Sunday, October 5, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Why this book isn't about Tom Robinson at all. He's almost a minor character! I liked the objective of "current events" (p. 279) I am a bit confused about Arthur or "Boo". Wasn't he the son who was rebellious and was confined to his house? But according to the end of the book, he was really a painfully shy individual. Perhaps there comes a point in the relationship between a child and a parent when the hug is more for the hugger (Atticus) than the huggee (Scout) p. 307.
So Scout, in her simple direct way thought accusing and then ultimately convicting the man who actually committed the crime (if crime it be), Arthur, was like "killing a mockingbird". A sin indeed.
So Boo killed Ewell, right? Initially, Atticus thought it was Jem. Heck knew it was Boo but blamed it on Bob Ewell.
Yes, that is the beauty of a good book. A classic. The next time I read it, I will love it all over again. It's not a book; it's a friend.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I especially admire the end of this book in light of other books I've been reading lately, where the author really doesn't know how or when to end the book and does a poor job. The need to resolve every past and future issue ends up in an anti-climatic, poorly written ending that usually doesn't flow with the rest of the book. No interruption of flow here. I like Harper Lee's writing all the way through, but it is these last chapters: the descriptions, the seamless weaving of storylines, the drama, the final character sketches and revelations (both Boo and Tate), the right mix of action, dialogue, and internal thinking, where she really rises above the average writer. Just like last time, Lee had me absolutely entranced and by the time I was done reading, I have to admit I had a big lump in my throat.
The idea of this book is fantastic. She writes about big issues from a child's point of view. It feels realistic and sincere. She tackles racism, poverty, ignorance, women's issues, cruelty, violence, and even single parent families (both Scout and Dill). She doesn't go into each issue in depth or even try to pinpoint and resolve Scout's feelings on each issue. She is surrounded by it, and like the rest of us, is constantly working through her feelings and understanding of issues and doesn't come to any final resolves or resolutions in life. Because it is written from a child's point of view, the language is simpler, which is more powerful. This is a kid we can all relate to, but contrary to what many of her contemporary critics said, this is not a kid's book. You have to be an adult to really "get" this book. Absolutely beautiful and fantastic. If I had written this book as my first novel, like Lee, I think I would have been pretty reluctant to try and follow it up. If everyone just wrote the one good novel they had in them and skipped the rest of the crap they write, it would be quite a compelling literary world.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
"But you weren't in a fix--you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she'd hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?"
"No such, I's scared I'd be in court, just like I am now."
"Scared of arrest, scared you'd have to face up to what you did?"
"No suh, scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do."
Tom isn't the only victim of bigotry. His wife, his family, Atticus, Atticus' family, Heck Tate, Mayella, everyone. And yet, the evil lingers. Even Scout says to Dill when Dill has a fit about the way Mr. Gilmer talks to Tom, "Well, Dill, after all he's just a Negro."
Jem's right, why can't we all just get along. But we can't! And that includes me. The days of "...fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water." are over (p. 266)
Note the words used to describe the atmosphere of the courtroom "...same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still, and the carpenters had stopped hammering on Miss Maudie's new house, and every wood door in the neighborhood was shut as tight as the doors of the Radley Place. A deserted, waiting, empty street.." All references to previous events in the book. Nice writing tool.
Adolescence is killing Jem. At least he started to grow hair on his chest (well, theoretically) and hair under his arms. We all know you need armpit hair to play football. Isn't adolescence when you learn that grown ups aren't perfect, even the ones you love? This knowledge is breaking Jem's heart.
I knew this book would be painful to read.
I have a question. I don't understand Dill's purpose in this book. Wouldn't the story be just as good without Dill?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Tom's fate is sad. He kinda went crazy. But who wouldn't. And poor Jem, facing the hard facts of life. That some people think they are better than others. And are we? We learn we are not or at least that is the wrong attitude to have. It is so obvious to us now looking back on history the wrong choices people make about putting themselves above others and how does that happen now? I think it's interesting. I also like how in chp. 22 at the end how Ms. Maudie (and I love how she has a relationship with the kids now, like a grandma) how she says that Atticus can't win. There is no way he can, but he's the only man who could keep a jury out that long and that it was a baby step. It just reminds me that one person really can make a difference. Not in the movement of civil rights, that takes many people. But one person can make a difference in giving others courage to do what they think might be right. How difficult that would be to do by oneself. It would be much easier with a group of good friends to all make the right choice all at once, but that's not usually how the cookie crumbles is it?
