Villette Reflections 1: Where’s the Plot?*

So, I’m on page 275 of a 600-some page book, and I’m honestly not sure what the main plot is supposed to be. Ok, sure, I have a guess, and I could probably be nice and say good, hopeful things, but, honestly, I was hoping for more from this one. And disappointment can make me bitter.

I’m going to give you a general idea of what I was thinking as I read up to this point.

Page 5 (where the text begins) – Setting the scene. Alright! Let’s do this!

Page 8 – Hm. This new visitor is younger than I expected, and yet her speech and actions are seem so adult. Intriguing.

Page 10 – So this new visitor named Polly is to share a room with … Wait a minute. What’s the main character’s name again? (Pages back through in search of introduction or mention) We don’t know the main character’s name? What is this?

Page 13 (end of Chapter 1) – Poor little Polly. I kind of like her. Maybe she’s the main character and the other girl is just a narrator. That would make sense. Mrs. Bretton wishes she would “take a fancy” to someone in the house. I bet the two will become friends and we’ll have the narrator following Polly around for the rest of the book!

Page 14 – Oh! The narrator’s name is Lucy! She could have introduced herself sooner if that’s how she was going to do it…

Page 26 – So… she’s not becoming friends with the narrator. They don’t even seem to talk to each other. Question mark?

Page 41 – Polly left? Just like that? Ok, but she and the narrator will meet up again soon, right?

Page 72 – Right?

Page 75 – Using a bit of French here. Clever. The reader gets the exact sense of confusion that Lucy gets upon being addressed in an unfamiliar language.

Page 78 – Maybe the plot is about the narrator after all. She seems to be in some trouble here. Still holding out for Polly, but maybe the plot involves both of them.

Page 101 – Wait. Does Charlotte Bronte expect me to understand that bit of French? The sentence is worded as though I should. Oh, well, I can get an idea from context.

Page 103 – Wait! Here’s a conversation in French! Now the narrator’s laughing, and I can’t understand why! Man, that’s annoying!

Page 104 – Oh, this Ginevra character is important? Maybe she’s connected to Polly somehow?

Page 112 – Or not. Why should we care about her and this Isidore guy? Is their romance supposed to be the real plot?

Page 120 – Ooh, this Dr. John sounds like a good guy. And he keeps popping up by coincidence. He must be handsome, too; the narrator just got caught staring at him. Is someone developing a crush? (Chants “Love story, love story, love story!”)

Page 173 – Oh, I bet Dr. John is Isidore! So that makes Ginevra and the narrator romantic rivals!

Page 219 – Dr. John is Graham?!?!?! As in the son of her godmother? Like, practically her cousin? Well, goodbye romance theory.

Page 275 (Present location) – Ok, it’s official. The narrator is not in love with Dr. John. They’re just… hanging out and going to museums and concerts? What? Am I supposed to find this interesting? And WHERE IS POLLY?

I’m so lost. I don’t know what this book is trying to do. Don’t you think that since I’m almost halfway through the book I should know what the plot is? Not so happy right now.

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