Regarding Drabble's "The Peppered Moth"
Having read the major portion of contemporary British novelist, Margaret Drabble's, novels, I can say firmly that her 2001 effort The Peppered Moth is outstanding.   So, you can imagine how funny I thought a recent news blurb detailing Ms. Drabble's indignation about her perceived "dumbing down" of her work.  Of course, the public is not reading like it used to.  Dickens' novels were long for a leisurely Victorian society.  This is the age of video games, too much war angst, and the internet.  She should not expect an admiring reading public.  The literary way is not the way to go.   But, back to the novel, in The Peppered Moth, we find a fascinating tale of three generations of women in the context of their families in which Ms. Drabble interweaves a fascinating study of social darwinism.  The novel opens with Faro Gaulden of the third generation attending a conference on genetics and family history.  The novel then goes back to her grandmother's young life (Bessie Bawtry).  The second generation, which is Faro's mother, is Christine Flora Barron.  She focusses, in true feminist fashion on the female side, not the males: Bawtry, Barron, and Gaulden.  Ms. Drabble forces us to think about survival of the fittest in a social context.  Education plays a key role in shaping human destiny.  We can thus follow Bessie through all her ups and downs at Cambridge.  Her daughter, Chrissie, meets Nick Gaulden at Cambridge.  Luck, then, is very important.  Marriage is a factor in the total equation.  Personal failures revise the human progress.  Parents are very influential in shaping human destiny.  Faro has written a thesis on evolutionary determinism.  All the generations share a commonality, but the environment allows for innumerable individual differences.  Environment creates her characters' sense of identity.   The initial starting point of genes works itself out in the environment.  We need helpful and varied environments to live a meaningful life.  Faro Gaulden recapitulates the whole theme, begun with Bessie, her grandmother.  She is at once human potential and death in the novel.  Her inspiration comes from her mother" "I wrote this novel to try to understand my mother better."  We are left to draw our own conclusion that Ms. Drabble does not find all this "adaptive preference formation" beneficial for human society.  She gives us a brief apocalyptical ending, but then returns back to Faro's story.  Perhaps there is a better system of values for us to follow.

There are no messages yet
Writing Activity
Who What Where
writing frederic
Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
This has not been rated.

Writers should assess their favorite writers' work. It may give them ideas and inspiration that they may not be able to find from their own imagination. I have been interested in Margaret Drabble for quite some time. Her novels are engaging and full of tremendous insight on the human condition.