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Bremer 1 JP Bremer 9/11/12 AP Literature Period 3 Ms. Warman Aubrey, Bryan. "Critical Essay on 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.

" Novels for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne and Timothy Sisler. Vol. 20. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Sep. 2012. In his critical analysis, Aubrey takes a look at the three major characters, Basil, Henry, and Dorian, and views the way in which these characters approach and convey the relationships between life and art found in the book. He starts with Lord Henry, finding him to be a man of many paradoxes and the main vehicle through which Wilde injects his own biting wit into the story. He sees Henry as a man with a greater appreciation for art than for life, admiring the way in which art allows when to experience emotion without truly being affected by it, and how Henry takes this same approach in his relationship with Dorian. He examines the effect that Henrys viewpoints have on Dorian, and how Dorian allows Henrys influence to change and morph his own personality and attitude towards, not only himself, but life as a whole. The viewpoint that Aubrey chiefly examines is that of Henrys New Hedonism of giving in to temptations. Aubrey views the poisonous effect that these ideas have on Dorian and all whom he encounters. He then views Basil, the tragic artist, as a character, and how his abandonment of appreciation for art, but rather becoming too close to life, leads to his own downfall.

Bremer 2 Dickson, Donald. "MASKS AND MIRRORS IN DORIAN GRAY." English Literature in Transition 1880-1920. Texas A & M University, 1981. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. In Dicksons analysis, the focus is put on the importance of the art and aesthetic value of the novel over the morality of the plot. He describes the books role in the Aesthetic Movement of the yellow nineties, and how Wilde wanted to show case, not the triumph, but the failure of such value placed aesthetics. He takes a look at Wildes viewpoint of art over life and how the roles of mirrors and masks in the novel help to distinguish between the real and imaginary, art and life. He examines the attraction between Dorian and Sybl, and also views the strange life that Sibyl leads. He views he as what he considers to be Wildes ideal of the perfect artist one whos life is nothing but that of art, and the influence that Dorian holds over her once he shatters her illusion of the life she leads. He goes on to see her as an example of life imitating art. He then moves his view to the role of heredity in the book, and how it affects Dorian and his feelings towards self-development. Dickson then turns his eye onto the portrait itself, and its role in the book as the ultimate mirror, one in which you see not only the physical but the mental deformities, and the effect the portrait has on Dorian. He then examines Basil and his penchant for life over art. He sees how the portrait is a mirror, not only for Dorian, but for Basil as well, who out part of his own soul into the portrait. He then examines the roles of Dorian and Henry as critics, both of their own art and lives and those of others. Dickson goes into more detail on the roles mirrors play in the story, like the literal mirror that Henry gives to Dorian, and the many ways in which masks come into play in the novel, like the fact that the very face Dorian wears is not his own but a painted mask. He ends his analysis by examining the failures of the characters to live up to their ideals, and the fatalism of the aesthetic movement.

Bremer 3 Gomel, Elana. "Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the (Un)Death of the Author." Narrative 12.1 (2004): 74+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Sep. 2012. Elanas critical analysis starts off by pointing out the classic example of a devils bargain. She then points out that, by the end of the book, Dorian tires of his picture-perfect faade, and longs for the realness and ugliness of true life. Elena stresses that it is the painting that takes over Dorians life, and that it is the painting, not the man, that goes through the novel. She claims the Dorian does not lose his soul to the painting, but his corporeal body. She talks of how the painting is meant to represent Wildes own art form-literature. Its indestructible nature is that of a book, not a painting. She then talks of the three distinct subjects in the book; the artist (Basil), the model (Dorian), and the audience (Henry.) She proposes that each of the three contribute to the creation of the painting in some way, and so all claim ownership, and goes into detail on the stake that each of the characters find in the portrait. She talks of how this change acts as a mental anesthesia to Dorian, as the more sensations he experiences the less he is capable of. She plays up the nothingness which Dorian feels, and his longing to touch something real. She makes the case that in becoming art, Dorian has lost his life, his humanity. She talks of how Dorian kills those who truly love him, but see him for anything other than the form he has taken. She talks of how each of the three major characters represent a part of Wilde, and ends by stating his paradoxes were purposefully implied, Art both is and is not life; writer both is and is not.

