You'll excuse me for a corrected version, Diana, with a word as well
about the irrelevance of class here.
What I was referring to was the temporary sense of exhilaration,
freedom and relief one experienced during a brief sojourn to the mountains.
I know this would be illusory if one were to settle there and brave the rigors,
especially in winters.
To me, Marie is suggesting something more than the bracing air of mountains
so soothing to one's nerves from the oppressive summer of the plains. She is
possibly hinting at the temporary, but necessary, freedom from the oppressive
eye of the society and its social/moral inhibitions, the luxury of the beauty and
the privacy that the
secluded mountain environs afford.
Now this experience of the mountains is available to one and all --
irrespective of his social class. To me, Eliot's poetry, even when
drawing upon experiences of people from different social classes,
focusses on the human aspect which is, universal. In Little Gidding,
for example, the experience of even a king is fundamentally human
-- like King Lear's in Shakespeare at the sight of a naked beggar:
"Is man no more than this?" or something to that effect.
You can put Marie's words into the mouth of a middle class woman
(at Marie's age, though) much to the same effect. Of course, in that
case this woman, in her childhood, would not stay at the arch-duke's,
but at some friend's or relative's lodge.
Dear CR: In what significant sense is Marie's remark "in the mountains, there you feel free" a general remark? That is precisely my question. Is it not privileging a group who have the luxury of feeling free in the mountains over others who do not?
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