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IceAlisa
01-16-2012, 01:19 AM
Easy to do. :lol: But melodramatic is different from sentimental, wouldn't you say? Sentimental is hearts and flowers and Hallmark cards; melodramatic is . . . well, it's a dad going bats and dangling a baby over a pond, I'd say!

A dad dangling a baby over a pond is actually dramatic.

As to melodramatic:

1. Having the excitement and emotional appeal of melodrama: "a melodramatic account of two perilous days spent among the planters" (Frank O. Gatell).
2. Exaggeratedly emotional or sentimental; histrionic: "Accuse me, if you will, of melodramatic embroidery" (Erskine Childers).
3. Characterized by false pathos and sentiment.

I had the second and third definitions in mind.

The scene of a newborn being mistreated is true pathos IMO.

Wyliefan
01-16-2012, 02:24 PM
I guess one would have to read the book. To me, dangling a newborn over a pond sounds pretty over-the-top. Like the kind of story where any minute a stock villain is going to pop up, twirling his mustache and swirling his cape and declaiming, "You MUST pay the rent!"

IceAlisa
01-16-2012, 06:41 PM
No, Wyliefan. The villain is real. I did provide the part where he was beating up and locking up his wife--that sounds like a very real villain to me. It's a horrible situation but the way Russians deal with it, is to inject a tiny bit of humor or irony in this case into a horrible situation, hence the juxtaposition of the gnarly scene in the forest and the list of the illustrious titles that infant would receive in his lifetime. The mocking tone in which the drunk is described is also an example of this style.

IOW, isn't it ironic that this kid dangled by his foot by his drunk and crazy father and was almost drowned, would grow up to be one of the most powerful men in Russian history? I think you are confusing a bit of irony for something else, not sure what.

OTOH, melodrama and/or sentimentality doesn't make fun of itself. It takes itself very seriously.

Wyliefan
01-16-2012, 09:00 PM
Well, as I've said, I haven't read the book, so I'll take your word for it!

aliceanne
01-16-2012, 09:00 PM
Yes, I know, I know.

Her writing is certainly tight and her sense of humor--delightful. Love her pragmatism too.

I consider Austen a much better writer. I would be curious to see someone make a case to the contrary.

Austen goes to the opposite extreme in my opinion. Her heroines are so virginal and passive, waiting to be rescued by a good marriage, not very interesting in my opinion. I often wonder if Austen had ever been kissed.

IceAlisa
01-16-2012, 09:30 PM
I can see how the above could be applied to some of Austen's heroines but not all. Anne in Persuasion, yes but not Lizzie Bennett in P&P.

One could also say that Caroline Helstone in Shirley is virginal and passive. She only showed character once when she stood up for herself against Mrs. Yorke.

One scene that gave me major creeps was when Louis Moore was going through Shirley's things and ooohing and ahhing as to how clean her articles of clothing were before stealing them and other trinkets so that he could give them back when she comes around looking for them. Creepy! And all these corny references to big cats like leopardess, pantheress and lioness are unintentionally hysterical IMO.

galaxygirl
01-16-2012, 09:50 PM
I finished up Skyship Academy (http://www.amazon.com/Skyship-Academy-Pearl-Nick-James/dp/073872341X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326749938&sr=8-1) yesterday. I gave it 2/5 stars on goodreads. I can't believe that someone could write a book that is almost 400 pages long, consists almost completely of telling instead of showing and still has almost nothing happen. Things started to get a little more interesting towards the end but not enough for me to actually read the sequel.

I promised myself that I would read an adult book next, but I lied. :) Next up is Anna Dressed in Blood (http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Dressed-Blood-Kendare-Blake/dp/0765328658/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326750167&sr=1-1), which has dark brown-red type that my old fart eyes might not be able to handle. In which case, I'll read The Agency 1: A Spy in the House (http://www.amazon.com/Agency-1-Spy-House/dp/B005K68P7O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326750186&sr=1-1). It's about a secret spy agency that allows girls to kick ass in secret while remaining good Victorian young ladies in public. :)

Wyliefan
01-16-2012, 09:55 PM
I can see how the above could be applied to some of Austen's heroines but not all. Anne in Pursuasion, yes but not Lizzie Bennett in P&P.


My thoughts exactly! Austen's women are rarely accused of passivity.

moojja
01-16-2012, 11:56 PM
My thoughts exactly! Austen's women are rarely accused of passivity.

Even Anne in Pursuasion wasn't that passive. She refused her father's request to visit the rich relative, and visited her old schoolfriend instead. She also refused to marry Mr. Eliot, even though that's what everyone expects her to do.

Erin
01-17-2012, 12:14 AM
Even Anne in Pursuasion wasn't that passive. She refused her father's request to visit the rich relative, and visited her old schoolfriend instead. She also refused to marry Mr. Eliot, even though that's what everyone expects her to do.

And when she received the letter from Wentworth and knows his true feelings, she immediately tries to go after him to let him know how she feels.

I do think that Elinor Dashwood and Fanny Price are pretty passive (although Fanny also steadfastly refuses Henry Crawford's proposals), but definitely not Emma Woodhouse, Marianne Dashwood, or Elizabeth Bennet. Hard to say with Catherine Morland where she falls...she's easily led by the Thorpes, but when she realizes that they're pushing her around, she starts to stand up for herself. I think Catherine's not so much passive as just naive and ignorant.

aliceanne
01-17-2012, 02:38 AM
I guess if you consider refusing marriage proposals as being active, you could say Austen's heroines aren't passive, but that is pretty negative.

moojja
01-17-2012, 03:09 AM
I guess if you consider refusing marriage proposals as being active, you could say Austen's heroines aren't passive, but that is pretty negative.

Which gives you a good idea of how small and restrictive an unmarried lady's world was back then.
In both Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, I'm trying to think what active roles the heroines could have play in the story and still fit within the proscribe social boundary and 18th century mindset. In the beginning of Persuasion, Anne could have gone against her surrogate mother's advice, and her family's wishes and married Captain Wenthworth, but then we would have no story.

aliceanne
01-17-2012, 03:58 AM
Austen and Bronte were of different generations and had different upbringings, I don't know why people want to pick one over the other. Bronte commented on Austen because she was asked by one critic why she couldn't be more like her, which I think is a stupid thing to say to anyone. Austen obviously couldn't comment on Bronte because she was already dead.

I find P&P entertaining, and JE suspenseful. I find Shirley and Emma gag-worthy.

Austen has a very detached style, and Bronte has a very intimate style. Austen reveals very little emotion, and Bronte is very impassioned. Sometimes it works for them and sometimes it doesn't.

Nomad
01-17-2012, 04:14 AM
^ Yes. Just because Austen maintained a detached authorial voice doesn't mean that her novels lacked emotion. Marianne in Sense and Sensibility was emotional to a fault. Lydia in Pride and Prejudice was oversexed. Colonel Tilney in Northanger Abbey had anger issues. Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park was full of spite and malice. And so on. But Austen never personalized any of that. She reported it in her cool, witty way, so it doesn't exactly jump off the page at you, but it's there.

PrincessLeppard
01-17-2012, 04:15 AM
Um, anyone read a good zombie novel lately? Or at least something with mayhem?