|The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2010, viewed from the Avon River side |
(photo by Peter Scott, courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company)
In this post, I’m examining an aspect of the Anohito clues that I have not delved in details so far because to me it’s very obvious that it is linked to Terry. This aspect is the Avon River. However, it occurred to me that a new reader might be confused as to why Avon River is immediately linked to Terry, for there are 19 (yes, nineteen) Avon Rivers in Wikipedia. Those 19 rivers are spread across four countries: the United Kingdom (5 in England, 3 in Scotland, 2 in Wales), Australia (5), New Zealand (2), and Canada (2). Here I will examine why I think the River Avon in England (the one flowing through Warwickshire, to be exact) is the river Nagita Keiko meant in CCFS.
I will start my explanation by briefly examining the 1930s Great Depression in the USA and in the UK, because that event IMO is strongly linked to Anohito bringing Candy to live by the bank of River Avon. Many experts linked the start of the Great Depression in the USA with the collapse of Wall Street in New York on a “Black Thursday” on 24 October 1929. Around the same time (give and take a month’s time), the London Stock Exchange collapsed. Ever since, the US economy spiraled down, dragging down other stock markets in Europe. It took about a decade for the USA to recover its economy, just in time to be ready for World War II. Interestingly, the United Kingdom recovered approximately three years after the Black Thursday (1929-1932), a good 6-7 years before the US recovered. This article is quite good to understand why the UK economy recovered relatively quickly from the 1929 Great Slump. I’m not an economist, so I will not summarise the causes for the slower recovery of the US nor the faster recovery of the UK. Suffice to say, when the US was still struggling to come back on its feet, the UK was already healthier economically.
I mentioned the Great Depression because it provides a “good” event for both Terry and Albert seeking better opportunities elsewhere, in this case in a town at the bank of an Avon River. Candy’s career as a nurse would not be too much affected, I’d say, because everyone gets sick and needs a doctor and a nurse every so often. But a businessman and an actor both can suffer from a severe economic crisis.
Let’s examine Albert’s possible motives to migrate, then, before we move on to Terry’s.
Albert, River Avon and the Great Depression
We see what happened to Wall Street bankers during the US financial crisis in 2008 (which led to the recent Global Financial Crisis). Similarly, back in 1929, many Wall Street bankers also went bonkers and had panic attack when their shares plummeted. Many bank employees lost their jobs and had to find other jobs, if any. If Albert was a normal businessman, he might just throw in the towel and let go of his business. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, for he could now return to being a vagabond, exploring the world carefree as he wished in his teenage days.
Two technical problems: In vagabonding around the world, you do need money. Cannot always rely on washing dishes to pay for your tickets and living expenses… Plus, if Albert decided to settle somewhere with Candy, I think Africa would be a more likely option, given his love to the continent.
And there’s a bigger problem on Albert’s plate: the fate of so many (I’d say more than hundreds) of workers working in his company. Despite his penchant on pretending to be a penniless vagabond, Albert was a responsible leader. He returned to his business immediately after he regained his memory (manga, Chapters 8-9), although for a few months he still chose to live with Candy, hence he still pretended that he worked at the Chicaco Zoo. Albert realised that his months of MIA had put his company at risk, hence he had to return immediately to save the company and the fate of so many small workers working for him.
When the Great Depression happened, Albert would not just leave the business world and hang out with Candy by the bank of a river overseas. Albert (and Georges) would double up the efforts to make sure the company was safe. Suppose the US was proven too shaky a ground to protect his business, Albert might move some of his assets overseas and restart from there.
However, he would not choose the bank of a river that does not flow into a big city as a place to live. No Avon River in England flew into London (that would be the Thames instead), the largest UK business center back then in the 1930s. Albert could choose one of the Avon Rivers in Scotland to restart his business… but none of those rivers flew into Edinburgh either (the river flowing into Edinburgh is called the Water of Leith). Similarly, no Avon Rivers in Australia flew into major business centres in the 1930s, i.e., Sydney and Melbourne. Avon Rivers in Canada also do not flow into any major cities.
