This book written by Zora Hurston tells the story of a black lady whose name is Janie. The story takes place in the state of Florida apparently after World War II. Janie grew up with her grandmother, who gave up everything to raise her and her mother. Janie's grandmother lived a hard life, which is the reason why she wanted Janie to marry a wealthy person. Janie had her own ideas about love, but she was not strong enough to stand up and defend them.
Life with Logan her first husband was not good because she married him thanks to her grandmother, who forced her to do so. She did not love him and besides that, Logan did not treat her good. She prayed for the end of this relationship. Latter she met Joe, and she thought that he was the man of her dreams, and the type of romance that she was looking for.
One day when Janie and Logan were arguing really bad, Logan threatened her with an ax and he told her that he will kill her. She ran out of the house with Joe, and that afternoon before the sundown she married Joe. They moved to a town where there were a lot of black people. Joe bought land and then he sold it to black people that were moving to the town, he set a store also. After the years went by he became the major of the city. For Janie life was not easy with Joe either. He treated her as an ornament. He was so interested in becoming somebody important in the community that he did not pay attention to Janie, and eventually he became aggressive. Before he died Janie told him that the problem in their marriage was that he did not listen to her. When he died Janie acted like she was sad, but inside her heart she was happy.
One evening Janie met a guy named Tea Cake in the store, they played and flirted for a little bit, and that was the beginning of a new relationship. Compared to the relationship between Janie and Joe, the relationship between Tea Cake and Janie progressed slowly and playfully. The people in the town criticized her relationship because for them it was too soon for Janie to meet another person. Phoeby, Janie's best friend shared all the secrets of the relationship, and sometimes Phoeby wondered how her friend Janie had such a big change because she did a lot of things with Tea Cake that she did not do before.
Tea Cake was a new world for Janie. He took her to places that her Phoeby latter described as "places where she [Janie] had never been". At this point Janie was so tired of not living the life she wanted. Janie often described her life as her "Grandma's way to live". She decided to sell the store and move out of town.
Janie and Tea Cake got together. It is interesting to see that their relationship as a couple was not easy either, but this time things were different because Janie loved him. They overcame a lot of bad situations such as when Tea Cake took all the money from Janie and spent it with his friends. He latter on recovered the money by gambling, even though they had to move out of town because some people were mad against Tea Cake. Latter Tea Cake had an affair with a woman named Nunkie. Janie even forgave Tea Cake for beating her up because he wanted to show Mr. Turner's brother that he had control over Janie. Then in the stormy night Tea Cake get rabies from a dog that bit him on the face. This caused Tea Cake to become quite bit insane, that he even shot Janie with a pistol. Janie shot him with a rifle and she killed Tea Cake. She explained her cause to the court and she got free from all charges. She prepared a nice funeral for Tea Cake and then she returned to her old town, and she shared her story with Phoeby. The book ends describing how happy Janie felt at that time about how she had lived her life.
It shows Janie listening to her Grandma's advice and marrying men who have power and wealth. Janie leaves Logan Killicks, first husband, and marries a wealthy man, Joe Starks. Later Janie realizes that she should marry out of love and not wealth. When she meets a man nicknamed TeaCake, she realizes and experiences true love. Unfortunately, it does not last long. While she is sitting on her porch she looks back and knows she had a hard life, but it was all worth it.
Not only does this novel have many strong points, it covers many important topics. It shows sexism, how Joe Starks and Logan Killicks show no respect to Janie. It shows racism, how Mrs. Turner ,a half-white half-black, does not trust black people. Probably most important, it shows the powerful relationship between Janie and TeaCake.
The story is somewhat short and simple, but it has a point. It happens in a way that everyone can understand. Hurston expresses her thoughts clearly in such a way it is hard not to enjoy.
Janie's story takes place in the South just after the turn of the 20th century, and Hurston gives powerful descriptions of the race and gender relations of that era. Janie is racially mixed, and the book explores how she is consequently barred from the white world but excluded in many ways from the black world.
At the beginning of her story, Janie remarks, "Ah know exactly what Ah got to tell yuh, but it's hard to know where to start at." Hurston's charming use of dialect serves to enrich the reader's understanding of the character's culture and adds to the novel's atmosphere.
