Monday, April 18, 2011

Let's change the ending!

Sometimes, when you read an especially good book, you aren't happy with the ending. I just finished Adeline Mowbray by Amelia Opie last night. It was awesome. The plot devices I love the most about 18th century fiction is everything works out for the characters in the end and no characters are left out. In this way 18th century fiction feels contrived to a modern reader, especially someone used to reading contemporary fiction. When I read these novels I attempt to suspend my belief for a little bit and just give myself up to what I see as a good story and nothing else. The majority of 18th century novels would not have been considered simply a "good story" they were viewed as moral tales, meant to instruct people in proper conduct and warn them against following immodest paths. Of course this cannot define all 18th century fiction, some of it was deemed inappropriate and silly stories or romances.

So now you have your intro to 18th century fiction lets move on! The novel I read clearly falls into the first category, it is a warning against what will happen if you do not conform to social norms and behave in a virtuous manner. Adeline, basically, gets some wrong ideas about marriage from a book she reads. Since her mother has neglected her education in order to write and perfect an education system for her daughter Adeline is left neglected and forms her own, harmful (in the era) ideas about things, especially marriage. The mother and daughter head to Bath where the daughter meets the revered author of some of the books she has studied, most notably the books condemning marriage. Adeline and Glenmurry fall in love and after her mothers tragic marriage to the ill-fated Sir Patrick the elope together. Glenmurry is slowly dying and Adeline takes care of him for the last of his illness. Unfortunately for Adeline she refuses to marry him and is condemned as a "kept mistress" unfit for society. Glenmurry dies and Adeline attempts to take care of herself for awhile, but due to the prejudices of society she is forced into a seemingly good match with Glenmurry's cousin, Berrendale. Unfortunately the match goes sour and Berrendale leaves Adeline and their young daughter for Jamaica where he remarries, despite still being married to Adeline (which he denies ever happened). Adeline becomes sick with the small pox and never quite recovers from it. She decides that it is time to fulfill her mothers oath that she would not see Adeline again until she was punished for her sins and on her death bed. Adeline and her daughter move to a house close to her mother and after some strange "coincidence" they meet once more.

Now this is what I would change. Adeline, before seeing her mother again, decides that her daughter has the best chance of happiness and not following in her foot steps if Adeline is dead. So it seems like she decides to die, of course if she was dying from sickness she probably had no choice, but if I was Opie, I would have had Adeline have a startling and happy recovery, I would also have Colonel Morden (a previous love interest) not marry someone else, but show up as Adeline was recovering and marry her. I think that this character completely deserved a happy ending! This is probably due to the fact that I really really liked her! I wish Opie had written another novel about Adeline, but alas since both the character and author are dead this is impossible and since I'm not one for writing fan fiction you shan't see me rewriting the novel!

Anyway enough ranting about the novel and back to novel number two Caleb Williams by William Godwin, which I must add, I absolutely hate. I liked it at first, but it has been getting progressively more dull as a read it. Not cool. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL Sometimes the endings of books aren't exactly what you think they ought to be! The thing is with me, though, is that I always think, "Hey, it's the author's story, so I guess they can do what they want since they made it up." And actually, most of the time I end up agreeing that what seems like a bad ending was really the best way to end it after all, LOL. Guess I'm kinda weird...

For the same kind of reason, I don't think I've ever written any fan fiction. I don't like messing with the author's characters! Maybe it's because I like writing my own stories, so if I want to I can just make up my own story and do whatever I want in it. :)