‘Will O The Mill’, the wisest story I’ve ever read

will

Reading ‘Will O The Mill’ brings me a lot of pleasure, the kind of joy that quenches my yearning of beautiful language but at the same time makes me mellow for its tone gives me enough clue of what’s in the store.

After ‘The Merry Men’, reading this story is so delightful. The words are so moving, Robert proves his mastery of depicting things so clearly stated, able to spark my imaginations. Will itself is the kind of character that makes me want to meet him personally. The sort of a very nice guy whom I would love to have a chat with.

The story is a little bit tricky. The first pages Robert mentions how the young Will wishes to leave the mill and sets up for an adventure. Up to this part, I really think he will go to the city or elsewhere.

Much to my surprise, Will doesn’t leave. He even develops his business well, gets admiration from the neighbors then invites Marjory and his father to live there while their residence is under reconstruction.

Then I think Will will marry Marjory considering his crush to her from the very beginning of their encounter. I can clearly feel that from the sentences. Instead of tying a knot, Will and Marjory separate. Will says it’s better for them to remain as friends while marriage option remains possible should Marjory wishes them to unite.

If I were Marjory I’d slap Will’s face upon hearing this. I agree with her that Will’s confessions hurt her feelings. Even so, Robert tricks me again, this time around with Marjory’s testimonials which say she is happy that they don’t get marry. Will and Marjory become good friends for nearly three years. Despite Will’s affections to her, it’s crazy to think they can live their lives as good pals.

When Marjory becomes the wife of a man, it’s a pity that Will feels sad, too. I don’t know whether he’s sad because of ‘losing’ a very dear friend or because he’s sorrowful because now Marjory belongs to someone’s heart. At this point, I can’t help wondering why Will acts that way. It’s like if he loves her, shouldn’t he marry her or something? Is it because he is uncertain or foolish enough to act for his or her own happiness?

The rest of the story after her death is what this writing is very heartbreaking. Does Will decide to spend their rest of his life alone because his love is solely for Marjory? Or what? I know I have no rights to judge someone because of something but I really, deeply feel sorry that Will ends up living alone.

His good reputation earns so many respects from a lot of people, including passers-by or guests. They encourage Will to travel but the protagonist chooses not to go. And when death invites him to travel forever, Will is joyful as for him, he has no one left to be taken care of other than Marjory. So when death comes, he is happy that since he no longer has someone to talk to, he is now free to leave.

This piece of story really moves me. On one side, I am sympathized with Will, the kind of person who wholly loves someone, like Marjory. The fact that he takes care his residence, business mesmerizes me, too. He opts staying at home despite so many stories about going out. His loyalty awes me so much.

But one the other side, I wish Will would seek friends elsewhere, fall in love with a new women and raise a happy family. It’s all a matter of choice, anyway. And that what makes this story is so wise, ordinary. Robert presents readers with life choices, and we can learn a lot of things from Will’s life.

Well, I don’t think Will is unhappy anyway. The story challenges my life perspective. Will’s choice is definitely acceptable. If you completely in love with just one person and one life why would you bother leaving it? That’s why I feel this story is so humane. You can put your shoes in Will’s and this has got me thinking about my life at the moment.

I love the kind of story which is like this one. Leaving my heart so mixed with feelings. Prompting me to contemplate about my own life. Thinking hard on what has gone wrong with my life thus far. This is the most ordinary yet wisest story I have ever read so far. Well done, Robert. Thanks for writing this one!

Thank you for this picture.

Stepping Out From Reading Comfort Zone

Over the past few months, I have unconsciously stepped out from my reading comfort zone.  I just realize about this today. Books by John Steinbeck and Thomas Hardy are my comfort zones. I love almost everything they write. Especially for Hardy. His writing style matches my fondness. Hardy’s books steal my heart away only by reading their few pages.

It has all started with Anne Bronte and now Charles Dickens. I disliked first-person narrative yet I love Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’ despite they are written in first-person method. They impress me in different ways. They touch my heart deeper than I expect. They move my emotion.

