---Book Review: “Camille”

  I read the Chinese version of “Camille” a few years ago. At that time I was deeply moved by the main character Marguerite Gautier. “Camille” or “The Lady of the Camellias” by Alexandre Dumas, fils, is the story of Marguerite Gautier, a young courtesan, or kept woman, in Paris in the mid 1800's, and how she falls in love with a young man, Armand Duval, and then tries to escape from her questionable past. Unfortunately, it comes back to haunt her and she ends up returning to that life and dies painfully and alone, but with the knowledge that she was a noble woman at heart. When I first began to read the book, I did not care for Marguerite or her attitude or lifestyle, but as I got further into the narrative, I realized that her saucy attitude was a front to cover the lonely woman that she really was. She felt used, abused and unloved, until the gentle Armand Duval came into her life and showed her that he loved her as a person and not for what she could do for him. It must have taken great courage for Marguerite to leave the life she had lived for so long, knowing all along that it was probably too good to be true and would not last indefinitely. And it also showed that Marguerite really loved Armand Duval for she could even change herself for him.

  However, happiness didn’t last for long. When M. Duval, Armand's father, came to her, pleading for her to leave Armand to save both Armand's reputation and that of his younger innocent sister, Marguerite saw a way to become pure of heart, if not in body. She felt that it was her duty, because she loved Armand so much, to do this even though it meant giving up her own happiness and hurting Armand temporarily. She reluctantly returned to her former life, knowing that some day Armand would forgive her. Sadly, she died in debt and basically alone, except for her one female friend, Julie Duprat, who helped her during her illness. She had her journal sent to Armand after her death, explaining why she had made the choices she had. I think Dumas's last few lines about Marguerite being the exception, not the rule were quite true, and I also agreed with his view that while her lifestyle could not be condoned, we as a society assume that all of these type of women are cold and heartless, while this may not always be the case. A person can make the wrong choices in life when they are young, and try to redeem themselves, but sometimes past situations prevent them from changing their lives, even though they desperately wish to do so. This applies to both men and women in many different types of circumstances: involvement in crime; drug or alcohol abuse; gambling; prostitution; financial problems; poor marriage choices; etc. And this is the fact, which exists in the whole society.

  As far as the other characters in the book, I think Marguerite was right in saying that no one truly cared about her, but only wanted something from her, the only exceptions being Armand and Julie Duprat. Of course, the Comte de G. and Comte de N. wanted her body and appearance. The Duke needed to “wake up and smell the coffee” and realize that she could never replace his dead daughter. If he truly cared, he could have helped her leave her lifestyle without “keeping” her himself. And lastly, Prudence was a blood-sucking leech who used Marguerite almost worse than the men. I also think she was jealous of the fact that Marguerite had so much more courage than herself and someone truly loved her.



  茶花女的故事叙述的是男主人公阿尔芒与女主人公玛格丽特的爱情悲剧。虽然女主人公玛格丽特是一名妓女,但她却与众不同,她美丽,聪明而又善良,虽然沦落风尘,但依旧保持着一颗纯洁,高尚的心灵。她充满热情和希望地去追求真正的爱情生活,而当这种希望破灭后,又甘愿自我牺牲去成全他人。所以每当人们提起茶花女这三个字的时候,首先想到的不是什么下贱的妓女而是一位美丽,可爱而又 值得同情的女性。

  男主人公阿尔芒是一个对爱情十分执着的人,当玛格丽特真正成为他的情妇时,他变得格外的疯狂,他与玛格丽特在热恋中时,还要十分防范她的老公爵和外面的一些伯爵。。阿尔芒每当看到玛格丽特咳血时,便会真诚地劝说她不要再这么折磨自己了,因为玛格丽特有先天性的肺病,所以她并不能每天这么喝酒狂欢,其实她自己也知道这样做并不好,可她已经习惯了这种无忧无虑的生活,正因为这样, 玛格丽特每月的开销达到了六千法郎,若不是有这些公爵和伯爵每月都给她上万法郎的话,玛格丽特根本就不用再与他们纠缠了,她便可以和阿尔芒自在地生活。

  一开始, 阿尔芒并不乐意这样,既然玛格丽特已经是自己的情妇了,却还要和别人交往。渐渐地, 阿尔芒理解了玛格丽特,所以,为了避免被公爵和伯爵看见, 阿尔芒只有在夜里才可以与玛格丽特见面并且狂欢。

  可是纸包不住火, 公爵渐渐地知道了阿尔芒, 所以他不住的劝说玛格丽特不要再与阿尔芒来往,但她绝不可能离开阿尔芒的……

  这篇小说的结尾部分, 玛格丽特的日记和遗书一篇比一篇动人,这些遗书读起来声声哀怨,字字血泪,回肠荡气,酣畅淋漓,致使整篇小说在感情奔放的高潮中结束。

  读完这篇小说, 茶花女玛格丽特的艺术形象不时的在我脑海中徘徊,读这本书时,我仿佛身临其境,与主人公们一起悲伤, 一起快乐。我觉得作者无声的给小说的读者们留下了一个这样的问题, 玛格丽特是一个怎样的人? 玛格丽特极具善良的心灵,她把她仅剩的几年光阴全部给了阿尔芒,她宁愿自己死去,也不愿连累阿尔芒的全家。