The only Avon River that flows into a big city is the Avon River flowing into Christchurch, New Zealand. However, in the pre-commercial airlines days, Christchurch was a very far place from the United States. Unless Albert wanted to severe his business ties with the US, I can’t imagine that he would migrate to New Zealand to restart his business.
By the way, Lady Gato and Nila have provided me with the Japanese script of p. 4 (Vol 1, Prologue) which confirms that 海 (umi) is used for the "sea" in a singular form (instead of the plural 海々). Thus, we can cross out Avon Rivers in Australia and New Zealand because they are oceans away from Candy. By the same token, the two Avon Rivers in Canada are out, for Candy could just take a train to return to Michigan from Canada. (See Footnote #1 for the detailed explanation)
I also have to say that I doubt that Albert’s company would suffer a lot during the Great Depression. Albert was a wise, astute person, he would consider his business strategies carefully for he knew that careless decisions could lead to collapse. Having the quiet but very capable Georges by his side certainly helped. However, Albert would still need to be based in the United States to "man the desk" or "guard the trench" until the financial crisis was over. Footnote #2 further explains my reason for Albert's necessity to be based in the United States.
Therefore, the combination of the locations of Avon Rivers and the Great Depression makes me conclude that Albert was unlikely to be the person who migrated Candy to the bank of an Avon River.
A totally trivial note: what’s the name of Albert’s company, again? The Ardlay Enterprises?
Terry, River Avon and the Great Depression
Now let’s examine Terry’s motives related to Avon River. His love to Shakespeare leads to a logical conclusion that the river must be linked to Shakespeare.
Interestingly, I found that the Avon River in Ontario Canada is actually linked to Shakespeare! It’s interesting that this Canadian Stratford also loves Shakespeare; the town was basically modelled after the Stratford Upon Avon in England. Terry would find solace there. However, the likelihood of Terry and Candy establishing themselves in Stratford in Ontario Canada (where the Ontarian River Avon flows into) is, to me, very small. Google Map gives me about 7 hours’ drive from Chicago to Stratford Ontario. In the 1930s, that might take almost a day’s journey, but no more than that. Candy would find it easy to return to Pony’s Home, hence her fretting about wanting to visit Miss Pony, yet she also didn’t want to leave her husband (who in return also didn’t want her to leave his side), was rather unlikely.
Plus, now with my new understanding of the first page of the Prologue (Footnote #1), the Avon Rivers in Canada are out because they are not even half a sea away from Pony's Home.
Now, let’s go back to the other part of this article: the Great Depression.
The economic crisis in the 1929 onwards hit Broadway hard. The Talkin Broadway article expresses the fact better, so I will just quote it directly:
“The 1930s arrived with bells and breadlines. The number of Broadway people affected by the stock market crash was uncountable. Everyone from producers, such as Flo Ziegfeld - who closed his hit production of Whoopie so that he could rush it into film production - to ushers, whose theaters remained dark, was affected by the crash. The 1929-30 season produced 233 productions. The 1930-31 season was reduced to 187 productions. It has been calculated that the talent that Hollywood absorbed from Broadway was in the vicinity of 75%.
This fall in new productions set a trend that (with the exception of the 1931-32 season) would continue for quite some time. New productions on Broadway dipped to 98 shows in 1939; for the first time since the turn of the century, there were less than 100 shows being offered.
Vaudeville, the lowbrow cousin, seemed to be taking an even larger stick in the eye. In 1925, there were approximately 1500 theaters in the vaudeville circuits; by 1930, only 300 were left. Of the 700 RKO circuit theaters, only 5 were still offering a "vaudeville only" bill; the rest were sharing their space or providing bills solely filled with films. RKO, the successor of the Keith-Orpheum vaudeville Circuit, then included the NBC radio network and RKO Pictures. The theaters owned by this entertainment organization were wired for the presentation of the new "talking" pictures.”
