Fiction of Relationship discussion

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Frustrating read

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message 1: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 3 comments Anyone else longing to slap the young chevalier in the face with a wet fish? I understand how this book would have titillated in its day but beautiful prose or not, the story of a callow youth obsessed by a vapid 18th century gold digger, fails to move me one bit.


message 2: by Maryam (new)

Maryam (mia2) | 1 comments I'm not enjoying it at all. I think the Chevalier is plain stupid.


message 3: by Nina (new)

Nina (exploringwmc) He's a bit of a slow learner, isn't he... ;o) I found myself making increasingly sarky comments on my Kindle, like "really???" and "oh, that's alright then", lol. It's amazing to me how he manages to justify everything she does, not to mention everything he does himself. And it annoys me beyond belief that Manon gets everything handed to her on a silver platter just because she's pretty. Clearly beauty was far more valued than a good personality back then, but it's still frustrating to read...


message 4: by Maria (new)

Maria (marselegna) | 2 comments I am finding it really hard to be objective with the reading. I checked out the discussion videos added by the Professor but still find Chevalier's character a bit annoying and selfish.


message 5: by Nina (new)

Nina (exploringwmc) Yes, I watched the class discussion videos just after my previous comment. I wish they would have touched upon (view spoiler). I think the fact that he never even refers to it again is what bothers me the most about our Chevalier. I haven't watched the lectures yet though, so maybe it is discussed there.


message 6: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Spoer (spoerk) Vicki wrote: "Anyone else longing to slap the young chevalier in the face with a wet fish? I understand how this book would have titillated in its day but beautiful prose or not, the story of a callow youth obse..."

He's a whiney little emo boy!


message 7: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 3 comments Well I suppose back then people still prized 'courtly' love and verbose protestations of passion. Men were judged according to social status and women without money relied on attracting wealthy men for survival. I got sick of the flowery prose, which sort of exhausted itself at the end. I think even the author got sick of his characters.


message 8: by Maria (last edited Jun 06, 2013 06:00PM) (new)

Maria (marselegna) | 2 comments Neens wrote: "Yes, I watched the class discussion videos just after my previous comment. I wish they would have touched upon [spoilers]. I think the fact that he never even refers to it again is what bot..."

I know what you mean, and it wasn't discussed in the lectures with depth. There is a discussion on the coursera's forums referring to that event and what it could imply. Nonetheless, I was voted down for stating my reactions to how disturbing it was, for me anyways. I'll try and stay out of polemic forums for a while...


message 9: by VII (last edited Jun 06, 2013 09:46PM) (new)

VII | 1 comments Unlike most of you, I liked Chevalier.

In the lectures it was mentioned how his love for Manon was similar to his friend's love for religion. I think everyone has some kind of mental ranking about what is the most important thing or idea or person in his/her life and in Chevalier's case Manon was on the very top, above his or anyone else's life. His choice of putting her there can be called stupid or immature but once you get passed that, his devotion to her can be seen as even noble or admirable.


message 10: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 3 comments Well, he is a textbook definition of hopeless romantic. Today we tend to view that as a weakness, especially as hopeless romantics tend to be easily manipulated and completely blind to their lover's faults.


message 11: by Lucy (last edited Jun 07, 2013 09:56AM) (new)

Lucy Mason (lmason17) | 2 comments I'm personally loving the flowery prose and hyperbolic descriptions of love and passion etc.! But then I'm a bit of a sucker for overly verbose novels ;)

HOWEVER, this book really does read like talking to a friend who will not get over someone who is clearly no good for them, keeps going back to the relationship, then comes crying to you when it doesn't work out *again*. Plus, I think Chevalier's obsession with Manon's 'beauty' (regardless of personality) is pretty creepy and very frustrating - probably in part due to the novel's time.


message 12: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1 comments I think if you pay attention to the quotes which precede each chapter, it might make more sense that even the author knows that loving someone to this crazy level cannot be explained. Is it pathetic and completely frustrating? Maybe, but can you imagine how frustrating for this dumb schmuck, living it must be.


message 13: by Nina (new)

Nina (exploringwmc) From what I've read on the main forum, those quotes have been added later (some of them are from authors that lived after Prévost), so I must admit I didn't pay much attention to them.


