and a woman. The way they think and feel about each other is prove enough that they have some hidden ambitions and with time all will be exposed. The way James pauses and the choice of words used to mark their conversations is casual and unlike any formal interaction between an employer and an employee. In addition, Theodora admires some aspects of James’ personality but keeps this to herself.
David Lodge has used physical description to portray various personalities of Theodora in the passage. From the beginning it is very clear that the secretary is very wise and intelligent. This is evident by the fact that she knows there is a forthcoming interview and gets prepared for any test she may be subjected to. Unlike very many ladies that use their physical appearance to woo employers to give them jobs she uses her intelligence to ensure that she gets the job due to her qualifications and not as a privilege extended to her by the employer.
She is also depicted as very wise through declining the offer of a small dowry but instead decides to choose a university education in order to be self dependent in future. This means that she is not focused on short term benefits at the expense of her future. Many women will never decline such tempting offers and will sacrifice a lot in order to get the small dowry that is compared to the pleasures of the world.
This means that she is focused on making her life more comfortable as compared to the life her parents used to live. This is evident the way the author describes her background as financially unstable.
Theodora is also depicted as very hardworking and persevering in her duties. Being a secretary is not an easy task and moreover, being a secretary of an author is more demanding and frustrating. However, Theodora is very calm, confident and patient as she waits for further instructions from James. Many women and men would not have the humility to go through all this demanding sessions almost every day throughout the week. This is a clear indication that she is very patient and persevering which are qualities that people should emulate.
The author has also portrayed Theodora as a very presentable person who knows how to make herself noticed among millions of people. The author describes how beautiful she was in her dark suits and plain blouses. She is described as being fond of dressing this way meaning that this is the way she has chosen to be and not just a once in a life time experience. Her physique has also been highlighted to emphasise on her presentation that is not only evident in her dressing code but also more pronounced in her physique.
In addition, David Lodge has managed to portray Theodora as a secretive person who keeps most of the things to herself. Theodora admired the way James used to move around the room while they were working but could not comment on it and instead opted to keep quite.
In most cases it is very easy for men and women to make public comments that will reveal their hidden passions towards others in order to get their attention. However, Theodora is not among this type of people and although she seems to be bothered a lot by her likeness of James’ mannerisms she holds her horses tight and does not allow her feelings spill out of her heart.
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She is also being described as a humble and respectful person towards her boss. This is not only due to the fact that James is her employer but mostly due to the fact that this is the way she was brought up. David Lodge describes her background as being humble and gentle meaning that her parents had ensured that discipline was a mandatory observation in their family.
The fact that she is used to James did not give her room to compromise her character and begin to behave in a manner likely to suggest any unbecoming behavior. Finally, loyalty is also a trait that David Lodge has used to portray the character of Theodora in the passage. She is very well behaved and respects her boss with regard to all instructions being given to her and waits calmly for James to issue any directions with regard to the secretarial duties assigned to her.
It is very evident that David Lodge has embraced the use of various descriptive skills to portray the interaction between a boss and an employee in a work situation. He has managed to portray how different people behave in a work situation regardless of their positions at work.