Critical American Literature discussion

Something Borrowed (Darcy & Rachel, #1)
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Literary Criticisms > Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2014 10:05AM) (new)

I have been studying Something Borrowed for a while now. I realize that most people read through Chick Lit fairly quickly, but I don't! I have discovered many interesting features of Emily's book including new characters and new writing techniques. Ultimately, I want to discuss the context of Something Borrowed as it exists in American culture today. Are there any different ideas about Emily's book? Is there anything else personally significant that can be discussed?


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

In my opinion, American literature became psychological novels in the early 1970's because of the advances in the social sciences of the 1960's. While some people believe that there was a sexual revolution in the 1960's, I think of those changes in cultural attitudes toward sexuality as another small push of many toward the freedom of sexual expression (First amendment rights) for which a final equilibrium hasn't yet been found.

It is clear that Chick Lit is romantic literature with sex in it. However, the sense of erotic literature remains unclear. It is essentially intimacy, sensuality, and sex, but there certainly is romance, too! Is the difference only graphic descriptions? Is it just the lustful content? I think that Chick Lit became popular along with the popularity of sexual expression for women, and it is essentially erotic literature with the graphic, lustful sex set a distance from the reader's eyes!

Ultimately, I bought Something Borrowed for summer reading in 2012 to have something new to read, but found something much more! Hopefully, this book discussion will be exciting and engaging!


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

My main purpose for reading Something Borrowed was entertainment, but I discovered so many issues and facets as I read it that I wanted to make a book discussion. I wanted to see something new since Y2K that couldn't have been around from the 1990's or earlier. I wanted to be refreshed from the so many pains in my community over the last twenty years.

Of course, I expect some specific results from reading the book. I love the editing techniques of the novel! They are skillful and creative. I love the biological psychology of the sex relationships because it originally describes sex hormones acting out in life. Also, I enjoy the romance of psychoanalysis that is experienced by the characters. They are deeply involved in their lives.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

The last result that I want from the book is to recognize and understand the evolution of personality and community experienced by the characters. I know that it is a complicated evolution, but I fell in love with the style of its explanation immediately, and find my desire to know it irresistable. From chapter one, the narrative explores the emotional past, an unstable and uncontrollable present, and a frightening future of possibilities.

For a quick example, refer to page six of the softcover where Rachel reconsiders her feelings about regrets and having fun now, and reaffirms her disciplined life. The paragraphs come during a party at a bar. The beginning is, "so I feel unsettled about my future...", and the end is, ""Rachel! Rachel! C'mere!"".

The evolution of personality is the shifting from slight, reflective depression to brief conversation with Hillary about Darcy's behavior. In a very short time, Rachel moves from a static self-conception to interactive learning through dialog at the party.

The evolution of community is the scene of shots from Darcy moving through the brief conversation to the yelling from atop the bar. Because of the specific circumstances of the party, community quickly evolves. Shots are had, some chat transpires, and then Darcy is dancing. The evolution is highly contextual to the community, and is centered on the few participants in the scene. Sooner or later, word does get out from these particular party goers.


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

Chapter One

Chapter one has two examples of style that interest me. There is an editing technique worth mentioning, and a technique of psychoanalysis. Both are used in the same text.

From the very beginning when Rachel and Darcy have a fifth grade discussion to the point where Darcy goes for shots of tequila, Emily is creating an introspective stream of consciousness. It is any editing technique because this style recurs throughout the novel to create scenes where characters change. Notice that Emily uses it here at the very beginning to foreshadow the novel's principal intentions. It is a technique of psychoanalysis because the subconscious and the unconscious are freed to make associations.

Emily blends the concept of character change with the idea of free associations from streams of consciousness. The combination of these techniques results in the integration of previous emotions. The story of these integrations is what entertains me. It is great amusement and spirit for summer reading!

The character change is clear, especially from the fast transitions in age and maturity. Also, the introspective stream of consciousness is clear. Rachel describes her emotions of jealousy, joy, and regret with a collection of symbols, and she describes her mild depression with references to her immediate world--her difficult job, her loneliness, and her failure to compete with her close friend.

Chapter one sets the stage for Emily's brand of Chick Lit. Character change from the integration of previous emotions goes through a birthday party to sex. I am introduced to the characters by their inner thoughts, and with personal exposure to their private lives. I want to know them for who they have been, and what they will do next!


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