Thursday, March 17, 2011

Villette Readalong Week 6

Once again, poor suffering Lucy Snowe will have her heart broken.  She is so heartsick because of Dr. John, and so embarrassed by the idea that others may be reading her letters from him and laughing at her, that she finally seals his letters in a bottle and buries it.  Then the sad little thing is made to sit with Ginevra at a party so that Pauline can see if Dr. John prefers Pauline over Ginevra.

Lucy's relationship with Monsieur Paul becomes something of a roller coaster ride in these latest chapters.  In one moment he is berating her and the next he is asking her to call him friend.  Yet I think she actually thinks of their "friendship" as something of a game and delights in teasing M. Paul.  But she also appreciates that he sees in her something that her long-time friends do not see.  John speaks of her as "quiet Lucy" and says that she is over-grave in tastes and manners. But she writes of M. Paul "there starts up a little man, differing diametrically from all these, roundly charging you with being too airy and cheerful--too volatile and versatile--too flowery and coloury."

You may remember that last week, I was longing for Lucy to come out of her shell a bit, maybe even get angry.  And what do you know?  In these chapters, she finally does begin to show some spirit.  After the party in which John did appear to choose Pauline over Ginevra, Lucy had to ride home with the latter.  Of course, Ginevra was having a little spoiled fit and Lucy finally let her have it.  And as M. Paul's attacks continue, Lucy finally has the courage to respond.  At one point I was reminded of the movie "You've Got Mail." Meg Ryan's character at one point is bemoaning her inability to conjure up just the right response when she finds herself under attack.  Later she ends up apologizing for finally finding herself able to do just that. Lucy makes no such apology; she feels, rightly so, entirely justified.

The emphasis at this point in the book seems to be on the relationship between Lucy and M. Paul but I really can't imagine, yet, what she might ever see in this man that she frequently refers to as "despotic."  But while we are watching Lucy grow and change, maybe we'll get to see some changes in M. Paul as well that might make him more likable.  One can only hope.


  1. Glad to see that you are progressing nicely with this book. I am sort of avoiding reading all your thoughts, as I's like to go into this one pretty much blind.

  2. Lisa, I am convinced that Lucy and M. Paul will fall in love. How can they not? Their relationship has all the signs of a great love affair (or as great as an affair that Lucy can manage). I have to admit that scene where they are offering M. Paul gifts had me cracking up - the way he waited for Lucy's gift. I'm thinking the book is getting better now - finally!

  3. Which chapters does all of this take place Lisa? I'm so very confused reading this book!! :)

  4. I'm also hoping for such changes because so far, M. Paul just seems like a bully to me. I get it: he's jealous and doesn't know how to deal with it, but there's no reason to be mean!

    Actually, the scene at Hotel Crecy felt more than mean, it was almost vicious...

  5. This is turning about to be something of an "ask and you shall receive" kind of book. You asked for Lucy to get angry and VOILA! I asked, in my last post, for a real focus on Lucy and M. Paul's relationship. I got my wish too! So what would we like to have happen in the next section?

  6. I feel as you do about Lucy and M. Paul - I just don't see what she might see in him. He needs to get over his ego if they're to have an entire day of civility!

    I was happy that Lucy told Ginevra what for! She needed that! And although I'm sorry Lucy was so upset, I think she needed to acknowledge Dr. John's true character and realize he's not the guy for her and he isn't all that nice!

    It's nice to see that Lucy isn't so milquetoast and has some spirit.