Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5/365 The Pearl

A short one tonight.  The Pearl, by John Steinbeck.  Told my mummy about this "project" and she thinks I won't be able to maintain it when school starts up.  Maybe she's right, but I hope not.  I'm taking mostly art courses, so I ought to have the time.  Going to have to really hop to it though.

Anyways.  I feel like I'm standing very precariously on a line with "love Steinbeck" on one side and "whatever" on the other.  I adored - adored - Of Mice and Men.  It stands out as one of the most important books I've read in the last few years.  Or at least one that was important to me.  I listened to a cruddy audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath in high school and loathed it. But then, I loathed everything I read in high school.  The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights has been good, but I'm only about eight chapters in.  So I really don't know where I stand with this guy.   I've recently tipped over to the Love Fitzgerald side, so there is hope.
Frankly, I did not enjoy The Pearl.  But it didn't seem like the sort of story you're supposed to enjoy, so I suppose it doesn't matter.  Very sad. I'm not good at seeing the meanings and metaphors and symbols in stories - I never have.   Evil was plainly, um, a theme in the story, but beyond that I don't really know.  I probably missed some powerful allegory or commentary on the State of Things, but it isn't worrying me too much.   Feeling left out like this used to bother me a good deal.  But now whenever I get a pang of remorse after reading a book and realizing I didn't understand it at all, I say, with my best Tom Hanks mannerisms, "I could never be with anyone who likes Joni Mitchell" and I feel fine.

Anyways, it was very sad and hopeless.  I really loathe stories with injustice, or where people fight and can't get ahead.  After reading the first chapter of Jane Eyre, I refused to read the rest because I thought she was going to be stuck in the same sort of unfair world the whole time.  When I finally did read the rest, I was so delightfully surprised.  I will confess, Father - the thought of getting stuck somewhere and being (this is going to sound silly, but it's the only word that works) sinned against and having no way of fighting for myself is nearly the worst thing I can think of.  (Getting sinned against and having a tick on me while an IV is being jabbed into my arm is the worst thing I can think of.)  The whole concept of people being crushed in an unjust machine just makes me wild.  So I guess that's why I didn't love this story.  And it's probably right and good that I didn't.

CONCLUSION:  Will read more Steinbeck.   Hating injustice could lead to good things, couldn't it?

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