It’s February 1st, which means a brand new issue of Femnista! The theme of this issue is Charles Dickens (whoo!), the author who brought us classics such as A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend (and yes, I just listed my three favourite novels from him). It’s a great issue, be sure to check it out!
Read Femnista Jan Feb 2012
Online Publishing from YUDU
For this issue, I wrote on the character of Eugene Wrayburn from Our Mutual Friend (and finely played by Paul McGann in the 1999 BBC adaptation), a man who seems apathetic and is pretty much bored out of his mind, but there’s clearly a lot more going on with the character than it seems. More after the cut ^_~
When I first pitched my subject to Charity back in November-ish, I had a clear idea that I wanted to discuss Eugene’s boredom and how it affects him as a character and his role in the novel. But as I was re-reading his scenes, it occurred to me that there was a lot more going on in his character, so much that I did not have room to discuss them all. What struck me while re-reading his scenes, and perhaps what made it so difficult for me to streamline my own thoughts and tighten up the article initially (see the image), was the fact that in many ways I sympathise with the character and understand what he’s feeling. All that talk about energy, of finding that something worth while to keep on going, of societal pressures and not really wanting the stuff that everyone wants–maybe it was just my frame of mind at the time projecting into my perspective of his character, but I pretty much empathise with Eugene. As a way of essentially rebutting these pressures, he resorts to boredom and carelessness–a rejection of the world constructed as it is. It’s a dangerous response, both for himself and for other people, but it was his own way of coping with a world that he has difficulty relating to (I should mention that here we are different: I’m not careless with other people–I hope). These feelings and his opinions are very much universal; you can put him in our contemporary period and have him say his lines and it would pretty much make sense.
Overall, it was fun writing about his character, re-reading his scenes and uncovering something new about him. The first time I read Our Mutual Friend, Eugene struck me as an amusing character (he had some great lines in the novel and has to be my favourite Dickens character) but this second reading brought me to a new understanding of the character.