“I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if only one hides it”The Picture of Dorian Gray -Oscar Wilde
Reading The Picture Of Dorian Gray and American Psycho at the same time was an interesting experience for me. I rarely read multiple books at once (even if my GR profile says otherwise) because the story tends to overlap for me. The former one is my bookclub’s book of the month, whereas I discovered American Psycho when I stumbled upon a quote on a friend’s profile on Facebook that got me intrigued.
American Psycho -Bret Easton Ellis
There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.
In this case, both Patrick Bateman and Dorian Gray had a narcissistic personality (uhh, Bateman was also a psychopath, to put it plainly and requires a separate post just to discuss his character). It’s why I’m giving a heads up that this review might be slightly bit biased, but don’t’ worry, I did take notes while reading TPODG, so we’re mostly all good.
The first thing I noticed is that in both books, the element of narcissism is heavily involved and that Dorian Gray is modeled after Narcissus- the guy in Greek mythology who was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection because he once pushed away a nymph named Echo (Sybil in this book) who fell in love with him and she got so devastated that she wandered in the woods until there was nothing left of her except for the sound of the echo. All-day, Narcissus would just sit in front of his image while every nymph fawned over him. When realizing that it was just his reflection he’s in love with and will never get any love in return, he got into so much emotional pain and died of starvation while staring at his own reflection.
I found Lord Henry Wotton to be a scoundrel on an extreme level who found pleasure playing on Dorian’s unconscious egotism, but I can’t deny how strong a character he is even though he couldn’t seem to stop talking. (He talked. A lot. I had to guiltily skim over few dialogues) But I have to agree that the power of influence is very strong here in his character and shows how much it can alter a person, and Dorian Gray, as innocent as he was at first, completely morphed his personality as he got transfixed by his cynical way of looking at life. I wonder if he’d be the same person he was by the end of the book had he not met Lord Henry? one can hardly tell. But to let a person influence you this much, even letting them corrupt your personal beliefs? I wonder if he had any of his own or that why Basil Hallward was even his friend. I probably forgot that part.
I relished the ending. Had it ended any other way, it would’ve made this book too generic for me, Dorian not realizing that it would kill him to destroy the painting and deciding that to destroy the only evidence was the right way for all of it to end. He thought he was gone so far away that he won’t be able to atone for his sins
Reviewing classics is challenging for me because I fear that I wouldn’t get the history straight- that I’m inept at understanding art. There’s a lot of elements to consider before putting forward a gibberish review, and that makes it a cumbersome task for me.
*The book is not written in old English, so it was fairly easy to read for a classics-noob like me and thus made it more engaging