The courage in this book amazes me as I think about real life. This is a great book. I can't believe I didnt' read it in high school! What kind of school did I go to?
Don't forget about my question!! :P
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tom's death is disturbing. I'm not frustrated that he didn't wait for his appeal. I think Atticus knew that the chances of a court ruling favorably on an appeal of the case of a black man allegedly raping a white woman was rare; additionally, even if the appeal were granted and ruled on favorably, Tom would have gotten another trial but the result more than likely would have been the same. And I guess that is the disturbing part. We are sad Tom dies the way he did, but we know it doesn't matter because any way you cut it that would have been his ultimate fate. The distubring part of Tom's death is the reality that he couldn't avoid it from the day he was accused no matter what great lawyering and what great facts were on his side, combined with his final realization that that was his reality.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
"Will you write your name and show us?"
"I most positively will. How do you think I sign my relief checks?"
When Gilmer objects to Atticus browbeating the witness (Mayella) and the Judge says:
"Oh sit down, Horace, he's doing nothing of the sort. If anything, the witness's browbeating Atticus."
Now the book is getting heavy. It isn't fun anymore. However, it is still an essential read. By the way, what is the next book?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I do think Atticus is teaching something important to his children which is respect and I do agree that many kids aren' t taught this. But that does fall back on the parents. Good for Atticus for sticking to his values and instilling them in his kids.
One thing I think the book really teaches us is that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. And that people are people and every one should be treated with respect and like a person and that they have value. And sometimes just because everyone else is doing it and it's important to know ourselves and what we beleive despite 'everyone else jumping off the cliff'. Mom, no one is perfect and it is possible that sometime in your life you will make a mistake at school. I think it best to treat her like a person who has value and prove her wrong in a nice way by asking her questions and letting her figure it out on her own. As opposed to the 'I said so, and I'm the adult and it is that way' response. Kids don't respond to that, probably because it doesn't really work. Not that you do that... Not that I do this either, but it's what Eddie would do.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
She had every right to be upset at Jem and I am okay with the fact that she made him read to her. However, I am not okay with the fact that she started each reading session with a string of insults about the kids and their father.
I think the whole Dubose experience demonstrates Atticus's patience and politeness. It also shows that Atticus is the type of person who sees the good in everyone, is always willing to help people, and is the person his townsmen seek when they need something. However, some of those people, including Dubose, are quick to forget about how he has treated them and what he has done for them, and instead contribute to a growing town mob that makes the life of his family miserable. In Maycomb, the depths of the people's racism goes so far as to turn them against a person like Atticus, who has been nothing but a friend and is still the person they call whenever something is needed.
The presence of Aunt Alexandra highlights Maycomb's way of small town thinking outside the racism context. As with the racists, Alexandra's thinking irrationally grasps on to traditional ways and a small, closed world view (only families who have been on the land for years are of any worth, strict categories of ladylike and unladylike), and she even creates her own truths/seeks to perpetuate false ideas (Cousin Joshua is not crazy). Sure, I think we are supposed to see that there is more than one side (Dubose is a bitch, but she is also a heroic morphine addict overcomer; Aunt Alexandra is usually ridiculous but is trying to help Atticus and do what she thinks is best). Nonetheless, what it comes down to is that unlike Atticus, these people maintain their small mindedness and aren't willing to buck any traditional but irrational way of thought and that is what lies at the heart of the main conflict in this book.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Anyway, I already finished the book. It was very good. So I don't really know what to comment on because you haven't read the chapters that I really had comments about. So next post should be better. I did want to make sure I mentioned the Gilmore Girls part. I think reading classics is very informative because there are references to them often in all genres.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I do have a question though. At the end of Chapter 13, the last line. "I know now what he (Atticus) was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work."
Powerful was the conversation between Atticus, Aunty and Scout on pages 154 and 155. I knew what Scout was going to say before I read it. She said "I didn't ask you!" but Atticus "...pinned her to the wall with his good eye" and she was payin' attention. Atticus takes a strong stand for Cal and against Aunty on p. 155. I was thoroughly entertained when Scout called Jem a "damn morphodite and then proceeded to fight "her equal" until Atticus arrived. But even at the conclusion of the episode Atticus smiled and said "Let's leave it at this: you mind Jem whenever he can make you. Fair Enough?" I can't do that still. When the Jarman kids fight it breaks my heart. Eddie, on the other hand, lets it go on for awhile, thoroughly entertained, and then he urges them to stop. Watching your kids raise your grandkids is a killer.