message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen Carlson (sloopie72) I found the lectures very helpful with this story - at least there's some rationale for what an idiot the Chevalier is. Then again, who hasn't been a fool for love at some point? Next time everyone around me is trying to tell me something and I'm insisting they're all wrong, maybe I'll remember this guy.


message 15: by Jaya (new)

Jaya (jaya_sundaresh) | 1 comments I think Chevalier is irritating, but I kind of love Manon. Honey knows what she wants.


message 16: by Dale (new)

Dale It's such a heavy commentary on class and privilege, isn't it? The Chevalier gets away with so much just because of his family connections and the perception that he is a 'gentleman'. It says so much about all the other 'nice' people in that society too. Think of the Father Superior in Saint-Lazare. When De Grieux kills one of the servants (without any display of remorse ever after) the good Father covers up for him! Manon seems a paragon of virtue beside all of this.


message 17: by Amanah (last edited Jun 09, 2013 11:04PM) (new)

Amanah (amanahf) | 1 comments Neens wrote: "He's a bit of a slow learner, isn't he... ;o) I found myself making increasingly sarky comments on my Kindle, like "really???" and "oh, that's alright then", lol. It's amazing to me how he manages ..."

I couldn't agree more! I believe the fact that he is so love-struck by Manon exemplifies the fiction of relationships. It does not seem to matter to the Chevalier what she does; she is nearly perfect in his eyes. Their relationship exists because he insists upon it existing. Quite frankly, I kind of find that unwavering loyalty annoying. He should understand that she's not interested, but he does not. As far as I have read, she does not really merit a "second chance" either. To be honest, I just want to slap both of them.


message 18: by Grace (last edited Jun 10, 2013 09:44AM) (new)

Grace | 2 comments Mod
@Jaya
> Honey knows what she wants.

Ain't that the truth. A girl like her can either be sold to the highest bidder (and why go for a lower price in a provincial market when you can go to Paris and fetch a higher price?) or be locked up in a convent. Most likely, her buyer will be an ugly old man.

So, she sees a beautiful 17 year old specimen and thinks she can kill two birds with one stone. She can get a piece of him, and use him to escape from the convent to Paris. Why shouldn't she go for it?


message 19: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Spoer (spoerk) Ok, I just finished the book without watching the lectures yet, but I pose this question to you all.

WHERE IS THERE A DESERT NEAR NEW ORLEANS????!!!!!


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica De | 2 comments Frustrating read indeed. I can't help but feel intense contempt for this "love at first sight" sort of thing, where none of them had any knowledge of the person they were falling in love with and regardless of that, it is so life changing they cannot help but live it.


message 21: by Dale (new)

Dale Kelly wrote: "Ok, I just finished the book without watching the lectures yet, but I pose this question to you all.

WHERE IS THERE A DESERT NEAR NEW ORLEANS????!!!!!"


I guess it was all pretty much of a wasteland back in those days. Even the town (still far from being a city) of New Orleans was little more than a collection of shacks...


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Spoer (spoerk) Louisiana and MIssissippi are not deserts. Swamps and forests and meadows, yes. But deserts? Nope not a one. The southeastern US is mostly wet.

I don't get it. I mean, it's totally fine to say that the author had NO IDEA what America was like but it's frustrating (and amusing).


message 23: by Grace (new)

Grace | 2 comments Mod
I agree with Kelly.

Prevost knows absolutely nothing about the new world. It's just a symbol for him. I would posit he knows absolutely nothing about women, either. If I were feeling charitable, I'd say he was just a product of his time. Or, I could say he was obstinately incurious.


message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen Carlson (sloopie72) It's possible he was using the word "desert" to mean "deserted" - as in no people (except natives, who he wouldn't really count) rather than as in a sandy dry desert. But I'm guessing. I'm wondering where the mountains within a six-hour walk from NOLA are, myself. Maybe someone sent a report back to France of these things in the early 18th century, and no one yet realized they were wrong.


message 25: by Dale (new)

Dale Karen wrote: "It's possible he was using the word "desert" to mean "deserted" -

Good point. Or possibly there has been a translation error along the way? Not something to get hung up on though - I think we can still get his point that it wasn't a very nice place way back then :)


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