TL Question #10 ~ Learning to Love

by Stephen Jeffreys

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TL Question #10 ~ Learning to Love

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:49 am

When the Earl finds out that E. Barry is pregnant with his child he tells her, “This is not like the other children. (with E. Malet) This is the child of our passion. Passion which would confirm it a child of hope. My other children were born of despair, conceived in a country marriage bed. When I bred them, I placed no value on my life, no importance on human life at all. When I met you I was, in that instant, delivered from still life, delivered from the ice of my own soul… I CANNOT FORGIVE YOU FOR TEACHING ME TO LOVE LIFE.”

What say you to that?!
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Unread postby lumineuse » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:36 am

Poppycock.

I haven't been participating much in this second Libertine discussion, mainly because I was engrossed in So Idle A Rogue, which I finished last night. I can second Raven's recommendation of that book - it is fascinating, and gives a different perspective and a much better insight into the Earl's troubled life. So anything I say in this discussion now is going to be colored by that book,. I hope that's not inappropriate. If it is, just let me know, ok? Anyway......

Regardless of how he felt about that particular child, I don't think Barry taught him to love life. She became more a source of torment to him than anything else. Rochester was in love with his first wife - until he got her. He was in love with Barry, too, but I think it is likely he remained that way because he couldn't control her. I think if he had been able to, his passion for her would have cooled, too. I also don't think he favored this child over any of his others - in fact he doted on his legitimate son Charles. This child was born at the end of the affair, and near the end of his life. He shortly took the child from her, because the affair ended. The reversal of his attitude towards life when he was near its end had nothing to do with Ms. Barry.
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Re: TL Question #10 ~ Learning to Love

Unread postby karla » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:34 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:When the Earl finds out that E. Barry is pregnant with his child he tells her, “This is not like the other children. (with E. Malet) This is the child of our passion. Passion which would confirm it a child of hope. My other children were born of despair, conceived in a country marriage bed. When I bred them, I placed no value on my life, no importance on human life at all. When I met you I was, in that instant, delivered from still life, delivered from the ice of my own soul… I CANNOT FORGIVE YOU FOR TEACHING ME TO LOVE LIFE.”

What say you to that?!


I see a pretty close parallel here between Wilmot and JD. The things that JD has said about how he felt when he met Vanessa and how he felt when Lily Rose was born.

From Rolling Stone 2005.

"This is an interesting time in the life of Depp, many changes afoot, largely precipitated by a vision he saw seven years ago, in Paris, in the lobby of the Hotel Costes. It was of a woman. Her dress revealed her back, and her back greeted her neck in such a way that Depp's insides buckled and he suddenly experienced one of life's greater miracles. 'Whammo, man, across the room, amazing, incredible, awesome,' he said, working himself into a lather. 'The Back, the Back, I saw the Back, and I was reduced to...' and here he made a blubbering, love-struck kind of noise. The woman was Paradis, and the feeling was mutual."

Wilmot says to Jane "how have I fallen in love with a plain woman I do not know" and later Malet says to Wilmot "and when your eyes shone the other day, they were shining for her".


and then of course from The Christian Science Monitor 2001

""I'd like to think I was reborn May 27, 1999," Johnny Depp confides. Why that date? Well, that's when his daughter, Lily-Rose Melody, was born.
"Everything changed once I held [her] in my arms, and those innocent eyes stared into mine," Depp says. "Until that moment, I had been possessed with 'me' and 'my career.' Suddenly, there was someone who depended on me, who I was responsible for."

Wilmot's comment about how he feels about his child with Barry!

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:51 pm

lumineuse wrote:Poppycock.

That's a succinct way of putting it! Truthful as JW tried to be, this didn't ring true to me. I think he was just in the throes of his rather adolescent passion for Barry, and these words came out. I agree with lumineuse's reasoning and am getting interested in reading some of those other books about the Earl!
Johnny, on the other hand, seems to have truly meant his comments and is showing it in his life. :angel:
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:08 pm

Betty Sue wrote:
lumineuse wrote:Poppycock.

That's a succinct way of putting it! Truthful as JW tried to be, this didn't ring true to me. I think he was just in the throes of his rather adolescent passion for Barry, and these words came out. I agree with lumineuse's reasoning and am getting interested in reading some of those other books about the Earl!
Johnny, on the other hand, seems to have truly meant his comments and is showing it in his life. :angel:


I, too, concur with Lumi on this one. If I can remember correctly, I got the same message from the Greene book (it's been a while since I've read it and don't have it in hand to refer to). BTW Lumi, I encourage your new found perspective because it enhances our understanding of the man.

I think, too, that although there is some similar wording used by both Johnny Wilmot in the play and by Johnny Depp in real life, I think that Johnny's extreme emotions about his daughter come from the fact that it is his daughter--not necessarily because she is the daughter of Vanessa Paradis. This is not to say that he doesn't treasure that aspect of her also, but I believe that no matter who the mother was he would still feel a strong love for his first child. I hope I'm making sense. Also, in regard to the Earl, I believe other books and tidbits I've read have indicated that he had a strong love for all of his children. So I'm thinking this is just Jeffreys's bent on it.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:57 pm

lumineuse wrote:Poppycock.



Would that be in the same vein as "arn't men full of :censored: "

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Unread postby Jackslady » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:24 pm

Yes, this is one part of the film that didn't quite ring true to me, although Johnny is very moving in that particular scene.

SPOILER WARNING


The film differs from the play here. In the play Barry tells Rochester she is pregnant and he pleads with her to stay with him. In the film she tells him she has already borne the child. The play is closer to the truth.

Rochester knew of Barry's pregnancy though by the end of it he was seriously ill. He was prompted by a friend (some writers claim this friend to be Nell Gwyn) to write to Barry after she gave birth to the child and he sent her a letter and some gifts, being by then too ill to travel. One might interpret this as the behaviour of a cad, to use an old fashioned expression, but I temper that by considering that he was seriously ill and travel in those days was by no means as easy as sitting in a comfortable car. Their relationship appears to have been ever tempestuous and eventually he did remove the child Elizabeth from her mother's care. Elizabeth was actually raised alongside his youngest daughter, Malet.

From his letters to his wife, there is every evidence Rochester was a caring, if frequently absent father. No doubt as nobleman he looked upon the begetting of children as a dynastic necessity, but there are touching comments from him suggesting he delighted in all of them. He called his oldest daugher "the little girl whom my soul loveth", indicating an intreguing tenderness.

I think both the play and the film have used a little dramatic licence. I also think the sentence "I can never forgive you for teaching me to love life" is strange and makes little sense within the context of the story. I still enjoyed the sensitivity of Johnny's acting in this scene though.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:48 pm

My take on this question is totally different this time around the discussion since I know so much more about the real man. I agree that this is probably literary license. I think JW was a passionate man and that didn't start with his affair with EB. It would also seem there was some liberty taken with the timing of the pregnancy and birth of the child in the play and the movie.

lumi, you are more than welcome to share your perspective from the book as are all of you that have read the biographies. I think we are all interested as much in the real man as we are in the play and movie!
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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Dec 14, 2005 5:22 pm

I think he was absolutely sincere here, because he was at rock bottom. We know this often happens to people who are addicted, and sick in heart and soul, that it takes falling to the bottom for them to see all they've lost or to appreciate what they have. I really think that Wilmot was afraid of losing his life perhaps for the first time, that he was in love with Barry and wanted to live. I think he had finally realized, how much of his talent and opportunities he had squandered (after all his friend George is making a hit, with a play about him and his exploits), literally that he had wasted his life. I also think he is in denial, because he no longer has the favor of the King, he's too sick to write, and he's dying.

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Unread postby SamIam » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:27 pm

[quote="LizI, too, concur with Lumi on this one. If I can remember correctly, I got the same message from the Greene book (it's been a while since I've read it and don't have it in hand to refer to). BTW Lumi, I encourage your new found perspective because it enhances our understanding of the man.

