My middle name is Grey, and I love it. It was my grandfather’s middle name, and having it makes me feel like I get to take a small piece of him with me even though I never got to meet him. It’s kind of a silly way to feel, but it’s true. Everyone talks about what a wonderful man he was, and I can tell by looking at the results of his labor that he was an incredibly hard worker. He seems like the kind of man you couldn’t help but respect.
All of that is preamble to say that it bugs me when I see the word “grey” spelled “gray.” Yes, “gray” is a perfectly good spelling. It just seems wrong to spell it that way when I’ve spelled it correctly with an “e” my entire life.
And now to the real point. I’m reading The Picture of Dorian Gray at the moment, and it’s so darn quotable! That Oscar Wilde fellow is famous for a reason. The characters aren’t all lovable (would you want them to be?), but their expressions are lovely regardless. One of the less cuddly characters has this to say early in the book:
“How dreadful!” cried Lord Henry. “I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.”
And this is the narrator’s observation about confession:
He covered page after page with wild words of sorrow and wilder words of pain. There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
I don’t think these statements necessarily line up perfectly with truth, but don’t they resonate with you? Don’t you just hate it when someone proves you wrong with clear logic?! I know I do. Even if I agree with them in the end, that first moment stings. And the act of confessing lifts a giant weight off of your shoulders, no matter who you tell or what you do next. Like I said, it isn’t the entire story, but it sure is good stuff to chew on for a while.
I can’t wait for the main characters to start their plunge into trouble. I can see it coming, they just need to make one or two more steps towards destruction and everything will unravel. Wilde is so good that he can even make me relish the destruction of his characters. They deserve it, and I can tell that their punishment will fit their crimes. There might be a few innocent casualties along the way. Fortunately, they’re not real either, so I don’t have to feel too sorry for them.