I feel like this will be less of a review and more of a ramble, but I like my consistency needs to be maintained, so let’s just roll with it.
Remember when I said I was going to read more classics this summer? The Picture of Dorian Gray is the first. It’s also September so technically it’s not even summer anymore. Saying that, I’m currently sat in my armchair in Lisbon on holiday with some University friends, so swings and roundabouts.
Dorian Gray is strangely relatable. At the beginning he is at an age where he wants to cling onto his youth because he is on the brink of ageing, and like a lot of us he isn’t ready for the inevitable change. He is dramatic and obsessive, and things of the worst case scenario in almost any situation before completely discarding the issue five minutes later. He almost falls into a cycle of extremities to the point where he becomes the thing that he feared he would become.
As soon as people try to guess what is ahead and try to change it, everything goes tits up. This basically a Voldemort prophecy scenario. He then pushes people away or closer to suit him, and then wallows in his self pity when everything continues to fall apart like when you think you’ve got a lie in but it turns out you have a dentist appointment at 9am.
Another thing that is strangely relatable is the whole creativity process. Basil Hallward, the artist, does more than paint a picture. He captures feelings, sketches emotions and wholeheartedly pours himself into every piece of work he creates, even if he decides not to publish it (something I admire about my boyfriend, to be honest). The fact that he is then betrayed by the inspiration behind his work is almost heartbreaking. Dorian needed an outlet, like knitting or something.
It didn’t help that he was friends with two people on extreme ends of the spectrum of society. Basil was romantic and emotional, whereas Dorian’s other friend, Lord Henry, represents a more modern view (which would have been scandalous at the time) of freedom from marriage and religion. I can see how two characters who have such contrasting views can be seen as overwhelming to Dorian.
I was strangely hooked, normally a more old fashioned style of writing drags a little due to the abnormally wide use of vocabulary, but there’s something about the classics that make them special. They give us an insight into society at the time in a creative way, a way that can help us learn as well as enjoy a story.
Basically it’s poignant, thought provoking and worth a read.