15 de octubre de 2009

"THE PAINTED VEIL" W. Somerset Maugham(1874-1965)

The title of the novel is borrowed from Shelley’s famous sonnet that begins: "Lift not the painted veil those that live call life". The precise plot and the adequate etching of the characters result in a combination of predictability and suspense, which leaves the reader unable to know what to expect, thus we are faced with a breathtaking story.
We think it is well worth reading if only to discover how human emotions and frailities play out, hope you enjoy it and look forward to reading your posts.

76 comentarios:

María Luisa Arias dijo...

Hello friends. Hello my dear teachers Carmen and Marta.

I am going to buy it this week to join this group for the reading. I have heard something about this novel and it looks a very interesting one so I hope we should enjoy the book very much.


MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I´m glad to have a new chance for participating in this blog.

We (fourths) followed Marta´s advices last year and now, here we are (fifths).

I ask for Carmen´s support and for Camen´s corrections as it will raise my/our English level (thank you very much indeed). I also ask for my fellow students´ help. In my opinion, with our comments not only we do enjoy the novel but we also improve our English level.

With regard to the novel, we (5º A) have alreday read the preface and the chapters one, two and three. Along in the chapters one, two and three we have known something about the main characters (Kitty, Walter and Charles Townsend).

It is in chapter one that we read that Kitty and Charles were in Kitty´s room. They were in that shuttered room when they saw the white china knob of he handle slowly turn. Kitty was terrifaid as she thought that her husband was at home. At the end of this chapter, Walter said.- Quote “I believe the whole thing was an optical delusion” end quote. Maybe it could be a very good beginning for commenting on.

I have a question: do you know the meaning of K.C. It appears just at the end of the chapter three.

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I wrote Walter said ... and it should be Charles said ...

Rebeca Av2 dijo...

Hello mates!

I haven´t stil begun reading the novel, so I´m afraid that by this time I can´t comment anything about it. However, reading yours, and see that the blog is going to be alive this year too, will force me to read the first chapters before the next week.


Carmen dijo...

Hello folks, and hello María luisa (by the way, how is baby?), we have some work before us and lots of fun (I hope) too.
I would like to point out that Maugham is particularly skilled in the description of the difficult moment when the knob started to move...it captures the reader and it is really quite claustrophobic!! You feel the desperation of the moment, particularly for Kitty. Now I´d like to focus on Kitty..what do you think of her? She is a very weak character, don´t you think, she seems to totally throw herself in the arms of her lover,yet...she is totally lost in fear! I wonder if women are so weak when they are in love. Comments

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I think that Kitty´s affair brings her to life, as she said to Charles: “I´m so happy with you. I wish I could make you as happy as you make me”

Answering Carmen´s question, it took us (women) a long time to be independent in many aspects (economic, professional, family) but we don´t know yet, how to be independent in the sentimental one after falling in love with someone. It could be a question of weakness, but nevertheless, we must learn how to do that.

Carmen dijo...

Mar, I think it´s a question of feeling, we cling to men, there is this dependence, I always associate it with reproduction, it´s anthropological, really when a woman cannot become pregnant they are more interested in themselves, how many widows remarry? and widowers???? I want your opinion about Kitty, is she clever? is she cold, to marry without love? Comments

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

I was very happy when I knew that this was going to be our novel, because I watched the film, and I liked a lot the plot.

I have found a very big difference between this way of composing and "Persuassion" writting style of wich, more elaborated and complicated.

I have only red 20 pages and I feel as cathed by the story as if it be Spanish. I could feel the anguish and distress of Katty from the very beginning.

However, and because of the 4th course, I do know that the easiest task is not always the most useful. However difficult "Pride and Prejudices" was, it was finally very instructive.

Maybe Kitty has the same feeling about her life, and she wants to get rid of that pressure by telling Walter the truth and running away with Charlie...

Carmen dijo...

Thanks for your post, Jesús, very interesting that you say Pride and Prejudice was great, though difficult. It is the wise that change their opinion. This novel is not as good, you can see this right from the beginning, although it is interesting and the characters are well described, but I feel it doesn´t go inside them with the detail that Austen or Dickens do. I cannot very well see what you mean aboaut Kitty, in your last paragraph, be more clear,please when you right, do if it is a complete post, because you ARE answering something, but I´m not sure what, I´m interested in your opinion...

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

Mrs. Garstin reminds me of Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice). I mean, in spite of her being delightful as character, she is, as Mrs. Garstin is, hard, cruel, managing, ambitious and stupid woman. The business of their lifes was to get their daugthers married.

Answering Carmen´s question, I think that Kitty is cold to marry without love. But, I also think that Kitty had nothing but beauty, and she was twenty-five years old. Obviously she is unhappy with Walter and she doesn´t enjoy each other´s company, so, she looks for her happiness. It is a quite clever position, isn´it?. But nevertheless, I also think that she is a coward as she thought that if Walter accused her she would deny, and if it came to a pass that she could deny no longer, Walter could do what he chose.

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

Indeed Mrs. Garstin resambles Mrs. Bennet, but in my opinion Mrs. Bennet was more understandable. There was no cruelity in her actions, but ignorance. At least I feel closer to Mrs. Bennet despite her interested way of acting.

carmen dijo...

