I chose for this second portion of the book to focus on Dantes’ prison stint. Therefore, it takes place from Chapter 8, The Chateau d’If to Chapter 20, The Cemetery of the Chateau d’If.
Synopsis so far (continued from Section 1 post): Dantes has been sent to prison, even though Villefort had promised to keep him from that punishment–the readers, of course, were aware of this scheme from the beginning. Villefort does travel to Paris as a result of that letter, resulting in two important events: an audience with Louis XVIII, in which he receives a medal of honor; and a meeting with Noirtier, his father, to warn him of his Bonapartist actions. Meanwhile, Dantes is imprisoned at the Chateau d’If, a prison filled with Bonapartist supporters. Be earns a room in the dungeons with his attempts to break free, but this is the best thing for him. It is in the dungeons that Dantes becomes acquainted with his neighbor, Abbe Faria, who had dug tunnels to escape himself. The two men become quite close and it is Faria who helps Dantes see who has wronged him to help him achieve entrance to the prison. And Faria, known as the Mad Abbe to the guards, tells Dantes of a treasure worth millions–but Faria passes away, leaving Dantes the chance for escape and to seek the treasure.
And the scene is set…
The first time I read this book, it was for high school and I was so “busy”. I skipped a lot of the middle of the story, picking it back up later (and being really intrigued, leading to my re-read of the entire abridged book). It was during this section that I put down the book. I have to be honest: this part of the book isn’t too terribly interesting. I tried to make the summary of this part of the book as interesting as possible and trust me–what might seem good in the summary is really and truly the only interesting stuff over a 150-pages.
I haven’t read much French literature from the mid-1800s, such as this book. But I hear French authors from the time period, such as Dumas and Victor Hugo, LOVE to include a lot of context. I did read The Three Musketeers–which is very different from the 1990s Disney movie–and I found it soooo boring, probably for this reason, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
I found the chapter devoted to Villefort’s conversation with King Louis XVIII the most monotonous. Nothing in that chapter was relevant to the story. All it did was move Villefort higher up than he thought he’d achieve, which could give Dantes a better reason to cut him back down. But there was a whole lot of nothing happening while Dantes was in prison, too. I did forget when exactly Dantes found out who had misused him, but Faria, with very little to go on, helped him figure out who did it and why this all happened. However, there wasn’t any scheming to get back at them, either. Hardly any scheming at all–the only sort of scheme in prison was how to get break out of prison. And, let’s be honest, in 1820s prisons, there weren’t a whole lot of ways to break out.
You might be wondering why I’m talking only about how boring this section of the book is. Well, I’m not exactly trying to make everyone want to read it. I’m just sharing my own thoughts on the book. I can totally see why, as a sophomore in high school, I couldn’t really get past this part of the book. But I know that in the end, the story is great, so I’m “suffering” through that part. I could just skip it because I already have a general idea of the story–but that wouldn’t be a true re-read. I’m rediscovering the book, good and bad parts.