Fall Out Phantom: The Masterpost, Part One

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(AKA The Awful Adventures of Ghostbro and Broni Friendzoni)

Hey all!  I haven’t actually finished livetweeting The Phantom of the Opera yet, but since it’s such a long book, I’m going to go ahead and break the tweets up into a few different posts (I don’t know how many just yet).  In this post, you’ll find my tweets for the prologue through chapter 9.

UPDATE:  part 2 (chapters 10-17) and part 3 (chapter 18-end)

Here goes:

  • I HAVE OFFICIALLY REACHED 20K WORDS FOR #NaNoWriMo . Now I get to read/livetweet The Phantom of the Opera.

Prologue: “IN WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THIS SINGULAR WORK INFORMS THE READER HOW HE ACQUIRED THE CERTAINTY THAT THE OPERA GHOST REALLY EXISTED”

  • It’s like a Fall Out Boy song title
    • Thnks Fr Th Msc Lsns
    • This Ain’t A Scene (It’s A Goddamn Aria)
    • I Slept with Someone in the Paris Opera and All I Got Was This Stupid Book Written About Me
  • “The Opera ghost really existed.” And how did he exist, Monsieur Leroux? “…in flesh and blood…”
  • oh my god, these Fall Out Phantom song titles distracted me SO MUCH – back to the book
  • (I’ll probably be able to come up with much funnier ones once I’ve actually read the book)
  • *coughs* *straightens scarf* *sits up* right, I’m actually going back to the book now.
  • So we’re getting a framing narrative like we did with Carmilla’s Dr. Hesselius and Turn of the Screw’s Douglas/unnamed narrator.
  • Blah blah, framing narrator is talking about his research process – HOLD UP
  • “the disappearance of the Vicomte de Chagny and the death of his elder brother, Count Philippe” – GOD DANG, LEROUX, TAG YOUR SPOILERS
  • seriously, what IS IT with all these Gothic writers and revealing their big plot twists right away?
  • doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of the story?
  • you’re supposed to creep us out, Leroux, and that’s NOT GOING TO HAPPEN if you keep TELLING ME WHAT’LL HAPPEN IN YOUR STORY
  • BLAH BLAH BLAH more research methods aka please just shut up
  • I’m finally done with that long-winded prologue, thank heavens. Ugh.

“Chapter I: Is it the Ghost?”
spoiler alert: it is

  • So these dancers barge into the principal ballerina’s dressing room, and they’re absolutely freaking out.
  • One of them even declares, “It’s the ghost!” And what do we get after this? A DESCRIPTION OF THE DRESSING ROOM
  • “Sorelli’s dressing-room was fitted up with official, commonplace elegance” – oh my god, shut up and tell me about the ghost
  • Leroux has thus far described Jammes and Giry in exactly the same syntactical fashion – ridiculously long hyphenated asides.
  • If he does that one more time, I may scream
  • Apparently people blame this ghost for literally everything. Poor guy.
  • Ooh, a Mr. Joseph Buquet is actually describing the ghost now. Good, let’s actually get down to business for once
  • though I don’t really appreciate Leroux dismissing the girls as silly while treating Joseph’s word as gospel truth
  • I feel like I’m at kind of an advantage reading this, since I haven’t actually seen the musical
  • I mean, this mofo does NOT look like Gerard Butler. Like, at all.
  • Let’s take stock of Joseph Buquet’s description of this ghost, shall we?
  • 1. “He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame.”
  • 2. “His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull.”
  • side note, I can’t be the only one thinking of this guy, right?
  • 3. “His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-face” – OMG VOLDEMORT
  • and 4. “All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears.” so basically a Homer Simpson ‘do
  • seriously though
  • “For instance, a fireman is a brave fellow! He fears nothing, least of all fire!” I… okay. I’m just gonna… *sigh*
  • okay, apparently Leroux’s point with that was that the ghost scared the crap out of a fireman
  • oh my god. y’all.
  • the fireman freaked b/c “he had seen coming toward him, AT THE LEVEL OF HIS HEAD, BUT WITHOUT A BODY ATTACHED TO IT, A HEAD OF FIRE!”
  • and yes, the capital letters are as they are in the book.
  • what’s really funny is that “AT THE LEVEL OF HIS HEAD, BUT WITHOUT A BODY ATTACHED TO IT” is bolded, but nothing else is
  • because apparently a disembodied head by itself is scarier than a disembodied head that’s literally on fire
  • or maybe that’s just the Kindle edition being jank, I don’t know
  • the dancers are all like “but that’s totally not what the ghost looked like before!” and then they’re like “HE MUST HAVE LOTS OF HEADS”
  • “To return to the evening in question.” OH MY GOD, ABOUT TIME
  • So anyway, all the dancers are in Sorelli the principal’s dressing room having a collective meltdown, and there are creepy noises outside.
  • Sorelli: I’m gonna open the door
    Dancers: Sorelli no
    Sorelli: Sorelli yes
  • “Sorelli, armed with a dagger that never left her” – wow, from 0 to favorite side character in 0.00002 seconds
  • And of course, there’s no one outside the dressing room making the creepy noises. No one they can see, anyway.
  • “You know the Persian has the evil eye—-” – uh how about you don’t
  • According to the dancers, this guy named Gabriel saw the ghost and then had ALL THE BAD LUCK
  • “He had seen the ghost behind the Persian, THE GHOST WITH THE DEATH’S HEAD” – again with the sudden caps
  • oh what the heck, this ghost apparently has a private box
  • heck, I want a private box in the Paris opera… guess I have to go haunt some folks now
  • “No one has had it for over a month, except the ghost, and orders have been given at the box-office that it must never be sold.” – bruh
  • this is one freakin pampered ghost
  • me rn, literally:
    Photo on 2014-11-12 at 22.46
  • So apparently even when a performance is going on, “you only hear [the ghost] when he is in the box.” Even now, he’s basically just a voice
  • “Joseph Buquet had no business to talk of things that don’t concern him–it will bring him bad luck”- I detect heavy-handed foreshadowing
  • Aaaaaaaand sure enough, Joseph Buquet is dead.
  • Just like that, I’m done feeling sorry for this ghost.
  • “Yes, he was found hanging in the third-floor cellar!” – ghostface goes hard, y’all
  • …ghost hard or ghost home?
  • “Sorelli was very pale. ‘I shall never be able to recite my speech,’ she said” – oh, THAT’S what you’re concerned about?
  • “By the time [some random dude] had rushed down the staircase and the Jacob’s ladder, the man was no longer hanging from his rope!”- oh boy
  • and the rope straight-up disappeared too
  • I guess you could say Joseph and the rope have… gone ghost

“Chapter II – The New Margarita” – I’m sure this refers to something other than the alcoholic beverage, but… I got nothing

