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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man. When he walks into a room, everyone notices him, and believes him to be good. Dorian is discovered by a painter, who does an amazing portrait. The painter's friend happens to be at his house on the day the portrait is being finished, and starts to influence Dorian for the worse. He tells Dorian that the portrait will never grow older or less beautiful, but Dorian is already older than the portrait. Dorian then wishes it would be opposite, and for some mysterious reason .. it works. The portrait changes with his actions over time, but outwardly he remains young, fresh, uninfluenced, good.

With my family, the idea of inside and outside appearance has often been raised. Some of those who on the outside appear so beautiful have souls which a dog would not wish to smell. Others who appear plain or even ugly, have souls which could put the sun to shame. Okay. Not quite, but .. would we be different people if we could see our own souls? If others could clearly see our souls? Dorian can see how each action and decision affects his soul, but it does not make him a better man .. instead it makes him worse, because everyone still believes him to be unspoiled and perfect due to his young features.

Lord Henry is the man who takes Dorian's innocence from him. Lord Henry says what he does not believe, and believes what he does not say. He speaks in paradoxes and opposites and things which sound good but are not. Dorian Gray takes these to heart, and lives as a hedonist .. seeking, finding, taking pleasure wherever he may find it, and caring not for others who happen to cross his path. Lord Henry cares to watch the process. He doesn't care much for outcomes, but champions feelings and moving forward and pleasing oneself. It makes one sick. And Dorian is given freedom (in some sense) to pursue this sort of life, to care only for himself and what interests him, and to forget, ignore, revile the rest. It makes me angry that someone who speaks lies and does not love can have so much power, but I know that it is often so. That for some reason or other, we find certain people and voices and ideas powerfully attractive. May we learn to listen to those voices which speak truth, and challenge those which sound sweet but ruin all those relationships and people they touch.

Title:The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Date published:1891
Genre: fiction
Number of pages: 288
Notes: repeat reading. read online at gutenberg


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