Hurston paints us a world rich with imagery and symbolism of nature, love, and life. You will not be able to resist Hurston's exquisite accounts of the world, as when she writes, "Oh to be a pear tree -_any_ tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! [Janie] was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her."
The most compelling aspect of the novel is the personal journey that Janie goes through. The reader will follow Janie as she embarks on her search for love, with all its disappointments and fulfillments. Janie's experiences teach her about herself and what she wants in life. Through this self-realization, she secures her identity and reaches empowerment. This book will make you cry, it will make you laugh, it will enrage you, but most importantly it will make you _think_.
Tess of the Durbervilles is the story of Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of poor, alcoholic parents who learn that they are of a noble bloodline and send Tess off to work for her noble "cousin" Alec Durberville. While there, Alec rapes Tess and she has his illegitimate baby. This event ruins Tess's life. She is no longer pure, and virginal, and therefore brings shame upon her true love Angel Clare when her past is revealed.
It is hard to believe, in this day and age, that Tess is shamed and ostracized because she was the victim of a horrible crime. Hardy's novel is a powerful statement on the questionable morality of Victorian society. Tess, who is a heroic, brave, caring, selfless woman, is not worthy of Angel because she is somehow impure due to the rape. Angel, who has lived with a woman out of wedlock and is clearly not a virgin himself, feels justified in punishing Tess when he learns of her past.
The writing is beautiful, but the story tragic. It will stay with you a long time.
This scenario is truly terrifying, but it can also make one feel lucky for what we have in today's society. I feel lucky to live in a society where women are valued for more than just bearing children; where women are women, whether they have had babies or not; where women have their own names; and where women are allowed to work, have their own property, read, and get educated.
It is scary to think that a scenario like this could happen in our country. Hopefully, it never will-- not if we don't let it.
While many dystopian novels focus on a far distant future when the past is forgotten, Atwood's Tale focuses on the transition period, the primal generation. Offred, a "handmaid" in the Republic of Gilead (the former U. S.), remembers what it was like to hold a job, to earn money, to own property, even to read -- all of which have been denied in this "modern" society.
While the former society was imperfect, women were free, valued for the contributions they could make to society. Here they are not "free" -- they can't travel, gain eduction, etc -- but they are technically "free" from many of the former problems -- rape, sexual objectification, etc -- and valued now only for their ovaries.
Offred is a sympathetic heroine. The story is told in a style reminiscent of stream of consciousness, she is merely thinking her story to herself. The narrative is compelling and the themes are significant. Atwood's style is poetic without being sentimental. All in all, it is a worthy work.
Shelley wrote this book influenced by the period of time in which she lived, the Romantic Period. This was the response to the previous time, the Age of Enlightenment. In the Enlightened Age, reasoning was deemed of utmost importance and people thought that there were natural laws and that reason plus these natural laws would equal progress. By progress, they meant not only advancement, but unlimited advancement, that society would continue to move closer and closer to perfection. In Frankenstein, we see the result of so much logic and reason- the creation of a monster. In the story there seems to be no natural laws governing the world. The Romantic Period accounted for emotion like reasoning and logic cannot. The monster as the center of the novel shows us as his direst need a companion, as does Frankenstein himself.
When I think of what natural laws would govern the world, Justice comes to mind as the most important. Throughout this whole story, justice is so dearly lacking. Injustice leads to more injustice. The monster is born into unforgiving circumstances that were not his fault. His creator rejects him immediately. Throughout his life, the monster found himself rejected by everyone for the repulsive looks his creator gave him. The monster even suffered rejection of the impoverished family he ardently and sacrificially helped. When he saved a girl from drowning, her father shot him. The monster yearned desperately for a mate of his kind, which Victor denied him for fear the two would breed an entire race of fiends or that she, too would reject him and there would be two fiends. Decide this debate between the monster and Victor for yourself. Even if Victor was right to deny him a mate, it was still an injustice for the monster. After all, the monster could not help the disadvantages he was born into and he strove mightily to be virtuous. He exercised his will and responsibility strongly, but to no avail. The poor thing begs for just one friend and he is denied this. The innocent Justine (a play on the word "Justice") is executed for the monster's crime; the monster eventually slays several innocent people he doesn't even know. Injustice is what moves the plot of Frankenstein.
