Friday, December 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
I like the idea of time, but not of moderation, especailly moderation of moral standards.
I would think a few monk scouts could find people enough to fill Shangri-la, and that they would have to resort to kidnapping and murder ( Chang implied it, for resistant ones)
I am glad Mallison escaped with the little manchu, and hope they were happy, and that he perished before he saw her age and his dreams go up in smoke...
I hope Conway found his way back, as he had a clear understanding of what he was after, i like to think after helping Mallison escape, he won't force people to stay in th future.
I wonder if Rutherford and Green, were intersted in an old friend and a good story, or in finding Shangri-La themselves.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In my defense I want to let everyone know that the only reason I don't like the book club is because for me it takes the enjoyment out of reading. Shyla says that I need to consider the fact that if I thought more about the author's intentions as well as the characters that it would enhance my reading experience. I am not sure that is how it is going to work for me but I will give the next book a chance.
Monday, October 15, 2007
"Lost Horizon has been out of my hands for at least 1 1/2 weeks now. I finsihed the book and got rid of it. I don't have any comments to make. It was an okay book and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone nor would I read it again so I have nothing to say besides that. I do agree with Tegan that the reason they were taken to Shangri-blah was because the people were trying to increase the population. I just think that the author could have thought of some better crap besides that. I mean hell even I could have thought of something."
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
But now I have given it some thought and concluded that it is all beautifully a part of Hilton’s genius writing. At the end of the book, I was left feeling how Conway must have felt climbing the mountain with Mallinson and pondering all his unanswered questions. Was he a fool to blindly believe the High Lama on his word alone? Is the hot-headed, close-minded, self-important, antagonistic Mallinson the only one who managed to retain his sanity in the midst of a confusing, but enchanting place? Early in the book, Conway contemplates over the “will of God or the lunacy of man” or alternatively “the will of man and the lunacy of God.” Ch. 2. He observes that “[i]t must be satisfying to be quite certain which way to look at it.” Ch. 2. Perhaps Conway’s problem is that he is too philosophical and broad-minded. He can always see both sides so clearly, he is never quite certain which is “right.” His even bigger problem is that he is never certain which way to look at things—that would drive anyone crazy. When the High Lama dies and his story is challenged by Mallinson, suddenly Conway isn’t sure whether Mallinson is sane and the High Lama is a crazy, manipulative liar, or whether Mallinson is merely close-minded and a slave to tangible objects of proof and Conway is just a believer of something he never had any reason to doubt. Thus, Conway was a “wanderer between two worlds and must ever wander. . . .” Ch. 11.
What should Conway believe? Has he been so disillusioned by war and the political world that he cannot accept something too good to be true or has his disillusionment left him in the border-line sanity position of being too willing to accept what is impossibly too good to be true? I love it!
I am convinced that both Rutherford and the doctor believe the whole story. Of course, they try to act like they maintain a reasonable amount of doubt but they don’t have me fooled for a minute. They believe it because “certum est, quia impossible”—“it is certain, because it is impossible.” As well as because they are romantics and consumed by the beauty of the story. However, that is not why Conway became a believer. He became a believer for the opposite reason—because he saw it was possible. The valley opened up to him a world of possibilities he had never considered and was a place where he could feel himself changing and where he could focus on more dormant aspects of his personality, talents, and dreams. Like most beliefs that require faith, there is no reasoned answer to the questions put forth by Mallinson. Conway believed it because he believed it and Mallinson, who had nothing in actual contradiction to Conway’s assertions, didn’t believe it because he didn’t believe it. That is all there is to it—“the truth is when it comes to believing things without actual evidence, we all incline to what we find most attractive.” Ch. 11.
As my comment to Tecia’s post indicates, I believe that we are supposed to believe the entire story is true (although I have a nagging question left by Chang’s assertion that Mallinson would be able to talk to the porters when he was never able to), but I would have liked confirmation and more details recounting what happened from the “escape” and on. Nonetheless, once I put aside that disappointment, I realize the more interesting part of the story and a proper place for focus is whether Conway was sane or mad, and which, when. I hope that Conway was able to achieve that which he lacked most—the ability to be certain which way to look at things. If he achieves that, the rest doesn’t matter. He can love and live in Shangri-La because he is certain it contains everything the High Lama claimed, or he can love and live in Shangri-La because while he is certain it is not a “magical” place, he is certain it is a place where he feels fulfilled, happiest, and at peace.