  • Sorelli just ran into Philippe (is that how this guy’s name is spelled?), and this guy is WAY TOO EXCITED
  • “Oh, Sorelli, what an evening! And Christine Daae: what a triumph!” – breaking news, Philippe, A MAN JUST DIED.
  • Leroux is absolutely fawning over Christine’s newly revealed vocal talent. This is like some Susan Boyle ish right here.
  • Sighhhhhhhh now we get the whole history of Raoul and Philippe’s family or something like that
  • So apparently Philippe is the super manly man and Raoul is the effeminate little brother
  • “I know that the count was said to be ‘on terms’ with Sorelli.” – ooh gurl.
  • “Raoul tore his gloves without knowing what he was doing” – someone’s got a cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuush
  • and Philippe’s all over here like *Raoul and Christine sittin’ in a tree…*
  • okay but why on earth is everybody and their grandma backstage at Christine’s dressing room
  • “‘Don’t you think, Doctor, that those gentlemen had better clear the room?’ asked Raoul coolly” – oh yay, someone agrees with me
  • “[Raoul], therefore, remained in the room watching Christine” – um, okay, that’s a little creepy
  • you are literally in Christine’s dressing room, Raoul, don’t you think that’s a bit of a personal space invasion?
  • never mind, clearly not
  • this Kindle edition is seriously jank
    Screen shot 2014-11-12 at 11.14.15 PM
  • Christine’s rallied by this point, and she’s just like “get the f*** out of here, all of you”
  • WHAT THE HECK, RAOUL
  • “One idea alone filled Raoul’s burning brain: of course, Daae wished to be left alone FOR HIM!” – oh my god, you entitled sack of potatoes
  • what part of “she wants to be left alone” did you not understand?
  • like it just blows my mind how Christine’s assistant told Raoul she wanted to be left alone and Raoul was like SHE WANTS TO TALK TO MEEEE
  • seriously, what a selfish, ego-tripping, tone-deaf outgrowth of shower mold
  • (that has to be one of my favorite insults I’ve ever made up)
  • “But his hand dropped. He had heard A MAN’S VOICE in the dressing-room” – OMG CALL THE DAILY MAIL, THERE’S A SCANDAL BREWING
  • I’m deriving supreme pleasure from imagining Raoul’s agonized reaction to hearing “A MAN’S VOICE” in Christine’s dressing room
  • side note, I’ll probably be using “Raoul” and “Broni Friendzoni” interchangeably for the rest of the livetweet
  • ooh la la, the man’s voice has a “curiously masterful tone”~
  • And what does our ~mystery man~ say in his ~curiously masterful tone~?
    “Christine, you must love me!”
    …um.
  • words cannot describe the way in which I just cringed
  • Christine’s reply: “How can you talk like that? WHEN I SING ONLY FOR YOU!”
  • makin’ it weird with Christine Daae 2kalways
  • also, the random capslock is definitely screwing with me
  • “Raoul leaned against the panel to ease his pain.” – oh cool, next time I have a headache I should just lean against a freakin’ wall
  • “The whole passage echoed with its beating… Surely, if his heart continued to make such a noise, they would hear it inside” – #poe
  • “The man’s voice spoke again: ‘Are you very tired?'” – what the crap do you think, bro
  • come on, Christine just sang like three or four boss-level songs, do you honestly think she’s going to be bouncing off the walls?
  • on this episode of Was That Supposed To Be Italics Or Smallcaps?:
    Screen shot 2014-11-12 at 11.32.58 PM
  • “At one and the same time, [Broni Friendzoni] had learned what love meant, and hatred.” – okay, back up, broski
  • k so it’s pretty obvious that Raoul’s been in lurve with Christine since they were kids and he rescued her scarf from the sea or w/e
  • and since she doesn’t remember who he is, I think I can presume they really didn’t see much of each other after that occasion
  • but like. holding on to something like that for *years*, 99% of the time, isn’t a hallmark of love. it’s a hallmark of creepy obsession
  • so, in conclusion, we’re only in chapter 2 and Raoul has already thoroughly earned the title of Broni Friendzoni
  • So Christine leaves the dressing room. Raoul, surprisingly, doesn’t follow her. He DOES, however, go into her dressing room.
  • Arguably even creepier.
  • aaaaaand wouldn’t you know it, there’s no one in the dressing room. Broni’s batting a thousand tonight, folks
  • “lover though he was, he did not even think of stealing a ribbon that would have given him the perfume of the woman he loved.” criiiiiiiinge
  • if Leroux is going to spend the entire rest of the book glorifying Broni here, someone please warn me so I can arm myself with reaction gifs
  • “At a given moment in his wayward progress, an icy draft struck [Raoul] in the face.” – just like I’d like to do
  • Raoul just encountered a bunch of workmen bringing out Joseph Buquet’s body. Cool cool.
  • And that’s the end of chapter 2. Good god.

“Chapter III: The Mysterious Reason”
that just sounds like something a random book title generator would spit out

  • And of course, that retirement party is still happening, even though someone died. The show must go on, I guess.
  • “None will ever be a true Parisian who has not learned to wear a mask of gaiety over his sorrows and one of sadness… over his inward joy.”
  • that last tweet was filed under “clearly a thematic statement”
  • so everybody’s happy and partying and probably slightly drunk – perfect time for Jammes to scream, “The Opera ghost!”
  • aaaaaand everybody’s like WHAT UP BRO?!
  • somehow, it’s completely plausible to these people that it’s actually some guy wearing a mask. okay, then
  • honestly, Jammes and Giry are the only ones with any common sense – they’re both screaming their heads off
  • or maybe they’re just the only ones who aren’t drunk
  • “Sorelli was furious; she had not been able to finish her speech” – god dang it, Sorelli
  • my question is, why do the theater managers think it’s a good idea to pass their keys around?
  • and oh look, the ghost is back
  • “There sat the ghost, as natural as could be” – sorry but how is the lovechild of Ghostface and Voldemort natural in any way, shape, or form
  • so basically the new managers think Ghostface is a friend of the old managers, and the old managers think blah blah vicy versy
  • just. people’s reactions to everything in this book blow my mind.
  • “she wants to be alone? clearly she wants to talk to me” #phantomreactions
  • “there’s a ghost in our opera house? let’s reserve a box for him” #phantomreactions
  • “someone died? aw crap, now I won’t be able to give my neat little speech” #phantomreactions
  • “a dude who looks like death? eh, he must be one of the manager’s friends” #phantomreactions
  • I get the feeling #phantomreactions is going to keep being a thing
  • “But M. Moncharmin declares, in his Memoirs, that the guest’s nose was transparent” – what’s that they say about denial being a river?
  • “I… will add that this might… apply to a false nose. M. Moncharmin may have taken for transparency what was only shininess.” r u srs
  • like are we seriously devolving into a discussion of the finer points of ghosts wearing false noses
  • “Everybody knows that orthopaedic science provides beautiful false noses for those who have lost their noses naturally” – are you for real
  • I seriously cannot believe I just read that sentence. Anyway, moving on
  • The ghost speaks!… which actually isn’t that surprising considering he’s appeared as a disembodied voice before
  • “The death of that poor Buquet is perhaps not so natural as people think.” – the ghost. Troll hard or go home, I guess.
  • Ghost: so that Joseph Buquet guy
    Ghost: he was totally murdered
    Everyone:
    Ghost: it’s funny because I did it
  • okay, NOW the former theater managers are freaking out – about time
  • “They replied that there was something worse, which was the GHOST.” – capslock, man, it really messes with the tone of a statement
  • oh god, they got “formal orders from the ghost himself to ask us to be pleasant to him and to grant any request that he might make” – YIKES
  • so basically this ghost has everyone at the opera house thoroughly whipped
  • The ghost literally wrote addenda to the managers’ handbook. I am so not kidding.
  • this ghostbro is literally asking for AN ALLOWANCE HOLY CRAP ARE YOU ACTUALLY TWELVE YEARS OLD
  • and like. he’s literally asking for 240k francs a year. (does anyone happen to know what that would be in today’s money?)
    • [edit after the fact:  according to @SilverbirdUSA, that’s $1.1 million a year]
    • …um.
    • and how long has Ghostbro been haunting this place? I mean, he’s gotta qualify for the 1 percent at some point
  • “`Box Five on the grand tier shall be placed at the disposal of the Opera ghost for every performance.'” – more handbook graffiti
  • Ghostbro is… let’s just call him a piece of work and move on
  • surely this cannot get any more ludicrous
  • the lost stage cues for that second line include howling wind and spotlights on Debienne and Poligny
    Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 6.56.30 PM

“Chapter IV: Box Five”
*band geek snickers*

  • So now Moncharmin and Richard are in charge of the opera house, and everything’s going swimmingly. Right?
  • LOL OF COURSE NOT.
  • Richard’s secretary comes in from her mail run bearing a letter written in the same creepy handwriting they saw in the handbook.
  • “La Carlotta, who sings like a squirt” – OKAY, GHOSTBRO, EXCUSE THE HECK OUT OF YOU
  • Ghostbro: lol nice try kiddos, now don’t reserve my box again or I will literally end you so hard
  • I wasn’t kidding:
    Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 7.02.15 PM
  • this ghost is quite the little a-hole
  • seriously, why on earth do people call this a love story? this dude is clearly the holiest of the a’s.
  • Moncharmin just referred to “that little Christine Daae” and I kind of want to slap him
  • stop infantilizing women 2kalways
  • the next morning’s mail run
    ghost: hey thanks y’all now where’s my money
    Debienne/Poligny: are you kidding? we’re not going in that box
  • and wouldn’t you know it, Moncharmin and Richard sold the box again anyways. this is going to turn out so well
  • oh boy, Leroux is switching to the POV of a police inspector now…
  • the people who bought the box for the night: yay we found our seats
    ghost: lol I don’t think so
  • and that was the extent of the incident… to be frank, I was expecting another murder
  • Richard’s all like
  • turns out the lady in charge of box five last night was Giry’s mom.
  • oh what the heck, apparently the ghost broke someone’s leg too
  • what a miserable human-shaped collection of cow turds
  • the book keeps referring to Faust – it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out thematically
  • …so according to the story Mme. Giry just told, the ghost just goaded someone into breaking another someone’s leg
  • because Ghostbro apparently never gets tired of bossing people around, he always asks Mme. Giry to get him a footstool
  • spotlight on Mme. Giry:
    Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 7.30.55 PM
  • “So now the ghost is married!” – I was wrong, this book just got more ludicrous
  • …at least Ghostbro tips Mme. Giry?
  • that’s the one thing I’ve read about him that isn’t entirely abhorrent
  • ohhhhhh boy, Mme. Giry just got fiiiiiiiiired
  • Now Richard and Moncharmin are going to investigate these Box Five shenanigans themselves. This is going to go well.

