Monthly Archives: July 2016

Anne of Green Gables

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Picture credits- propros.com

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”

 

It’s a book which has the ability to pique interest of readers from diverse age groups. Be it a school going child or a senile person counting his last days. Once you read it the child in you will surface back and will make sure that the light in which you see things is filled with positive energy and hope.

I’m glad that I picked this children’s book right before I’m about to step into the corporate world. After I finished reading it I promised Anne that I’ll apply her childish yet insightful thoughts wherever I go and whatever I do. Keeping the child in you alive seems quite a daunting task in today’s world. Now that everyone is running as fast as they can to get a medal of recognition in the rat race. However if you live your life like Anne did nothing is gonna stop you from leading a life of success and fulfillment. No matter how busy you become in your career you always have the option to pause for a moment to appreciate the wonders of nature, to play a little, to let your imagination run wild, to make some mistakes (and learn from them), to laugh at yourself, to serve your parents, to thank the almighty for your beautiful life and so on. I promise, it is not at all a waste of time. It is an investment which you have to do to make sure the child in you stays alive, let alone healthy.

Anne is an orphan who is mistakenly adopted by a small family of two. An elder brother and sister, Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert of green gables. And having fallen in love with the striking beauty of Green gables at the very first sight Anne starts winning their affection and in no time secures a place for her in their hearts. Entertaining them with her charming yet endless chatter and exasperating them with her mistakes. A child with overflowing emotions and wild imagination, Anne lives her childhood in a remarkably active way. She is an epitome of high spirits and is an unflinching optimist.  As she grows she also learns about empathy, forgiveness, sacrifice, competition, obsessing after her ambitions and working in accordance with it.

I could very well relate to Anne for my endless urge to make new mistakes. Her accidentally dyeing her hair green, being punished at school for beating a fellow classmate Gilbert Blythe, her shouting upon an elderly woman Mrs Rachel lynde, baking cake with liniment instead of vanilla essence. Her habit of giving queer names to people, things, places, anything and everything. And her more serious mistakes like falling from a height (it was a silly bet btw…But then we always learn from our mistakes 😉 )and getting bedridden for quite some time, almost drowning in the river while playing with the story club’s members. This girl definitely was having the time of her life.

Her friendship with Diana, her aversion towards Gilbert, her devotion towards Marilla and Mathew, her appreciation for the newly appointed mayor and her teacher Mr and Mrs Allan, she definitely was a person true at heart. But then, aren’t all children true? Yeah they are. I wish we never grew up.

Calling herself Lady Cordellia Fitzgerald was the thing that made me laugh the hardest. This girl sure was funny beyond limits, in a cute and innocent way. This book has events happening in every single leaf. Very enchanting, humorous and Anne-like. Beautifully narrated, well plotted, and worth rereading. I just can’t wait to read its sequels.

 

An evergreen book. Happy reading 🙂

Tess of d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

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I feel ashamed to call myself a lover of classics, having wasted so many years of my life not reading the bewitching tragedies by Hardy. This one is a very evocative and powerful narration of a very sensitive story. However I am not obliged to say that this book got Hardy another fan. Viewing this book in the light of a literature enthusiast, I adore Hardy for “the way” he has portrayed the scenes, and not for “what” he has portrayed.

Nah, however skillfully written it may be, but the story line could have definitely been improved. For a person who prefers tragedies over feel-good novels, Hardy has compelled me to question my love for this genre. Do I have the heart to read more of his works and pretend that I adore him for his powerful yet heart wrenching works? Ummm, I don’t know. Perhaps that’s the thing about classics. You can never enjoy these unless you don’t give a brake to the feminist and idealist inside you.

