Posts Tagged ‘20th Century Novels’

Charles Ryder the ever suffering artist and protagonist of Brideshead Revisited reaches his logical conclusion and peak of character development in the following excerpt:

I heard her say that; it was the sort of thing she had the habit of saying.  Throughout our married life, again and again, I had felt my bowels shrivel within me at the things she said. But that day, in this gallery, I heard unmoved, and suddenly realized that she was powerless to hurt me any more; I was a free man; she had given me my manumission in that brief, sly lapse of hers; my cuckold’s horns made me lord of the forest.

Here Mr. Ryder becomes what he was destined to be, a willful, liberty-loving man.  For me I don’t really see any overriding theme to the novel.  Of course there is the issue of faith that is so leadenly hanging over the entire novel.  But since Ryder has no qualms in picking up any faith then I really don’t understand why all of the tertiary characters must have crises of faith throughout the book.  All one can obtain from Mr. Waugh’s novel, aside from the fact that the British probably used the term “White Trash” first, is that being aristocratic in Britain in the first half of the 20th century wasn’t all peaches and cream. Besides the all-consuming depressive quality of the novel I must add that it is supremely well written and definitely a must read from Waugh’s ouevre.

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I am currently reading the 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos. Or trying to read anyways… This book is kind of boring, well at least the part about the glorification of the working man and the imminent uprising of the worker constantly on the author’s mind. I wouldn’t suggest reading this experiment of a book.  I would go with something a bit more straightforward, like, In Dubious Battle by Steinbeck. 

Don’t misinform yourself by my comments, Dos Passos knows how to tell a story, and tell it well. It is just that he chooses to throw in Stream of Consciousness and stuff like that, that bores the crap out of me while I am reading it, makes me want to buy Supermarket paperbacks, or write a detective story or something.

Anyways I give this book a d Minus on my Richter Scale. Read at your own peril and get those Christmas gifts before it’s too late. Bye-ya!

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