“Chapter V: The Enchanted Violin”
isn’t that a fairy tale? I feel like that’s the name of a fairy tale

  • Poor Christine’s having some stage fright issues, looks like.
  • “She acted throughout as though she were no longer the mistress of her own destiny” – yeah bc this ghost has you by the throat
  • from a letter Christine wrote: “I have not forgotten the little boy who went into the sea to rescue my scarf.”
    no
    darn it
    ugh
  • don’t entertain Raoul, Christine, he’s no better than Ghostbro
  • side note, though, something we’ve discussed in class is the sort of multimedia nature of this book
  • Leroux presents it as a collection of clips, like letters and newspaper articles and stuff, and that’s noteworthy in and of itself
  • now here’s a book that would make for a super interesting transmedia adaptation
  • Christine just asked Raoul to meet her at her father’s grave, and I’m shaking my head so hard right now
  • I mean, I was expecting it, but that doesn’t make me any less disappointed
  • oh god, and Raoul keeps having “feverish dreams that began and ended with Christine Daae” – someone please make it stop
  • Blah blah blah, Leroux’s going off on a tangent and telling us Christine’s entire backstory, whatever
  • Apparently Christine and her dad were quite the folk duo back in the day.
  • Oh and wouldn’t you know it, little Raoul first heard little Christine singing and immediately had a big awkward crush on her.
  • no really, how did Raoul manage to get Christine’s scarf from the sea without being sucked away by the undertow? plot devices, that’s how
  • Story time with Daddy Daae!… oh, we’re not going to get a full story? I see how it is.
  • oh no, now Daddy Daae’s talking about the Angel of Music. that’s it, everything’s doomed
  • “You will hear him one day, my child! When I am in Heaven, I will send him to you!”
  • fast forward three years, and Raoul and Christine are crushin’ hard
  • Daddy Daae dies, of course, and now Christine can’t sing. Wunderbar.
  • the fact that Christine seems to be enabled/controlled by men all the friggin’ time is also definitely something we’ve discussed in class
  • oh good god… Christine and Raoul have officially reunited, and good god.
  • Raoul: how did you know I’d be here in particular
    Christine: my dad told me
    Christine: my dead dad
    Raoul: that’s totally not weird at all
  • Raoul: hey Christine by the way I’m madly in love with you
    Christine: you jerk omg I just told you my dad is dead
    Raoul: oops
  • Christine: lololololololol
    Raoul: no for real Christine ilu
    Christine: lolololololololololololol
  • Christine: seriously quit with the lovey stuff
    Raoul: why did you invite me here then
    Christine: dude chill I just wanted to catch up
  • wowowowow, Raoul uses Massive Jerkface and it’s super effective
  • “But he had gone too far and saw no other way out of the ridiculous position than to behave odiously.” – oh, you little…
  • “if any one was in my way, that evening, it was yourself, since I told you to leave the room!” – yeahhhh Christine you tell him
  • Raoul: I heard literally everything
    Christine: oh god
  • Christine: so wait you were listening through the door
    Christine: why tho
    Raoul: because I love you
    Christine: …
  • Christine right now:
  • Christine just vanished in a puff of smoke (not really, but you know), and now Raoul aka Broni Friendzoni is wallowing in self-pity.
  • Raoul walks past the graveyard where Daddy Daae is buried, and oh look – a crapton of red roses are strewn about the place.
  • Because that’s not completely weird or anything.
  • okay, this church Raoul ended up at definitely wins the award for creepiest church ever
  • “Skeletons and skulls by the hundred were heaped against the wall of the church” – nOPE
  • “Dead men’s bones, arranged in rows, like bricks, to form the first course upon which the walls of the sacristy had been built”- double NOPE
  • Raoul is “painfully impressed by all those eternal smiles on the mouths of skulls” – the first part in this book that legit gave me chills
  • blah blah blah, Raoul’s wallowing some more, when a wild Christine appears!
  • Oh god, Christine’s telling Raoul that her ghost friend is the Angel of Music. This is going to turn out so well.
  • Christine: yeah I’ve been taking singing lessons from an angel
    Raoul: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Raoul: nice one
    Raoul: …oh wait you’re not kidding
  • Raoul: but for real, Chris, someone’s gotta be pulling your leg
    Christine: first of all how dare you
    Raoul: oh crap
  • …so I think Raoul just sneaked off in the middle of the night and fell asleep in that creeptastic church? I think?
  • questionable life decisions ft. Raoul
  • “A few weeks later, when the tragedy at the Opera compelled the intervention of the public prosecutor” – hooboy
  • “I realized that I had no excuse for following her and that this way of spying on her was unworthy of me.”- at least Raoul’s self-aware?…
  • Prosecutor: “Are you at all superstitious?” Raoul: “No, monsieur, I am a practising Catholic.”
  • I don’t know if that was supposed to be funny, but I definitely snorted
  • Raoul is remarkably calm for someone who’s creepin’ in a churchyard.
  • “I myself raised my head and everything within me seemed drawn toward the invisible, WHICH WAS PLAYING THE MOST PERFECT MUSIC!” – Raoul
  • I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but if music started playing out of nowhere in a graveyard at midnight, I’d be running the opposite way
  • “The air was The Resurrection of Lazarus” – oh, of COURSE it was
  • like seriously, how is Raoul not beyond creeped out at this point
  • “When the music stopped, I seemed to hear a noise from the skulls in the heap of bones; it was as though they were chuckling” – nope nope
  • “…and I could not help shuddering” – FINALLY A SENSIBLE REACTION
  • “Did it not occur to you that the musician might be hiding behind that very heap of bones?” – the prosecutor. Now this guy, I like.
  • “First a skull rolled to my feet…then another…then another…It was as if I were the mark of that ghastly game of bowls.” – augh
  • and this, folks, is why you probably shouldn’t build a church out of/decorate a church with piles of bones in the first place
  • like seriously, what miserable twisted wretch of an architect thought that would be a good idea
  • Ghostbro: bye
    Raoul: hey wait up *catches his cloak*
    Ghostbro: *turns around*
    Raoul: k never mind
  • “I felt as if I were face to face with Satan” – well, you’re not wrong

“Chapter VI: A Visit to Box Five”

  • So Richard and Moncharmin are going to visit Box Five with the aim of proving that literally every single one of their employees is wrong
  • “…the storm phantom, who, as everybody knows, is called Adamastor.” – what… why is this relevant…
  • the ceiling in the theater is carved full of mythology references, and once again I’m wishing I knew more about mythology
  • aaaaand of course, Richard and Moncharmin saw the ghost, or some sort of shape in the box
  • “Richard said nothing, nor I either. But we spontaneously seized each other’s hand.” – bam I ship it
  • and wouldn’t you know it, they saw two different things – Moncharmin saw the death head, and Richard saw Mme. Giry
  • “lolololol let’s go up there and check it out” – Richard and Moncharmin, basically
  • Richard and Moncharmin are like “fine, we’ll occupy the box ourselves,” because of course that’s going to work out for them

    “Chapter VII: Faust and What Followed”

