american

Review: Sister Carrie

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Sister CarrieBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to Sister Carrie, one of the greatest American novels of true realistic cum naturalistic tone, published in its final form in 1900 by Theodore Dreiser. Some of my favorite literature comes from this time period in American history. Writers took extreme liberties with creating the most realistic point of view and portrayal of characters who were living the American dream, or at least attempting to. All details were painfully described when it came to what was going on in their lives. It wasn’t about how you brush your teeth from left to right, but it certainly came close. Feelings were clear. Words were prolific. It was less about the plot and drama, the shock and the surprise, but more about how people felt and interpreted all the actions around them. People wanted to know what was going on all over the city, the country and the world. Authors delivered. In this book, Carrie and her family, loved ones and friends, face all the experiences thrown at you when you become an adult. How you make decision. How you spend your day. It shows thru comparison and contrast what happened versus what could have happened. While I normally love this approach, this one was a tad bit dry for me. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but it was just a good book. I didn’t feel connected to it as much as everyone else at the time. But if you want to know how things were during the 1870s – 1890s in American life, this book will show you.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeQuestions & Final Thoughts
4 out of 5 stars to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson. So here’s how naive I was years ago… and keep in mind I was an English major who loved the classics… I’d read some short stories about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a teenager, maybe saw some video or tv versions…. can’t quite remember. Sophomore year in college, this is listed on the assigned syllabus for one of my courses. And I’m like “I think there’s a mistake. Stevenson wrote Treasure Island. He didn’t create this mystery about a strange man.” I couldn’t separate that the author had different styles and stories. I don’t know what I was thinking… maybe I had no sleep… point being, this was a turning point in literature for me, where I realized how an author could truly write very different novels. And both be great! For me, this was why I loved reading all the time. Drama. Intrigue. Mystery. Suspense. Crazy. Unique. Peculiar. It was everything my boring life wasn’t at the time. I suspect most people don’t realize this was a lengthy novel before it was a short work and a TV thing. It’s a must read. Go. Now.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Complete Poems

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The Complete PoemsBook Review
The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson – My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I recently went to a museum exhibit dedicated to her and fell in love again with one of her poems, which I’ll dissect below:

