Thursday, March 24, 2011

Villette: The End

I'm done! Villette is dead. Okay not really, but you know what I mean. Its over and I can now rest knowing that I won (okay, so there was no competition, but I won in the sense that I didn't let the book beat me - I beat it (meaning I finished it regardless of how boring it was)).  Anyhow, its done and I can honestly say that I didn't hate the book and I'm glad I participated in the read along. I suppose at the end of the day, its just like one of those stuffy classics I had to read for school and immediately forgot about afterward.  Anyhow, before I delete the book from my Kindle, here's what happened in the end  (and yes, the ending did make me smile).

Lucy and M. Paul finally admit that they have a friendship, a close one - so close, that he wants her to think of him like a brother?  That bit was weird - how can you think about someone you want to be with romantically as your sibling?  I know he was trying to establish a relationship with her, but seriously?  Anyhow, before all of this talk of friendship, Lucy finds out (via an errand Madame Beck has asked her to run for her) that M. Paul was once in love and that the woman died.  So he has taken it upon himself to be financially responsible for her family and his priest (the man who encouraged him and counseled him - this is also the guy who listened to Lucy before she fainted).  He has chosen to live the life of a pauper, as long as these people are taken care of.  This altruistic nature melts Lucy's heart and she realizes what a great man M. Paul is.  And so their friendship blossoms and this leads to drama - Madame Beck announces that M. Paul has quit teaching and will be leaving for a faraway country.  Lucy is shocked. What!?! Why!?! When!?! And of course, where is he? Lucy hasn't seen him since they discussed their relationship (you know, the whole love me like a brother scene).  Each time he is at the school, Madame Beck finds a way to keep them apart - in fact, the day he comes to say goodbye to his pupils, she literally blocks Lucy from being seen and ushers M. Paul out of the room ( I had to laugh at that scene. Come on, Lucy! Why didn't you push her aside or run up to M. Paul?!).  Its just crazy how blatant Madame Beck is about keeping Lucy and M. Paul apart and how Lucy doesn't even try to stop her.  Perhaps her will is stronger than her tongue, because one night that she is given a sleeping drug, the drug does not put her to sleep, instead it jolts her awake.  Overcome with the fear that she will not see M. Paul before he leaves, Lucy sneaks out of the school and wanders around town and sees everyone she knows (and yet, they don't see her? I swear, she really can blend into the background at times).  Anyhow, as a result of her spying, she learns that Madame Beck, the priest and the old woman (the one M. Paul is taking care of) have all plotted together to keep Lucy and M. Paul apart.  They each have a stake in this new job of M. Paul's - apparently the old woman discovered some land of hers that needs to be tended to for three years, before she can make any money off of it - so all three, who believe they will each get a cut of the money (except for the priest, he just hates that Lucy is Protestant), have decided to get M. Paul to tend to the land - which will take him far away from Lucy.  OMG! Lucy is shocked and hurt by this truth.  She runs back to school and finds the nun in her bed and wants to scream, but she can't.  As she gets closer, she realizes that its not the nun, but just the nun's clothes.  Anyhow, Lucy and M. Paul finally get to spend time together and she tells him what she learned as a result of her late night wanderings and he shows her why he has been away from her these past few weeks.  M. Paul has acquired a house, which can double as a school and has set it all up for Lucy - he knows that she has been saving her monies in the hopes of one day opening up her own school.  He told Lucy that he feared for her being alone with Madame Beck whilst he was gone, so he decided it would be best to have her realize her dream of opening her own school sooner than later - which of course, he would become a part of when he returns in three years.  Lucy is stunned and deeply moved by M. Paul's actions and realizes just how much he cares for her and she cares for him.  And so, M. Paul leaves to tend the land and Lucy spends the next three years enjoying her new life and awaiting the return of the man she loves. Before I forget, we also find out that Dr. John and Polly get married and have children and remain happy.  Oh and Ginerva and her beau elope and she explains to Lucy that it was Alfred (Ginerva's beau) that dressed up as the nun - it was a means of disguise he used in order to sneak around the school to meet up with Ginerva.  How crazy is that!?! Poor Lucy, all along she thought she was being haunted by a nun.  And so the book ends.

I'm happy that Lucy found love and was able to get away from Madame Beck.  And I'm glad that M. Paul turned out to be a somewhat decent man.  I'm still not sure how much I liked Lucy or this story - it was dreadfully boring at times and it wasn't until the end that the pace picked up, but I am glad I got a sort of happy ending.  After all that loneliness, it was good to see Lucy recognize she didn't want to be alone anymore. 


Cath said...

PHEW! Congrats on slaying the dragon! And thank you for these awesome recaps, because I am not entirely sure I could handle it.

Nicely done! What's your next pick? ;)

Karen K. said...

I'm going to respectfully disagree, I didn't think the ending was happy at all!! It's not explicitly said but I was not optimistic. I'll say no more since I don't want to spoil it for everyone.

Bellezza said...

I thought the ending was terribly sad, too. For her to finally find love, and then have it torn from her...it seemed to me that she's destined to a life of unbearable loneliness. My heart broke for her. Maybe I can appreciate this book more than some who were bored by it because I read it all in a go, finishing it weeks ago. I can't pick something up and put it down again with any sense of continuance. If I had done that, I would have felt really frustrated. So, I guess read alongs don't work for me when the book is especially long. Nice to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings though, as well as with the other participants.

Nadia said...

Constance Reader, I'm not sure what I'll be reading next - definitely something light.

Karen K. and Bellezza, after reading your comments I went back and re-read the ending and now I know what you both are referring to - Lucy hinting that M. Paul died at sea. And yet, I still don't feel as if Lucy will be unhappy, because even though she has lost the only man she ever loved (which is terribly tragic), I still don't see Lucy as the type of person to be with anyone. She seems more comfortable being alone than with anyone. I shouldn't have used the word happy to describe the ending, but I was glad to see that she was able to experience love (as much as she allowed herself to), because that showed me that Lucy was capable of feeling those emotions. She was such a closed off character that I'm not sure she would have been happy with M. Paul in the end.

Lisa said...

I'm glad you were able to smile at the end! But this one really does make you see why kids has classics so much when they're forced to read them.

Tom C said...

What an achievement! You make it sound like NOT your favourite read for 2011. I'll pass on this one I think

Wallace said...

Yay, you made it!!! We definitely felt different about it, but I'm glad we both made it through. The last few chapters were definitely my favorite. I am in the camp that the ending was sad... but at least Lucy had a taste of happiness!

Anonymous said...

I know you wrote this blog post over a year ago, and I'm super late to the party, but I couldn't resist letting you know that I laughed when you said, "I won!" I just finished reading Villette and I feel the same sense of triumph. I read Jane Eyre, most of it during a cold and rainy day, and was completely transfixed, which led me to want to read another Bronte novel. In contrast, Villette seemed like a chore. And when I got to the end, all I could think was, "I just slogged through 600 pages for this ending??? You've got to be kidding me."

Anyway, your post about the novel reflected my sentiments exactly. Lucy. Ugh. And this unrequited love nonsense? Maybe she had a crush on Dr. John, but love? I don't buy it.

Ladies, do yourself a favor and read Pride and Prejudice again. 1/2 the length, 10 times move moving.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean boring? Granted that the first half of the book refuses to tell you where it's taking you, even as it takes you by the hand and drags you across Europe to the fictional town of Villette, it's still never particularly dull! I love the inner thoughts, the emotion, the lavish descriptions. The language itself captivated me, the characters further held me, the plot intrigued, the feelings gripped me, the insights moved me with their shocking truths.