Poor Jem. He's maturing and it's breaking his heart. And it's killing Scout too. When Dill had run away and was found at the Finches. Jem said "You oughta let your mother know where you are. You oughta let her know you're here..." Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. Jem of course tells Atticus that Dill is there. It made me think of the comment Scout made on page 63 "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company." So among the many themes of this book a "rite of passage" surfaces as well.
I can't put this book down. But I must because Book Club is next week, at my house, and I'm leading the discussion on Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons. I'm going to the ASU game tonight with Margene Burk (Rick is out of town). I was going to "comment" on Cy's rude comment and then she apologized and ruined the whole thing. Tell me, please, how can anyone not love Cylynn? That's like somebody not liking Shy. Ok, well this is going someplace uncomfortable. POST YOU GUYS.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
And while I'm at it, why aren't other people posting?
Monday, September 1, 2008
I am constantly impressed with Lee's style and her one liners. The description of climate on page 65 and "Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts." And her use of metaphors (however, I think I identify things as metaphors and they probably aren't) p. 70 "Tree's dying. You plug 'em with cement when they're sick. You ought to know that, Jem." But why is Jem crying at the end of Chapter 7, page 71?
I remember so little of the book. But starting from Chapter 8, I am beginning of Mr. Avery is a good guy or a bad guy.
Atticus is gentle with Scout on page 77. I don't think I would say Atticus isn't gentle it's just that a parent doesn't need to be gentle all the time. So is it Boo who puts the blanket on Scout? And is Mr. Avery really the hero of the fire? And Atticus, a lawyer, really has a way with words. When he and Scout our discussing what Cecil Jacobs said "'s what everybody at school says." "From now on it'll be everybody but one--"
When Scout lies about hitting Cecil, I don't think it is because she is ashamed of Atticus and is loyal. I think it is because she told Atticus she wouldn't fight anymore when she heard things about Atticus. She didn't want Atticus to know she broke a promise. Promises are precious.
And I think Atticus wanted to keep the "deadest shot" issue quiet because he is ashamed that he once enjoyed killing things. And maybe to the wise Atticus, they were all "mockingbirds."
Notice Uncle Jack, one of my heroes, has a cat for a companion.
However, the classic Atticus parental style is reflected at the end of Chapter 9 when he knows Scout is listening to his explanation to Uncle Jack of what he is worried about.
It is interesting to note that the children are missing a part of growing up by not having neighborhood children to be with.
"Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street." Why did Atticus gind his glases to powder after he dropped them while shotting Tim Johnson? And is it another metaphor when Mr. Tate says"You were a little to the right, Mr. Finch". Atticus respond s with "Always was" "If I had my 'druthers I'd take a shotgun." Miss Maudie who continues to prove herself in these chapters says "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents..." And Jem sums up the entire episode with "Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"
I not only get excited by the contents of the text but by Lee's style. As you can probably tell by my post, I have underlined many, many passages. This has become a labor intensive exercise that I am thoroughly enjoying.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
We also see more of his parenting style, which is pretty relaxed, but yet still attentive. He knows his kids well and knows what their biggest weaknesses are. He has enough sense to ignore Scout's language and to focus his attention on the bigger problem, her hotheadedness. Also, when he talks to his brother about having kids you start to see that he he isn't detached and that he really does love his kids and loves that he has kids. Atticus would be a confusing parent to have at first, but once you were old enough you could look back with appreciation and see what a devoted parent he was, which is what Harper Lee/Scout seems to be doing.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Like some of you I did not like Atticus at first. On page 6 Scout says her and Jem found their father 'satisfactory' and that he treated them with 'courteous detachment. Then we learn how he handled Walter coming over for lunch. How wrong first impressions can be, or how views from others can be misleading and tainted. Here we are forming our opinions on a 6 year olds views when Atticus really is a good man. How often we do this in real life.
I think Dill is funny and Miss Caroline is dumb. I like how Lee writes, it kinda reminds me of mom. Please note at the bottom of page 5, "they ambled across the square". It's totally something mom would say. I'm just glad I knew what ambled meant.