I enjoyed Conway's character. And I thought they summed up his personality in the end well and why he was the way he was. Sorry I don't have anything more clever to say or quote like Tegan did, Shyla, but I was just reading. The one part I wanted to quote and comment on Eddie lost my spot too when he read it and I never marked it properly.
I think Miss Brinklow is weird. She wants to change the place and that is not possible, crazy woman. And the other guy, the theif type, deserves to be there forever and remember the things he did.
I finally did buy some highliters on sale so I will try and mark my next book better so I can make intelligent comments and points.
Poor Mallison, but he won in the end, although not really because he lost the girl, which no one has commented on. That was all rather weird. She must have known she would age and die when she left, so why did she? Did she really like Mallison that much?
In short, I liked the book, but I thought the ending was too sophisticated for me. I didn't get it. Eddie had to tell me that they were all looking for Shangri-la now. Crazy. I too want to know the next book.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I have always been attracted to monasteries as places of great focus on increasing knowledge and isolation from unimportant things in the world. But I only picture people being in monasteries for 30 years or so. This Shangri-La thing is serious. You could be there for centuries. And as cool as it seems, I would be a little worried about getting bored. I mean read, converse, look at art, and learn music, but at the end of the day you still want to be able to laugh at funny jokes and gossip about dumb or annoying people. Where is the entertainment? So far everyone is nice and impressive to talk to, but where are the funny, witty people? I wouldn't want to live 200 years with just Chang for a best friend.
But I will say I am very happy that Shangri-La only slows time. I was thinking people lived forever there. That would have been dumb. The delayed death is a smart move by Hilton. No one really wants to live forever so Shangri-La could not have been the ideal place. But to live some extra time, quite comfortably, and most of the time looking and feeling a significantly younger age is a good deal. Maybe our next book club book should be one on yoga techniques.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Now, on to Mallison. I really do feel for the guy. He has people in England that love him and want him home. I don't like how is made to look like the paranoid, pessemistic guy that doesn't appreciate the beauty of Shangra-La and just wants to go home. Of course he wants to go home. I am amazed at how easy the rest of them have adjusted.
Conway. I am not sure what to make of him this week. He is still concerned for the others but he is enjoying himself so much. We'll have to wait till next week and see what else happens.
Well for starters, it is isolated and in a dangerous place (cold, harsh mountains, high altitude that is difficult to breathe in, no ordinary wind--but a living frenzy, ch. 2, entered only by way of a steep, narrow, difficult ascent) yet it is strong and prodcues strong people who can survive it (Conway admires the men carrying Chang's chair as well as Chang being able to sleep through the ascent, being situated in the valley largely protects it from the cold, and it has drugs that relieve breathlessness, ch. 4).
It seems to represent the ancient in its customs and isolation, but yet it also has a touch of the modern in that it has central heating and modern baths. It is loaded with mystery and it is a type of mystery that is charming (unlike, say, the mystery surrounding a violent murder). It is beautiful and produces beautiful things--art and music--seemingly not for the sake of collecting or making money, but because it is wonderful.
In particular I can see why it is charming to Conway. Mallinson says Conway is "confoundedly philosopic." Ch. 3. And the place seems full of philosophic people, I mean hell, they are monks, and seemingly committed to learning (the library), producing art, and living in a philosophic way. I think Conway both admires and envies the lives grounded in a meaningful purpose, though we don't know what that purpose is yet. Conway suffers from lack of deep purpose in life--no relationships, he is not an empire builder and his professional success lacks heart, it is for a salary and to accomplish it he sometimes puts on a one act play. Ch. 4. Also, because Conway is a person who likes and is used to "creat[ing] and control[ling] an atmosphere," Shangri-La is worthy of his admiration because it appears to be a created and very much controlled atmosphere as well as a challenge because it is not an atmosphere he can control. Ch. 4. Additionally, Conway seems to have a sort of contempt for his lower intellect companions. But at Shangri-La he comes face to face with a man of "high intelligence," Chang, who thus merits Conway's respect. Ch. 5. Conway doesn't mind the mystery and untrustworthiness of Chang because he is a man on Conway's level. Shangri-La seems to have that which Conway craves most in life: worthy companionship, isolation from unworthy people/goals/places, beautiful surroundings, challenge (physical and intellectual), and a place to learn and improve one's artitistic abilities.
