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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Ch. 6 - 10 
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Post The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Ch. 6 - 10
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Ch. 6 - 10



Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:28 am
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Post These chapters
intrigue me. I felt rather detached at the whole Sibyl infatuation/marriage proposal/death episode, and wonder if that is not part of Wilde's ability: the reader reacts (or fails to react) the same way as Dorian did: as an observer, but not really responsible either for emotional responses or their consequences.



Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:36 pm
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Boheme wrote:
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I felt rather detached at the whole Sibyl infatuation/marriage proposal/death episode,


I have to agree. I felt the floor drop after she died, I think there was a lot he could have done with the Sibyl character. I reacted, I thought it was cheap! Her death would have been more affective if he had developed her into something more that an avenue for critisim. I think Sibyl represents the death of innocence and goodness. Not only for Sibyl but for Dorian as well. Sibyl, lived in art for Dorian, and when that art disapointed him he felt disgust. Commiting suicide, like Juliet should have gotten her some respect though. I think we were supposed to feel her innocence and purity, and goodness more than her presense, I did.

I have again noticed all the flowers, and now colors are coming into play. Sibyl was always mentioned in connection with white, symbolizing innocence and purity (Great Gatsby 101? decades before it's time?) Dorian is connected to yellow, gold, red, and also many refferences to fire. He is dynamic, passionate, bright, alive.

The picture makes it's first change
Quote:
It had altered already, and would alter more. Its gold would wither into gray. It's red and white roses would die.


Red would mean love, white innocence, and roses?, roses, lilys, irises, etc., the book is starting to reek with the perfume of the flowers! I have come to the conclusion the flowers represent the only true form of art; nature.

Suzanne



Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:34 am
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Boheme:

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Wilde uses an almost stream of consciousness style in Sibyl's dialogue only, it is outloud. We see this in the quick transitions of thought, and general incoherency; she goes from thinking of kissing to pleading him not to leave to worrying about her brother's threat to begging for forgiveness. This style of dialogue portrays Sibyl's innocence and purity. There is very little filtering between her thought and her speech. What she feels she expresses. Her inability to think, filter, then speak also portrays her distress and despair. Furthermore, Wilde uses a simile to compare her to "a wounded thing." By dehumanizing Sibyl, he accentuates her sad sad state. Sibyl is also dehumanized in being seen as melodramatic. Dorian had fallen in love with her because of her acting, and it is quite fitting that he now fall out of love with her because of her loss of acting skill. However, Dorian's seeing her as only a character and not an actual person devalues her life and strips her of her humanity. The purpose of Sibyl being characterized in this way is to juxtapose her pathetic state to Dorian's heartlessness. This passage highlights Dorian's
change for the worse. We, the readers, see him turning from a sweet little kid to a disciple of the influential Lord Henry.


http://doriangrayanddianecho.blogspot.com/

Had to google since my last post :oops:

This quote from the above web site makes your observation spot on. Interesting site, I intend to exibit great restraint and not visit it again until I have finished the book.

Suzanne



Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:47 am
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One of the things that I find fascinating about the fact that Sybil loses her acting ability when she falls in love with Dorian, is that it says that this ability, which I think is akin to a creative force, even a "soul", can be placed somewhere else. Just like Dorian's soul is transferred into the painting, Sybil's soul is transferred to Dorian.

I think about what Wilde is saying here. Is he saying that to be an artist one must be willing to, literally, put one's "soul" into it? That there is nothing else that one can love except one's art? Is he saying that watever one loves rules one?


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Wed May 06, 2009 10:00 pm
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MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
Is he saying that to be an artist one must be willing to, literally, put one's "soul" into it?


I go back to what Basil said in the beginning. He did not want to part from the painting at first because he had put so much of himself into it. Put his "soul" into it. It's interesting that Basil changes his mind so dramatically later.

MaryLupin wrote:

Quote:
That there is nothing else that one can love except one's art? Is he saying that watever one loves rules one?


To love you must give of yourself to the one you love and what you are given by the one you love will change you. Sybil smiles at the end of the performance. Was Sybil always a bad actress and Dorian never saw it until Harry points it out? She allowed Dorian to inject himself into her, and when she is rejected, she does not feel whole. Isn't that how we feel when we lose someone we love?