  • Oh hey, a letter from the ghost! Let’s see what he has to say for himself, shall we?
  • “MY DEAR MANAGERS: So it is to be war between us?” – why, you petulant little…
  • “If you still care for peace, here is my ultimatum.” – literally you are such an a-hole
  • So Ghostbro wants 4 things: his box, Christine singing Carlotta’s part in Faust, Mme. Giry’s reemployment, and agreement to his demands.
  • and re: the second thing, this is literally what he said: “Never mind about Carlotta; she will be ill.”
  • as if he’s going to make absolutely certain that Carlotta is ill. what a friggin’ TOOL
  • “If you refuse, you will give FAUST to-night in a house with a curse upon it.”
  • oh my god I hate this guy so much
  • hey look, I found Ghostbro’s theme song:
  • “‘Look here, I’m getting sick of him, sick of him!’ shouted Richard” – me too, pal, me too
  • …the opera house has a stable?!
  • “Is there a stable at the Opera? Upon my word, I didn’t know.” – uh yeah neither did we
  • why on earth does the opera house have a… you know what, never mind, I’m just going to roll with it
  • “Twelve horses! And what for, in Heaven’s name?” – I don’t know if this is Richard or Moncharmin speaking, but either way, #same
  • And what does our groom Lachenel want? “Mr. Manager, I have come to ask you to get rid of the whole stable.” I. What.
  • oh wait, Lachenel is just asking Richard to downsize the stablemen, not the horses
  • I feel like this whole thing with Richard and Moncharmin is the slapstick subplot
  • Richard: literally why do we have that many stablemen
    Mercier (another manager): *nepotism*
    Richard: hey, hey you, SHUT UP
  • What other news does Lachenel bear, you may ask? Why, that the ghost stole one of his horses.
  • “That will do, M. Lachenel. You can go…. We will lodge a complaint against THE GHOST.”
  • tbh I just want a Parks and Rec-style sitcom about Richard and Moncharmin vs. the ghost
  • Richard is literally foaming at the mouth. I bet Ghostbro is like:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XZGHOxnCto
  • A wild Mme. Giry appears! And oh boy, she looks freaked.
  • And guess what Richard does? He literally turns her around and pushes her out of the office. With his foot.
  • Ghostbro just straight-up threatened Carlotta.
  • Carlotta apparently “went about saying that she had a secret enemy who had sworn to ruin her” – and I mean, she’s not wrong
  • “The truth is that, if there was a cabal, it was led by Carlotta herself against poor Christine, who had no suspicion of it” – I… what
  • like did you miss the part just now where Ghostbro literally threatened Carlotta with a fate worse than death or
  • well, okay, Carlotta *is* kind of a huge diva, but STILL. DEATH THREAT.
  • [insert 24-hour break here]
  • So I’m actually using my physical book today (because apparently I bought that when I bought my books), and the chapter titles are different
  • This chapter, the one we left off on, is titled “In which Firmin Richard and Armand Moncharmin have the audacity to allow Faust to be…
  • “…performed in a ‘cursed’ theatre and the terrible events that ensued.” OH my god, we’ve got more Fall Out Boy song titles.
  • “Carlotta possessed neither heart nor soul. She was merely an instrument” – and Christine isn’t?
  • Because (and we discussed this in class, too) it really seems like Christine’s talent is wholly dependent on the influence of men.
  • now I guess the question is whether Leroux is doing this on purpose or if he’s just completely non-self-aware
  • “Oh, where was your soul, Carlotta, when you danced in the brothels of Barcelona?” – okay I see where this is going
  • gotta love virgin/whore dichotomies, amirite
  • …you know, in class I kept getting confused when people said they had “different editions” of this, but now it makes all the sense
  • now Leroux is saying Carlotta’s voice “demean[s] itself by performing in the salon of one of your lovers” and I want to slap this twit
  • Leroux, you condescending snotrag
  • ohhhhhhh boy, Richard’s sitting in the ghost’s chair.
  • the stage manager just burst into the box to tell Richard and Moncharmin that Christine’s friends are plotting against Carlotta
  • and this is Moncharmin’s response: “Daae has friends, then?”
  • Richard and Moncharmin left the box for like two minutes, and now there’s a box of candy in there. They’re freaked out.
  • Meanwhile, Christine’s singing on stage and sees Raoul- and her voice is “dulled and muffled as the result of some unknown… agency”
  • and you seriously want to tell me she’s not an instrument just like Carlotta, Leroux
  • Oh boy, now Philippe’s getting in on Broni Friendzoni’s act.
  • “She had had the audacity to reply that she could see neither [Raoul] nor his brother.” – oh my god, Philippe, go away
  • “He resented Christine for making Raoul suffer” – GO SUCK AN EGG, YOU WORTHLESS MUSTACHIOED PIECE OF FILTHY SIDEWALK GUM
  • “‘The conniving little minx!’ growled [Philippe] to himself” – literally stop
  • “Raoul hid his boyish tears behind the curtain of his hands” – oh, CRY ME A RIVER, you utter rubbish heap
  • okay, all things considered, Christine let Raoul down in like the nicest way possible and he’s still being a little whiny baby about it
  • So Carlotta’s actually knocking it out of the park right now. You go, girl.
  • Oh boy, Carlotta’s about to crash and burn.
  • “For her very mouth had just produced… a toad!”w h a t
  • “And what an awful, hideous, scummy, slimy, venomous, hoarse toad it was!”
  • “How did it find its way there?” GOOD FREAKIN QUESTION
  • I’m literally about to gag right now, eugh
  • “The toad in question was, of course, a metaphorical one” – WELL, YOU COULD HAVE JUST *SAID* THAT
  • I feel like this is basically the opera house right now:
  • Meanwhile, Richard and Moncharmin are absolutely certain that someone else is now in the box with them.
  • I bet Ghostbro is all like:
  • Carlotta’s rallying. Come on, girlfriend, you can do this.
  • …I take that back, apparently she can’t.
  • Oop, it’s the famous falling chandelier. And who does it kill, you ask? The gal they’d hired as Mme. Giry’s replacement.
  • a message for Ghostbro:

“Chapter IX: The Mysterious Brougham”
brb, looking up what the heck that is/how the heck to pronounce that

  • thanks, Google:
    Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 12.18.57 PM
  • So Carlotta’s sick, Christine’s god knows where, Raoul’s anxious about her, and Richard and Moncharmin are in oodles of legal trouble.
  • To be fair, I don’t think many insurance policies back in that day would have covered giant chandeliers falling on people.
  • “For [Raoul’s] judgment was remarkably sound” – pffffbffbpppbfffffft
  • Yeah, Leroux, I still wouldn’t trust Broni Friendzoni further than I could throw him
  • In his quest to bother Christine no matter the circumstances, Broni goes to visit her old caretaker, Mme. Valerius.
  • Raoul: where is Christine
    Mme. V: lol she’s with her Angel of Music ofc
    Raoul: no seriously where is she
    Mme. V: I am serious
    Raoul:
  • okay this is getting more befuddling by the second
  • “What happened was not your fault. You didn’t know. You are so young, and you thought that Christine was free.” – Mme. V. Wait, what?
  • Raoul: hold up
    Raoul: she’s engaged?
    Mme. V: oh god no, never
    Raoul: …
  • “The Spirit of Music forbids her to marry?” – for once, it looks like Raoul and I are in agreement, because WHAT THE LITERAL HECK
  • I just. I don’t even know where to start with that one
  • though I’ll probably have a lot more to say about it once I actually meet this sorry excuse for a creature
  • “‘Is Christine still pure?’ he could not help but ask” – okay you just got intel that she is LITERALLY HANGING OUT WITH A GHOST, dude
  • but of course that’s what you’re primarily worried about, of *course*
  • oh my god, and here I was thinking Raoul couldn’t possibly be any more of a tool
  • take a gander: “He was so angry with himself that he wanted to smash his head against the wall!”
    like so?
  • “To think that he had believed in her innocence, in her purity!” – holy crap, you could literally not sound more friendzoned if you tried
  • “As for Christine, what a brazen, devilishly cunning creature!” –
  • no, Philippe, don’t enable him
  • oh god, no – Philippe just told Raoul Christine had been seen with another man. BAD IDEA
  • Now Raoul’s getting ready for a “‘giddy round of pleasures,’ as the phrase goes, so as to forget his distress” – absolutely charming
  • I have been reading and rereading this one passage and laughing at it for like five minutes – pic forthcoming
  • alright, folks, this is the passage:
    the ludicrous stamping
  • so I just keep imagining Raoul standing in a little corner somewhere stamping his feet incessantly for half an hour, and god I’m laughing
  • anyway, so Raoul’s doing his little petulant foot-stamp thing when he sees – who else – Christine
  • “Dear God, how he loved her!” – no.
  • “He would confront the Angel of Music at any cost!” – bad idea, Don Juan
  • Raoul keeps shouting Christine’s name – is it weird that all I can think of is this?
  • “His heart was cold, frozen solid; he had loved an angel and now he despised a woman!” – there’s so much wrong with this… where to start?
  • firstly, this highly appropriate reaction image:
  • secondly, what we have here is another textbook case of what happens when you freaking pedestalize someone
  • thirdly, never has Raoul been more deserving of the Broni Friendzoni title
  • “How that sweet little maiden… has trifled with your affections, Raoul!” – OH, DON’T YOU START TOO, LEROUX
  • sadly, I wish I could say Critical Whale is right in this case:
  • but, unfortunately, I’ve seen some future scenes
  • next morning, Broni Friendzoni is still wallowing when he gets a letter from Christine – she wants to meet ~in secret~
  • god dang it, Christine, why are you humoring him
  • and also, if you’re in a situation like this and you have cause to write “my life depends on it,” that should be the biggest red flag ever
  • me at this entire book, basically:

Next time:  Chapters 10-18ish.  Till then…

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 10.45.35 PM

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The Turn of the Tweet: The Masterpost

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(Thanks to Maryanne Lewell for the title inspiration.)

Hey, all!  I recently finished slogging through Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, so you know what that means – another tweet masterpost!