It is a place where someone like Conway can feel the "pleasant mingling of physical ease and mental alertness." Ch. 4. So far, I am completely enchanted by Shangri-La and like Conway am willing to take the good with the bad if only I could just be there. And though there is still a lot of the book left, I am willing to declare that I am sure Shangri-La will not disappoint. It just couldn't. It's Shangri-La!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I really wanted to be the one to talk about "cigars burning low" I was struck with that line too.
I love when a book takes me with it, and this book is doing just that.
But don't you like Hilton's descriptions? He describes the sea as having a "pale, sticky look, like condensed milk." And Miss Brinklow's comment about traversing the sky as the will of God. And Conway's mental comment"the will of God or the lunacy of man" or the will of man or the lunacy of God" at the beginning of Chapter 2.
And Conway was not only an athlete but a pianist. Spoke several languages and was kind (at least to narrator) p. 13 Was a thesbpian. And was likeable. A Rennaisance Man if you will. And apparently, in spite of what Sanders says is "alive". Rutherford gives us a hint into Conway's character by saying he (Conway) was cheerful but lacked personal desire. This is in the prologue before the story begins to unfold. And the narrator asserts that Conway had a " ... peculiar charm, a sort of winsomeness that's pleasant to remember". This guy has charisma!! But who is Rutherford to say that Conway should have been "great". Must we all be ambitious to be honorable. He wasn't an "earth shatterer"; he was a life toucher. Isn't that great? You see, Conway is my hero. He doesn't affect people "on purpose". He just is!
I think Conway is considered 'brave' because he is naturally good, according to other characters, at dealing with people. So when others, like Mallison, are freaking out, he is able to keep his cool and think through the situation clearly. I think part of this natural ability is him being able to read people well. To sit back and be quiet and observe. I feel I can compare Mallison to two other women I know. Conway is in control of himself. Part of this is age and experience. And as far as being 'great' I thought the one man who found him said that he choose what he did in the war and enjoyed it. I think all that experience will help him in Shangri-la. I'm sure Conway is brave, great and all those other things and in a very realistic and not fantized way.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Mallinson says, "...we're damned lucky in having him with us in a tight corner like this." Quickly followed by "...he's got a sort of way with him in dealing with people. If anyone can get us out of the mess, he'll do it." Chapter 1. He speaks about Conway as if he were a hero, a real go-getter, a dare devil quick to action in all situations, desiring to be the man in charge.
Miss Brinklow adds "I think he looks like a very brave man." Chapter 1. As one of her few remarks, I am lead to believe that her statement is based solely upon assumptions. Conway remains quiet while the others argue, he "pretends" to relax and sleep while the others are uptight about the situation and he has kept his cool in a dangerous situation. At first glance he appears to be "brave" but what does Conway think, feel or see?
He sits in his seat contemplating the thoughts and words of the others on his behalf and discredits most of them. His reminiscence of various time periods causes him to discount their comments based upon his life experiences. He "was far less certain that he was a very brave man." He foresees his so called bravery as a call to duty because the four of them have found themselves in such an awkward situation. He denies, introspectively, the perceptions of his character as stated by Mallinson and is even "dismayed" by the very thought.
So the question, as stated previously is...who is Conway? Is his true character what the others perceive or is it more accurately defined by his own perceptions?
But is Conway really all these things and if so, is he living to his full potential? Those are the two questions I expect this book to answer. Rutherford, the narrator, notes that "Conway was--or should have been--great." Prologue.
Conway does not seem at this point to feel fulfilled nor to be achieving his full potential of greatness. While he wasn't unhappy, he had only a "moderately enjoyable decade," no family, and while meeting with his friends was a pleasant prospect it was nothing to "sigh for in anticipation." Ch. 1. Though capable of hard work, Conway was not "passionately fond of activity, and did not enjoy responsibility at all." Ch. 1. He was not especially ambitious and simply had "a love of quietness, contemplation, and being alone." Thus far, it appears that while Conway is content in his life he lacks a passion or a cause or even a relationship with any person that would motivate him to achieve greatness. I suspect and hope this will change as he gets to know people in Shangri-La.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Unlike Tecia, I have not even thought about checking out the book from the library or finding out where the library is for that matter. However, in order to get Shyla off of my freaking back I will try to find the library tomorrow.
It is nice to be in good company again. Enjoy the book.
I have read the prologue and chap.1. It really grabs your attention at the beginning. So if you haven't started, you will like it, I'm sure.
