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Archive for August, 2008

Having finished the novel I attempt here to give my impressions of what I read.

One thing that stands out is what the characters are and what they’ve become.

Olive is dim in her perception of progressivism and Basil is equally so in his view of conservatism. In the end both have ultimately failed. Of course Ransom gets Verena but he fails himself and his chivalrous notions in his dogged pursuit of her.  Olive implodes over the loss of Verena exactly as Mrs. Luna said she would, “mark my words…she will give Olive the greatest cut she has ever had in her life.”

Olive, the close-lipped woman who Verena describes “has got such an open mind, it’s as wide as the sea.”; destroys her standing with the progressives all for an infatuation with Verena Tarrant. Basil runs slipshod over his ideals also. What a conception Mr. James must’ve had putting together Ms. Tarrant. A beautiful impressionable young girl who can be made suitable for mass consumption through Olive or honed into a submissive housewife through Basil.

Our first impression of Basil is one of a meek Southerner.  With Olive it is of a woman who can barely control her rage at the opposite sex. Which begs the question, why did she ever invite him up to her abode in Boston? Why intitiate a relationship with a man from a perceived backwards part of the country?

When last we see Miss Chancellor she is nothing but a shell of her former self. WIth Ransom he is on top of the world at having beaten his kinswoman in a quite seriously life or death match.

James spurs the reader on to pick a progressive or reactionary. I can’t stand either characters’ railleries at each others ideals.  Nor can I stand Verena Tarrant’s innocence.  Though I did find it amusing that Ms. Chancellor would throw money at Selah and Mrs. Tarrant in order to gain sole influence over the precious girl. You see Verena is torn, she hasn’t conviction or willpower to hang on with either one though there are scenes when she vociferously sides with Olive. The Bostonians seems to have taken something from me rather than gifting me.

The dark humor and irony of the novel are superb though. For instance “There were so many things that she hadn’t yet learned to dislike, in spite of her friend’s earnest efforts to teach her.” Verena is incapable of holding her own thoughts, she is merely a vessel for any crew that wants to man her.

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I was watching the Antiques Roadshow on my local PBS station last night and it occured to me that all of the trinkets and doo-dads that are coming from China and the Pacific Rim countries are going to be worth a whole lot of money some day. Bullocks you say? Well my reply is Pish-Posh.

 While all of the factories in the Asian world are producing a monumental amount of stuff the discerning eye could conceivably make their kin a handsome figure if they would only invest a little time and energy to purvey these goods for themselves. This said optical figure could then rent a warehouse and store it for the requisite hundred years that an antique needs. There, take my formula and run the gauntlet.

But seriously, my thesis is that anything made by human hands is bound to unleash its intrinsic value upon the earth at some point. Pottery shards in Philadelphia, Egyptian toilet paper, Greek tea leaves, (humor me) all have their value and are placed in a museum at some point in order to document the progression of human civilization (to what may I ask?). So anything made by humans or by proxy through machines will end up on a shelf in the great museum of humankind. Which hasn’t been built yet, though my vote goes to putting it on the moon so we can establish tourism there.

So anyway the period will be called the Mao dynasty and things can only go up from here. Wal-mart here I come.

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My Life Goal…

So I figured out what my life goal is. Being born in 1981 means I will top out at the century mark in 2081. My goal is to live to see the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the United States. That is correct I want to get piss drunk on July 4th, 2076.  My paternal Grandmother is 91 right now and my grandfather on my mother’s side is 84. I think I have a good chance of seeing fireworks on the tri-centennial.  That is all for now.

Sincerely,

Michael Evan Kerry McCullough

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Upon opening this work by Ms. Pym I was delighted with the directness of the novel. Some of the other qualities it has are its’ artificial nature and lightness of touch. I will admit that it is rather dark in some spots. Particularly the handling of Leonora Eyre irks me sometimes. Ned too is an amoral melange of ebullience.  But what he possesses Ms. Eyre could only dare to dream for. She is constantly tired and falling behind the character she most wants to own. While Ned is so much far advanced than the sensitive class-conscious James who “would be no exception to the rule that nobody tired of Ned before he tired of them.”

 

Phoebe one must feel some compassion for since she is so obviously below James’ level and with her wine bottle lamp she cuts a pathetic figure compared to the “something remarkably sympathetic about Leonora, even if he was not yet quite sure how to cope with her.”  James feels at ease with the older Leonora, and yet there is a quaint uneasiness when it comes to the status of their relationship. With Phoebe it is as though he has taken in an orphan and doesn’t want to love it properly. Ned has basically seduced him with his charms. Humphrey doesn’t seem to mind about any of these three, he only really wants James to study some aspect of antiques so he can take over the business in the right manner.

What an intriguing book it was. The anti-loftiness of the treatment and the plainness of the characters would seem to make for uninteresting reading but that is utterly untrue. I would suggest a Pym novel to anyone who can read.

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Thomas Hardy

I look into my glass,

And view my wasting skin,

And say , “Would God it came to pass

My heart had shrunk as thin!”

 

For then, I, undistressed

By hearts grown cold to me,

Could lonely wait my endless rest

With equanimity

 

But Time, to make me grieve,

part steals, lets part abide;

And shakes this fragile frame at eve

With throbbings of noontide.

                                                                                                                                                             1898

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