values

Review: The Cherry Orchard

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The Cherry OrchardBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Cherry Orchard, a tragedy and comedy all rolled into one, published in 1904 by a great Russian, Anton Chekhov. I’d heard of this play during my high school years, but never actually read it. In college, I had a course in modern drama and theatre, where this was one of the 16 plays we read: 1 per week for the 4 month course. Our school also performed a theatrical version a later semester where I participated in some backstage work. We also did a video and literary analytical comparison. I know the play well. Commentary on society. Discussion of values. Choices. Understanding what you will give up for what you need to have. The themes in this one are so large, it’s often hard to discuss them without getting animated.

Additionally, The Cherry Orchard was the piece that I did my technical and textual analysis on, so I had strong opinions and theories about the characters and the action. When I saw the video, I was a bit shocked at some things, but I also realized that many things were done in the way that I would have done them. The whole discussion/argument about the play being a comedy or a tragedy is one that comes to mind.
I thought while reading the piece that it was mostly a tragedy. The Ranevskys were losing their estate and cherry orchard. I had sympathy and pity for them. Then, I thought more about how it was played in the video, and what the narrator had to say. I also recalled the action in the play and realized that the action is external, and therefore, it depends on the way that characters are played by the actors. It was the acting, at least for me, which showed the tragic side of the play in the video. When Lopakhin is announcing at the end that he is now the owner of the estate and the orchard, the staging and directing was brilliant. The entire stage was silent, and the characters all stood around Lopakhin. The orchestra was playing a little bit also, and Lopakhin began his speech. He was somewhat hysterical, but also vindicated. Watching this scene is what convinced me that the play was more tragic than comic.

The actress who played Madame Ranevsky was a great actress. When she broke down about losing the estate with her brother Gayev, there were more tragic tones to the play. It was hard to decide exactly how I felt about the piece because there were the interruptions to let the narrator talk for awhile. Overall, I liked the version because it appeared very classic. By classic, I mean in the lines and the dark colors. I wish that I saw the actual orchard. I felt a little deprived because the orchard was the focus of the piece.

There were parts that were left out also that I wish I could have seen acted. In my opinion, the entire play should have been put on, and then afterwards, the narrator should have commented on it. They could have held flashbacks and then remind us of specific scenes that were played in a certain way, etc. The end was good when Firs was left alone. I like that part. He was on the couch and I wondered what was going to happen. When I read the play, I thought that he was going to die, but I was unsure about his character in the film. There was a lot of discussion about the sounds of the piercing harp string and the axe at the end when the orchard was being cut down. This discussion was very interesting because it helped me to understand the importance of the sounds before I gave my textual analysis.



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 Metamorphosis

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The MetamorphosisBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Metamorphosis, written in 1915 by Franz Kafka. I think most people are familiar with the premise of this book, and rather than do a normal review, I thought maybe I’d question how on earth Kafka came up with this one? It was such a great way to tell the story and teach a lesson… a man wakes up as a giant beetle? (I secretly suspect he came across a huge cockroach in his apartment while in NYC one day). And how do you deal with such a change? Your family is afraid. They are embarrassed. You can talk. What’s really going on here? What is Kafka trying to say about life? We’re all insensitive? Liars? Fakes? Humorists? Nutty? So many things to read into here… it’s a run book, too. When you’re a bug life’s quite different. Have you ever managed something like that before? No. So how did Kafka come up with all the little things to make it real? I’m glad he did as this book helps you enjoy reading when you may be forced to read some classics at a younger age that don’t appeal to you. As an more mature reader, you find all the symbols and beauty in the messages with this one. I believe I read it twice, possibly some excerpts for a third instance. Each time, it gets better. I would love to see a really good film or TV Adaption… purely to witness the metaphorical views a director would incorporate on the big screen or the stage. The words are amazing, but it’s what you experience by reading it that makes it such a wonderful book.



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: Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to Of Mice and Men, a novel written in 1937 by John Steinbeck. What a heartbreaking book… many students in American high schools read this one around 9th or 10th grade, and it provokes such sensitive topics to be discussed. A quick summary: Lenny and George are drifters looking for work. Lenny is a little slow and has a few disabilities that weren’t addressed when he was younger, likely due to time time period (early 20th century) when they had ability to ignore these types of illnesses. Unfortunately, it has disastrous consequences for him and for George. Men can be cruel. So can be women. Lenny tends to hold on to things a little too tightly when he’s scared. He’s lost a few pets and things he loved, as a result. One day, a woman pushes him a little too far, more than he’s capable of understanding, and he reacts in fear. George must find a way to cover it up, and his only recourse is to take his own disastrous actions. No spoilers here, but you probably get the drift already. No matter if you know the end, you still need to read the story to see how people treat one another because they are different or they aren’t perceptive enough to understand their own consequences.

