Brace yourself for a lot of jawing. I do love this book so.
I read somewhere that it's reckoned the first feminist detective novel. Well, I don't know anything about feminism, but the ideas in the book seem fairly logical and, well, obvious to me, so I wonder if I'm a feminist myself. I certainly agree with the idea that men and women are equal - equal, but not the same. I don't know that that qualifier is in the book, but I believe it. I suppose that if we got rid of gender and all it's accompanying hormones and what not, then we could take it off. I feel like I've heard people, or heard of people, getting offended by the whole "equal, but not the same" thing. Frankly, it would offend me more to be told that we are equal and the same. I like my differentness. In quite a basic sense, claiming sameness seems like nonsense to me. But I haven't given it too much thought. I always tend to say, "well, you can't generalize about anything," and then change the subject. I don't know enough about it. Plus, I dislike arguments. And I've never talked to anybody besides my mum and the wise ladies of my church who could truly make it a discussion and not and argument. Most guys are too afraid of offending to say what they honestly think.
And I really do think it's silly to talk about men and women in general terms, particularly regarding vocations - you might obviously meet a man and a woman who are more similar than two women. Humans are so different.
I realized this evening that I have rather strong personal feelings about children - and it tends to screw with my judgement. I know it is not something to be proud of, but I don't really like children. Particularly small children. Sounds ridiculous, coming from a 21 year old, but I never really have. However, I firmly believe that, if I ever had my own kids, it would be very different. I see an odd, fierce part of my character come out when I hear women complaining about their children, how inconvenient they are, and about how much daycare costs. I know, I am not a mom. I know, kids can be trying - heck, I know I was trying! But when I hear that sort of thing, I have to admit that my first thought is, "well why on earth did you have them then?" I know - I know - that if I once had children, something inside me would snap, and I would want to be with them always. I don't mean that I'd try to keep them babies forever, or never let them leave the house - at least, I hope I won't. But I am going to want to be very present in their early lives. It would kill me not to be. And this very strong conviction screws with my ability to be impartial. I will never be able to talk to people about this sort of thing, because my personal feelings make me incapable of understanding opposing viewpoints. I guess it's good to know that, but it feels rather awful. I would so like to be detached and logical about everything.
But all this is just gas. Blah blah blah.
This book has become one of the most personally important I've read this year. Vocation is addressed, and, as you've probably noticed, that's been an issue for me lately. And all my friends seem to be galloping down the aisle right and left. I never imagined I'd be thinking about marriage and its implications at quite this early an age. I know I'm not ready to be married yet. And not only because I'm not quite settled in who I am, or ready for the responsibility, or even remotely financially solid. I just think I'm not mature enough. It's like... moving back home after you're married. It might be fine for some people, but I know I'd want to be treated differently, but wouldn't behave differently, and then would be upset when my treatment matched my behavior. Did that make one iota of sense? I think I would go into a marriage wanting, needing to be treated like an equal - head on, going in like a fighter. But I think I would actually go in with childish desires. I'm not talking about "wives submit to your husbands" at all - I mean that I would probably try to replace my mom with my husband - even while I would consciously want nothing of the sort. There are things I need to grow out of before I could enter into marriage on the footing I'd like. I want to actually be a helper to my spouse - not a dead weight. (This makes me think of a whole side line about "helping" my spouse, but I really must go to bed, and nobody wants to hear it. So I won't torture you any further, my dear blog.)
This is, of course, assuming that somebody on this planet would actually want to marry me. A long shot, I know. And I don't blame them.
CONCLUSION: I don't know what all this had to do with Gaudy Night. It really is much better than my blabber would make anyone believe. Makes you just weep to be at Oxford. Also, it makes me wonder how hard it is to punt. I would love to go punting, but I'd much rather be punted than punt. If you can only look either "graceful or ghastly" doing it, I'd rather not take the chance. Vanity, vanity.