Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A young man's fancy

Current book: Sons and Lovers
Pages read: 168 - 206

Not a lot of reading went on, I must admit, but I did find out that I don't have tuberculosis. I didn't think I did or anything, but just in case you were wondering. It's not relevant except that tuberculosis often finds its way into novels that are considered literary. Seriously, people are always going off and dying of it. That or taking the prairie cure.

Predictably, Gertrude flips out after William snuffs it, and is depressed and ridiculous for way too long. I mean, sure, it's her son; she should be sad. But she shouldn't sit around and brood for six months, staring off into space from her rocking chair. What finally pulls her out of it is the fact that Paul comes down with pneumonia, just like William, and she's got to nurse him back to health. (In other words, she simply transfers her unhealthy obsession from one son to the other.)

Paul gets better and begins to spend lots of time with Miriam, doing scandalous things like teaching her algebra and wandering through the fields looking at flowers. Gertrude doesn't like Miriam, but it's totally just because she's jealous of Paul's spending time with her, and not for any good reason. Miriam clearly appreciates Paul's ability to observe and describe beauty, and she, too, has an appreciation for both the finer things in life and the impulse to express one's interest in them. They're currently gadding about the countryside at Eastertime with a party of other young people, visiting castles and mountains and woods all in bloom and filled with life. Yes, yes, it's a metaphor for young love, virginal lust, and I'm sure, eventually, will turn to the problem of sex and chastity, but for now it's just full of pretty descriptions of England in the spring. Surrounded by a couple feet of accumulated snow, as I am, it's making me rather wistful.

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