Villette Readalong Pt. 1

The first five chapters of Villette were entertaining enough I finished a couple days ago.   In them we meet the narrator, Lucy Snowe, who seems to have almost no character at all, but then that’s sort of how I felt about Jane Eyre, so maybe that’s just Charlotte Brontë’s thing.   She’s staying with her godmother when a young girl arrives.   A truly weird kid.   I’m trying to cut some slack because in previous centuries children weren’t so much treated as children as they were expected to be little adults, which is sort of what Polly is.   A little dictator in the making and a perfectionist.  She misses her father until she makes friends with the young man of the house.   Just as she’s starting to miss her father less, he sends for her and Lucy goes home so everyone we just met disappears.

Not sure why they have Lucy have a family at all as in the next sentence they all die or something and she’s playing nursemaid/companion to a Miss Marchmont who also dies.   Lucy’s left alone in the world with 15 pounds in her pocket and absolutely no prospects.   She decides to go to London, which shows quite a bit of gumption for a young woman in 1853.   There she manages to walk all around the city without getting lost which is another impressive feat.   Or does she do that in chapter 6?   I made the mistake of reading a few pages into chapter 6 and now I’m not sure where 5 ended.    This is not very far into the book and presumably some of those early characters will return.   Lucy is now out to make her way in the world without a reference which from my understanding of Victorian society means she should just throw herself in the river.

This is clearly not so popular a book.   The images out there show a series of book covers with a brunette either reading or staring soulfully out into space.   I don’t want to search too much as I don’t want to stumble on any spoilers as I don’t know anything about this book.

villette2

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6 thoughts on “Villette Readalong Pt. 1”

  1. Brunettes doing things, yes. I didn’t know which edition to purchase, so I chose the one where the brunette looks like she’s in a swoon. It’s very dramatic.

    I’m guessing the whole point of Lucy’s family was to show how much loss she’s endured. Being completely without any family to rely on at the age of 22 would drastically affect someone’s worldview, I would think.

    1. Yes, I think it would and yet her worldview seems much the same in the early chapters as later. I guess it’s a long enough book without showing their deaths as well, but it was all so vague. Who were her family and why was she left without a penny if they were reasonably well off to begin with? Couldn’t she have written a sentence or two about cholera carrying off the whole family and her father’s bad investments? Something? Or was it there and I managed to skip it somehow?

  2. Hi there, readalong friend! My book cover features a girl with her back turned, which is actually fitting when you consider how passive Lucy is as a narrator. However, I’m incredibly impressed with how gutsy it was for her to lose everything/everyone and move to London. I’ve been to London a couple times and can’t manage without at least a map, three disgruntled strangers giving me directions, and my iPhone’s nearly useless Siri function. Aaaanyway, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book with you!

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