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ENG 112 Paper 1 - Schwarz 1 Rachel Schwarz ENG 112-NF Mr...

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Schwarz 1 Rachel Schwarz ENG 112-NF Mr. O’Brien 8 February 2011 The Essence of Exteriors 19 th century French writer Victor Hugo rightly said, “Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface” (“Victor Hugo Quotes”). Style is the essence of a person’s inner being. Fashion and flair are the epitomes of creativity and self expression. Style, and its place in society, has adapted consistently throughout the centuries. Manner of dress and appearance can represent culture, can demonstrate socioeconomic status, can reveal social standing, and can convey personality. The characters of Rita Dove’s Sonata Mulattica rely on a sense of style to illustrate their viewpoints and to increase the reader’s understanding of the character’s persona. How each character addresses style is a peak into the inner workings of their minds. Flair, fashion, and manner of dress are addressed by the characters Charlotte Papendiek, the Prince of Wales, and Augustus Bridgetower. Charlotte Papendiek associates style with accomplishment and with determining personality, the Prince of Wales regards style as an essential part of a full life, and Augustus Bridgetower utilizes style to gain interest and attention. Charlotte Papendiek expresses her approach to style through a journal entry written during her service as Assistant Keeper of the Wardrobe and Reader to Queen Charlotte. In the piece “Mrs. Papendiek’s Diary (1)”, Mrs. Papendiek views style with a sense of pride. She relates style with accomplishment and judges the character of others by the manner in which they are dressed. Mrs. Papendiek initiates her first journal entry with discussion of preparing warm
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Schwarz 2 winter clothing for the children. Referring to the children, Mrs. Papendiek describes, “The Queen remarked upon them as well/commending me for managing always/ to outfit them in a manner both elegant/ and unassuming. I was overcome by her kindness” (41). From this statement, one can infer that Mrs. Papendiek is greatly dedicated to her job and to pleasing the Queen. Styling the children in an “elegant/ and unassuming” way provides Mrs. Papendiek with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Dressing the royal family in an appropriate manner is essential for upholding other’s opinion of the aristocratic group. Mrs. Papendiek and the Queen require the
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