I hoping it will help pass Annie's late night feedings.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
President Franklin D. Roosevelt named the Presidential hideaway in Maryland after Shangri-La. (It has since been renamed Camp David.)
Lost Horizon has been made into two films and served as the basis for a Broadway musical.
Zhongdian, a mountain region of southwest China, has now been renamed Shangri-La (Xianggelila), based on its claim to have inspired Hilton's book.
Shangri-La is referenced in various songs including songs by Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks, AC/DC, a duet by Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and Motley Crue.
The United States navy named one of its aircraft carriers USS Shangri-La.
Because of its position as Number One in what became a very long list of Pocket editions, James Hilton's Lost Horizon is often cited as the first American paperback book, which is not correct. Some (including Nikki and Wikipedia) claim the first paperback book was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, but this is also hotly debated.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
And little Aouda. Who cares if she is afraid of being scared. She loves Phileas and Phileas apparantly loves her. At least he'll make sure she's taken care and that is more than some marriages. Plus, he did save her from an awful fate. I think Aouda is fine proposing the marriage. He may never have done it. She was just waiting for the right opportunity to express how she felt about it and found it.
Thank goodness Pass went to the church. I think this trip was good for him. I daresay he has grown as well as Fogg and Fix. "Oops. There was an amazing resemblence between you two!" What a dork.
Looking forward to the next book. And I'll only read by chapter so I can write more. I'm sure you're all looking forward to that.
Tay, why did you have to go there honey?!!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Harry POtter was good. I am thoroughly satisfied with the ending.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Fogg is stupid for blindly accepting Fix and never questioning the coincidence of constantly meeting up with him. If Fogg wasn't so purposely introverted, he would have carried on enough conversation with Fix by now to be suspicious.
The conductor is stupid for taking the train full speed across the bridge. Fogg and Proctor are stupid to the point of being utterly ridiculous. They are fighting over nothing. And seriously, if they must fight, wouldn't a fist fight do the job? Are their egos so big that they would rather die than be alive knowing that the other who has insulted them is also alive? I mean it would be one thing if Proctor had slept with "the woman," but simply telling Fogg he shouldn't play diamonds? Give me a break. Duelling with Proctor is neither his duty nor the right thing to do.
Finally, Fix really is stupid. Not necessarily for suspecting Fogg. But he is stupid for being so obsessed with winning the finders fee that he won't accept the obvious signs that Fogg is not the bank robber. So, instead of finding the right suspect, he is going all around the world and wasting a lot of money traveling that will not be reimbursed by the bank. I predict it will end up alright though, since I am sure the "kind and generous" Fogg will decidedly and dispassionately reimburse Fix.
Fogg- I think is is more noble than ever, even if he does spend his money freely. I think he does what is right, because it is right, no matter who trys to discouage him., or if the right thing (saving Passepartout) makes him lose the bet. I think he is a man,he doesn't just look like a gentleman, but knows what one really is. I think Verne has created a man lead by virtue and morals ; who when put to the test lives by them.
Fix- I agree with his own assessment of himself he is an @$$.
Audoa- still faithful, and didn't swoon in battle, I like that she is strong. I think she is in love with Fogg.
Passepartout- I like that he and Fogg share each others burdens. Passe makes so many mistakes, but then does some brave thing and makes up for them all.
Proctor- why do men act like this??
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Fogg's best quality is that he knows how to throw his money around in order to get his way and that he has the arrogance and presumption to do it. And now it appears that Fogg's money is going to win over a woman who has no other options. Not that I mean to judge her--she probably really didn't have a lot of options. It's not like the nameless Mrs. Aouda could go out and get a job (and still maintain her level of class). Hell, I'd be willing to put up with an untalkative, whist playing old guy too. In fact, if any of you knows a rich one who likes to travel, let me know. I mean at least she is getting a guy that realizes how "unthinkable" it is that a woman could make a journey with only one bag. Ch. 20. And in return he is getting a woman that is fairly pleasant to look at, uncomplaining, soft spoken and who constantly expresses her gratitude and admiration for him. That's a heck of a deal and a great lesson on how to stretch a dollar.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Aouda seems like a nice enough girl. I don't know that she's necessarily in love, but she does hold a lot of admiration for Fogg. I like her concern for Pass. I admire her for being aware that she owes Pass her life and is always concerned for his well being. However, i wish that she had a little more backbone as a woman, but i suppose she can only be as outspoken as Verne writes her to be.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Anyway, what I think so far:
Pass: I like him but he is kind of a pain. He really is almost nothing but trouble. He costs Phileas money and time. He and Phileas are not "kindred spirits" as it were. He is all about soaking in as much as he can about the places that he goes. And Phileas obviously could care less. But he does stick up for his master and there is a lot to be said for that kind of devotion.
