DAY 14 – Book whose main character you want to marry

I really would like to pick Sherlock Holmes because I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a crush on him. But I won’t pick him, not because I’ve spoken about him to death in this Book Challenge, but also because we all know what an emotionally unavailable misanthrope he is, with not the highest regard for the ‘fairer’ sex. Basically he isn’t marriage material.

So here goes my search for the most suitable fictional suitor (can I declare myself a polygamist and marry all of them? Is that cheating?).

Here are the candidates:

Atticus Finch – A truly wonderful man who imparts excellent wisdom to his motherless children and is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird)

Robert Langdon – I have a thing for intellectually smart men, so give me a break. (Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code)

Mr. George Knightley – Personally I think he’s way better than Mr. Darcy, whom every girl seems to be in love with for some reason. Frankly they can all have Darcy, I’d be perfectly happy with Knightley thank you very much! (Jane Austen’s Emma)

Dr. Henry Jekyll – Okay I know this is a strange one but I did think he was quite nice, that is before he had a mid-life crisis, went a bit crazy on us, drank some poison and became a jerk and ruined in his life in the process. Idiot.
(Robert Louise Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Owen Archer – A dishy medieval spy/sleuth (so what if he has only one eye?). (Candace Robb’s The Lady Chapel and other Owen Archer mysteries)

And finally…

John Thornton.
Even better than Mr. Knightley methinks, but I just had one problem here. I wasn’t sure if my choosing Thornton here was based on Richard Armitage’s portrayal of him in the BBC series of North and South in 2004.

Richard Armitage with Daniela Denby-Ashe in North And South

I will now admit that a couple of years ago I had no idea who Elizabeth Gaskell was and only became aware of her after watching this series which I absolutely loved. Armitage was so darn gorgeous as Thornton that I am now beginning to wonder if I would feel the same way about the character if I had not seen the series. Note that the same can be said about Knightley (Jeremy Northam might have influenced this one) but thankfully not about Langdon.
I think Tom Hanks is kind of goofy and not at all how I pictured the Harvard symbologist to be. It’s a miracle how Hanks’ face doesn’t even come into my head when I read Dan Brown!

So would I feel the same about Thornton from reading the book without the beautiful Armitage invading my brain?
I’m not entirely sure yet, but one thing is certain. I thought he was a perfect match for Margaret Hale, therefore he’s more than good enough for me.

So based on this, I say John Thornton is the winner! Yay!

NM 🙂

Bleak House – A Review Part 2

Okay this is the last time I talk about Bleak House, I promise.
Just a few reflections on some of Dickens’ many liberties permitted to him and only him:
I spoke before about narration in the text. I have no idea what writing courses have to say about this but there must be a rule or something against constant switching from 1st person to third. Not to mention the 3rd person disguising themselves in the 1st (!). Are you confused? Yes, so am I.
You see one of the main figures in Bleak House is Honoria Dedlock, and from the very beginning she is referred to as “My Lady Dedlock.” And who does this possessive adjective belong to exactly? It certainly can’t be Esther’s because hers is a completely different voice altogether.
Speaking of Esther, yes she made quite the gallant heroine of the story but I felt Dickens’ did not highlight her flaws enough. Yes, you heard me correctly. She was just so darn perfect in every way that every other character in the book just could not help loving her. And I too felt the same way in the beginning but her behavior and attitude was so predictable as the story progressed that at one stage she started to annoy me. Even the attitude in which she dealt with the harsh realities and problems that came her way was so noble and perfect that I found myself suffering a mild form of nausea.
Dickens took the principle that the main character should be relatable a bit too seriously, making her too good to be true in the process. In any story or novel, I like the hero/heroine to have a few emotional flaws. Maybe it’s just me. The classical era of Aeneas and Jason, the perfect heroes, still seem to echo through the history of literature. The only difference is that in this case, at least Esther is a woman. Living in a society of accepted gender equality, it’s hardly saying something but in Dickens’ time, it should be considered at least admirable on his part. Charlie off course could get away with things that we mere mortals can only dream of, as is evident. I heave a sigh of envy as I ponder this. *Sigh*

There ends my rant on Bleak House. I’ll get back to my Dan Brown now if you don’t mind…

Droopy Jowls uplifts a droopy spirit aka System shutdown – I’m back up now

I can try and use every excuse in the book. Heck, I’ll even borrow some of Eskom’s. Generator malfunction? (Does a woman’s monthly cycle count?) Staff shortage? Yes I know I am only one person but I’ve definitely come up short here. Wet weather? Yes there was plenty of it last week. Inferior coal resources? Er, no I don’t think I can use that one I suppose…
The thing is, there is no excuse. I can’t even blame it on writers’ block this time because it wasn’t. Emotional block would be a better term if you were looking for one. For more than a week I had not done a stitch of work. Not a line, not even a bit of research to fool myself into thinking I was working. I deliberately downed my tools to take a little holiday on the island of Pessimism. And no I did not enjoy myself.

Doubting every virtue I possess and questioning the choices I have made, I seemed to be plunging deeper and deeper into self-loathing and misery. I wanted to give up my dream. Then you know what comes next right? No, I didn’t kill myself (if I did you wouldn’t be reading this).
At times like these, your head starts to swirl around the most famous questions ever unanswered: Why are we here? What am I doing here? What is my life’s purpose? Why is Julius Malema such an idiot? Is there a higher power? And so on and so forth.
Well unfortunately I do not have the answers to the above questions, but my return date from the island back to reality did come quicker than I expected, for I had come across a certain quotation:

Never, never, never give up.

Now this seems like a simple saying, quite clichéd in fact; lacking that certain profundity that comes with great quotations. What made it special to me however, was the person who said it.
Anybody who knows me well knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for Sir Winston Churchill. Him with the droopy jowls and trademark victory sign, it is so hard to imagine what the world would have been like without him. It must be hard to stay motivated when you keep telling people that this Hitler bloke is trying to take over the world but nobody believes you. If the Nazis where nearly outside Britain’s doorstep, what would you do as the Prime Minister? I’ll tell you what I would have done. Being the complete coward that I am, I would have faked a panic attack and had myself temporarily committed to a psychiatric ward until the War was over.
Now I know it’s a far cry but compared with what Sir Droopy Jowls had to contend with, my little insecurities and problems seem quite pathetic. Mere trifles.
Now I have always told myself that it is wrong to compare but I’ve realized that sometimes comparisons can bring real perspective to your outlook on life as long as you don’t overdo it (comparing spouses and children is not cool!). In this case it has been very motivating. There was a point last week when I wanted to crawl into a hole in the ground and hope it would swallow me up. But Sir Winston didn’t give up did he? And yet the whole Nazi zeitgeist tried to swallow him up didn’t they?

Maybe in another life I will be able to deal with a fanatical, idealistic movement/empire attempting to kick my ass and take over my land. But for now I think I will resort to keeping my inner Gestapo at bay. I have also come to accept that, as long as I am doing what I do I will always have these ‘blue’ periods. It’s an occupational hazard. Therefore I have not chastised myself even though I have lost a week and a half. It’s fine. I’ve dealt with it and now its all systems go.

Look to people who inspire you when you are down. They are your heroes for a reason: to pull you out of the very quicksand that life threw you into. Even if they don’t know it.