Watching plays was low in the priorities of people during the Great Depression. If they wanted to watch plays, they’d watch some comedy or romance, not tragedies, which were often the essence of a Shakespeare play. In the 1930s, people would be more inclined to watch the black and white talking movies that Hollywood produced during a period dubbed as the “Golden Age”. I imagine that the films’ shorter duration (1.5 hours’ max) also helped viewers who mainly just wanted some light entertainments, not serious Shakespeare-level arts. Hollywood was thus in demand while Broadway was losing its lustre. Thus, the labour migration of actors from Broadway to Hollywood is understandable. As in today’s practice, in 1930s the status of a star in a movie was very important in the movie’s marketing strategy (Hill 2011). Terry’s status as a well-known Shakespearean actor would definitely give him an easy entrance to Hollywood; if he wished it to.
Here I need to remind myself that Terry (and Albert, and Candy) is fictional. However, an actor with Terry’s traits (pure British, happened to be an aristocrat, loved Shakespeare since he was a teenager) would find it difficult to move to another media, playing comedic relief. He’d do that just for a living (he did that when he was down in the dump called Rockstown), but now that he was an established actor, he would find it difficult to leave his Shakespeare world behind.
This is where the progress in the UK linked us back to Terry. The world of theatres in the UK persisted despite the Great Slump. While still in depression, the UK built a new theatre called the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-Upon-Avon, by the bank of the River Avon in Warwickshire.
|Major river systems in England, with River Avon of Warwickshire on the east of Severn River |
(see the rivers right of Wales). Source: Wikipedia
Being the first work in the UK that was designed by a woman architect (Elisabeth Scott), the building was opened in April 1932 adjacent to the old Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that was destroyed by fire on 6 March 1926. A total of 180 Shakespeare plays were played in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (used to be called “the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre”) between 1919 to 1939 (Hill 2011), a very prolific period despite the economic crisis. From Hill 2011 list, I counted 15 Shakespeare plays performed at this theatre from 1932 to 1934. That’s about five plays per year, which was a lot during a slow economic growth.
Now, 11 out of 14 aspects of Anohito in Candy’s monologues in CCFS pointed out to Terry as Anohito (3 aspects were co-shared by Terry and Albert, while no aspect was attributable to Albert alone). Thus, the logical events after Terry writing a letter to Candy was Candy accepting him back and, given the prolonged estrangement, they would be married soon after. I am now inclined to believe that Candy and Terry were married pre-1929 (see my proposed timeline, which is still a work in progress due to the discrepancies between the manga and CCFS events). After the wedding, if they were married pre 1929, I can see that Terry would still bring Candy to live with him in New York. It was close enough for her to travel to Pony's Home should emergency events required her to do so.
Then the Great Depression happened in October 1929… thus not many people would go to see plays anymore. Terry could have very well been looking for a better employment by the late 1930, thus the bold move by the UK to build the Royal Shakespeare Theatre gave Terry a signal that the UK (specifically Stratford) was a better choice than a depressed Broadway. Given that Terry actually had a season of plays in the UK a few years before Susanna’s death, Terry would have established a good network with the Shakespeare world back in his home country. The opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was a good opportunity for him. Terry might be hesitant at first, but the economic situation might encourage him to consider the England option. I’d imagine that Candy just supported him in his move, which resulted in the couple migrating back to England around 1932. The timing fits Candy’s recollection in Vol 1 CCFS (p. 218) where she said that it had been more than 20 years since Anthony’s death (in or circa 1913).
Watashi wa, sō kurikaesu shikanai.
ano toki kara ni rei nen ijō tattaimade sae, sono kotoba shika dete ni nai.
I cannot but repeat his name.
Even though it's just over 20 years since then, only that word comes out.
[Check also Footnote #3 for Nagita-san's unconventional way of writing 10 and 20.]
Candy was born in May 1898; thus 1938 she would be already 40 years old. CCFS mentioned that Candy was in her 30s in her “present time”, just before World War II started. WW 2 was basically triggered by the invasion of Italy to Ethiopia in late 1935. Thus, I would be more inclined now to accept 1936/7 as the year of CCFS. If this timeline is acceptable, it means that Candy and Terry would have been living in Stratford for only four years (1936) when she started her recollection in the Prologue of CCFS.
And this is where we return to River Avon that Candy mentioned in Vol 1 (pp 230-235) in CCFS. Candy and Terry lived on the bank of River Avon in Stratford-Upon-Avon because Terry was working for, or performing at, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.