I think you should treat people like people. Miss Caroline's problem is that she made the first day a power struggle to show that she was boss and it came back to bite her in the.. well it came back to bite her. I think we do this in life as well and that is why I mention it. There have been many lessons about real life in these 4 chapters (oh calm down!! I know the schedule says 5, but I only got to 4. Sheesh!)
I like it so far and the characters do seem interesting. Am I the only one who hasn't read this book before?
I do agree with Karen that he is manipulative. But he is also manipulated by Dill and unwittingly by Scout. He is definitely insecure though. His insecurity was behind him being mean to Dill when they first met--because he is insecure, he first had to establish his superiority over Dill before he could accept him as a friend. He also seems worried over and eager to maintain Scout's hero-worship of him. Yet, Atticus does seem to be having an influence on him. I was really happy when he invited Walter to lunch and it was the exact approach I imagine Atticus would have taken to the situation. It was secure, compassionate, and dignified. Unfortunately, that was the only good thing I've seen him do in five chapters. I think this book is supposed to be about Scout growing up, but I hope we will get to see Jem just do as much growing up.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Maybe I will figure it out later and maybe I will never understand...
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Atticus, I didn't like him at first, because his children called him by his first name, and I felt that was
because he must be overbearing and aloof. I now understand that they call him that because everybody calls him that, and I think I will really like him.
Jem, is a fraud. Fake bravery by touching the house. Different rules at school than at home.
Twisting his fathers words, and manipulating his little sister.
Scout, I can't get over the fact that her teacher said her being able to read and write was a
bad thing and she should stop doing it. I think she is older than her years, and I hope she will
not keep following the boys and sharing their trouble making, but I think the chances of that are slim.
Dill, I worry about that boy, I think he will go to far.
Capurinia, I think every family needs her to keep them thinking right.
Boo Radley , I am pretty sure he isn't stuffed up the chimney, I am scared, sorry and interested in him.
so I guess I am glad the kids will keep bugging him, so I can learn the truth of what his life is.
I like the way the people in the neighborhood and school let me feel the superstitions and prejudices of the
the time and place.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.
After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944–45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945–50). While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, Ramma-Jamma. Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.
Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.
Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." Within a year, she had a first draft. Published July 11, 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I liked seeing Catherine grow up through the story. I'm glad that she developed a lot more sense and maturity, and that she was able to see a bit of the world and the frailties of human nature before she was married. She was raised to have high standards and proved herself true to them, even through her naivety. My absolute favorite part of the book was how Austen described Catherine's homecoming, and how seeing her family and being embraced by them washed away all of the sad and self-piteous feelings she had. What a great statement on the importance of family love!
Well, I could go on and on, but I have to do some homework. I'm glad we read this book, and am excited to find out what the next one will be!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Isabella is a nim- kum- poop! I think she just didn't know she was a tramp. But she found out in the end. Poor James because he thought she was good like she did, but when the first opportunity came, she bombed and was unfaithful to him. But I really do think she loved him or at least thought she did.
I don't even want to start on Mr. Thorpe. Red flags all over the place. I'm glad the Thorpes are out of the picture. They played an interesting roll in the book.
I have a question: Is Catherine wealthy? I thought the last part of the book was really wordy. I could barely make it through it.
I like Eleanor but I don't understand why she didnt' just tell Catherine that her dad is a jerk. It would have helped her "dear friend" and saved her a lot of grief. It's a good thing Mr. Tilney came to the rescue. Did you guys see the movie? When they go to visit the Allen's and he proposes they go to kiss and it looks like two little kids trying to kiss, it actually makes me laugh to think of the scene.
So that is what I think. Like always, I'm glad to have read another book.
Friday, March 7, 2008
2. I still think Catherine is dumb or as Tegan dubs it "maddeningly slow." She should have caught on a lot sooner when Eleanor was kicking her out. Also, I don't care how upset she is. How can she even think of making the long journey home alone without checking to see how much money she had?
