Sunday, April 01, 2007

Random clubbing

There were several things in this book that I intended to post about, but none of them are all that interesting. (Plus, apparently I’m the only one who read the book.) So, rather than post for days about something nobody cares about, I’ll just get them out of the way now. :-)

For example, the relationship between Jon and Norrell was an interesting one:

You think that I am angry,” said Mr Norrell, “but I am not. You think I do not know why you have done what you have done, but I do. You think you have put all your heart into that writing and that every one in England now understands you. What do they understand? Nothing. I understood you before you wrote a word.” He paused and his face worked as if he were struggling to say something that lay very deep inside him. “What you wrote, you wrote for me. For me alone.”

It was kind of like father/son, and kind of like brothers… and I dunno. Interesting mainly because they understood one another in a way that nobody else could understand them. They had some very unique experiences in common. And that reminds me of some of you.

I have no quote for it, but the idea of Stephen and Lady Pole living out their years in a tormented double-life seemed very close to home as well. All along they want to tell someone, but can’t. They feel trapped and unhappy but are incapable of freeing themselves from their predicament (they are magically imprisoned every night). Again, it resonates with me.

This struck a familiar chord with me when I think of some blog comments:

“Ah, but, sir,” said Lascelles, “it is precisely by passing judgements upon other people’s work and pointing out their errors that readers can be made to understand your own opinions better. It is the easiest thing in the world to turn a review to one’s own ends. One only need mention the book once or twice and for the rest of the article one may develop one’s theme just as one chuses. It is, I assure you, what every body else does.”

And here’s a characterization of religion that I think many assume applies to Mormonism as well!

“Their religion is of the strictest sort, Stephen. Almost everything is forbidden to them except carpets.”

Stephen watched them as they went mournfully about the market, these men whose mouths were perpetually closed lest they spoke some forbidden word, whose eyes were perpetually averted from forbidden sights, whose hands refrained at every moment from some forbidden act. It seemed to him that they did little more than half-exist. They might as well have been dreams of ghosts. In the silent town and the silent countryside only the hot wind seemed to have any real substance. Stephen felt he would not be surprised if one day the wind blew the town and its inhabitants entirely away.

The characters in the book are very real to me, and I liked that about the book a lot. A few other quotes that I liked because they were funny, and then I’ll be done:

He had decided that the correct attitude to take was one of dignified moral superiority softened by a very moderate amount of apology.

But Drawlight, who had begun to believe that if anyone had ever died of boredom then he was almost certain to expire within the next quarter of an hour, found that he had lost the will to speak and the best he could manage was a withering smile.

“I think it most unkind of you,” said Lascelles at last, “to accept money for arranging to have me ruined, crippled and driven mad.”

Please don’t be unkind. ;-)

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