Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Red, More Black

I've got about 80 pages left to go in "The Red and the Black".  Some thoughts I had while reading today:

1.  Stendhal is funny.  The book is written in the third person, but every once in awhile he'll jump out and make some comment or so on the action or the characters.  At one point Monsieur de la Mole's daughter (Mathilde) is doing something scandalous, and Stendhal adds a sentance saying "Hey, chill out...I know she's crazy but she's just a fictional character".  This guy cracks me up.  And it's weird that he wrote this in 1830...that seems like such a post-modern thing to do.

2.  Julien has fallen crazy in love with Mathilde and is behaving quite recklessly.  Now he's trying to make her jealous by pretending to woo another woman.  I thought he had figured out she was crazy.  What is it about the craziness of love?  Although the situations are quite different, I'm reminded of "Of Human Bondage".  Is "crazy love" a common theme of great literature?

3.  There's so much about class in this book.  It makes one realize that even though there's class in America, it's so not like it was in 1830 France.  The class system described in the book is so rigid that it's hard to comprehend.  Class in America today, while it exists, is potentially very fluid...One always has the potential to move up, or down.  It's easy to take that for granted.

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