Sunday, September 03, 2006

Scarlet and Black post VII

Here are the final bullet points from Scarlet and Black. As the book reaches its crescendo it becomes clear just how much damage his infatuation with Napoleon has cost Julien because of his distorted sense of honour. It also shows the lengths women will go to when in love.

Bullet points for pages 400 - 510

* Following instructions from his Russian friend Julien courts another woman to try and stir jealously in Mathilde and it works and she breaks down and confesses her love for him and gives herself to him completely

* The critical moment comes when Mathilde tells Julien she is pregnant and tells her father. Things seem to be going in Julien’s favour, as the father offers them an estate, a military career and a live of wealth

* But a letter from Madame de Renal tells of Julien’s past and the sorrow he brings in a bid to gain position by seducing the lady of the house

* In a fit of rage Julien travels back to the village he started out from and enters the church and shoots Madame de Renal as she gets up from praying

* He is sent to prison and insists on proclaiming his guilt despite the attempts made by Mathilde to bribe the jury and those with influence on the legal proceedings

* In his trial things are going well until he decides to speak and he stirs the jury to declare a guilty verdict and the judge passes down the death sentence

* He initially refuses to appeal but them Madame de Renal visits his cell and he opts for two more months as long as he can see her

* He realises that he was never happier than when with her but his ambitions got in the way and distorted his satisfaction with his achievements spurring him on to want more

* Mathilde discovers his love for Madame de Renal but lives out her medieval dreams and helps bury his head with her own hands after he is guillotined

* The book ends with the tragic twist that three days after the execution of Julien Sorel after embracing her children Madame de Renal also dies

The story about this ambitious young man who has not got the ability to make the right decisions when it matters only really starts to get going when he starts to make mistakes and lose his cool calculating manner. The problem is that it is only in the last 100 pages that really starts to happen.

I will post a full review tomorrow…

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