Fix: is a scoundrel. He is costing Phileas a lot. And now poor Pass being all drunk and high on opium. But I think he really is just trying to do what he should.
Phileas: would be suspicious of Fix if he really were a robber. So I don't think he is. And he is showing more and more kindness and humanity as their adventure goes along. He doesn't seem the type to me to be smitten by Aouda. It seems like he is just trying to do the right thing. I don't know what I think about them. They seem a weird match.
I too think it's weird how calm he is about everything. He must have some repressed something because he doesn't show any emotion at all. He sure has a lot of money. I can't quite get over it. I still don't know why he is doing this when there is so much on the line? Is he prideful or just crazy? I think the latter.
Aouda: I think she is nice. I don't know if she loves Phileas or not. If she is falling for him I don't know if it's really because of who he is. How can she really even know. It would be more for saving her life. Maybe that is enough though. I like that Phileas tries to take care of her so much. But isn't that just humanity?
I do like this book. How do we pick our next? Can we give suggestions? My suggestion is that we read A Christmas Carol. Down the road of course, closer to Christmas.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
I think him very brave to brandish a knife to save Auoda, but what are all the reasons for him doing it, aand keeping her with him. How will all work out mathmatically? I wonder at his calm at all times, even in the midst of a typhoon; it seems to calm and give confidence to those around him.
I was so glad the he finally learned that Fix was not his friend, then he became his alli!! Well at least he beat the crap out of him. He is very resourceful (ie) selling his clothes and becoming a long nose.
Fix- I knew I didn't trust him, but after playing chicken and hiding in his room, he took his punishment well. I wonder if it will work to Foggs benefit to have Fix in his debt.
I am sure she is falling in love with Fogg, the adventure must seem very a romantic thing to a young woman.
She is experiencing all the hardships he is, and taking his part. I wonder if the affection will be returned.
I am looking forward to crossing America with Phileas.
So the capital of California is San Francisco. I remember something about that. Learned that in a western on tv or something. The guy with the sons. Oh yeah, Bonanza! Has Verne actually been to San Francisco. I've been there. I don't remember that it had wide streets. Am I taking this too literally. He describes San Francisco like he describes Hong Kong in Chapter 19. I guess all big cities look the same. Just one more reason to stay inside, drink a Pepsi and look at the postcards. If Pass would employ the same attitude he would save some wear and tear on his body. And the political rally that runs amok the explanation for which is the second to the last line of Chapter 25. A classic. "No, sir; of a justice of the peace."
Not for nothing, but I too am changing my mind. I am only on Chapter 25 but I am trying to determine what the author is trying to tell us. First, I think this is a joke. All in good fun I suppose. But doesn't Fogg represent someone who has his eye on the prize? Phileas has a goal and he seemingly lets nothing interfere with that. He does manage to pick up Aouda on the way (perhaps that is how that terminology originated). he is undeterred by a suttee, the train tracks being incomplete and having to travel by way of elephants (noisey ones at that) across India, losing a servant, acquiring a parasitic friend (if you can call Fix a friend), missing his ship and sailing across the Pacific in a canoe (so to speak). And, with reluctance I say this, are we not represented by Passapartout? Actually he doesn't even have the same goal as Fogg. His goal is to serve his master whose goal happens to be to circumvent the globe in eighty days. But he constantly gets off track by the "little things". Drunkeness and a little opium, a detective who is also quasi lunatictish, gets beat up for not wearing shoes and must put on a false nose to make money (at lease Cyrano didn't get paid). This might be a contrast to consider. I was particularly entertained in Chapter 24 wherein Passapartout beats the snot out of Fix. French over the Brits. And the Americans? Well, they stand around, amused, and begin immediately to bet on the two. Gotta love 'em (I'm referring to the Americans here).
Posted by mom on Saturday, July 7, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Aren't elephants easily scared? Well, i think that those people would frighten him. Let's be honest - they weren't exactly quiet about the whole thing.
Maybe we should be emailing a reminder about the posting date? It makes it easier to remember. :)
Monday, July 2, 2007
Mr. Oysterpuff? How contrived. But a classic quote
"The first case," said he. Then, putting his hand to his head, he exclaimed, "Heh! This is not my wig!"