Like so many other beautiful things, Dorian couldn't see her, he wanted to show her off to the world, as his own creation, and she was beautiful, but Dorian could not create anything, and couldn't appreciate anything, from an art standpoint and a life standpoint, that would make him souless. Dorian would not change, he was incapable of loving, even himself. He does feel sadness, but again, Harry steps in. Dorian is mesmerized by Harry, Harry who appreciates nothing, but shallow beauty.

"Art is useless", from the preface. Art, life, love, beauty, it's all useless, if it can not be created or appreciated. I don't think love rules you, but, you must be willing, and trustfull to accept the changes that love creates in you.

Suzanne



Thu May 07, 2009 7:19 am
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The thing about art being useless...The aesthetic idea that goes with that statement is that art is not "for" anything. That is, art is for its own sake. Art cannot be conscribed by being something to accomplish something else. It cannot be defined, for example, as something that uplifts us morally. Art cannot be limited in such a way; that was the point of art-for-art's sake aesthetics.

When PoDG was so deeply criticized when it was orginally released in 1890 some of the most common criticisms were that it was ugly, because it was dangerous to youth. In essence, the assumption by the critics was that art must present the beautiful because it is what was good for uplifting "civilization." Part of the point of the book, I think, was to explode this connection between the idea of beauty as judged by society and the moral good. I mean Dorian was beautiful but he wasn't good.

And I think you are right about Dorian being soulless, especially since the story posits that his soul has gone into the painting. So what was walking around in the Dorian-skin? The abyss? Is this empty Dorian what it means to be the animal-human? The "soul" is that what makes us act humanely? I find these deeply seated preconceptions of what it means to be human interesting in Wilde's work.


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Thu May 07, 2009 8:01 am
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MaryLupin wrote:

Quote:
Is this empty Dorian what it means to be the animal-human?


Oh, I don't think Dorian is empty, I think he is overflowing. We need to look at Harry, he is the protaganist of the story. Wilde's perseption of society uzzes out of Harry's mouth and fills Dorian's skin.

MaryLupin wrote:

Quote:
Part of the point of the book, I think, was to explode this connection between the idea of beauty as judged by society and the moral good.


This answers your previous question. Dorian saw Sybil as beautiful, pristine and loveable until Harry pointed out that she was inferior and flawed. Harry is society. Harry is unforgiving, prejudecial and shallow.

I see the naiveity Wilde once possessed, it saddens me to see that it is gone. The writing of PoDG must have been agonizing for him.(this is riddled with mispellings, please forgive, I do not have luxury of little red line while posting, have to say this restricts me)

MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
In essence, the assumption by the critics was that art must present the beautiful


No, only the beautiful can express art. Only a beautiful soul can create beauty in art. Wilde was chastised, his lifestyle was considered evil, ugly. Harry (society) hated him, and Wilde uses Dorian (life) as a canvass to convey his dissenchantment and dissapointment with society and how easy it is to lose one's perseption of one's self if influenced by society, how easy it is to lose one's soul. Dorian was naive, Dorian was beautiful, Dorian was hopeful, Dorian loved, Harry corrupted him. Art for art sake, the point, can someone society sees as ugly creat art, simply for art sake? Or will it be judged unfairly by a society that demands beauty in its creator?

Suzanne



Thu May 07, 2009 9:54 am
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Suzanne wrote:
Dorian saw Sybil as beautiful, pristine and loveable until Harry pointed out that she was inferior and flawed. Harry is society. Harry is unforgiving, prejudecial and shallow.


I agree that Harry is a carrier for how Wilde saw society, at least in part. But I think that Wilde also saw himself in Harry. They have many attributes in common - the sense of humor, the aesthetic cultivation. I don't think Harry is simply a bad guy. Wilde was more complicated than that I think, both as a person and as a writer. I mean, of all the characters in the book, I liked Harry the most. Still he was a meany. Not good to be weak around him. Anyway, I don't think we can blame Harry alone for what Dorian does to Sybil. I think both Sybil and Dorian must also take responsibility as well. What Harry does is give Dorian an excuse to act like a willful child who wants a sweety, and then stomps it underfoot when it isn't what he thought it would be. And Sybil, like Princess Diana, when it wasn't what she wanted it to be, she pouted as only a princess can pout. Unfortunately for both Sybil and Dianna it ended up causing their deaths and not their rebirth as emotionally adult women.