This books helps people understand what happens when you lose control. It helps you figure out what you might need to do to protect someone. And it helps show who’s (wo)man enough to stand up for others or to sit back and watch bad things happen. It’s charged and full of emotion and fear. I struggled a little with some of the secondary characters and the setting, no my favorite. If it were set in a bit more modern times, I might have given this one a 5. But it’s absolutely worth reading whenever you have a chance to find a quiet corner and be ready for a bit of a cry and a flood of questions, answers and thoughts.



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 Grapes of Wrath

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The Grapes of WrathBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to The Grapes of Wrath, written in 1939 by John Steinbeck. I might have an unpopular opinion when it comes to this book, as it was fine but nothing fantastic for me. I admit, I read this in middle school, nearly 25 years ago, and never went back to read it again. I tend not to like books about awful things as the main plot. I don’t mind when bad things happen, or circumstances change, but when the entire book is about the pain and suffering of a family, it doesn’t usually rise to the top of my TBR. I might consider giving this one another chance, but you have some major convincing to do. I like Steinbeck, too, so it’s not so much an issue with the author as it is with the topic. The writing is strong. The imagery is good. The characters are well drawn. The setting is very detailed. But when it comes to the plight of a family against the hardships all around them, it’s a difficult read. Part of my issue may have been a connection with the story. While I certainly don’t have a real-life connection with my favorite books (mysteries, thrillers…), you need to have an understanding and recognition between what’s happening and how you live. Coming from the northeast, in a major metropolitan city, 50+ years after these times, it doesn’t start off as something I’m familiar with. I usually don’t read things about this time period or space for those reasons. If the characters called to me, I might have liked it more. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a good book. And it’s got a place in the world of classics. And it helped highlight a lot of wrongs that people weren’t aware of. And maybe because I learned those lessons from other books and other places, this one just didn’t seem all that top notch to me. That said, it’s Steinbeck, so there is something of value here. No one can tell reality like he can.



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: Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the FliesBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to Lord of the Flies, a coming-of-age novel written in 1954 by William Golding, who was a Nobel Prize winner. Most people have either read this book during middle/high school (in America or Great Britain), or have heard of it because of its cannibalism story line. But wait… it wasn’t really cannibalism — huge exaggeration to set straight, right from the beginning. But let’s back up… At a time of war, a group of teenage boys are in a plane that crashed onto an isolated and jungle-like island. They are forced to grow up quickly when they have no food, water or shelter at their disposal. It’s a story about how to take care of yourself in the jungle when you have nothing but raw supplies. The novel is full of themes from loss of innocence to the differences between savagery and civilization. It asks the question what type of a person are you — a leader or a follower? The story charts the actions of the teens as they grow up, hunt for food, build shelter and learn how to work together. They divide into opposing teams, trying to see how is the best leader. They learn to help each other and watch others dies. They run out of supplies and food, questioning whether to eat meat, hence where cannibalism comes from. But it’s not a major story where they choose to do it and eat an entire body to survive, that’s a different book! I read the book once and tried a second time, but what I realized is that the world today is a very different place. While I appreciate the themes and characters being brought to life in this novel, it didn’t have as strong an impact on me as it has for others. I think it may be the kind of novel that is best read when you are a teenager, as it helps with understanding things are the same today as they were 75 years ago, in terms of growing up and learning how to work together. When you’ve got a classic like this one paired up against something like The Hunger Games, it’s a tough choice. They deal with the same sort of context in terms of “survival of the fittest,” but one is a dangerous game and another is an accident. I like them both, but I’d choose The Hunger Games, even tho it’s probably less well-written. Teen angst, lessons to be learned, education versus playtime, all great concepts both books addressed, but the difference is when a book almost goes out of the way to try to teach me something versus it naturally happening. I still believe it’s a good book, and it should be read, but if it were written today, I don’t think it would be as popular.



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 Portrait of a Lady

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The Portrait of a Lady Book Review
3+ out of 5 stars for The Portrait of a Lady, a classic story called the “Great American Novel,” written by Henry James in 1881. I adore Henry James and found great enjoyment in his literary works when I began reading him in my freshmen year at college. As an English major, I was exposed to many different authors, but I felt a strong connection with him and this literary period. American realistic works spoke to me above any of the other “classic” books I had been reading. As a result, I chose Henry James as the primary focus of an independent study course I’d taken in my senior year. I read 6 or 7 of his books during those 3 months and am going back now to provide quick reviews, as not everyone finds him as enjoyable as I do. I also don’t want to bore everyone with a lengthy review on how to interpret him or his books.

