Fowles has said that the nineteenth-century narrator was assuming the omniscience of a god. I think rather the opposite is the case—this kind of fictive narrator can creep closer to the feelings and inner life of characters—as well as providing a Greek chorus—than any first-person mimicry. In 'Possession' I used this kind of narrator deliberately three times in the historical narrative—always to tell what the historians and biographers of my fiction never discovered, always to heighten the reader's imaginative entry into the world of the text.
Obscure scholar Roland Michell, researching in the London Library , discovers handwritten drafts of a letter by the eminent Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash, which lead him to suspect that the married Ash had a hitherto unknown romance. He secretly takes away the documents — a highly unprofessional act for a scholar — and begins to investigate. Protective of LaMotte, Bailey is drawn into helping Michell with the unfolding mystery.
The two scholars find more letters and evidence of a love affair between the poets with evidence of a holiday together during which — they suspect — the relationship may have been consummated ; they become obsessed with discovering the truth. At the same time, their own personal romantic lives — neither of which is satisfactory — develop, and they become entwined in an echo of Ash and LaMotte. The stories of the two couples are told in parallel, and include letters and poetry by the poets. The revelation of an affair between Ash and LaMotte would make headlines and reputations in academia because of the prominence of the poets, and colleagues of Roland and Maud become competitors in the race to discover the truth, for all manner of motives.
Ash's marriage is revealed to have been unconsummated, although he loved and remained devoted to his wife. He and LaMotte had a short, passionate affair; it led to the suicide of LaMotte's companion and possibly lover , Blanche Glover, and the secret birth of LaMotte's illegitimate daughter during a year spent in Brittany. LaMotte left the girl with her sister to be raised and passed off as her own.
Ash was never informed that he and LaMotte had a child. As the Great Storm of strikes England, the interested modern characters come together at Ash's grave, where they intend to exhume documents buried with Ash by his wife, which they believe hold the final key to the mystery.
They also uncover a lock of hair. Reading the documents, Maud Bailey learns that rather than being related to LaMotte's sister, as she has always believed, she is directly descended from LaMotte and Ash's illegitimate daughter. Maud is thus heir to the correspondence by the poets. Now that the original letters are in her possession, Roland Michell escapes the potential dire consequences of having stolen the original drafts from the library. He sees an academic career open up before him. Bailey, who has spent her adult life emotionally untouchable, sees possible future happiness with Michell.
In an epilogue, Ash has an encounter with his daughter Maia in the countryside. Maia talks with Ash for a brief time. Ash makes her a crown of flowers, and asks for a lock of her hair. Thus it is revealed that both the modern and historical characters and hence the reader , have, for the latter half of the book, misunderstood the significance of one of Ash's key mementoes.
Ash asks the girl to give LaMotte a message that he has moved on from their relationship and is happy. After he walks away, Maia returns home, breaks the crown of flowers while playing, and forgets to pass the message on to LaMotte. American writer Jay Parini in the New York Times , wrote "a plenitude of surprises awaits the reader of this gorgeously written novel.
Byatt is a writer in mid-career whose time has certainly come, because Possession is a tour de force that opens every narrative device of English fiction to inspection without, for a moment, ceasing to delight. Byatt's canny invention of letters, poems and diaries from the 19th century". Critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt , writing in the New York Times , noted that what he describes as the "wonderfully extravagant novel" is "pointedly subtitled 'A Romance'. Writing in the Guardian online, Sam Jordison , who described himself as "a longstanding Byatt sceptic", wrote that he was: "caught off-guard by Possession's warmth and wit" It's the warmth and spirit that Byatt has breathed into her characters rather than their cerebral pursuits that makes us care".
Concluding, "There's real magic behind all the brainy trickery and an emotional journey on top of the academic quest. Empirical evidence reveals that power-related sexual equality and money may exert different influences on human mating strategies.
The structural powerlessness hypothesis does not seem to be suitable to explain money's effect on women's preference for a mate with resources. Instead, these research findings supported the evolutionary proposition that women value men's resources regardless of their own possession of wealth. Taken together, the findings show that money is an important factor leading to differences in mating strategies within each sex.
Specifically, both men and women who have more money are more likely to attach more importance to a mate's physical attractiveness and to engage in short-term mating than those who have less money. However, for committed women, money may lead to less variation in their mating strategies. These propositions are based on evolutionary theory and research, but most of the related studies used a correlational design. Therefore, empirical evidence generated from experimental research is needed to establish the causal effects of money on mating strategies.
The purpose of the current research is to examine the causal effects of the feeling of having relatively more or less money on human mating strategies. We are particularly interested in sex differences and within-sex variations in this effect. Specifically, we arranged long-term and extra-pair mating contexts in two experiments, respectively. In Study 1, we examined individuals' satisfaction with their current partners so that we could determine the difference in preferences for a long-term mate between individuals primed to feel that they had relatively more money and individuals primed to feel that they had relatively less money.
In Study 2, we assessed individuals' behavioral response to an attractive potential extra-pair mate based on money priming. It should be noted that the participants were college students who were involved in an exclusive dating relationship and expected the relationship to last for more than 10 years.
