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ellareed

Ella Reed Reed itibaren 3484 Gorna Verenitsa, Bulgaristan itibaren 3484 Gorna Verenitsa, Bulgaristan

Okuyucu Ella Reed Reed itibaren 3484 Gorna Verenitsa, Bulgaristan

Ella Reed Reed itibaren 3484 Gorna Verenitsa, Bulgaristan

ellareed

A Whiff and a Sniff and I'm Off Well, I finished and I'm glad I persisted. You know how dogs sometimes sniff each other for ages before deciding to hump? I was like that for a few years before I read the book, but more importantly I sniffed around ineffectually for the first 100 pages and could easily have blamed the book for my lack of engagement. I read the last 300 pages in a couple of sittings. I had to get on a roll. But once you commit, the book pulls you, rather than you having to push the book. In the beginning, I was afraid that it was going to be like a bowl of two kilos of green jelly that was just too rich or disgusting to finish. Instead, I felt it was just the right amount. So, some reactions. Style I thought "Confederacy" was very much like a zany TV sitcom. There was minimal description of scene and action. However, the dialogue was consistently high quality and very, very funny. You do want to write down some of the lines, so that you can use them on your friends, but secretly you know that you'll never get into a situation where they'd be equally appropriate or funny. You just have to recommend the book to the right person. The Author/Protagonist Initially, I probably made the mistake of confusing JK Toole with his protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly. However, when I realised that Toole was a slim, neat, tidy English teacher, quite unlike the obese Ignatius, I started to imagine Toole reading extracts from the book in class. Apparently, he was really popular with his students. I could just imagine the sense of privilege hearing him reading from "Confederacy". I can imagine the fits of laughter his students would have had as they heard some of the sentences and expressions emerge from his mouth. I like to imagine Toole alive and vital. Ignatius Reilly Ignatius is a resident of 1960's New Orleans, the fat kid in school who turns out to be a genius, but has no social graces. I don't recall him reading a book in the novel, but he is obviously well-read. He has constructed his own medieval world-view by which he judges everything and everybody around him. He sees himself as "an avenging sword" in a crusade on behalf of taste and decency, theology and geometry and the cultivation of a Rich Inner Life. He speaks in a wonderful, bookish formality that really confounds and pisses off everybody around him: "Do you think that I am going to perambulate about in that sinkhole of vice?" When he combines it with a dose of sarcasm, it's hilarious. Astounding Arrogance Ignatius is intellectually arrogant, he judges others harshly, he is removed from reality. He is literally and metaphorically larger than life: "The grandeur of my physique, the complexity of my worldview, the decency and taste implicit in my carriage, the grace with which I function in the mire of today's world - all of these at once confuse and astound Clyde." It's tempting to wonder whether Toole intended him to be an inept, but God-like genius, someone who came to the world in order to lead people to Heaven on Earth. There isn't an evil bone in his ample body. But he isn't virtuous as we would normally use the word. He's motivated by the greater good, only he hasn't factored people into the equation. When he ventures into reality for some purpose or other, it inevitably results in chaos and disorder, so there's a sense in which he's an agent of chaos. Ultimately, I think Ignatius isn't the Messiah, he's just a haughty, naughty boy. Infuences Much has been written about the influences on the novel. This is probably something better left to the individual reader, after you've read the book. Suffice it to say that I probably wasn't conscious of a lot of the influences, other than the obvious references to Boethius' "The Consolations of Philosophy". In one of his more benevolent moments, Ignatius says of "Consolations": "The book teaches us to accept that which we cannot change. It describes the plight of a just man in an unjust society." Ironically, Ignatius sets out to change just about everything in his life, whether consciously or subconsciously. He is not content with conformity: "They would try to make me into a moron who liked television and new cars and frozen food." Whatever the influences, "Confederacy" has an artistic integrity of its own. The Cloistered Mind Ignatius starts off sloth-like (nowadays he would play games and drink copious amounts of Coke all day and all of the night): "I was emulating the poet Milton by spending my youth in seclusion, meditation and study". His college love interest, Myrna Minkoff, is awake up to the fact that he has closed his "mind to both love and society", a "strange medieval mind in its cloister". Up from the Sloth Ignatius' mother embarrasses and coaxes him into getting a job, which is the beginning of his interaction with the wider world. "It is clearly time for me to step boldly into our society, not in the boring, passive manner of the Myrna Minkoff school of social action, but with great style and zest." Structurally, on his journey, the novel loosely deals with the three taboos in polite society: sex, religion and politics (though not necessarily in that order). Ignatius ventures through this subject matter on the way to some sort of climax or revelation at the end of the book. The Importance of Being Earnest On the way, Toole has lots of fun with his subject matter and influences. Ignatius strikes up an alliance with an openly gay character in their political battle: "I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate facade there may be a soul of sorts." When his new soul mate hands him his business card, Ignatius ejaculates, "Oh, my God, you can't really be named Dorian Greene." Dorian responds, "Yes, isn't that wild?" Together they set off to "Save the World Through Degeneracy". Ignatius is all the more attracted to this scheme, because he knows what effect it will have on Myrna: "The scheme is too breathtaking for the literal, liberal minx mind mired in a claustrophobic clutch of cliches." A Party in the City of Vice As "Confederacy" works towards its climax, the action escalates. It starts at a fund-raising party in an apartment, then it goes into the streets of this home of the Mardi Gras, a Carnival-esque city of vice, and then finally to the strip joint, "Night of Joy". Failing to negotiate his way through the debauchery, Ignatius ends up ejected and dejected in the street, where he is almost run over by the reality of a city bus. Freudian Schleps I don't want to make too much of this point, but I wondered whether the three main characters of "Confederacy" line up like this in terms of Freud's trichotomy: Ignatius: Ego Mother: Super-Ego Myrna: Id. These three aspects of Ignatius' life and personality work their way to some sort of resolution at the end of the book. Whether Freud was a conscious influence or strategy, it is possible that Freud's trichotomy might just be a nice metaphor for the influences on our worldview. SPOILER ALERT Salvation After all of the fun and games, it's difficult to predict how Toole would end his farce. But ultimately he was a romantic at heart, and there is a happy ending. Myrna visits Ignatius with the intention of removing him from the City of Vice and the vice-like grip of his mother. Her solution is to take him to New York, where she has been living. You wonder whether this is just swapping one city of vice for another, but to them New York represents a city of light, possibly of like minds, a cosmopolitan alternative to the conservative southern backwater of New Orleans. The story ends as they head out on the road. But we know what is in store for Ignatius and Myrna in New York: love and society and, perhaps, just perhaps, lots of sex. Ignatius ends his journey with the most romantic thing he could say to reconcile with Myrna: "To think that I fought your wisdom for years". Toole's students would have had tears in their eyes. February 24, 2011