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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Picture of a Thousand Words

One of the interesting aspects of taking an English Language based course is the fact that you will be reading and analysing English Literature, be it recent or old. Mostly, old. I am in the midst of getting my assignment done and in a whim, I had chosen Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray to be analysed for my Introduction to English Literature. 

The first time I read it was when I was in my primary school years. Being young and innocent, I read it without really understanding the full idea of what exactly Wilde was saying. I remembered the story well and liked it very much then, even though my comprehension towards the story was not the way it is today. This childhood joy has continued on until I decided to revisit the story recently.

The reason why the story drew me when I was young was because I had find it interesting that a picture could turn ugly and old while the real person remain untainted by time. I had devoured everything mystical and magic then, so it really is unsurprising that I would find Picture of Dorian Gray enjoyable. My staple of books ranged from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes to Enid Blyton's series. If it had any speck of magic in it, my nose will inevitably be buried under the book. Since Dorian Gray was a school library property, I had read it only once but the macabre facet to it remained indelible in my mind, never forgotten but never taken out to be reminisced. 

This year, 2010 marks the second time I have read the book and now that I have aged, I find it depressing and saddening to see how great a person's influence can be and how vanity can destroy a person. The joy that I had once a long time ago is now lost because I do not think I will be able to read the story ever again without feeling sorry for Dorian. The first time I read the book I had thought Dorian deserved his penance but now I am beginning to have second thoughts. I still think that Dorian had it coming but the blame should not rest fully on him, or should it? Whatever it is, the only thought that is going around my mind right now is just how much I wished I had chosen Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland instead. Something light and whimsical without a morbid aftertaste. Sigh....


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