>>7579060 Nice how you duck my criticism. Stoner is boring. Stoner is a terrible protagonist and every other character is a plot device meant to make him more miserable. The book is too mechanical. It's boring.
>>7579069 Holy shit, the book wasn't mechanical in the least bit. You must have the emotional depth of a three year old. There's no way to argue against someone who's obviously incapable of understanding the most entry level literature, which is why all you're getting is insults.
>>7579069 >his grad student lover made him more miserable >his department dean buddy made him more miserable >the seemingly final utility of all the ancillary characters isn't just an effect of stoner's passive and selfish perspective dominating a passive and selfish book
Really amazing book Made me angry, sad, laugh my ass off. Did not expect it to be as good as it was. Also wow this thread degraded to shitposting extremely rapidly. I didn't believe the meme that /lit/ doesn't actually read until now.
I thought it was a very easy and comfortable read, I didn't get anything out of it but just enjoying the story though. But I guess that's what most books aim at doing. The way his wife treated him throughout was absolutely abhorrent though.
>>7578962 >Depressed man born into poverty to parents who don't particularly care. >Goes to university. >Gets his degree and goes for his doctorate. >Marries a woman that quite openly shows that she isn't very attracted to him and only holds a lukewarm affection for him >At the height of his relationship. >One of his best friends gets shot up by Nazis in WWII. >He get depressed and has kids with his pillow princess of a wife. >Becomes a professor at the university. >Ostracizes himself in the faculty because he won't let a retarded cripple pass because of his "sacred code". >Cripple boss treats him like shit for the rest of his career. >Starts fucking one of his advanced students because his wife hates him and he won't do anything to change that. >William finally finds love. >Cripple boss threatens to out them if it doesn't stop and she moves across the country. >Instead of dropping his cunt of a wife and finding a new job halfway across the country, William takes it like a bitch. >Won't even make his cripple boss into a corpse in a time when it's possible to get away with it. >Suffers for the rest of his life until he gets cancer or some such. >Dies. Wife and children show barely any affection.
There's a summary of the entire book and why you shouldn't read it. William Stoner is one of the worst protagonists I've ever read. This entire book is basically about how he makes common life mistakes and won't take the initiative to fix them and better his own life. Then he dies. William Stoner is an academic emo half a century before emo was cool.
My biggest criticism is that the book is written so simply that the little depth that it does have is not even worth rethinking at all. The message of the book is simple, it's presented in a very straightforward manner, and there's barely anything else to the book besides that.
"Small mistakes can define your own life." And that's it. It's not like any fully functioning adult doesn't know that already.
It's not even that sad, there's nothing besides the plot to get the reader to feel for the characters, so even his wife, who initially seems like a very multi-dimensional character, is barely delved into at all.
It's a simple book, and that's fine, a lot of books are simple and great (The Stranger, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, ...) but this one isn't really.
>>7580915 search the fucking archive there's literally a stoner thread (sometimes two) every day
smarter minds than you have tried to shit on the book to no avail and more patient souls than i have explained the book with great care and detail, just be humble for once in your life and read before you speak
>>7580856 i mean beyond the fact that you get a couple of things wrong in your "summary", but it's probably been a while since you've read it so w/e, it seems like your biggest gripe with the book is that stoner is a big bitch or something, which doesn't really seem like a valid criticism to me
>>7580931 >i mean beyond the fact that you get a couple of things wrong in your "summary", Yeah, I read it three years ago. Feel free to correct it.
>it seems like your biggest gripe with the book is that stoner is a big bitch or something, which doesn't really seem like a valid criticism to me I was honestly neutral about the book just after I read it and thought that my views would change over time. Well, they did. As time has gone by, my tolerance for weakness and passivity has fallen precipitously. I really don't understand how people can like the protagonist. Please enlighten me. I'm serious. I've been saying this for weeks now in every single Stoner thread I've come across and no one has given me a single reason why this book is any better than neutral.
The writing wasn't bad, there were no typeface or grammatical errors that I could see either, and the setting for a book of this kind was pretty spot on, but I really cannot get beyond the fact that William would not take any initiative. He's like a tuna in the ocean that thinks it's a jellyfish. He chose to be at the whim of the ocean despite the fact that had the ability to swim! He was highly educated with no major maladies until the end of his life; he had the ability to leave and build a life for himself outside of the dull purgatory that he was born into but he didn't.