3. Eleanor is my favorite character in this book even if she does lack backbone.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
All of Austen's novels seem to have a ridiculous character embodying these traits Austen hates most in society. In Pride and Prejudice it was Mrs. Bennett. In Sense and Sensibility it was Fanny. I am fascinated that in other novels it is a woman that embodies these traits, but here it is a man. In so doing, Austen shows that ridiculousness is not limited to the female population; men and women alike have the potential to embody these negative characteristics. Although it is interesting here that the General did not start out obviously ridiculous like Fanny and Mrs. Bennett. We have to get to know him a bit to really see it. In Jane Austen's eyes these characteristics cross sex as well as class/money (Fanny and the General are very wealthy, Mrs. Bennett is not). If she has a message threaded through her novels other than marriage based on love is preferable, it is that these characteristics are to be criticized and avoided. That said, I still want to marry a rich guy--but don't worry I won't brag about how new our carpet is or anything.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
So... I haven't quite finished this week's reading, but I thought I should post before it is too late. From my observations I think there is something very suspicious about General Tilney. I'm not convinced he is really their father. Also, the fact that he and John Thorpe seem to get along so great is kind of odd as well. It is difficult to tell how Mr. Tilney feels about Catherine, but I think he likes her. I do find it kind of odd, though, because his attachment to her seems to have formed rather quickly. I am curious to see what developments arise from this...
Sorry, my thoughts are kind of scattered right now; probably because of my 2 mid-terms and 3 projects that were due this week, on top of all the usual stuff. I did want to say, however, that I really like Catherine as the "heroine". I think she shows a lot of strength despite her sheltered upbringing and naivety. I am really proud of her for standing up to her "friends" (if you can call them that... I don't know what kind of friends would treat a person that way) and refusing to go with them. She certainly shows much more character than her brother, who always takes the side of the pretty face and falls for the oldest trick in the book when Isabella starts crying. He is so dense. I am glad Mr. Allen has some sense and supports Catherine in her decision. Mrs. Allen is just plain silly, as many of Miss Austen's female characters are. I wish Catherine had a stronger person there with her to advise and support. But perhaps she will find that within herself.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Well, first Cy.. Cy... Cy... It is amazing that mom wouldn't have sent you a book isn't it. Esp. when you hated our last two books and I quote: "Shangri Blah". And I'm sure mom didnt' know she would have to be responsible for you. As for those who didn't get a book, I beleive you got something else from Grandma. She stresses about gifts and I think appreciate should be expressed for what you did get and not what you didn't( even if it is in good fun)....;] Anyway, I'm just glad I got one. And I beleive Susan and Kristen aren't using theirs. You and Kristen are chummy aren't you Cy? The funny thing is that you keep posting...
I saw the movie when it was on Channel 8 a few weeks and ago and I must have been tired or something because what I remember from the movie and what I am reading are different. They don't describe the characters the same. It seems to me in the movie that they imply Mr. Tilney is bad, so that's what is in my head. Sorry to all of you who just "wha?!!!!!" out loud. So I am trying to forget the movie and focus on the book.
I think Catherine is just naive and is slowly coming out of it. She has never been an interest to any man so I think the fact that she doesn't like Mr. Thorpe is good. It shows she knows a bit about herself. I think Miss Thorpe is crazy. But at least Catherine has a friend.
I don't know why Mr. Tilney just left Bath without saying something to her about it earlier. She clearly likes him way more than he likes her.
I don't recall the conversations with Miss Tilney. What do they talk about. I hope one doesnt' talk about their kids and the other their gowns like Mrs. Allen and the other lady. Which is funny because they supposedly enjoy each others company when they dont' talk about anything the same.
Mr. Thorpe on page 44 when he has just met his mother, made fun of her hat and said it made her look like a 'witch' and then called his sisters 'ugly'.. no 'very ugly'. What a jerk. And then making her promise to spend all that time with him. Why is he being so crazy? Just because it's James' sister? I don't get what brought it on. Other than he thinks she's pretty.
Does Mr. Tilney thinks she's pretty? I don't know what he really thinks of her. All I know is that he knows about gowns.
I also think that Catherine can't be blamed for not getting the jokes. It says on pg. 60 that her family were plain matter of fact people who seldome aimed at wit of any kind. Eddie's family can only tell when I'm being sarcastic when they are looking at me. Talking to them over the phone or in an email (except Beth of course) is really hard. I have to say just kidding all the time. Even Eddie still over the phone I have to explain that I am just kidding. So it kinda just comes with the territory as it were.
I am excited to keep reading. Esp. now that I am trying to put the movie out of my mind. I still don't get her making fun of the times. I just don't know that much about it. But I can enjoy it on a level not as deep. That is what I like about Jane Austen. For people who know about things you can annalize and be all crazy. And for people like me, and dare I say Tegs, we can still enjoy it without all the indepth stuf. Maybe even Cylynn. or maybe she's not quite there yet.
There I've posted. I will keep reading until I fall asleep and try to catch up.