It is reasonable to believe that these dating couples had a long-term relationship plan and had selected each other as a long-term mate. Therefore, we considered the participants to be in a long-term mating context, and their encounter with an attractive alternative could be interpreted as short-term, opportunistic mating. Additionally, instead of using income as an indicator of money possession, we experimentally manipulated individuals' subjective feeling of having relatively more or less money.
We believed that a subjective feeling regarding wealth could be a more direct influence on romantic relationships than the actual amount of money because psychological evaluations of monetary income could be different for different people. Study 1 examined whether and how the feeling of having relatively more or less money would influence individuals' satisfaction with their current partners in a long-term relationship.
Satisfaction with a romantic partner was measured with regard to physical attractiveness and resources. Our major hypothesis is as follows:. Men, not women, who feel they have relatively more money would be less satisfied with their current partners' physical attractiveness than those who feel they have relatively less money. That is, a gender by money priming interaction on participants' satisfaction with their partners' physical attractiveness would be significant.
However, such a gender by money priming interaction would not be observed for participants' satisfaction ratings on their partners' resources. A total of undergraduate and postgraduate students women, 61 men , primarily from universities in Beijing, China, participated in this study. Their ages ranged from 18 to 27, with a mean of All of the participants were heterosexual and involved in a dating relationship during the survey period. The length of their ongoing relationships ranged from 2 months to 7 years, with a mean of We employed the money-priming method used by Nelson and Morrison to induce the relatively rich or poor feeling.
Participants were randomly assigned to the relatively wealthy or relatively poor condition and were asked to respond to some questions about financial status. The response scale was in fact different between the two conditions. For example, one question was about the amount of money in their savings accounts: Participants in the relatively wealthy condition provided ratings on a 7-point scale divided into much smaller increments i.
We expected that most of the participants in the relatively wealthy condition would choose the highest amount of money and that those in the relatively poor condition would choose the bottom of the scale. Participants receiving such a money-priming manipulation generally believe that the scale is constructed on the basis of the distribution of the actual income of college students and that the top of the scale reflects the highest level of income and the bottom reflects the lowest Schwarz, Therefore, we expected that the relatively wealthy group would be relatively satisfied with their personal financial status, whereas the relatively poor group would be less satisfied.
Following the money primes, participants were asked to complete a measure of satisfaction with their romantic partners and to answer demographic questions about gender, age, and monthly income. The scale of satisfaction with a romantic partner consisted of two dimensions, physical attractiveness and resources, which were adapted from the short version of Fletcher et al. Due to time constraints, we shortened the scale by selecting four items in each dimension with the highest item-total correlations.
Some of the items were modified because they were unsuitable for college students.
The reliability coefficient was 0. The first set of results is on the manipulation check, which examines whether the money priming method is effective. The second set presents descriptive statistics of the study variables. This finding suggested that the money-priming method was successful.
The means and standard deviations of the dependent variables by experimental condition and gender are presented in Table 1. Table 1. Means and standard deviations of the dependent variables by gender and experimental condition for Study 1 and Study 2. Given the possible influences of actual income Rogers, on relationship outcomes, we controlled for its effect on the dependent variables statistically. Specifically, we used an ANCOVA to examine the influence of the subjective feeling of the amount of money one possesses on individuals' satisfaction with their partners' physical attractiveness after controlling for the potential confounding effects of actual income on the dependent variable.
Money-priming condition and participant gender served as between-subject factors. The interaction pattern is depicted in Figure 1. Figure 1. Simple effect analysis demonstrating the moderating effect of gender on the influence of the feeling of having relatively more or less money on satisfaction with a partner's physical attractiveness.
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Actual income was included in the analysis as a covariate. Error bars represent standard errors of the mean. Similarly, an ANCOVA was used to examine the influence of the subjective feeling of the amount of money one possesses on individuals' satisfaction with their partners' resources after controlling for the potentially confounding effects of actual income on the dependent variable.
This suggests that, for both men and women, the feeling of having relatively more or less money does not affect individuals' satisfaction with partners' resources. In summary, results of Study 1 supported our major hypothesis.
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The men who subjectively felt that they had relatively more money perceived a greater discrepancy between their ideal and their current partners in terms of physical appearance and were less satisfied with their partners than those who felt they had less money, but this effect did not occur in women. This result is consistent with Yong and Li's finding that men increase their requirement for a potential partner's physical attractiveness when primed with larger resources, while with the same resources prime, women do not change their standards.
In Study 2, we examined whether priming the possession of money would influence the use of specific mating strategies in an extra-pair mating context in which committed participants were led to believe that they would have an encounter with an attractive person of the opposite sex. In this study, we used a mental simulation method to prime the feeling of having relatively more or less money. This mental simulation procedure has been frequently employed to generate a psychological state. For example, Vohs et al.
Slightly different from previous studies, we provided an incomplete essay and asked participants to fill in the blanks by using their imagination on the computer. We expected that the fill-in-the-blanks task would lead the participants to engage in deeper cognitive processing leading to the creation of self-related information rather than just reading Craik and Lockhart, , thus effectively generating the relatively rich or poor feelings.