"Books I Should Have Read By Now" Challenge

Monday, August 15, 2011 8:44 AM Posted by Savanah Jeanne
2. The character of Lord Henry is an interesting one.  

My Thoughts On The Book:

Being an avid classics reader, I've read most of the classics you could probably think of, maybe even some you can't think of. I'm just that crazy about books. But the one classic that took me forever to read was The Picture of Dorian Grey. I had read through it once when I was young, but I totally forgot everything. I tried watching the movie but I had to turn it off because the movie took way more creative liberty than I knew actually existed. So I decided to just read the whole thing over again. And I'm so glad I did.

Here's a little to know about Oscar Wilde:

Oscar Wilde was born on October the 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. He was not only a play write, but also an author and poet.  His most famous work is The importance of Being Ernest. 

Although Oscar Wilde was not shy about being homosexual or bisexual as many have said, he did marry a woman and had two children.

You can read more about him from these sites:

The Book Synopsis:

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged—petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral—while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.
Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”
The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a “driveling pedant.” The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for “gross indecency,” which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement, and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.

My Thoughts:

Let me just start the review by saying that if I had the money, I would buy everybody a copy of this book. It's just that good. And I learned more about the author while reading this book than I have with any other book since the bible. That's big. No. HUGE. The symbolism in the book is detailed, the parallel of emotion, ideas and life style that you get from Lord Henry and Wilde is chilling, and the idea of salvation is so wrong, but it's such a wide spread thought that it made it realistic. I felt like I was a part of the story. For two days I was completely enthralled with the book, I'm surprised I stopped to eat.   

There are a few important things that I would like to mention. 

1. Through out the entire book, there was a consistent, relentless battle between good and evil inside and outside of Gray. And both good and evil where represented by a key character. Good was represented as the artist that painted Dorian and evil was represented by Lord Henry, the most influential man in Dorian's life. If you've been reading my blog for some time, you know that the whole good and evil theme hooked me from the beginning.  When we first meet Dorian, he is the perfect man. Every body wants to be Dorian. But the difference between the Dorian you first meet and the Dorian at the closing of the book, is that the Dorian you first meet is innocent.

2. Lord Henry's character is an interesting one. Henry believed in things such as, "If I ignore it, it will go away or cease to exist". And in his heart, he made himself believe that in the most extreme sense. Lord Henry was also very cynical and often influenced Dorian to act upon very corrupted morals. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Lord Henry:

"The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of autobiography."

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties."

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

"Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love's tragedies."

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful."

"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."

"Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different."

"I can sympathize with everything, except suffering."

"The people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect - simply a confession of failure."

There are a million more I wish I could post, but I do believe you would stop reading and pick up the book your self :] 

These are all from yours truly, Lord Henry. And these specific quotes are only from the first three chapters...

3.  The Soul in The Picture: Spoiler Alert!! Skip .3 if you would not like the story spoiled for you. 

When Dorian was given the finished painting from the painter, Basil, he wished, almost prayer like the book says, that he would always look the way the painting then depicted him. And so from then on his should was trapped in the painting. Every sin he committed would show up in the painting, even the murder of his dear friend the painter would show up on the painting. His youth was never ending. This is mention able because the thought of immortality is a very well thought out ability thanks to Oscar. Immortality was given to a corruptible, yet perfect boy. If you are able to corrupt perfection, wouldn't you want it to die? I suppose that is the question here. Would you want to live forever, knowing who you really are with no way out?

and 4. Sybil Vane:
  The very essence  of  of the word "naive". 

Sybil vane was an actress. She didn't even know Dorian's name, and yet she "just knew she loved him". Only a child would think such things.  But What is even more intriguing is that Dorian believed he loved her too. Until one night, Sybil didn't think she should act out love anymore when she had love through Dorian. Dorian, believing the lies of Henry, believed that his love for Sybil came through her acting. Therefore, he did not love her anymore. After telling her so, Sybil committed suicide. And Dorian knew it was his fault. I personally, believe that this played a big part in the ending, which I will not reveal. But I thought I'd mention all this here so you could think about it while reading. 

With that said, I leave you with the trailer for the movie. I don't recommend it to those who are like me and a a little squimish when it comes to visualizing Dorian's horrible acts, but to those of you who are interested:

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