Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde

"Dorian Gray" is a title my book club had tossed around from time to time when we needed to come up with more books for our to-do list.  Before reading it, my only familiarity with the book/character came from the movie "A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," and I don't really even remember much about the movie or what role Dorian played.  I had also never read Oscar Wilde before, so I was interested in it.

Dorian Gray is a up-and-coming bachelor in England.  He has recently befriended an up-and-coming painter, Basil, who finds inspiration in Dorian's delightful good looks.  Lord Henry Wotton is also a friend of Basil, but there is nothing good about him, except perhaps being good at confusing truth for lies.  Henry's influence is immediately toxic for Gray, who bemoans the portrait Basil made for him and curses the fact that the portrait shall always remain pure and untainted while he will go on in life and age and become unwholesome to look at in time.  If only the case were reversed; if only Dorian could maintain his youth and handsome looks while the portrait receives the brunt of aging.

And just that happens.  And that's the end of my disclosure.

At some point during our book club discussions the host usually asks, "Did you like it?"  The reactions to this one were largely negative.  It's a dark story, and no happy ending.  But I liked it for its symbolism.  And the book made me ask how much of Dorian Gray can I see in myself?  How much of Dorian Gray is in all of us?

1 comment:

  1. For me, the middle was sooooooo slow. But you can read my review on my blog. I didn't enjoy it, but I did learn lessons, which is the point, I believe.