Sunday, March 1, 2009
When I Said Wrap It Up, I Didn't Really Mean It
It's not really anticlimactic, but I feel there is something of a letdown at the end of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. The entire book, I was waiting for the heroine to end up with the man for whom (because this novel is like the others of its time) she was destined. I couldn't go to sleep. I wouldn't get up to use the bathroom. I felt the torture of their separation to the depths of my sould. Although I love the detail, Gaskell is wordy; I was plowing through page after page waiting for the moment these two characters would finally step away from their egos and admit to each other they both wanted to be together. The problem is this: of 425 pages, only the last 1 and 1/2 tell this part of the story. I was built up for 400+ pages, and because it was written in 1855 all I got was a brief hug and some witty comments to express a love that has been developing for years in the book and hundreds of pages in my mind. The descriptions had been so vivid, and now I'm left to use my own (inadequate) imagination to flesh out the details of the ending. I'm unfulfilled.