January 5, 2010

the class

well, i finally finished reading the class by erich segal. i took quite some time to finish it. the book was great and i'm facing frustration now. why this and why not that kind of frustration. just to add, i believe this is one of the novel that i will like to re-read again, and again and again. i don't think anyone will ever get bored with this masterpiece.

my usual advice would be, if you are planning to read the book, do not, i repeat, DO NOT read any description from wikipedia. you might as well forget about the whole idea of reading it, as in my opinion, wikipedia gave away too much information when it comes to books description. the anticipation and thrill of what is to happen will no longer be there.

the class is about the life of 5 harvard guys from class '58, starting from their childhood (sketchily mentioned, but all the important point you need to know about them were explained in details), the years they spent in harvard and after graduation. the five guys are, jason gilbert, andrew elliot, theodore lambros, george keller and daniel rossi.

my favorite part of this book are the andrew eliot's diary entries. they are, in my opinion, some of the best fractions of this book. some of my favorites are:

andrew eliot's diary, december 20, 1960
i'm getting married tomorrow. it should be very interesting.
i'm sure it will be a joyous experience - especially if I can figure out how this all happened to me so quickly.

from one standpoint, i could say it was parental pressure. although in our family that doesn't exist. my father merely suggests things.
matter of fact, love is one of the few subjects on which my father had such strong feelings that he actually expressed them in a four letter word. we were out fishing on the lake a few days later and i mentioned how touched i had been at ted and sara's wedding. and how they were my ideal of what a loving couple should be.

dad looked at me with eyebrow raised and said, "andrew, don't you know love is......bosh?" (the pun!!)
(about his relationship with faith)
i would describe our courtship as whirlwind-and i have no doubt that she would term it. in any case, we seem to know so many people in common that i feared the only thing that would keep us from marrying will be some kind of incest by association.
andrew eliot's diary, august 6,1970.

(about his son)
young as he is, andy already says his generation's disgusted with our involvement in Vietnam. and for some reasons he seems to blame in on me. you'd think i was personally dropping napalm on innocent civilians.

"the guy at school all say it's a Wall Street war," he says. as if i were wall street, instead of just a minor bank official.

i try to make him understand that i'm on his side. that i'd actually helped organize an important antiwar march. all he replies is. "that's a lot of crap."
when i told him not to use that sort of language, he retorts since i do, i'm a hypocrite like my whole generation. (now i'm a whole generation!)
and, finally, just a little bit of excerpt from the story of ted lambros and his wife, sara. i just love how the author shows the kind of relationship the two of them have, especially the communication between the two of them.
his son greeted him at the door. here, ted thought, is at least one guy who still thinks i'm terrific.

he kissed sara, and while she prepared dinner, went through the ritual of putting his son to bed. the high point was his off-key rendition of "nani to moro mou, nani," a Greek lullaby.

then he sat down at the kitchen table with sara and gradually removed the mental armor he had worn all day. (i like this part the best, he was so honest with the woman in his life)

"do you feel wretchedly terrible, or just terribly wretched?" she asked gently.

"well, i got through the first day of being a non-person without punching anybody or throwing myself into the Charles (river)"

"that's good," she said, smiling.
you might not get what they are actually talking about, but still, i'm including this as this is another favorite of mine from the book.

another part of their conversation;

It was a warm spring night and Sara insisted that they walk the mile or so to the Whitman's house. She knew Ted needed time to gain some equilibrium.

"Ted," Sara said as he shuffled dejctedly.

"I know there are at least a dozen four-letter words going around in your head, and I think for the sake of sanity you ought to shout them right out here in the street. God knows, I want too scream too. I mean, you got screwed."

" No. I got royally screwed. I mean, a bunch of uptight bastards just played lions and Christians with my career. I feel like kicking in- their goddamn mahogany doores and beating the shit out of all of them."

Sara smiled.

"Not their wives too, I hope."

"no, of course not," he snapped-

And then realizing the childishness of his outburst, he began to laugh. They both giggled for a block until suddenly Ted's laughter turned into sobs. He buried his head on Sara's shoulder as she tried to comfort him.

"Oh God, Sara," he wept, "I feel so stupid. But I wanted it so bad. So goddamn bad."

"I know," she whispered tenderly. "I know"


to summarize, the book are very much stories about human beings struggling to do their best in their life. fighting for what they believe in. doing what they think are the best for themselves. most importantly, trying to be happy in the midst of it all. and it was portrayed beautifully in the class by erich segal.

andrew eliot's final diary entry in the book was concluded quite truthfully;
i guess he just didn't know how to be happy.
that's the one thing they can't teach you at harvard.

1 comment:

Miss jane said...
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