December 23, 2009

I Capture the Castle

I wrote this in the car right after I finished reading I Capture the Castle, and figured that since Hayley and Lilly have already posted their thoughts on the novel, I might as well. . .

The first thing I have to get off my chest about I Capture the Castle is that I resented Cassandra for maybe a third - the middle third - of the book. Reading the book was terribly addictive but seemed to give me a headache.

But now I wish to talk about the end. It was sad, but true, if I agreed with where Dodie Smith was coming from. I don't understand what this book means about romance. I don't know if love is something where there can be only one "right one." I think there's a good deal of intertextuality going on between this and 500 Days of Summer. I wonder sometimes if God puts stories and poems in our path in a certain way so as to help us understand them. But of course God controls the universe.

I could go and draw parallels between Tom and Cassandra, or Summer and Rose, or I don't know who. I'm really not sure how similar they are except in bittersweet message, or the idea of a soulmate.

I Capture the Castle reminded me of Emily's Quest, by LM Montgomery. They were both kind of girly books, and the old-fashioned but passionate ... setting? mood? style? was similar. So was the mixing of couples.

There were many beautiful thoughtful tings in ICTC, quotes I wrote down. Cassandra's observations on life were very astute. And then the section on her father's writing was fascinating. I admire Dodie Smith for revealing and thinking through another story in addition to her own. Dodie Smith writes very well.

I think the reason I resented Cassandra was because she judged everything's rightness by whether or not she truly loved the guy. I don't think that standard is completely off, but it seemed to ignore a higher, nobler law. Maybe I was annoyed that God didn't matter to her much. The part about God and religion was enlightening though I disliked her claim that fixing your eyes on God makes you miss seeing things and live life less fully.

I found the characters amazing - it truly was a world inside the book and the people had distinct personalities yet depth to who they were. I think my favorite character was Topaz. I don't think I particularly identified with her, except perhaps the communing with nature thing, (though I'm hesitant to claim that as my own; it seems lots of people like being in nature the way I do) but I found her very interesting. And now that I've decided she's my favorite character it will be very hard to change my mind: that's how impressions are.

When Simon was talking about how the image and reality color each other, I suddenly thought that this book must be in a way mine - for the very same idea, or at least a rudimentary form of it, is crucial to why I wrote my NaNo novel (which is still in need of a decent title). I have kind of strayed from writing about ICTC and started on myself. That means I'm mostly done.

I shall close with a few summary thoughts: it was beautifully written, rather insightful, and quite contradictory to my way of life. I wonder how far into the future I'll be able to see the things this book has taught me.


Michael said...

Since I haven't read this book I can't really talk about what I thought about it (or about your thoughts about it) but, it was interesting to read the post anyway.

I think it's true that a lot of people enjoy "communing with nature" (including myself), and I think this may say something about people. People were made to be among nature, and a part of nature. Perhaps the enjoyment comes from a small expression of fulfillment of purpose.

I have an idea for the title of your book:
One of the stanza's from "The Hollow Men" is:

"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow"

So some ideas for titles: 1) Falls the Shadow. 2) Between the idea and the reality 3) Between 4) the entire stanza itself (this may be my favorite option. It's unconventional, and you know I have an affinity for long titles)

Art said...

Ah, Michael! That's a wonderful idea. Thank you. Now I'm trying to decide between the first and second options. B-)

Echoes in Ink said...

Personally, I like "Between the Idea and the Reality"... I miss you.