I used to avoid reading any Dickens’ novels because I know his writing style doesn’t suit my preference. I have to seek Dickens’ titles that I believe will meet my liking and after some attempts I find ‘Our Mutual Friend’ then ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. Although Dicken’s decision not to further discuss emotional problems regarding Nell Trent’s grandfather stealing behaviors disappoint me, I am profoundly disturbed by the poor girl’s sufferings.

I can’t deny that Dickens is a very great, wonderful storyteller. I am completely amazed by the way he crafts so many characters along with their problems that speak much on what happen at the time. All those fictitious characters, various plots into one just book. Dickens is very brilliant.

After that, I force myself to read ‘Bleak House’. A little bit of force, I mean. I know the novel won’t entertain me as much as I want but I strongly believe it will present me with memorable trip once I finish reading it. I look forward to see what kind of impression that I will obtain after completing reading the book. I gradually learn to cope with things that I dislike because I know I mustn’t get stuck with Steinbeck and Hardy if I want to get more knowledge.

I have to start setting more adventures with authors or writing styles whose books I previously decline to read. The foremost reason is simple; I have to learn about myself on how further I can make peace with things I dislike and that includes books.

This is how ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ strikes me

‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ is a blunt, strong, emotional novel. It’s unlike those written by other writers in the Victorian era who shower readers with so many beautiful phrases, quotable words. Instead, Anne Bronte, the author of the book, strikes me with the fast-moving plot, very powerful dialogues, vivid moral lessons that I can learn throughout the story. This surprisingly makes me feel so shallow, inexperienced reader because I once say only books with third-person narrative that are great. One-person narrative is less appealing.

‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ proves me wrong, so so wrong. Despite a slowing reading pace at the beginning at the book, I am completely absorbed when I come to the parts when Helen Graham and Arthur Huntingdon get married then everything starts becoming very sour and bitter for her.

I am very shocked. The characterizations of Helen, Arthur and Annabella Wilmot (later is named as Lady Lowborough) are superb that they feel so real to me. I can’t stop reading the book after I come to the points when Helen eventually finds out the affairs of Arthur and Annabella.

And when Arthur and Annabella don’t even want to confess their affairs at first let alone ask for apologies from Helen and Lord Lowborough, I get so furious. I am so willing to punch the faces of Arthur and Annabella, haha! That how the book influences me, and that is how Anne Bronte is a very brilliant writer at this thing.

Using the first-person narrative is fruitful to have made the characters sound very close to me. I can totally feel Helen’s emotions when she has to face all of the her problems. I can feel her anger, frustration. And definitely, her dismay on the future of Arthur junior completely makes sense.

One more message that fascinates me is on how Arthur redeems all his sins.

The return of Helen to the Grassdale when Arthur gets sick is such a brave, supreme decision. This conveys a very important message, satisfying step. That refers to Helen’s winning attitude, not only for the sake of obeying orders as a wife in the Bible but also for closing doors, solving the troubles that previously emerge. She remains committed at taking care her sick spouse despite his ill-treatments and curses.

For me, that is the sweetest revenge ever! Nothing can make an unfaithful husband or wife feeling so sorry for him or herself than clinging to the helps of those they have betrayed when he or she is dying.

Such a very pleasant, astonishing reading trip with ‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’. Thank you Anne Bronte!

‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’, my second experience with Anne Bronte

tenant
picture source: en.wikipedia.org

Reading the first few pages of ‘Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ after long struggle for completing ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ makes me feel like finding an open road after months inside a humid, vast forest. So refreshing!

It took me by surprise finding the novel at the Kinokuniya bookstore last Saturday for prior visits proved nothing interesting in its classic literature bookshelves. So, I didn’t expect it so much. I thought my options would be books by Charles Dickens, again and again. Good thing about life is that it surprises you when you least expect it to happen. And so it did.

I read the title and although I glanced at other titles, I knew my eyes stuck at the book and I brought it to the cashier. I didn’t know much about ‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’, by the way, but somehow the information that I read that the book is the best by Anne Bronte intrigues me. Besides, my first experiences with Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’ is quite impressive so why don’t I read her another book?

