Monday, February 26, 2007

Dorian Gray 13-14 question

A big part of our discussion today was about the difference between Wilde's society and today's society. Why is it that today this book is much more accepted? What has changed that would make turned this book from controversial to educational?

25 Comments:

Blogger KatieA said...

Wilde's society was way more conservative than we are now and thats simply it. As every year goes by society starts to accept more thinks that they didnt before. In Wilde's time every woman wore a dress everyday, now days a girl can live her whole life without ever putting on a dress. The book is more accepted because the human flaws it talkes about are accepted and recognized in our society. In Wilde's society the things he wrote about were not talked about or recognized.

February 26, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I agree with Katie, I think that it the difference in societies is that his was much more conservative, while our's is quite liberal, especially when compared to the societies of Wilde and earlier. However, I don't think that people were "better" during this time either, in fact I think that Wilde wrote this book to show people that this existed in the world, and in the underground of their society. Now though those things that would have shocked people are accepted for the most part, and now it is more of a historical novel, rather than a novel used to shock people.

February 26, 2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger Marie P said...

Not only are flaws now more accepted by society, but cultural differences are embraced in society. Although prejudices still occur, there are a lot of people who welcome differences between people. In Wilde's time individualism was shunned and everyone tried to be a cookie-cutter version of everyone else. Today being unique is common between everyone.

February 27, 2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger Kurt W. said...

Society continually accepts more and more of what was once "taboo". This can be applied to society embracing other cultures, as well as acts and looks that were unacceptable and censored in years past. Aspects of society that have potential to offend can be labeled as art, or the offended people can be labeled as inconsiderate of other cultures or bigots. Thus what is off-limits today could become socially accepted tomorrow. Interestingly, Europe has always been a bit ahead of the United States when it comes to accepting the taboo in culture. Just look at Amsterdam, after all.

February 27, 2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger alexmu said...

I agree with Marie. Back when The Picture of Dorian Gray was written, society was much more strict on issues(such as homosexuality). In todays world and society people can express themselves the way they want. Although it still happens, people dont have to trick and decieve people to make them look a certain way.

February 27, 2007 2:05 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

I think that the book is more accepted now-a-days because we have more people in our society that are like Dorian. Back when the book was written there weren't as many people like Dorian so it made the book appeal as controversial because people didn't want other people viewing a book that delt with this type of living style. Today it is still kind of frowned upon, but however, since there are more people like Dorian in our society it is more accepted now than before because it seems to be more normal and not so controversial.

February 27, 2007 3:52 PM  
Blogger chrisg said...

The thing that changed this book the most is people's want to push the envelope. When people are not satisfied with something they will try to change this. This is exactlly what Wilde was doing by writing this book. So the book itself changed the way people see this book. Also, with this, our society has become much more accepting of many things. I think this book has become more of a part of our educational system because since our society has changed, this book is not immoral but it makes people question their own lives. Like teachers say it is easier to learn when you question what you are told.

February 27, 2007 5:30 PM  
Blogger jessg said...

Honestly, not to sound ignorant, but I think that the biggest contributor to the book becoming accepted is the American culture. When this book was published, America was just begining to really find its roots. Since then, Americans, thanks to our beliefs, have had the free will to push the envelope (as Chris said). Older cultures, such as those in Europe, have such traditional methods of how society should function and think that when this book was published, and even today, liberal or new ideas seem/seemed ubsurd. Americans are known as being liberal and "too" open minded. This is because we have the liberty to think outside the box. This freedom has led our society to view this book which deals with controversial and evil thoughts as being educational and worthy of reading in our school classrooms.

February 27, 2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger Nick W said...

The book is more accepted today because there is a much more wide open view of things. An example would be "R" movies. They are the best, they have the most action and interesting storylines. The stuff showed in those movies are much more visual and are much more gory and show qualities that would not be accepted in earlier times. Now since times have changed we now have this in our studies to learn why it wasnt accepted.

February 27, 2007 6:14 PM  
Blogger zverges said...

I agree with Jess. It might not be the same all over the world, but in America we have rights, a whole list of rights that we follow in order to make the most out of our lives. Other countries that have stayed more traditional over time might not be taking this book off of the shelves and teaching it to their kids. However, America continues to become freer and invent new/better things. Also, I think that whenever anyone sees something so new and different, they often stop to look down upon it. Hence, in Wilde's society, being homosexual or corrupt was looked down upon, where as in today's society it is just another part of our ever diversifying culture.

February 27, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger levik said...

Today's society has become increasingly accepting of people that go against the norm. In Wilde's time people were prosecuted for being homosexual and today some states allow marriages. Over time people and society in general have allowed more and more diversity to exist. During Wilde's life, there was almost a standard that everyone was expected to live by. If they did not follow the standard, they were an outcast. Once Dorian strays from his innocent self, his different actions and way of life cause society to look down on him. Today Dorian would not face the kind of scrutiny he is facing in the novel. I agree with Nick that the topics covered in this book were avoided during Wilde's time, and that is why he faced so much opposition for writing it. Today we learn from this novel because we accept the issues it discusses instead of ignoring them.

February 27, 2007 7:51 PM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I also agree with most everyone else that our society has changed gradually over time. I agree that it is more accepted in society now but I disagree that there are more people out there like Dorian. I think there has always been evil and corruption and I don't think the amount of people like Dorian has increased as much as that society is more accepting of it. I think our society becomes more and more corrupt over time. It's definitely not getting better in the moral aspect. I think it is taught in schools now because it challenges thinking and teaches the comparison between that time and modern times.

