Mrs. Dalloway is the central figure of this story. The whole book takes place in a single day and starts off with Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway heading out tMrs. Dalloway is the central figure of this story. The whole book takes place in a single day and starts off with Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway heading out to get some flowers for a party she is throwing that night.
It follows Mrs. Dalloway out into the city and there skips around in narration. The central figures are Clarissa and Peter Walsh (an old flame) who comes back from India and stops to see Clarissa. Other characters are Sally (a past best friend), Elizabeth (Clarissa's daughter), Richard (Clarissa's husband), and a few random park people. The story ends with Mrs. Dalloway's party.
Honestly, I loved the writing. Once I got used the rhythm I really enjoyed it. I was a little confused at the beginning because I had no clue how old Mrs. Dalloway was supposed to be. A bit into the book we find out she's 52 years old. But I guess I was thrown by the spunk of her character and the cover of the novel.
But halfway into the book I got bored. I lost interest in Clarissa, Peter, Richard, and the whole bunch. I really didn't care. The most interesting characters were Elizabeth, which we didn't hear much of, two very side characters of a ex-military man and his Italian wife, and a snippet of Clarissa's past friendship with Sally. Actually, had this book only been about those people, I'd have enjoyed it. I really just couldn't stand Clarissa or Peter.
In all honesty, I would never have finished this book besides the fact that I had signed up over at Sarah's blog for Woolf in Winter. That and I knew I'd never pick this book back up again...well at least not in the next couple of decades. I wonder if I'd like it more when I'm closer to Clarissa's age. Or maybe not. I guess I just felt that Clarissa and Peter just seemed so childish. ...more
I had no idea that this novel had anything to do with Jane Eyre. **If you've never read Jane Eyre and are planning to, you might want to stop readingI had no idea that this novel had anything to do with Jane Eyre. **If you've never read Jane Eyre and are planning to, you might want to stop reading here. **I happened to see it the other day at the library and picked it up. So here we go.
Wide Sargasso Sea imagines the background of "Bertha" the first wife of Rochester from Jane Eyre. It's supposed to clear up the mystery of why she ending up being the crazy lady in the attic.
And I say "supposed" because it didn't really clear up anything to me. At the end of the book, I still feel that "Bertha" a.k.a. Antoinette Cosway, the wealthy Creole girl from the Caribbean, is still such a mystery.
Let's be honest. I didn't really like this book. Classic literature it may be but here's why I had problems with it.
1) Rochester doesn't really seem like the Rochester from Jane Eyre. That said, if he's supposed to come off as an evil man who enslaves her in his attic....it kind of failed. You could see where he seemed just as stuck in having to marry her as she was to him. And there was no logical reason for him to start calling her "Bertha", it was out of character, and it just bugged me. (A large portion in the middle of the book is written from Rochester's perspective. I DID like that.)
2) The book jacket made it seem as if she had no choice in marrying him. As if against her will she was forced. But I didn't really see that in the book either. I couldn't really see WHY she had to marry him or why she did.
3) She remains a complete mystery. If she's supposed to be strong-willed, I don't see it. If she was supposed to be an innocent who was manipulated, I don't see it. I'm just not sure where the author was wanting to take this character.
4) The characters were confusing, the writing was confusing...I'll just leave it at that.
What I did like about this book:
1) The very beginning is very vivid. It's the part where Antoinette is a child, growing up as a Creole without a father, and the social changes that happen on the island where she lives. I'd tag this as "classic" just from that small section. Then the book just goes down-hill from there.
2) In a weird way, I could never get a picture of what Antoinette looked like. Maybe it was purposeful since Antoinette was caught between worlds, not fitting into either one. I thought that was a really powerful writing tool she used.
3) I did like the parallel between Jane's upbringing and Antoinette's. Lots of similarities.
4) Jean Rhys. I am kind of fascinated about the author herself. I'd love to read a book just on her....more
The introduction is really interesting. I did not know Joseph Conrad...a great "English" writer was really Polish. His name is really Józef Teodor KonThe introduction is really interesting. I did not know Joseph Conrad...a great "English" writer was really Polish. His name is really Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. Wow, huh? That and he didn't really learn the English language until he was twenty. His books, well at least these two, have real moral and psychological undertones. I love that.
Heart of Darkness Published in 1902, Heart of Darkness begins the story on a ship leaving London. Marlow, one of the English passengers on the ship tells a story of when he was a Captain of a boat in the Congo doing Ivory trading. He is given the task of going down the Congo River to retrieve a fellow ivory trader, Kurtz, who has quite the reputation in the region.
While the writing is very very wordy (the introduction even notes that), the imagery is very strong. He depicts the horrible conditions of the slaves in the area. And when he finally does meet Kurtz, the absolute lack of humanity in him is just...well plain scary. And that's when it gets sort of into the psychological aspect of the story. I mean Kurtz is a horrible trader who will do anything to get more ivory. I mean the guy has heads on stakes around his place. Just as a warning. But Kurtz has presence. Just pure evil genius. And Marlow actually starts to admire him. Not admire what he does or did but just the genius of it all. It really confronts that idea of the ability of everyone to be or do evil. Kind of like in World War II...how do regular people end up doing horrific things? Even the title of the story, Heart of Darkness is a psychological twist. Africa used to be called the "Dark Continent" but it's really about the darkness of the human heart.
The Secret Sharer This short story, published in 1910, was a bit more straight forward than Heart of Darkness but still pretty good. The story is about a newbie Captain of a ship. He really hasn't gotten to know his crew or his ship. While he on watch during the night, he finds a naked man hanging onto the ladder of his ship in the water. He takes the man on board, hides him in his cabin, and learns his story. The man is named Leggatt and is from the ship, Sephora, which is nearby. During a horrible storm, Leggatt, in a fit of rage, killed a fellow shipmate because Leggatt thought the shipmate was being lax in his duties. He escaped punishment by diving in the water, feigning drowning and hiding.
So the Captain actually sides with this guy! He hides him, lies to his crew, and lies to the Sephora Captain. He even goes as far as to call this guy "his other self"...I mean he really identifies more with this murderer than with anyone else. Kind of crazy.
I'll have to read more Joseph Conrad. I love the psychological/moral twist in these stories. They really make me ponder things long after I've read them. And I love that Joseph Conrad actually went to these places since he worked in the French and British Merchant Navies. It makes me wonder how much of his stories he took from real life...which is kind of scary. ...more
Ok. To sum it up: it was good...wish I had read it back then. But I still prefer Aldous Huxley's Brave New World to 1984. Not so much because of the sOk. To sum it up: it was good...wish I had read it back then. But I still prefer Aldous Huxley's Brave New World to 1984. Not so much because of the story...but because of the writing. I remember why I petered out at reading 1984 past the first few chapters...I still think those chapters are pretty dry. Stick with it though and it gets better. I do think that 1984 is more futuristically realistic than Brave New World...well, now with genetics stuff going on who knows. But I really liked the relationship between Winston and Julia.