Thursday, March 31, 2011

Villette Readalong: Done!

Aaaaaand DONE. I did it! I finished Villette after 2 whole months of reading! Thanks again to Wallace at Unputdownables for hosting this—I don't think I would have been able to finish it without the discussions and the others who were right there with me.

My thoughts on the last 7 chapters of Villette contain **spoilers**, just a warning!

So as most of you who've read this, I'm sure, I was not surprised about Polly or Dr. John/Graham. Graham's a good guy, and he ended up with a good, intelligent lady who is not too intelligent. They're pretty much perfect for each other and they love each other, so that's that. It was sweet how Polly's dad was so sad about how she wasn't a little girl anymore and would be leaving him, sort of. But that's just the way it is!

As for Ginevra, yikes. Talk about selfish and self-absorbed. At least she was fairly happy in the end, or seemed to be from Lucy's recounting her letters from the following years. And I have to say, I'm pretty disappointed the NUN (was anyone else amused by how Bronte always put that in ALL CAPS?) wasn't actually a ghost, but stupid suitor boy that stole away with Ginevra.

And Madame Beck and Pere Silas? Mean mean mean. I have to say I wasn't surprised about Madame; I don't think I ever really liked her. Tolerated, maybe, since she wasn't going through MY things, but boy was she nasty. And Pere Silas was right up there with her, unwilling for his "student" to fraternize with a *shudder* Protestant. How un-Christian. He is a bad priest! What with sending M. Paul off and all.

That second-to-last chapter was lovely. I was so happy for Lucy, and I got a flavor of Jane Eyre and the romance bit from that. It really shows how much love there was from M. Paul, how much he cared for Lucy. And Lucy's reaction was great. I loved that she couldn't remember what she said, because honestly I have no idea how she remembered the rest of the dialogue (unrealistic, but necessary). It gives the two of them a bit more privacy.

And then of course comes the tragedy in the last chapter. M. Paul is lost at sea, and Lucy never sees him again. I wasn't surprised by this either; I was fully expecting something terrible on the horizon, since Lucy keeps talking about how unhappy she is throughout the entire narrative. I do have to say, though, I didn't expect it to end like that. It certainly harkens back to Mrs. Marchmont and the tragedy that changed her life. The final two sentences showed the injustice of it all; the three who sent M. Paul away to the West Indies lived long and fruitful lives. So unfair. Lucy must be one sad old lady.

Thanks for sticking through to the end to those of you who did! I think I'm going to take a break from readalongs for now, though I might pick them back up when I find one I'd like to jump into.


  1. I feel the same way about the Nun, what a the CAPS, though!

    I think Graham and Paulina make a great pair but I'm not a big fan of Dr. John. He's not a bad guy just a little trite.

    I loved the last two chapters. I don't think any other ending would have been right although I wish it could have been otherwise. But I didn't get the feeling that Lucy was sad or lonely. She always wanted her independance and she got it and she had and was loved, something she didn't expect to have at anytime in her life. SHe has many letters from M. Paul, her school and a few friends. I think the novel closes with Lucy having more now than ever in her life.
    Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part!

  2. Hm, possibly! I always thought she was sad, from the comments she'd make throughout, but I suppose that is another way to look at it. I guess it's me thinking I'd be sad if the man I loved went away and then never came back, but Lucy is a different lady for sure.

  3. I tend to agree with Amy although I can see Tahleen's point. I felt that Lucy had such low expectations of any happiness in her life - that having the expressed love of M. Paul and the tangible display of that love (her home and school) made her happy despite his tragic death at sea.

  4. I was amused by the NUN mystery! Ever since she showed up to Lucy I couldn't help trying to figure that out - and I was surprised!
    I was pleased with the ending - better to have love and lost than not have loved at all. I also confess I did not sympathise with M Paul so much - I do not doubt his feelings, I just think he'd have been really bossy towards Lucy (and why didn't he let her choose how to arrange her school?).

  5. Glad you joined! I had a good time knowing you would all be there each week as well.

    I was surprised by the ending... she kind of built us all up just to tear away what we had gotten. Good stuff though, it would have been against the rest of the book if Lucy were to end up too happy, right?

  6. I loved Villette, it's my next favorite after Jane Eyre. I liked M. Paul from when he was first introduced. And I like Graham too. Polly was one of my favorite characters.
    I agree with Madame Beck being nasty in the book, but do you know what it's based on? She had a right to be! The real life Madame Beck and M. Paul weren't cousins, they were married! Madame and Monsieur Heger. And Charlotte Bronte fell in love with Monsieur Heger so she was jealous of Madame and portrayed her like this. And Madame treated her very nicely. Not nice on Charlotte's side really. Charlotte gave the book all kinds of really horrible endings but her publishers wouldn't except them.


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