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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 
24th-Feb-2006 01:36 am
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There's only one way to explain my most recent selection of reading material: I'm having a masochistic episode.

You know, familiarity of context makes American modernism so much more palatable...

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. 1925. New York: Harcourt, 1981.
Summary: One day in the life of practical Clarissa Dalloway, who has decided to throw a party for no reason at all. Meanwhile, the artistically-minded Septimus commits suicide by throwing himself out the window. Clarissa learns of this tragedy from Septimus' therapist during her party.
Comments: There's enough going on here to fuel a lifetime of discussions and analyses, from the meanings of love, family, war's aftermath, and growing older to the Woolf's modernist stylings. What intrigued me most the first time around was the uxtaposition of the absolutist and dissatisfied Septimus with the Taoist and basically contented Clarissa. Clarissa goes through life without being completely conscious, but to Woolf's mind, this is not a wholly unenviable state. Thus, Septimus' death wakes her up to life so that she can appreciate it in contrast. I especially loved the fluidity of the novel, the way in which the narrative glides from person to person as they walk past each other on the street, for example, like a single shot of film focusing in on one character after another. The absolute ticking of the clock is recurs several times when Big Ben strikes the hour, but within each reframing they experience the same relatively banal day in a myriad of different ways. Some of the auxiliary characters, particularly Sally, who goes from feminist and Clarissa's girlhood homoerotic fixation to moderate wife of five boys, came alive for me, but many others were too dislocated in time and place for me to empathize with directly. The upper class...*stifles a yawn* Anyway, this is the sort of novel you read when you want to impress people with your literariness or otherwise challenge your reading comprehension...'cause in its own right the story is hardly any fun at all.
Notes: trade paperback, movie tie-in with The Hours
Rating: 5.5/10 - An utterly fascinating read if you can stand the style, but not, alas, a strictly entertaining one.
Comments 
24th-Feb-2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
The only thing of hers I ever started to read was To The Lighthouse.. It was assigned for one course, and I know I didn't read the whole thing but I did get an A in the course ^_^ I tried to read it a couple years later, but it didn't take long for abject boredom to set in ^^;;; Maybe if I tried it again now.......
24th-Feb-2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
It was assigned for one course, and I know I didn't read the whole thing but I did get an A in the course ^_^

That's NOT something to brag about! I'd presume that the course wasn't sufficiently challenging.
24th-Feb-2006 01:43 pm (UTC)
Hey, I was a finance major in a class full of lit majors and I pulled an A ^_^ I think I skimmed through it, and then read summaries and essays about it..
24th-Feb-2006 01:55 pm (UTC)
Hey, I was a finance major in a class full of lit majors and I pulled an A ^_^

Now you're making YOURSELF sound like a moron. Remember that this is a public entry. ^_~

Besides, what's there to brag about if you didn't work for it? It's like a rich person bragging about how they inherited their billions.

(My grades haven't been worth bragging about since high school. College classes may be easy, but I do the work for MYSELF.)
24th-Feb-2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
*shrugs*

They were easy classes for me, not for everyone else necessarily... The advantage I had was that I was done with everything else, and was just wrapping up a few electives over two summer sessions, all I had to do was pass.. I took two lit courses and one lab science, they were fun and got As in all of them without struggling.... By that point school was easy, I had the operation of my brain more figured out ^_^

But I see what you mean, we people with superior intellects shouldn't brag about good grades that come easy ^_~

24th-Feb-2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
They were easy classes for me, not for everyone else necessarily...

Digging your hole deeper today, are we? ^^;

But I see what you mean, we people with superior intellects shouldn't brag about good grades that come easy

More like we people blessed with the scoioeconomic status to have had a superior education in the first place. I dun know about you, but my advantages are not inherent--they're crystallized.
25th-Feb-2006 12:17 am (UTC)
*nods*

Same small school system, and we did basically have a good private education in our highly funded public schools...
I've probably mentioned this, but, the required English course I took first thing freshman year in college was virtually identical to the course I took freshman year at MHS.. Not only did I never have to open a book, but I loaned one text to some girl for the entire semester, and the other one was propping up one leg of my bed... Most people actually struggled in that class, I guess their high schools never quite went as far as ours..
25th-Feb-2006 02:27 am (UTC)
A lot of books I read for my English classes I'd read before in high school...BUT the point of the reading was often different each time around. That's typical.

