Very interesting portrayal of the importance of a good conscience and the consequences of our choices.
Throughout the book I felt sorry for Do3.5 Stars
Very interesting portrayal of the importance of a good conscience and the consequences of our choices.
Throughout the book I felt sorry for Dorian Gray, for how easily he was influenced, for the downward spiral that his life ended up being. He had so much potential.
I picture the Lord Henry as a little devil and Basil Hallward as an angel, and both of them were on each side of Dorian's shoulders throughout his life trying to give him advice. Unfortunately for Dorian he ended up listening more to Lord Henry, who was insufferable to me and quite grating with his constant superiority and flippant theories of life.
I was surprised at how much symbolism Wilde used in this novel, and how often philosophy was discussed between characters. As they discussed the value of beauty, the influence of art, how youth is of highest priority--I couldn't help but think how juvenile and immature it all sounded. Grown men and women discussing how frivolity and pleasure are all that truly matters in the world just reeks of desperation and a childish mind.
But it was a great way to really look at the reasons for Dorian's cruel actions and what drove him to be who he was. He wasn't strong enough to withstand these childish impulses and so he made horrible choices that haunted him and negatively affected those around him.
The ending was very fitting. I was only sorry to see how many people were destroyed by Dorian's actions and how they had to suffer only to have him refuse to take responsibility for what he did even at the very end. Dorian blamed everyone and everything but himself and in that one final act where he wanted to once again just get rid of anything standing in his way, he finally met his end.
Overall I really enjoyed the themes discussed in this book and I think Wilde was extremely brave to publish such a controversial story (I know that it wasn't received well in his time). There were some passages I re-read so that I could really absorb everything being said, and it was a great "character study" of human behavior. Not the best classic I've read, but definitely something I think everyone should read....more
This was a great read. I enjoyed every story although I do have some favorites. Holmes and Watson have the best bromance and I loved their interactionThis was a great read. I enjoyed every story although I do have some favorites. Holmes and Watson have the best bromance and I loved their interactions. I believe Sherlock Holmes is one of the more interesting literary characters I've read. He's brilliant, of course, but also eccentric and has a strange sense of humor that makes him very loveable. Most of the "crimes" he investigated really kept me guessing, and it was a lot of fun solving the crimes along with him. ...more
It's been a long time since I've read a book in one sitting. The Princess Bride has pretty much everything you want in a story: humor, great characterIt's been a long time since I've read a book in one sitting. The Princess Bride has pretty much everything you want in a story: humor, great characters, cool backstories, action, and suspense. I haven't seen the movie but I've heard over and over again how it's a classic. However, this book was so good and the characters are so ingrained into my memory that I feel even if I never see the movie, I got a really good feel for what William Goldman was trying to accomplish. Highly recommend to anyone who wants something easy to read that is both captivating and funny....more
Reading this book took me back to those days when I was in middle school and would curl up with a good book right before bed. I wish I would have readReading this book took me back to those days when I was in middle school and would curl up with a good book right before bed. I wish I would have read this when I was younger, I feel I would have appreciated it so much. Sara Crewe is a bit of a Mary Sue, but in a very charming way. I would recommend this book to any young girl growing up, as I feel the message is very important, and the ending is heartwarming....more
I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I started reading it a few days ago. I knew that it was written by Charlotte Bronte, it was a favoriteI knew absolutely nothing about this book when I started reading it a few days ago. I knew that it was written by Charlotte Bronte, it was a favorite book for many, it was seen as a classic, and it was very long. But I knew nothing of the story or the characters (except for the obvious one, Jane Eyre). I avoided reviews so that I wouldn't get spoiled, and I started reading it with zero expectations.
And I was floored.
Jane Eyre as a character alone is plenty reason to love this book. Her narrative, her voice, was a complete surprise to me. I found her brave, sensible, independent, generous, and intelligent. She was a perfect character in my eyes but she herself had imperfections and weaknesses, and she freely commented on them in the book. I was completely infatuated with her storytelling. Jane's conscience became my own. Her struggles, her strange relationship with Mr. Rochester, her childhood and early womanhood--I felt a part of it all. Her narrative was so personal, uninhibited, and descriptive, that I truly felt I was the Reader she referred to on occasion, an invisible passenger accompanying her on her journey. Throughout the book I rooted for her, I grieved with her, and I wanted her to succeed and find peace. Other reviewers have commented on the fact that this is a dark novel, and I agree. Jane's childhood was painful to read almost. Some passages were so grave and bleak, I was as depressed as Jane felt. It just worked. Bronte writes in such a way that I could picture the darkness, the clouded skies, the creepy hallways, etc. I loved the scenery and didn't tire of Jane talking about it.
While the other characters in the story played significant roles in Jane's life, to me they were always in the background. It's not that I didn't care about them or their relationships with Jane, I just wanted to solely concentrate on her and what was going to happen to her. There were a few twists in this book that took me for a loop and had me at the edge of my seat almost. I couldn't put the book down. When I did, I thought of Jane and what would happen next. Would she be happy? Would she marry St. John and submit to his repeated requests? Would she ever find Mr. Rochester? Would he ever find her? Was he even alive?