February 27, 2007 7:58 PM  
Blogger melissa b said...

I agree with everyone that our society gradually changes over time. I think when The Picture of Dorian Gray was written, the society was very strict and as one would say conservative. As today the book is clearly a educational book or we would not be reading it in school. But I think the book is teaching us how it was conterversial and why, therefore leads to an educational book. As Amy said it challenges the reader to campare societies.

February 27, 2007 8:37 PM  
Blogger StaceyK said...

I agree with the people that have said this book is much more accepted today because of the more acceptance of homosexuality. In today's world if you are homosexual you would not go to jail or be hated like you would in Wilde's time, it is a way of the world in today's time. Even though many still do not accept gay marriages, homosexuality is much more accepted than in Wilde's period of time.

February 27, 2007 8:52 PM  
Blogger David L said...

Along with what Jess says, I think that America, or at least the freedoms of America, are what has changed society to accept this novel where at one time they would reject. The freedom of speech and expression that we as Americans enjoy today have allowed for such a diverse and individualized society not only in our country, but countries across the world are following our lead in terms of individual rights. By creating a strong sense of individualism in our country, we have forced people to confront ideas that might offend them or that may not be ideas they agree with. In the world we live in today, you might not agree with someone, but that does not give you a right to persecute them for how they live their lives. Overall, I think the main change in society from Wilde's days to today is the increased amount of individual rights people posses.

February 27, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger sonnyw said...

I have a hunch that the people of Wilde's era had issues with "The Picture of Dorian Gray," but probably had their biggest issues with Oscar Wilde himself. I can envision Wilde's contemporaries hating him for his egotism, flamboyant attitude, and his immense fame (infamy, too). Criticizing Wilde's work may have been a way to attack Wilde personally without making it seem like a vicious, public assault. Keep in mind this is just me theorizing, though I may do some more research on this in the near future.

February 27, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger TaylorW said...

I just think that ideas and principles are more accepted in today's society more than they were in Wilde's basically because of culture and religion. Back in Wilde's society, there wasn't much diversity of religion and culture in an area. Because the one religion or culture was so accepted in that area, if it was gone against, the one who questioned would be shunned out and possibly put on trial, like Wilde by using homosexuality. Today's society has a much more mixed and diverse culture. When that happens, new ideas and philosophies are learned and are wanted to be learned. I think that it is this that leads to a much more accepting society today than in Wilde's life.

February 27, 2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I agree with what most everyone is saying and I do think that Sonny has a an interesting point that Wilde's personality may have had more to do with his work being disliked. But I think we need to keep in mind the society that we live in. Whether you agree with it or not, all ideas and philosophies are allowed to exist in America. Other places in the world this book would still be as hated and feared as it was in Victorian times. I think that is a big part of it: fear. This book was feared because of the ideas and qualities it represented didn't fit the norm in society. And today it is not nearly as radical so we are comfortable reading and discussing it, even in a public school setting. Wilde was discredited back then because of the ideas and notions that he was pushing.

February 27, 2007 10:40 PM  
Blogger AdamSG said...

I truly think the reason that our society is more excepting, is because we have had so many revolutionary thinker's such as wilde. We use to think as African American's as second class citizen's. I think the reason that we are so excepting is because we find it better to except it than to fight it. Whenever we fight it, we seem to change anyways. I guess you could say that Wilde's time was just a new era, just as our time is a new era of thinking as well

February 28, 2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

In Wilde’s time I believe there was more fear in what society thinks of you, people were always whispering and gossiping. Then once men and women such as Wilde put ideas and feelings out there more people realized they were not alone, slowly but surely evolving perspective, rights and wrongs, over the years. And with enough time maybe they will be completely excepted such as gay rights, but only time will tell.

February 28, 2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I really don’t know why our society accepts the things that it accepts today. I think that homosexuality is still wrong and shouldn’t be accepted. Now having said that, I do not have a problem with this book being taught in school. Although it seems to have some homosexual references it is not like the entire novel is about homosexuality. Overall I think the book has some very good messages in it that are good for young people to learn about.

February 28, 2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger DaveV said...

Well, pretty much wahtever i say now is just going to be repetitive of what everyone else has said. But, it's true. The reason that it is more excepted is becuase society is constantly changing, and homosexuality, over time, has become increasingly more accepted. The only "problem" if you will is that some people, like jeff, (no offence buddy) that have set their morals and refuse to change them because society is starting to accept it.

February 28, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger KatieA said...

THIS IS AMY BRYAN--I think that most of this book is based on hiding your real self from the rest of the world. I think the whole homosexual part of the book and of wilde was very unacceptable back when this book was written and now it is more acceptable and people want to learn more about it. Just like some of the morals that were not acceptable back then are more acceptable today

February 28, 2007 9:53 AM  
Blogger NathanK said...

Like Scott said our world is constantly changing and always seems to be changing its mind on what is acceptable and what is not. I think that this book is more accepted now because we are more comfortable looking past the homosexuality piece of this book and to focus on the morals and lessons we can learn. During Wilde's time the homosexuality in this book was too "unacceptable" to look past.

February 28, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger alex ma said...

Things that were taboo are now everyday things- things like, god forbid, showing your ankles. We are using dorian gray to learn lessons about hedonism, aestheticism etc. I think that the homosexual tones of the book are not such a big deal because we are exposed to so much more in our culture today, so much more is accepted.

February 28, 2007 10:33 AM  

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