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May 4, 1771 - June 19, 1771

  • May. 4th, 2009 at 10:13 PM

Possible Discussion Topics:
  • What are your first impressions of young Werther?
  • Have you sensed any foreshadowing of things to come?
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
  • Why are so many of the characters seeing after an inheritance?


lifebecomesart: Charlie Crews on Life reading Zen book (Life - Charlie Reading)
[personal profile] lifebecomesart wrote:
May. 10th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
I guess I'll break the ice by just going through the posted questions :)

I find Werther to be impulsive, obsessed with beauty, ruled by his emotions, and thoroughly self absorbed. He certainly holds many of the values that would be popularized by the Romantic movement (admiration of nature and childhood, the belief in greater truths, and so on), but he uses those values to romanticize himself. That, coupled with the monologic epistolary form of the novel paint Werther as rather obsessed with himself and his own "genius."

I have yet to finish the novel but I do know the eventual outcome of Werther. The letter from May 22 contains quite a bit of foreshadowing, especially in the last line:
"And then however confined he may be, he still holds forever in his heart the sweet feeling of freedom, and knows that he can leave this prison whenever he likes."

In a more general sense, it's obvious throughout the first collection of letters that Werther is setting himself up for disappointment. He falls for a woman he knows is spoken for, he neglects his duties in favor of a leisurely existance, and he becomes more and more involved in the love of his own opinions. He is setting himself up for a very steep and painful fall.

Personally, I believe at first sight there can be intrigue, infatuation, and lust, but love takes time and commitment.

Class seems to be playing a large part in this novel, I assume it will continue to be a strong theme throughout. The inheritances play into this. They may also serve as a device to help illustrate Werther's ideals of family and motherhood. As the men are off dealing with the financial sides of life the women are left with their children, and in turn idealized by Werther. On the other hand, as he tends (or fails to tend) to his own family's inheritance, he lets go his negative feelings towards his own mother.

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* November *

Don Quixote
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* December *

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