Far from the madding crowd was Hardy’s first that I read. And I won’t exactly call it my favorite but I was definitely impressed by the subject matter, which was no doubt deep and insightful. Speaking of Tess of d’Urbervilles all I could appreciate is the justice done to the genre. A high tragedy indeed. Even though I am highly disappointed with this gloomy and depressing novel, I would still recommend it to readers who are trying to explore all possible genres. However I am good enough to warn you not to expect even the scantiest rays of sunshine here. All you can expect is knowing about two bastards( I don’t swear this easily. But couldn’t help it this time). Alec d’Urberville (the demon) and Angel Clare(he was no angel btw) and a helpless girl Tess whom the author tortures throughout the story by inflicting pain upon her in the worst ways possible. Hardy has mercilessly destroyed anything and everything that could have possibly made Tess’s life any easier, let alone tolerable. Even though I did not shed a single drop of tear while reading it, I failed miserably in controlling my raging anger. I was frustrated by the prolonged suffering of Tess. No matter what I would still applaud Hardy for daring to create a character such as Tess. Ever since I’ve read her I can’t stop thinking about her. I’ve been reading other books at a reckless speed merely to get my mind off Tess, yet to no avail. I feel like someone (Hardy) has hammered the details of Tess’s life on my (now throbbing)mind. I will never forgive any of the characters in the story for their cruel impact on my naïve emotions. I had not intended to write a review, but now that I have started I feel powerless against the urge of my pen to go on ranting all that I feel and had bottled inside for the fear of cursing or swearing too much.

The idea I had of British women of 19th century was somewhat different than that presented in Hardy’s. Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, and even Wuthering Heights have presented women of somewhat strong character. Even though they had their own turmoil, none was as helpless as Tess.  However she is not the one entirely to be blamed. Circumstances were the cause. Circumstances that were never in her favor.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Tess Durbeyfield is a lovely girl born into an underprivileged family in Victorian England. Even though their family is not well provided she still seems content and merry(only in the first few pages of the book) until the quirk of fate decidedly turns her life to hell. Being beautiful both inside and out, she couldn’t help igniting flames of passion in the eyes of Alec d’Urberville to whom she had approached due to the pressure from her family to establish a connection with the aristocrat in the quest for lineage. The young man is a wolf, even whose ancient name is followed by a question mark. Call their encounter the incident that marked the doom. Just because of the one mistake she made of seeking out help from the d’Urbervilles, Tess is propelled by fate from there on to lead a life of prolonged misery. The course of events that followed sucked out all the innocence and confidence from the 16 year old child, who was naïve to such monsters walking in masks of reputed men. She had gone to the so called d’Urbervilles with a hope to save herself and her family, yet she came back ravaged and ruined. Ruined of her innocence and the belief in humanity. While she herself was a child she gave birth to one who was conceived cunningly by the man of no morals. The bitterness I had acquired by this point did not even allow me to sympathize when the baby died. I sighed. And then I hated myself. Hardy definitely knows how to play with the minds of his readers.

When Tess finally decided to move on and found work as a milkmaid at a happy place some 40 miles away from her home, I took the risk of expecting some happy turns to the story. But alas! Her beau Angel who claimed to be neck deep in her love turned out a hypocrite. On their wedding night both of them decided to confess about their past mistakes. And although Tess forgave him for the drunken nights of debauchery he had committed, the self-righteous and judgmental bastard Clare calls her sins too high to be forgiven. Tess is deserted callously. Even though she survived a few more years with the hope of reuniting with her hypocrite husband I feel that she was more dead than alive. Lived more in hell than on earth. Having taken up cruel manual labor unfitting for her fragile self, she intended to repay for the sins endowed upon her by her ill fate. With every passing day she was breaking down a little more. With herself as well as her family falling apart, and the wolf Alec( who had turned into religion and preaching in these years) who couldn’t keep his monstrous instincts away and kept urging her to come back to him, Tess finally succumbed to the situation and became Alec’s mistress. And lo, it is now that Clare decides to come back to her. Really, it took you so long dumb head to realize your hypocrisy and stupidity? Anyways, now that I was seriously expecting a turn of events I was left dumbstruck when the unexpected happened. Having received Clare at her door she felt nothing but helpless. If she had to reunite with her love, she had to do something. And she did. But I don’t blame Tess for I could empathize with the person whose life was mercilessly snatched from her. Never having got the chance to decide for her own life, I could very well understand the fact that her anger got the better off her and she stabbed Alec( who was mocking her then btw) right at the heart( I hope he died a slow and painful death). She finally lived the life she had always desired. In the arms of her lover. Even if it was for a short period of time. Until she was caught by the police and was hanged till death. Justice served.

And with Tess a part of me died too.

My heart goes out to that unfortunate girl and all those girls in India and worldwide who lose the right to live the life of their desire and dreams, because of such masked wolves who pounce on them fearlessly. Not just the rapists but I endlessly despise the cruel society that tags the victims and ruin their reputation by calling them impure and snatch away their right to live. And there are millions of Tess’s scattered round the world, living this tragedy for real.