I think, too, that although there is some similar wording used by both Johnny Wilmot in the play and by Johnny Depp in real life, I think that Johnny's extreme emotions about his daughter come from the fact that it is his daughter--not necessarily because she is the daughter of Vanessa Paradis. This is not to say that he doesn't treasure that aspect of her also, but I believe that no matter who the mother was he would still feel a strong love for his first child. I hope I'm making sense. Also, in regard to the Earl, I believe other books and tidbits I've read have indicated that he had a strong love for all of his children. So I'm thinking this is just Jeffreys's bent on it.[/quote]

I agree with you Liz. I think that Johnny would love his first child no matter who was the mother. That goes for anyone really not just Johnny. I have never read the play or anything but it seems that it is just this author's take on Wilmot.
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Re: TL Question #10 ~ Learning to Love

Unread postby Larkwoodgirl » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:35 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: “This is not like the other children. (with E. Malet) This is the child of our passion. Passion which would confirm it a child of hope. My other children were born of despair, conceived in a country marriage bed. When I bred them, I placed no value on my life, no importance on human life at all. When I met you I was, in that instant, delivered from still life, delivered from the ice of my own soul… I CANNOT FORGIVE YOU FOR TEACHING ME TO LOVE LIFE.”

What say you to that?!


To me the quote reflects two things that are characteristic of Rochester; his skill as a manipulator and his desperation to maintain control over Barrie.

Rochester had been drunk for five years straight. He had sunk into the bottomless pit of alcoholism. His health was failing. He was desperately trying to hold onto something that in his mind was much more than it actually was.

At this point Barrie was done with him. Barrie had affairs of her own. Rochester knew of this and was insanely jealous. I believe that he took the child in an attempt to try to punish Barrie for dumping him.

He says that "I cannot forgive you for teaching me to love life." I think that in reality he could not forgive her for flagrantly rubbing his face in her infidelities in the same callous manner that he had done to her.
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Re: TL Question #10 ~ Learning to Love

Unread postby lumineuse » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:57 pm

Larkwoodgirl wrote:

At this point Barrie was done with him. Barrie had affairs of her own. Rochester knew of this and was insanely jealous. I believe that he took the child in an attempt to try to punish Barrie for dumping him.

He says that "I cannot forgive you for teaching me to love life." I think that in reality he could not forgive her for flagrantly rubbing his face in her infidelities in the same callous manner that he had done to her.


According to So Idle A Rogue, that is precisely why he took the child, Larkwoodgirl. And I agree - he really could not forgive her for not loving him and for, in fact, using him. The latter is one of the things he could not forgive Charles II for.
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Unread postby gilly » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:08 pm

I don't believe Rochester would have thought his about his children..he doted on them,in real life and they adored him...This is pure dramatic license and I think it shows that,in the play, Rochester's view of love was twisted..Does he really know what love is? He is basically saying he didn't care about his children..but that was because of the deficiency in himself..It's ironic that he chooses to think EB taught him about love..but what sort of love is it...to me,it's tormented,mercenary,using-another-person-up,soulless love...
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:28 am

And there is the dilemma when we are discussing the play, gilly. I think there is definitely some dramatic licesnse in these scenes but thankfully it would seem that Jeffries seems to have stayed reasonably true to the real Earl of Rochester in his characterization.
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:33 am

Lumin… Liz… Betty Sue… GG… Larkwoodgirl…We have an accord!

I loved the passage, I loved how passionately and eloquently it was written (and delivered in the movie), but I did not believe one word of it. Is this Jefferies trying to convince us that JW lived vicariously through Barrie’s impassioned performances? I hope not. Was Jefferies trying paint a picture of utter desperation by JW to gain control of Barrie? I like that better, and it fits the character of the man who fascinates me. However, I find neither interpretation wholly satisfying.

I also found it detracted from what I saw as the principle conflict… that between Charles and JW. King and subject... father and son... fallen idol and true believer. When JW says to Charles “I can forgive you a great deal, but I cannot forgive you for not being God.” Every word rung true.
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