Let me just say...I am loving this book! Mantel is such an amazing writer. I can see why she won the Man Booker Prize. Wowza! I really am so endeared to Cromwell. I can't help it. I just keep wondering if he was really like the book portrays him. He really was a marvel of a resourceful and smart man.
So, what are you thinking at this point in the book? Here are some questions to help us organize our thoughts:
- Why was Cromwell so attached to Cardinal Wolsey? Was Wolsey more of a mentor or a father-figure for Cromwell? What do love and loyalty mean for Cromwell?
- What is it that makes Cromwell so driven? Does his ambition stem from a desire to do good, or is it just a survival instinct based on his past? How is Cromwell both personally ambitious and yet generous and unselfish?
- I really think that Cromwell saw Wolsey as both a mentor and a father-figure, but also with a mind to his advancement as well. We must remember how very shrewd Cromwell is. I'm just really loving how multifaceted he is and I believe that love and loyalty do mean a great deal to him. I think his capacity for love and loyalty stems from his leaving the home of a cruel father and striking out into a world that embraced him more than his own father ever did.
- It's obvious to me by how inquisitive and resourceful he was as a child that he was driven at a very young age. Perhaps being constantly around a ne'er do well father made him want more, but there are plenty of children who grow up in this manner and never have any ambition to do better. I honestly think he was born that way ("Baby, you were born this way!"). As to the final part of question two, I think of his conversation with Mary Boleyn. The entire time he was keeping in mind that what she was telling him (in regards to the King and Anne) could be of use to him and Wolsey. Yet he expressed a genuine concern for Mary's plight and was quite willing to speak on her behalf to the Cardinal regarding a new husband. With Cromwell, we're getting many layers. I would have to say that he is what they call a well-rounded person. Liking him so well is going to make reading his fate (which I already know, of course, being a Tudor history buff) that much more difficult. And I thought watching it in "The Tudors" was hard enough (I thought James Frain played him quite well).
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or post a link to your blog post.
Next week's post will be at Kai's Fiction State of Mind. I'm going to post handy links to past posts for people catching up at the top of the posts section.
Discussion questions were obtained from ReadingGroupGuides.com