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Past Group Reads > The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 11-20

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message 1: by Dolores, co-moderator (last edited Jun 04, 2012 01:11PM) (new)

Dolores (dizzydee39) | 275 comments Mod
Discuss chapters 11-20 here.

message 2: by Andrea (new)

Andrea This was my first reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray and I loved it. While I will not be adding it to my favorites shelf, I truly enjoyed it. There are sections of Wilde's writing here that I found irresistibly beautiful. Bearing in mind the author and the era in which he wrote, I think the book is fascinating. That being said, I did find the chapter, (Chapter 11 I believe), detailing Dorian's various superficial pursuits tedious to read, however, I recognize its purpose in the book.

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (procrastisarah) | 6 comments Hmm. I agree with the general notes on chapter 11 (boring but necessary), but I found that the entire story ended rather quickly. I was expecting a bit more drama; I expected Sybil's brother to have more of a role instead of just abruptly dying without achieving his goal.

message 4: by Denise (new)

Denise (drbetteridge) | 47 comments I guess my liking chapter 11 especially, makes me strange! As it was describing Dorian's habit of obsessing over one thing and then another, I thought that's exactly how I am- and it all starts with reading chapters like that one. Now I want to know how many of the things written are true, and I was forever using the dictionary lookup for each term I'd never heard of to satisfy my curiosity. It will be one chapter out of the whole book (which I have really enjoyed) that I'll go back to to research until I've worn it out. What a springboard!

message 5: by Dolores, co-moderator (new)

Dolores (dizzydee39) | 275 comments Mod
Denise, you are not strange! I liked chapter 11 also. Basically because it gave me an insight into Dorian's habits and his likes and dislikes. I have a book with notes so if you have any questions on certain parts, just ask and I will check in my book if there are any notes on it.

message 6: by Denise (new)

Denise (drbetteridge) | 47 comments Dolores wrote: "Denise, you are not strange! I liked chapter 11 also. Basically because it gave me an insight into Dorian's habits and his likes and dislikes. I have a book with notes so if you have any questions ..."
Thank you very much for the offer! I'll see where it all leads. I've just finished the book, and I have to say that I think it just might be my second favorite book ever.

message 7: by Lois (new)

Lois (loisbennett) | 22 comments I really did love this book, too. On the one hand, it's a beautifully written tale, and on the other, I see it as a lesson that selfish actions will have consequences. It could easily have been written today, although perhaps today's society would embrace a lot of what was clearly portrayed as wrong in the book.
Beautiful book, that I do keep thinking of, quoting from and longing to re-read once I get through the stack that must be read first!

message 8: by Sunita (new)

Sunita | 2 comments The author and book belongs to an era which has always fantasized me. I believe a book tells a lot of how people and situations would have been during that time. The book shows the high society people, and very delicately puts the high complexity they used to live. And this complex structure was invented by themselves. Coming back to the plot of the book, I feel it was real life philosophy woven in a mild plot and presented. The end of the book is in contrast to the entire book. Through out the book author has presented action and explained it through social & philosophical aspects. But at the end the author describes the stabbing action and defines its intensity with Dorrian's cry. The connection of soul and human body is left for the reader conclude in his own sense.

message 9: by Dolores, co-moderator (new)

Dolores (dizzydee39) | 275 comments Mod
For people who haven't finished reading Dorian Gray, you can still post comments when it is moved to the past reads section.
All in all I think this book was a wonderful insight into the author himself. There were many changes made between the first publication in July 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and the revised and extended version published in 1891. This was due mainly to the hostile reviews by most of the critics of the time.

message 10: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nicolemae) I didn't think I would like this book so much, but I did. I loved how it showed how one person or friend can influence your life. I thought was amazing how Dorian wanted to be beautiful his whole life, but to me he ended up being ugly and disliked by many. I wonder what my soul would look like if I could have seen it like Dorian. I almost wished that james had killed him, but I am happy with the ending all the same.

message 11: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments After finishing this novel, short though it was, I feel like I need to read the cheesiest chic lit ever written, just to let my head and heart breathe a little after the darkness of it. I think the thing I found most interesting is that in the very end, he is still blaming the portrait itself and Lord Henry's yellow book for causing his descent into depravity, rather than owning up to his own choices, even to himself in his own mind. True, had he actually had to face the consequences physically of his actions throughout his life, he might have been persuaded to live slightly more morally, but he had the unheard of opportunity to see it visibly in all its ugliness, yet still chose to continue in his actions. Yet it so reflects how all we humans approach life and decisions sometimes! How does that section from the apostle Paul read? "I know the good I should do but I don't do it and I do what I know I should not do" or close to that.

I did some Spark Note reading and was intrigued to discover that the scene where James Vane reappears to try to kill Dorian wasn't actually in the original, it was in the '81 revision, which Dolores already alluded to. Curious how the novel read originally. Also, Wilde does an interesting job of balancing approaching homosexual topics without quite venturing far enough to get himself into trouble in that Victorian era. His personal experiences turned out to be pretty detrimental for him in the end. Very daring for him to write about it at all at the time.

On a completely random note, did anyone else feel in the early chapters with Dorian constantly going back to gaze at the portrait to observe how it changed that it was something like the scene in the first Harry Potter of the Mirror of Erised? It doesn't turn out like that ultimately, but somehow it reminded me of that.

message 12: by Dolores, co-moderator (last edited Jul 04, 2012 01:02PM) (new)

Dolores (dizzydee39) | 275 comments Mod
Alana, the whole addition of James Vane as a character was in the '81 revised version.
As to your question, I haven't read Harry Potter yet , so I can't comment on that, but maybe someone else might. How about it? Anyone?
I know I need something different after this. Since we have read Brave New World and Lolita also in the past, now with Dorian Gray and 1984, we need to get to some nice Austen or something like that for a change.

message 13: by Andreia (new)

Andreia I never thought of that possible paralel between the mirror of erised and dorian's picture, maybe because the situations are very different, Harry is trying to be with his parents somehow, and Dorian goes back to the portrait because of his vanity.
I loved both books but actually didn't see it that way. But I find it interesting :)

message 14: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 627 comments Well, they are obviously looking for very different reasons. Harry misses his family and dreams of what might have been, and others dream of what could be, but never go out after it. Dorian watches more with fascination at what it is becoming. Either way, it is unhealthy obsession. The difference is that when Harry is confronted with the danger ("Many...have spent their lives wasting away in front of it....") he sees reason and though it pains him, he does not go looking for it again, while Dorian can see visibly the danger he is in yet chooses to continue in his course of action, growing more fascinated by the disturbing changes.

Dolores, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone, the Mirror of Erised ("desire" spelled backwards) shows the observer his deepest desire. For many it is ambition or power or to be loved or any number of other things. Harry sees himself, happy with his parents, because they died when he was an infant. As Professor Dumbledore says, a completely content man would see only himself in the mirror, exactly as he is.

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