Thursday, February 7, 2008


Well, there goes the first book, but before we bid Adieu to both Swann and Marcel, lets take a look at that last section. As mentioned in the other post, Marcel clearly takes after Swann in his obsessive manner, or maybe Swann just exemplifies this obsessive streak inside of him. Marcel definetely had the obsession before we were formally introduced to Swann, via the desire for the kiss. Now we can see his obsessive nature when it comes to objects of love. I find slight irony in the Marcel's attraction towards Gilberte as Gilberte clearly echoes Odette and Marcel echoes, or at least seems to follow in the foot steps of, Swann.

Now I think that there should be slightly more leeway granted Marcel when it comes to matters of love, considering that he is notable younger than Swann. Such a level of Obsession is slightly more acceptable when he who is displaying it is a child. Obsession is childish, in a sense, because it shows a lack of maturity or a will to control desire. When we see Marcel tearing himself apart pining over Gilberte it is almost cute, because we consider such things to be the norm when one is a child. However, in reference to Swann doing it, we see it as very distressing because while this pining is on the level of childlike behaviour, we all indulge in it.

I felt as if this last section really didn't wrap up too much, or expand upon too much either. At the end we get to touch upon the theme of Memory, having Marcel wander around the garden and think about the past. We also get the theme of obsessive love come up via and Gilbrette, and reality being different from imagination when Marcel gets suddenly sick and is unable to go on his Grand Tour of Italy. I pray that my classmates can sympathize, or even empathize, with this sort of plight, to desire something so bad and yet not be able to attain it due to things outside of our control. A fairly common theme in this book, like the Kiss, or Odette. Ah yes, Odette.

So, apparently Swann and Odette got married. How cruel of Marcel to inform us of this at the end of the novel and provide us no explanation. But beyond that, isn't it a little bit funny how Marcel views Odette, I mean, literally. Whenever he describes Odette his focus shifts to that of her fashion and how she carries herself. He isn't interested particularly in who she is, or what she does, but how she looks. Also, when making a comment about Swann, he says he wishes he could be bald like Swann. This is a bit tenous, but perhaps an example of his homosexuality. Homosexuals are apparently know for their love of fashion, and Marcel is certainly showing his colors when he comments upon her clothing, and also how that clothing was so much better rather than this pish posh bird cages in hats sort of thing.

But even beyond that, the whole, GASP! part was Odette and Swann marrying. WHY!!!!???? I mean at least that was the first question that popped up into my mind. Why would Swann marry someone he got over, and why would Odette marry someone she has very little interest in? Marriage of Convience? Maybe they do love each other and they needed to get over their inhibitions? I find it to be strangely fitting at least, Swann did get what he wants, and judging by the descriptions of Odette, she got what she wanted too. I suspect what really ties these two together is the Child. When one has to support a child one isn't too inclined to be a prostitute, I imagine, and who wants to care for a Prostitute with child? Swann probably took mercy on Odette and took her under his wing when she was pregnant, helping her through that time monetarily. But this is just conjecture, obviously. Damn Marcel for springing this upon us and leaving us to hang. If only I had the free time to read the other thousand pages he had written. Oh, if only.

In summation I Really enjoyed the book, though I Felt like the last section was a little lack luster. Maybe because it was shorter than the other sections and didn't provide as much in depth study of emotion and thought as I was use too, or maybe it was because I was tired while reading the book and therfore not as receptive as usual. It made for a good end to books, as endings go, but I Felt like Marcel was giving me more of an ending rather than than a continuation of the story. Sure we have the little sub plot about him and Gabriele, and there were definitely a number of loose ends wrapped up in this, as well as one or two more mysteries created, but ultimately Swann was tidying up what he had laid down and giving us a sort of enticement to read his next book. Understandable, but this part just didn't have as much pull on my heart/soul(as it where), than the other parts. Very pretty, no doubt, but much too brief. Overall though, good book, I enjoyed it. Heres to the next one!

1 comment:

fehrer said...

I like that you said we allow a child more leeway in love. I feel that it is true, but then that bring up the question of is it right? He is less experienced in love so he doesn't know what he is doing and how bad it is that he is obsessing, but because he doesn't know, how will he ever change and end up NOT turning into Swann? It brings up a whole set of questions for me about how we learn to love and how or when we learn what is not acceptible. I can't help but feel sorry for the young Marcel because it seems that he is doomed in love a little bit. He does not naturally know what to do, and does not have the means to be taught. He will grow up obsessing over women and be in no better a position than that of Swann.