Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is a blog dedicated to the final work of N's which we will be reading for class, Transparent Things. I've gotta say, I liked Pale Fire and Lolita more. My initial reaction was that there were a great many aspects about Transparent Things that I found off-putting or asphyxiating(oh aren't we an ironically witty Kari this morning!), without the sheer delight of tasty word-play and linguistic playfulness that the other works have. I suppose the general malaise of the story itself is one of these aspects, as well as the fact that Hugh Person, while probably mentally ill and/or psychotic, is also (*gasp*)dull and not in the least charming or beguiling(whatever else they may be,Humbert Humbert and Kinbote are not dull).

However, as was mentioned in class the other day, Person can be looked upon as an Everyman, as a state of being which the vast majority of us inhabit or simply "R"(unforgivable pun).Which does lead in to the aspects of the novella which I did enjoy. I liked the sheer undelibleness(is this a word?)of Mr. R, with his bushy eyebrows and bulldog jowls and omni-present glass of whiskey; its kind of unpleasant but he's so...vivid. I also loved the line on page 542 where Hugh is lying next to his snoring wife: "One could not help marveling how such a slender and dainty girl could churn up so ponderous a vibration." I thought that was funny. I also liked the moment near the conclusion of chapter 22, where Hugh spots an ancient white dog, and recognizes it as the same dog he had seen in this same spot eight years ago.

And I also liked this segment near the conclusion of chapter 25 on page 558: "All his life, we are glad to note, our Person has experienced the curious sensation(known to three famous theologians and two minor poets)of there existing behind him--at his shoulder, as it were--a larger, wiser, calmer and stronger stranger, morally better than he. This was, in fact, his main "umbral companion"(a clownish critic had taken R. to task for that epithet) and had he been without that transparent shadow, we would not have bothered to speak about our dear Person."

Perhaps we all of us persons have an umbral companion, the being that we aren't necessarily are, but would aspire to be, and potentially even might be. I dont' know.

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