I just started my second independent book and I chose Hedda Gabler. I kind of just did a finger point/chose from one of the shorter stories-on-the-list but I really like it so far! It’s very readable and pretty interesting. I always think it’s funny when I read a book from before the 1900s that seems like a current day, “junky”, gossip novel. In this story specifically- this is probably, in part because it is a play- and much like the Crucible, the reader is brought immediately into the heart of the story and sees even the worst parts of society. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when people think of the 1800s, they imagine horse drawn carriages and victorian mansions but to actually see into a specific house and hear that these people are very petty and aren’t talking about stuff that is all that important, is quite surprising. Hedda comes from an especially prominent family and we see just how false the relationships are when she is dissatisfied with her new life with Tesman, who, ironically is far less well off. Her interaction with Mrs Elvsted shows just how self absorbed she is-Hedda gets Mrs Elvsted to open up about her unhappy marriage and about her very close relationship with Ejlert Lovborg. Hedda thinks that the world is hers, that she will get whatever she wants and in a way, she actually does make that happen. She forces Mrs Elvsted to overlook the way she treated her in school and to share her deepest secrets. Mrs Elvsted is meek and timid but Hedda uses her charm to control Mrs Elvsted, who really has no business with Hedda and gains nothing by sharing her secrets with her.
Henrik Ibsen’s choice to make aspects of this story as unrealistic and fantasy like as possible-to exaggerate qualities and situations that are preposterous to call out elements of real life that really exist is such an effective method. But then I think the most interesting and well read books are those that don’t wander that far from the average person’s life. My first reaction to what I’ve been reading was that these people are so ignorant and superficial but the world today hasn’t really changed that much. Like my psychology blog perspective, deeply ingrained segments of society and personal moral character have low chances of changing or improving and Hedda Gabler is just another example of that.