Do you think that self image and vanity is going to be a continued theme throughout the novel? Not only becuase of the first four chapters but also becuase of the questions we discussed friday before we started the novel.
I agree with Emma (inner circle) that the story so far deals with beauty vs. intellect. I think it will be the main theme in the novel, especially considering the book started out with the description of an artist at work.Class – Why do you think both Lord Henry and Basil have such a fascination and obsession with Dorian Gray?
I do think that self image and vanity is always going to be a leading role in this novel. Not only cause of the questions that were brought up in class but But because that is what I see in oscar wilde.
emily- i think so. It seems that the whole theme of this book is about beauty and how beauty is only the perspective of the individual. About how no one persons beauty is universal.
I believe that vanity is the largest theme in this novel. Based on the reading done so far and the questions from class, it seems that this novel will venture into an almost narcissistic view of humanity.
Emily, do you think that it is vanity for Dorian or immaturity? He is very impressionable, but he is also so young that I can't tell what his central problem is.Class- Is Dorian an example of humans being a clean slate that can be given information the way Henry influences Dorian?
Class- SO far do you feel that Dorian Grey is truely honest with his opinions about beauty and his interaction with other characters? Or do you think he is putting on a show and trying to make them feel a certain way?
In the first chapter Lord Henry states that, " But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins." What do you think about this statement?
Emily H.- I think so because it seems like beauty(self image) and vanity always comes up. And it seems so important and seems like a big issue. So yeah..
Yes I feel as though vanity will be a recurring theme throughout the novel. What I think will be a major underlying theme that I find very interesting is Lord Henry's influence on Dorian's development and personal opinions, because they had only spoke for maybe an hour and Dorian’s world view had already been changed. What else could he change about Dorian?
I agree with Emma and Becca as well. I think it will be the main theme because of the way that the characters obsess over beauty.Becca - I think that Lord Henry got interested in Dorian Gray because Basil is obsessed at first. But as Lord Henry gets to know the character, he begins to find out that he is not like anyone that he has met before. Lord Henry is intrigued by what he sees in Dorian Gray. Dorian Gray seems like a character who does not deal with controversy, and Lord Henry finds it fascinating to see the reaction that Dorian Gray has to what he says about his beauty.
Emily, I do eleive that Dorian is an example of humans being a clean slate. We all have to learn somewhere. Dorian's somewhere is the world around him and Henry.Class- Do you think this influence is going to chnage Dorian for the better or the good?
emily- I believe that we will see this continued theme throughout the story. Oscar Wilde seems to reflect his beliefs in his work, and the whole beauty/hedonism and intellectual type of lifestyle that he lived is really going to show through in this story.
Becca- Basil loves Dorian because he is a definite source of inspiration because he has a "simple and beautiful nature," and he specifically asks Henry not to influence him. Henry clearly likes to hear his ideas reflected through others and Dorian is so innocent that he takes in every word of Henry. Maybe it isn't so much Dorian being vain and more Henry being obsessed with himself.
Emily L- I am not sure yet whether Dorian is demonstrating vanity or immaturity at this point. I feel that there is some manipulative qualities to him in some ways. I think it could be a little of both but it will show through later in the novel what his true personality traits are and his true colors will show through.
Class - What does the statement "The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world" mean?
Iain, Interesting that you bring up narcissism, a word based off Narcissus, the Greek in mythology who falls in love with his own reflection. I have seen alot of allusions and references to Greek love myths in this text (Adonis, Pan the Satyr, etc). Do you think that he may be basing his vanity and/or image of beauty off of these myths? If so, why?
Emily L. - I think that Dorian is the "clean slate". He seems so innocent and pure compared to Lord Henry and Basil. It seems like to me that Basil is acting as the "parent" trying to protect Dorian Gray from being influenced and keep his "simple and beautiful nature" while Lord Henry is trying to corrupt and influence him. Lord Henry wants to get Dorian Gray out of his shell and make him face reality.
emily h- i'm not sure if Dorian will express his true opinions. We are already seeing the influence that lord henry has on dorian and i'm not sure if lord henrys opinions are going to dominate and supress dorians true opinions on life.