Without further consideration, I bought the book. Along with the English edition of ‘Supernova’, I got two books for payment. I couldn’t be happier than that day. By the time I write this post, I am at the page 28 out of 590, LOL. A very long way to go. Yes, I know that. But given its straight-forwarded writing method, first person narrative, and definitely a much easier language than Dickens’, I believe I’ll finish the book sooner than the time I took for ‘The Old Curiosity Shop.’

Hopefully!

 

 

Let me be honest. Four things I dislike from Victorian novels

Reading less than 30 Victorian novels from four different writers is, I know, insufficient to call this dislikeness list a representation of the overall canon literature era. I have created this list, however, according to my readings so far that will likely change in the near future for I promise to myself to read more books written by authors, except Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot and Oscar Wilde.

Too women centric

This may sound too subjective but I always feel women bear too much in almost each story that I have read. Even if they are heroines I find women during Victorian era suffer too much. The first sample is Molly Gibson in ‘Wives and Daughters’, a super thick novel that has been completed this week after a 3.5-month of an on-and-off reading process. She is a flawless character; honest, really good-tempered, compassionate, very tender, lovable girl. She is too soft-hearted that she acts kindly to her stepsister Cynthia who gets engaged to the love of the former. Even when Molly becomes the subject of gossip among Hollingford people as resulted from her intention to fix the relationship between Cynthia and Mr. Preston, Molly remains in good terms with Cynthia. What distresses me while reading the novel is how much Molly disturbed by the Victorian womanhood standards set by, particularly, her stepmother, Clare or Mrs. Kirkpatrick who later changes her last name as Mrs. Gibson. The stepmother is so noisy and annoyed with Molly’s curly hair, messy dress and her relatively tomboyish traits. I feel this kind of similiar disturbance when reading ‘The Mill on the Floss” in which Maggie Tulliver is often teased by her relatives and is compared to her girlish cousin because of her tomboyish personalities, too. How hard it is to be a good woman in the eyes of the soceity at that time even if Molly and Maggie come from rich families. How complicated their lives are…

For women from low social status their sitution is much more difficult, for instance is Tess Durbeyfield. This heroine is my most unforgettable one because of her tragical, depressive life story. It’s her real life struggles that are just beyond my senses. Not only her romance is so heartbreaking but also her impoverished family forces her to do whatever she can to make ends meet. Although yes she marries the love of her life, Angel Clare, yet their sweet tale lasts so quick, incomparable with their long separation.

Excessive details

There are some novels which I think contain too many details, some of which are unnecessary, making the reading process sometimes burden my mind. For instance in ‘Adam Bede’. George Eliot allocates a number of pages about Methodist whenever she wants to describe the characterization of Dinah Morris. Apart from my limited knowledge about Methodist, I think that it does not really shape Dinah Morris as a distinctive character compared to, say, someone who is a Catholic follower but not a Methodist one in particular. She is really a religious person who spends a lot of time to help those in need but what makes her especially distinctive to those who are close to God without any certain sect is uncertain. Or may be you can shed another light on this topic for this is beyond my understanding.

Another sample for this point is in ‘Wives and Daughters’. As this super thick book wants to depict the growing period of Molly and another character, needles to say that Elizabeth Gaskell needs to write this really long story. Yet there are some chapters which I think are insignificant to the formation of the characters. For instance is when Gaskell puts a chapter on Cynthia’s visit to the Kirkpatrick family in London which although she meets Mr. Henderson whom later she marries with, I don’t think this should be a certain chapter for another visit to the family takes place later on.

Too depressive

Some stories in this Victorian era proves to be too somber with “The Mill on the Floss” is my leading example. It is very miserable to recall what happens between Maggie and Tom Tulliver for it costs their lives to eventually realize how much the latter loves the former.

