5 – Puddleglum

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5 – Puddleglum

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 15, 2017 3:02 am

1. What do you make of Eustace and Jill’s conversation about sleeping in one’s clothes and washing? What does it tell us about them?

2. Lewis writes that Scrubb seems “rather proud” of knowing the word “marsh-wiggle.” Who thinks this about Scrubb? The narrator or Jill?

3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:
    Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
    Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”
^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994)

4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?

5. What do you think of how the other Marsh-wiggles describe Puddleglum? What does their idea of Puddleglum tell us about them?

6. “[Puddleglum] and Scrubb both had swords[...], but Jill had to be content with her knife.” How do you think this makes Jill feel?

7. Do you think of marsh-wiggles as more similar to humans or talking beasts? How would you categorize the species?

Edit: 8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 21, 2017 8:11 pm

3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:

Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”
^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994) :-\ ?

According to my edition of SC, (UK), Puddleglum, when he first appears, is considered "it", but once Eustace and Jill actually see him close enough to be introduced to, he becomes "he". And remains "he" ever after. That makes sense, in literature, because at a distance, especially if Puddleglum is sitting still, he would be hard to see and differentiate from his surroundings, as the quotation in question 3 says.

There is a convention in polite speech that it is impolite to talk about anyone, calling that person "it", unless one is very, very annoyed and disgusted with them. English, as far as I know, refers to everything mechanical as "it", however much men love their automobiles, boats etc, or how much value they put on inanimate objects. At other times, "it" is used for a creature if it is downright impossible to tell the difference, such as an unborn baby. But when the creature is living, sentient and responsive to humans, especially if it is possible to talk to that creature, then it must be "he" or "she".

It would be interesting to read SC in another language, such as French or German, just to see how French or German would treat this particular chapter. French divides just about everything into masculine and feminine, including tables, chairs and other inanimate objects. Including geographic features like beaches (la plage) and buildings (le chateau). Le chat is always le chat unless the particular cat arrives with a litter of kittens in tow, in which case the cat, most decidedly, becomes la chatte. :D

Whereas German does have an "it" form which affects how other words are used in relation to whatever is being said. Germans might refer to Der Mann, or Die Frau (the wife, the woman), but they also call a girl Das Fraulein which surely can't be right? Is it Der Marsh-wiggle, Die Marsh-wiggle or Das Marsh-wiggle? That, according to this question, really is the question. As we know, Der, Die and Das are the respective masculine, feminine and neuter forms of "The" in German, with Die as the plural as well. O:-)

4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?

There is nothing like a school to foster competitive feelings among fellow students. And Jill is no exception. To some extent, she will have to unlearn competitiveness she learned at school, before learning new competencies if she and her companions are to succeed in their mission. On the other hand, noting that Eustace also appears scared justifies Jill's own feelings of fear, and helps her to face her own fears more bravely. In some ways I think that, having been demolished by Experiment House bullies, she is also a bit scared of Eustace's opinion of her.

5. What do you think of how the other Marsh-wiggles describe Puddleglum? What does their idea of Puddleglum tell us about them?

According to Puddleglum, the other Marsh-wiggles think that he is positively flippant, flighty and too full of "bobbance and bounce". Possibly they think he drinks too much out of that square black bottle, but then where does he get it from? Marsh-wiggles with a more sober view of life than judges? Or from neighbours more grave than funeral directors? Maybe they are too scared to break out of their comfort zones, and feel challenged by Puddleglum's stated pessimistic views justifying his willingness to accompany Eustace and Jill.

6. “[Puddleglum] and Scrubb both had swords[...], but Jill had to be content with her knife.” How do you think this makes Jill feel?

A bit left out, and yes, she and Eustace did start a fight about it. But that circumstance was pure happenstance, however Jill felt about it. Puddleglum did have a sword, something he was able to use, Eustace took along the sword put out for him in Cair Paravel, whilst Jill did equip herself with a knife she had in her room. Eustace was fortunately able to use the sword, having had some training aboard the Dawn Treader. Would Jill have used a sword more effectively? At this stage, Jill still has a rather competitive attitude to Eustace.

7. Do you think of marsh-wiggles as more similar to humans or talking beasts? How would you categorize the species?

I think that both marsh-wiggles and talking beasts in Narnia are more similar to humans than we would give them credit for. The closest relationship we have with animals in this world is often with our pets, but we see clearly in Narnia, that animals can talk and interact with each other as well, using decipherable speech. Marsh-Wiggles are humanoid, like nymphs, river gods, dwarfs and giants, but they, like the talking animals, are all Old Narnians - natives.