Suzanne wrote:
No, only the beautiful can express art. Only a beautiful soul can create beauty in art. Wilde was chastised, his lifestyle was considered evil, ugly. Harry (society) hated him, and Wilde uses Dorian (life) as a canvass to convey his dissenchantment and dissapointment with society and how easy it is to lose one's perseption of one's self if influenced by society, how easy it is to lose one's soul. Dorian was naive, Dorian was beautiful, Dorian was hopeful, Dorian loved, Harry corrupted him. Art for art sake, the point, can someone society sees as ugly creat art, simply for art sake? Or will it be judged unfairly by a society that demands beauty in its creator?


I am afraid I have to disagree with the idea that only the beautiful soul can create true art. There is this statue by Bernini called "The Ecstasy of Saint Therese" which is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever experienced yet Bernini was not a "beautiful soul". He was a drunken, violent, guilt ridden artist of great genius.

Does society judge unfairly? The question that always provokes in me is "who is going to judge the "unfairly" bit? Posterity? And who is that but another society that just has different standards. This makes me think of David Hume's theory of art and what it means to be a "true judge" but that is for another post because it would be looooooooooooong.


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Thu May 07, 2009 11:41 am
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Post Dorian Gray
MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
I am afraid I have to disagree with the idea that only the beautiful soul can create true art.


I don't agree with it either, this is how I think Wilde see society, how it feels. The best example I can think of would be, to see a beautiful painting, something that touches your heart, how lovely. Then finding out it was painted by a pedophile. I know this is exagerated, but would the painting be as lovely?

Still pondering Harry. Someone had a flower in his lapel, Wilde always had a flower in his lapel. Who is it? I want to say it was Harry, or was it Dorian? Drat, can't find it.

MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
The question that always provokes in me is "who is going to judge the "unfairly" bit? Posterity?


We are the future, PoDG is a century old, has society stopped judging?

Quote:
. . .or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colors, and be changed. . .


Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray

Suzanne



Thu May 07, 2009 4:51 pm
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Post Re: Dorian Gray
Suzanne wrote:
MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
I am afraid I have to disagree with the idea that only the beautiful soul can create true art.


I don't agree with it either, this is how I think Wilde see society, how it feels. The best example I can think of would be, to see a beautiful painting, something that touches your heart, how lovely. Then finding out it was painted by a pedophile. I know this is exaggerated, but would the painting be as lovely?


I agree with you here. Finding stuff like this out does impact my response to a piece of art. Yet I still want to know because it complicates my pleasure. I am very wary of simple emotions - at least in me. They seem to me to indicate a want of depth, of knowledge, of experience.

I don't know if I agree with you about Wilde though. I do think he was upset (understandably) with the way he was treated and with the "Philistines" who judged his book because of its homoeroticism. He wasn't free to be who he was born to be. And of course that came out in the book. I do wonder how much of what happened to him he saw as his own faulty judgment and how much blame he placed on the shoulders of others? Yet at the end of the book Dorian refuses all self blame and all responsibility and is outraged when his picture doesn’t show a favourable reaction to his one good deed. It seems to me that this says Wilde favoured the idea of an individual’s responsibility for the state of his own life. But I don’t know.

Suzanne wrote:
Still pondering Harry. Someone had a flower in his lapel, Wilde always had a flower in his lapel. Who is it? I want to say it was Harry, or was it Dorian? Drat, can't find it.


Well there is a scene near the end when the still young Dorian is talking to Hallward and he takes a flower out of his coat...is that the one you mean?

Suzanne wrote:
We are the future, PoDG is a century old, has society stopped judging?


No. Humans will never stop judging. And of course, we will never be either right or wrong about the judgments we make, not in any sure sense. All we can do is assess ourselves and each other against some standard we hold to be a good guide. It's just that what Wilde thought to be a good guide was quite different than what many of his contemporaries thought to be proper. The only reason we agree more with Wilde than with his critics, is because people like us have fallen more in line with the aesthetic of the artist and tend to reject ideas that try to limit artistic expression and creation. I think I have a good guide with which to judge but I also recognize that just because I think it is better (and act like it too) doesn't mean it is better. Am I being clear?


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Post Dorian Gray
MaryLupin:
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I think I have a good guide with which to judge but I also recognize that just because I think it is better (and act like it too) doesn't mean it is better. Am I being clear?


Yes, and I think it is comendable that you "act" upon those beliefs. Many say one thing, then do another. It's also comendable that you recognize your belief may not be better than someone elses. Those two sentances say a lot, sounds like you have a very solid moral compass.