Basil is so fasicinated withDorian becasue when he first saw him he was curiously terrified of him. Basil was afraid he would be completely absorbed by Dorian. For that reason Harry was also drawn towards Dorian so much becasue he had such an impact on Basil
Matt- I think Oscar Wilde was trying to prove his statement in the preface through this phrase. By saying that true beauty ends where intellectual expression begins, Wilde is going back to theme of how Art is useless and how it should be admired for what it is, not for having intellectual value to it.
afoyle - Which "he" are you asking about?
In response to your second question, Iain, about the ugly and stupid, I think that this is because he thinks those who could never attain beauty or cannot comprehend the basis of beauty need not worry themselves with the troubles beauty causes.
If we think that the beauty is going to be a prominate theme in the book then why does Mr. Wilde write on page 4 " that the ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world." Is he almost jealous of them that they don't have to put on a facade or spend large amounts of time trying to look a certain way.
Iain,I think that the statement means that smart and pretty people don't really see the world... they see the facts and the "party" life but the ugly and stupid people see everything not only the facts but the not so facts. They also have the advantage of many people in the world are in the stupid and ugly area. Also being pretty and smart is harder because they always have to portray that image.
afoyle - What troubles could beauty possibly cause? All beautiful people are happy.
My apologies, Iain. I mean the author . Why would he include Greek myth so profusely in a story of vanity?
Emily H.- I think Dorian Gray is being honest. Isnt he the type of person who is straight forward and if he thinks you're ugly he'll let you know and tell it to your face...I don't think he's putting on a show, and trying to point out a certain way. I think he's saying what he really thinks and believes. And its up to us if we want to believe it or not.
Class- Do you feel that Oscar Wilde's background is showing through in Dorian Grey's personality? If so how?
I think that Lord Henry is so interested in Dorian because he is so impressionable and he see’s Dorian as a test for his intellectual capability to completely control the thoughts of another person. I somewhat admire him for his ability to speak his mind and defend his points with such solid reason, but he also brought about a sense of uneasiness that such people could completely change a person’s world view. I began to wonder if such a person has ever influenced me.
Iain-Are you so sure? Have you asked every beatiful person you see and ask "Are you happy with your life?"
Courtney and Iain - I don't think that this influence would be good for Dorian Gray. The statement "The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world" explains it pretty well. Although Dorian Gray is not ugly, he is uninformed and in a way, stupid. By the statement, the people who are ugly and stupid have the best of it because they are oblivious to what goes on around them. They are pure and innocent, and in a way, uninfluenced.
Matt – I remember this quote. I think Oscar Wilde is trying to prove that beauty cannot exist entirely because at some point, it will go away. Lord Henry stated, “Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face” (6-7). He is saying that intellect is truth, while beauty is blindness, ignorance, and innocence. Beauty cannot exist if one has the wisdom and knowledge of the world, because a good portion of it is indeed ugly and cynical.
Ian- by saying "The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world", he means that they have absolutley no pressure on them. Nobody expects anything out of them so they can just live there lives without inside influence or pressure. People who are good looking and smart good agree that they have a ton of pressure on them they particulary dont want
Ian- I think that Wilde was trying to say that sometimes being ignorant or not beautiful makes life easier. Wilde was himself very intellectual, and as a result, he found himself frustrated at how the world worked. Through this statement, I think he is trying to say that if you are beautiful or intellectual, other things seem less beautiful and intelligent to you.
Iain- I hope that there was some cynicism in that comment about "all beautiful people being happy" haha.
why does henry bring up the church on pg. 3. Before the church he starts to say that pretty people cant be in high positions unless they are in the church.
Class- On page 5 second paragraph Harry states that conscience and cowardice are the same things what exactly is he trying to say and would you agree?
In response to what Soo K. said: "Ignorance is bliss".
Soo,I do see what you are saying.
iain- beauty could have some problem. You must strive to kep that beauty so that you can remin beautiful in other peoples eyes. If you are not beautiful, then life is easy cause you have nothing to maintain. If you let yourself go when you are beautiful people will notice more.
Ian- that statement is somewhat explained on pg. 6 but I think Wilde is making a major statement about society because he says "it is best not to be different from one's fellows" and then says the ugly and stupid are the best, which I take to mean that being ugly and stupid is the general description of the people in his society. If these people do not know about intelligence and beauty, they do not have to experience the sadness of not being that way. Wilde's example is that if people don't know about victory they won't experience defeat. This makes me think the idea that there can't be "light without darkness", so is that saying evil is just part of the world?
Emily H - Lord Henry, not Dorian Gray, seems like Wilde in my point of view. Lord Henry appears pessimistic in the book, and looks at beauty as slightly useless because it will disappear with time. He mentions to Basil in the beginning of the book that beauty may be good now, but intelligence lasts forever. Intelligence is more important than beauty to Lord Henry. Wilde also said in the preface, "The artist is the creator of beautiful things." and then says later, "All art is quite useless." Wilde is presenting his criticism of beauty by criticizing Dorian Gray, who in a sense is the symbol of beauty.
Soo / Class – Going off of your response, do you think Lord Henry is using Dorian? Does he honestly care about him and want to reveal the secrets of life to him for Dorian’s benefit, or is he just using him as a “study” to examine his influence on someone with such intense beauty?
Matt W. Are we talking about outer beauty or inner beauty
Dustin- i could see how they are the same because you can talk your self out of something when you think about it. They maid is a powerful tool to use for or against you. I would disagree though because usally there are things that make you want to do things more or push you to do things harder. Run faster when you are exushted. It is all a mindset.
Matt w- CHECK YOU SPELLING CHAMP. Ha ha but I agree with your statement about beauty. But there is more to beauty than physical beauty in my opinion.
dusty- i was refering to outer beauy.
Class- Wilde was intellectual and yet at the same time stated that intelligence in art defeats its purpose. What do you think Wilde valued more, intelligence or beauty?
Emily,Regard to the question you regarded to Iain. I think that evil just HAS to happen. If it didn't happen we as humans wouldn't get stronger we would stay the same.
afoyle - I was trying to play the Devil's advocate with the beauty statement. It's hard to intonate cynicism in a blog.
emily- there's no spell check on this thing. And i can't spell anyways. My bad.
EmilyL, I believe that it is saying that evil is part of the world. Not only that, but it almost seems like what "everyone" aspires to attain, intellect and beauty, is the evil in the world for it causes so much turmoil.
Class- Do you agree with Henry when he says "to influence a person is to give him one's own soul"?
Ian- It could mean a lot of things. But to me personally I think that "The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world" is like they live better instead of the ones who are beautiful and smart because they live life not worrying about their image or their actions rather than the beatiful and smart ones who's always worried about how they look and how people see them..and they're not really living the life that they should be living.
Iain, I believe your quote regarding the "ugly and stupid" is very true, as Courtney alluded to. I strongly believe that "ignorance is bliss" because you can believe whatever you want where as the more educated people are able to realize how cruel the world truly is. Furthermore, beautiful people are often given whatever they desire because other people admire them. Celebrities are a perfect example of this as they receive special privileges that the average person would never get.
Iain- No worrys. Just speaking my mind, nothing more.
Its ok matt. Im just giving you grief. I still love you, and I think you have both inner and outer beauty.
Ryan i think that he valued neither. he valued opinions.
Becca - I think that Lord Henry is trying to bring down Dorian Gray and influence him so that he would be less beautiful but help him in a way. Lord Henry criticizes beauty when comparing Basil and the portrait of Dorian Gray. He says that intelligence lasts forever. By informing Gray of what is outside his perfect, beautiful world, Lord Henry is educating him (whether he knows it or not) about how beauty will not last forever, and how he cannot rely on it all his life.
ian- i agree with emily. he was also desribing society. most of the people that we live around are not good looking and smart. most of use dont fit ubder that catagorie. I think that he was trying to tell use that are llives are not as hard compared to the good looking and intelligent
EmilyL - Evil is absolutely a part of the world. Without negative aspects to our lives, we cannot learn to be grateful for all the good things.
Ryan- I think Wilde valued intelligance much more than beauty because in the Preface, we discussed how he put all kinds of meaning and contradiction into it to show how intelligent he was and how no one else could understand what he was saying. Wilde had a big ego and valued his intelligence highly because he was so impressed with it. I think Wilde is shown through Henry because Henry loves influencing Dorian and just wants to hear his own opinions through everyone else.
Ryan i belive Wilde viewed his intelligence as a very beautiful thing
emily- evil is a neccesity to this world. if there was no evil than how would we know what good is. what would make the decisions we make good or bad. We would also take things for granite
Class-Do you think that Henry will have a potentially negative affect on Dorian. Do you think that Dorian will do something that he would not normally do because of the influence Henry had on him?
On what cecily said about Henry mental vain and dorian is physical vain, are both of them proud of there type of vainity? Do they cater to others to fall for their vanity?
Ryan - I think Wilde thought of his intelligence more. I don't think he would criticize and tear apart beauty if he appreciated it so much.
Emily L - This is a very powerful quote, and I do agree with it. By influencing someone, you do in effect imprint part of yourself upon them, whether in actions or emotions or beliefs.
Class- how do you feel about Wilde's opinion that people who only love once are shallow?
Dusty, in regards to Lord Henry's comment about conscience, i feel as though cowardice has a strong impact on one's conscience, i feel as though there are many other factors. After all, conscience doesn't always cause a person to turn away from a decision; often it causes a person to commit an act such as give money to charity. The conscience is not afraid of the church but knows it is the "right" thing to do.
abok- henry does, but i don't think that dorian does. Dorian seems to just embrace admiration yet is still a good person. Whether or not henry will influence that remains to be seen.
I think that Henry has his hold on Dorian. As Ms. Smith said about colors, He is Dorian GRAY, and I think that he has succumbed to temptation and the damamge has been done.
Emily H. - Because Dorian has broken out of innocence (kind of like the stages of a hero), I think that he will do something that will be drastic for a pure character like him.
Emily H,I do think that Dorian might end up doing something he wouldn't have done beofore henry's influence. It might be a negative one... it might even be positive... we don't.
Alex- Henry states that only people in the Church have beauty because that is the only higher “career” that is pure and innocent. Oscar Wilde constantly refers to beauty as being ignorance and innocence; the lack of wisdom and intellect. “A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen” (7). In other words, his mind has not changed. He does not mentally grow and mature as someone would in a different profession. This is merely because, according to Henry’s theory, Church people are not completely exposed to the secrets of life; they are sheltered and believe the same thing their entire lives. Therefore, they maintain their beauty longer than a person in any other serious profession could.
Emily: i don't know if Dorian will do something that he wouldn't normally do, but i do think that he will lose him self a little and adopt part of Henry's personality. He likes that henry makes him think. He wants to be deesired by a lot of people.
emily- i don'tes think that wildes opinion about only loving once is right. People can love many people, i think that loving only one person in your whole life is highly unlikely. Most people love many people in their lives, it's impossible to think that everyone can only love once. I think that you're only shallow if you love an excessive amout of people and base this love on only their physical beauty instead of their inner beauty.
Soo- do you think Dorian will experience a death or has he already passed through initiation because he realized his own mortality through the painting?
Emily L. - I have to agree with this comment. People who only love once means that they haven't loved anyone else. They are oblivious to other types of love and haven't experienced anything else than what they have, like Dorian Gray.
SIDE NOTE: It is so freezing in this room burrrrrrr.
Class: Do you think Dorian will see that his fiancé’s beauty will also fade and he will lose interest?
I feel one could argue in favor of Wilde's opinion, EmilyL, but more for selfishness rather than shallowness. He makes it seems by saying this, by loving only one, you give your love to one person and share with no one else. And if one truly thinks s/he is beautiful, wouldn't one want to spread that love to many people?