I’m going to be honest… this book was a struggle to get through, in large part because I found the prose almost incomprehensible on many an occasion.  “Empty with a great emptiness” – I mean, really?  But anyway, here are all my (increasingly sardonic) tweets about this little piece of crap story.

Prologue summed up:  unnecessary context galore

  • Hey all – apparently Turn of the Screw, the next book on my capstone syllabus, is short, so I’m just going to try to knock it out now. [edit after the fact:  L O L]
  • Ah yes, nothing like starting out with creepy ghost stories and a campfire. Awesome.
  • “The case, I may mention, was that of an apparition” – oh please, don’t give away the whole story now
  • Looks like our first-person narrator won’t be telling us the actual story – rather, some dude named Douglas.
  • Douglas: “If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw” – aaahhhh he did the title thing
  • Come ON, Douglas, just tell us the dang story. Quit playing coy.
  • (also, what do you want to bet Douglas is one of the kids in the story, all grown up)
  • Now this is quite a tone shift from some of the other pieces- the audience members here are actively taking delight in these horror stories.
  • Huh – I just realized our first-person narrator is, at this point, genderless. Now that is fascinating.
  • Douglas insists he didn’t actually experience this particular story. I’m still wondering, though.
  • The woman who wrote the story out was “my sister’s governess,” I mean, so yeah.
  • Awk. Douglas totally has/had the hots for this governess lady.
  • “[Douglas] continued to fix me. ‘You’ll easily judge,’ he repeated: ‘/you/ will.'” – I get such a self-insert vibe from this line
  • as if Henry James is inviting the reader to adopt the role of the “I” here
  • if he really *is* doing that, then that makes the whole genderless-narrator thing super clever
  • “I fixed him too. ‘I see. She was in love.'” – um. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but okay.
  • “‘Isn’t anybody going?’ It was almost the tone of hope.” so awk
  • One Mrs. Griffin can’t help but wonder: “Who was it [the governess] was in love with?” …oh god.
  • if the governess was in love with the ghost… oh GOD
  • Douglas totally just burned a hole in the carpet with how fast he disappeared.
  • “BYE GOTTA GO TO BED” – Douglas, basically
  • I totally thought this was going to be a framed story a la Heart of Darkness, but I guess not – the genderless narrator is going to tell it.
  • Well, sort of. This story is super filtered- from the governess through Douglas through the narrator’s transcription.
  • Ugh, huge background paragraph- tl;dr, Governess started working for a rich guy whose niece and nephew were his wards.
  • These two kids had another governess before this, “a most respectable person- till her death, the great awkwardness of which-” whoa back UP
  • that seriously does not bode well
  • and also, describing her death as a “great awkwardness” is just. what.
  • Aaahhhhhh. So the governess (who I hope gets a name soon) was in love with her employer. Hey, at least I was wrong about it being the ghost.
  • Um… so apparently if she’s to take this job, Governess has to basically take care of the kids and everything without any help from Dude.
  • His “main condition” was that “she should never trouble him,” “neither appeal nor complain nor write about anything.” ALARM BELLS
  • that just sounds so suspicious
  • me right now:

Chapter 1 summed up: L is basically the adoptive mother of two far-too-adorable-to-be-real kids, and she’s alone with them in a huge house.

  • Okay, now we’re on to the governess’s actual narration, and she still doesn’t have a name. Wonderful.
  • Governess is going on and on about how cute little Flora is. Which, of course, means Flora’s going to be evil.
  • Seriously, if Flora doesn’t turn out to be a devil child, I’ll be so disappointed.
  • I’m so weirded out that the governess doesn’t have a name. I feel like I have to give her a name.
  • I’ll just call her L, how about that?

Chapter 2 summed up: Miles may actually be the devil child here, and L asks quite bluntly what happened to the last governess.

  • Holy crap, Miles got kicked out of his school.
  • At first Mrs. Grose the housekeeper was like “Miles is literally the nicest little kid” and now she’s like “lol about that”
  • L is asking Grose about the last governess now. That’s my girl.
  • The last governess was a hot young thing too, because “‘it was the way [the master] liked every one!'” OH MY GOD, L, IT’S SUCH A TRAP
  • “‘Did she die here?'” – L is being so frank and it’s refreshing

Chapter 3 summed up: Miles is super adorable, L and Grose are total bros, and a creepy dude appears on the top of a tower.

  • L’s first impression of Miles is that he’s just as cherubic as his sister. Come on, L, he’s plainly evil.
  • or I don’t know, that may just be wishful thinking on my part
  • pretty sure Dorian Gray has made me distrust pretty people in literature
  • L and Grose are, in Carmilla parlance, “girling the hell up,” and for some reason I can’t help but be alarmed
  • I also don’t trust Grose for whatever reason. Actually, I don’t think I trust anybody in this book. Maybe L, but that’s it.
  • Now that she’s telling the story, L is amazed at how willing she was to accept such a difficult situation. As am I, honey.
  • “Oh it was a trap” – L actually just said that, y’all. REALLY.
  • A wild random-person-at-the-top-of-a-tower appears!
  • So this is creepy- L was fantasizing about meeting someone while on her afternoon stroll, and this guy who just appeared (1/2)
  • (2/2) looks exactly like the dude she’d been imagining. Okay, then.

Chapter 4 summed up: creep creep creepin

  • Henry James totally just made a Udolpho reference and a Jane Eyre reference in the same sentence. So meta.
  • L isn’t so sure she wants to tell Grose about what happened. Sighhhhhhhh
  • No, L’s just chewing over the incident during her alone time.
  • L’s still completely obsessed with Miles and Flora. Cool.
  • Oh, and they still don’t know why Miles got dismissed from his school. Also cool.
  • Oh my god, L, you’re literally saying Miles is too adorable to be evil. Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?
  • “He was only too fine and fair for the little horrid unclean school-world” – seriously, L?
  • “Both the children had a gentleness – it was their only fault” – L, are you *trying* to make me hate these kids? Because it’s working.
  • “Of course I was under the spell” – whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I think Future L just admitted the kids are evil.
  • I TOTALLY CALLED IT
  • Anyway, moving on.
  • Wouldja look at that, the creepy dude just appeared outside the window of the dining room.
  • Oh man – L literally just bolted from the house and ran TOWARDS the spot where she saw the creeper.
  • I don’t know whether to shake my head or shake her hand.
  • Now this is weird – L keeps going on random tangents about time and how long things lasted.
  • The tl;dr version of every single one of these is “I don’t know how long it lasted.”
  • I feel like HJ is using the lack of time to create the proper atmosphere
  • it sort of creates the sense that what’s past isn’t really past, that this or something like it could still happen in the future or the now
  • “The terrace and the whole place… were empty with a great emptiness.”
  • L is playing detective, apparently. She goes to where Creeper was standing – and accidentally scares Grose in the process.
  • “I wondered why /she/ should be scared.” That, my dear L, is an excellent question.

Chapter 5 summed up: it’s a bird! It’s a plane! No… it’s actually a ghost.

  • What’s weirding me out about Turn of the Screw is that I’m just not finding it as compelling as I have the other books thus far.
  • I think part of it has to do with the writing style- I’ve definitely read the same sentence multiple times before giving up on it.
  • like I seriously cannot make any grammatical sense out of some of these sentences, and it’s throwing me off
  • Alright, after a little daylong break or so, I’m back to livetweeting Turn of the Screw! Here’s hoping I like it better than I did yesterday
  • When we last left our heroine L, she’d seen that creepy guy’s face at the window of the dining room and gone out to investigate.
  • “I must have made a wonderful face.” – L, your snark is precious. Keep it up.
  • “I put out my hand to [Mrs. Grose] and she took it; I held her hard a little, liking to feel her close to me.” -um. L, that sounds kinda gay
  • That’s not to say I’m arguing, because I’m totally not.
  • Update: L just asked Mrs. Grose, “‘Did I look very queer?'” Pardon me while I succumb to a fit of juvenile snickers
  • Grose: “What was it?” L: “An extraordinary man.” I have to say, “extraordinary” isn’t the word I’d use.
  • L: “What *is* he? He’s a horror.” Grose: “A horror?” I’m just going to go ahead and interpret that as a Heart of Darkness joke
  • “He has no hat.” omg so terrifying
  • so this creeper, in a nutshell:
    -ginger
    -pale
    -little scruffy beard
    -super judgmental eyebrows
    -creepy
  • …okay, we’ve got something else to add to that list:
    -dead
  • Yes, ladies and germs, it appears that this creeper L’s been seeing looks exactly like her employer’s dead ex-valet.
  • (His name, funnily enough, is Peter Quint. I’ll just be over here making Guardians of the Galaxy jokes.)
  • actual photo evidence of Peter Quint’s ghost
    Ghost of Peter Quint
  • filed under: reasons why I should probably never have downloaded GIMP

Chapter 6 summed up: who you gonna call?

