Pierre (Review); or The Ambiguities – Tiffany Tran

Herman Melville brings in different genres into his story, including romance (with a splash of incest) and psychology (in terms of Sigmund Freud’s proposal of suppressed sexual urges). He also creates Pierre as a complex character, faced with many decisions and thoughts of wondering what is wrong and what is right. With all of the details that Melville chose to include in his story, it becomes difficult to focus on what is actually happening. There are long passages that seem redundant to the story. It almost seemed that Melville was trying to be philosophical and deep with his details, but instead he strays away from the main story with boring parts that make you sleepy. Those kind of passages were the least memorable, and the story would’ve been more enjoyable without them.

The drama that Melville had Pierre endure was interesting. I found myself wondering how Pierre was going to deal with everything thrown at him, from him finding out about Isabel’s identity and so forth. Although I consider Pierre to be kind of stupid, I applaud Melville for developing Pierre to be wonderfully stupid. Most people wouldn’t pretend to marry their sister, but in some twisted way, Pierre believed that it was a great way to acknowledge Isabel as part of the family and in some twisted way, it makes sense. Melville managed to execute well the naive yet thoughtful persona that Pierre displayed in the story. There were some questionable topics that were brought up in the story, such as Pierre’s behavior towards his family (in particular, his mom and alleged half-sister). But, that is part of the drama.

There were events that I had not expected; those scenes in the story where there was action were the best parts. Otherwise, everything else was slightly irrelevant. Pierre was one main story with a bunch of side stories in the series, and one may find it interesting if they were to get tired of reading one major story and desire a break. It brings an understanding as to why Pierre experienced many controversy on whether the book was good or not. I think the book could have been reduced to a third of the story and it would’ve been 10 times better.

Pierre’s life was an interesting roller coaster that I would watch, but not get on.