romancingtheclassics

One girl's journey to read the top 100 literature classics of all time in the space of 365 days, a quest for only the most foolhardy and brave

Archive for the tag “control”

Home james….

Oh henry james, I just want to go home.. The Wings of The Dove is tortuous.. I’m still going but came across some really well put literature quotes I thought I’d share.

“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.”
Jane Yolen, Touch Magic
 
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
Charles Dickens
 
“The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who can not read them.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer.
 
“Books are the carriers of civilisation. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”
– Barbara W. Tuchman
 
oh and how I can relate to this one. Hemingway I’ll always be your groupie.
 
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.”
Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American Writer.
 
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J
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catch the drift

It’s been a few days since I put down Catcher In the Rye and I’m still thinking about it.

It’s an addictive read told in the voice of a sometimes angry and nearly always  lost and lazy teenager Holden Caulfield. He is full of purpose yet hopeless at the same time. At every sentence you feel you are on the edge of finding out what he has been driven to do and then it evades you once again.

The every day hum drum detail is told differently through his judgemental and critical eyes. After reading clockwork orange it feels as though I am almost regressing back to what it felt like to be teenager, dying for freedom but having no idea what to do with it.

 I finished it hoping there would be some kind of a sequel, books that end without a conclusion drive me crazy. I always wonder about what happens after and which path the character heads down next.

I’d literally just finished the last page and was looking for some space when I went and got out a film from the DVD store. A movie version of a book I had read a while ago by Lionel Shriver. The film, We Need To Talk About Kevin, featured Tilda Swinton and was about a mother and her paranoid fear that her son was capable of something terrible. And he does. He goes on to commit an inconceivable atrocity.  The film weaves chaotically between past and present, delving into the pain and suffering the mother goes through as before and after,  making it a gripping and heart breaking movie.

I had just put down The Catcher in the Rye only to once again be thrown back in the sea of teen angst and to see just what some teenagers who are lost and destructive are capable of. No wonder Clockwork Orange and Catcher in the Rye are on the top 100 list. They deal with themes that even as adults we still struggle with.

How to find your niche in the world and the cost which comes at losing and gaining parts of yourself along the way. Sometimes it leads to madness, sometimes to success, but all of it can be dictated by one turn or fork in the road.

x

Jess

Castaway for kids…

Think of the film Castaway only instead of Tom hanks, it’s the group of bullies out of Stephen King’s Carrie novel who are stuck on an island, they are pint sized, meaner and crazier.

That basically sums up Golding’s ‘Lord of the flies’. Of course not all of the boys are bullies but it’s what happens while watching them try to govern themselves that is what is most intriguing.

They become afraid and when fear strikes they start to become primal and more prone to manipulation by the powerful members of the group.

Golding has a flawless childlike imagination which makes you feel he is one of them and you can feel the suffocating paranoia as all semblance of civility breaks down.

The use of fear and violence in the fight for control is something that is echoed over and over again in the world today. It’s sobering to see young boys tragically play this out, acting the way adults have done for years in international and domestic conflict.

It’s a challenging read but a rewarding one. It takes a talented writer to not only tell a story but have the reader live the story at the same time. I would normally never pick up a book like this but found myself loving it and finishing it in two sittings.

This book was written more than 58 years ago and it is still relevant and long may to continue to be. It’s kind of success every author dreams of.

I can’t imagine anything more satisfying or fulfilling than having your writing be relevant and meaningful to others..
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J

what I meant to say was…

So it seems to me that when it comes to insulting people and describing people unfavourably, no one does it better than a classic lit book.

Cleverly veiled barbs and hooks are weaved in the prose, designed to sting and take the wind out of any character’s sails.

So I thought it might be interesting to translate these insults into modern language just for the fun of it… after all it an insult in any era is enjoyable :p

She was a woman of high fashion –
What they meant to say : she’s a vain, materialistic cow

She had a great deal of manners which classed her as the most affected of women-
What they meant to say: She’s a boring snob

He was what she would describe as provincial
What they meant to say: He isn’t worth a second glance and is beneath me

She was a woman with a high, free spirit and was very engaging. She was often indelicate in her behaviour with men-
What they meant to say: She’s a dirty tramp/slut/whore

He had a pleasant countenance and unaffected manner-
What they meant to say: He’s alright

She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me-
What they meant to say: She’s a feral and no one in their right mind would be interested

She had very cordial feelings toward him-
What they meant to say: She was fantasizing about marriage and the names of their babies

His sisters had the air of decided fashion –
What they meant to say: They were snobs who thought they looked better than they actually did

She was a woman of mean understanding, little information and an uncertain temper-
What they meant to say: She was not the sharpest tool in the shed

She had charming, happy manners –
What they meant to say: She didn’t throw herself at men like the rest of her trampy friends

She was headstrong and spirited –
What they meant to say: She never did what she was told and enjoyed a good roll in the hay

He had a most ungentlemanly disposition –
What they meant to say: He was a chauvinist pig

She boasted neither cleverness nor beauty –
What they meant to say: She is a butt ugly idiot

She was fond of society –
What they meant to say: She liked to hob nob and lived to kiss ass

He was fond of his own society –
What they meant to say: He was a loner and  was most likely into midget porn with the potential to be a serial killer

She had a wilful nature –
What they meant to say: She never did what daddy told her to do

and the best til last…

He was too proud for even his own company –
What they meant to say: He had his head up his ass so far he couldn’t see straight

xx
J

Dear Henry

I thought reading Lolita was tortuous. There are worse things. To read ‘portrait of a lady’ by Henry James..

Most of my friends would probably laugh at this, I’m the last one to lay claim to being a lady so a book dedicated to being one was always going to be a stretch.

The thing was the blurb started out so promising. I would love to have a stern word with the blurb writers at penguin.

Which described it as ‘ a tale of an independent woman whose main ambition in life is to preserve her independence and embarks on travels to broaden her mind and views. She fails to be ensnared by the trappings of marriage until she meets an American in Italy who catches her attention.’

And it stops there. What it should really say is:
” naively innocent young woman travels to England and finds herself made wealthy by a family member. Spends far too long introvertly analysing her behaviour, morals and the people around her. She is obsessed with doing the right thing, even to the sacrifice of her own happiness. She turns down proposals from two good men who love, admire and appreciate her independence and don’t care a bit about her wealth. She instead finds herself married to a man who traps her like a bird in a cage. Like an artifact he has collected, and if that’s not bad enough, he appears to have married her for her money and convenience while being involved with one of the very friends who introduced them.”

Basically a case of a nice girl going for the wrong guy, the bad guy instead of the ‘nice guy.’

It sounds gripping, a bit like melrose place in morning suits type of book but actually it’s just plain depressing. She lives her life-like a character in a book, not fully embracing it and the fact she just throws her independence away so early in the book just baffles the mind.

And when old suitors come back to woo her and also woo her step daughter, it’s even more disorienting.

Henry has the ability to over analyse and completely deconstruct a scene, until it’s no longer enjoyable. He directly addresses the reader throughout which makes it plain uncomfortable and I suffered throughout trying to finish it.

Thank god it wasn’t the done thing to describe sex scenes back in day. I can only imagine how he would labour over of every lump, bump and hair. It would be enough to put anyone of their breakfast or the act for a long time.

Or at least until dinner time anyways. So it’s with this in mind I’d like to send a note to mr James.

Dear Henry

We are over. I don’t want to read another word from you again. I now know that anyone who praises your work must be a prat, a twat or at the very least boring from the inside out.

Just because you are on the top 100 classic list does not mean you are a good read.

Yours unfaithfully
Jess
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