  • L and Grose are tag-teaming this whole playing-detective thing now.
  • (Side note: female friendship in literature is my fave thing ever)
  • Okay but what’s more, L either has some sort of psychic connection to the ghost or HJ is just getting super lazy about plot.
  • “‘He was looking for little Miles.’ A portentous clearness now possessed me.” – like seriously, L, how on earth could you know that?
  • “But how do you know?” – Grose, asking the real questions
  • And L has the fantastically reasoned reply of “I know, I know, I know!” Astounding, L. I’m so impressed at your reasoning.
  • L is puzzled that neither Flora nor Miles ever mentioned Peter Quint. At least she’s not a totally awful detective…
  • “‘Ah, don’t try [Miles]!’ broke from Mrs. Grose.” – okay, I’m starting to get a weird vibe here
  • “‘It was Quint’s own fancy. To play with him, I mean – to spoil him. … Quint was much too free.'” – Grose. Um. UM.
  • brb looking up what “free” meant in that time period
  • results: the meaning I suspected in this case, “unrestricted,” was still a thing back then
  • Grose: “…I was afraid.”
    L: “Afraid of what?”
    Grose: “Of things that man could do.”
  • Peter Quint COULD have died from falling and hitting his head. (Of course, L suspects otherwise.)
  • L’s getting a bit of an ego trip from this whole situation- “literally able to find a joy in the extraordinary flight of heroism,” she says.
  • me right now:
  • Oh man, ish is about to get SO REAL, y’all.
  • We had left Miles indoors” – OH, BAD IDEA
  • …so let me get this straight, L – your idea of “ish getting real” is seeing another apparition on the other side of the lake.
  • Good heavens, HJ, do you think you could move things along just a little faster?
  • So… Flora knows what’s up but she appears unconcerned? I think?

Chapter 7 summed up: it’s a ghost party all up in here

  • “Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty” – my bro Oscar Wilde. I knew I liked him for a reason.
  • L ran to Grose after this incident and “fairly threw myself into her arms.” Uuuummmmmmm.
  • oH WHAT THE WHAT. We’ve got another ghost on our hands, folks, to whom L ominously refers as “a woman in black.”
  • Aaaaaand like our dear fellow Peter Quint, all she did is stand there.
  • Grose: “Was she someone you’ve never seen?” L: “Never. But someone the child has. Someone *you* have.” …I applaud your logic, L. Really.
  • Oh and would you look at that, the woman in black is the erstwhile (dead) governess.
  • She gets a name now (Miss Jessel), but L still doesn’t.
  • (I haven’t actually read Rebecca, but I know the same thing happens in there. Was Rebecca published before or after this?…)
  • (to Google with me)
  • (Rebecca was published 40 years after this, as it turns out. Anyhoodle, back to the book.)
  • Okay, L, now I really don’t know what you’re saying. I’m just going to go ahead and blame HJ for not writing clearly.
  • So Jessel wasn’t staring at L, not like Peter Quint was, but at Flora. Which somehow seems creepier to L.
  • How L describes Jessel:
    -“extraordinary beauty”
    -“handsome – very, very”
    -“wonderfully handsome”
    I’m just gonna leave these here
  • Grose: “Miss Jessel – *was* infamous.” I get the feeling Peter Quint’s involved in her infamy somehow.
  • Grose: “They were both infamous.” CALLED IT
  • Grose: “*She* was a lady.”
    oh god, I had JUST gotten Sk8er Boi out of my head
  • So we have some torrid affair btwn the governess & the valet. The way this pushes class boundaries sorta reminds me of Lady Audley’s Secret
  • Now L is freaking out because she thinks the kids are doomed once and for all. And on that optimistic note, the chapter ends.

Chapter 8 summed up: people talk a lot but say very little

  • Somehow L has a perfect knowledge of the appearance of each of these ghosts, despite only having seen them from a distance.
  • Either L’s telepathic or HJ is just lazy as heck-all
  • I’m inclined to think the former precedes from the latter, actually
  • Blah blah blah, more of Flora being unbearably cute
  • Blah blah blah, HJ writes another sentence I absolutely cannot understand
  • If anyone can make head or tail of the sentence that begins “It was a pity to be obliged” and ends “a matter of habit,” please enlighten me.
  • “a small shifty spot on the wrong side of it all still sometimes brushed my brow like the wing of a bat” – okay that’s a nice turn of phrase
  • Apparently Grose thought highborn Miles was spending too much time with lower-class Peter, back in the day…
  • Aaaaand Miles responded by lying about spending time with Peter… I can’t be the only one getting weird vibes from this, seriously

Chapter 9 summed up: L is creepily obsessed with childhood and has yet another stare-off with the ghost of Peter Quint.

  • “I waited and waited” – in which our heroine perfectly describes me as I read this book
  • It’s been a few days since any sort of Quint-shaped intrusion, and L’s getting a little too comfortable.
  • “I have spoken of the surrender to their extraordinary childish grace” – oh my god, L, we already know the kids are presh NOW SHUT UP
  • side note, L’s borderline-creepy obsession with these kids is def something we discussed in detail in class
  • but really, L is super preoccupied with the notion of “any clouding of their innocence” and it’s getting way weird
  • oh god, and L literally just mentioned “my sharper passion for them” ugh please stop now
  • so L’s rhapsodizing about how awesome everything is and then she whips out this gem: “the schoolroom piano broke into all gruesome fancies”
  • just when you’re starting to get either caught up in her flight of fancy or bored with her yammering, along comes “gruesome”
  • “it was no revelation to me that little girls could be slavish idolaters of little boys” – oh, now THIS is interesting
  • maybe your first thought there was of Flora, but the way this is situated in the paragraph makes it seem like *L* is the little girl
  • as if she longs for a return to the innocence she sees in Miles and Flora, and that’s why she’s so obsessed with their innocence
  • suddenly seeing L as such a Holden Caulfield type
  • …that actually makes so much sense
  • “I find that I really hang back” – you don’t freakin say – “but I must take my horrid plunge.” FINALLY
  • apparently “taking the plunge,” in L’s world, involves several huge paragraphs of context
  • Flora’s bed is “shrouded,” which definitely isn’t creepy at all
  • oooooohhhhhhhh her candle went out
  • …apologies, friends, I got uber-distracted watching this:
  • Anyway, back to Turn of the Screw. For real.
  • brb looking up this “Fielding’s ‘Amelia'” to which L refers…
  • Sadly, ‘Amelia’ is not a reference to any other Gothic work but is in fact a novel about young love in the face of unimaginable adversity
  • I mean, on the one hand, BLAH. On the other hand, though, it fits in perfectly with L’s over-romanticized image of… well, everything.
  • And, to no one’s surprise but L’s, Peter Quint is here again.
  • “…there was nothing in me unable to meet and measure him” – oh for crying out loud
  • “but I TOTALLY wasn’t scared or anything” – L, basically
  • So what really scares L is… a staring contest. Whoop de do.
  • me at everything L says or does, pretty much:
  • I might as well keep that gif open – I’m probably going to use it again

Chapter 10 summed up: nobody can stay in their own ding-dang bed

  • I still have 65 more pages of this…
  • oh crap, Flora’s gone – except no, wait, she isn’t. Darn it, now *that* would have been exciting.
  • I wonder if that’s not the whole point of this story – that L’s blowing literally everything way the heck out of proportion
  • Hm. Flora’s rebuking L – “You naughty: where *have* you been?” – as if she’s the adult and L is the child in this situation
  • Flora’s being a major creep right now
  • I don’t know how to even sum it up in tweets
  • So we’ve got a new ghost. I can’t even be excited at this point.
  • I’m going to be brutally honest for a second – if I weren’t livetweeting this book, I probably would have quit reading it by now
  • It’s just massively not my cup of tea
  • Fast forward several days: Flora keeps blowing out candles in the middle of the night, and it’s weirding L out.
  • Oh boy, and now Flora’s having a stare-off with – I think it’s Ghost #2…
  • L’s brilliant plan is that she’s going to go to another window and look at the ghost. Awesome. Great job, L.
  • And now she’s creepily tempted to go into Miles’s bedroom. She talks as if that were something forbidden.
  • Oh boy- “The presence on the lawn… was poor little Miles himself.” And there’s someone else entirely on the tower.