And people admire this book. This is why I don't like it. It's an admiration of passivity and lack of initiative and self-control.
>>7580970 i wouldn't call it an admiration of passivity at all, because throughout the book we're shown the negative effects that stoner's behaviour has on his life.
he entered his shitty marriage and stayed in it because he was too passive to change anything about it, and we're shown time and time again how torturous that relationship is; not just between him and his wife but it also ends up destroying any connection between him and his daughter. he had the chance to escape with that lady but his passivity once again destroyed it. He had the chance to do great things with his education, like you said, and he didn't do anything about it.
to me, the book seems like more of a condemnation of passivity and lack of initiative and if people admire it for that it's on them; I liked the book for what it was. I don't admire Stoner in the slightest, I think he's pretty stupid at the end of the day, but a protagonist you can't identify with doesn't mean it's a shit book
>>7581020 I see. I guess we agree on the substance of the book but our reactions are different. You accept the book for what it is from an objective point of view but I take it too personal. Fair enough.
>>7580824 The only time he sabotaged himself was when he tried to stop that cripple from staying in the college. He did it out of admiration for his dead friend and the words he told him before he went off to war. He was doomed from the beginning though. That's kind of the whole point. He was either going to end up like his workaholic father who literally worked himself to death or by becoming Archer Sloane. He more or less became Sloane. People are doomed from birth. That's essentially the message I got out of it. Love is the only thing that can provide solace through all of this. Stoner and Katherine had that one amazing week together but that really was enough because it will last forever in his mind. It's a great story and I feel bad for you for not getting anything out of it. Being serious rn.
Also: People are destined to become their parents. Much like how Edith became her mom and raised her family the way they raised her. She forced her daughter to resent her father because she felt that in a family the father and daughter must be distant. That's how a family functions in her mind. Cheating is also part of a healthy family since she didn't bat an eye when she talked about Stoner's affair.
I love how people in this thread think their opinions on this book are the only right opinions. >this is the message of this book because it's the only thing I got out of it. I have the reading comprehension of a middle schooler. Seriously, read more. You people do not understand how to interpret the text that is laid out in front of you.
So it's about opportunity and the fact that what people are able to achieve in their lives depends on their upbringing, same with the trajectory of decisions people make.
Big woop. The point I'm trying to make is that it's literally about that and nothing else.
The Great Gatsby, for instance, is about unequal relations of production, the excess of the era, unrequited love, materalism, the position of women in the era, etc. And that book is HALF AS LONG.
So for a theme which is not particularly interesting to be developed over 300 pages, one would hope that they'd be something else in there as well. Instead all we get is this one theme, developed almost entirely through the plot. There's little imagery, little symbolism, and few metaphors. It's a very basic book for very basic people. Except I wouldn't even recommend it to be taught in High Schools because of how little people would be able to learn from it.
>>7581190 >So for a theme which is not particularly interesting Shitty opinion. It's interesting to me and a lot of other people obviously. >hurr they should have crammed more themes into it Also Stoner has a few of those same themes if you even call them that. >the position of women in the era In Stoner Edith was the ultimate housewife. She only fucked to reproduce, she didn't let Stoner clean anything ever. She was a wife robot. The scenes describing her taking Stoner's clothes off were seriously scary. >Unrequited love Stoner and Edith. She never loved him. I don't think she ever loved anything except the idea of a perfect life. >Materialism Edith is the epitome of materialism. She wanted to buy all of that shit to create some image of herself and her daughter even though ultimately that image was very hollow and worthless. I could continue or you could just read it on your own. There are a shit ton of other themes that I didn't mention.
>>7581190 Oh and not to mention all of the themes of war. Why do you think he talked about war? Just because? Man you're fucking stupid lol. Williams didn't just write to fill up a book. Every scene has meaning.
>>7581190 >There's little imagery, little symbolism, and few metaphors. I'm laughing so hard at this right now. You obviously didn't read the book. Here's an excerpt from the book to show what you missed. There are scenes exactly like this throughout the novel. "She lay motionless on her unmade bed, or sat motionless at her desk, and listened to the sounds that blared thinly from the scrollwork of the squat, ugly instrument on her bedside table, as if the voices, music, and laughter she heard were all that remained of her identity and as if even that were fading distantly into silence, beyond her recall." Yeah you're right, there's barely any imagery in this book.
