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Yeah - they don't seem too consistent, either. Legolas Send a noteboard - 29/04/2012 12:09:21 AM
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.

Pride is the primary motivation, I guess, more than ambition as such - and yes, sometimes instant gratification. The scene with the barmaid in Besançon is bizarre in a great many ways - his instant infatuation with her, her instant infatuation with him, and his not seeming to care about how he's about to join a seminary. The attempted murder is even stranger.

I'm not sure I see many opportunities for advancement that he doesn't take, though? His rise is meteoric enough as it is, until he decides to throw it all away.
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...

Hm. Considering the behaviour and the fate of the high-born characters in the novel, I rather doubt that... be it Mathilde, or her other suitors, or her father. There's subtle and less subtle criticism of various groups of people in the novel, particularly the church, so if anything I'd be inclined to put Stendhal in the liberal camp, based on this book.

Also, this whole obsession with one-liners and with not being allowed to make up your "mots" beforehand - was that supposed to be mocking or does Stendhal really think like that? I really couldn't tell.
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.

Fair enough, I guess. I do hope Raskolnikov will be easier to sympathize with. :P
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Stendhal - Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) - 28/04/2012 10:26:21 PM 6666 Views
I think the most frustrating part of the novel is attempting to understand Sorel's motivations. - 28/04/2012 11:37:33 PM 779 Views
Yeah - they don't seem too consistent, either. - 29/04/2012 12:09:21 AM 1126 Views
Another of those I read when too young - 01/05/2012 06:30:28 PM 710 Views
I mostly have that with War and Peace. - 01/05/2012 06:41:38 PM 826 Views
I last read it a few years ago - 02/05/2012 03:38:02 AM 688 Views
Yeah, that does make me wonder about you at 21, I must admit. - 02/05/2012 06:57:17 PM 969 Views
A couple of my friends called me a "socially deviate asshole" back then - 02/05/2012 08:05:03 PM 1190 Views
That explains a lot. - 02/05/2012 08:22:04 PM 1122 Views

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