Speaking of Mr. Rochester, what a strange man! What a difficult character to write. Bronte clearly didn't want Jane to have a knight in shining armor or an attractive stud. It was hard for me to appreciate Mr. Rochester at first. After reading so many YA novels I've gotten used to the usual love interests to these young female protagonists. They're either gorgeous or rich, mysterious and/or immortal, and perfect in every way. Mr. Rochester was a nice change from all of that, and so was Jane. When Mr. Rochester proposed to Jane the first time, I wanted her to be happy (like I said, I was very invested in the novel), morality and common sense be damned. I wanted her to rebel, take an opportunity and just be with the man. But when Jane held her ground I came to admire her all the more. Here's a woman with actual conviction and integrity. Who holds her values close and is willing to do the right thing, even if it costs her. And no stalking! Honestly it was a shock to the system.
To me, Jane is a true inspiration. Her generosity, her ability to see past people's faults and overall looks, and her determination to do the right thing even if it left her alone and without an "upstanding" position is nothing short of admirable. So yes, count me into the ever-growing Jane Eyre fanclub! I'm so glad I finally took the time to read this amazing piece of literature. Bronte is a literary genius, and I'm all the better for it....more
Jesus Christ, could anything more horrible, more sinister, more depressing be written? I am distraught, bitter, saddened, feeling all kinds of things.Jesus Christ, could anything more horrible, more sinister, more depressing be written? I am distraught, bitter, saddened, feeling all kinds of things. The ending of this book is both brilliant and unexpected, and leaves me feeling utterly dejected. This entire book is an unnerving tease. To me it is incomprehensible to compare most modern dystopias to this novel. None of the ones I've read have come close to 1984 and the terror within it. I can think of only one recent novel, The Hunger Games, and maybe even parts of Unwind, but they both fall short in my eyes. I don't know what to think or what to even say. Two quotes stood out to me while reading this book, and I feel they summarize what 1984 is all about--at least for me--so I guess I'll start with those:
"The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened to you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again."
"Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."
This world that Orwell creates is horrifying on many levels. Not only are all citizens hateful to the core, uneducated, lack privacy, and live in poverty and surrounded by disease, but they are also divided, controlled, and constantly being put up against one another. The most vile of citizens are actual children, who are encouraged since birth to turn in their own families to government officials if they suspect them of conspiring or disobeying the Party, knowing full well that the punishment is most likely death.
Citizens are presumably being killed by their own government during random "enemy attacks" to reinforce the idea that there's a war going on against enemies that change at whim. The very core of humanity is stripped away from these citizens, they have no aspirations, values (unless the Party introduces them and holds them to it), or even fulfilling partnerships. Love is a joke, and so is marriage. They are nothing but empty shells. Is there anything more horrifying than that kind of world? Has anyone read anything as dreadful?
(view spoiler)[When Winston and Julia were caught by the Thought Police, I was hoping against hope that they would escape, that it was a trick... or I don't know, that they would start their own revolution. But in retrospect I was clearly naive. I was foolish to think this book would have a happy ending. When Winston starts being tortured I accepted it as part of the plot. But then the torture continued, on levels I couldn't imagine, and for several chapters. I almost wished Winston would die so I wouldn't have to witness his pain. After a while I couldn't bear it.
And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Room 101 is revealed to us. In Room 101 your worst fears become realized and for Winston this is rats. The goal of Room 101 is to confront the victims with their worst fear so that they in turn will finally betray the people they love the most, and wish that their own worst fears are forced on those same people. That's right, it's torture to the third degree. Simple torture and brainwashing is not enough in this world. (hide spoiler)]
I think this is where the genius of 1984 lies. There is nothing like it. As a reader you recognize that it's a horrible world in the beginning, a clear dystopia, but you are not prepared. Citizens are controlled, yes. The past and the future don't matter, true. (view spoiler)[Winston is captured. He is tortured. But he doesn't just suffer physical pain, humiliation, paralyzing fear, and degradation--he is reconstructed, broken down, and then rebuilt completely. (hide spoiler)]
"We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. […] Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside of you. […] You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
(view spoiler)[He is not a person, he is a zombie. Nothing more than a dispensable pawn in a game controlled by slavery of the mind and the spirit. All the convictions and hatred that Winston had for the Party at the beginning of the book were erased, his initial courage is forgotten, his inner rebellion never existed, and this new Winston is presented to us, an oblivious stranger. He doesn't recognize the past or cares for it. His love affair with Julia was a dream he was all too ready to give up. It washed away with this new Winston and I could do nothing but witness his slow and deliberate demise right until the very end of the book. (hide spoiler)]
I don't think I'll be re-reading this one anytime soon, but somethings tells me I'll have to re-visit this book eventually. It's just too good to forget.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more