Close Reading – Tiptree Passage 2

This passage is the first time Delphi comes into the public’s view while she is shopping in Europe. It concerns Delphi, Mr. Cantle and the public while only showing the perspectives of Mr. Cantle and the public. The excerpt starts off by questioning if Delphi will be a success and which she immediately is found to be. The passage ends with Mr. Cantle happily humming at her success and canceling another gig he had planned for her. Coupling the overall structure of the passage with the sentence structure, I read this as if it were an ad or an auction. It sounds fast paced and jumps from different achievements like they are trying to sell her or the idea of her.

The use of “torrent” and “tangled” stuck out to me because they are similar words and ideas. They show how Delphi is going to get tangled up with this new life of hers. I see it as the innocent and perfect looking Delphi entering into a crazy life that sweeps her up and tangles her into it both physically and metaphorically so she cannot escape it. At this point there is no turning back on this life she chose because on one hand she is basically owned by the advertising company and on the other hand because her new life has bewitched her and she does not want to leave it.

The last part of the passage features Mr. Cantle canceling a nude cook show that he set up for Delphi called “Work Venus”. Venus is the goddess of sex, beauty, and love in roman mythology, which is what Delphi has become in her society. This plays off the fact that Delphi’s main function is her body and her external beauty. It implies that if she did not wow the crowd when she first appeared in public then all she would have to do is take her clothes off and that would push her into success. It illustrates how little resect the advertising company has for Delphi and symbolizes how some girls desperately sexualize themselves to get attention or get what they want. This capitalized on Delphi’s lack of control over what she does and how Mr. Cantle owns her and makes all the decisions regarding her and how he is ready and willing to do whatever it takes for her to become a success.

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2 responses to “Close Reading – Tiptree Passage 2

  1. I think you made an interesting point by stating that whole passage sounds like an ad. It is very fast-paced, and does have that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sort of tone, which is how much of the story is written as well. I also found it ironic that even though Delphi was swept up by all the media and attention around her, she did not have any desire for a more private life until it was too late to do anything to change her situation. I also can’t help but wonder, if Mr. Cantle hasn’t cancelled the cook show appearance, what would Delphi/P.Burke thought of it? Would she still be so wrapped up in this new-found bliss that she wouldn’t have even cared? Or would she have been at least a little bit uncomfortable with the (literal) exposure? We don’t get a lot of insight through most of the story as to what Delphi is thinking while she’s doing all of these events, which is obviously an intentional part of the story, but I would still have like to know what she thought, if anything at all.

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  2. I agree with you on the point of the advertising company has little to no respect for Delphi. They are just using and viewing her as a tool. It’s true that in that society, and at time ours, stresses the importance of being sexy. Everywhere we go now girls are wearing less and less clothing. In Delphi’s case she had to appear at a nude cooking show in order to make an impression of the society she was aimed to seduce. All that matters is that she is able to make money for those that invested in her.

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