Gonna spam this thread with my favorite passages from this book until you faggots admit it's a good book. "Her body was long and delicate and softly fierce; and when he touched it his awkward hand seemed to come alive above that flesh. Sometimes he looked at her body as if it were a sturdy treasure put in his keeping; he let his blunt fingers play upon the moist, faintly pink skin of thigh and belly and marveled at the intricately simple delicacy of her small firm breasts. It occurred to him that he had never before known the body of another; and it occurred to him further that that was the reason he had always somehow separated the self of another from the body that carried that self around. And it occurred to him at last, with the finality of knowledge, that he had never known another human being with any intimacy or trust or with the human warmth of commitment. Like all lovers, they spoke much of themselves, as if they might thereby understand the world which made them possible."
"But he was not beyond it, he knew, and would never be. Beneath the numbness, the indifference, the removal, it was there, intense and steady; it had always been there. In his youth he had given it freely, without thought; he had given it to the knowledge that had been revealed to him--how many years ago?--by Archer Sloane; he had given it to Edith, in those first blind foolish days of his courtship and marriage; and he had given it to Katherine, as if it had never been given before. He had, in odd ways, given it to every moment of his life, and had perhaps given it most fully when he was unaware of his giving. It was a passion neither of the mind nor of the flesh; rather, it was a force that comprehended them both, as if they were but the matter of love, its specific substance. To a woman or to a poem, it said simply: Look! I am alive."
"And like the translucent flesh, the calm and poise and reserve which he had thought were herself, masked a warmth and playfulness and humor whose intensity was made possible by the appearance that disguised them. In his forty-third year William Stoner learned what others, much younger, had learned before him: that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another."
>>7581234 >>7581216 >>7581204 Ooh great you picked out one of the few lines that have any meaning and which don't relate directly to the plot.
So to illustrate what I'm saying, I'll give you a summary of The Great Gatsby, as if it was written by Williams:
> Gatsby is sad because he has loads of money but not the woman he loves > he finds her finally, they have some good times > in the end she chooses the other guy because she's just been brought up to think like that > Gatsby gets shot, and then it turns out that none of the people that went to his parties actually liked him. Nick is sad.
All the themes I've mentioned still fit in there, but there are no detours to give them real substance, the depth of the book is totally gone, and all you have is a sad story which anyone whose had troubles in their love life will find relatable. Hell, I also managed to remember that the Great Gatsby is also about people's upbringings. You'll notice the bits about unequal relations of production is gone, because it doesn't relate strictly to the plot. That's because Stoner is just the plot, that's fucking it. The little literary beauty that exists in the book only relates to the fucking plot.
And yes, I have actually read the book, what it seems to me is that you haven't read many others, because one ought to expect much more than this from a novel.
I mean, have you read Hemingway? You know the amount of stuff you can read into every phrase? It's freaking ridiculous.
A real response to what I'm saying does not involve looking for things that aren't there, instead you could have said: > hey all art isn't meant to be complex > there are many paintings that are simple and beautiful
To which I would say: yeah fair enough, but 300 pages is a lot for such a simple piece of art.
>>7581321 Those lines have everything to do with the plot. What the fuck? I don't even know what to say to this. >what it seems to me is that you haven't read many others, because one ought to expect much more than this from a novel. You're the one who hasn't read much if the one book you could think of to compare to Stoner was the Great Gatsby lmao. Did your high school teacher teach all those cool themes? > The little literary beauty that exists in the book only relates to the fucking plot I don't even know what you mean by this. The plot is Stoner's life. Of course everything relates to the plot. It's his fucking life kek. I don't think you read the book. Or you didn't read it very well. I got a fuck ton out of this novel. So did a lot of other people. Your opinion is trash.
>>7581321 >Ooh great you picked out one of the few lines that have any meaning and which don't relate directly to the plot. >The little literary beauty that exists in the book only relates to the fucking plot. You keep contradicting yourself my friend.
>>7581348 So many personal attacks from a person who is so sure that his favourite novel is actually good literature. To be fair to you, there really isn't much to say about this book, so I get that you're running out of steam.
My comparison with The Great Gatsby, if you'll remember, is actually in regards to books being taught in high school which I mentioned earlier; I've already acknowledged that it's a book people read in high school, I chose it because you've likely read it (if as I assume you did actually go to high school).
So here's what I mean by lines not relating to the plot directly. See this line from TGG: > Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York — every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
You're meant to get that the word "pyramid" is used here in relation to egyptian slavery, comparing the servants in Gatsby's house to the slaves that built the pyramids. It's a line relating to the theme of unequal relations of production. It is not a plot device, it serves to embellish the setting of the novel, but it goes much further than just the plot: it's a symbol which relates to a theme present in the book.
