Archive for March, 2011

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Good Intentions and Obscure References

March 26, 2011

First of all, great The Three Faces of Eve reference in that last post. It never ceases to amaze me how one person can so consistently have their finger on the cultural pulse of the world. I mean, sure, just like everybody else, I am swamped daily with witty references to everyone’s favorite 1957 Lee J. Cobb-Joanne Woodward Oscar winning vehicle, but you really made it fresh here.

By which I mean, when I first read the title of your post I thought it was going to be some sort of meta-reference on the latest YouTube craze “Friday.” (Uhh, Justin, that would be Rebecca Black, d-to-the-u-to-the-h–Duh!) But then I realized that you went with a much more ubiquitous and timely reference.

But really, who am I to cast stones. Here you are “posting to the blog” and “actually reading the book” and I all I am doing is making snarky commentary on your commentary. Why, you ask? (Well, I assume you ask, it would really help me out if that’s what you were mentally asking at this point while reading, so I just move forward with that assumption.)

Why?

Well, short answer is: I haven’t read much lately. I try, and I am briefly rewarded with such bizarre turns of phrase such as:

“Now, Graham, I will not have that child teased. Don’t flatter yourself that I shall suffer you to make her your butt?”

What now?

Exactly.

When this is one of the more sensical things that’s been said in the book in the first few chapters you know you’re in the midst of some weird literary shit.

But, no worries. I will perservere, and maybe I will actually have something consequential to say. In the meantime, if you’re looking for another good Lee J. Cobb star turn, let me humbly suggest 12 Angry Men. (He may be the angriest of the 12.)

Toodle-loo!

Justin

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I’d Like To Speak With Eve Black

March 25, 2011

Huge plot development in Chapter 5 (“Turning A New Leaf”).  Huge!  You remember how earlier we were both wondering if the narrator was Villette and then I was all “We were wrong because the narrator’s name is Lucy Snowe.”

Well I may have spoken too soon.  In Chapter 5, Lucy shows us that she may well be BOTH Lucy and “Villette”.  Here’s her recollection of her arrival to London:

Into the hands of common-sense I confided the matter.   Common-sense, however, was as chilled and bewildered as all my other my other faculties, and it was only under the spur of an inexorable necessity that she spasmodically executed her trust.  Thus urged, she paid the porter: considering the crisis, I did not blame her too much that she was hugely cheated; she asked the waiter for a room; she timorously called for the chambermaid; what is more, she bore, without being wholly overcome, a highy supercilious style of demeanour from that young lady, when she appeared.

Um.  Weird.

I didn’t see this coming…is Bronte setting the groundwork for a soap-opera-ish Victorian (mis)representation of “split personality disorder”.  Will Villette prove to be just another aspect of our supposedly bland narrator Lucy Snowe?  If so Bronte gets much more creative about naming the other personalities (“Common-sense”?  Bor-ing!)

What is lying beneath that Snowe?

Other topics that have arisen in my reading…what’s the purpose of the character of Miss Marchmont?  And on a related note…why is Charlotte Bronte trying to ruin Christmas for me?  (In Bronte-land it’s not all candy canes and sugar plum fairies).

Your thoughts?

Jon

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Answers Aplenty

March 18, 2011

I’m back twin brother after a brief hiatus…and with me I bring a pocketful of answers to questions you may not even have known that you had.  That’s right I’m the homeless and sagacious Bette Davis with a heart of gold of this blog.

Oh wait she had a Pocketful of Miracles!

Pocketful of Miracles Poster

She Had Miracles Not Answers--oops!

“Belove it”–ha ha.  Ok, I’ve got my obligatory Apple Annie joke out of the way…now on to the answers!

Answer Number 1:  San Francisco!

You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been lately…well that question is easy enough to answer–on vacation in San Francisco. (see above)

Golden Gate Bridge

Proof that I wasn't just blowing off the blog to watch Better Off Ted

But now I’m back!  And I took Villette with me on the trip so I discovered some key plot points that will help clear up the confusion we’ve been experiencing.

Answer 2: She’s Not Villette.

We were wrong…the narrator is not, in fact, the titular Villette.  She’s Lucy Snowe.  So unless there’s a mid-novel name change in the works we both mis-identified the narrator.  Although, for the record, I was correct in my original reading that she is painfully dull.

Answer 3: She is 6.  And painfully precocious.

Our friend of many names, Missy aka Paulina aka Polly aka Little Mousie aka Miss Home, is only six years old.  But she has the world weariness and vocabulary of spinster eight times her age.  This brings up another topic for discussion–is Polly an accurate representation of children of the era or is this clumsy writing or is our Little Mousie an anomalous verbal savant?

Second topic…why does one so young necessitate so many noms de guerre?

Answer 4: Phil and Lem.

They’re my favorite characters on Better Off Ted.  Okay I have been blowing the blog off a little to watch reruns of BOT…why didn’t I watch this show when it was actually on?!

And…spoiler alert!…all this information ceases to be useful right around Chapter 4 because everyone scatters away from the Bretton house.  So more mysteries to solve!

I did kind of feel like someone should have sat Charlotte Bronte down and said…Look, Char, there’s in media res and then there’s in media res…throw your reader a freakin’ bone.

I’m hoping for smoother sailing now that I have some grounding in this story…but if the confusion persists this may well be the first blog book that I quit midway through.

I’m already reading more in order to have more to post in the (very) near future!  No more lollygagging on this side of the conversation.

Reading as I type,

Jon

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What The Hell is Going On???

March 9, 2011

Okay, so I usually like to title my post with some sort of clever word play/pop culture reference that I then seamlessly (seamlessly, I say!) tie thematically to my larger post. But this time I have to admit that this time I was largely at a loss.

Why, you ask? The answer is simple:

I have no idea what is going on in this book.

The closest I could come up with was some close approximation of “Lucy, you’ve got some explaining to do!” from I Love Lucy, but then I thought I would have to find some way to equate Vilette (is that the name of the main character?) and Polly/Pauline/Missy (how many names does she have, by the way?) with Lucy and Ethel.

And since I don’t even know the name of one character, and I can’t keep the number of names the other character has straight, this just seemed like too much of a challenge.

Oh, vitameatavegamin!

It also just occurred to me that I Love Lucy may not be exactly the most cutting edge pop culture reference.

Fail.

Next time, perhaps I will have something more cogent to say, and maybe I will know what the hell is going on.

Waaaaaaahhhh!

Justin