BOTH mothers are after the same and that is marrying their daughters well, and what´s more marrying them!!! What could a woman of good family do if she did not marry? ask yourselves before judging them!!!! the rest was...silence (as Hamlet says) but silence alive!!! We are prejudiced, indeed. If nowadays people out of work will not take on anything imagine women then, it was a DRAMA not to marry,what could you do wothout money or the means to provide for oneself??? No wonder women put up with everything, we have indeed suffered!!!!
Mar, I pity Kitty as I pity women still...think currently a woman at a bar is a failure a bitch, looking for somehting..what is a man alone, having a drink? a target. Poor Kitty, what could she do? She is a survivor, she survives against the odds marries without love and tries to make the most of it. It is hard on Walter , who appears to love her, but love is about surviving, the honest, the good, have their reward....in Heaven!

Carmen dijo...

Fifths this is shocking the fourths are ahead of us, this cannot be, and will not be. Remember what I said three weeks, if you do not lead I´ll stop posting. I´ll lesve you alone

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I will continue talking about Kitty. When she first met Charles she thought: "No man who had those blue eyes could bear to hurt any one". In my opinion, Charles won Kitty´s heart since the biginning. He needed just one night. He offers Kitty a thorough contrast with her silent husband, Walter, who also has no charm. Anyway,

I enjoyed the play: "A Midsummer Night´s dream". It was a very good opportunity.

Cris. AvanzadoA dijo...

Hello everyone!!, I just started last Thursday the EOI because my work didn’t let me enough time the week before last. I’m glad to see that the blog is going on, however. Carmen is right there aren’t as many comments as should there be. As far as I’m concerned I’ll try to post at least every other day. Scarcely have I read the novel but, so far, it seems to be interesting and I dare to say that it isn’t only a common romance, I reckon we’ll find more deep feelings and behaviours. A man affair is not bad considered however will a woman affair politically correct?. Carmen, I know I have to improve a lot my writing I’m not a good writer, but please, correct me everything that you consider. Good luck today for you and your family, I hope see you tomorrow in class.

Susana Av2-A dijo...

Hello. This is my first year in EOI Goya and it has been a pleasant surprise to know about the reading club, I'll try to post as much as possible.

I want to thank Carmen for making me read again the Kitty's father questions about Walter, in chapter ten. Now I find the male characters in the novel much more interesting.

Well, really, I don't find Charles very interesting. I think he's ambitious, materialist, selfish, but actually quite simple. He is not in love with Kitty, neither his wife, but both he and his wife have a convenient agreement which is over love.

Nevertheless I bet Walter has still many things to tell us. In chapter ten, Kitty's father has a long chat with Walter, and afterwards he tells Kitty he is an unusual intelligent man. Obviously Walter please him. Then, he asks Kitty about what he thinks are the keys to a succeded marriage, if Walter is in love with her and if she likes him. I understand that in his way of thinking, if Walter is in love with Kitty he will be willing to do anything for her.

Estela AV-2 dijo...

Hello! this is my first year in this EOI since I´ve been studing in the EOI of soria and this will be my first comment here. I am not good at writing, and I hope that I improve whith the help of the blog.

I think that Kitty is completely in love with Charlie becouse He is a lively person as She is and He is able to provide her a lot of great feelings. we know that Walter is really polite with Kitty and He is in love with her but kitty is bored with him since in my opinion,He is a monotonous character.

Carmen dijo...

Good to see so many comments!! well done! Firstof all I WIIL BE THERE ON TUESDAY....with my daughter and her Englosh friend, i wonder if we are ever going to start the course book!!!
Now Kitty falls in love with Charles because he is handsome good at sports and powerful in the community and you know this always attracts women!!! Then he knows how to flatter her!!! he tells her that he is head over heels after her...and she believes him, it is true that woman cannot resist a man if he knows how to talk to them and how to treat them, it makes them feel great, superior and this is why Kitty is trapped in his net..
I´m glad you have been interested by Kitty´s father´s words, do you think a man has to adore a woman while for her it is enough to like him? Is this the secret of a happy marriage?

MAR dijo...

Carmen, thank you very much for informing us that you are able to teach us today. We are looking forward to listening the young girls´ English level and accent.

Susana Av2-A dijo...

Carmen, please tell your daughter and her friend how we appreciate them to visit us, not only because of the opportunity of listening a native accent but for telling us about their experience in the boarding-school.

About the male charecters in the novel, I think men, in the novel, but also in real life, are essentially selfish. But this selfishness has not always a negative sense, they use their minds just for a few things which concern them, they lose no time worring about feelings or guilt, as Kitty does.
I suppose that the back of the Kitty's father question is his thinking that when a man is in love with a woman, and this love include, of course, the physical attraction, he is willing to do things he wouldn't do if he weren't, perhaps as he has done with his wife.
Opposite he seems to think that, after a while, Kitty will become practical, as her mother, and she will be pleased living with a kind, considerate, enough wealthy man who show her respect without questioning her traits.
Walter is an "unusual" intelligent man, and this combination can be hardly useful for a successful marriage.