>>7581395 >his favourite novel Nice assumption. It's not even close to my favorite. I just read it. Hey champ here's an idea. How about when you discuss a book, you talk about that book exclusively. Especially when the book you're comparing it to is so vastly different. >You're meant to get that the word "pyramid" is used here in relation to egyptian slavery, comparing the servants in Gatsby's house to the slaves that built the pyramids. It's a line relating to the theme of unequal relations of production. It is not a plot device, it serves to embellish the setting of the novel, but it goes much further than just the plot: it's a symbol which relates to a theme present in the book. Who the fuck cares? Stoner isn't that type of book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My god does there really need to be vague passages in that alluding to some fucking obscure aspect of one of the character's lives? Stoner has a lot of great passages. See>>7581289 >>7581275 >>7581260 >>7581234 You're looking for a book that is exactly like the Great Gatsby. If it doesn't have strange obscure references to things which really don't matter in the grand scheme of things then it's a bad book in your eyes. It's also interesting that you think that passage has meaning. He probably didn't even intend it to.
>>7581395 I'm going to show you how fucking stupid that passage you gave as an example is. Here's an excerpt from Stoner and I'll try to do the same brilliant analysis that you did on Gatsby. "It was a nature that, even in the strange and inimical place where it had to live, had not the savagery to fight off the brutal forces that opposed it and could only withdraw to a quietness where it was forlorn and small and gently still." THIS IS ALLUDING TO BRITISH COLONIALISM IN AFRICA AROUND THAT TIME. A LOT OF BRITISH COLONISTS WERE STRUGGLING WITH THE CULTURE SHOCK THEY FACED WHEN VISITING THESE AFRICAN COLONIES AND HAD A HARD TIME TURNING THESE SAVAGES INTO CLASSY BRITISH CITIZENS.
>>7581445 Cool, you've finally caught on to the fact that it's a different kind of book, only you fail to see that Stoner has less literary value because of it.
I singled out a passage to make my point, I fail to see how it's obscure. Maybe you don't know how to look for meaning in a book. Maybe you don't even know what "meaning" is.
Maybe I'm slamming my head against a brick wall, hoping for a different outcome every time. I'd probably have as much success debating Twilight on a forum filled with 13 year old girls. I'm therefore going to stop posting. The worst part of it is that you'll probably think it's because I feel like I've lost this argument, but there was probably nothing to win in the first place.
>>7581465 I've tried to not Ad Hominem throughout this thread, but you my friend, are retarded. Look deep inside and try to figure out why what you're saying is retarded, that's all I can tell you.
>>7581485 You are a fucking idiot. Nothing more to say. You didn't understand the book and you're angry because of that so you're taking it out on people who actually enjoyed it. >hurr you can't possibly enjoy what I don't like! >you fail to see that Stoner has less literary value because of it. You fail to see that that's completely fucking subjective. I got out of Stoner more than I ever got out of Gatsby. Not saying Gatsby is bad, I'm just saying it wasn't for me. Maybe you could relate more to it. Good for you! You're literally trying to make the argument that because Gatsby is a good book, Stoner is bad. Do you see how that doesn't make sense? Maybe try discussing the fucking book at hand instead of only talking about Gatsby. You never once brought up an example of how Stoner is bad from the actual book. You just kept on referencing passages from Gatsby and talking about how fucking amazing it is. You are a fucking idiot. Plain and simple. You are what is wrong with this board.
>>7580970 why did think this was worth writing? why do you think the existence of a character is an unqualified endorsement of their life and a call for you to emulate them? why did you think the quality of the writing should be discussed (first or at all) in terms of objectively recognizable errors, instead of the prose and the linguistic subtext? how did you misread the book so badly that you think stoner remains an impassive nonentity until his death? >he had the ability to leave and build a life for himself outside of the dull purgatory that he was born into but he didn't even in your misreading, how do you not grasp that by any account he did "build a life" distinctly outside the one he was born into, and how did you not break from your perception when he returns to his parents' home and finds nothing for himself there, or with the death of his parents and his sale of their farm? I can't figure out if you didn't read the book, are trying to gain cheap anonymous respect through contrarianism, or just can't read beyond watching a plot unfold the most amusing part of this is that even your caricature possessed more of a love for literature than you have
stop making meme pictures too, even with such an overwritten empty point, you don't need to make it a second, inferior time and go back to reddit >>7581096 >>7581101 *personally not him, but I definitely don't agree with you on the "substance of the book," because I don't think you found anything I'd call substance in it, and given you claimed the opposite of what he said because he can read books as something other than half-assed polemics, I'm guessing he doesn' teither
>>7582918 >why did think this was worth writing? Because I felt like writing it? This is a literature board and we discuss literature. In this case, I didn't like the book for the reasons I outlined.
