Friday, January 22, 2010

Dorian Gray - Revisited

This is the selection for our Novella Book Group's Winter Bonus Novel. We had such a good time last Summer that we wanted to meet over the Winter. This was suggested by J. and I agreed that it would be a good one for our group. I last read it in 2007. I know I had read it at least once before that so this is my 3rd reading.

*****Spoilers*******so stop if you have not read the book or don't want to know what happens!

Yes, you may know the storyline that Dorian Gray makes a wish/sells his soul to remain forever youthful. While the painting of him as a young man ages, Dorian Gray, the person, does not age. It's one of those books, though, that as the reader ages, and changes, the book changes. This time I was more struck by the theme of not having any consequences for your actions.

When I drink too much, or don't get enough sleep, it shows! Yes, I look older and haggard. Dorian Gray can corrupt people, take drugs, live a depraved lifestyle and yet none of this is reflected in his physical appearance. Because he has the picture to absorb the results of his actions he is also able to absolve his conscience of any guilt.

People may not like him because he never gets any older or they may also not like him because he gets away with things. I am fascinated, and jealous, of people who can get away with things. I never get away with anything! But I don't think I want to be like them necessarily. If I could get away with things would I take advantage?

Would I like to be Dorian Gray? No, I don't think I would want to be him. While he may look young he is obsessed with his secret so the grass is not always greener. He still has worries. He is extremely selfish and self-centered while also being naive. This time the friendship with Lord Henry stuck out for me as well. Why does Lord Henry hang around with someone who seems so boring? Is it because he can mold him? Lord Henry asks toward the end of the book what Dorian's secret is and how he stays so young but I don't get the feeling that Lord Henry necessarily wants to have that for himself. He seems more sure of himself than Dorian Gray.

This one will make for an interesting book group!

No comments: