Well, I finished the book on Friday and I don't like it quite as much as I did when I was 2/3 of the way through but I liked it better than I liked PrWell, I finished the book on Friday and I don't like it quite as much as I did when I was 2/3 of the way through but I liked it better than I liked Pride and Prejudice. To me there were a lot of things wrong with the book but also some really good things.
I guess I probably don't like serial books that were written for publication a piece at a time. This book in particular, for me, seemed to have too many characters and none of them were developed enough for me to really feel much attachment. There were also many sub-plots that seemed unnecessary to me like the Featherstone Will, for example.
I did like the fact that she was trying to expose things wrong with the society of the times such as the idea that women were just for adornment and not meant to have any real brain or that marriage is an institution of delightful bliss.
I did not like the way she ended the book all neatly like a Friday night movie special or something. It seems to me as if she is saying if we do everything right we will succeed in the end and that is not always the case because everyone we interact with has to also be fair minded and honest and most people are not, still in this day and age.
I wish we, as a society, could get to a point where the rich were made to put forth some effort toward society and the intelligent and deserving poor were given more of a chance to prove themselves outside the shallow confines of wealth and material showmanship....more
(It's the early 1900's and Mr. Babbitt is talking to his son about the merits of correspondThis book is funny. I will write more.
Excerpt from page 72:
(It's the early 1900's and Mr. Babbitt is talking to his son about the merits of correspondence courses...)
There's a whole lot of valuable time lost even at the U., studying poetry and French and subjects that never brought in anybody a cent. I don't know but what maybe these correspondence-courses might prove to be one of the most important American inventions. Trouble with a lot of folks is: they're so blame material; they don't see the spiritual and mental side of American supremacy...
It seems almost like something George W. Bush might say in one of his speeches. lol
10/29/07 I think this book is just swell. :)
10/20/07 I have finished this book and I have to say that I don't think Babbit is all that unlikeable. Sure he is materialistic, shallow and spineless. But at least he cares about things and he does seem to think about things a bit. So I will say that there are a lot more characters in books that I dislike more than I dislike him. I just might be tempted to have an affair with him myself.
This is a review in progress as I am currently reading this book. I picked it up yesterday and am now on page 79. After a summer of very difficult reaThis is a review in progress as I am currently reading this book. I picked it up yesterday and am now on page 79. After a summer of very difficult reading (The Idiot, Faust and The Federalist)I wanted to read a novel that I could relate to. So far I am relating. It seems like sometimes she has climbed up into my mind with the character of Mrs. Ramsay.
There are some things I don't like about this novel. I don't like the way she always says, "Mrs. Ramsay did this...Mr. Ramsay did that..." Why can't she just say, "he or she did this or that?" I don't like the way the book flips from one person's mind to another without any warning. I don't like the sense of foreboding I get. (Is Nancy going to die?)
But I do think Virginia Woolf definitely had the ability to probe into the human condition. Has anyone noticed the obvious Oedipal complex between Mrs. Ramsay and her son James? Anyway, those are my thoughts as I am a little over one-third through the book.
...As I read I realize even more that she really did understand the human condition, at least as I see it. I love the dinner table scene where every adult thinks their own thoughts, some pretending to be civil, saying things they don't mean...
There is a real conflict between masculine and feminine that I can relate to. Not only is it the conflict between the masculine and feminine sex at the table but the masculine and feminine in each individual.
Ok I am finished with the book... I did like it. I have 2 more points to make.
first, I believe one of the most important sentences in the book is this: "For whatever reason she could not achieve that razor edge of balance between two opposite forces..." (P 193). I can sense that so much from Virginia Woolf herself in her writing, and with that I do indeed relate. I saw the movie "The Hours" and have wondered more than once if Woolf was bi-polar.
The other thing is that I see Mrs. Ramsay herself as a type of lighthouse. I saw this when I read about the lighthouse, "there it loomed up, stark and straight..." (p 203). More than once Mrs. Ramsay was painted as "straight." I see her as the entity that everyone found shelter in. But really, the lighthouse is nothing without people to shelter, so the lighthouse (Mrs. Ramsay) did not really have a life apart from the people that needed it/her. That is kind of sad, don't you think?...more