Critics of Emily Dickinson’s poem number 328, commonly titled “A Bird Came Down the Walk,” have several different interpretations of the poem. Most critics believe that the poem is a “conventional symbolic account of Christian encounter within the world of nature…” (Budick 218). Although several critics take a religious approach to the poem, I disagree with them. I believe that “A Bird Came Down the Walk” is about mankind’s innate fear of others who are larger/smaller than they are. I also think that the poem explains man’s reaction to this fear. The bird in poem number 328 actually represents all of mankind. When the bird is confronted with its fear, it flies away. A (wo)man is as guilty as the bird when (s)he is running away from his/her fears. When we are scared or frightened, we often run away instead of standing up to face our fears.
The first stanza of Emily Dickinson’s poem shows a bird doing what it normally does all day long: “A Bird came down the walk / He did not know I saw / He bit an Angleworm in halves / And ate the fellow raw.” However, there is a deeper meaning in this stanza than the idea of a bird simply eating a raw worm. According to Jonnie G. Guerra, “the speaker’s choice of verbs seems to express a desire to anthropomorphize the bird” (Guerra 29). By giving the bird human-like qualities, the narrator invites the readers to compare the bird’s actions to mankind’s actions. The man is actually a human being who is eating his lunch or dinner. Since the bird does not know that the reader sees him eating a worm, the bird is perfectly at peace going about his daily business. Humans are identical to the bird in this sense. We follow our daily routines of eating, drinking, sleeping, shopping, and working; yet, we rarely realize that someone may be watching our every move. All throughout the day, parents watch their children to insure their safety, teachers monitor their students’ progress in order to help them do well, and bosses keep a close watch on their employees to see if they are doing the work that they were hired to do. There is always a pair of eyes beating down on us to scrutinize our every action, just like the narrator scrutinizes the bird’s actions. Through the bird, who is unaware of the man watching him, the narrator shows that no one is ever completely alone. The bird may be in danger, and it feels as though someone or something is approaching it.
The second stanza continues with the anthropomorphization of the bird: “And then he drank a Dew / From a convenient Grass / And then hopped sideways to the Wall / To let a Beetle pass.” The reader sees the resemblance of the bird to a human in this stanza when the bird drinks a dew because “grass” suggests an echo-pun on glass (Guerra 29). However, this stanza also sets up a situation that shows the goodness of humankind. Charles R. Metzger “playfully suggests a fancifully anthropomorphic sense of genteel deportment in the bird’s letting a “Beetle pass” (Metzger 22). Here, the narrator shows that the bird is kind enough to step out of the way for the beetle, a creature smaller than the bird, to pass by. Continuing with the theory that the bird is actually a human, readers then see how we humans often try to be accommodating to others. When others aren’t as capable of doing something on their own, man will often go out of his/her way to make it more convenient for them. When we are in the way of others’ goals, we try to get out of their way if at all possible. With its human-like qualities, the bird follows the “Golden Rule” just as man does. Since we are never alone in the world, we must work to make friends. Perhaps, the bird is trying to befriend the beetle. It is unlikely, but still, the bird is friendly by moving out of the beetle’s way. However, the bird’s friendliness isn’t enough to keep the bird calm when the stranger/narrator advances toward it.
As a result, the third stanza shows a change in the bird’s composure: “He glanced with rapid eyes / That hurried all around / They looked like frightened Beads, I thought / He stirred his Velvet Head.” When the bird stepped to the side, he realized that the narrator was watching him. He wasn’t alone at all. Fear starts to enter into the bird’s blood, making him look for the nearest escape route. The bird is unsure of the narrator, and what his/her intentions are. The narrator might be there to cause harm, or the narrator could be there to express kindness as the bird did for the beetle. Folk wisdom has always said that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul. When the bird’s eyes glance all around, the fear is evident; only in a case of extreme fright would the bird’s eyes become beady and glassy (Andersen 119). At this point in the poem, the narrator is physically close to the bird. While the bird is afraid of the man who is close to him, we humans are afraid of the people closest to us. The people who know us best and are closest to us have the power to hurt us the most. We are so unaware of other’s eyes beating down us at times that we become victims quite easily. We may be accommodating to a point, but we should never be accommodating to the point that we lose our focus and our direction. We need to hold back from others so that we maintain some order in our lives. Fear cannot take control of us. When it does, we must get away from it somehow, just as the bird does.
The fourth stanza of the poem shows the bird reacting to the narrator’s approach: “Like one in danger, cautious, / I offered him a Crumb / And he unrolled his feathers / And rowed him softer home.” Now, the narrator approaches the bird and offers to feed him, but the bird is frightened and flies away. The bird is quite small in comparison to the narrator. The narrator’s size is what scares the bird away. Charles R. Anderson notes that Dickinson “keeps the whole garden world reduced to the bird’s size. The [narrator] is left towering above and outside, having no magical elixir like Alice in Wonderland to shrink her down to a level where communication is possible” (Anderson 118). Jerome Loving agrees by pointing out that “if there is any suggestion of danger, it comes when the human narrator offers the bird a crumb. The truth is that nature is a nice place, a pastoral scene until man blunders on stage with the full weight of his past and future” (Loving 56). We humans have the same innate fear as birds when we face someone who is larger than we are. If someone is higher up on the corporate ladder than us, we are constantly afraid that he or she will fire us. Students have the fear of teachers failing them just as the bird feels the human will hurt him. Children feel afraid of their parents punishing them at times also. Everywhere we turn, there is someone who is stronger or more important than we are. We will always feel as though others are going to do something to hurt us; therefore, we need to escape this fear by running away like the bird does. If one looks at it another way, the bird could also be afraid of the entire world.

Even though the beetle is smaller than the bird is, the bird might still be afraid. It is common knowledge that elephants are often afraid of mice, which are hundreds of times smaller than elephants are. Perhaps the bird’s nerves are on edge, and he is afraid of anything that makes a slight, sudden move. The beetle could cause harm too. Humans are often afraid of spiders and bees, which are quite small in comparison to man. Nevertheless, the bird runs away just as man does when confronted with a situation he fears.
The fifth stanza shows that the bird flies away softly and quickly: “Than Oars divide the Ocean / Too silver for a seam / Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon / Leap, plashless as they swim.” The bird knows that it is in danger and must leave as quickly as possible. Also, the bird wants to leave quietly, in the hopes that the narrator doesn’t realize that the bird is leaving. We humans also try to leave swiftly and quietly. We know when we have been defeated, and we try to leave with our tail between our legs. We are ashamed and upset that someone has hurt us or tried to hurt us, so we escape. Running or flying away may not be the best way to handle the situation, but that is all that we know how to do. Man is accustomed to flee a situation rather than to confront it. Therefore, the bird, who represents man, flees too.
According to Anderson, “The dangers as well as the beauty represented by nature at large… are here concentrated in a single bird that exhibits a complex mix of qualities: ferocity, fastidiousness, courtesy, fear, and grace” (Anderson 221). The bird in Emily Dickinson’s poem “A Bird Came Down the Walk” can be representative of humans, since humans have the qualities such as fear, courtesy, and grace in their personality. Dickinson’s poem comments on man’s innate fear of others. We humans are always being watched and when we realize how close someone is to us, we need to run for fear that (s)he will hurt us. Our fleeing is done with grace and courtesy. It is a reaction that all humans have at one point or another. Dickinson’s poem shows the readers this fear and the results of the fear on mankind.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Lemorne Versus Huell

