Top critical review
Yeah. I guess.
on 11 August 2016
The Picture of Dorian Grey was stylistic and well written with a beautiful use of the english language. I awed over the smooth flowing of colourful words that created vivid pictures and feelings inside. It was like reading melted chocolate spilling down the sides of a soft cork tree. The characters were all dandies and spent too much time revering one another. Dorian Grey was a stupid man, easily manipulated by others and didn't appear to have a mind of his own. Even his own thoughts came out of somebody else's head. Lord Harry was a manipulating sadist that took pleasure in sneering at the world and ruining it, which he did so with Dorian Grey's head. Basil Hallward was clearly a homosexual that had wanton amorous feelings for Grey and so fawned him until his head exploded with vanity.
Everybody adored Dorian Grey, I got that quite early on and didn't have to be kept telling it repeatedly. Those particular lines of dialogue referring to people's reverence of the main character were cringeworthy. Admiration can come through in a story by actions, the way somebody treats somebody else and how people react to a person. I did not keep having to be told, 'Oh! I love you Dorian Grey because you are so handsome and genteel.' Lord Harry's dialogue was unique. He spoke in his cynical, satirical way, grated on other people and was quite boring if not disturbing in his mal-intent. His dialogue was also marred with his persistent veneration of the main character. Those were the times when Lord Harry came across as not only annoying but rather wet. Why couldn't we have seen more story, more events? I could have gotten the same message through that! Through dialogue alone is such a lazy way to write a story.
I love the idea of The Picture of Dorian Grey that has a powerful message underneath it. Vanity is the brutalist of sins and falling in love with oneself is indeed a dangerous game, for who can one love beyond if one only loves oneself? The book hinted at a supernatural undertone, that Dorian Grey had made some sort of pact with the devil to keep his face young and only mar the picture in return for his cruelty and corruption. If I had been Oscar Wilde I'd have done something with that, not made it a mere coincidence that Grey got that gift of a young face because he happened to wish for it. Everything was just a little too easy, a little shoulder-shrugglingly unremarkable. I feel as though the author either didn't sit down and think about how his story could be better before writing it or that he simply got lazy and couldn't be bothered with it. There were corners that he cut, things he could have done better in order to wow me. Why did we not see when Grey led to the disgrace of his fellow men? Why did we not see when he disgraced women and made them outcasts of society? I wanted to read a kind of Jekyll and Hyde story. I wanted murder, sex, rape, lies, homosexuality, all the sins of man and we got little or none of it. What a cheat.
The story lacked. There was one of sorts, beginning with a young and very handsome dandy called Dorian Grey who was innocent and sweet. It progressed through his early years, showed him on the beginnings of his path to cruelty after his mind had been poisoned by his own beauty and wicked words and fawning spoken to him by his friends Lord Harry and Basil Hallward. Then the story skips forward in time, misses out all of Dorian Grey's crimes and instead fills the pages with very prettily written paragraph after paragraph of description about his love for arts, clothes, jewellery and other tedious things. Oscar Wilde loves describing things down to the minutest details. Admittedly they are well described but what am I as a reader supposed to get out of 'he had a pretty rose' described on an entire page? Wilde missed out all his character interactions, Grey's growth and recession happened off stage and was later referred to as exciting events which we did not see. The story in effect was all in hindsight. I found myself getting frustrated every time the author did this. Why did I not see that event? I would think upon being told about of his evilness and cruelty without being shown. I wanted to see it!
I am not a particular lover of action but I do enjoy it in a story to watch a character's change and with Dorian Grey I feel like we missed it. After splurging out paragraphs about his wealth and the vanity in Grey's life the author returned to him for one powerful scene where he murdered his friend Basil Hallward. This spectacular scene and the powerful emotions had me on the edge of my seat, as did a couple of others. Grey murdered Basil because he resented him for painting the picture that had ruined his life and marred his soul.
Those incredible scenes, flashes of brilliance were so few and far between. If the author had written more scenes like that, gripped me to those pages in that way, I couldn't hold off the stars. This had the potential to be marvellous but sadly I have a feeling, the author indulged himself in quite the same way as his disturbing main character. Oscar Wilde has a rare talent with words but loves to write reams and reams of simply pretty sentences, hot air if you like. It little or no substance and didn't move the plot forward. The fluff didn't add to the characters and therefore I classify at least 80% of these pages as pointless.
Dorian Grey had a remarkable ending but sadly the events that led up to it were wishy-washy and unimpressive. I am disappointed I didn't get more out of this. It has left me feeling dissatisfied and robbed. It astounds me quite frankly that people have rated this so highly! The Picture of Dorian Grey is not an easy read and one drifts in and out of interest, mind wondering on what to make for tea, instead of reading the story, or lack of story more accurately.
What a shame. This could have been amazing. If only Oscar Wilde had gone to a little more effort. The Picture Of Dorian grey reminds me of the movie Citizen Cane in that it goes down in history as being a truly beautiful work of literacy and art, without actually moving me in anyway other than to make me go 'yeah. That's pretty. Oh I like those colours.' But perhaps that was deliberate? This whole message behind this book is that something only surface deep is shallow and dull, so he wrote his book as such. Coincidence? Ha.
Read The Picture Of Dorian Grey if you want to know how to write nicely. Do not read this to inspire how to write a good story.