Bremer 4 The Good, the Bad, and the Pretty Art has always played an important part in life. Ever since the Stone Age, when man was scrawling chalk lines on cave walls, we have been attracted to the artistry of life itself. From the natural beauty of our environment, formed by the hands of God, to the elaborate and strange creations made by those of man, art has fascinated and captivated us, from its aesthetic charm to the very question of what exactly constitutes art. In his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, author Oscar Wilde supplies a dark and vastly interesting story, one that finds its basest themes in the art that Wilde himself loved so dearly. Many critics have tried to determine what it was exactly that Wilde had to say about art through his work. In Wildes different characters, we see the different approaches to art and its relation to life that seemed to fascinate Wilde, and the critics that study his work. The character of Lord Henry has a lot to say. One of the wordiest characters I have ever seen in literature, he is always ready to speak his mind on a subject. Bryan Audrey attributes this to the fact that it is primarily through Lord Henry that Wilde interjects his own wit and brevity into the story. Henry plays the role of both mentor and also observer. Elena Gomel sees Henry as a sort of audience to the story of Dorian Gray, while Donald Dickson sees him as a distanced critic, one who can appreciate the art form, but does not let themselves get involved. It is through Henry that we see the triumph Wilde believed in of art over life. All of life seems to be one big art show case for Henry. He wants to experience lifes pleasures without the risk of becoming marred by them. In order to reach this end, he finds Dorian to be the perfect candidate, much to Basils chagrin. Audrey views this as the true nature of an observer of art, allowing one the privilege of being at once involved and uninvolved in the experience. Henry appears to live this idea to the fullest, with no real connections or friendships with anyone in the

Bremer 5 novel. All those he encounters appear to be science experiments to him, subjects of which he can prod and study. Dorian simply happens to be the most fascinating of these subjects, like a rare new species, and so Henry takes special care to corrupt and lead Dorian astray. This idea of art over life must work out for Henry, as he is the only main character still breathing by the end of the novel. In Dorian Gray, we see perhaps the most tragic character. Dorian wishes, as Elana observes, to be freed from the mortality of life. In the process, she observes, he unwittingly frees himself from the morality of it as well. Dickson views Dorian and his portrait as an example of the most magical of mirrors (106). Through the portrait and Dorian, Dickson saw Wildes idea of life imitating art, as all the corruption that Dorian endures is cast upon the painting, which Elana argues has transformed from the painting to the man himself, as the corporal body walking around becomes a living art piece. Elena states that in Dorians transformation to art, he lost whatever humanity or life he once had, cast it off in favor of aesthetic values. Dickson saw, not Dorian as an example of living art, but the character of Sibyl Vane as the Wildean idea of the perfect artist, one that in the process has become art herself. All Sibyl has known her entire life has been the art of the theater. Dickson views that even her home life is reminiscent of a Victorian melodrama. One she becomes involved with Dorian, he changes her from a piece of art to a human. But, as Dickson observes, it wasnt her that he was in love with but the heroines she portrayed, as evidenced when he says I want to make Romeo jealous (73). Audrey finds a connection between this relationship and the one between Dorian and Basil. To Basil, Dorian is a muse, a pure work of art. However Audrey observes that as Basil gets more and more infatuated with Dorian, he commits the mistake of leaving art for life. By painting Dorian as he truly is, Basil slips and takes the very essence of Dorian, his beauty, away,

Bremer 6 placing it on the canvas. By putting Dorian on the canvas, Basil allows Dorian to truly experience life, and get burned by it, similarly to Sibyls own fate. As Dorian experiences more and more pleasures, delves deeper into the New Hedonism introduced to him by Henry, Elana sees that he becomes less and less capable being changed by these experiences. While this may have been an ideal situation for Henry, Dorian starts to become bored by the art he has become, and longs for the ugliness of life. Dickson sees this sentiment as one that Dorian may get from the viewing of his own portrait, the viewing of his own personal ugliness that he cannot stand. In Wildes novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde pours out his own thoughts on aesthetic values and how they relate to life and art as a whole. Critics, while varying on the specifics, all find that to Wilde, it was truly the art of the matter that was of utter importance. Life was simply playing catch up to the art that showcased itself in the world. To Wilde, art became life, as it did to the tragic character of Dorian Gray.