Archive for December 29, 2009

Books 5 and 6

I haven’t finished my reading of Pamela, but I decided that I would work on the other readings for that class for that week. I was quite surprised to find that Book 5, Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, seems to be fashioned after Pamela as if Pamela was Joseph’s real sister and that Fielding’s book was only a response to Richardson’s. The section that I had to read was smaller than Pamela‘s (Chps 1-7), and yet the plot was the same, only reversed in gender. I was supposed to read the preface, and I tried to, I really did, but I guess I missed whether Fielding’s imitation of Richardson’s work was intentional or not.

The only thing I can think of in reading these two books for my Print Culture class would be to examine their differences in form. That week of readings supposedly studies the rise of the novel, and Pamela is an epistolary novel (written in letters to her parents). Joseph Andrews seems to be a translation of epistolary to firmer novel form.

I do have to say how annoying Pamela is. The way she presents herself in her letters makes me think of her as some beautiful innocent girl, and yet her behaviour and the way she writes is so annoying. I don’t know how to explain it, but she seems like the girls of today who are so silly and yet want the world to know that they were justified, almost as if this were chick lit. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being so negative to this character because I can’t see myself finishing off the reading before next Wednesday. I really REALLY don’t want to hear any more about her complaints, her virtue, and about everything that happened to her between each letter and the next.

Maybe the novel form of Joseph Andrews allowed me to complete it much quicker because of its distance. Fielding assumes a third person omniscient narrator and uses this as a means of showing Joseph’s situation. Perhaps this distance makes us see Joseph as a more likeable character. He’s not portrayed as silly like Pamela is, though he has the same object in the book: to keep his “virtue” (whatever the hell that is). His accomplishments are much worthier in my eyes, probably because Pamela’s accomplishments are silly, and Joseph seems like he has more of a right in keeping his virtue. Maybe that is it: maybe because of Pamela’s beauty and her silliness in her letters makes me believe that she doesn’t have the right to keep her virtue.

Alright, I am annoyed about this subject, so I am going to talk about Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which is Book 6. I actually found this kind of interesting. We were only supposed to read a small portion of this novel: 15 pgs before Crusoe begins keeping a journal. There were things in this section that could be seen as mundane, but it was interesting as well. I guess I just like adventure, especially on the sea, during that time, because I might read more of it. Keyword: might.

This did remind me of Lord of the Flies too much. I don’t remember much of that book since it’s been almost ten years since I’ve read it back in high school, but I remember them digging latrines, and when Crusoe is talking about building a secure place for himself to sleep, I was torn between thinking of the boys digging latrines, and whatever the contestants did on Survivor. Crazy.

Well, I still have portions of three books to read. I have to read Book 7: Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro by Jan 11 (?). I have 50+ pgs of dry, disorganized McLuhan from The Gutenberg Galaxy which I had on a count for my last semester’s readings. Then there is The Sweet Hereafter. And I have an essay due Jan 18. I don’t know how I’m going to get all of this stuff done. I feel like all of my time is going to be taken up before school starts.

My only recourse for relaxation time is The Jane Austen Book Club movie (maybe book as well) and North and South. I have seen the whole adaptation of N&S and I really like it. When I finished reading the second half of the book, I wondered how the heck Sandy Welch was going to compress all of those events into two hours. It didn’t seem possible. But I think she did it better than Gaskell did it herself. It seemed like we lost sight of Thornton in the book and then he pops up again at the end, but in the adaptation, we see his problems with the mill early and we get to watch the reluctant friendship build between him and Higgins. I also liked how Welch sent Mr Bell off to South America instead of waiting for him to die to make Margaret an “heiress”. And seeing Thornton’s reaction to Margaret’s being his landlord: priceless.

The ending was also beautiful. In the book, Thornton goes to London and they reunite, but in the adapt, he and Margaret meet in between Milton and Helstone. An accidental meeting and Margaret decides for herself to continue her journey back to Milton with him, rather than going back to London with Henry to explain to her family her reasons for marrying him. This is more active than in the book and more agreeable to me. And the look on his face when he sees her… wow. Great ending. And the music is beautiful, haunting. I wish the BBC would put out a compilation of the scores they use for their period pieces, because most of it is beautiful.