"No, your worship," returned the clerk, "it is mine."
"My dear Mr. Oysterpuff, how can a judge give a wise sentence in a clerk's wig?"
Are the personalities and sentiments of Phileas and Passepartout juxtaposed against one another to draw attention to their dissimilarities?
I hate to say this, but I think Verne is just having some fun.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
So far, I don't like Fogg at all. He has the appearance of an upstanding Englishman used by Vern to show America the vast British Empire. Let's be honest, Fogg is full of himself without directly appearing to be. Doesn't show a whole lot of emotion, keeps that stiff upper-lip. And how can he have "calculated" ever unfortunate thing that could occur to the precise detail. AND.... HOW DOES HE KNOW WHEN SHIPS ARE LEAVING PORT FOR WHERE AND WHEN??? Honestly. Is there some sort of catalog of ship travel that i overlooked in the book? Oh wait, naturally every singe Britt is gonna know when ships leave port and their destination. It must be a part of their natural superiority.
Passe. is a diligent servant. He just sees his master as a guy he needs to serve. He likes his new job, hoping that the predictable nature of Fogg will return and he won't need to be in this adventure. I think he's also hoping that it is kind of a farse so that he can take a better look around him. He's the epitomy of naive travellor. It reminds me of Twain's "Innocents Abroad" in a way.
This book is very fast paced. It's nice that when regretful things happen, they happen and are over very quickly.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Passepourtout worries me. His devotion to an insane man is a little scary. I'm glad that he is loyal but I'm afraid that in the end this blind loyalty will make him very unhappy. At least he can say that he has been around the world!
Fix. I can't talk about him without getting upset. Passepourtout needs to control his drinking and hopefully that will protect him from harm.
Francis Cromarty. I like him. He appreciates the world around him and likes people. He is down to Earth. Quite the opposite of Fogg.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I can't understand a person who doesn't look where he is going.
I think we should learn from what we read, and the experience in the
railway station eatery has me wary of native dishes.
I had to ask myself what I would do "when I have extra time" I hope
I would be like Phileas and be a person of heart.
I am glad he is not only following his master, but believes in him as well.
i think he needs to be careful of what he says and does.
I want a pair of Indian shoes.
I don't like that he has befriended Passepartout under false pretenses,
I think he is a zealot.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Second, we have the wide-eyed, prone to explore without any kind of guide or information, Passepartout. Pass strolls around, mingles with the inhabitants, and admires what he sees. He is open to what is out there and "realize[s] that there's a lot to be said for travelling if you want to see something new." (Ch. 9). I like Pass's approach, but I think if he would have consulted a "Bombay for Dummies" or "Rick Steve's in India" book, he would have been a lot better off and could have avoided being half beaten to death by a couple of priests. But you have to admire his initiative and fascination.
Finally, we have Sir Francis Cromarty. He feels comfortable navigating around and is interested in what is around him. However, he is also educated and can give "information about the customs, history and administration of India." He didn't just look around in awe, he found out the origin and history of what fascinated him. I like the Cromarty style myself. Again, it appears Verne is portraying Fogg as an Englishman subject to censure for his haughtiness and lack of spirit. This time Verne accomplishes it by portraying Fogg's complete lack of interest in the world around him--presumably because it's not important or interesting enough to merit his attention.
Other questions on my mind: At first I thought Pass would be handy because he can get himself out of tricky situations--now I am starting to worry that he is always the cause of the tricky situations--there is the temple incident and the incriminating information he unwittingly fed to Fix--will he be an asset on this trip? What is Verne trying to say here about the British Empire and it's attempt to control different parts of the world? I get the feeling Verne is criticizing and laughing at the attempt to "Brittify" everything or am I inventing the sarcasm and is Verne applauding the work of the English? (See for example, ch.12, and Fogg asking "Are these barbaric customs still practised in India without the British being able to stamp them out?"). Is Fix obsessed, incompetent, or just self-important?
Posted by Shyla
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
About Phileas Fogg... I can't quite figure him out. At the beginning he was really reminding me of Will Farrell's character in "Stranger Than Fiction". I don't think he's cold-hearted, but definitely odd, and obviously very prideful. His motivation for the trip? I'm not sure. His life sounds miserably dull and boring, so maybe all that reading of newspapers finally got to him and he decided to change it up a little bit. I don't really think he stole the money, because it sounds like he has enough. Also, it says he didn't care about winning the $20,000-- that "he certainly did not bet to win" (ch 3). I don't really think a man desperate enough to steal fifty-five thousand pounds would go and bet almost half of it on something as risky as traveling around the world in 80 days. That is, unless he was positive he would win...