Monday, February 25, 2008
During Catherine's walk with the Tilneys she feels upset over not knowing much about drawing. Austen takes this opportunity to say that a person wishing "to attach" should not feel shame over ignorance. 104. Ignorance brings with it the pampering of your desired's vanity (he will love you because your ignorance makes him feel smart). "A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well as she can." 104. If that isn't a pointed criticism of her contemporaries' thinking, I don't know what is. Austen goes on to say that a reasonable and well-informed man desires nothing more than ignorance in a woman. Personally, I feel quite a bit of disgust for that type of thinking. I have had guys tell me they want a wife that is smart enough to converse a little on most subjects and to help the kids with homework, but not too smart that they have any personal ambitions or that they are smarter than the husband. I would think that Austen's ideal, as is mine, is a partnership that does not depend on ignorance of one to pamper the vanity of the other. I think Jane Austen is placing value on the hunt for a true intellectual equal instead of someone with whom to feel superior or inferior intelligence-wise. Tilney, though better-mannered, more fun, and having more integrity than Thorpe, is choosing a partner that feeds his vanity rather than inspires and challenges his thinking; thus, he is not perfect and is not the ideal man. (I know everyone is going to disagree with my reading, I mean I could practically write your responses for you, but I think I am right, and I'm throwing it out there.)
Two random tidbits. First, the James and Isabella thing is just painful to read. But, I predict Isabella is going to get an offer of more money and dump James anyway. Second, Tegan would like me to say that her computer isn't working but she will post as soon as possible.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Isabella seems harder for her to see thru, and now that she has trapped James (what is he thinking!!) I fear Isabella will be more manipulative than ever. I think Catherine feels she should like her, but when following her heart, is more attracted to Miss Tilney, and happier when she is with her.
Mr Tilney, as perfect as he is, has a flaw, he is vain and Catherine unmasked adoration plays right into it. I really enjoyed their conversation on history tormenting children. Mr Tilney is clever and cute in all his conversations, such an opposite of John Thorpe.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I really like the book so far. The quick wit of Miss Austen is really captivating and has made this story easier for me to get into than some of her other ones. The most enjoyable part for me is the way the characters parallel people in our day and age. John Thorpe is conceited and worldly (like so many boys I know) and bores poor Catherine to death with details of his "mode of transportation". That part made me laugh so hard because I've been in similar situations, and I was shocked to see that things really haven't changed. Isabella is a typical vain young woman-- I have known so many just like her, and I don't think Catherine is dumb for being her friend. When a beautiful, confident person pays you (a very normal and unextraordinary girl) special attention and compliments it is difficult not to be flattered and desire more of the attention. I like Mr. Tilney a lot, and think he seems very charming and intelligent. I agree that Catherine does not quite seem up to his level, but I am excited to see her grow and change as the story progresses.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Anyway, on to the main subject of my post.
1. How can you say that you were "determined" to be nicer and not swear this year? I was simply stating my sincerest of feelings and meant no harm. However it seems I have initiated your descent to a life filled with filthy language that I know will get worse throughout the year. I beg you to try and demonstrate a little more character in the future. I can only imagine what kind of nasty things you will have to say after this post. Please try to keep them G rated as innocent children (such as myself) read this blog on occasion.
2. Do not tell me that I can only post regarding the book when you yourself are taking the liberty of posting on a subject unrelated to the book or its characters. Shyla is the blog owner and will make the decisions related to what posts can and cannot be made. Step down and assume your roll as blog contributor, nothing more, nothing less. As far as I can see, you did not post on the first reading, probably because you couldn't figure it out before the deadline, but that is beside the point.
3. Can you belive that you are a GREAT GRANDMA? Does that make you feel old? Okay so that was a little low, but it is a valid question.
4. Please do not lie to me and say that you do not know where Shyla lives although I think she would like to have it that way. Anyway, I know firsthand that you are well aware of her location because I had to hear about your then, upcoming visit, on more than one occasion. On the upside, if you figured out where Tegan lives then I could come and visit you because Tegan and I are only separated by a few hours.
5. I still don't have the book so do not expect any book-related posts from me.
I think that is all I have for now. Just for the record and to keep you from breaking your weak resolution to be nicer and not swear, this post was written out of love.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
So, I like pg 32 when she goes on and on about how novelists do not get proper respect that they should. Is this her first novel?