But, yeah. People who met in in college my first year all assumed I had went to a private high school because I was so knowledgeable and good at writing essays. They laid an awesome foundation--I'll give 'em that--and I've had experience with topics then that a lot of people don't even get in college.
25th-Feb-2006 02:47 am (UTC)
Did you hear about that study that found a lot of new college grads can’t do basic things like calculate a tip, etc.? I think maybe our high schools were better than a lot of colleges ^_^;; Plus I had fun working on plays *^_^*

Senior year, we actually studied the Bible in English class! The teacher was a devout atheist, and he had gotten pissed off at anyone trying to tell him he couldn’t use that book, so he taught it as literature.. He liked to pick out all the sex and violence for us to read ^_~
25th-Feb-2006 02:51 am (UTC)
Did you hear about that study that found a lot of new college grads can’t do basic things like calculate a tip, etc.?

My mother has trouble calculating the tip.

But you know, that reminds me: When I went out for dinner with a classmate (THE math whiz), he started scratching his head over the check and complaining about tip calculation. I was, like, "What??? YOU???" Turned out he was trying to do a 17% tip in his head... >_<

Senior year, we actually studied the Bible in English class!

Hmm...I did the Bible (Book of Job) in sophomore English for ethics study and again (ALL of the New Testament in one night) in junior US history.
25th-Feb-2006 03:01 am (UTC)
Turned out he was trying to do a 17% tip in his head...

I don’t work that hard, I’d figure out 10%, then add half, and then round up a bit ^_^;; What I’m really good at is keeping a running estimate of how much all my groceries will cost, just rounding up or down to the next dollar and adding to the tally in my head.. I often come within $1 of the actual total ^_^

Have you ever heard of Christine Lincoln? On the subject of African American fiction ^^
25th-Feb-2006 03:03 am (UTC)
Cheapskate! I always leave 20% or more!

Have you ever heard of Christine Lincoln? On the subject of African American fiction ^^

Nope. What'd she write?
25th-Feb-2006 03:15 am (UTC)
I’ve left tips of up to 100%, but that was exceedingly good service at an inexpensive restaurant ^_~

Sap Rising, it’s more of a collection of short stories of one little community in the South, with overlapping characters.. It’s the current book on top of the headboard ^_^
25th-Feb-2006 03:18 am (UTC)
I’ve left tips of up to 100%, but that was exceedingly good service at an inexpensive restaurant ^_~

Oh, yeah? What? Like during the $5 pasta day special? :P
25th-Feb-2006 03:28 am (UTC)
Little diner in the Adirondacks, best service ever and the bill only came to $5! ^_^;; I also tipped very high for pretty bad service up there once, but only because the server was obviously brand new and she really was trying very hard ^_^;
25th-Feb-2006 03:30 am (UTC)
Somehow, I just KNEW it was $5...

I always leave a 20% tip--what's the point of making a low wage worker's life more miserable than it already is?
25th-Feb-2006 03:40 am (UTC)
I do too usually, and go over for really good service or exceptional circumstances, obviously.. You just gave me 17% as an example ^_~

Somehow, I just KNEW it was $5...

Well really, I rarely eat at expensive places, especially around here.. For some reason, it always seems that as the price goes up the service and food quality goes down *sighs* Plus, you know, when you’re by yourself in the Adirondacks a little diner is the most comfortable place to have lunch ^_^;
25th-Feb-2006 04:19 am (UTC)
I rarely eat at expensive places, especially around here.. For some reason, it always seems that as the price goes up the service and food quality goes down

Thankfully, it doesn't work that way around Somerville. ^_^ Diners might as well be junk food, as far as I'm concerned.
28th-Feb-2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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