A Tale in 10

I flipping love this novel. Love love love love it. Reading it over again I’m picking up so many different things. Dickens is all about the foreshadowing. I don’t want to say too much though, because I know there are people who haven’t read it before. I would have died if someone had ruined the ending for me the first time around. It’s like when the 6th Harry Potter book came out, I was reading it at work and this idiot came up to the register was said, “Oh, I finished that last night, ********* dies!” I could have come across the counter and strangled that lady. But that’s pretty much how I would feel if I had known how A Tale ended. I would just like to say that I love Sydney. That is all.

I’m obesseing over Dr. Manette. I feel so badly for him. I wish we could get inside his head and figure out how he ticks. 17 years alone in the Bastille has got to do some serious pyschological damage (obviously) but I want to know what he’s thinking when he’s looking at the ground and hiding himself away. Where does he go? Why does he hang on to his tools? I think that would be more damaging to have that reminder around. Or is that a symbol of his sanity? I think I’m going to dig into this more. Why shoemaking? It can’t be that redundant of a task right? Or maybe it is. This is why I want to get into it more.

I hate Lucie. I’m not really sure, but I think the first time around I liked her. But I think now, knowing what happens, it just makes me dislike her more. She’s so…weak. And just not worth it. As a matter of fact, I think I might be a little mad at Dickens for her character. Yeah, I said it. I’m mad at you, Dickens! Lucie is stupid.

16 Chapters into the Drood

I just can’t seem to get into this novel. I’m not terribly fond of any of the characters. I think it has more to do with the fact that I know it isn’t going to have an ending. Maybe I’m subconsciously keeping myself from becoming invested because I know I won’t get a proper ending. I’ll be left hanging and clueless without the typical Dickensian tidy ending. I think this might be what I like most about Dickens. He never really leaves you hanging at the end. He wraps it all up in a neat little package that’s always satisfying.

But alas, I know I won’t have this peace at the end of Drood. So I drudge through it begrudgingly with my guard up, wary that the next page will hold the last clue. Also, I understand that this is supposed to be a the only mystery novel that Dickens wrote. I was expecting something entirely different from his usual pace. But it isn’t. And I’m a tad disappointed by that. This seems, so far at least, like the norm for him. It’s a little darker than most of his works, but then again, Oliver Twist was pretty dark and disturbing at points, as well. I guess I was just expecting more.

And I’ve got to say it, for Rosa to be a poor little orphan, she’s kind of a brat. She’s spoiled and I just cannot feel badly for her. For that matter, I think Edwin is a snot, too. The way he refers to her as ‘Pussy’ all the time makes me want to slap him. I know that the connotation isn’t the same as it is in today’s world, but it’s the same as calling her ‘baby’ or ‘darling’ or any other stupid pet name. He’s taking away the only thing that is actually hers, by not using her name. I just find it really demeaning.

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Ending Edwin Drood

  • Edwin is dead. I don’t see how this can be disputed.
  • Jasper did it. Not sure how, but he wanted Rosa for himself.
  • Tartar will protect Rosa and wind up killing Jasper when he goes into a fit of jealous rage.
  • I think Datchery will find the ring and somehow that ring will wind up on Rosa’s finger.
  • Datchery is a PI. He follows Jasper to Princess Puffer’s and learns, while Jasper is in an opium haze, about his crime.
  • Datchery was hired by Grewgious because he wants the ring of his beloved to be on her daughter’s finger one day.

So there’s a dead body. And there’s a man who finds this dead body — Gaffer. I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Gaffer at this point of the novel. I want to believe that he’s a good guy. I’m not sure why I want this so badly. Maybe it’s because we opened the story with him and he’s the first real character we get in depth with. But that doesn’t necessarily make him a good one. It’s hard to believe that a father could want to keep his children from bettering themselves. Obviously this is an incredibly selfish characteristic, but this only makes him bad at parenting. It doesn’t allow for suspicions of murder. The fact that he’s a bitter drunkard filled with hate and anger . . . well, that’s another story. Yet I still want to believe that he’s just a hard-working dude that’s had a rough life. I guess we’ll see.

I do know that my heart goes out to Lizzie. She’s a people-pleaser. And God bless her, the people in her life that she is trying to please (father and brother, at least) are just too different to satisfy at the same time. She wants to believe her father is a good man, that he’s being framed by this shady Riderhood character. I hope some good comes for her later on in the novel. Maybe the education that she yearns for? But I don’t see that as likely.

The Boffins are so ridiculous. They’re trying to be classy folks, but they weren’t born into the money so it’s an odd fit for them. I want to know why Boffin was so fixated on Wegg’s leg. (Bahaha, I just died laughing at that sentence!) I wish I had an actual copy of this book instead of just the electronic. I miss the footnotes!! I think the Boffin’s are genuine. They just want to be liked and fit in with their peers. Mrs. Boffin really wants to adopt a kid. I hope she is able to. I think it would be good for her.

The Wilfers are an interesting group of people. Poor, poor baby-faced Reggie. He’s got three crazy women living under his roof. I love that these women are such powerful characters when the man of their house is so . . . not. I think it’s Dickens’ way of saying that women as a whole are a force to be reckoned with.

I’m loving all the great nuggets of humor in this novel. I remember Dickens having some humor in his novels, but not like this. I’ve laughed out loud at several different passages. This is my favorite so far, I think:

“Strict system here, eh, my lad?” said Mr. Boffin, as he was booked.

“Yes, sir,” returned the boy. “I couldn’t get on without it.”

By which he probably meant that his mind would have been shattered to pieces without this fiction of an occupation.

Aren’t we all able to relate to this at one point in our lives? I know I can!

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Victorian Life in OMF

  • There is a definite sense of duality that is presented to us in the first few chapters of Our Mutual Friend.
  •  The poor are really, really poor. The rich are really, really rich.
  • Victorians are really into their class system.  
  • New money vs old money
  • Victorians dig their titles. Queen given. Job title. Whatever.
  • They care a great deal about the image they present to others. (The “pardner” incident)
  • The Thames is obviously a big focal point for Victorian lives. Funny how they didn’t connect the dots about throwing waste into it sooner.
  • I’m not sure if it’s mentioned in the early chapters, but specifically when Gaffer and Lizzie are on the boat, I picture them being very cold.
  • Fishing dead bodies out of the Thames is a legitimate career path.

 

An Entire Semester of Dickens…

Most would be horrified. But I love Dickens. Well, I love Dickens most of the time. It should at least be interesting! =]