Chapter 11 summed up: kids are weird

  • L responds to this weirdness by keeping an even more watchful eye on the kids, because of course she does.
  • Now L’s reminiscing about escorting Miles back indoors after she found him on the lawn.
  • She’s fully expecting him to either confess to something terrible or tell a whopper of a lie… and it’s almost as if she relishes that.
  • it’s hard not to side-eye phrases like “his dreadful little mind”
  • she imagines she’s finally found the devilish crack in his angelic facade
  • or something like that
  • and now she thinks he’s out to get her, to catch her in some form of vulgarity or immorality or… something
  • a good subtitle for this novel: “Paranoid Narrator Alert”
  • so… Miles and Flora literally orchestrated the incident for no purpose other than to cause mischief
  • I suppose I should expect no less of children

Chapter 12 summed up: L has lots of thoughts about things, and she and Grose have a bit of a spat.

  • now L’s sure that the kids are talking about the ghosts behind her back AND that the sort of hijinks from last night got Miles expelled
  • where before she was focusing on the kids’ angelic qualities, she focuses on what she sees as their devilish actions
  • another of L’s primary concerns is that “her” kids don’t actually belong to her but to Quint and Jessel (the other ghost)
  • she’s mega possessive and it’s mega weird
  • Grose thinks they should get the kids away from the house ASAP… which actually isn’t a bad plan.
  • Grose: hey you should totally ask the master to take the kids for a while
    L: lol excuse me what
  • hooboy, L just laid down the frickin’ LAW to Grose
  • “if you go over my head I’m outta here faster than you can say ghost” – L, pretty much

Chapter 13 summed up: literally nothing happens

  • this whole ghost business is now the elephant in the room (or so L thinks)
  • It’s been a while since a sighting, and L keeps hearing the boss music, but neither Quint nor Jessel is in sight.
  • Now L’s trying to tell us she gets “vibes” or whatever and I’m just like
  • it’s cool when Pete Lattimer has vibes, but it’s just the latest in a long string of weird things when L has them
  • L’s absolutely on tenterhooks, waiting for one of these kids to slip up and confess to the ghosts being with them or something like that
  • After this chapter, I think I’m calling it quits for the night. I’m exhausted/110% done with whatever psychosexual weirdness L has going on.
  • At least these chapters are like James-Patterson short
  • L’s worried that Miles and Flora are seeing even more than she’s seen… which is actually completely plausible
  • So she *does* retain at least a spot of common sense?…
  • Literally everybody’s like “Uncle’s totally gonna show up” – somehow I really really doubt that
  • This is the dude who pawned his wards off to a lady he’d just met and who doesn’t want to hear a thing about them
  • “clearly the master’s not writing to the kids because I’m doing such a good job here” – L, basically. Give me a BREAK.
  • L ends this chapter by talking about receiving “relief” but not actually saying what it is. Of course.
  • I’m definitely not emotionally invested enough in this story to consider that a cliffhanger

Chapter 14 summed up: Miles really wants to go back to school, and he thinks himself quite the grown-up to boot. L doesn’t know what to do.

  • whyyyyyy couldn’t we have just read Dracula *she mumbles, her face buried in her pillow*
  • Henry James’s sentences are strung together like freakish marionettes
  • Of her intense preoccupation with Miles and Flora, L says “I was like a gaoler” – at least she’s somewhat self-aware
  • Miles is addressing L now, and it’s so weird, y’all
  • “Look here, my dear, you know” – good grief, he sounds like he’s a thirty-year-old man addressing a child
  • “His ‘my dear’ was constantly on his lips for me” – well, that’s not a creepy way to phrase it or anything
  • One minute L and Miles seem like child and adult (respectively), and then the next minute they both seem like adults in peculiar intimacy
  • Yecch

Chapter 15 summed up: L comes this close to quitting her job and getting out of Dodge.

  • L doesn’t want to delve into that whole school business because she doesn’t want to know why Miles got dismissed from his old school.
  • It’s a funny sort of reversal, considering how determined she was to catch both kids in some sort of deception earlier.
  • L’s super tempted to leave for a bit and not go to church. You do it, girl. You go get yourself a manicure and some self-help books.
  • Just when L’s about to make her break for it, she sees the ghost of Miss Jessel and decides to stay. Of course.
  • Though this bit’s interesting – “I had the extraordinary chill of a feeling that it was I who was the intruder.”
  • I wonder if that’s not one of L’s biggest fears- that she doesn’t *truly* belong here
  • Maybe that’s why she overcompensates all the time, by cuddling the kids ferociously and such

Chapter 16 summed up: L’s reasoning skills are hit and miss, and she swears she’s going to write to her employer.

  • Oh man, L’s straight-up lying to Grose about why she left. Dang.
  • “She showed her surprise. ‘A friend – *you*?'” – ouch, Grose. Ouch.
  • “‘I came home, my dear,’ I went on, ‘for a talk with Miss Jessel.'” Because that’s totally going to curry all the favor with Grose.
  • And it kind of places Jessel under the category of “friends” mentioned earlier, which is weird as heck.
  • So finally one of our ghosts speaks. Cool. I’m still too over this book to be excited.
  • Tl;dr Jessel appears to be in purgatory or hell or something like that, and she “wants Flora.” Whatever L means by *that.*
  • Also, L’s bound and determined to send for the uncle. I don’t know why she thinks that’s going to do a lick of good.
  • L’s so sure Miles is actually wicked. Why, you ask? Because “he’s exquisite.” Commendable reasoning there, L. Marvelous.
  • me at L’s weird leaps of logic:
  • “‘After all,’ I said, ‘it’s their uncle’s fault. If he left here such people-!'” in which L… actually makes a good point
  • And Grose’s reply? “‘He didn’t really in the least know them. The fault’s mine.'” my FOOT it is
  • …which is really interesting, actually, because the uncle/master didn’t really know L when he hired her, either
  • so she’s kind of lumped in with the “such people” she describes with such horror

Chapter 17 summed up: L, what are you doing? L. Stop. This is weird.

  • ahahaha the first sentence of chapter 17: “I went so far, in the evening, as to make a beginning [re: the letter].”
  • lol forever at L trying and failing to be stealthy as she skulks around at night
  • “‘Did you fancy you made no noise? You’re like a troop of cavalry!'” – Miles, pulling zero punches
  • L: “What is it that you think of?”
    Miles: “What in the world, my dear, but you?”
    AWK. SO AWK.
  • Miles also thinks of “the way you bring me up. And all the rest!” Way to be frustratingly vague, kiddo.
  • “What do you mean by all the rest?” – L, asking the real questions
  • And how does Miles respond to that, you might ask? “Oh, you know, you know!” Ugh.
  • Miles looks “as appealing as some wistful patient in a children’s hospital,” and I kind of want to reach into the book and slap L
  • this woman literally romanticizes EVERYTHING and it’s getting SO OLD
  • L points out that Miles never talks about his old school. A good point, but I fail to see how he has time, what with all their frolicking.
  • “I threw myself upon him and in the tenderness of my pity I embraced him” – okay, L, I’m gonna stop you right there
  • he is in his bed and you are throwing yourself upon him – don’t you think that’s a little weird? because I definitely do
  • L’s acting even more possessive than she has in the rest of the book. Which is saying a LOT.
  • “I just want you to help me to save you!” – L
  • no but this reminds me SO MUCH of Holden Caulfield (and yes, I know Catcher in the Rye came after this)
  • fittingly enough, a creepy gust of wind with no clear origin blows around Miles’s bedchamber right about now
  • even the wind is telling L to stop

Chapter 18 summed up: L is actually the worst at watching over kids (no surprise there)

  • So L’s actually written the letter by now, but she hasn’t sent it. Oh well, one step at a time, right?
  • Blah blah blah, Miles and Flora are such little genius, SHADDUP
  • L’s phrasing is distinctive, though – she calls him a “little gentleman.” As if he’s a miniature adult.
  • Aaaaand Flora’s gone off god knows where. Of course.
  • L is soooooooooo sure Flora’s run off to play with Miss Jessel… this is going to turn out super well…
  • (I *have* been spoiled for the ending and some of the events leading up to it, but I’ll share my reactions regardless)
  • Okay, L, if you’re really so concerned about not letting Quint and Jessel get to the kids, then you really shouldn’t have left Miles alone.
  • Like come on, it would *not* have been that hard to turn looking for Flora into a game of hide-and-seek or something
  • “‘The trick’s played,’ [L] went on, ‘they’ve successfully worked their plan.'” 1. how are you so calm about it 2. shut up forever
  • L’s super eager to get out the door, and Grose is all like, “You go with nothing on?”
    God, please tell me L isn’t actually buck-naked.
  • I mean, this is the Victorian era, so probably not, but still. Eugh.

Chapter 19 summed up: ish maybe actually gets real this time.

