---Book Review: “Camille”
I read the Chinese version of “Camille” a few years ago. At that time I was deeply moved by the main character Marguerite Gautier. “Camille” or “The Lady of the Camellias” by Alexandre Dumas, fils, is the story of Marguerite Gautier, a young courtesan, or kept woman, in Paris in the mid 1800's, and how she falls in love with a young man, Armand Duval, and then tries to escape from her questionable past. Unfortunately, it comes back to haunt her and she ends up returning to that life and dies painfully and alone, but with the knowledge that she was a noble woman at heart. When I first began to read the book, I did not care for Marguerite or her attitude or lifestyle, but as I got further into the narrative, I realized that her saucy attitude was a front to cover the lonely woman that she really was. She felt used, abused and unloved, until the gentle Armand Duval came into her life and showed her that he loved her as a person and not for what she could do for him. It must have taken great courage for Marguerite to leave the life she had lived for so long, knowing all along that it was probably too good to be true and would not last indefinitely. And it also showed that Marguerite really loved Armand Duval for she could even change herself for him.
However, happiness didn't last for long. When M. Duval, Armand's father, came to her, pleading for her to leave Armand to save both Armand's reputation and that of his younger innocent sister, Marguerite saw a way to become pure of heart, if not in body. She felt that it was her duty, because she loved Armand so much, to do this even though it meant giving up her own happiness and hurting Armand temporarily. She reluctantly returned to her former life, knowing that some day Armand would forgive her. Sadly, she died in debt and basically alone, except for her one female friend, Julie Duprat, who helped her during her illness. She had her journal sent to Armand after her death, explaining why she had made the choices she had. I think Dumas's last few lines about Marguerite being the exception, not the rule were quite true, and I also agreed with his view that while her lifestyle could not be condoned, we as a society assume that all of these type of women are cold and heartless, while this may not always be the case. A person can make the wrong choices in life when they are young, and try to redeem themselves, but sometimes past situations prevent them from changing their lives, even though they desperately wish to do so. This applies to both men and women in many different types of circumstances: involvement in crime; drug or alcohol abuse; gambling; prostitution; financial problems; poor marriage choices; etc. And this is the fact, which exists in the whole society.
As far as the other characters in the book, I think Marguerite was right in saying that no one truly cared about her, but only wanted something from her, the only exceptions being Armand and Julie Duprat. Of course, the Comte de G. and Comte de N. wanted her body and appearance. The Duke needed to “wake up and smell the coffee” and realize that she could never replace his dead daughter. If he truly cared, he could have helped her leave her lifestyle without “keeping” her himself. And lastly, Prudence was a blood-sucking leech who used Marguerite almost worse than the men. I also think she was jealous of the fact that Marguerite had so much more courage than herself and someone truly loved her.
Jane Eyre-A Real Beauty
After reading Jane Eyre, I think Jane Eyre is a great woman. Through a serious of troublesome situations between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, the author set up a great female image before readers: insisting on maintaining an independent personality, pursuing individual freedom, advocating equality of life and being confident before hard conditions.
Her early life at Gateshead was terrible, everyone seems harsh on her. She survives her parents at an early age, and has to live with her ugly aunt and three cousins. She suffers large quantities of bad conditions that others may not experience. However, she does not give up in despair, she does not destroy herself mentally, instead, Jane Eyre is filled with unlimited confidence, and she is a strong spirit, a victory over the inner personality.
She is then forced to send to Lowood Institution, unfortunately, life there turns out to be terrible, too. She is still under physical and spiritual punishment. Mr Brocklehurst insults her to be a liar before all pupils and teachers. But there she meets one sincere friend Helen Burns and one sincere teacher Miss Temple. They always treat her well. She then behaves very well and get many people's recognition. Six years later, she makes a teacher there.
After two years teaching life at Lowood Institution, she plans to leave there to pursuit her own life and happiness. She was in a position of governess through a letter from Thornfield. Her life was totally changed after that. There she met a lovely girl, Adele and her master, Mr. Rochester. She has a special feeling about them. With the development of the plots, Jane Eyre succeed a large sum of money from his uncle, and through all bitter things which was caused by Rochester's wife in Thornfield, Jane Eyre and Mr.Rockester finally get married and lead an ideal life.
I think Jane Eyre is an autobiography of Charlotte Bronte. Although the story is made up, the heroine and people's life and the environment in the story were taken from the details of real people around and experience. Charlotte Bronte described a young girl's struggling life to express her inner thought: everyone is equal regardless of his or her gender. The uniqueness of Jane Eyre is not only lies in its truth and the strong artistic appeal, but also lies in the particular female image. The love story of Rochester and Jane Eyre vividly shows the fire of passion and sincere heart strongly reveals their notions of love. She looks down upon the upper class who only use their power to do what they intend to do and laughs at their stupid to show her independent character and beauty dream.
In the actual fact, she wasn't pretty, even herself knows that, and of course, the ordinary appearance make others have bad opinion on her, even her own aunt dislike her. And some others even thought that she was easy to look down upon and tease, but she was totally much more than “the plain and ugly tutor”. And as a little governess she said to her master: “Do you think my poor, obscure, plain, and little has led me to be a soulless and heartless person? You have done a wrong thing!”Underneath these lines sees the equality of human in Jane Eyre's mind. She has affection towards her master, Mr. Rochester, but when she finds that he has already had a wife, she leaves him and her love place without consideration. Although God did not grant her a beauty and wealth person, instead, God gave her a kind mind and a thoughtful brain. Her idea of equality and self-respect impressed us extremely much and make us feel the power inside her small body.
In my mind, a person's beauty on the face can only make others feel that he or she is attractive or charming, if his or her mind isn't the same noble as the appearance, beauty of this kind cannot last for a long time, because other people will one day find that the beauty which had charmed them was only a superficial one, it's not sincere, they will not like the person any more. For a long time, only a person's great virtue, a noble soul, a beautiful heart can be called as an everlasting beauty, just as Albert Einstein said: “A person must be held accountable for their biological survival or all of the meaning or purpose, from an objective point of view, I think it is ridiculous. Everyone can have a certain ideal, which determines the ideal and his efforts to determine the direction. In this sense, I never easy and the enjoyment of life as an end in itself, the ethical basis of this, I call it the ideal pigsty. I lit up the road, and continue to give me new courage to face up to the pleasure of the ideal life is good and the beautiful and true. If it were not for like-minded between the warm feelings, but focus on the objective world, the arts and sciences in the field of work will never reach the target, and then it seems to me that life would be empty. There are efforts to pursue the goal of the vulgar - property, vanity, luxury living, I think it is despicable.”
Now I get a better understanding of what real beauty is, as we are all human-beings, so we should distinguish whether a man is noble or vulgar.
Jane Eyre's story makes me thinking about our future life and I learn much from her experiences, I know everyone will have a better tomorrow if one holds his beliefs, regardless of one's status and the situation he is in.