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Lemorne Versus Huell
Lemorne Versus Huell by Elizabeth Stoddard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


I had never heard of Elizabeth Stoddard before seeing her name in our anthology of American literature. I looked forward to reading her work, until I started reading it. I did not care for the work that we had to read – “Lemorne Versus Huell.” First of all, I thought it would be something about two farmers fighting over land, etc. The title just made me think about it. The piece seemed as though it was going to be entirely too funny. I was disappointed.
Instead, the work was some type of legal case or suit and there was something about a couple or a love affair. It was difficult to read because it was something entirely different from what I was expecting. It got better towards the end, but by then I wasn’t too sure about what happened in the beginning. It was hectic in some ways. It seemed at times like a sentimental romantic story that could have come from a romance book or something like that. There wasn’t any meat to the whole piece at least in my opinion.
We were asked to compare it to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s work. I tried, but I see Uncle Tom’s Cabin as something completely different from this or any of the other works that we read. I did see some erotic parts to it, but more importantly, I saw some potential in it – at least, I mean, some potential for me to like it. I realized what it was about at the end, but by then I had missed so much, and when I reread parts of it, I was still locked into my first interpretation which I couldn’t get past.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Bartleby the Scrivener

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Bartleby the Scrivener
Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


I remember disliking it because it was all about this guy that slept in an office and his boss came in and he never did any work or something. These are just my first thoughts about the story. Time to read it again. Yes, I did read this. But this time, I think I got more out of it. It’s about choices and what someone will do and won’t do. It’s also about the walls of Wall Street. Basically it’s all about being an individual versus being part of a society. It was suggested at the end of class the other day that when we read it, think about capitalism. I picked up on that a little, but I’m not sure I understand it. I liked the story more this time, especially the names of three other scrivener/copy people. Turkey and Nippers and Ginger Nut. I tried to make a connection to real life and all with the names, but nothing hit me.
I wonder what it would be like to be a scrivener – to copy things over and over again. I would probably do it. It sounds as though there is some monotony in it, but if others were there and you could do more than one thing at a time, then I could handle the job.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Declaration of Sentiments

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Declaration of Sentiments
Declaration of Sentiments by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s works were also brilliant. Her Declaration of Sentiments was absolutely hilarious – I mean the idea of having to write one, not what she wrote. In fact, what she wrote was simply beautiful and excellent. I followed everything that she wrote, and went back to the original document to check for the similarities. The two documents are precisely parallel. If it works on the first try, which it obviously did, use the same tactics at a later date for a different cause. Stanton tired this style and obviously had an impact on the public. Her words were definitely bold and called for.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Birthmark

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The Birthmark
The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of my favorite authors but I disliked The Birthmark. It was not a very interesting piece. It reminded me of other war literature, which I have never been able to get into. I would have much preferred that this piece was trashed and we could have read The Minister’s Black Veil. I absolutely love that piece, but we need a diverse experience of literature with Hawthorne, so… The Birthmark and Rappaccini’s Daughter were very similar when it came to the endings. By removing the one part of the beautiful woman that was hideous, their male lovers destroyed and killed them.
In The Birthmark, I sympathized with both the husband and the wife. I am a pessimist and tend to focus on the negative aspects of something, and I wonder how I would have looked at my wife’s face if she had a birthmark like that. It didn’t seem that bad, but it makes me think of how I would feel about my wife, if God forbid, she got into a car accident and had a horrible scar on her body somewhere visible everyday. I would be very cowardly if I only focused on that, and I know that’s what Hawthorne is getting at. It is definitely a piece to make you think about how you view perfection and whether you are an optimist or pessimist.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews