NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
TTC: Classic Novels, Lecture 2
This Teaching Company: Classic Novels lecture was on Moll Flanders. Professor Weinstein discussed a bit of biographical information about the author, Daniel Defoe, who is arguably considered the father of the English novel, and the style of his writing. Moll Flanders specifically is written in an episodic manner rather than having what we would think of as a plot, and the writing is very plain as opposed to poetic. Moll pretty much tells her story like it was -- straight-up without a lot of flourishes.
The quote from the book around which most of the lecture was based was from a scene when she is speaking to a man she loved deeply and had not seen for many years. She asks him, "Do you not know me?" Professor Weinstein used that quote to discuss the many forms of disguise Moll uses at various times in her life, both literal disguises one can see, such as when she dresses up as a boy while thieving, and figurative in the sense that when one lives in a large metropolis, it is easy to become "invisible".
That is still true today. Considering all the people we come into contact with daily, how many of them really know us? How many do we really know in return? Who really knows our past or what our daily lives are like away from places such as school or work? Who knows our hopes, our dreams, or what goes on in our heads? In the book, other characters see Moll doing things such as scheming to get a rich husband or stealing valuables. From the surface she looks to be very shallow and materialistic, but reading her story lets us into her private thoughts and reasonings which reveal a much deeper humanity. However, in our daily lives, we don't get to read people's inner workings. We only see how they act, what they do, and they see the same of us. We can and do disguise our real selves for privacy, for emotional protection, from embarrassment, from a desire to be something we're not, for any number of reasons. Sometimes we disguise ourselves so well that the question becomes not "Do you know me?", but "Do I know me."