Can I rate a book 5/5 for pissing me off?

Because The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde did that for me. (Click here if you want to download it for free on Project Gutenberg.)

This is my 2nd book for the Epic Reads Reading Decathlon and boy it did it have my blood boiling.

Before I even read the book, I already had an idea of the plot because  society spoils all of these classic books before we could even read them. But I had no idea that the character Lord Henry Wotton would anger me to no end.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that Dorian did was his doing and Lord Henry cannot be blamed for actions of another. But he can be blamed for the strong, terrible influence he had on Dorian. His hypocrisies. His misogyny and his apathy for almost everything moral. He made the romantic, idealistic Basil Hallward look more rational.

You see, Lord Henry is my type of person. He’s sly. He’s intuitive. He has a beautiful command of language. He has the best one liners of the book. But that’s what pissed me off even more. That this person who I should admire, could be such a hypocrite!

Here are some of my favorites from Lord Henry.

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls romance.

The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves.

Nowadays people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

And here are some of the lines that infuriated me.

Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.’

‘I believe that women appreciate cruelty more than anything else. They have wonderfully primitive instincts. We have emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for their masters, all the same. They love being dominated. I am sure you were splendid. I have never seen you angry, but I can fancy how delightful you looked. And, after all, you said something to me the day before yesterday that seemed to me at the time to be merely fanciful, but that I see now was absolutely true, and it explains everything.’

Do you think this girl will ever be really contented now with any one of her own rank? I suppose she will be married some day to a rough carter or a grinning ploughman. Well, having met you, and loved you, will teach her to despise her husband, and she will be wretched. From a moral point of view I really don’t think much of your great renunciation. Even as a beginning, it is poor.

Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired, women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.

That’s the thing about being a highly impressionable, naive youth… you will be influenced by the most well presented ideas around you. Before Dorian could even process what was going on, Lord Henry interrupts the scene and then changes Dorian’s mind with a better sounding argument for debauchery.

It’s not even the debauchery that makes me angry. It was not Dorian’s own inner thinking that caused him to accept these ideas and actions. It was another man’s thoughts.  Lord Henry does not even participate in the hedonism because he cares about his reputation. Thus, Dorian is a mere social experiment to Lord Henry of what the possibility of a hedonistic lifestyle.

Every time Henry enters a scene I literally say, “Man, shut the fuck up!” Because it seems as though every time he enters a scene with Dorian, Dorian gets worse. The scene where I felt like screaming was when Dorian (after writing an apology letter) found out that Sybil Vane (his “love”) was dead and Henry basically said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Bro be chill. It’s actually kinda cool that she killed herself for you. Like it’s even poetic dude. How many girls actually kill themselves for you? You are one hot piece of ass. Just take that in.”

It makes me think of a younger, more impressionable version of myself. How bad was it? Did I believe things that I think are crazy now? Did I lose myself in another person’s beliefs? Did I act on them?

Am I creating impressionable thoughts to people? Is it for their benefit? Is it for their benefit? Is it my form of social experimentation or manipulation?

Tell me your thoughts on Henry Wotton and Dorian Grey (And of course mah boi Basil)! I’d love to know.

Until tomorrow!

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9 thoughts on “Can I rate a book 5/5 for pissing me off?

    1. Oooo! I’ve been thinking that Henry Wotton is an ENTP and Dorian is an ESFP. I’m not quite sure with Basil though…

      I definitely see the NT appeal. The exploration of ideas and values are awesome. Although Henry makes me angry it’s still going to be a top classic for me because if a book makes me think and makes me feel, it means it’s good hahahahaha

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      1. Henry strikes me as an ENTP as well. I see Basil as an INFP, and Dorian… I’m not sure. He could just be a coalescence of juxtaposed angelic and devilish traits.

        I get the antimoralistic perspective. There are quite a number of wild and questionable notions throughout the book. And you’re right, the ideas, discussions, debates, epigrams, and aphorisms all take my mind on a field trip. It’s a playground for the NTs while the NFs sit by the side brooding. 😉

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      2. You know this is truly awesome that I have a platform where I can about the types of characters in the books I read. Because the forums are just a mess, you can’t start a conversation without expecting a fight hahaha
        *broods about dem forums*

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      3. Have you tried NF forums? I would think they’re more welcoming, accepting, and personable — just more “NFy” overall. 😉

        Do you think Basil could be an INFP as well? At first I thought he was the typical ISFP artist, but then I realised how he could follow Henry’s discussions and trains of thought easily, and how he idealises his muse by associating goodness and perfection with the internal traits and characteristics despite contrary information. An ISFP, I think, would obsess over his muse in a slightly different way and focus more on the external characteristics, staying more so in the realistic, concrete world. What do you think?

        Northanger Abbey’s another book on your list that I quite like. We could discuss their personality types after you’ve read it, if you like. I’ve watched (one of) the film adaptation multiple, multiple times. If you’d like a break from reading and don’t mind watching the movie first, here’s the link: https://youtu.be/LskrwktdXcU

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      4. Hahaha! “NFy” love it. Being in an NF forum is a double edged sword. They are welcoming at first, but I usually go to forums to discuss or debate which will possibly lead to disagreement. And when NFs disagree there is so much butthurt feelings, I can’t deal. xNFPs in particular sometimes can’t defend their argument and just become feel-y and take things personally. My way of thinking is probably the effect of me debating with ESTP, ENTP and INTJ friends (they trained me in their Ti/Te ways). I try to forget about my Fe during discussions so that I can stay strictly Ti/Te and get the most out of the debate.

        I can totally see Basil as an INFP! He really does idealize Dorian and he still accepts him despite all possible evidence to abandon Dorian (he didn’t INFJ door slam him hahaha). In addition, he didn’t compromise his values by participating in the debauchery. I think an ISFP would be more open to trying new things that their idol is into. I think INFP is a fitting typing for him.

        Oooo! Let me put that next so that we can discuss it! Thank you for the link, I’m sure it will also add to the experience 🙂 I’m excited because I did like Pride and Prejudice so this will be my 2nd dive into Jane Austen.

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      5. Ah yes, we are sometimes harder on those most like us.

        Good points on the uncompromising values and openness to trying new things. You’re right, an ISFP would have probably gone on the wild escapades as well!

        This is Austen’s first novel (written in her teens) so it’s lighter and airier. It makes me feel like this on the inside: https://youtu.be/j8EFVDq0crs

        Have fun reading!

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      6. Jumping in the conversation here! I agree that Dorian is ESFP – he reminds me Peter Keating in The Fountainhead. (btw I recommend the book immensely, also because the characters are very extreme and very MBTI “categorisable”)

        One of my best friend INFJ married an ESFP, and we noticed that in real life ESFPs can be very different from each other. We then realised that it’s because they basically “soak up” the values and ideas of their surroundings. So it depends a lot on the type of family they grew up in, the friends they have.

        How about Sybil Vane? INFP also?

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      7. There tends to be a greater variety of SPs in comparison to the other temperaments. They seem to fall into a wider spectrum of Enneagram types, from the little that I know about Enneagram (I have to read up more on this).

        I don’t remember much about Sybil — I’d have to read the book again. She does come across very much like an IxFx though. I remember more of the lady that Henry has such interesting banters with — I don’t recall her name but I loved their discussions! What do you think her MBTI type is?

        And, ah — Ayn Rand. I tried reading Atlas Shrugged; loved the first couple hundred pages but couldn’t get through the rest. I’ll give The Fountainhead a go.

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