Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Unflattering Mirrors.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman has gone beyond a joke now. Little did I know when I started this book how much of my own nature I would see reflected back at me, and how many of my own experiences paralleled.

I reached the point tonight at which Charles breaks off his betrothal to Earnestina, and admits in so doing that there is another woman involved. It depressed me; the inner fever was all too familiar. We even engaged the same half truths and evasions. (And Earnestina saw through them, of course, as women almost unfailingly do. Tactics which might work perfectly well in politics and the boardroom fail hopelessly when man and woman go head-to-head in matters of the heart. This is one situation where intuition beats logical manipulation hands down.)

Maybe there’s nothing terribly odd or interesting about Charles and I being so similar; maybe we’re just examples of some not uncommon archetype: wretches cursed with the albatross of high conscience hanging around our necks, yet still driven to follow the road to imagined perfection until the innocent get hurt and we bathe in the boiling brine of guilt and self-loathing.

We’re not bad people at heart, you know, and we can’t even use the excuse of weakness to justify our actions. It isn’t that simple. It’s more about riding the irresistible wind and regretting the unintentional damage.

That wind has fallen light for me now; I can only imagine I’m still 32 as long as I don’t look in the mirror. Charles really is 32, which is why I’m not so sure I want to finish the book.

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