Magdalena dijo...

It was a pleasure talking to you, we enjoyed it very much and we were very comfortable with you all, we hope you had a good time and to see you again.
Magdalena and Tilda

maria carmen martinez-av2A dijo...

When Kitty thinks “No man who had those blue eyes could bear to hurt any one”
We had to suspicious: She falls in love. She is not speaking about something real, objective, but it is her imagination, her wish. Because Charlie’s eyes were bleu, and she likes bleu eyes, he must be a very good person.
Usually we are so superficial that at the first sight we take important juice about one person and many times wrong.

MAR dijo...

The relationship between Walter and Kitty had a suspense that it could change at any moment. It is in chapter twenty-three that we see that change. Goodness me! there are many things to comment on. I can guess that this is one of the most interesing chapters in the novel. Walter has given Kitty an ultimatum and in spite of her believing that had everything under control, in my opinion, she is completely lost. Isn´t she?.

About Walter I think that he loves Kitty but also has a need to frustrate her life. He is an uneasy man, isn´t he?.

Cris Avd2-A dijo...

Mar you are right, these are very exciting chapters and this afternoon we’ll discuss them. However Charlie’s resolution is very predictable, we can’t overlook one sentence that he said in chapter 20: “women are often under the impression that men are much more madly in love with them than they really are” . And this is true, an in loved woman usually sees everything in Pink, hears how birds sing around them, and all these kind of things, and she makes up lovely stories about their future. On the contrary men give the essential importante to their relationship.

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

After reading chapters twenty-five and twenty-six, I would like to say that I´m not amazed by Charles´attitude. As Cris says it was very predictable. But nevertheless, analyzing Charles´words, his coldness is bigger than I could imagine.

Were I Kitty, I wouldn´t appeal to his compassion after hearing his answers.
Walter knew Charles´reaction better than Kitty. She was blind.

cris av2 dijo...

Now, that we have commented the chapters in class, and I'm not going to spoil them, I have to say that Kitty has been very silly not realizing how Charlie is. But I hope she had learnt how most men are.

I'd like to quote this sentence in order to discuss it qith all of you.
"oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he is in love with you"

Do you think that men tend to tell us qhat we want to hear, only for keeping us as close as possible to them?

cris av2 dijo...

Now, that we have commented the chapters in class, and I'm not going to spoil them, I have to say that Kitty has been very silly not realizing how Charlie is. But I hope she had learnt how most men are.

I'd like to quote this sentence in order to discuss it qith all of you.
"oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he is in love with you"

Do you think that men tend to tell us qhat we want to hear, only for keeping us as close as possible to them?

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

By the way, Magdalena, thank you for your comment, and for spending your time with us.

Have a good trip back to England tomorrow. We hope to see you on another occasion.

Please, give our best regards to Tilda.

cris.Avd2 dijo...

Hello mates!!! where are you?, Why is nobody writing any comment?. Yesterday, I had to leave the class before it was finished because of working, but I would like to know what you discussed about the novel, if someone could make a review I'd be pleased. Thanks in advanced

cris Avd2A dijo...

Good morning everyone!! I'm here again with the hope of reading new comments, but sadly there is none.

I'd like to encourage all of you to write a litle at least twice a week. Last year I was a horrible writer however this year I feel more fluent when I'm writing, I don't spend as much time as I used to spend. This blog help us to enrich not only our grammar but also our vocabulary.
And the most important if we keep writing we'll have the support of Carmen, otherwise we'll lose her corrections, what would be a pity!!!

Carmen dijo...

Cris, WHICH would be a pity!!!, oK? Sorry for not mentioning comments individually but i will post a general one for you all, thanks for the comments and try to psot as much as you can it is very good practice, it´ll teach you to think in English and not just translating. Now, I think that Cahrlie´s comment about how women believe men to love them is absolutely right, girls, but we PERPETUALLY make the same mistake, and have been doing it since...Eve. Now what I particularly lke of this novel is to see so clearly pointed out the contrast between the point of view of a woman and that of the man, both lover and husband!! What do women admire in lovers/men: strength, devotion, support, love, and when they fall in love they naturally believe that he gives them that!!! What men have these virtues? Handsome men, popular men, important men, rich men..intelligent, shy, grey characters NO, OF COURSE NOT,(these are always husbands, not lovers, don´t you think?) Waht do lovers look for in women? Beauty and absence of brains (if a woman has brains she doesn´t find herself in this situation, don´t you think??)and we have the husband left, what do you think he finds in a woman he loves? possibly, as Walter admits, he knows what he marries, however he feels attraction??? what do you think?

Susana Adv2-A dijo...

Now we know that Charlie was not in love with Kitty. But in her blindness, she is still trying to make out which her fault has been, ¡poor Kitty!.
I think guilt feeling is one of the worst features in women character. Men don't have it. Do you remember what Charlie says? "I should never have thought of making love to you if you hadn't made it perfectly clear you were ready to be made love to".
I think Walter is completely different. He has admited that he knew how silly, frivolous and empty-headed Kitty was, but he still get married. The reason seems to be the physical attraction, but there must be something more. I can't guess why, but despite his hard teaching to Kitty about real life, he still wants to be with her.

Carmen dijo...

Susana, I think CAharlie is right abut Kitty, I mean, let´s admit it one doesn´t find a lover if she doesn´t want to!!! I´ve been married for some years now, and I ahve never ever ahd an offer from anyone to have an affair!!!! Well, when I look at myself on the mirror, I´m not that horrible!!! The thing is that I don´t wnat to...(aren´t I a good girl???), so we have to admit that to ourselves, if you become involved in adultery you were after it!!! notice that Kitty does admit this to herself!! The thing about being mature is accepting things that we do and not blaming others all the time!!! Kitty in this grows up wuickly, or perhaps she is not proud, pride is a devastating vice, it hurts self and prevents one from bettering oneself. Kitty, though a sinner and superficial, at least works herself out when she is int the choleric city, there is a change in her from the kitty/lover, don´t you think?

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I think that Walter loved Kitty in a passionate way, but after knowing Kitty´s adultery and after giving her an ultimatum, he is picking up the thread again. He is acting in a dark, twisted way, so, Kitty is confused about that.

I agree with Susana about men´s feelings. As far as Charles is concerned he has not guilty feelings, he also said: “women always are unfair and they generally manage to put a man in the wrong”. But nevertheless, Kitty is still blind. It is in chapter twenty-eight that we can know Kitty´s thoughts after talking to Charles. I mean, she regrets about her conversation with Charles as she thinks that she wasn´t able to make him see her boundless love.

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

Carmen, about Kitty´s pride you must be right (perhaps she is not a proud person).

After arriving in Mei-Tan-Fu, it is in that desperate situation that Kitty starts to change her values.

cris avd2A dijo...

Not only are silly girls involved in this kind of affair, but also clever women, because women usually behave following our feelings. nevertheless, intelligent women try not to repeat the same mistake twice. Rarely do we realise what is happening when we are in love, but if we learn to lisen to people who see our behaviour from other point of view, and they are trusthworthy, then we'll be able to prevent many mistakes. For instance, Walter saw what was going to happen, however Kitty didn't lisent to him. Obviusly He was the better person to give his opinion, but nowadays we have friend for sharing our feelings. the problem is that we want to be blind and deaf in order to enjoy as much as possible what we think that is a wonderful relationship.But actually, if you are married and your lover is married, there is something wrong, and of course it might not be a succesful relationship.
As far as men and women diferences are concerned, I agree that they are very well pointing out in this book, and as Susana said one of our weak point is our remorse. And I emphasize: "hardly ever do we think beforehand when we are in love, so we regret

Susana Adv2-A dijo...

Now Kitty is in Mei-tan-fu, a place which she'd have hardly choosen to go. She follows Walter in desperation because she thinks she has nothing to live for and she doesn't matter being dead or alive.
Along next chapters Walter seems to have disappeared but the impression is given that a plan has been thought up to make Kitty change. I wonder if Mr. Waddington is part of this plan.
I agree Carmen that Kitty needs mature (even some persons don't do it in their lifes) and I think she will do it in a quiet hard way.

Cris avd2A dijo...

I agree with both of you Kitty needs mature, and I think that she is guilty of finishing her relationship with Charlie because when you start an affair, you should know that the man is looking for a lover not for another wife. and at the moment you ask him something else, he is going to leave you as it happened in the novel. finding a new lover is easier than getting a fair divorce

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

Answering one of Carmen´s question, I would like to say that Charles doesn´t regret having rejected Kitty, however, Kitty tries to convince him again and again. In spite of her knowing Charlie quite well now, she would abandon all the world has to offer and fly to his arms.
We (women) tend to do that. In my opinion, it is because we are not intelligent enought, and we are completely hooked on the person. We cannot see any solution beyond the situation. I mean, at that moment we are not able to think about a different future, we are not able to admit a new status and it produces us such a terrible pain (similar to Kitty´s pain) that makes us feel out of this world for a period of time.

But nevertheless, we all ((have friends)) who have experienced those situations, and as time flies, it took them less time to collect themselves than they thought. So, I´m very much looking forward to reading about Kitty´s new life.

Carmen dijo...

Some very interesting coments, but little analysis except for Mar who has gone a little into the subject. Women are like that, I mean when in love we do not accept that a man is not in love with us any more!! It seems intolerably hard for a woman to accept this issue, even if her marriage is already broken up! There is an element of possession in a woman´s love, I wonder if it is like that where men are concerned, I mean we all know that some men are possessive to the extreme that they will kill their lovers/wives/girlfriends, but they accept breakages better than us, don´t they? We shall have to ask our men!!!
What amazes me is the capacity that Kitty has of lying to herself, It actually amazes me to be amazed as I reacted exactly in the way Kitty did once when one of my relationships broke up!!!! And I´ve seen my friends reacting in this way, devastated as we all were, because let us face it, there is a lot of suffering in a boken relationship, particularly on the side of the one who still loves!!!
Waddington interests me immensily, he is practical, cynical, and...intelligent, very observant and accurate in his abservations, don´t you htink??

Susana Adv2- dijo...

Kitty can't accept Charlie is not in love with her because one of her main aims in life is beeing loved.
Men and women in nineteenth century, and frecuently now, have different expectations of their lifes. Kitty is not frustated because she doesn't become Commissioner or King's Counsel, but she is because she is not loved by Charlie, because she has been taught for that.
Kitty was self-confident in her ability to be loved, as it's said in chapter 8. It's almost impossible for her to accept that she has failed with Charlie
I think women who fall in love, they often go in a type of madness, becoming blind, behaving in a stupid way but mainly losing their practical sense. An unrequited love produces then a deeply painful but also shameful feeling that, in the extreme, leads to commit suicide.

cris avd2A dijo...

As Carmen said, Waddington is very cunning, and I'm not enterely sure that if he wouldn't really know Kitty was flirting with Charlie, because he went directly Kitty's heart. She didn't lisent to her mother, and now she is learning how hard the life is. Waddington has explained to her that there are two kind of women: The perfect wifes, who are well-bred, and they are the support of their husbands, and the lovers who might be pretty but only are used by men for a fun moment. "She is a second-rate". Had she got married well, She would have had high reputation, however she has become in one more in Charlie's diary.
Women!!!!we have to learn, men look for happy moments, but at the end they marry with demure women.

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

One of the topics we were supposed to write about was why women are so frequently blinded by love. So difficult a question, but I am afraid I am not able to answer it properly, notwithstanding this fact has astonished me since I was young. I couldn´t make out why some witty, easygoing and empathic girls felt atracted by the most popular boy, who used to be also the most empty minded, superficial and cruel. Although all the boys had realized how his nature was like, and however hard it seems, the girls were absolutly blind about him, and they could only see virtues where we saw just vices.

I can accept that men be usually clumpsy about almost everything (the subjunctive is conciously forced because it's not a fact!). However, and of course in my opinion, we have developed our emotional skills in a different way. Maybe our practical mentality has something to do in that. I do know it sounds like a commonplace, but actually it helps men in avoiding lots of problems that women usually have to face. For instance, very seldom do you see a conflict between two male-friends which last long enough to break up the relationship. Maybe they fight or drink as a lord to solve it, but certainly they will do it faster than two female-friends.

In this part of the novel, we can catch a glimpse of this diference. Charlie and Kitty are in two different worlds. I must say that however Carmen says, it doesn´t have to do with LOVE. You can call it atraction, passion, sexual instict,... but in my humble opinion it is a huge lie, but not love. Neither Romeo and Juliet is it a good example to speak about love. Due to the passion and the atraction, it is a good explanation for the antecedent of real love, but it is not enough by itself. I daresay that love is an option further than an instict that will finish sooner than you can expect. It is passion that unite Kitty and Charles, but not compromise, nor intimacy. Indeed is it much bigger than the union with Walter, but weak enough to be considered love.

maria carmen martinez dijo...

Although the author didn’t describe exhaustively the main characters, Kitty Charlie and Walter, we can see through their thinking, saying, and especially their behaviour, how they are.
All of us agree that Charlie is a selfish man who only thinks of himself, his social position and to have a good time with Kitty, (many times he said her ”you could count on me” and never “I want to merry you”).
Also, all of us agree that Kitty is a very pretty and superficial woman and she made two mistakes, the first by marrying a man whom she didn’t love and the second by starting an affair with a married man.
But in my opinion Walter made the big mistake, deciding to marry Kitty only because she was pretty. He wished to marry her in spite of his bad opinion about her (he knew her lack of love for him and similar jobbies),and his own law estimated.
Little by little we can see the reward of their thoughts and actions.

Carmen dijo...

María del carmen, you are right in that Walter makes a fool of himself in marrying Kitty, but at that time men needed women and vice versa, currently neither of us needs the other. He wanted to make love to her, to have his house organized and well looked after...i mean place yourself in the position of that time otherwise it is impossible to understand their actions.
Jesús, Have you read "Bright Star"? Would you say that poem captures the essence of LOVE? Try to visualize that applied to a married couple who have been together for 10 years...There is a certain amount of passion in love, otherwise it would not be crazy, or blind, or daring "with love light wings did I o´er perch these walls"...."And what love can do, that dares love attempt"(Romeo and Juliet). I think LOVE is more passionate than you think. What I agree with is the fact that men are not so naive when you have to judge a...male character, indeed, but what about a female??? Then things get complicated, don´t they?

Carmen dijo...

where are you?

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

Indeed it is difficult to make out the real nature of female characters... well, actually it is difficult to understand women in general, so that I am still in the way of that. However, we can see a change between the first Kitty whose only worries were about the parties she attended, the polo competitions, and things like that, and the second Kitty after a while in that little village in the middle of nowhere. It is interesting to so big a change. Her personal background, her values and aspirations are now absolutely useless. Furthermore, she feels as empty as a drum due to the fact that he realizes a brand new ability of loving in Walter, and maybe she needs to be the receiver of that love. And even worse than that is her new feeling of pride about him, which make her feer even more weird. Let see how her feelings change...

I also agree with Carmen, that maybe I am defining a personal concept of Love which is far away from reality. Notwithstanding this fact, I think passion, blindness and wildness are important to be atracted by somenone. It is a biological tool to procreate, so that it finishes once you have shared the bed a couple of times with the other. There are different ways of loving along the life time. We are not so impulsive at 15 than at 70, so that through the life of a couple, love is not always crazy, wild and desperate. It may be at the begining, but after that it could be something like... a rainy sunday evening: some people hate it, but some others like it. There is nothing astonishing passionate and out of control in being married for two years, but it is love after all.
I didn,t comment anything in the Bright star post, but maybe that is the right place to write all this thoughts.

I am starting to catch a glimpse of the style of this writer. I used to concentrate all the effort in understanding the text, but now that I can control this, I can also perceive the way of writting, the expressions he uses, his way of describing,... and it makes me feel really good, because I coud not do it unless I were reading in Spanish. I have realized as well that I can write much more easily (as you can see), but I am afraid that a bunch of mistakes be the price for such a fast writting.

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

Maybe it would be more adecuate to write "a handful of mistakes" instead of "a bunch of mistakes".

cris Ad2A dijo...

Well Jesus, you can't understood why girls fell in love with the most popular boy. they fell in love in the same way that boys would only have eyes to the pretiest girl and they would usually feel atracted by the girl who had her boobs bigger (sorry, for the words but it's true). Maybe, in this case love could be consider as pasion or physical atraction, but anyway is a feeling that we have when we are teenagers. However as you said as we get older, we change. We look for different things in our relationship, we feel comfortable with other kind of atarction, nevertheless, love has to be in between of the couple.
As far as the novel is concerned, Kitty's loneliness is worth to be stood out. She is realizing that she has not been a good wife, her mother would be disappointed with her, She wasn't any especial woman for Charly on the contrary she was a second rate, now she is in a place where people are dying like flies and she is completely unuseful. Can you put in her shoes for a moment and feel how depressed she should be?. I suppose her idea of helping in the convent isn't as bas as it could seem.

cris dijo...

Sorry, "as bad as"

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I´m very interested in Waddington´s character. He describes Walter very well (as a man with no passion, a vain main who likes admiration). He knows him better that Kitty.

I think that Waddington and Kitty are starting a friendship that could be interesting at that point of the novel.

Susana Adv2-A dijo...

Love is no way rational. It's more an adventure. Inside it, we tend to idealize the loved person, usually because we don't know him or her very deeply. We are excited because we are not certain about the thinking or the behaviour of the other person.
In the novel, Kitty was sured that Walter loved her, she had known it from the beginning, so there was no excitement about falling in love with him. Probably she felt she didn't have to do any real efford.
Now that Walter has set a distance between them, and the nuns and even Mr. Waddington have shown her the remarkable qualities Walter has, she begins to realize how better is Walter than Charlie.
Kitty can see now that Charlie is a second-rate fellow. Due to what Mr. Waddington has told her about Charlie and after their last conversation she knows more about how he really is, and she can't idealize him anymore.

Mar, I agree with you that Mr. Waddington is becoming an important reference in Kitty's Life.

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

Answering Carmen´s request for comments on the sentence.- quote: “what was it in the human heart that made you despise a man because he loved you?” end quote.

In my opinion, this is a rather complicated question because nothing so clearly evidences the condition of the human heart. But I also think that when we (women) reject a man, when we hate him, when we despise him, it is because He demandes things that we are not able to give him. But at that point he behaves as if he were blind.

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

We desire what we do not have. And it goes other way round: we refuse what is reachable.

maria carmen martinez -2Adv dijo...

I don’t think usually people fall in love with “second -rate” people.
In my opinion usually people use our perception senses, as the eyes, the ears, etc and we fell attracted and fell in love when we see a pretty face, blue eyes, athletic body, long legs, etc… that happened Walter and Charlie when they saw Kitty and Kitty when her saw Charlie. I don’t know why they were incapable to look at inside and to watch with the reason, the heart and the soul. They looked for the physical qualities, but not the moral qualities. Years later Kitty realized that Charlie was very attractive but he was not a good person, and Walter was a good person but she never loved him because of his lack of good physical qualities and hobbies

cris Adv2A dijo...

Referring Waddington's friendship with Kitty, I dare say that they are just friend there is no more hidden. Both of them feel alone in a terrible place where death is spreading faster and faster. Talking to each other is the best medicine they have.

About the question Mar aswered, I share the same opinion than Jesus. the more difficult to get, the more atractive is, in contrast, the easier the less worthy. Not only is it concerned about relationship but also with all aspects of our life.

Maria Carmen, obviously first impressions are always made over the physical appearance, however all that glitters is not gold, because of this if you look for a good husband you must know more about him but if he is only an affair,... passion and madness is opposite to common sense. Charlie was looking only for a pretty lover and I don't think Kitty took care about what she was doing after she really felt inmersed in her pesionated tale.

Carmen dijo...

Well, aren´t I surprised to see all these posts???? I have some catching up to do and i will during the weekend!!!
Well done

Carmen dijo...

Jesús, you are right, of course, there are different types of love and Shakespeare shows this clearly in "Romeo and Juliet" and in "Anthony and cleopatra". I don´t think that we could not live the intensity existing in Bright Star for ever!!! It would be exhausting!!!
Cris, you are also right, men are very much interested in the physical side of a woman, what I have learnt along the way, is that it is a life long attraction for men, I mean they are always interested in....physic, rarely in our mind, aren´t you, boys????

crisAv2A dijo...

How well described is Walter's death!, it made me shiver.
Kitty was completely regreted about her behavior with Walter but it was too late. "I wished, I had been sincere" (she though), however in my opinion She was very egoistic, she begged for pardon just because she felt guilty, even more guilty now due to she was pregnant. what did Walter mean whit his answer? was he delirious or did he wanted to convey something to Kitty?


Hello, this is my first comment in the blog. I´m finding very interesting the book of "The Painted Veil", although I´m finishing it and it´s a little sad. This week I´ll comment the end and I´ll write my oppinion of the whole book.

Carmen dijo...

The problem, really, in this story is that Kitty is very superficial. We understand her when she says she was brought up to be like that, when she rejects her own responsibilty in her upbringing, i mean she could have cultivated herself a bit, couldn´t she? but then it is difficult for humans to move on if nobody pushes us. Kitty gets better when she is forced to face the dark side of life, and let´s face it, we are forced in real life too, sometimes...always to come to terms with difficulties!!! I would like to add that currently we are forced very soon in life: the first difficulties arise at school, then it is love affairs, then we have to deal with jobs,etc.and those who are lucky do not experience ill-health or death. Kitty, brought up in comfort, pretty as she was, the eldest, on top of it all, solves her first problem, marriage, rather well, but not perfectly, by marrying whoever happens to propose to her and who, moreover will sweep her out of new and unpleasant circumstances...but it doesn´t follow that she is in love with him. When she finds love, she bestows it on the wrong man and in the turmoil of discovery has to face her doomed journey towards cholera (a metaphor of her own ill soul-heart)...and eventually recovery..but she is not the same person. what I value in Kitty is that once she is aware of the state of things she tries to become wiaer, she changes, in this she is fortunate, some live all their lives blaming others for what has happened to them, little looking into themselves to admit faults of their own.
I´ve liked your post, Jesús, very interesting...and very true.
Cris, I was also impressed by the vivid description of Walter´s death. Particularly his immovility...it must be like that you are just a body..a corpse.
Mari Carmen, I think Kitty was also attracted to charlie´s position, that is something women admire in men.
Mar, I´m still wondering what makes us fall for a man and reject the one with the virtues! It could be that which you say...but i not so sure...

MAR (5ºA) dijo...

I have read very carefully the article Carmen gave us, in connection with John Keats´ sonnet, in which poets say, in a masterly way, how love really is and the most common symptoms of love. It makes me think that none of the main characters in the novel (including Walter) know about that. None of the characters focus on the qualities that make the other person individual and his/her feelings toward him/her unique.


Hi!!!!! after my first post on tuesday, (Thanks Carmen) I feel encouraged to write in this blogg. Sorry for my writing but I want to improve my english, so, here I am.
About what Kitty asked to Waddington ("I wonder what she sees in you") and Waddington ´s answer ("She says I´m good"); the last sentence reminds me what my grandmother used to tell: "Yesterday, when I met Mary, I asked her about her daughter´s husband and she told me: "Oh, he is GOOD AND HARDWORKER man"". She wanted to mean: HE WASN´T HANDSOME AT ALL".
Kitty thought women ever loved men for their virtues, so there must be another reason... And the Manchu laughed...
I think she felt very pleased and comfortable living with a man like Waddington, who, as Kitty told him, seemed to feel something for her, "like loving a phantom or a dream". Because she had seen it in his eyes...

Susana Adv2-A dijo...

I find Mr. Waddington the most amusing character in the novel. It was quite surprising to know that he lived with a Manchu princess. At first, I guessed that because Waddington had saved her family she felt a kind of eternal gratitude, but nuns tell Kitty that the Manchu girl had deeply fallen in love with Waddington. When Kitty meets the girl she describes her as "exquisite", but in the asian way, with her painted face, her slow movements.... Kitty can't stand not asking her what she sees in Waddington. When the girl answers that he is good and Waddington smiles I think that he is proud to be loved in that way by a woman so different in her ideals to the western girls. Waddington is little and bald, he is clever, but too sincere and too fond on whisky for the colony, and even I think he likes theatres, music and life in the city, he has found in the Manchu girl someone who loves him as he is, and offers him peace and a quiet happiness.

Carmen dijo...

Mar, very well-connected, you will be an expert yet. Hi, Gabriela, and welcome, susana, I totally agree with you, good comment.
now, before rushing to set the table and prepare lots of things for a dinner-party I have at home (guests coming at 9.30!!!!!!) I wanted to jot down something i´ve been thinking. The main difference between the play and the novel is that the script saves Kitty. She recaptures Wlter love by valuing him and making him value her. I´ve asked myself why Maugham didn´t do it and i have arrived at this conclusion, could it be because he despises woman? I believe him to be gay!!
As Waddingtom, like Susan I think he was not approved of by the stiff English colony and he is redeemed before his own eyes because he is loved for being good. that is what human beings, deep down dream of being GOOD.
Now I´d like to know whether you are good????????

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

I liked the film a lot, as I wrote in my first post, but things change after reading the novel. First of all feelings are not properly grasped in the film, especially in the affection they finally feel for each other. And, the story reaching the end, the "mishap" between Charlie and Kitty is also out of the film.

What I liked the most, is the photography of the remote far East, the landscapes, the travel itself. I don´t know why, but I love travelling films, because they make me feel as though I should be traveling as well. And Kitty´s case is phisical but also emocional.

I reached the conclusion that Kitty has become less superficial and empty minded, but not so much, specially in the novel (not in the film). There are not decissions taken on her own. She went to that village due to Walter´s deal. She came back to Hong Kong because of Mother Superior´s advice, to London becouse her own mother illness, and to Bahamas,... well, who could refuse that!


Hello friends:
I enjoyed the film as well. The photography is fantastic and also the soundtrack.
What I felt was a more "modern and feminist" version of the novel, and I really liked it.
I don´t enjoy when I see a woman treated like an "object", obliged to get married to a man she is not in love with and been appart from her family and her own place. Of course, were the 20s of 1900!
And what I enjoyed most is the changing of the sex of Kitty´s baby because the boy could say to Charlie´s face his name was WALTER! And, also, what the little Walter asked Kitty: ¿Who was that man, mum? and her answer: Nobody important!!!!!!!.

Carmen dijo...

I totally agree with your critic of the film and see that Charlie´s meeting is a patched up affair. Really the novel is more credible in the sense that she did not like Walter from the start and it is true that sometimes a woman cannot like the most suitable of men!!! You just cannot do it!! But I disgree with you on one point, kitty takes a decison and that is when she decides to marry Walter.
Gabriela, please to write 5ºA, Ok? Our level is that one and not an intermediate, at least we try. Now, I´m afraid there are lots of women currently who marry for the same reasons as Kitty, to be maintained or protected, but don´t forget that kitty married of her own accord, nobody forced her to marry Walter. I´m afraid that women are still treated as objects on many ocasions and some like it. I supose women were born to be admired and we also admire paintings, dresses, jewels and cars...look around you and you´ll see how right I am!!!
The photography was superb. and the setting, too.

Rebeca Av2 dijo...

This is my second comment this course on the blog. I lost the habit of writing here during the summer, so, I hope you forgave my mistakes.

I´ve read til capter 27, but, according to the last posts, I belive you are reading far away from this one, aren´t you? Could you tell the exact chapter you are reading? Thank you.

Apart from that, I´d like to say that I´m finding the novel really interesting, and also very close to the reality, since thought it belongs to a period different from ours, its topics are mainly attemporal. As Carmen says, women are still considered as the fragile side of the human being, so, therefore, many of us still belive in the need of being with someone who looks after us (either in an economic or affective way).But Kitty chose marrying Walter herself, which shows she had at least the chance of leading her life.

I´ll keep reading til I reach you, in order to be able to add properly to your comments.

Raquel de Luis dijo...

Hello everybody.

WARNING: If you haven't finished the novel, do not read this comment.

Many of you will disagree with the opinion I am going to write, but others could think about the book as I do.

First of all, I really appreciate the interest that teachers have showed on this course by choosing a novel and encouranging the students to read it.

Secondly, I have to say that, in the basis of the quality of Pride and Prejudice, this is not the kind of novel I expected to read. Next, I will explain my points of views:

1) The vocabulary and the grammar structures are only acceptable.

2) The author doesn't understand women behaviour nor our concerns. The main character could be a teenager, but a 25 years old woman would never feel and express herself like Kitty does, even in the Prehistory.

3) The turn of character Kitty experiences is implausible. In, how many? 5 hours? she becomes a concerned person about human problems and sees the reality for the very first time in her life. I am sorry, but this is impossible, nobody can be so silly and, out of the blue, changing so fast.

4) Her behaviour when her husband dies... come on... the character expresses absolutely nothing compared with the feelings she was supposed to have. Even though she wasn't in love with him, they had lived together for some years, and her new personality was due to him.

I am sorry for those who disagree with my opinion, but I had the need to write this post in order to prevent the teachers of choosing this novel again.

And, as I said at the beguining, thank you teachers for sharing this reading blog with the students (even though I didn't like the book).

Jesús Fernández de Vera dijo...

Hello Raquel, it is nice to read you again!

I agree with you in most of the statements you posted. There is a huge gap between analysing P&P, as we did last year, and The painted veil. However it is reading a not-so-good book that makes you concern about the quality of a good one. Afer this, we have read Great Expectation, and the difference is more than noticeable. But even with that, I could appreciate a difference of quatity between G. Exp. y P&P.

I am with you again in the way that reading a modern, supposedly entertaining book could be less useful than a classic with normaly more resources of analysis to be discussed, more complicated structures and a vast vocabulary as Dicken´s which seems to have no end.

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