Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]
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Sunday, March 27, 2016
But First, Are You Pickwickian?
More than 60 years ago, our Patty went out on a first date with young William Sanford. Conversation turned to books, and William said he was currently reading The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens. What a match! When Patty was getting ready to nominate for January, her husband William suggested The Pickwick Papers. Since they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, she thought the book was aprapos.
Charles Dickens serialized The Pickwick Papers and became famous at the age of 25 when it was published in 1837. Previously, the Dickens family, including his parents and his 9 siblings, had lived in debt and poverty. At one point, his family was living in a Debtors' Prison. Dickens wrote fiction but managed to incorporate opinions advocating social reform and criticizing injustice. He wrote Little Dorrit specifically against the concept of the Debtors' Prison and eventually was instrumental in the dissolution of the Debtors' Prison in England.
Dickens was a master of the printed word and was able to publish many popular works of fiction, packing each one with satirical social criticism; funny names, e.g., Ebenezer Scrooge of A Christmas Carol and Job Trotter, Tracy Tupman, and Augustus Snodgrass of The Pickwick Papers; and absurd situations, such as Pickwick falling into a drunken stupor on a hunting outing and ending up asleep in a cart and awakening in prison in The Pickwick Papers.
Patty led our meeting by asking us to choose sections of The Pickwick Papers to read aloud and choosing some herself. The book was good for reading aloud, and it was very enjoyable to listen to the chosen passages and their backgrounds. Then Patty asked some questions, encouraging a discussion about the book.
One part of the discussion evolved around the timely topic of the portrayal of women in The Pickwick Papers. Carla said that women were portrayed as grasping, and wanting only to catch a man. Cindy T noticed that the women in the book were either sweet young things or greedy older ones. Linda H. said that Little Dorrit was a Dickensian heroine but many of Dickens' women characters had bad intentions.