Classic Book of the Month: February

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February 12, 2017 by thewashingteenian

By Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer

When people think February, they usually think romance. You know, the kind where you go back to your home town and go stab-happy-revenge-questing.

So, most people don’t know there are two kinds of romance. One is the kind we’re all familiar with; the hearts, kisses, and chocolates kind. The other is a form of writing that puts emphasis on individualism, nature, and (I cannot stress this enough) emotion and was especially popular in art, music and literature.

The Count of Monte Cristo is based on the true story of Pierre Picaud, who was in 1807, France, framed for treason by three men whom he thought were friends. He returned seventeen years later a different, darker person leaving a wake of destruction and murder in his former town until he was eventually abducted by the last living friend-turned-conspirator and stabbed to death, the same fate he had inflicted on the others. (Irony much? Crime resulting from revenge doesn’t pay, kids.)

count_of_monte_cristo_1913

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The story then got a second life when it came to the attention of multi-racial Parisian playwright Alexandre Dumas. From there he was inspired to write an alternate story and, collaborating with Auguste Maquet, he wrote the Count of Monte Cristo.

Romanticism is tricky for me, especially the kind based on true stories. That’s usually the kind that turns people with good reason to be doing what they’re doing into despicable villains, or alters monsters into heroes for the sake of what the author finds is a more exciting story, but I believe Dumas uses it well.

The Count lives a considerably longer time than Picaud, ( i. e. he’s not stabbed to death within a few weeks of initiating his plan) which gives him time to complete his plot, which is similar to the real story in that it’s packed full of murder and complicated plans, (X3 more than Picaud’s, plus swords instead of knives and really, really complicated family trees with some stuff that is thankfully illegal now) but it also gives him enough time to look around and wonder if he’s gone too far and that, in a way, gives Pierre Picaud a happy ending because he never got the chance to.

But as I was reading it, it made me wonder if someone who had caused so much destruction, ripped so many people whom he had never met lives apart and had completely driven into the ground those who he did, deserved a happy ending, or if he had gone too far?

That’s a big part of the Classic Book of the Month. It’s for you to form your own thoughts and opinions and maybe even alternate theories on and hopefully give you other people to discuss them with.

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