The Classics Club Meme #7: Surprise!

For February, The Classics Club asks:

“What classic has most surprised you so far, and why?”

…and I say, “All of them!”

My cat Woody has this adorable little habit of hiding behind the steps when he knows one of us is ready to come down the stairs. He loves to jump out to surprise us — he hops into our path, raises his paws in the air and waves them and says, “Waaaaaahhh!” then trots off with an air of supreme satisfaction as we clutch our hearts. Despite knowing that he loves to do this, we always get taken off-guard.

This is how I’ve felt at different points during everything I’ve read so far with The Classics Club (complete with heart clutching!). I’ve been able to find something surprising even in the books I’ve read a zillion times. I truly feel that time and experience change a person and you can’t step into the same river twice, so to speak. I notice different things, something else moves me, I relate to a character that never spoke to me before, I understand an emotion truly after encountering it in my own life.

I remember reading Great Expectations when I was in college, and loving the story and prose. It wasn’t until I read it when I was older where I held my hand to my heart (which promptly fell into my stomach) as I remembered naively foolish Pip-like things that conspired in my youth. I suffered along with Pip in a way that I didn’t when I first read it! What will I think when I reread it again for the Classics Club? It’s been about 10 years of living since my last reading, and I truly don’t know.

Add that to my list of why I love the classics — they never cease to surprise you.



  1. Wallace

    I love that Woody does that – what personality!

    Your post is encouraging for me as I so rarely re-read. You’re thoughts make me feel like it would be worth it to do so more often.

    • Risa

      Awww…what a cat! 😀

      And I agree with you too!….There’s always something new in a Classic being read even for the umpteenth time. I think one of the surprises I received in that scenario was when I read Pride and Prejudice for the sixth or seventh time last year. I was startled to find how much Elizabeth got on my nerves!! I have always rooted for Elizabeth and Darcy, even knowing how the story goes. But on this ocassion I was annoyed with her, and thought her too silly. What surprised me even more was Jane. I had always thought her rather insipid. But this time I was amazed at how well Austen had characterized her personality — hers was a subtle character, full of a quiet strength, keen intelligence, apart from her obvious tendency to never see or speak of in/of anyone. I suspect the reason I saw this was because I had just finished reading Sense and Sensibility and couldn’t help comparing and contrasting the sister-pairs. I thought Elizabeth a slightly older version of Marianne, and Eleanor and Jane were definitely alike! That’s it. I think Eleanor and Jane are my favourite Austen Heroines. 😀

      K….I’ve blabbered enough now. …

  2. Risa

    Erm…the above comment was meant as a direct reply to your post, Jackie. I didn’t realise I had hit the ‘reply’ button to Wallace’s comment.

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