Author: Oscar Wilde
Sub-Genre: Historical Horror
Themes: Greed, Lack of Self-knowledge, Gullibility, Corruption of the soul and Wickedness
Summary: Dorian Grey is a beautiful young man who is introduced to a man that somehow begins his descent into the vilest part of his soul.
What I Think: This book was scary. Not like a-good-night-of-sleep-will-take-care-of-this but the kind that has you questioning and checking yourself and your actions for weeks after. Dorian is all sweetness and in him, we see all that we want to be. When Basil introduces him to Lord Henry, we already know its a mistake. From earlier conversations, we know that Lord Henry is jaded and faded, without a scrap of shame or goodness in him. Dorian becomes a classic case of the fight between good and evil. Basil worships him and believes he can be as good as he looks. Lord Henry is definitely the demon on the other shoulder, making him confront and see as important things that shouldn’t matter if one is to remain humane. But Dorian gets his wish and Lord Henry gets someone he can remake and remold as he likes. Their friendship is almost homoerotic in the way Dorian stands in awe of Lord Henry just as he is in love with this young man who has taken to him like a duck to water. This book shows a scary descent into the sheer, utter evil that lives within all of us. I earnestly wish that Dorian had tired of his life before all the tragedies happened.
Halfway through it, I hated Dorian for being so weak and cowardly. It is no secret that the most wicked amongst us are spineless. I hated him even more for allowing a snake like Lord Henry take him over so completely while ignoring the love from an amazing man like Basil (which is also homoerotic. Mr. Wilde obviously went against social norms for breakfast). But by the end of this book, I was so saddened, nauseous and filled with pity for Dorian and all who were destroyed by him. Dorian was too little to stand against the evil in the world and as is so often the case, he became worse than his maker. He was a result of his society and a figure through which light is shone on the inner darkness that is the lifeblood of any so-called civilization. It was with a sigh of relief that the book ended in a way so chilling yet satisfactory in its just simplicity.
Verdict: Should be read twice in your life. 1st, as a teenager who’s just coming into adulthood. 2ndly, when you become an adult. You’re welcome.
Author: Oscar Wilde