I've a cat whose nine lives have just about run out, which still makes agreeing noises when communicating with us, as well as letting us know when he is in pain, hungry, and much more. But he is a cat, no more. In Narnia, animals who can talk are able to participate in battles and in government. Much of the charm of talking animals and marshwiggles in Narnia, is to wear down the distinctions some humans have made in the past between humans and other living creatures. Except that human biology, like much of the animal world, is divided into male and female. And what was defined as being a human society in 1788 is not tied solely to the ability to write up diaries, store legal and cultural information in libraries or engage in systemic and regulated agriculture.

There have been humans in the past from cultures, developed for their times, who have denied the undoubted humanity of more isolated natives or first peoples as they are now called in this world. Aborigines, for example, previously had no need for the sorts of technological advances made before the tall ships arrived. At least that particular injustice was fixed with a referendum in 1967 and with succeeding relevant legislation, and not by civil war or revolution, such as the one featured in PC, when Miraz was overthrown. Why should the Old Narnians, in particular, like Puddleglum, be so worried now about what might happen if Caspian dies without an heir?

Questions for the end of the book: What sort of Narnia does everyone think LOTGK have in mind for the realm she plans to conquer with Rilian's aid? How would she have treated the Old Narnians?
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 31, 2017 10:47 am

3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:

Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”

^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994)


On the one hand I like the revised version better because it really drives home the idea that marsh-wiggles aren't human. At the same time, though, it seems a trifle... dehumanizing. ;)) I also find the revision a bit confusing because when they briefly met Puddleglum the night before, he's referred to as a him, and he also speaks to them—it must have been fairly obvious that the voice was male for the narrator to call him a "him" in such poor lighting. And yet, when Eustace is later telling Jill that their host is a marsh-wiggle, he refers to Puddleglum as "it" then, saying he couldn't see it last night and that they ought to go look for it. (I'm assuming that was never revised from the original version.)

4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?

It may be partly competitiveness as wagga mentioned, but I also think that Jill doesn't really like showing "weak" emotions. She flies into a temper when Eustace stumbles across her crying behind the gym, and later in the story, after Rilian has slain the serpent, Jill is staying very quiet and saying to herself, "I hope I don't faint—or blub—or do anything idiotic." This could be an inherent personality trait, or this may be due to the fact that she is someone who's had a lot of experience being bullied and has probably learned to hide her fear.

6. “[Puddleglum] and Scrubb both had swords[...], but Jill had to be content with her knife.” How do you think this makes Jill feel?

Oh, after hearing Puddleglum go on about all the dangers and early deaths they're sure to meet, I don't think I would be very content with a small knife, either. :P

7. Do you think of marsh-wiggles as more similar to humans or talking beasts? How would you categorize the species?

At first glance, I am very tempted to group them with neither, but rather put them in with the fauns, dryads, naiads, et cetera... and yet they don't seem to belong with them either! Their personalities are hardly well-suited for reveling and dancing in the woods all night long. ;)) If I were to group the fauns with the minotaurs and satyrs and centaurs and such, though, that would make quite a bit more sense: those all are half man and half beast, and marsh-wiggles seem to be half man and half frog.

8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)

Off the top of my head, I'm really hoping that the filmmakers can capture the atmosphere of the terrain—"something fine and fresh and clean about its loneliness." It reminds me of the salt marshes along the coast of North Carolina, my home state, and that description has always reminded me of how those places smell and feel. I feel my spirits rise just thinking about it! ;))

A potential problem that I see is that the filmmakers may get hung up on the idea that Puddleglum is a misfit among his people... I think they'll be very tempted to play up the idea that he's a quirky outcast, and only achieves acceptance when he returns as a hero. It's a pretty common trope.

In general, watching this scene in the movie will likely be a real nail-biter for me, because the film's success (at least for me) really depends on whether or not they get Puddleglum's personality right. It would be easy to try to stuff him into more familiar molds instead of embracing the unique (and awesome) character he is.
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby Hwinning » Jun 02, 2017 6:50 am

2. Lewis writes that Scrubb seems “rather proud” of knowing the word “marsh-wiggle.” Who thinks this about Scrubb? The narrator or Jill?

Jill thinks this.
~In the beginning of the story, the narrator calls him Eustace and Jill calls him Scrubb. The name used here is Scrubb; which means this is Jill's POV.
~This also fits into Jill's low self esteem, everything-is-a-competition-and-I'm-losing-right-now mentality.

7. Do you think of marsh-wiggles as more similar to humans or talking beasts? How would you categorize the species?

Of course the physical characteristics are different. If we were talking physically then I'd say Puddleglum is more human than animal.

But, talking beasts and humans in Narnia are all Narnians. All true Narnians have the same core values, and that's what binds them. However, they aren't all exactly alike because just like any group, there are sharp, dull, fun, boring, mean, kind, and everything in between types.