Another fine example is of course “Jude the Obscure”. Very desolate, dark, pathetic. Sorrowful tone is all over the book even if yes, there are some lovely moments between Jude Fawley and Susanna Florence Mary Bridehead or called as Sue. Hardy’s attempts to go against social norms by presenting the affairs between Jude and Sue, who are distant relatives, turn out to be disastrous. Their decision to elope then register their marriage only after they get sick of people’ gossips make the matter even worse. You can find almost all tartness here: divorce, poverty, sickness, death, rumours, forced reunion. And the finale sparks my anger as Sue gets back to her old lover Mr. Richard Pillotson while sadness leads Jude to death.

Some of you may choose “Jude the Obscure” as more depressive than “The Mill on the Floss” but I select the other way around because “The Mill” is very heartbreaking while “Jude” is sometimes like a karma as they should not get married given their relative status. While Hardy ignites controversy at that time due to their forbidden romance and illegal union the end of the book suggests you that he advices readers not to go against the norms.

Where is the romance?

 

If you want to read Victorian novels for finding romance story, like major scenes about romance, well I think you’ve got a relatively wrong reason although this depends on which books you choose. I think most of Victorian writers put society norms, family mattters, materialism, manner aspects above love stories. From Oscar Wilde to George Eliot, they have the same tendency; that society completely influences characters’ personal affairs. Worse, there are some books that reveal happy love stories after the novels almost come to a close. For instances are ‘Mary Barton’, ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ and ‘Wives and Daughters’. Elizabeth Gaskell reunites the love of Mary and Jem just after they have gone some misunderstandings and have escaped from death penalty.

In ‘Tess”, things get much wretched. While the joy between Tess and Angel begins at the center of the novel when they meet in a dairy I think their most enduring lovely moments start only when they have separated for quite a long time. Their joy lasts too quick for Tess is later executed for killing Alec.

Although ‘Mary’ and ‘Far’ are written by different authors yet Gaskell and Hardy’s views on romance is similar in a way that the love story can only tasted only when characters have gone through difficult moments that test their faith. In ‘Far’, Batsheba and Gabriel Oak gets married in a very quite, modest ceremony just when the book is about to end.

I get dissapointed with the ending bond between Roger Hamley and Molly Gibson for they don’t even verbally confess their true feelings. In the last chapter, Roger is seen to have given gestures that attract Molly’s attention. It’s too bad Gaskell leaves this novel unfinished after 766 pages long yet readers can fancy that both Roger and Molly share the same feeling. And that happens just a few pages after the book ends.

How I wish to complain to those authors who give little enjoyment when it comes to real romance!

“Mary Barton” by Elizabeth Gaskell

mary barton

picture credit goes for flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspot.com

The quiet life of the Bartons family changed into a grief, perplexity when their relative, Esther, mysteriously vanished without a trace. Her dissipation triggered a discussion between two best friends, two laborers, John Barton and George Wilson, as the novel begins. Not long after this incident, Mrs. Barton dies, leaving John with no one to blame, except Esther. So, John, who had lost his son, Tom, now survived with his sole daughter, Mary Barton.

Being an orphan made Mary turned into a hardworking girl. She ended up working at Miss Simmonds’s dressmaking house. Her nice, beautiful countenance helped the employee gaining many customers, some of whom, according to Mary’s friend Sally Leadbitter, came to the house due to Mary physical apperance.

John Barton got more involved with Trade Unions as workers condition in the city was getting more unbearable. Dying people due to hunger, wandering kids in search for bread were so commonplace. As her father was busy with his workers association in search for better lives from employees, Mary befriended with Margaret and her grandfather Job Leigh. Mary also got closer with Alice Wilson, the aunt of the former’s pal, Jem Wilson. Alice was suffering from deaf while Margaret turned into a blind girl, though, fortunately her angelic voice saved her and Job from poverty thanks to her singing career.

So many sombre events took place afterwards. John and his fellow mates from the union set a journey to London in a hope they would be given a parliamentary session at the House. They, of course, wanted to talk to legislators on their hard times, unfair wage treatment and such till they would see brighter lives after that.

