viernes, 14 de agosto de 2015

The Gentle Spirit - Fyodor Dostoyevsky


I will not write about how much I love and admire this writer, because I have done it in every review.
I guess I did it anyway...

So. This was an unusual read. I don't like reading love stories that much. It has to be exceptionally
written. And it mustn't focus mainly on the loving part, you know, the chase, the conquest, bed, jealousy, the break-up, whatever. Those mere descriptions bore me. It must have something else, something deeper; a true analysis of the lovers' minds. That captivates me completely. And this book has it all, with Dostoyevsky's distinctive writing style.

This short story is about an extremely proud and materialistic forty-one year old pawnbroker and a sixteen year-old girl. She was a poor girl living with two mean aunts because her parents died. The man offered her a marriage proposal after considering her situation. Almost a charity case for him. He felt noble, different, superior... but did not say so; he expected her to figure that out on her own. He considered he was masterly at speaking without words. He was silent, especially with his wife. All because of his pride, apparently. This all-or-nothing kind of man wanted her to find out who he was, all by herself. So he chose not to speak to her. “See into me for yourself and appreciate me!”. A ridiculous solution to a complicated problem. And the girl, in front of such a silent treatment, acted the same way. Later, he described her as an aggressive “rebel”.
“Allow me, I knew that a woman, above all at sixteen, must subordination have be in complete subordination to a man. Women have no originality. That - that is an axiom...”
Lovely man. Every woman's dream.

These characters are not that easy to understand. There is a lot to read between the lines and the wife's character is not developed with details. I assume that was on purpose... to overshadow her presence, since the whole story was written from this “enigmatic” man's perspective. I guess that is what happens when you alienate yourself from people: you forget how to treat human beings and become unable of any intimacy. You cannot always communicate through silence. No one has any obligation to guess what the hell is going through your mind; if you are suffering, if you are happy. Impossible, my friend.

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