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Mackenzie Patel

Hello all! I recently finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, and my goodness, it was a roller coaster of vanity, depravity, murder, and sadism all throughout its 165 pages. It was not my favorite book ever, mostly because I found the prose to be exaggerated and the main character to be deplorable and not at all relatable. He was fair and beautiful, but reading about his opium infused adventures wasn’t my cup of tea. However, there were several quotes and passages in which the diction was simply exquisite and witty. I loved the immoral quips by Lord Henry and the rushing descriptions of fading youth Dorian tried desperately to retain.



A quick book review of The Picture of Dorian Gray (*spoilers*)

Infused with a magical element reminiscent of the Gothic period, this book preached the dangers of vanity and immorality. Dorian Gray, initially an innocent, fair-haired lad just shy of 20, meets Lord Henry, an English dandy, in the studio of the celebrated artist and friend, Basil Hallward. Hallward paints an incredibly lifelike portrait of Dorian that shows the bright-eyed youth in all of his flawless glory. Indeed, the portrait is so beautiful that Dorian is jealous of the figure’s forever youthfulness while he, a mere human, was bound to decay physically. Coming under the poisonous influence of Lord Henry, Dorian Gray sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth. Now, instead of age and cruelty scarring his warm flesh, the sins of his life would be represented on the portrait Hallward gave him. Years pass and Dorian descends deeper into the abyss of licentiousness, ruining young men and women with his charm, wit, devastating debauchery, and insincerity. Focused only on the pleasures and senses of life, Dorian resorts to murder and extensive use of opium to seek those new highs. Overall, this short novel, while entertaining, was decadent to the extreme in both the characters’ lifestyles and the diction used. Something outrageous seemed to happen every few pages (i.e. Sibyl Vane’s suicide, Dorian destroying his portrait, Jim Vane being shot to death), making the novel not particularly relatable. For example, Dorian blackmailing a chemist so he would dissolve the murdered body of Hallward with mysterious chemicals was, quite frankly, disgusting. However, the main lesson —that being vane will ultimately lead to a disgraceful, lonely death—was imparted quite clearly. This was the first book I read after War and Peace, so I definitely enjoyed the brevity and snapshot characters. I rate this book a 6/10.


Favorite Quotes

“And as for believing things, I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.” –Lord Henry

“I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.” –Lord Henry

“It is a sad thing to think of, but there is no doubt Genius lasts longs than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.” –Lord Henry

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” –Lord Henry

“The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.” –Lord Henry

“I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.” –Lord Henry

“If the cavemen had known how to laugh, History would have been different.” –Lord Henry

“I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage: don’t you think so, Mr. Gray?” –Lady Henry

“People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.” –Lord Henry

“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.” –Lord Henry

“One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.” –Lord Henry

“And mind you don’t talk about anything serious. Nothing is serious nowadays. At least nothing should be.”—Dorian Gray

“But youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chieftest charms.”–Lord Henry

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Enough is as bad as a meal. More than enough is as good as a feast.” –Lord Henry

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. Youth! There is nothing like it.” –Lord Henry

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