Talking beasts and the humans from other regions, such as our world, are very different however because they are not bonded together by Aslan.

Edit: 8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)

I agree with The Rose-Tree Dryad, they've got to get Puddleglum's personality right. I don't want him coming of as goofy. Strange and different, yes. Overly quirky, no.
I have no idea how they'll make him appearance-wise, but I'm sure that won't be too much of an issue if Joe is capable of hiring "the best".
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby Anhun » Jun 03, 2017 5:47 am

To me, Puddleglum is a "cultural pessimist." He always looks at the worst possibilities because it's culturally expected. That's how marshwiggles speak. After a lifetime of hearing dire predictions and finding that they almost never come true, these prognostications don't frighten or upset him in any way. When I read Puddleglum's dialogue, I always hear him saying things in a matter of fact way, without the gloominess of Tom Baker's incarnation. He can say "We'll fall to our deaths, I shouldn't wonder" in the same tone of voice that you or I would say "We'll probably see rabbits along the way." I really hope they get this right. I'm a little concerned about John Cleese as Johnston's choice. I've always felt that Cleese's deadpan came across as a bit snide.
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby TheLukeskywalker2 » Jun 16, 2017 8:26 am

3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:
    Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
    Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”
^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994)


I prefer it rather than him, which makes the character of Puddleglum more interesting.

4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?

Since Scrubb is scared of the giants, it means that it isn't something that everyone who has been to this world before knows how to deal with. The fear on Scrubb's face shows that they are both equally as lost as each other about the giants.

5. What do you think of how the other Marsh-wiggles describe Puddleglum? What does their idea of Puddleglum tell us about them?

It tells us that Puddleglum is optimistic for Marshwiggles. I am really interested in knowing what sitting down with Marshwiggles would be like, as well as what made them this way.

Edit: 8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)

They have to make sure the audience understands that Marshwiggles think that he is optimistic. Explaining his negative background will help his character. Puddleglum (as Glumpuddle has said before) is not Eeyore. He shouldn't be depressed. He just says things that humans consider to be negative in tone.

As has been said before, this will be the scene to tell if SC is good or not.
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby Glumpuddle » Jun 16, 2017 9:44 am

TheLukeskywalker2 wrote:4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?

Since Scrubb is scared of the giants, it means that it isn't something that everyone who has been to this world before knows how to deal with.


Interesting point - I never thought about it that way. (Welcome to NarniaWeb!)

I also think this is yet another example of Jill feeling insecure about Eustace knowing a lot more than her due to his prior experience in VDT. There are little moments like that sprinkled throughout the book. Like how she felt about Eustace sleeping on air before her, riding on Glimfeather before her, and being proud of knowing the word "marsh-wiggle."
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby Ryadian » Jun 27, 2017 9:28 am

1. What do you make of Eustace and Jill’s conversation about sleeping in one’s clothes and washing? What does it tell us about them?
Well, for one thing, the two of them fit rather nicely into stereotypes about how girls and boys might react to this scenario. ;)) But I do wonder how much of it has to do with Eustace having had an adventure before, where a set of clean clothes and a nightgown was a luxury rather than an expectation. Now that he's back on an adventure, I can see him getting used to that again, and the freedom from a mundane routine would be more refreshing to him than it would to Jill. Jill "scornful" comment about not needing to wash, either, continues their rather antagonistic relationship towards each other as well - and it seems unfounded, given that while they're tending the fire, Eustace does take his turn to wash up.

2. Lewis writes that Scrubb seems “rather proud” of knowing the word “marsh-wiggle.” Who thinks this about Scrubb? The narrator or Jill?
I think the narrator is the one saying this, though I could easily believe that Jill thought so as well. It's certainly a plausible reason for him to repeat it for a third time. Also,
Eustace seemed to be interested in trivia and information given how his taste in books and pinning bugs to boards is described, and I could believe that he was the type of person who likes to know more than other people - and some of that may still exists.


3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:
    Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
    Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”
^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994)

Hmm, that's a good question. On the one hand, referring to Puddleglum as an "it" before we're properly introduced to him certainly heightens the sense that he's strange and otherworldly, but on the other hand, my perception of calling someone an "it" is that it's rude and dehumanizing. The sentence before in my book (which seems to be the original text) also refers to Puddleglum as a "he", so if the original text stated that then switched to "it" in the next sentence, I think that would compromise the use of the word, since I think it should switch from "it" to "him" at a defined point - when we stop thinking of him as a creature and instead think of him as a charcter.

4. The fear on Scrubb’s face at the mention of giants makes Jill “feel braver.” Why is that? What does that tell us about Jill?
It's a more subtle way of the same showing off she was doing at the edge of the cliff. She only got as close as she did because she wanted to proof how much braver she was than Scrubb. I think seeing him so openly scared again triggered the same feelings with her - she just didn't act on them this time.