I would diffently say PoDG would be considered a "big bite". Thanks for finding the flower in the lapel passage. If Dorian puts the flower in the lapel, there is a conection with Wilde. But, I agree, there is a conection with Harry as well. Add Basil,and what do you get, ego, super ego? There are so many things to ponder over in this book. Someone, somewhere, said, "Dorian gets off easy at the end". I thought it was a perfect, private ending for Dorian. At the end of the day, we are alone with our conscious.

Suzanne



Fri May 08, 2009 6:01 am
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Post Re: Dorian Gray
Suzanne wrote:
If Dorian puts the flower in the lapel, there is a conection with Wilde. But, I agree, there is a conection with Harry as well. Add Basil,and what do you get, ego, super ego? There are so many things to ponder over in this book. Someone, somewhere, said, "Dorian gets off easy at the end". I thought it was a perfect, private ending for Dorian. At the end of the day, we are alone with our conscious.


Dorian takes the flower out of his coat and pretends to smell it. I think that says a lot about the connection. He is rejecting the pleasures of male caring and male connection that the flowers have come to represent. Afterall he does kill his painter. But yes, I do get a sense that in some way all three men are expressions of some aspect that Wilde found in himself although I am not sure I would go Freudian. He's a little :alien: for my tastes.

I doubt Dorian got off easy in the end. Not if this soul was a force on its own. Whatever hell Wilde posited for his world, Dorian got to go there.


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Fri May 08, 2009 6:33 am
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Post Dorian Gray
MaryLupin wrote:
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Dorian takes the flower out of his coat and pretends to smell it. I think that says a lot about the connection. He is rejecting the pleasures of male caring and male connection that the flowers have come to represent.


Spot on! I can see it now.

One other question to ponder. Wilde loved music, and music is mentioned in the book. Do you think creators of music, enjoyed by the ears, are judged less then those artists who create visual art? Are our ears less judgmental than our eyes?

MaryLupin wrote:
Quote:
But yes, I do get a sense that in some way all three men are expressions of some aspect that Wilde found in himself although I am not sure I would go Freudian. He's a little [space alien] for my tastes.


Too funny! I prefer Jimminy Cricket! He sits on my shoulder.

Suzanne



Fri May 08, 2009 7:16 am
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Post Re: These chapters
Boheme wrote:
intrigue me. I felt rather detached at the whole Sibyl infatuation/marriage proposal/death episode, and wonder if that is not part of Wilde's ability: the reader reacts (or fails to react) the same way as Dorian did: as an observer, but not really responsible either for emotional responses or their consequences.


Well, that, Boheme is exactly what I was thinking too - only I was wording it differently in my mind. Maybe that's why I haven't expressed it yet - just didn't have the right words.

You have obviously found them - I'd like to go further in saying all this puts me in mind of a Buddhist talk I once heard . . . the talk suggested that we, as humans, should not allow ourselves to become too impressed or unimpressed with any 'thing' or any 'one' . . .

That's one of our problems as humans, I think; look at the recent mania about Michael Jackson. People were filmed and shown on public television crying their hearts out over this.

How do they handle the reality of death in their own lives? The Jacksons and their like don't really have anything to do with our lives - not directly. Certainly our hearts go out to the family, the friends and people involved in the music business - people who are really affected by his death.

But is it really anything to get hysterical about?

Why eat our hearts out when these deaths occur? Why add more grief to our lives than we are given to deal with in our own families and friends?

Why dramatize that which normally occurs?

I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't grieve, but why grieve for that which doesn't really concern us.

Another view I have of the advice given in that Buddhist talk is that it is not wise to develope passions for such things as food. We should strive to enjoy dishes that involve plain vegetables and meats, as much as we enjoy pizza and spaghetti sauce with ten different cheeses in it.

There are two things that can happen:

1) the doctor can forbid you to eat anything all that rich or spicy;

2) it can become unaffordable!

But still we make the same mistakes - the baby is weaned off the breast or bottle, and introduced to baby food. Naturally the little monkey's going to like that lovely banana flavoured food and prefer it to the mashed carrots.

How many new mothers are told - do not introduce the baby to cookies - even though it shuts them up for a while - nothing like a good munch on the ole cookies - but it gives them a 'preference' for sweets. That preference is something that's going to come back and bite them in their 'sure-to-be-fat' tooches when they're older.

OK . . . I'll get off my soapbox now.



Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:46 am
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