Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bookish, English Orphans.

I'm rereading Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. Such a good book, the beginning reminds me of Jane Eyre and Dickens (are all English children little orphaned waifs who usually live with wealthy and resentful relatives? Seriously, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Vanity Fair, Oliver Twist, this book..even Harry Potter. Where the eff are all the English parents?). Anyway there is a quote in OHB that I absolutely love,

“Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of everyday a source of bitter disappointment.”...brilliant.

Is it weird that I tend to love books about impoverished children? I mean, not like I like to hear about people being poor but there are pretty much two genres I always like; kids in poverty (like Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Angela’s Ashes, Bastard out of Carolina etc) and dis-utopian stories (like 1984, Brave New World, Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, Anthem etc). Ugh, I am making myself sound depressing.

N. (my roommate/soon-to-be-husband) is reading 1984 for the first time. He is usually a nonfiction sort of guy but has been raiding my bookshelf lately. I try not to talk about it to him because I really love that story and I am afraid I'll be talking about the plot and give away the ending, he seems to like it so far.

Speaking of Harry Potter (and I was a few paragraphs ago) I've read those books and the whole time I was reading them, I was like why does this story seem so familiar? Then, when my dad moved a few weeks ago and made me clean out my room, I found a box of YA books I hadn't seen in years. In it was a book called, Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen.

Ok, so here is a story plot. An eleven year old boy goes off to wizarding school. He befriends a girl and boy who know more about the school than he does and they form a little trio. He doesn't do very well, but because of a legendary story about the boy, everyone expects him to be great. There is this wizard who used to be a student there but then grew up and now he hates the school and wants to ruin it. There are many times when the importance of saying the bad wizard's true name is discussed. Anyway, the bad wizard manages to sneak in to the school (did I mention that all over the school are pictures and paintings where the people walk around and talk to passersby and to each other?) and after he sneaks into the school he almost kills everyone until the little boy defeats him and saves the day. Yeah, the little boy in THIS story is named Henry and this book came out years before the Harry Potter series. Weird right?

Anyway, you are probably asking yourself, what was the point of this post? Well, sorry, it was mainly just rambling about English orphaned kids. I just got off a double shift and I am too tired to write anything more substantial...

Also, are you wondering why I haven't written is sooo long? Its because I now work days, usually over eight hour long shifts...hopefully I will get back into the swing of things now. Also, my computer has been working crappy lately but its fixed now....


  1. I approve of this post solely for the giggle it gave the (large) part of me that hates anything with the Harry Potter logo stamped on it.

    I find that I can't relate to stories where the protagonist is rich though, so I'm with you on the poverty angle. I started re-reading A Tale of Two Cities and I just couldn't care less about the characters. "How can we throw our money around to save this one rich jerk that we kind of like? PS screw everyone else." It's been sitting on my nightstand for about a year so I can't be sure anymore, but I think that was the gist.

  2. I think you'd really like of human bondadge...and yeah, I always thought a tale of two cities was pretty boring...though I think I'll always have a soft spot for oliver twist.


Further thoughts on the subject? Let me know what you think.