In the meantime, dark clouds were hanging in the roofs of the Wilsons family. Jem’s twin little brothers dead. No long after that, George dead, too. There remained Jem and his mother Jane. Mary, who had long been suspicious with Jem’s unusual behaviors to her, found herself got torn between friendship and romance with Jem. He, who had been her long mate, acted so weird when Mary paid a visit to his home to state her mournings in regards with the death of the twins. Jem couldn’t help being a bit joyful when Mary came then talked to him but his strange attitude with the touch and kind of thing somehow pushed her away. The closeness between the two caused her to initially abandon any thoughts of making their relationship into a love affair.

So, Mary rarely talked to him, affirming that they remained friends. Jem, on the other hand, kept approaching her till he was sent away when he declared his true love and marriage intention to Mary. By the time Jem left her house that was when Mary realized she loved him as much as he did. But Jem had gone, her regret couldn’t change the way that had just happened.

How feeling turned her life upside down. Just when she discovered Jem was she ever wanted, she had to pay what she unintentionally did to Mr. Harry Carson, the son of John Carson who owns a mill in the city. It was Sally, Mary’s coworker, who served as Harry’s messenger.

John was so submerged with the failure the union mission in London. They failed to voice their ideas to the parliamentary. He was carrying a great burden over his shoulders when he got home and this lasted for so long that Mary hardly recognized the father, who had been so kind and tender to her. John easily got angry. He even hit Mary. He spoke coarsely. The fact that he was out of job completely dragged him away. After apologizing to Mary for his rude behavior, John’s mind seemed to have wandered away from his daughter.

While Jem gradually took distance from her after the rejection moment, Mary found herself in a shocking complicated love triangle story when Sally took her to meet Harry Carson. Although Mary felt sorry for admitting what she did to him was a mere giddy flirting, Harry did not give her up. He even wanted to marry her. But she pushed him away since she did not love him. The secret meeting was over, leaving Mary with overwhelming thoughts. After she met and told her feelings to Margaret, she felt so relieved and went ahead with her best friend advice not to boldly admit her true feelings to Jem but approached his mother instead.

The relationship between employees and workers in the city grew worse. The working class people protested against relatively small wages they received despite the hardworking they did. As such, John decided to go to Glasgow to pursue the equality between both parties. He left his only kid even hunger seemed no big deal for him. Mary burst into tears as she watched her father leaving her with unspecific return dates.

Out of Mary’s knowledge, the long lost Esther searched Jem and she found him to tell everything she wished him to protect Mary in the name of friendship. She told him what she knew about the encounter between Mary and Harry Carson. She thought Mary loved Harry Carson. She wanted Jem to ensure that Harry Carson would not play with the girl’s heart and would marry her one day. Despite his jealousy, Jem agreed to her advice. Later, he asked for Esther’s on her super long dissipation. She explained she got married with a soldier but then was left with a kid. She abandoned the kid for having no money to support her own life. She turned into a prostitute, heavy drunkard. The goal of meeting Jem that night was to rescue Mary from potentially making the same mistake she had done.

Not long after the concourse, Jem stopped Harry Carson. He directly stated what he expected to utter, bearing in his mind that Mary fell into the guy. On the contrary, Harry thought Mary set her heart for Jem only. What was initially a smooth conversation slowly turned into a fighting that prompted policemen to have separated them both. Jem was released while Harry returned home safely.

Will Wilson, Jem’s cousin, came home after his long sailing abroad. How happy old Alice to have finally met her stepson! Will, Mary, Job Leigh and Margaret easily formed closeness even Will fell in love with the blind Margaret.

Harry was the only son of Mr John Carson, the one the latter adored and made him proud of. So when the policemen came to his house bringing Harry’s corpse, Mr John Carson was really shattered. The corpse lied unburied for several days. While Mr John Carson and his several daughters were left broken yet remained tough, his mother acted like a kid. She thought that her most beloved son was not dead but was absorbed in his deep slumber. Mr John Carson offered a huge sum of money for the policemen to catch the murderer.