Shelley's novel disputes the importance and promise of natural laws, reasoning, and the idea of progress. It introduces emotion and intuition. Frankenstein studied laboriously but failed because he left the monster emotionally neglected and rejected. When Victor first learns of the murder of an innocent member of his family, he intuitively knows it was the doing of the monster- he offers no reasoning or deduction as to how he knows. The monster hounds Victor and seems to supernatually know where he is at all times.
One of the many interpretations of Frankenstein is that it was a product of the Romantic Period, which was a response to the Age of Enlightenment. My own evaluation of reasoning vs emotion is that our logic must be in control of us always but that emotions are a part of us too and must be satisfied.
The first problem Frankenstein has is that it is (as far as content goes) really a short story. I can't imagine it needing more than 60-100 pages, but Shelly inflates it to over 200, and for no discernable reason. The expanded length leads only to additional passages where Frankenstein himself is lying unconscious for months, or needless travelogue scenes which only serve to detract from the story. It might also be said that after 100 pages of melancholic whimperings from Frankenstein the reader has probably lost all sympathy toward the character. There are also certain plot elements that seem to repeat themselves a bit too often, but I the appeal of these elements will be based upon the reader.
Ultimately, Frankenstien seems a great story that you occasionally feel compelled to skim through. There is a certain sloppiness (I am still not clear what happened to Edward--the only surviving Frankenstein, but I do know something about some of the townspeople mentioned in a letter which have NOTHING to do with the story), but when you put all that aside, the very heart of Frankenstein is an enjoyable read. The monster is a sympathetic one and I found myself glued to the pages as he first illustrated how he came to understand the world around him.
Unlike Moby Dick which should never be abridged since so much of its irrelevance seems the primary point of the story (I often consider Ahab and the whale merely a sub-plot in Ishmael's life), Frankenstein could do with some good editing. Despite Frankenstein being a relatively short book to begin with, even 200+ pages feels a bit trying when all you are reading about is landscape and Frankenstein fainting.
Judging from my rating you can see that I do not agree that this is in fact the great American novel. Twain seemed far too unsure of what he wanted to accomplish with this book. The pat answer is to expose the continuing racism of American society post-Civil War. By making Jim simultaneously the embodiment of white racist attitudes about blacks and a man of great heart, loyalty, and bravery, Twain presented him as being all too much of what white America at the time was unwilling to acknowledge the black man as: human.
However noble the cause though, Twain's story is disjointed, at times ridiculous, and, worst of all (for Twain anyway), unfunny. The situations that Huck and Jim find themselves in are implausible at best. Twain may not have concerned himself too much with the possibleness of his story; but, it does detract from your enjoyment of a story when you constantly disbelieve the possibility of something happening.
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is an important book in that it did affect much of the American literature that followed it. However, this is another novel which is more important to read for its historical significance than for its story.
In the broader sense of the word, Hemingway, in this book, reveals himself (as Jake Barnes) to be an aficionado when it comes to boxing, drinking, fishing, and bull-fighting.
I had a problem with one aspect of "The Sun Also Rises." I found Hemingway's excessive use of negative ethnic stereotyping to be troublesome. For starters, he has created in Robert Cohn, a character who is emotionally unstable and thoroughly unlikeable because of his 'Jewishness.' Following are a few examples of this portrayal:
In reference to Cohn (observations of Barnes and his friends):
"He had a hard, Jewish streak."
Brett's gone off with (other) men, but they weren't ever Jews."
"That Cohn gets to me. He's got that Jewish superiority."
In reference to Jews in general: "She gets five hundred quid a year and pays three hundred and fifty of it in interest to the Jews. They're not really Jews. We just call them Jews. They're Scotsmen, I believe."
There are numerous other instances, but these already cited should suffice as examples of Hemingway's Jewish stereotyping.
He went after other groups too. To wit:
On Blacks: "The n , , , , drummer waved at Brett. He was all lips and teeth."
On gays: "I wanted to swing on one . . . . to shatter that superior, simpering composure."
He didn't quit there either. He went after the French and, on numerous occasions, showed his disdain for all casual tourists.
There is so much of this sort of prejudicial stereotyping throughout the book that it was ruined for me. It's too bad, because his bull-fight descriptions obviously came from an aficionado but were, for me, tainted by his attitudes.
