Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not Much of Anything In the Realm of New

Unfortunately there is not a new novel to discuss for this weeks posting, so this may very well end up being a posting of random stuff. First of all, the trip to the MASC today was pretty cool. Seeing the old texts in there original compositions was interesting, especially comparing them to the way books look today. The content of some of the books was interesting as well, such as the small book that was against the consumption of alcohol.

I am going to digress and talk a little about The Rise of Silas Lapham. Silas' downfall is due to Silas trying to be someone who he was not. He tried to insert himself into the upper class of Boston where he did not belong. Sure he had the money that would allow his family to associate with the other socialites, but they did not have the "culture" to fit in.

Kind of stuck on what else to discuss in this posting, so I guess that is it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Against New

A recurring theme in both The Rise of Silas Lapham and Daisy Miller is the clash between people with old money and people with new money. Amazingly it is kind of one sided though. The families with new money seem oblivious to the ridicule that they receive from the old money families.

In Daisy Miller the Miller family, especially Daisy, does not live up to the rules that their money dictates. The family treats their servant, Eugenio, like a family member. Mr. Costello however, looks down on the Miller family for doing so. She constantly says that the family is "common". Daisy also does not realize the rules that she is to follow now that she has money. She frequently takes walks with men, when it is not appropriate, and because of these actions she is eventually shunned.

Even though I have not completed The Rise of Silas Lapham yet, the same is occurring here. The Lapham family has gained their fortune just recently by selling paint. The Corey family is the old money family that looks down on the Lapham family, and thus sees them as not being cultured.

For me there is a disconnect with me and what is happening in these two stories. I realize that at the time that these stories were written that this is a relevant theme of old against new, but I can not connect with what is going on.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Behind the Mask

I am not really sure what to say about the story itself. It is definitely not the type of novel that I
enjoy reading. I personally want to group it with the likes of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice simply because it revolves around the love life of the female lead. I found these to be pretty boring, but the saving grace in Behind the Mask for me was the "who is Jean" plot. I could care less about the love triangle that was going on.

One thing that I am not sure about is why Edward looked into the past of Jane once he left the estate. I do not recall that being discussed within the story, and I suppose that his curiosity over Jane's past is due to his infatuation with her. I suppose that this is a logical conclusion because he left all he ever new for a new place and until he got accustomed to his new surroundings that he would look wet his appetite by gathering information about the woman he was infatuated with.

Even though It's easy to focus on the negative in this novel, I am going to focus on the one positive that occurred. The transformation that Gerald has by the end of the novel get overshadowed by Jean's evil plot. While being the Master of the house, Gerald did not take part in the masterly duties that fell onto him once his father died. After falling for Jean however, he changed his ways and began to oversee his property. It is definitely not clear that he continued fulfilling his role as master of the house after Jean accomplished her goal.
I would like to believe that Gerald still takes care of his "master of the house" duties, especially now that Jean is his uncle's wife. Gerald should now realize why it is important to be active in his estate.