My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Come and have a shot of Chivas (sorry, I don't have any Russian rum right here) with me, and let's do the Love talk. Let me gather my thoughts before I use them in this review. What I can say in the meantime is this:
Leo, you really are frustrated.
Yes, I do understand your sentiment, which is why in this novella of yours, the first time it was released; it was censored by the Russian Authorities. You dare to open their eyes wide open through the sharing of Pozdnyshev’s life story with Proshchayte (which the former says it as prostite). And this era of mine, I was able to understand what you want to say to them. Maybe because in your time debauchery was very rampant; and the society is slowly going sinful out of these immoralities brought about by the supposed changing times.
I wish to cite some of the quotes/statements and give my opinions about them:
“True Love… if true love exists between a man and a woman, then marriage too, is possible.”–yes, it may not be apparent in your place before, but this is true in our place. People wed out of true love, not out of carnal love. If they see each other as their partner in life, then marriage will come as beautiful as it can be. There are cases when one is being betrothed to another, but if they learn to love each other truly, then marriage will be sweet. Marriage is a big thing both to a man and woman, since they have to work together through it. And yes, I do agree that “there can be love that’s founded on shared ideal – on spiritual affinity”. It is through faith that marriages work.
Pozdnyshev says that he felt terribly sad because of his first time to enter the world of debauchery– it would feel like your innocence is stolen by a wisdom thief, and will never ever be restored. You have that impression on everything and anything like it. For example, if one is a rape victim, the victim will forever be doubted on a man, if he has clear intentions with her or not. No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot remove the stigma.
“It’s really quite remarkable how complete the illusion is that beauty is the same as goodness. A pretty woman may say the most stupid things, yet you listen, and you don’t notice the stupidities, it all sounds so intelligent.”– can I make a rebuttal on this? Women, not only in your time, but in ours do not do these always out of whimsical wishes; we do this because she feels that she has no right. Right, in a sense that she feels that she is under a man’s authority or she is the object of man’s sexuality, thus she is looking for a weakness, most of time identified as men’s sexual desires. I remember reading this in another book – “Look as if you are hanging on to his every word, even if it is just a lot of blah; and you will have him following you like a puppy”.
“Imagine if God created human beings in order to achieve a certain goal and had created them either mortal, but without the sex instinct, or immoral.”– At times, I do reflect on these. If people are immortal, then what is the use for us experiencing carpe diem or even taking risks, or having opportunities that come once in a lifetime..? Immortality means dullness, there will come a time that development is not a school of thought no more, since stagnancy is the best way to outlive. If on the other hand, sexual instinct is absent – or everyone practices sexual abstinence – then where the natural order of things will be placed? I follow the meaning that we need to procreate in order to survive. And yes, I do concur that the society is slowly misleading the true meaning due to the lust that one feels, like you mentioned all those anti-pregnancy pills. It is not because of sexual protection, it is because men wanted to address their sexual desire out of wedlock. But notice this – aren’t we both being conservative?
I shall stop here, for this is spoiling the future readers already.
As you, my dearest, explained everything in your afterword; mine were simply reiterations of it. I am echoing this for the future readers to understand that the times of prostitution and immoral values are evolving. But yet again, you have mentioned, that these are deeply rooted in our society. Is it because that we are living our humanity – being sinful at best?
...Or simply because we have ideals – too high for everyone to reach for it?
My Chivas is always open,
PS: Let’s try riding the train together and understand your government. I shall read your next creation, Anna Karenina.
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