Friday, September 16, 2011

Annotated Table of Contents: Novels 02

Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen. Novel. Satirizes the genre of Gothic mansions with mysterious goings on.

The Jane Austen Book Club. Karen Joy Fowler. Presents an interesting contrast between the life styles of Jane Austen and the characters in her novels and 21st-century liberated American women. A thoughtful look at the role of women in society—then and now.

Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. Somewhere I read that Emily Bronte disliked the controlled emotion and manners of Jane Austen’s novels, and set out to show that life is about passion. Wuthering Heights is about raw emotion, anger, cruelty, and vengeance. But it is also about a love that is passionate and unforgettable.

This Side of Paradise. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Novel. Contrast between the superficial college kid whose main interest was flirting with girls as he attends Princeton and world-weary, cynical, regretful, not -yet-thirty-year-old after serving as an officer in France during WWI. The novel is remarkable for  its honest and detailed descriptions of the early “Jazz Age,” the “Lost Generation.”

The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Novel. Nick Carraway, a young Midwesterner who sells bonds in New York, lives at West Egg, Long Island and narrates the story of his neighbor, mysterious Jay Gatsby, whose mansion and fabulous entertainment are financed by bootlegging and other criminal activities. But in his love for Daisy, it’s the story of a failed American dream.

Tender Is the Night. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Novel. The theme is dependence. Nicole is a wealthy mental patient who is desperately in love with and dependent on her young psychiatrist, Dick Diver, whom she marries. As she achieves mental stability and emotional independence, Dick deteriorates because he has become dependent on her. She leaves him for a man who will be her lover and her caretaker, and Dick begins an irreversible decline into alcoholism and dissolution.

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