our aspirations are wrapped up in books. our inclinations are hidden in looks.

a very pretty vintage dress, from the mid-'60s, i think. i like the details a lot
(In a very lovely vintage dress, from the mid-’60s. It’s gorgeous, but, unfortunately, it’s also falling apart in a way that I don’t know that I can fix.)

I’ll make a larger post soon, but, for now, I thought I’d list a few characters from literature that I very, very much relate to, and mention a bit (via reference to the texts) as to why I do. I just now, out of nowhere, suddenly had the idea to do this:

Estella, from Dickens’s Great Expectations:

“…If you had taught her, from the dawn of her intelligence, with your utmost energy and might, that there was such a thing as daylight, but that it was made to be her enemy and destroyer, and she must always turn against it, for it had blighted you and would else blight her- if you had done this, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to take naturally to the daylight and she could not do it, you would have been disappointed and angry?”
and she goes on:
“So…I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

Catherine Earnshaw, from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights:

(Heathcliff speaking to Catherine):

“You teach me how cruel you’ve been – cruel and false. Why do you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry, and wring out my kisses and tears; they’ll blight you – they’ll damn you. You loved me–then what right had you to leave me? What right–answer me–for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart–you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”

Isadora Wing, from Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying:

“I’m just trying to lead my own fucking life if I can manage to find it in all this confusion.”

Fenchurch, from Douglas Adams’s So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (part of the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series):

“She was tallish with dark hair which fell in waves around a pale and serious face. Standing still, alone, she seemed almost somber, like a statue to some important but unpopular virtue in a formal garden. She seemed to be looking at something other than what she looked as if she was looking at.”

“”Did you know,” she said with a slightly puzzled smile, “that there’s something wrong with me?”…
“Don’t worry,” she said. “it’s nothing bad at all. Just unusual. Very very unusual.”…
Arthur put his arms around her and moved them slowly downward.
“I don’t think it can be your bottom,” he said after awhile. “There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that at all.”
“Yes,” she agreed, “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my bottom.””

“They had emerged at the top of the high-stacked cumulonimbus, and now began lazily to drift down its contours, as Fenchurch eased Arthur in turn from his clothes, pried him free of them till all were gone, winding their surprised way down into the enveloping whiteness.
She kissed him, kissed his neck, his chest, and soon they were drifting on, turning slowly, in a kind of speechless T-shape, which might have caused even a Fuolornis Fire Dragon, had one flown past, replete with pizza, to flap its wings and cough a little. …
The following morning Arthur and Fenchurch slept vary late in the alley despite the continual wail of furniture being restored.
The following night they did it all over again, only this time with Sony Walkmen.”

I think that I relate most to Fenchurch, even though she’s a minor character in the series. I’m not sure that I can adequately explain why that is, but I feel this intense connection to her character, and her interactions with Arthur are one of my favorite parts of the series, which is saying a lot, as I love THGTTG so very much. I re-read the books frequently, especially when I’m stressed, anxious, or sad, because I find them to be immensely comforting, very lovely, so incredibly smart, and so funny. Douglas Adams is a brilliant writer and his works are often achingly beautiful and always brilliant, and you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you haven’t read them yet. Trust me on that.

Oh, yes. I love all of those girls so much.

(The subject line is from Belle & Sebastian’s wonderful “Wrapped up in Books.”)

More soon. xoxo

3 Responses to our aspirations are wrapped up in books. our inclinations are hidden in looks.

  1. Cynara says:

    late to comment, but i love this post as i do all your writings about literature. i think sometimes it’s one small thing in a character–not an overwhelming description or action maybe just one word in the way that they express a particular emotion that connects you to them.

    i relate intensely to Nick Carraway inThe Great Gatsby and Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye and Haroun in Haroun in the Sea of Stories even though they are–in many ways–nothing like me.

  2. carol says:

    You haven’t posted in a long time, why? I love your blog!

  3. Thanks, Cynara :) I always appreciate your comments. You’re such a lovely writer. xoxo

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