  • “My acquaintance with sheets of water was small” – actual words that just came from L’s mouth… pen… you know what I mean.
  • I can’t decide if Grose’s internal monologue is like *this gal is wacko* or if she’s genuinely so gullible that she believes it all
  • A wild Flora appears! (About time.)
  • Flora is watching L over Grose’s shoulder and it’s creepy (as per usual)
  • Oh, so L just went out without her *hat.* Okay. Phew.
  • Though that’s interesting because it mirrors Quint’s earlier hatlessness
  • Ooooohhhhhhhh, L just asked Flora outright where Miss Jessel is.

Chapter 20 summed up:

  • Oh boy, now a wild Miss Jessel appears!… and L is, like, WAY too happy about it.
  • Seriously, L, if you could quit with your internal I-told-you-so monologue, I’d be much obliged.
  • Oh man oh man. Looks like Flora can’t see Miss Jessel. I bet Grose can’t, either.
  • (I mean really, who’s surprised at that? NOT ME)
  • Yep, Grose definitely doesn’t see Miss Jessel.
  • Oh, so the second L realizes Flora doesn’t see Jessel, the kid becomes “common” and “almost ugly.” Jesusmadia.
  • “I think you’re cruel. I don’t like you!” – Flora, speaking the first words of sense in this entire book
  • Now Flora’s (justifiably) freaking out and screaming at Grose to get her away from L.
  • Which Grose does (gladly, I’m sure).
  • L stays outside a while, probably to wallow in self-pity or something.
  • L’s brooding by a fire now, some hours later, and Miles sits with her. That’d be cute if this story wasn’t already so creeptastic.

Chapter 21 summed up: L is a raging paranoiac, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone at this stage.

  • It’s a brand new day, and Flora has – oh crap, Flora has a fever. That’s not good.
  • maybe she suffers from a case of stickittodamanniosis
  • (I need to rewatch School of Rock like yesterday)
  • And L’s all like “she still says she hasn’t seen anything?” Nothing about the fever, just about the ghost.
  • Oh man, L is going off. “Ah she’s ‘respectable,’ the chit!”
  • Hey L, you’re like two inches from being out of a job right now. You may want to chill.
  • Ugh, after seeing “The Innocents” in class, I can’t read about L and Miles “kiss[ing] for goodnight” the same way
  • Now *that* was a freaky movie
  • What really mystifies me here is how this lady got hired as a governess *again.*
  • Remember back in the very, very beginning, all those weeks ago? L was the governess to Douglas’s nieces.
  • And Douglas had the hots for her, to boot.
  • me right now:
  • OH man. Flora’s apparently been slandering L behind her back.
  • Which just makes things worse, honestly, because L was already *so sure* Flora was some devil child, and now she’s just getting confirmation
  • and L’s *laughing* at this all like
  • L: lol so that letter I wrote, right????
    Grose: um about that
    L: what
    Grose: I mean I’m not saying Miles took it
    but it’s gone
    L: …
  • Wow, now *Grose* is the one who’s sure Miles got expelled from school for stealing, and L’s playing devil’s advocate.
  • L fancies herself quite the priest. She’s fantasizing about getting Miles to “confess” and stuff. As you do.

Chapter 22 summed up: this chapter could have been written by a squirrel trying to use a computer and it would have been more interesting

  • L’s like LA LA LA I’M SO INDUSTRIOUS AND GREAT and I still want to punch her in the face
  • blah blah blah blah blah please god make something happen because nothing is happening
  • Now Miles is asking about Flora over dinner, and it’s the first time in this whole chapter that something has actually happened.
  • Miles: “Well – so we’re alone!” Unfortunately for you.

other things more interesting than this chapter: Irene Iddisleigh, cricket, watching ants drown in ant killer, My Immortal

Chapter 23 summed up: nobody wants to talk about the thing (whatever the thing is)

  • And how does this next chapter begin? With L replying, “Oh, more or less.” Cool.
  • So according to Miles, the servants who are still at Bly don’t count for much. Siiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhh
  • Miles is staring out of a window, and you would not BELIEVE how much L’s reading into that.
  • this dialogue between L and Miles is uncomfortably romantic-sounding
  • Okay, now L and Miles are just playing a giant immature game of Who Can Avoid Mentioning The Elephant In The Room The Longest?
  • Miles is finally starting to get uncomfortable. ABOUT TIME, KID.
  • nope. nope. nope. nope. not dealing with that paragraph
  • there are just… certain words that you will almost never have a good reason to use. ever.
  • I feel as if this gif is pertinent right now:
  • so everybody in this book keeps referring to some guy named Luke (probably one of those servants who doesn’t count, amirite?)
  • and I can’t help but wonder what Luke thinks of all this
  • L: *is her usual raging paranoid self*
    Luke:
  • get it trending #lukefrombly
  • Ohhhhh boy. L just asked Miles, in her typical casual way*, if he stole the letter.*by which I mean really not casual at all

Chapter 24 in a nutshell:  straight-up murder, I’m pretty sure.

  • Last chapter, folks. And full disclosure, I’ve already done a close reading of this section for class.
  • So I know what happens. Or I think I know.
  • no matter, I’ll have a lot to snark about regardless
  • A WILD PETER QUINT APPEARS OUTSIDE THE WINDOW, HECK YEAH
  • like seriously, at this point I’m outright rooting for the creepy ghost
  • Quint: lol did you miss me?
    L: OH SH-
    L: I mean what
    L: nothing’s wrong, Miles, just DON’T LOOK AT THE WINDOW
  • “It was like fighting with a demon for a human soul” – and if this doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the book, I don’t know what does
  • y’all, I’m so close to being done
  • so close
  • Miles took the letter, y’all. He’s actually guilty of something.
  • “At this, with a moan of joy” – okay, L, I’m going to stop you RIGHT THERE
  • Ooh, and Miles OPENED the letter. SO SCANDALOUS
  • …and he burned it. Okay, that’s actually mildly worrying.
  • “Did I *steal*?” Miles says this as if it’s such an impossibility. L, for her part, is all like *omg have I been impertinent?*
  • “my hands – but it was for pure tenderness – shook him” – HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, L.
  • WHY does she think that’s okay
  • Now she’s trying to get more juicy confessions out of Miles, and the kid is *not* delivering.
  • L: seriously what did you do
    Miles: um
    Miles: I said things
    L: like what
    Miles: things
    Miles: and stuff
  • He said things to “those I liked,” too – and here, folks, is the one point at which I can agree with the Miles-is-gay interpretation
  • (seriously, we read an essay for class in which the critic basically described this last scene as Miles’s struggle between straight and gay)
  • (I mostly side-eyed it, but this line… yeah, I can see it here.)
  • “I seemed to float not into clearness, but into a darker obscure” – oh look, L and I had the same initial reaction to that line from Miles
  • “…if he *were* innocent, what then on earth was I?” – another snippet that basically sums up the passage
  • And would you look at that, Peter Quint’s returned from his smoke break or whatever and is at the window again.
  • And oh boy, does L ever FLIP OUT.
  • “…made me, with a single bound and an irrepressible cry, spring straight upon him” – yeah. I’m just gonna leave that there
  • L’s screeching at Quint, Miles has no idea what in blazes is going on, and things are just generally a big ol’ mess.
  • Ooh, Miles is “at [L] in a white rage.” Dang, boy.
  • I will forever choose to believe that the person to whom Miles refers when he says “you devil!” is L
  • So okay, this second-to-last bit still confuses me.
  • Basically it’s like… L thinks if Miles says Quint’s name, it’ll break the spell? And then he says it, so L’s like YUSSSS
  • But Miles is still looking around for Quint’s ghost, which ticks her off.
  • And then he’s visibly distressed, which ticks her off more.
  • L: everything’s FINE now, GOSH
    Miles: what are you talking about
    Miles: literally nothing is fine
  • Now, this last part… I’m pretty sure L straight-up murders Miles.
  • In order:
    -Miles yells like “a creature hurled over an abyss”
    -L “recovers” him with a grasp that she likens to “catching him in his fall”
  • -L “caught him”
    -L “held him”
    -“it may be imagined with what a passion”
    -all this lasted for “a minute” (L’s words, not mine)
  • and after this minute, guess what? “…his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped.”
  • so my conclusion is that L strangled Miles.
  • and on that inimitably optimistic note, I AM FINALLY DONE WITH THIS WRETCHED LITTLE BOOK OH MY SWEET LORD YES
  • should I throw the book across my bedroom? I kind of want to
  • update:  I did, and it was so satisfying

Thank heavens that’s done.  The next book on my list (and the last one on the syllabus for capstone!) is The Phantom of the Opera.  I’ll commence livetweeting that pretty soon.  Till then:

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