EmilyL- I see what Wilde means when he says if you only love once you are shallow. In a way i see it as saying that those poeple who love once have the mind set that only one person can ever make them happy. When in reality with the vast number of people in this world it is more than likely a handful of people can make you happy. If that makes sense at all
emily- i think that Dorian will expirence a death because he will end going through the path of a hero. initiation, loss of innoncence, tradegdy and death.
tucker- i don't think so. Dorian has based his life around beauty and i don't think that he will accept that beauty fades because then he will have to accept that his own beauty will eventually fade.
Tucker - I get the impression that Dorian is a very fickle human being. I believe that his love interests will change many more times.
Respondind to emily l. question on Wilde's opinion..People who only love once are shallow... that is probably something that he doesnt really believe in. Because how many people do we know now who only love once??..because I've never heard of a person who only love once..
Emily Logan – About people only loving once being shallow… this was a fascinating concept. Henry basically described faithfulness and true love as being a great weakness in people. His quote, “Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect – simply a confession of failure” (49) represents his view that one should not stop after one love. I guess I kind of agree with this idea in the fact that one should be able to love more than one person throughout their life. But as for “great love”, that is harder to repeat.
Matt- Wilde was saying that it is shallow to love only once and more reasonable and representative of an imagination if they love more than once. I like your idea of it also being shallow if you love tons of people based on beauty so is it like a spectrum of shallowness depending on how much you love. Is it wrong to only love one person, like when people get married due to love at first sight?
Daniel, Though he is going down the hero's path, presumably, does this mean that he will be a hero? Remember, one can only be a hero due to the resolution and he moves on because of his knowledge rather than in spite of it.
Emily L. - I think that he has already passed initiation due to the death of his innocence. Because of Lord Henry, he has found out that his beauty will not last. Dorian Gray is now insecure about himself. He knows something outside his perfect world now, so he has already passed through his initiation and entering the stage of chaos and end up doing something drastic.
Class- Do you agree with Wilde that any art with intellectual value, or that reflects the artist cannot truly be beautiful?
Is our class on Smart Steriods...sure seems like it
Weems, but with your background knowledge of the book (A League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen) we know that Dorian will remain young and beautiful for eternity so he obviously recognizes the fact that beauty fades and does whatever he can to keep his beauty.
emilyl- it's not wrong. It just doesn't happen alot. People have different interpertations of love. Some people may only think that they love the person they're married to. In their case they only love once. Other people don't really know what they think love is so they love everything under the sun. I personally don't believe in love at first sight. Infatuation, yes, but not love. So i can't really say if that's wrong or right.
emilyl and matt in loving more then one person is loving your self count. I bet that Dorain loves him self and other person. is that enough to love and not be shallow?
Ryan,NOT AT ALL!!!NOT AT ALL!!!ALL ART IS BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE OR REPRESENTS.
Dusty - I'd have to agree. This is one of the most intellectual fishbowls we've ever had.
Ryan- I disagree, ones opinion cannot determine whether what type of art is beautiful or not. beauty is determined by the eye of the beholder whether its intellectual or not
Ryan-I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One man's opinion doesn't make a work of art any less beautiful, I think, no matter what the subject of the art is.
dusty- i sure hope there's such thing as smart steroids cause i really need them. haha
I agree with Courtney. Art is a beautiful reflection of self. I think every piece of artwork has its own unique beauty.
Tucker – Yes I think his interest will fade. He fell in love with her for her beauty and her ability as an actress, not for her mind and her personality. Henry said at one point that “there is no doubt that Genius lasts longer than Beauty” (15). When her beauty wilts away, Dorian will realize that there is nothing real and intelligent about her. Sure there is no evidence of this yet, but I get the feeling that Wilde is proving in this novel that beauty and intellect cannot exist together. A person is either one or the other.
tucker-that's true. But...i don't know if it's mentioned that he lives forever in the book. Maybe in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but not in this one. But that's a good point, i forgot about that.
Dusty- are YOU on smart steroids!!!
ryan b- I think its depends and its a personal opinion. Because not everything we see beautiful we all agree that it's actually beautiful. Because we all have different likes and dislikes so I agree with Wilde.
