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Subject Act 2
Posted by Maggie
Posted on Mon Jan 11 18:09:53 1999
From IP t202-175.dialup.seed.net.tw  

Act 2
Compare two rooms:
Higgins, he puts a lot of instruments in the living room, such as phonograph, laryngoscope, and organ pipes. That shows he is very practical and pays more attention to his profession. He cares for sound a lot. In general, we won't put such things in our living, right? However, he puts those professional things in the living room. It shows he is very different from other people and he is quite particular. We can see it on page 25. Compared with Eliza's room where is very common and is full of many life instruments. Something special is that she decorates her room with two pictures, which are a portrait of a popular actor and a fashion plate of ladies' dresses, and both of them are torn from newspapers. It shows she is eager to be a lady; she dreams she could be a lady like whom on the newspapers. We also can see the personality of Higgins from the decorations of his room. He is a rather practical person and he is proud of his profession.
The scene of the coming of Eliza:
Eliza comes to Higgins's room to ask him for teaching her language. She wears decently and has a hat with three colors, which makes a contrast with Higgins. She wears beautifully for giving Higgins a good impression. Similarly, most of us want to give our teachers a good impression when we first approach new environment, won't we? I think everyone will dress well like Eliza does. It implies that Eliza is more formal and cares for the meeting with her future teacher, Higgins. Besides, in order to be a lady, she has to pay more attention on her dressing and manner. Maybe that is why Eliza has to learn how to speak well. We can see this scene on page 27.
Eliza's attitude toward money and possession:
On page 28 we can realize the attitude toward money Eliza has. She thinks that she can buy anything by money such as lessons. She says "if my money's not good enough I can go elsewhere" from this we can see Eliza's value of money. She thinks it is very important to give money to Higgins for her lessons. In other words, she considers that if she gives something and then she will take what she wants. It very funny, isn't it? Maybe because she is uneducated and she is poor before, her value of money is very particular. Maybe in her mind, money is a tool to get what she likes. On page 31 when Mrs. Pearce takes Eliza's handkerchief, which Higgins gives her, she says to Mrs. Pearce, "You give me that handkerchief. He gave it to me, not to you." Eliza she sees what she was given as her possession; nobody can take it away from her. I think she has no sense of safety; she wants to keep what she has. Generally speaking, poor men they all want to keep what they own; they have no extra things can be taken. Everything is important and useful to them. I think Eliza's thought is like those poor men'; she doesn't anyone to take her things away because she considers those she has as her possession.
Mrs. Pearce:
Although she is Higgins's servant, she can play an important role of giving Higgins some suggestions. She is aware of what she is doing; she is not too afraid to give him advice. She is not like common servants who just do what their masters order, and don't dare to say other words to their masters. Like she says on page 35 "and what is to become of her when you've finished your teaching? You must look ahead a little." I think Mrs. Pearce is more aware of what is the matter of Eliza in the future than Higgins. She wonders what will become of her; that means she thinks a lot. It also means that she has thought about the matter, while Higgins doesn't. As a servant, she is a responsible woman. Besides, I think she knows Mr. Higgins a lot. On page 37 just in the middle part, she says "Of course I know you don't mean her any harm; but when you get what you call interested in people's accents, you never think or care what may happen to them or you." From this we know she realizes Higgins's personality very well, and she points out his flaws without being afraid of being fired. It might be meant Higgins is quite selfish; he only cares about his own profession but doesn't care about other people's feelings. In my opinion, she is really a particular woman, and I enjoy her activity in this dialogue. She is indeed brave to speak to her master without a kind tone.
Mr. Doolittle:
On page 44 he comes to Higgis's home and says, "I want my daughter: that's what I want. See?" and then Higgins replies to him, "Of course you do. You are her father, aren't you? You don't suppose anyone else wants her, do you? ˇKShe's upstairs. Take her away at once." Higgins is so clam because he knows what's the purpose Doolittle has. He is not interested in taking his daughter away, while he wants to threaten money. Following, Doolittle explains why he knows Eliza is here; on page 45 he says, "I'm willing to tell you. I'm wanting to tell you. I'm waiting to tell you." The more he speaks the more Higgins becomes interested in him. Through Doolittle's words, Higgins considers him having a certain nature gift of rhetoric. Maybe as a phonetician, he pays more attention on what Doolittle said and would notice how skillful in Doolittle's speaking. Then he wants to make a deal with Higgins. On page 48 he says, "What's a five pound to you? And what's Eliza to me?" It seems he doesn't care his daughter at all; what he cares is money but not his daughter-Eliza. As Higgins says, "Do you mean to say that you would 'sell' you daughter for 50?" Doolittle says, "Not in a general way I wouldn't; but to oblige a gentleman like you I'd do a good deal, I do assure you." And then Pickering says, "Have you no moral, man?" In general, it is not moral to 'sell' a daughter for 50; that is, it won't be accepted in our society. If I were Pickering, I would be also very angry at what Doolittle said. As we know Mr. Doolittle doesn't marry Eliza's mother; he is considered as an undeserving poor. He can't avoid that, but he has to admit. However, he always has excuses for his action. For instance, on page 49 he says, "I don't need less than a deserving man; I need more. I don't eat less hearty than him, and I drink a lot moreˇKand etc." He is quite aware of what he is doing, while he always has a reason for his action. In the same page I find something interesting. Doolittle says, "I am a thinking man and game for politic or religion or social reform same as all the other amusements- and I tell you it's a dog's life any way you look at it. Undeserving poverty is my line." I think it is a very interesting dialogue; we can see what's the view Doolittle has. He thinks preachers and ministers' life bores him and he even calls that kind of life as 'dog's life'. And he is willing to be undeserving poor; maybe that makes him feel happy, free, and no boundary. There is one point worthy to be talked about- Doolittle's view of money and marriage. On page 50 we can exactly see that Doolittle he quite insists on his principle; he doesn't want Higgins to give him more money than five pence. He says, "You give me what I ask you, not a penny more, and not a penny less." On the one hand we can say he is a man who follows his own principle. On the other hand, we can say he is a man who uses all money he has at present, while he won't save it. He never thinks about the future, but he only cares about his present life. What he thinks about marriage surprises me. He says, "Marry Eliza while she is young and don't know no better. If you don't you'll be sorry for it. If you do, she'll be sorry for it after; but better than you because you're a man and she is only a woman and don't know how to be happy anyhow." I think it's unfair to women. After all women are human beings and they have the right to choose what they want. It shouldn't be right as Doolittle says. I think Doolittle is too selfish; he just stands for men's position, while doesn't care about women's feelings. Moreover, marriage is the matter about the couples, isn't it? You can't marry another without his/her permission. Is that right?


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