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
It was Phileas! It was Phileas!! "E's the bloke what took the money."
Didn't you see it coming when Mr. Ralph and Mr. Stuart were talking during whist?
55 steps with the left foot; 56 steps with the right foot (does that mean Phileas is right handed?)
Numerology? Gematriya? (that's a Hebrew word I think) Naw, he's just anal.
And Passapartout! He's just stuck in reverse.
Mr. Fix. Detective Fix. He's got issues. Maybe he's got an Oedipus Complex.
posted by mom
I have been surprised, that Fix has not been mentioned by anyone.
The telegram sent by him, to the police commissioner, lost Mr Fogg all his support.
I don't trust him.
I hope I am never described as "phlegmatic" makes me want to clear my throat.
I feel that order and routine has not only become Phileas' way of life, but his life.
I don't think him cold, I think he is lead by duty; and enjoys living in comfort.
I believe he is shell shocked, but I like that he is sticking to his duty, and serving
posted by Karen
Phileas’s varied behavior has struck me as difficult to reconcile. Are we supposed to believe Phileas is a giving, kind-hearted man or is Verne asking us to see past the surface? Sure, Phileas gives all of his whist money to charity (which incidentally everyone knows about . . . I guess Phileas never heard the whole bit about not letting the left hand know what the right hand does) and he won Passepartout over by his generous gift of money and polite words to the beggar woman outside the station.
Nonetheless, in contrast to that admirable behavior, he fires a servant because he brought Phileas shaving water that was two degrees lower than mandated. Additionally, when Passepartout realized he left his lamp on, Phileas who apparently has money spilling out all over the place “coldly” replied that Passepartout would be expected to pay the bill. At first I thought Phileas was merely quirky but now I am starting to think his charitable nature is nothing more than a calculated effort to appear a respectable gentleman. Not to mention his total lack of respect to Passepartout in assuming Passepartout would accompany him on his trip around the world and not having the courtesy to give him either notice, explanation, or many details.
Jules Verne is a Frenchman and I think he is using Phileas to portray the distasteful qualities he perceives in Englishmen: uppitiness (his treatment of Passepartout), arrogance (his assertion that he could and would make the trip), a focus on image (giving to charity and everyone knows it, sits all the club all day to be seen) and finally, absolute uptightness (read any page of the book for an example of this). Verne makes comments every now and then which I think are meant to poke fun at these perceived English characteristics: the “proverbial coldness of [the English] gentlemen” and if the trip “can be done at all, then it’s only right that an Englishman should be the first to do it.” Ch. 2, Ch. 6.
My prediction is that despite all of Phileas’s precise calculations and determination to make the trip, the Frenchman is going to be the real hero of the story and the most loveable character. I mean the guy was in the circus and has “lips that were made for eating, drinking and kissing.” Ch. 2. Besides, he has a history of getting himself out of tricky situations and I foresee that as coming in handy for this world trip. So, is Phileas giving . . . sure. Is he kind-hearted . . . not so far. I hope he will learn a thing or two from Passepartout on this trip.
So, to comment on the first six chapters write as little or as much as you want about whatever you want. I had a couple of questions that I haven’t figured out yet in case anyone has any thoughts: What is Phileas’s motivation for taking this trip?; What is Phileas’s or Verne’s obsession with numbers/time?; Phileas says, “There’s no such thing as the unexpected.” Ch.3. Are we supposed to believe him and won’t it make a boring novel if he is right and/or has that even proven true so far?
Posted by Shyla
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Friday, June 1, 2007
We have chosen our first book! Karen promises we will all love this book. Here is a little information on the book:
"Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly-employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club."
"Around the World in Eighty Days was written during difficult times both for France and for Verne. It was during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) in which Verne was conscripted as a coastguard, he was having money difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties), recently his father had died, and he had witnessed a public execution which had disturbed him. However despite all this Verne was excited about his work on the new book, the idea of which came to him one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper."
"Verne is often characterized as a futurist or science fiction author, but there is not a glimmer of science-fiction in this. Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" at its very peak, drawn by an outsider. "