>why do you think the existence of a character is an unqualified endorsement of their life and a call for you to emulate them? "You are what you read." The information that enters your brain is never seen from a perfectly objective standpoint and you always absorb something.
>why did you think the quality of the writing should be discussed (first or at all) in terms of objectively recognizable errors, instead of the prose and the linguistic subtext? I wasn't excluding those qualities from my assessment. I simply left them out among other things.
>how did you misread the book so badly that you think stoner remains an impassive nonentity until his death? Because he does? Please do give your own point of view. I'd be glad to hear it. Honestly.
>>7580878 >>7580977 >You can't tell me what the book is about in a couple of sentences? if you can explain away a book like that and would ever ask for someone to explain a book to you in such a fashion, I don't think you know what your books are about either the other guy is entirely right, you confessed to finding nothing but the ostensible message of the book in stoner and not being willing to exert any agency of your own in search of intellectual betterment >...) get fucked >>>/mu/coltrane
>>7583021 The reasons you outlined have been completely debunked in this thread though. Just admit it; you didn't understand the book. It's okay anon :^) I would recommend going back to reddit and discussing books over there from now on.
>>7583061 It's funny. I don't think I've insulted anyone in this thread but because I made a rather passionate refutation of a book that you happen to like, you've done nothing but attempt to assassinate my character(as much as you can on an anonymous imageboard anyway). Get over yourself and stop taking what I say so close to heart. It's one opinion. You'll live.
>>7583021 didn't respond to my last point, but fine >This is a literature board and we discuss literature you aren't discussing literature at all, you're discussing a plot. all you said beyond a halfhearted attempt to jack yourself off and nominal cessations to it being a book was that stoner doesn't take action in your eyes, adn that's enough to discount it entirely >"You are what you read." do you think heart of darkness is a call for you to take up colonialism? do you think american psycho is an advertisement for you to become a yuppie? do you think conrad or BEE would write books with obvious subtexts like these if a reader would blindly absorb and normalize the plot of whatever they read anyway? this isn't even a point of discussion >I wasn't excluding those qualities from my assessment so why not mention those qualities? you thought saying the book used a typeface was worth the effort, but not any mention of the tonal shifts or prose's quality? >Because he does? keeping it simplistic, what is the function of stoner's book? is it there because this wacky novel generator of williams' called for a professor in missouri, and to fill those pages he had to do something?
>>7583099 if you meant to respond to >>7583021, there's this wonderful feature on 4chan called ip counts showing you I made that post independent of anyone else's, and I just happen to be another conscious entity who thinks you're an idiot I haven't said anything about your character, besides that you seem to be illiterate in any respects I care about
>>7583102 Feel free to lecture me. I'm all ears on why I'm wrong. Literature is admittedly not something that I have a degree or professional interest in but I'd like to see your answers to those questions and what you took from the book.
>>7583099 >gets asked to outline his opinions on the book in a way that hasn't been refuted already in this thread >instead bitches about how people on the internet are being mean to him >>>/reddit/. Seriously, go. You people are fucking up our boardmore than it already is
>>7583124 how can you not have the slightest self-awareness? I did lecture you on why you were wrong, and you haven't seemed to be "all ears" so far you didn't respond to anything I've said with anything beyond "nuh-uh", "but why :)?" or "ur being mean" and you want me to outline the book for you? I'm not going to explain basic reading to you, I come to /lit/ to have discussions and you haven't said anything I recognize as discussion or want to put effort into responding to I was being sincere earlier when I said to go back to reddit, that's why I initially responded, I wanted you to stop posting and shitting up the thread I like this book a fair bit and was hoping to discuss it with other people who also liked it enough to read it and think about it, and you really aren't one of those people look at how empty this thread is of interesting content if you don't have a sense of how bad this is, go to warosu and find a stoner thread from a year or two ago please don't ruin this place when you obviously don't belong and don't seem to enjoy it here
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