Sentimental Covered by Reason

Our sentimental Mr.Yorick travels across France, all the way from North to South, gathering random little stories on the way, having relationships with different girls.

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So where is the sentimental anyway? It seems like, in most of the situation, Yorick is rather not sentimental, or let’s say he is somehow very reasonable. He mentioned the difference in the book: Luke-warm hearts/ Clay-cold heads. And it seems like his luke-warm hearts only secretly functions when he’s talking to a female, an attractive female.

“Yes, – and then -. Ye whose clay-cold heads and luke-warm hearts can argue down or mask your passions, tell me, what trespass is it that man should have them?”(90)

I figure he is in completely two different status when he talks to different gender: When Yorick speaks to male, he gets very reasonable, straight forward and confidence, or let’s just say he acts very normal.

“I’ve taken your lodgings for a month, and I’ll not quit them a day before the time…” (69)

Not only here, but he was also very active and confident when he went to get his passport. Even it’s a cold visit, he successfully got a passport from a man he doesn’t know at all, and he didn’t get very nervous or uncomfortable about the misunderstood, his funny title did not bother him.

But he acts not that natural when he’s with a female. Whenever he talks to a woman, lots of thoughts were told to the reader, but not spoken by Yorick, the “sentimental” thoughts turn out the be more proper words when it comes out of his mouth, for instance, he hid his thoughts here:
“I was just going to cry out, Then I will write it, fair girl! upon thy lips. -If I do, said I, I shall perish; ”(89)

When he’s with a female, his sentimental thoughts were contained by reason. The story seems very partial to him: He always gets to exist in a context that he was put together with a female, and the female is rather actively towards him, it is almost like the female has heard what his thoughts and answering him.

“so that Monsieur Dessein left us together with her hand in mine,”(16)
“I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in the world. – Feel it, said she, holding out her arm.”(53)

He only lets the voice of reason come out; his sentimental feelings to female were mostly kept by himself. (Except for Eliza, he doesn’t hide his feelings for Eliza at all.) Perhaps the author is suggesting a balance between sentimental and reason?


6 thoughts on “Sentimental Covered by Reason

  1. Interesting insight. The language used in the novel is very ironic. Meaning that it has to be read on a deeper level. I wonder how his use of language affects how we perceive the characters he comes in contact. It is almost as if we envision these characters based on Yoric’s description to be kind, subtle, or helpful.

  2. I love your map! I thought about doing that myself to see where he traveled, but thankfully don’t have to because you did it! I agree that Yorick does come off as somewhat of a Lothario during his “adventures.” It is interesting that you and Sana concentrated on the sentimental aspect of his personality, especially in regards to women (who seem to be the gender he’s most interested in).
    You say, “it is almost like the female has heard what his thoughts and answering him,” which makes me wonder how much of the conversation the reader is actually privy to. I also wonder how much of his meetings with women are embellished to make himself appear more attractive to the reader.

    • Thanks! I have some guessings in the map so that they might be not accurate. 1.There are two places named “Montreuil”, which is probably what the author mean by “Montriul”: one is next to Paris, the other is a small village between Calais and Nampont which doesn’t pop out automatically when you search for the none existing place “Montriul”. 2.The other is by the end, there is no such place called “Mount Tauturia” or even something close to it at all! I can only guess by the conversation he was having with the peasant family, probably somewhere between Lyon(s) and Modane.(No mountains by the west of Lyon)
      And for fun I even put the places in an app to automatically set up a trip plan, it looks pretty interesting, I almost regret for not taking the time to visit France when I was in UK:)

  3. I too liked your map.
    I think his sentimental vision is about keeping feelings inside rather than expressing them. His character reminded me of many men in older generations who seemed to have trouble expressing themselves verbally. When it comes to dealing or communicating with women, it is even worse. They think they will lose pride or lose masculinity.

  4. I think you’re right, that Yorick’s sentimentalism is rather erotic–this is also about power, though, and his ability to “condescend” or “feel for” these beautiful, fragile, less-fortunate women. I am not sure it’s a question of him either being sentimental to women or removed from men, however; what is similar in his relationships to those less fortunate than himself? Might there be anything broadly “erotic” in that relationship?

    The map is a great idea! Several readers have made similar maps, and we’ll look at this one tomorrow as a great example of the novel’s spatial imaginary:

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