The Portrait of a Lady tells the story of a young woman who years to have her own life and make her own mark on the world. She doesn’t want to be contained by marriage or the structure in place at the time in the late 19th century. She has different characteristics coming from American, English and continental European female archetypes. She has strong moral and ethical values. She knows who she is, yet she does not know all. As she moves through life, she makes choices that are not easy for her to execute. What I loved about this work is its deep exploratory view points, beautiful language and unparalleled characters. Though I only give it a 3, when compared to some of this other works, I would recommend you read a few chapters or sections, just to see if it is something you could find yourself getting lost in.

The impact you feel upon reading this book is questioning what is the true view of a lady, how is she different from generation to generate, location to location and societal class to societal class. James knows women. He is very accurate on many levels… wrong on a few, too. But to put out his thoughts, in a huge tome, at a time when women were beginning to get more rights… and be able to cross genres and genders… is amazing. It’s less about what he says and more about how he says it. And that’s why I enjoy reading him… but even I admit, I can only take 1 book every few years! 🙂

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 Awakening

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The Awakening Book Review
4 of 5 stars to The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I read this book several years ago and wrote a paper on how society treated women during that period in literature. I cut and paste some from it below, as I think it offers more than a normal review on this one. Please keep in mind, I’m referring to women in the 19th century, i.e. the characters from the book — not thoughts on women today! As for the book — it’s fantastic… love seeing what people thought 150 years ago, seeing some things never change and some people are just always wrong! And for the record, I loved Edna… thought she had a right to, and should have, pushed the envelope more.

Question: Edna Pontellier: Does Innocence Prevail?

Society expects women to remain pure and chaste, to ignore the urge to engage in any type of behavior that could be construed as flirtatious, and to follow the demands of their fathers until marriage. However, women see these limitations as too restrictive, which is why they live their lives in a way that suits them and not others. Women often take control of their own lives by participating in flirtatious behaviors, ignoring parental wishes, and engaging in pre-marital sex. When women are married and still wish to live their own lives, they may have extra-marital affairs, they may leave their husbands or lovers, and they may commit suicide. These behaviors are ways of striking out against the unfair limitations placed on them. Often the “desire to be socially functional and acceptable can lead to hostility to those who appear to be unconventional or independent” (Allen 336). As a result of this hostility and striking out, whether or not women are truly innocent has pervaded the minds of American society.

Since the innocence of women has always been a subject that captivates society’s mind, writers will often take advantage of this and create works that are about women’s innocence. The realistic period of literature, from the end of the Civil War to World War I- 1865-1915, contains many works that are representative of women and their level of innocence. In works such as Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), there are female characters whose innocence comes into question. Edna Pontellier lives her life in such an ambiguously flirtatious way that the people from the society in which they live, all question the women’s innocence and morality. Edna is somewhat guilty, although she has an excuse. Edna is just entering her womanhood for the first time at a time when views were quite different than today. She may lose her innocence with several men, but she never knew what innocence was prior to her sexual awakening. Regardless of Edna’s actions, she is still innocent even though her flirtatious behavior implies that she isn’t. After she faces society’s wrath, she turns inwardly to find support instead of turning to the people around her. After thinking about her future, Edna meanders down the path of self-destruction and commits suicide, as a way to get out of the misery that she is in. When her innocence appears to be lost, she chooses to take her own life, rather than fight to show society that she has done nothing wrong. However, she never really loses her innocence permanently, as it was only hidden under her awakening to womanhood.

In The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier, a young, married woman is also removed from her usual American home to that of the French Creole society in New Orleans, Louisiana. Even though the story still takes place in America, the French Creole society is more European than American. It expects the people that live there to follow European beliefs about women, innocence, and sexuality. Edna has been married to Leonce Pontellier for several years and they have two sons also. They spend their summer vacations on an island off the coast of Louisiana during the summers, not that far from the mainland where they usually live. Edna grew up with a father who expected her to follow his rules as perfectly as possible. He was a “hypocritical, gambling, toddy-drinking, pious-talking Presbyterian [from Kentucky]” (Skaggs 98). His interpretation of religion was to be irreconcilable during the week, and then atone for it on Sundays at worship. Edna thus became two separate souls within her own body. She wanted to be pious and good which explains why she remained married to Leonce in a loveless marriage for nearly ten years. However, she also had a passionate, wild side to her which suddenly erupted after she met Robert Lebrun on the Grand Isle. According to James H. Justus, the imbalance which haunts Edna is within the self, and the dilemma is resolved in terms of her psychic compulsions. Caught between conflicting urgencies-her need to succumb to her sensuality is countered by an equal need for a freedom that is almost anarchic” (Justus 73).