Towards the end of the novel, Jake remarks, "the three of us sat at the table, and it seemed as though about six people were missing." The whole book makes me feel like something - a group of people, a place, a reason to live - is constantly missing. Hemingway's characters stun me in their simple-mindedness, until I realize that is just the way they appear to me. Jake and Brett and Mike and Cohn are so incredibly complex, yet are so tortured that they can't find the voice to express themselves to each other or to the reader.
Hemingway's dialogue can be plodding (did anyone ever talk like this?), but his descriptions - of the drive from Bayonne to Pamplona, the feel of drinking from a leather wine bag, the glory of a bullfight - shine.
The fiesta goes on, in both Pamplona and Paris, but according to Jake, it doesn't "mean anything." For Brett and Jake, life will go on, devoid of meaning but full of pain. The Sun Also Rises doesn't need a complicated plot to get that central point across.
I propose one hint when reading "the Sun also Rises." Pay close attention to the relationship between Barnes and Robert Cohn. Barnes laothes Cohn for being everything that he is not. What drives him over the edge (in the inner sanctum of his own mind and demons) is the success Cohn has insofar as his relationship with Lady Brett. Barnes is impotent and this is a crushing blow to his manhood. The tragedy here is his inability to consummate a sexual relationship with her. It destroys him--yet he is still accepting of his predicament. This is what allows this character to maintain "grace under pressure"-- as Hemingway once coined the term or the ability to stand or hold ones ground when all odds are against you. Certainly this can be a tragic flaw for any of Hemingway's male characters--the total loss of his virility. Yet he stands his ground and never loses it. He just hates Cohn from a distance and rationalizes that he (Cohn) is one who cannot do anything just for the sake of doing it---whether it be drinking, winning the Princeton boxing title, or being in love with Brett. It is complicated but one can come away with these qualities after finishing the novel rather than while reading it.
I think his friend and sometimes rival, F. Scott Fitzgerald, summed him up best when he said of Hemingway: "He's the real thing."
The novel takes place in the last years of World War I, in which an American named Frederick Henry is serving as an ambulance driver in the Italian army. He meets and falls in love with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley; after he is badly injured in a mortar shell attack, he and Catherine consummate their love while he convalesces in a hospital in Milan. Using his trademark sharp dialogue, Hemingway shows how the presence of war in Henry's and Catherine's lives intensifies the rapid development of their relationship.
When a crabby hospital superintendent suspects Henry is idly prolonging his convalescence, she gets him sent back to his ambulance post at the front. On his way to a battle ground to pick up wounded, he is arrested by Italian battle police who hear his foreign accent and think he is a German soldier disguised in an Italian uniform. He manages a daring escape and goes to a town where he finds Catherine again. When he is alerted that the Italian army is looking to arrest him for desertion, he realizes his only option is to escape to Switzerland under cover of night.
The notion I get about Hemingway's writing of war is that, to him, it's a sport, a big game, that accepts physical suffering as a fair price to pay for the camaraderie and adventure; a game in which victories are celebrated with a lot of drinking, and losses are mourned with...a lot of drinking. This is not a criticism, just an observation; he writes with so much spirit and conviction on the subject of war that it's difficult to find fault with his style. This is exemplified most in Henry's decision at the end of the novel: At just a time when his life seems to be falling apart, he realizes he must "get back" to the war, not because he likes war, but because it gives him a will to live; it's in his blood as much as it sheds his blood.
I really enjoyed this book and somehow could relate to it, even though I'd never been through any of the same experiences. Maya Angelou has a distinct writing style with an intricate slow pace which I usually dislike although in this book her vocabulary painted a picture which kept me interested. Maya's life has been really hard and reading this now, I wonder how you can overcome all of what she has went through. Her life with her parents was a wreck and yet she still held herself together, probably because of living with her grandmother who helped instill morals, stability, and how the world really worked. It's a remarkable story and that's just what it appears at first. The moral of her life shows how will and determination cannot change your inborn character, that you become stronger through it.
I couldn't get into this book. Every time the book was about to pull me in, a sudden change of pace would leave me scratching my head. This novel seemed to drag me nowhere, granted it is a classic, my classic eyes, nose, and ears say "no" to this book.