5. What do you think of how the other Marsh-wiggles describe Puddleglum? What does their idea of Puddleglum tell us about them?
If Puddleglum wasn't somehow misunderstanding them or reading into what they were saying, then wow, the Marshwiggles must be a truly dour people. ;)) Part of me has always wondered if he was applying his same logic to life as he does to what others say about him, though - despite how glum he is, he thinks others still think he's too frivolous. But I find the idea that Marshwiggles in general are just a rather pessimistic people far more likely. ;))

6. “[Puddleglum] and Scrubb both had swords[...], but Jill had to be content with her knife.” How do you think this makes Jill feel?
I suspect she feels like she's being left out of the "real" adventure again - she's the only one who isn't "trusted" with a proper weapon (even though it's likely just a matter of practicality that she's the one left with the knife).

7. Do you think of marsh-wiggles as more similar to humans or talking beasts? How would you categorize the species?
That's an interesting question. I've always thought of them as being very similar to humans, but I also have the image of Tom Baker's Puddleglum firmly in my head, and of course he could only look so non-human. However, the book quite frequently describes Puddleglum in animal terms, especially relating him to frogs. Still, given that he lives in a wigwam - a very human structure - and the fact that none of the talking beasts we've ever seen in Narnia have ever been that anthropomorphized... I'd probably categorize him as another species along the same lines as the dwarfs.
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 08, 2017 7:43 pm

1. What do you make of Eustace and Jill’s conversation about sleeping in one’s clothes and washing? What does it tell us about them?

Actually Eustace has a point. Sleeping in one's clothes has the advantage that one is already able to get going the next day, and can get a head start. On the other hand, Jill, who likes feeling clean and fresh, is more mindful of the necessity of visiting the bathroom. Yes, stereotypes might be true of both of them. But I think Jill is also going to be the sort of person more conscious of public appearance and presentation, and what other people think, than is Eustace.

2. Lewis writes that Scrubb seems “rather proud” of knowing the word “marsh-wiggle.” Who thinks this about Scrubb? The narrator or Jill?

Actually it is probably both Jill and the narrator who thinks Scrubb is rather proud of knowing the word, "marshwiggle", because Eustace, even in VDT, liked to collect new words and information. Such as assonance and alliteration, which are difficult concepts to separate, as well as define, off-hand. I can also just see him thinking something like "Just wait until I tell Edmund and Lucy about this Marshwiggle"? I hope Jill is merely curious and realises that very likely Eustace's thoughts have everything to do with himself and his own memories of the cousins he told her about at Experiment House, and nothing to do with her, let alone invidious comparisons between the two of them.

Edit: 8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see

I know what I would like to see, a thoroughly competent Puddleglum who does the character proud. However, I can see other problems arising from the casting of Puddleglum which belong in the Cast and Character forum, rather than here.

Most importantly, how exactly does the new production intend to manage the characterisation of Puddleglum? BBC TV's production of 1991 featured Tom Baker, an ex-Dr Who actor, who, with some makeup and prosthetics did a reasonable portrayal of Puddleglum, whatever I might say about the rest of the program.

But I'd like to see something/someone better, if possible. So is Puddleglum a CGI character? Or a combination of CGI and human? Or a made up human? So what does everyone else think?
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Re: 5 – Puddleglum

Postby Eustace » Sep 05, 2017 4:03 pm

2. Lewis writes that Scrubb seems “rather proud” of knowing the word “marsh-wiggle.” Who thinks this about Scrubb? The narrator or Jill?

I think this is Jill rather than the narrator. This sounds like things Jill had been thinking about Eustace. Considering the previous chapters, where Jill was always thinking about what she thought Eustace was thinking of the situation. Such as when she wondered how Eustace felt riding an owl.

3. When The Silver Chair was published in the United States, Lewis made a minor tweak to Puddleglum’s introduction:
Original: “He had been hard to see at first because he was nearly the same color as the marsh and because he sat so still.”
Revised: “It had been hard to see at first because it was nearly the same color as the marsh and because it sat so still.”
^Which version do you prefer? How could this small change affect the reader's first impressions of Puddleglum? (The revised version of the book has been out of print since 1994)


It was changed for different people at different times. I think we should be able to read both versions but I think in both cases we were not meant to know the gender of Puddleglum in both cases from the first sentence. He became a less general term so it no longer meant that so it had to be changed.

8. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)

For this scene, Marshwiggles should be very mysterious to the audience. I want to discover them just as the children discover them. This scene I want them to take time introducing Puddleglum, but other than that I have no real thoughts about this scene and how I want it to be made.
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