Pg 45 If Catherine can see right through John Thrope, why can she not see that his sister is the same? I can see and understand that Catherine has set Isabella on a pedestal and nothing Isabella does will be wrong. I have done this before. However, when Catherine does begin to see the real Isabella, I think that all respect will be lost for her as it happened for me. But she will also feel a freedom and will be able to grow and move on with her life. I can't wait to see that happen. James worries me a little bit. He obviously has trouble picking out respectable people to be associated with. And I was really annoyed when Isabella told Catherine that she had been waiting for her for half an hour when she had only been there for five minutes! Who does she think she is? Come on Cathrine, open your eyes and be happy!
Monday, February 18, 2008
It seemed that everyone (except for me) got the current book selection for Christmas. I was certain that Debs couldn't have forgotten about me so I waited and waited, checking the mail every single day, looking for the package that contained my book. I began to think that my postman was incompetent and couldn't deliver a package on time, but much to my disappointment it looks like I was never scheduled to receive the book.
I thought that being part of this book club would include me in more of the family things but I can see that Debs has not changed her mind about poor little Cylynn. I was never part of the family nor will I ever be part of the family.
I finally understand that I am not to be expecting the book. I guess I should have realized that "Freestone Family Book Club" literally means for the Freestone's. How could I have been so foolish?
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I don't think of Catherine as dumb, just without experience, she is ready to like everybody and find the good. I think she may be too worried about what others think, like when telling her brother she liked Mr Thorpe, when she couldn't stand him.
Isabella is insincere and shallow, the whole Thorpe family seems geared that way, I guess we will see.
I look forward to knowing the Tilney's better.
I do wish though that since Catherine is the main character, or as Austen affectionately calls her--the heroine, that I could stand her a bit more. I'm getting a bit sick of her dull-wittedness and extreme naivete. It should only take her about two seconds to figure out that Isabella is a conceited, boy crazy, insincere, self-absorbed, attention getter type. It makes me sick every time Catherine becomes confused at the inconsistencies in Isabella's behavior. For instance, it was obvious that Isabella loved it when the boys were staring at her and couldn't wait to think of an excuse to try and catch up with them. p. 36-37. If you ask me, if I know the type, and I do, that was all in Isabella's head anyway and those boys weren't staring at her at all. However, the one thing more pathetic than Isabella's behavior is Catherine's failure to correctly interpret it.
I am worried that Tilney's wit must be almost completely wasted on Catherine. Even the narrator tells us that Catherine "hardly understood" the "archness and pleasantry in his manner [of conversing]." p. 19. In the pump room he played with the formalized, insincere type of conversation carried on by their class (how long have you been in Bath . . . surprise), the frivolous treated as serious pursuits of young girls at the time (journal writing about clothes, events, and superficial descriptions of the opposite sex), and Mrs. Allen's lack of perception, depth, and understanding. (I actually wonder if Catherine's entire character is to mock Richardson's "Pamela"--a very popular novel in England. Pamela is pretty much as dumb and annoying as Catherine is.) While Catherine is amused by Tilney, I think it is due largely to a recognition that Tilney is funny and somewhat surprising and improper; I think she is missing the depth of his humor and the deeper character observations he is making. (Elizabeth Bennett would have gotten it right away.) Which means, if he falls in love with her, Austen is really going to have to sell it to me. Because, right now, I keep thinking, how is anyone that smart going to like anyone that dumb?
Friday, February 15, 2008
Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made!
And while the stones of Winchester, or Milsom Street, remain,
Glory, love and honor unto England's Jane.
Rudyard Kipling, 1924
"I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I had read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerrotyped [photographed] portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck [stream]. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses. These observations will probably irritate you. but I shall run the risk.
"Now I can understand admiration of George Sand [Lucie Aurore Dupin]...she has a grasp of mind which, if I cannot fully comprehend, I can very deeply respect: she is sagacious and profound; Miss Austen is only shrewd and observant.''
Charlott Bronte (in a letter to George Lewes)
I guess that it's a good thing we're not reading Pride and Predjudice. Apparently it's insipid and dull.... :)
Friday, January 25, 2008
---Thornton Wilder, 1938
"There have been several revolutions of taste during the last century and a quarter of English literature, and through them all perhaps only two reputations have never been affected by the shifts of fashion: Shakespeare's and Jane Austen's... She has compelled the amazed admiration of writers of the most diverse kinds."
---Edmund Wilson, 1944
"Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going, but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!"
---Sir Walter Scott, 1826