Addendum 19 September 2017:
Albert or Terry to move to the UK in the 1920s?
In an internal discussion yesterday, Holly gave me an idea about the likelihood of Albert moving his base to the UK pre-Great Depression. That is, after WW 1 ended and before the GD, i.e. between 1919-1928. I extend the hypothesis to Terry as well in this addendum.
I found a rather old paper (Costigliola 1977) that explains well the financial situations of the United States and the United Kingdom between the two world wars. This paper has been cited for about 97 times, thus I think it’s a credible source. I’m aware of the difference between “England” and “the UK”, but since the UK finance was controlled by London, I will use the term “England” interchangeably with the UK here to avoid typos. I will also alternately use “New York” or “Washington” for “the United States” and “London” for “the United Kingdom”.
According to Costigliola (1977), the US and the UK were in financial rivalry post the Great War (World War I). Post-WW 1, the US had emerged as a great economic power, while the UK was experiencing depression because of, I think among others, the Great War. By 1924, the American economy was enjoying a recovery from the Great War. Meanwhile, England borrowed a lot of gold from America who gave the former large credits (once, the House of Morgan and the New York Reserve Bank guaranteed the UK a $300 million credit). If I understand the article correctly, this pattern made it hard for the UK to return the gold.
In pp 927-928, Costigliola also explained that the UK focused so much on their financial positioning against the US that the UK (being a European country) forgot to strengthen its position against the French, Belgian and German currencies. Following the US, the UK also adopted the gold standard in 1925 (I didn’t know this!), but it did not help their financial situation.
By 1925, tensions escalated between Washington and London, and with that, public sentiments between the two countries had slid into bitterness. In 1926, Churchill actually accused the US of “greedily draining Europe of its meager capital” (p. 928). By the end of the 1920s, Washington had been toying with the idea of terminating their contribution to Europe to rebuild the continent post-Great War. Then the Great Depression happened. In September 1931, London decided to let go of the gold standard (I think it means that they returned to the use of pound sterling). This measure was among some policies that enabled the United Kingdom to escape the Depression earlier than the United States.
The main message of this section is that William Albert Ardlay was unlikely to move his base to the UK (in this case London) during the 1920s. Although Albert’s sunny disposition and sincere heart would win over some Brits despite the bitter public sentiment, his company would suffer from the relative weakness of Pound sterling. Staying in the United States during the 1920s was more sensible for Albert. Also, if he wanted to just move to England anyway for an early retirement, he needed to wait until Archie (as the next Ardlay magnate) was ready to take over the leadership. Archie would not finish his business degree before mid 1920s, just as the romance between London and Washington got sour.
Now, I’m originally not sure Nagita actually thought about the economic crisis when she wrote CCFS. She would have the knowledge of the Great Depression etc., but I was not sure if she actually considered the 1920s economic situation into the story. However, the one passage that explained that Lakewood was sold indicates that Nagita did consider economic situation in her novel. How far it was, I do not know. But it’s interesting that history once more prevented (or discouraged) Albert from migrating to the UK as a businessman.
As for Terry, there was no need for him to migrate back to England before the Great Depression. In the 1920s, America was enjoying prosperity (which paradoxically then led to the Depression). Therefore, in the 1920s, Terry’s employment was secured by the virtue of a high purchasing power amongst the Americans.
In conclusion, I found a very small likelihood for Albert migrating to the United Kingdom in the 1920s (because of the US prosperity) and 1930s (because of the Great Depression). Terry was also unlikely to migrate to England in the 1920s (again, because of the US prosperity). However, the United Kingdom escaped the GD a few years ahead of the US, thus providing Terry with a better employment opportunity in the British theatre world.
I herewith declare that I have not read a single work of William Shakespeare. I have watched his plays, but I have never read his publications. Having said that, I actually believe that the Shakespeare of Stratford could not have been the Shakespeare who wrote those amazing works. This website (Doubt About Will) gives some good reasons why, e.g., that the Stratford man had actually never left a personal piece of writing, unlike Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, etc who wrote bucket loads of letters to friends and families.
Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Sigmund Freud (among others) voiced their doubts about the Stratford man being the person who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. However, the doubts about Shakespeare’s true identity were not popular in and pre 1930s. I’m interested to know what Terry thinks of this doubtful identity. Being a purist, he might be very adamant to reject that idea at first, but later he might come to agree that there are many unexplained things about the personal life of Shakespeare, thus a doubt on the famous writer’s identity is actually quite founded.
Costigliola, F.C., 1977. Anglo-American financial rivalry in the 1920s. The Journal of Economic History, 37(4), pp.911-934.
Fishback, P.V., Haines, M.R. and Kantor, S., 2007. Births, deaths, and New Deal relief during the Great Depression. The review of economics and statistics, 89(1), pp.1-14.
Ruhm, C.J., 2000. Are recessions good for your health?. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(2), pp. 617-650.
1. An Ocean Away?
Lady Gato and Nila have provided me with the Japanese script of p. 4 (Vol 1, Prologue) as follows:
“ポニーの家" は 遠 い. はるか海を隔てていることをこんなに恨めしく思ったことはなぃ.
“ponī no ie " wa tōi. Haruka umi o hedateteiru koto o konnani urameshiku omotta koto ha nai.
Pony’s Home is so far away. The sea that separates us, I’ve never detested it so much until now.
it seems 海 (umi) is indeed singular here, for there is no 々after 海 which negates singular use. If this is true, then we can cross out Avon Rivers in Australia and New Zealand because they are oceans away from Candy. The Kanji used would have to be 海々or the like. By the same token, the two Avon Rivers in Canada are out, for Candy could just take a train to return to Michigan from Canada.
Lady Gato-san to Nila-san, domo arigatō ne!
Lady Gato-san to Nila-san, domo arigatō ne!
2. The US community health during the Great Depression
Fishback et al (2007) provided a very valuable insight of the health and mortality rates during the Great Depression (GD) in the United States. The authors found that the Great Depression increased death rates relative to the established trends of 1915-1930. Suicide rates had been proven to display a negative and statistically significant relationship with economic activities in the 1930s (Ruhm, 2000). Thus, Fishback et al (2007) examined the effects of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program in reducing mortality amongst lower income earners in the US. By the way, Roosevelt’s New Deal consisted of direct relief (1933-1935) and emergency work relief (1933-1942).
Fishback et al.’s analyses of causes of deaths from 1929 to 1937 showed that:
“Increased relief spending had little effect on the overall non-infant death rate but contributed to reductions in suicides, deaths due to infectious and parasitic diseases, deaths from diarrheal diseases, and possibly homicides.” (p. 13)
Fishback et al. (2007) also mentioned that the burden of providing relief in the early 1930s “rested on state and local governments and private charitable organizations” (p. 1).
Therefore, I can easily imagine that William Albert Ardlay would persist in providing relief to lower-income earners in the US before and during Roosevelt’s New Deal. Albert’s fictional company might not employ lower-income earners (I think he would pay his employers decent wages), but he would still care about the homeless and those who lost jobs during the GD. This noble tendency would therefore further exclude Albert as a possible person that brought Candy to the bank of Avon River overseas, for it would bring him further away from the urgently needed relief efforts in the United States.
3. The Kanji for "20 years"
Nila and Lady Gato had done their detective works with the "20 years" issue a few years back. However, last night Nila and I re-examined the numbers Nagita-san used for #10 in Slim's painting (Vol 1, p. 7).
Just as Nagita used 二〇 (ni-rei) for 20 (instead of the usual 二十),
ano toki kara ni rei nen ijō tattaimade sae,
Even though it's just over 20 years since then,
she also used 一〇 (ichi-rei) for 10 (instead of the usual 十).
Nila has confirmed with three speakers of Japanese language the practice of using 〇 rei for zero. FYI, "rei" also means "dawn", which makes sense when you see the function of 0 (zero).
We think the repetitive use of 〇 (rei) in CCFS is an interesting pattern. It further corroborates that Candy's present time was just over 20 years after Anthony's death.