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Stupid Question: The Husband Edition

Stupid QuestionsLast night my beloved posed a question for which I had no good response, therefore I’m passing it on to you, dear readers:

Why did we read House of Mirth when Edith Wharton penned a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Age of Innocence?

It’s a legitimate question.  What little research I’ve done purports that she wrote AOI as an “apology” for HOM.  So, did we read her early work because it was a greater expose of the flawed moral and social structures of early 20th century urban American life?  Did Wharton go to far, or was her apology simply a bend to the very societal pressures she had condemned?

Or did SWB just go “eeny-meeny-miney-mo?”

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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in The House of Mirth

 

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WEMever the Twain Shall Meet

Despite what Samuel Clemens implies about the usefulness of a well-read education, I’m inclined to believe he followed a curriculum very similar to ours.  Just look at all of the places that there are parallels between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the rest of our reading list:

Don Quixote

  • Tom mentions reading the first of all novels, and even suggests acting it out.
  • The self-appointed Duke and King reminded me of our self-appointed knight errant.
  • Huck and Jim are on quite a quest, with a fairly foggy future outcome.  I found myself often asking, “Where are they going with this,” just as I did inDQ.
  • Tom sets out in the most complicated fashion to help someone who didn’t need his help.  Let’s just face it, Tom is Don Quixote.

Pilgrim’s Progress

  • Slough.  Not of Despond, but I know I read about one, although I’ve lost the page number.
  • The Grandersons, for all their good Christian living, have a copy of this moral tale on the coffee table.  I don’t remember Bunyan having characters named Family Feud and Kill Thy Neighbor, but maybe I just missed a page.

Gulliver’s Travels

  • Can you say “satire?”

Oliver Twist

  • We haven’t encountered a story about a young boy since Oliver.  As a mother with four of her own, it was nice to get back into familiar territory.
  • Did anyone else think the plot tied up a little too miraculously at the end.? Huck just happens to stumble on the Phelps farm when they are expecting his best friend’s arrival?  Miss Watson just happens to die and free Jim?

Moby Dick

  • Water plays anhe important role of water in the lives of the characters.  The river is practically a character itself.
  • Superstitions abound in both situations.
  • Both authors tackled slavery in an indirect manner.
  • At the very end their is a character named Brother Mapple, which seemed just too close to Father Marple for me.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

  • Slavery
  • Okay, I can be more specific.  Both use male slaves as the moral centers of their works.

Crime and Punishment

  • Huck’s internal struggles between right and wrong, action and inaction, and societal norms and the pull of his heart reminded me of the time we spent inside Raskolnikov’s brain.

The Return of the Native

  • The Mississippi River seems to be the kinder, gentler, yet still important younger cousin of Egdon Heath.

Did I miss any?  Are there any references to P&P, JE, SL, MB, AK, or POAL?

 

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A Classic Case of Tongue Twisters

Pyotr Petrovich perused Pride and Prejudice perhaps perturbing Porfiry who preferred Pilgrim’s Progress.

Dostoevsky, Vronsky, Oblonsky, and Shcherbatsky went for a brewski.

Inimical monomaniacal ignominy.

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Friends, feel free to form fun phrases for a folio of fictional phonetic frolicking.

 

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Whatcha say, A?

contumaciously – adv. in a rebellious manner

Classical Usage:  Remember in Chapter V when Hester’s A talks to her?  Okay, so it doesn’t actually speak, but in throbs, “What evil thing is at hand?” when she passes old ministers and magistrates, and “Behold, Hester, here is a companion!” when a young maiden steals a blushing glance.  But it acts rebelliously when she is near the ancient, cold-hearted women of town.  “Again, a mystic sisterhood would contumaciously assert itself, as she met the sanctified from of some matron, who according to the rumor of all tongues, had kept cold snow within her bosom, and the burning shame on Hester Prynne’s, – what had the two in common?”  I sort of wish it would have been a little more articulate here.  Don’t mumble, A – answer the question!

Classically Mad Usage:  We’re all firstborns.  You won’t find us acting contumaciously and skipping books, substituting titles, or reading the WEM list out of order.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter

 

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