Edna Pontellier is bored with her husband, her life of motherhood and housekeeping upon her return to the mainland. She also wants to be free to do whatever she chooses instead of being chained to her husband. She enjoys the attention that she gets from Robert and finds the young man quite attractive. Once started, “Edna makes no attempt to suppress her sexual desire, she does not hesitate to throw off her traditional duties towards her family. She realizes she is unable to live as the inessential adjunct to man, as the object over which man rules” (Seyersted 62). As a result, “Edna Pontellier has her first affair out of sexual hunger, without romantic furbelow. She is in love, but the young man she loves has left New Orleans” (Kauffmann, 59). Edna Pontellier is an adulterer, but one can forgive her because she was thrown into a marriage that she was not ready for after living by her father’s rule for so many years. Edna never had a chance to grow up as a woman. As a result, she is forced to suppress her sexuality, and it comes out full force during her summer vacation with the Lebruns.

Nevertheless, Edna and Robert’s affair has a positive influence on Edna’s life. Carley Rees Bogarad believes that “Edna’s desire for the first time in her life is directed at someone who returns it and who has been fulfilling her emotional needs. She finally has evidence from the way Robert has been treating her and from her own emerging sense of self that she might choose to live in a more meaningful, constructive and active way. She does not lose her sense of responsibility; she redefines it” (160). However, Edna loses Robert when he leaves the country, and she is forced to return home with her husband and two children where her life becomes monotonous and dull without Robert. Later, She meets Alcee Arobin, who reminds her of Robert in some ways. Edna and Arobin also begin an affair with each other. This time, “Edna enjoys the company because [Arobin] is a charming man, attentive, amusing, a person of the world. He is a sexual partner who does not ask for, expect, or give love. Consequently, Edna need not feel that she is compromising him because she loves another. What she slowly discovers is that there is no way to separate what the body does from what the mind or heart is feeling without creating a violation of self (Bogarad 160). Edna definitely seems as though she has no morals by this time. She couldn’t care any less about her family; all Edna wants to do is explore her new found sexual awakening. She is viewed negatively for this among society; Yet, in reality, “the men in her life split her-Robert sees her as the angel, and Alcee sees her as the whore” (Bogarad 160).

Edna Pontellier is a victim of fate, and cannot be faulted for that. She can’t help but be awakened sexually, which leads to her numerous affairs with Robert and Alcee. After moving out of the house and living on her own, in the way that she wants to, Edna slowly dwindles down to nothing. She loses her husband, Robert, and Alcee. Robert briefly returns and it seems as though he and Edna will reunite, but they don’t. Instead, Edna’s awakened feelings and lifeline diminish her. Spangler remarks that “in the final pages, Edna is different . . . she is no longer purposeful, merely willful: no longer liberated, merely perverse: no longer justified, merely spiteful” (Spangler 155). In the end, Edna is left barren and desolate. She wanders out to the sea, strips off her clothes, and jumps in to her death. According to Spangler, “Chopin surrounds Edna’s death with contradictory symbols of defeat and rebirth. This makes it difficult to assess the meaning of Edna’s final act and accounts for the various readings proposed. There is also the further complication that it is not clear whether Edna’s death is consciously chosen suicide or whether it, like much else in Edna’s life, is simply drifted into” (156). Edna’s tragic end leaves readers wondering what her purpose was. Edna could represent women who are “‘perversely attracted to forbidden fruit’ [and for women that] want to possess [which] forms only destructive relationships rather than those that [are] true and lasting’ (Roscher 292). All that the readers can infer is that “her actions and final suicide suggest that she is a woman whose will and determination force her ‘to go her own way’; but a closer look at Edna shows that she is not a character who rejects a society in ‘thought and act’ . . .” (Portales 431). Edna Pontellier may have had some affairs, but she still remains innocent in some ways. She never knew what love was when she married Leonce. She had been influenced by her father and assumed that she would fall in love with Leonce once they got married. Nevertheless, Edna tries unsuccessfully, so she then determines to just have a good time, but she falls for Robert and enters into a relationship with him – perhaps the first one when their is requited love between the two. Edna cannot be blamed for losing her innocence therefore, since she didn’t have it when she was married. She didn’t even know what it was to not have innocence at that time. Edna suffered at the hand so fate and her father. She rarely had control of her own life.



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. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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