#questusreviewus Pierre review – Luyang Jia

Luyang rated it   

I should admit the unexpected plot did attract me and draw me to do a continuous reading from the start to the end. However, there is a big gap in legibility between the plot and philosophy. The obscure and elusive philosophy between chapters always interrupted the narrative. It echoed with the book name. Trick readers by adding unnecessary ambiguities. This reminded me of the words in Poe’s the man of the crowd. “ ‘er lasst sich nicht lesen’- it does not permit itself to be read.” The ambiguous philosophy cannot be read since it is hard to be interpreted. Readers do not know what the author really wanted to tell us from the “Greenwich time” in the pamphlet or the stone appeared frequently. I felt isolation between plot and philosophy, especially when the whole book is unreasonably split into two parts, emphasizing morality in the first one and changing its theme to publication at last.


All three stars are for the plot. After reading this story, I fell into deep consideration of Pierre’s maturity. Living in a rural meadow, inheriting wealth and pride form family, and filling with the love from mom and Lucy, Pierre is an innocent boy in the center of the Utopian World. This unique background cultivates his qualities and paves the way for every decision he makes. He is simple and innocent, so he believes all the words Isabel says without further investigation. He is kind and full of love. So, he decides to protect Isabel and gives her a legal identity. Finally, he is obsessed with family pride and afraid of his mom, so, he hesitates to disclose Isabel’s existence to the world. A fake marriage is a decision likely to be made by someone like Pierre and it is actually a clever solution I would agree. (Though there is still a debate about whether the marriage is real or not, I would prefer it to be a fake marriage at least in the beginning of the story.) But, the sudden departure and the action to conceal the truth from Lucy and his mom are unacceptable. This behavior, rather than the fake marriage, shows how immature Pierre is and leads to the final tragedy. Pierre is immature since he unwisely gives up all the things in the Utopia world and leaves the Meadow without considering the consequences or other alternative solutions. Also, he unnecessarily hurts his mom and Lucy. He is guided not by the rationality but his own mind. After realizing this, I started to consider whether Pierre is also immature in the decision of publication. Certainly, he seems to be irrational. Pierre wants to publicize a book which might ruin all the reputation he earned before. Pierre is once again guided by his heart, not by the rationality. So, is this decision immature? I am not sure. I thought Pierre knows the possible consequences this time, and he has an intense struggle before this decision. He dislikes novels in the contemporary market and the book he writes is a rebellion to the publication world. Pierre is a projection of Melville himself. Didn’t Melville know the book Pierre might not be acceptable by the public? He knew! The outcome of character Pierre’s book is the predicting result of Melville’s publication of Pierre. Melville created a situation similar to his for Pierre. The author used the character Pierre’s psychological struggle to express his concerns about the book Pierre. The decision is clear. Both Melville and Pierre chose to publicize the book even at a cost of their reputation and wealth. They want to yell out their own voice through the book. They want to rebel the contemporary publication market. They want freedom in writing. Pierre becomes mature at the end. His book is a deliberate rebellion and he is fighting for what he values most.