Tuesday, March 27, 2007

To weep is to make less the depth of grief ~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth

Anna Beer at the Guardian blogs says I am too self-conscious to read in public places, because I might start sobbing’ while discussing schmaltzy books.

The responses to this post, form an interesting pattern which varies from Anna Karenina to Brothers Kharamazov, Charlotte's Web, A Time Traveller's Wife, The Mayor of Casterbridge and what appeared like a cute cartoon called 'The Cat Came Back'.
Many readers seem to think that the demise of Beth is in Little Women but I distinctly remember Beth's death as described in it's sequel 'Good Wives'
(Brings back memories from school where I had devoured the entire pack of Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys in a single week.) Does anyone else remember Beth in Good Wives?

I'm a little shocked at the mention of 'The Wind in the Willows' ?? A scornful look at self for not shedding a tear even as a kid. Is the sentimentalist in me dead?

But no, I remind myself about the incident where I needed a tissue or two while reading the last chapter of the “Remains of the Day’ and the only other instance I remember being misty-eyed was while reading ‘Of Mice and Men’.
I think moving to tears by a book not only depends on the type of person you are but also on the mood while reading and there are some books which leave you with a melancholic mood -Maugham comes to my mind at this juncture.

And in the words of Anna Beer ‘Sometimes the tears are a sign that a book has truly, deeply moved me - but too often there are shadows of Dickens at his most manipulatively sentimental.’ Do you agree with this?

12 comments:

kyla said...

I am an awful softie with books and movies and bawl at the slightest hint of sadness.. i've even been known to shed a tear at a particularly moving tv advert, how embarassing! But I do actually enjoy it - nothing like finishing a great book, with a great tear jerker scene at the end to make you really feel like you've experienced the book!

Chimera said...

@kyla
i would be interested in knowing which TV ad it was :)

Shruthi said...

Swathi, I clearly remember weeping at Beth's death - and I haven't read Good Wives!
I am a big softie too - the first book I cried for was The Tale of Two Cities --- and after that I have shed loads of tears over umpteen books! :)

Anil P said...

I'll always remember The Razor's Edge for inducing such a moment.

Chimera said...

@shruthi
now that u mention it, I remember feeling really bad after reading The Tale of Two Cities.

@anil
well Maugham's books always make me feel melancholy.

Arvind said...

nice post.

i cry watching TV adverts, movies, reading books. i am one horrible guy. Yeah, of mice and men made me cry. and let me be honest, i dont shed a tear, most times i sob.. weep uncontrollably with tears rolling down my eyes - embarrassingly.
Life of Pi when Richard Parker just walks out of Pi's life when they reach the shore. it is one of the most undramatically shocking moments i have ever come across. in fact i can vaguely remember from the book the writer sayion 'no good bye, no one last look' or something to that effect. Atlas Shrugged, Eddie Willers desperately trying to push the train alone in the last scene. Erich Segal invariable makes me cry almost always. the list as the cliche goes is endless.
i can never forget Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) weeping in front of the telivision while watching an insurance commercial. whenever i see an insurance ad i just cant get Paul Vitti out of my mind. i can go on and on... probably i should write my own post on this.

M (tread softly upon) said...

interesting post. although i think the emotional aspects sort of change a lot with time. Like when I was a kid and read books or watched TV/ movie I wouldn't cry as much as I do now. I remember crying everytime I read a book where someone would die. but now even people moving apart or separating is enough to shed a few tears. It seems like i am getting overtly sentimental with time.

Chimera said...

@arvind,
Richard Parker walking out of Pi's life is indeed what you rightly called an 'undramatically shocking moment' and that clearly shows the sentimentalist in you.n one of the reasons that Paul Vitti sees Dr.Sobel is crying over insurance commercials. :)

@m
well, i thought with time I am becoming just the opposite of what u mention. As a kid i used to cry more easily in case of soppy movies/books but don't so easily these days.

Twilight fairy said...

Hey princess!! long long longest time! Where are u? Back in desh or still Belgium? Had left a comment for u when I guess you were at a hiatus or something?

Chimera said...

@twilight fairy
hey, looooong time really..
and i left belgium eons back (May last year to be exact) and then doing couple of trips to US.
right now 'am in Minneapolis but would be back soon in India.
ur presence has been missed here, glad u r back.

A Reader from India said...

Hi Chimera, What an interesting topic. I do remember Beth in Good Wives, on how Jo tries to bring Beth and Laurie together. I too feel a sense of melancholy on reading Maugham - 'The Merry-go-round' and 'The Razor's edge' were especially disturbing.

Few years ago, I remember reading Sylvia Plath's poetry on a bus, and feeling so numbed with sorrow that I was unable to talk for sometime. Also 'The Driver's Seat' by Muriel Spark, it was really depressing.

I felt very sad after reading the epilogue of 'The Lord of the rings', and also Harry Potter six.

Fully agree with the last line - I thought some of Dicken's works mawkishly sentimental!

Chimera said...

@reader frm india
well, i think i was sorta feeling a little low after reading Plath's Bell Jar.