Monday, September 15, 2008

el fin

I wouldn't say that the end was a complete let down, I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. It wasn't the most clever ending either but I felt that it stayed true to Ruiz de Burton's writing style by keeping the trick that was being planned secret until the plot itself played out. Surprises are always good.

What really grabbed my attention was Ruiz de Burton's mad rant in the conclusion "all the well-dressed women who have a perfect right to be stupid, because their husbands have brains; who have a perfect right to be silly and trifling, because their husbands conduct the mighty affairs of the nation; who have a perfect right to be spendthrifts, because their husbands have, by extortion and driving hard bargains, accumulated princely fortunes...who snub and ignore old acquaintances if seen driving in the Park in a hired hack-all of this fortunate class Ruth wished to lead, and she felt equal to the task" (287-8). Although she subtly makes this commentary throughout the novel about wealthy American women in society, I found this to be more of an angry rant less connected with the story and more to her personal life. This is the first time where she so clearly veers from her storytelling and shows her personal opinion. Can we apply this then to the entire story to help us better understand her goal or angle? 

5 comments:

Jacqui said...

I enjoyed the ending up until the last 11 pages..I agree that keeping the trickery a secret til the plot played out was a good surprise and kept the readers' interest...But I thought the political dialogue in the remaining pages was a poor and uninteresting way to end the book...

saucey boy said...

It wasn't a complete let down, no, then again, I felt that the climactic moment in with the strange boating race was a perfect opportunity for there to either be gun fight, sex scene, or something really spicy to end the book with a bang. Obviously Ruiz de Barton has too much respect for the characters to do so. Unfortunately for me.

Emily Hager said...

Indeed, that is a very interesting point. She does seem to make her point very blatant, and this is once again a great example of her pointing to problems in society without really suggesting any way to fix them. She is ranting about women as the subservient 'other' but makes no effort to suggest what factors in society have lead her to embody this role or how this can possibly change...interesting.

beth said...

I am really glad that someone mentioned this very rant on page 287-288. I thoroughly enjoyed the content of Ruiz de Burton’s tirade. Perhaps it was how wholeheartedly I agreed with everything she had to say. Perhaps it was because, until reading that passage, I was almost decided that Ruiz de Burton was not writing from a feminist perspective. As you said, the extent to which she veered off track, indicates that the mad rant was clearly an expression of the author’s personal opinion, and there would otherwise have been no cause for her to stray so far from the storyline. As it had been typical for Ruiz de Burton to mask her opinions in such heavy satire throughout the entirety of the novel, I found this blatant criticism of the women in her society particularly meaningful. After reading this passage, I am no longer convinced that Ruiz de Burton did not intend for this to be a feminist novel.

BDHoekstra said...

When I read that quote for the first time I immediately thought about being an ex-patriate. My parents were ex-patriates living in Italy and when I visited them my mother said basically the same thing. That struck me as odd because I couldn't understand why someone would want to be like that. She claimed it was pathetic seeing wives of businessmen of oil tycoons just living their lives without any sort of aspiration other than looking pretty.