Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Idiot

Finished The Idiot a while back but I never posted my favorite passage. I found this one to be much happier than Crime and Punishment, with some brief pictures of true joy, though the ending was still bleak. Throughout the whole book you are rooting for the prince to be able to enjoy happiness: to be respected and admired by his peers, to be confident in himself, to be loved by Aglaya...but in the end, he seems destined for a substandard life. Is it true that lack of shrewdness is a sign of weakness? The prince is supposed to be a depiction of a wholly good man, though I didn't really find him to be so. There were certainly instances where I was downright angry at him because he clearly knew how he was impacting Aglaya's feelings and yet he still went ahead and did the hurtful thing. And surely intelligence is a sign of goodness that he was rather lacking (at least formally). But overall I again resonated with Dostoevsky's way of stealing my thoughts before I knew they existed, and portraying them in a way that makes a lot of sense to me. I like getting caught up in a world that seems exotic and utterly unlike my own, only to realize later that I've had the same thoughts, almost verbatim. Kind of neat. Anyway, here is my favorite passage :)

"Oh, you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it; you may be sure that the highest moment of his happiness was, perhaps, exactly three days before the discovery of the New World, when the mutinous crew, in despair, nearly turned the ship around, back to Europe! The New World's not what matters, though it were to fall off the face of the earth. Columbus died almost without seeing it; and, essentially, not knowing what he had discovered. It's life that matters, nothing but life--the processes of its discovery, everlasting and perpetual, and not at all the discovery itself, at all!"


Melanie said...

I want to have your blog fed through my RSS feeder, but I use NewsFire and it's not showing up as an option. Can you change that? :)

p.s. I love you

Jess said...

Hey Mel,

The options are what Blogger has given me, so I'm not sure how to change that. You should be able to manually add me by pasting this url into NewsFire: http://www.jessicasprinkel.com/feeds/posts/default

Let me know how that works, and I love you too!