Thursday, April 9, 2009

Be not coy

Current book: An American Tragedy
Pages read: 303-386

Well, I didn't get a chance to read today, which leaves me with the same summary I had yesterday: Clyde and Roberta are ostensibly in love, but when one of Gilbert's (Clyde's cousin) friends, Sondra, takes an interest in Clyde, he begins having second thoughts, especially since Sondra is both incredibly beautiful and on the same social and economic level as Clyde.

That's all. I'm not even joking. Obviously, Dreiser is trying to make the point that the American class system is unfair, but I'm not sure where he's going aside from that. I mean, Clyde is pretty much a reprobate, but he doesn't seem representative of all American youth, so I don't see that he's acting as a commentary on the fate of most young people. Perhaps he's a simply cautionary tale, a warning about how not to act, but Christ, Dreiser, do you need hundreds of pages to make that point?

The answer to that is, apparently, yes.

Oh, I forgot to mention that even though Roberta is a Good Girl, and objected heavily on several occasions, she and Clyde had sex. He played the, "If you really loved me, you'd..." card, actually, in addition to acting petulant and implying that he'd leave her if she didn't sleep with him. He's just the swellest guy ever, isn't he? Dreiser must have missed the day when they explained the definition of sympathetic. But it's ok, I bet Clyde will marry her, right? Because it would be the only noble thing to do, and doing the opposite would make him just like the anonymous man who got his sister in trouble. He would never be that hypocritical.

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