ENGA10H3 Chapter 1: Where All The Ladders Start Chapter 1

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Published on 1 Oct 2017
School
UTSC
Department
English
Course
ENGA10H3
Professor
Where All The Ladders Start
Chapter 1 - The Widening Gyre and the Beginning of Modernity: Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and
Freud
The Picture of Dorian Gray
● “Nowadays we know the price of everything, and the value of nothing” - Lord Henry
● Dorian Gray is an abandoned child
○ Father murdered, a mother dead from grief, a conniving grandfather (who
engineered the death of his father) refusing to have anything to do with him
● Lord Henry and Basil come along, each in their own way to abuse him, offering
self-serving advice that makes themselves feel better at his expense
● Dorian Gray staves off lifetime of meaninglessness by indulging in distractions of the
moment
○ The portrait grows darker
○ Stabbing the portrait in frustration allows all the debilitating feelings of a life lived
without meaning, without significance, without genuine relationship, comes
crashing down on him
■ He is discovered on the floor, dead, a broken old man
● Dorian Gray tries desperately to preserve his good looks because he believes that he is
nothing without them because of Lord Henry
○ He does not contest it by finding out what gives him worth
● Dorian Gray becomes addicted to the secret pleasure of appearing young over the years
○ He fails to learn anything or develop empathy, sympathy, compassion or wisdom
■ Portrait grows uglier
● Lord Henry is a proto-fascist with his self gratifying fascination of how easy it is to
manipulate the frightened and unsure Dorian Gray
○ To give him thoughts and let him assume they are his own, to experiment on him
○ One can have an entire nation of Dorian Grays acting in unison, doing the
bidding of the one who has promised to make their lives meaningful
■ But only if they do as they are told
● Dorian Gray presenting a face to the world is a “superstructure”
○ Eternal youth is possible because of hidden infrastructure: moldering portrait in
his attic
○ People who meet Dorian Gray ruin themselves spurred on by his intoxicating
charm never know there is an infrastructure that has seduced them into
destroying themselves
■ Campbell having to help Dorian hide the dead body of Basil
● Dorian wishes portrait to grow old and he would stay forever charming
○ Wish is granted; Dorian does not show signs of aging
■ Portrait in the attic grows uglier and uglier as Dorian treats people as
things to be manipulated
● Dorian destroys virtually everyone he meets because they believe in his perfection
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Document Summary

Nowadays we know the price of everything, and the value of nothing - lord henry. Father murdered, a mother dead from grief, a conniving grandfather (who. Lord henry and basil come along, each in their own way to abuse him, offering. Dorian gray staves off lifetime of meaninglessness by indulging in distractions of the self-serving advice that makes themselves feel better at his expense moment. Dorian gray tries desperately to preserve his good looks because he believes that he is nothing without them because of lord henry. He does not contest it by finding out what gives him worth. Dorian gray becomes addicted to the secret pleasure of appearing young over the years. He fails to learn anything or develop empathy, sympathy, compassion or wisdom. Lord henry is a proto-fascist with his self gratifying fascination of how easy it is to manipulate the frightened and unsure dorian gray.

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