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I think the most frustrating part of the novel is attempting to understand Sorel's motivations. Tom Send a noteboard - 28/04/2012 11:37:33 PM
I finally came to the conclusion that he was just angry and frustrated and didn't know where to go, what to do or how to achieve it, because there are numerous opportunities for him to advance himself that he doesn't take, despite your assertion that he is driven by ambition. The essential problem he had was that he had no patience or planning or forethought, so he passes up long-term opportunity for instant gratification.

I often wondered if Stendhal was engaging in a subtle critique of the notion that the low-born could amount to something. After all, Sorel's behavior would make for several great episodes of trailer-trash daytime television (à la Jerry Springer). An affair with a married woman, a dubious ecclesiastical background, attempted murder...

Essentially, I think that Stendhal can be forgiven for having a main character who doesn't behave in ways that always make sense to the reader, because his novel is one of the first "psychological" novels of the Nineteenth Century, and he certainly influenced Dostoevsky, who expanded on (and, in my opinion, mastered) the trend. The book is a bit uneven because it's an experimental book for its time.

Political correctness is the pettiest form of casuistry.

ἡ δὲ κἀκ τριῶν τρυπημάτων ἐργαζομένη ἐνεκάλει τῇ φύσει, δυσφορουμένη, ὅτι δὴ μὴ καὶ τοὺς τιτθοὺς αὐτῇ εὐρύτερον ἢ νῦν εἰσι τρυπώη, ὅπως καὶ ἄλλην ἐνταῦθα μίξιν ἐπιτεχνᾶσθαι δυνατὴ εἴη. – Procopius

Ummaka qinnassa nīk!

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Stendhal - Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) - 28/04/2012 10:26:21 PM 8138 Views
I think the most frustrating part of the novel is attempting to understand Sorel's motivations. - 28/04/2012 11:37:33 PM 1254 Views
Yeah - they don't seem too consistent, either. - 29/04/2012 12:09:21 AM 1637 Views
Another of those I read when too young - 01/05/2012 06:30:28 PM 1210 Views
I mostly have that with War and Peace. - 01/05/2012 06:41:38 PM 1341 Views
I last read it a few years ago - 02/05/2012 03:38:02 AM 1168 Views
Yeah, that does make me wonder about you at 21, I must admit. - 02/05/2012 06:57:17 PM 1471 Views
A couple of my friends called me a "socially deviate asshole" back then - 02/05/2012 08:05:03 PM 1658 Views
That explains a lot. - 02/05/2012 08:22:04 PM 1593 Views

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