This is a well-written novel told about a young boy's life as he grows up. You learn side by side as this young boy, Stephen Dedalus, learns of life. You see things as he sees them, experience things as he experiences them, and feel as he feels. Whether it's fear, loneliness, pride or remorse, the feelings are lived as Stephen's imagination and life intertwine themselves together through each page.
This is a great novel if you have a Joyce-code-reader that helps you understand the Irish slang, Latin and symbolism. Irish slang dots this book, Latin develops it, and symbolism flies through it. This plot-less book is very hard to understand, which conveys Stephen's attitude toward life. He, a young man, is very confused in life. There are five stages in which Stephen goes through in this novel. He goes through school homesick, and looking for an identity other than his father's. Joyce depicts the family through debate at the dinner table, showing the strong political views of Stephen's father. Stephen also finds himself in a growing situation at school. After being wrongly beaten by the prefect of studies, Stephen decides to go and tell the rector on him. Fear mounts as he enters the hall across from the rector's room, but joy comes as he excitedly runs to tell his friends what happened. As he continues to experiment with life as he finds himself wading through sin. He struggles with the lusts of the natural man, as he gets involved with the opposite sex. And then it hits him. A power sermon about death, judgment, heaven and hell chain his soul down as he wishes to escape the eternal torment that surrounds him. He wants his soul to be at peace. And so through a battle with his conscience he repents and frees himself from sin. He then devotes his life to religion and purity. Seeing his devotion to the priesthood, a Father offers him a vocation. However, he discovers another path to paint the picture of his life. He journeys away to find his freedom lies in being an artist.
If you're going to read this book, put your code-decrypter nearby and get ready for a ride through the mind of Joyce.
Joyce was a strange one, where writing was concerned, focusing as he did on language as a means to evoke the world rather than merely for telling a "story". Over the years I have come to conclude that fiction requires narrative requires storytelling . . . and yet Joyce successfully broke that rule and he did it first in this book.
PORTRAIT is a book which builds the world of its narrator in the telling, without really following any kind of plot or storyline or giving us a beginning, middle and end. From the opening lines of ludicrous baby talk, where we see the world through the young hero's infantile eyes, to the end where the young lad, after much intellectual wrestling in his school days, steps off into the wider world, this is a book which paints a young man's coming of age, through his very subjective experience of life, with words. Indeed, all good writing "paints" its world to some extent. But Joyce, and several of his contemporaries, set out to re-write the rules of writing by only painting the picture, as though the story (an artificial element in most cases) did not count at all. And they did what they set out to do. Joyce did it most dramatically of all with this book. Like Hemingway, Joyce was a literary impressionist, building the world through bits of language instead of merely describing it or telling us about it.
I think we need to get back to basic story in our day, as theirs was, to some extent, a false trail. But it was a trail worth following and of great value to all readers and writers alike. Aspiring writers, and anyone with a real craving to explore the literary world, ought to have a go at this one. It's an original.
No, this book's prose is not beautiful. But the story is gripping. It is the story of a family who has immigrated to Chicago from eastern Europe. They cannot speak the language and do not have job skills. The family members are forced into hard labor under horrific conditions, when they are lucky enough to get work. What little money they are able to earn, they are tricked out of by unscrupulous landlords and lawyers.
This novel is memorable for its message and resulting reforms, rather than for its prose or characters. However, it is a wonderful book that I know I will never forget.
For this reason, Sinclair wanted society to feel a little remorse for the hundreds of immigrants dying for the progress of this country. His style of writing is very powerful and is a very enduring read, evoking pity and sympathy into the readers¡¯ hearts. Sinclair¡¯s descriptive and sanguinary writing lets the reader take a peak into the factories, showing us what wasn't supposed to be seen. Upton Sinclair gave social economic change an initial push. After reading Sinclair¡¯s book, President Teddy Roosevelt issued the Pure Food Act and labors were given a sanitary work environment.
In contrary with our history books, Sinclair focused on only one, out of a million, family¡¯s struggle to exist in this merciless society. In history class I¡¯ve leaned about these immigrants¡¯ struggles, but when I read this book, I realized that textbooks only touched the surface of the strife and obstacles the limited immigrants went through. I do recommend this book because I have enjoyed it immensely myself.