Many children are unfamiliar with the works of Oscar Wilde and sadly I can prove it.
I was Googling Dorian Gray to try to find out if there was any word on an American release on the new film adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray starring Ben Barnes and I came across someone questioning the plot of the book.
Not only did they spell his name wrong but TWO people replied telling him that if Dorian looks at the painting he'll die. That's ONLY in League of extraoridnary gentlemen. I registered as Nightling13 just to set the record straight. I was horrified this person only got two replies and each one claimed he dies from just looking at the painting. No one had corrected it. Does no one read anymore?!
Then this person thought Dorian GrAy's name was spelt Grey originally and changed to appeal to Americans.
Does no one read anymore? At all? This isn't as bad as the above one where TWO people answered (and they were the only answers the person got) claiming Dorian dies from looking at the painting.
1. The questioner thought he was spelt Grey.
2. They thought he was straight.
3. They thought just looking at the painting would kill him.
Dorian liked men and women. It was subtle because it was a Victorian novel written by a man who, at the time, was trying to stay in the closet.
It's GrAy not Grey.
Looking at the painting ONLY kills him in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Stabbing the painting is what kills him in the book. Saying The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a man who would die if he looks at the painting is like saying Dracula ends with Mina becoming a vampire, 20,000 Leagues under the sea is about the guy who invented the automobile and Tom Sawyer is about a Secret Service Agent.
If you believe this you'll never pass basic literature.
Three times now I have come across negative reviews of the new film, Dorian Gray, insisting that the character was made gay to appeal to the modern audience and or that it's a rip off of Twilight. A novel written in 1891 a rip off of Twilight!? What does a man selling his soul for eternal youth and having a painting that grows uglier every time he sins have to do with Twilight? And does no one remember basic literature? To assume the original novel's protagonist was straight is just laughable.
Sadly, there's no denying that because of homophobia which has caused many schools to either forbid or just not mention or carry the works of Oscar Wilde, many of his brilliant stories are falling into obscurity. Very few people even realize that he wrote faery tales.
One of Wilde's faery tales is a charming an endearing one called The Star Child. The whole story can be read here.
Now this is a lovely short story and in general I like it. But the ending leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
The plot is a fairly common one in faery tales. A spoiled brat is put through trials and tribulations in order to learn humility and compassion. And it seems to have a happy ending until you get to the last paragraph.
'Yet ruled he not long, so great had been his suffering, and so bitter the fire of his testing, for after the space of three years he died. And he who came after him ruled evilly.'
I can't quite understand the point and purpose of this bitter, tacked on ending that detracted from the story. 'He learned an important life lesson but it had been taught in such a brutal way that he died three years later.
The horrible irony of The Star Child is it can feel as if Oscar Wilde himself wrote it post-death. The one thing he seemed to learn in prison was humility (though society, in general should be ashamed of the reason he was in prison considering his only crime was being different). And because of the abuses Oscar Wilde's mind and body suffered while in prison he died nearly three years after his release. And the world suffered for his loss just as the Star Child's kingdom suffered for the loss of him.