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In Lady Windermere's Fan, the fan has got a deep symblolic value.Can you explain its...

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matteomattera | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:56 AM via web

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In Lady Windermere's Fan, the fan has got a deep symblolic value.Can you explain its functon and its value?Different fans with different color! Why?

I'd have other questions to do about Lady windermere's fan! Could you answer me, please?

-How did this play present Mrs Erlynne?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:55 AM (Answer #1)

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The fan has many colors, facets, faces, functions, much like the colors in the tail of peacock: it is both beautiful and a symbol of courtship.  Also, it is Lady Windamere's greatest fan (person who adores her the most).  Is it her husband or someone else?

  • It is a birthday present: LADY WINDERMERE "Pretty, isn't it! It's got my name on it, and everything. I have only just seen it myself. It's my husband's birthday present to me. You know to-day is my birthday?"
  • It is an object of revenge: "Yes, you gave me this fan to-day; it was your birthday present. If that woman crosses my threshold, I shall strike her across the face with it."
  • It is very feminine: DUCHESS OF BERWICK (fanning herself) "The air is so pleasant there."
  • She gives it to Lord Darlington: LADY WINDERMERE: "Will you hold my fan for me, Lord Darlington? Thanks."
  • She takes it back: "Lord Darlington, will you give me back my fan, please? Thanks.... A useful thing a fan, isn't it?... I want a friend to-night, Lord Darlington: I didn't know I would want one so soon."
  • And then drops it for him to pick up: LORD DARLINGTON: "You have dropped your fan, Lady Windermere." (Picks it up and hands it to her)
  • It is a symbol of jealousy, possession: LORD WINDERMERE: "What is my wife's fan doing here in your rooms? Hands off, Cecil. Don't touch me."
  • The female takes the fall for taking the fan: MRS. ERLYNNE: "I am afraid I took your wife's fan in mistake for my own, when I was leaving your house to-night. I am so sorry." (Takes fan from him. LORD WINDERMERE looks at her in contempt. LORD DARLINGTON in mingled astonishment and anger. LORD AUGUSTUS turns away. The other men smile at each other)
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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:45 AM (Answer #2)

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The symbolism of color is the same across the board in the Western culture, so you may see that, whether it is applied to a fan or to a ribbon, dress, or curtain, the color is what is sending out the message, not the object itself.

However- there is a specific language for fans, which is not in their color, but in the way it is waved, placed, and employed.

Click on the two links I am providing and you will get the entire symbolism of colors. Each color has a specific symbol representing an emotion, an event, or an idea.

On the second link there is the chart of the language of the hand fan as used in Victorian times. I believe both can help you.

**I would also include in your homework the previous editor's answer, because it has great information on how the fan is used in the play, and it gives a lot of insight into the story aside from the symbolism of fans themselves "*

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matteomattera | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:12 AM (Answer #3)

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sorry mstultz72..but I have asked what's the symbolic value of the fans...for example...a black fan is used for a mourning.. and so I wanted know the symbolic value tied to the colors... could you answer me quickly please? because tomorrow i must give this homework to my english teacher! XD

P.S: I'm italian not english!

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