Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke

The story begins with a group of theoretical magicians who believe that magic has been out of use for many years. They stumble upon a practicing magician, named Mr. Norrel, who proves his powers in various ways including making statues talk, and bringing someone back to life by making a deal with a faerie. He also aids in the war against Napoleon as he attempts to take over Europe. The women that Mr. Norrel had brought back to life has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse and lapsed into a sort of depression. Mr. Norrel claims that this ailment cannot be cured with magic, because it is caused by the faerie he called upon to bring her back to life. In volume II We meet Jonathan Strange, a young magician looking to learn from Mr. Norrel, despite the fact that they have very opposite personalities, and differing views on how magic should be used and wether faeries should be involved. Strange then starts to take on some of Mr. Norrels duties, and eventually goes of to help with the war. When Strange returns from the war, He starts to break away from Norrel due to differences in opinion, and even writes a scathing review of Mr. Norrels book. He then returns to his home and writes his own book to rival Mr. Norrels. The general public then begins to choose sides on the magicians opinions. Volume III starts with an attempt on Mr. Norrel's life by the women he brought back from the dead. Strange is able to assist with helping the women by removing her from the faeries curse. When Strange comes to Norrel, the solution causes them to both end up trapped in an eternal night due to the spell they must use. When trapped in this eternal night they cannot travel farther than a certain distance from each other as they attempt to escape, unfortunately it is left unsaid wether or not they escape.

Discussion Questions:
1.Do you think if Norrel had shared about the faerie up front the women could have been cured earlier?
2.Do you think if Strange had worked with Norrel instead of criticizing his ideas that they could have come up with a better solution to the problem?


Greg P. 13-14 said...

2) If Norrel and Strange had worked together they would have most likely come up with a better solution. The fact that they have a difference of opinion means that they think differently. Thinking differently would engender different idea. Both of the magicians would have been able to bring new ideas and different skillsets to help coe up with a better solution.

Fritz J. 13-14 said...

I agree, it they had been able to just put their heads together, i think they would have been able to find a much better solution to the issue.

Steve S 13-14 said...

I think if Norrel had shared about the fairy, Strange would not have attempted to cure her, automatically assuming that she could not be saved.

Fritz J. 13-14 said...

I agree, but i dont think that Strange would have even agreed to be his pupil if he had shared about the faerie