Monday, 27 April 2009

"Death of a Salesman", by Arthur Miller

I think I prefer this one to "All my Sons," also by Miller. Yet still, it was not a very enjoyable read. Plays are meant to be acted out, and no matter how wildly my imagination is, it can never recreate in my inner eye how it's supposed to look.

What I liked about this play specifically is the way Willy Loman switches between past and present, like a delirious and senile old man that he is. It really confused the hell out of me, as I am sure Willy must have felt confused about everything that was happening.

Also, he is one bitter character. His head as big as a hot air balloon, and just as empty with nothing but air, he thinks he and his sons are actually going to achieve something big and successful. And not just that, but he is in constant denial that there is anything not right with his theories. But no matter how he is fixed on things, and how much he is in denial, I still cannot deny him that bitterness. He was dreaming the American Dream, to become successful, rich, famous. To have so many people at his funeral. And for him, that didn't work out, even though the people around him prospered.

What I do not understand is why he cheats on his wife. Why he dares say that he is lonely. I do understand that being alone and being lonely are two totally different things, but... His wife understood him, obeyed him, loved him; in short, she's been everything a wife "should" be. Should between quotation marks, seeing as this is society's standard, and what everyone expects of her, basically. She even lies and chooses to live in ignorance only to let him have the life she thinks he wants. She puts up the facade more easily then Willy or their two sons.
But then... I will never understand cheating, so yeah.

I do like how his son stood up for himself in the end. How Biff, regardless of Willy and Happy's wishes to live the Happy-go-lucky kind of life, full of wishful thinking and dreams that will never come true, still manages to admit that he never really was important, and probably never will be. I think that's a very big thing for him to do, really.

It definitely got me thinking.
The Gypsy.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

I thought I was going to dislike Woolf, I am not sure why. I think it's because I've only met one because who didn't scowl whilst mentioning her name. But now I realized that's a really stupid thing to base a prejudice on, and I'm never doing that again.

The whole novel discusses simply one day, presenting a slice of life, as it were. The most interesting thing about it is how V. Woolf manages to enter someone's mind, so the reader gets to hear their thoughts, then exits it and enters someone else's mind just as easily, so that you have to be completely focused who is thinking what exactly, because she doesn't actually straight out tell you. I do like that, though. Because otherwise it would have been one boring story, it barely has any actual active plot.~

Ever read the poem "The Road Not Taken"? It's exactly that. Clarissa Dalloway gets up on the day she is going to hold a party, and on the first page she already has flashes of memory of herself more than thirty years ago, before she married Richard Dalloway. When a man called Peter Walsh was in love with her. When she had had a choice between two lives: Marrying Peter, living a life full of passion, emotion, love, yet financial insecurity, or marrying Richard, and at least knowing she would have both status and wealth, if not love. She ends up choosing "China and silver" above love, but throughout the book she keeps trying to convince herself she made the correct choice, which means she is not really convinced, to begin with.

The other main character in the book is Septimus Warren Smith, a soldier suffering from "Shell shock", from the war. Traumatised, and knowing not what to do or how to cure it. Neither his wife nor the physicians actually /listen/ to him, or give him the chance to say what is on his mind. He and his wife are happy enough together, though, and they plan to run away from "humanity", as it were, but it catches up with him, and out of sheer panic he throws himself out of the window. (One of the ways Woolf herself had tried to commit suicide)

What is striking is that Septimus and Clarissa never actually meet. Clarissa hears about his death at the end of the day at her party, and she defines it as something beautiful. A good way to go, to die when one is most happy.

It made me think even more about my "roads". Which ones I can take, and what I'll have to sacrifice to get through them. It's pretty deep stuff, really. But it was very familiar in that way.
I liked it.

The Gypsy.