Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Villette" Read-A-Long: Chapters 31 - 35

Seventh post for this read-a-long, initiated by Unputdownables.

To see all the posts, click on "Villette read a long" in the right hand bar. 

NOTE: all posts include spoilers

Coming down the home stretch of my first structured "read-a-long."  Reading the assigned 5 chapters a week allowed plenty of time for reflection, hypothesizing and writing.  Not how I usually read a book.

As a reader, I have wondered (and worried) about Lucy: her past, what will come of her, will she find true love, etc.  A number of questions have been answered in this section.  Not really the way I expected.

1) Regarding her feelings for Dr. Graham: Lucy admits that she likes Polly and she knows that he likes her too.  By these words she blesses their match: "You must be united.  I knew the first day I saw you together at La Terrasse.  In all that mutually concerns you and Graham there seems to me promise, plan, harmony."  Lucy seems genuinely happy at their union; there is not a hint of jealousy, regret or bitterness.

2) Her feeling about M. Paul are so conflicted.  There is a point where she knew he was seeking her and instead of staying put, she fled!  Even she did not understand why. "I felt from the first it was me he wanted - me he was seeking - and had not I wanted him too?  What, then, had carried me away?  What had rapt me beyond his reach?"  Lucy, Lucy - still a study in contradictions!

3) Lucy finds out about M. Paul's true love, a deceased woman named Justine Marie while on an errand for Madame Beck to deliver fruit basket.  After listening to a story by the same priest who took her confession many chapters ago (how convenient), Lucy now calls M. Paul her "Christian hero" and one who is "half-knight" or "half-saint".

4) Is sibling love all that will be between M. Paul and Lucy?  A platonic, devoted but virtuous love?  It seems so and Lucy is content.  "I envied no girl her lover, no bride her bridegroom, no wife her husband; I was content with this my voluntary, self-offering friend.  If he would but prove reliable, and he looked reliable, what, beyond his friendship, could I ever covet?"

It appears loose ends are wrapping up nicely, albeit not as expected as Lucy may not find true love after all.  There are six chapters left - what could possible happen?  The title of the next chapter, The Apple of Discord, seems ominous.

1 comment:

  1. I am leaning towards believing that Lucy will not find true love -- perhaps why this book was not as popular as Jane Eyre (which I haven't read, but has a famous ending).

    I can't remember, did Bronte write this before she found her true love (which I know was at the very, very end of her life). Maybe it is more autobiographical than we think. (?)