It seemed easy for the officers to point their fingers. By referring to previous confrontation scene between Jem and Harry Carson, gaining confession from Jem’s mother on the gun used to shoot Harry Carson, the officer arrested Jem while he was on the job. He was transported to Liverpool to stand for a trial. Mary learned the news about Jem when she arrived at her working place, finding her fellow mates talked about her alleged role in the killing. Apart from being confused on how Jem knew her story with Harry Carson, Mary launched her alibi to set Jem free. While she was fully occupied with the bad news, Esther approached her house to hand out her finding after she had checked the murder spot. After so many years in the search, Esther’s presence in the night came as a quite shock for Mary. They behaved a bit awkward for Mary remained a bit dissapointed to her aunt although she remained polite and nice to Esther. On the other hand, Esther couldn’t let all the past go. The fact that she made the Bartons family to have suffered for her past dissipation, her recent condition as a sexual worker and heavy drunkard caused her to not easily develop smooth, intimate conversation with her beloved niece after years of living in separate lives.

Esther made it short as Mary, on the other, kept all her mind for Jem. She handed the paper which contained Mary’s address to the girl. She lied about her recent conditions then they parted. One meeting seemed inadequate to fix the broken relationship, though. Mary disbelieved on what she received. She immediately knew who the murderer was: her own father. The paper belonged to her father. It was the same with the paper where she copied a poem as given by Jem on Valentine’s day. She was then torn apart of between rescuing her lover or her father.

This bitter fact somehow prompted her to start her investigation. She wanted to save Jem. Although her initiatives was welcomed with rejection by Job while Margaret was crestfallen with Mary’s giddy flirting to Harry Carson, Mary went on her own way, somehow. She decided to seek Will, whom was seen to have been with Jem on the night the killing took place. Job, then, hired a lawyer.

It took hard attempts for Mary to seek Will for the ship he was sailing with departed from Liverpool when she arrived in the city. With the help of the son of the landlord where which Will stayed, Mary made it possible to catch the ship after she had paid some amount of money to local sailors. Even if after Mary was able to convey her intention via the sailors as the boat she was on was approaching the ship, Will’s certainty to appear before the court remained uncertain. Mary was then helped by one of the sailors who understood her hopelessness regarding the fate of Jem. She spent the night before the trial at his home.

Jem’s mother was the first to testify in the trial. She said the truth about the gun which somehow weighed down Jem’s position in the case. Then Mary. She told her feelings that she loved Jem so dearly and that her relationship with the late Harry Carson meant nothing for her but not for the rich guy. Yet, her testimony did help much to save Jem from the death penalty until Will made his harsh way to the court. As Mary expected, Will’s confession made the difference. Jem then walked free.

Not everything seemed clear for Jem even if after he was released and declared innocent. Mary fell terribly sick. Not only that, Jem was torn between her and her mother who seemed reluctant to let her only son divide his attention to the girl whom he really loved. Job suggested Jem to opt her mother given her old age. Jem followed his advice.

When he got home, Alice got much worse due to stroke. After she passed away Jem told her mother about his intention of marrying Mary. It didn’t take a lengthy time to persuade his mother for she gave her blessings afterwards.

When Jem and Mary reconciled, agreed on their marriage plan, John Barton showed up. He was so lost, looked disturbed all the time. He didn’t even care on the arrival of Mary.

Shortly after his homecoming, John Carson was invited to the house. John admitted his wrongdoing; that he was the one John Carson was looking for all the time. The burden of the labour issues wholly ruined John Barton’s mind that he didn’t understand what he had done to Harry Carson. Jem, meanwhile, knew that John Barton killed Harry Carson because John Barton borrowed the gun a few days before the crime occurred.

On his deathbed, John Carson forgave John Barton and the latter died peacefully. Jem and Mary tied the knot shortly before they and Jem’s mother departed to Canada. Esther was discovered before their leaving then she died in the eyes of those she was longing for meeting.

The couple was blessed with two kids. They lived happily in the land that was so far away from their hometown. Despite their distance, the new family remained close to the Job and Margaret. The letter informing that Margaret had her eyes operated brought most cheerful news to them as well as the joyous end to this very beautiful, touchy, sentimental and best of all, completed story of human beings by the great Elizabeth Gaskell.