City of Winnipeg | Libraries

A Monster Inside All of Us: The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Ranjan S.,

Looking for a very interesting novel to read for summer? Look no further, I have the perfect book for you.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a fairly simple read, considering it was published in the late eighteen hundreds.  Without Dorian Gray GNgiving the specifics away, it tells the tale of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray, who is obsessed with keeping his good looks. To keep them, Gray projects his soul into an elaborate painting of him, keeping his beauty intact regardless of the passage of time or the sins that he commits.  The story progresses as he commits more and more sins, but keeps his beauty, and causes the painting to deteriorate.

The most interesting part of the book is Dorian’s friend Henry Wotton. Wotton is the key factor that manipulates the innocent Dorian Gray from the beginning into the man that indulges in lust. Wotton has a very strong way of talking, and gives Dorian numerous elaborate speeches on hedonism, and how indulging is the goal of life.

DGBut what can this book say about us as a society, or the average teenager on a personal scale? Wilde gives the reader a lot to think about. Wilde communicates to the reader through Dorian’s journey of surrendering to his indulges, that the goal of life is to fight off one’s lust to do wrong, or end up like Dorian Gray. Through the character of Henry Wotton, Wilde represents the negative influences a person must deal with in life. When the picture representing Dorian deteriorates as he commits more sins, one cannot help but wonder if Wilde is trying to provide a visual representation of what he thinks happens inside of us when we commit a wrong. Wilde may be trying to get us to really consider what we will achieve when we harm somebody, or make a bad choice. When teenagers are developing, this is especially important since our brains are not as good at decision making. One could look to that as society, a friend, a book, or really anything. The novel forces the reader to confront the uncomfortable questions about what they value, and how they say the worth of physical beauty in life. It is especially important for adolescents to consider, since this is the stage of life that people develop their core values, and views of the world. By reading this book, adolescents, who are generally consumed with physical beauty, are forced to question that notion down to its roots.

DorianOverall, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not an intense read at all, but it is an important one. It is in very clear modern English that teenagers can easily understand, and it analyzes some very critical concepts teens should think about.  The only drawback is even though it is in clear English, some younger teens may find it a heavy read, especially with all the intricate concepts presented. If I had to rate it, I would give it 10/10.



What books have you read that you would rate 10/10? Is there a title you think teenagers everywhere should read? Let us know in the comments section!

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