Read Jacob's Hands by Aldous Huxley Free Online
Book Title: Jacob's Hands|
The author of the book: Aldous Huxley
Date of issue: November 5th 1998
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.91 MB
City - Country: No data
ISBN 13: 9780747540502
Loaded: 1215 times
Reader ratings: 7.4
Read full description of the books:
A decent fable, though generally underwhelming. As is typical in fables, all of the characters are stereotypes and two dimensional at best. Most dialogue and action is described in a summarizing way with no attention to prose, akin to stage direction, and not really appropriate for the written narrative form. This story was originally written as a rough draft of a screenplay, and so this style makes sense for its intended eventual use, but not really for the medium that it ended up as.
As for a moral or message of the story, the prevalent ones were ambition corrupts/is evil, naiveté and ignorance/innocence are desirable traits despite the vulnerability that they create and that a physical body cannot heal if the soul that it contains is corrupt. This latter message is the most stressed, and it does invoke some debate and thought, though these avenues of debate aren't explored in any deep or meaningful way.
The character that is physically healed yet still suffers because of his soul malady exhibits all of the classic signs of combat related PTSD, a condition not widely accepted or recognized in the early sixties when this was first written. The character goes on to perform selfish, conceited and manipulative acts once he's physically cured, because of his fundamentally flawed soul/PTSD. I don't like this connection of mental illness along with character traits that are often associated with sin or evil. I think that this is a tired, and unhealthy, trope, and dates this story immensely.
One last note; while all of the characters are cartoony, horrible people in the story (with the exception of the simple, naive, blissfully ignorant and therefore wholesome role model main character Jacob), the women by far get the worst set of traits. They're either horrible nags, controlling religious zealots, silly ambitious young women with stars in their eyes and greed in their hearts, old wealthy women looking for a cure but are too evil at their core for Jacob to treat or controlling passive aggressive wealthy smothering mothers.
I can't help but get the distinct impression that the way that these women (both major and minor characters alike) were portrayed is very telling regarding the writers' views on women in general. This is not to say that a story can't have female characters that do bad things or are shady people; I enjoy a complex bad girl. These were just predictable, done-a-thousand-times-before cookie cutter outspoken-and-ambitious-women-are-evil-and-can-never-be-trusted character tropes. Bor-ing. I expected more nuance from Huxley and less laziness.
Overall, the story is dated and predictable, with flat characters with traits that I found tiresome (even in a fable, which are always essentially about good vs evil people), flouting a predictable moral/message about how innocence is a virtue and ambition and knowledge is terribly corrupting.
Yawn. I expected more out of Aldous Huxley. I can only hope that this story has more to owe to co-writer Christopher Isherwood's influence.
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Read information about the authorAldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and essays Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Huxley was a humanist but was also interested towards the end of his life in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time.
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