Today (328 DTG) I am at the end of the journey with The Middle of the Journey by Lionel Trilling. The book was very insightful. Apart from the slow moving, confusing first chapter where the author dumps you right in the middle of the story, the rest of the book was delightful. It was a good sample of literary fiction. I was so confused after reading the first chapter that I wondered whether I should read chapter two, but I’m glad I did. I not only learned about life in the 1930s but also about thought life and the aspirations of intellectuals from that period.
It is in the light of that book that I’ve come to see my blog as a piece of literary fiction. (Whether it’s good or bad, you be the judge.)
The Middle of the Journey is about John Laskell, the Crooms, and their friends Maxim and Keith Simpson and how they come to terms with Maxim’s break with the Communist Party in 1930’s America. The author focuses heavily on the thought life of John Laskell and his perception and reading of his friends’ reactions to situations and exchanges of ideas. Towards the end of the book, the characters become the personification of the political, ideological and religious ideas they hold dear. The internal struggle that these characters endured and his description of it was enlightening. I liked how he described the histories and the internal struggles of the characters. He described their body language well as they responded to statements, reactions and perceptions.
The plot was simple. In addition to the confusion that grips Maxim’s friends after his break with the Party, Laskell involves himself in something that society, especially a rural society like the one they stayed in during that fateful summer, severely frowns upon. He placed a lot of emphasis on characterisation though. Every action that the characters took revealed their character.
I did not like how the characters came to embody their ideologies but the device served the purposes of the author well. His intention was to comment on the political state of the U.S.A. at time of the book’s publication.
On a personal note, I would have liked to have heard the discussions in English Literature classrooms and lecture halls that followed the publication of The Middle of the Journey. One thing I still don’t understand is where the title fits in. (If anyone can explain it, please feel free to leave a comment below.)
I started on a new book today Witness by Joe Blanco. It’s a paraphrase of the New Testament set in chronological order. It’s actually a blend between history and the New Testament as it deals with the establishment of the 1st century Christian church.
I felt like a failure today after a short meeting with my professor and two students doing higher degrees. We were going over what experiments were to be done so that our research paper could be published. He asked them to redo some experiments I did just to make sure that we could not detect some enzymes. I gave them a very detailed protocol although it didn’t contain all the experiments I did.
I felt like running away to the mountains but that’s not going to happen any time soon.
My co-supervisor and I will meet tomorrow. I didn’t make an appointment with her. I’ll just drop by. I haven’t spoken to her since I came back. The conversation is not something I’m looking forward to, but I have to face the music if there’s any music to face. I might even dance to the music. 😉
My dad asked to resign from the youth leadership position again tonight. He said that I needed to put all of my energy into finishing my thesis. This is the reason why I’ve been posting so irregularly recently. I don’t know why I am hesitating. But, I will. For good or for ill, I will suffer the consequences of my choice.
Yesterday (329 DTG) I didn’t do much except read, analyse data, search for answers to my questions and pray.