Emily H,Thank you. :))
on an ending note, this is an interesting book. And kinda weird that men are calling each other beautiful. If you did that in our time, someone would get punched in the face.
Ryan B. - No, not at all. There are many works of art with intelligence that are beautiful. But in a way, art is a type of intelligence, isn't it? It's not like anyone can create a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa. So if art is a type of intelligence then wouldn't intelligence be a type of art?
My Take on “The Picture of Dorian Gray” Chapters 1-4 and the first Fishbowl: The beginning of this novel was very intriguing to me. From the first line in the preface, I really began to enjoy the controversial/contradictory writing’s of Oscar Wilde. To me, it seemed like his vision of the artist and beauty was unclear, that even he was unsure what he thought about the subject of beauty. The end to the preface left me truly unsure of what to think about Wilde’s so called, “unmatched intelligence.” After reading the first chapter, I really began to appreciate Wilde’s interpretation of beauty. It seemed like he gave an example of “true” beauty in many different ways, and that he wasn’t exactly sure what it was himself, so the only way he could do this was through personifying his ideas through different characters. There was some discussion on the blog of whether Dorian is an example of a clean slate, and too me, I think this is an interesting interpretation, but could easily be seen as true. Before Dorian talked to Lord Henry, he was pure and clean and innocent. To me, the purity of his seemingly untainted life is what Basil found beautiful. Basil explained that his “simple and beautiful nature could easily be spoiled.” Emily Logan said, “Basil loves Dorian because he is a definite source of inspiration because he has a "simple and beautiful nature," and he specifically asks Henry not to influence him. Henry clearly likes to hear his ideas reflected through others and Dorian is so innocent that he takes in every word of Henry. Maybe it isn't so much Dorian being vain and more Henry being obsessed with himself.” I completely agree with this statement. Henry was intrigued that Basil had painted a portrait of what was innocent, and Henry, being obsessed with himself, wanted to hear what an outsider would say about him. But I feel that Dorian lost some of innocence when he talked with Henry because he was already beginning to be influence by an outside source. As far as the question of Henry using Dorian that Rebecca asked, I think that Henry IS using Dorian. It, for me, seems that Dorian is like some sort of specimen in a Petri dish that Henry just examines and loves to look at. I’m not sure what to think of Henry yet just because of his egotistical out look and influence he puts on people. I think the blog seemed to go really well with some very good questions, but all of the questions that were asked during the live blogging were answered in the way that I would have answered them so there isn’t really a reason for me to repeat all of them. But I would like to say that I completely agree with Emma in that this is going to be a novel about debating the issue “Beauty vs. Intellect” and what exactly is Beauty and what is Intellect. I also loved Ryan Beckett and Soo’s conversation and the way Soo ended the blog. You both brought up some great points, and really made me think. My favorite quote of the novel so far: “It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.”Wow. That is amazing. I read that part like six times. Oscar Wilde = Amazing
emilyl quoted that Dorian has a "simple and beautiful nature, that could easily be spoiled", I think that this is most definitely a foreshadowing of how characters such as Lord Henry will impact him. You can see from even these beginning chapters that Lord Henry is tainting Dorian's once simple and pure outlooks.
Rebecca asked if Lord Henry was using Dorian, and I think that he most definitely is. Dorian seems almost like an object for Lord Henry's entertainment. He is fascinated by Dorian, no doubt, but it seems as if he makes sort of a game out of trying to influence Dorian, especially because Dorian is a creature of such beauty.
Class- How do you think Basil feels about Dorian becoming so close so fast with Lord Henry? Basil already mentioned that he disapproved of Lord Henry “influencing” Dorian. Since Basil seems to have a sort of infatuation with Dorian wouldn’t he be jealous that his sole inspiration is being taken away and having new thoughts placed in his head by the overly cynical Lord Henry?
Wow ryan....... really great comment. I agree that I don’t think even Wilde himself can define true beauty. I think that beauty is one of those things that nobody can really specify, not even on a personal level. I think that there are different sides to beauty and often they do contradict each other, Wilde does an excellent job showing that.
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