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Book reviews for "Bloom,_Harold" sorted by average review score:

Alex Haley & Malcolm X's the Autobiography of Malcolm X
Published in Paperback by Chelsea House Publishing (January, 1999)
Author: Harold Bloom
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Man of Islam-Man of X!
I began to read this book with very high expectations. I heard so much about Malcolm Little and what he was all about through oral tradition although I never once read anything from him. I really didn't know what Malcolm was all about or his accomplishments. I choose this book knowing that a majority of it was written by Malcolm.

The book is very descriptive about Malcolm's childhood and his views." This is the story of a man who lived life intensely, first as a criminal and then transformed into the nation's leading prophet and social critic. You get to know him as a naive student, a hip hustler in 1940s Harlem, a jailbird and finally, as a Muslim activist acutely aware that he is a target, a man who confronts danger in the face without compromise."-wvw Its easy to make assumptions of ones life through what is said, but until you read the views of Malcolm himself you cant possibly have a full understanding.

The parts in the book about Malcolm and his trip to Islam should be read by everyone who is interested in the sixties Islam time period. He tends to quietly shun the scandals and mishaps of the honorable Elijah Mohammed.

Over all it is a great bout about a great man. I recommend it to anyone!

Probably one of the most inspiring books you would ever come across... a book about a man who was lost but was found. Although I am not religious and could not associate with X's feelings towards 'God', however, I admire his determination, spirit and aggression in fighting for what he believed in. Also, for a man to educate himself and was able to speak in such an eloquent manner should make many of us (college graduates) ashamed of ourselves.

Before converting to Islam, Malcolm X went through stages of life, which I believe many people today continue to suffer from. But I am not sure how many people nowadays can be as brave as Malcolm X in giving up many of the world's evil. The hustler turns leader journey is worthy read - even a must own!

Finally, to those who will read this book, I strongly advice you to take a look at how Malcolm X described the world he lived in and the world we are living in... nothing has changed much. The only thing that has changed is that the media and information technology has advanced society! But still being controlled by the 'devils', the American government has used these to enforce their own causes to the world when her 'own backyard is still in a mess'. Should Malcolm X still be around today, I think he would be attacking the US government of being the puppet master of the Third World.

Most Impactful Book I've Read In a Long Time
When I was first told by my Ethics teacher (I'm a high school Junior) that our syllabus would include The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I questioned why. Why in a course of ethics, would we study Malcolm X? As we delved into the book, I realized that it was an integral part of our studies. Malcolm's plight was a slap in the face, especially from my point of view. My first reaction to his "rants" on white america, was pure anger, I felt his vast generalizations to be demeaning and insulting, and if it had not be required reading, I would have probably put the book down. I am thankful that I didn't, because it has opened my eyes, and I believe that every person, regardless of religion, race, or creed, needs to experience this book, and examine Malcolm's life as a hustler to a martyr. My views will forever be changed by the words of Alex Haley, and the amazing story of Malcolm X.

Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle: Modern Critical Interpretations (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 2002)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Kurt, Jr. Vonnegut
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Magic Act
Kurt Vonnegut is nothing short of a magician. Call him a writer if you must, but it seems unfitting for a man who weaves yarns about new religions, Ukranian midget dancers, apocalyptic chemical inventions, and feet-rubbing fornication. Writer just doesn't do justice.

Regardless, Cat's Cradle is a wonderful read and a heck of a time. Plot, character, and setting, as always in Vonnegut's work, take a back seat to the infectuos humor and unconventional writing style of its author.

The narrator is named Jonah, a writer who wishes to conduct a non-fiction story revolving the lives of people surrounding the Atom Bomb titled "The Day The World Ended". From this moment, our wild ride begins as we are introduced to the great cast of characters, including Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the so-called "Fathers" of the Atom Bomb, who may or may not have created a chemical capable of turning all the worlds water supply into ice, his family, the president(dictator)of a small Pacific Island San Marcos, Papa Manzano, and his lovely daughter, all the way down to Bokonon himself, founder of the Bokonon faith which is based in foma (lies). The journey through Vonnegut's mind is a worthwile one, if nothing else for his startling creativity, and hilariously bleak view at humanity. I will leave you with this quote from the great books of Bokonon:

"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way."

Well said.

Cat's Cradle is terrific. (As it was meant to be)
Cat's Cradle is by far the best Vonnegut novel that I have yet read. Blending his patented wry humor with acute social insight presented in an absurd fantasy world, Vonnegut has written an exceptional novel of love, lies, and the self destruction of mankind. The story centers around the narrator, Jonah, who is called by name once in the entire book. We are told in the beginning that he is writing a book on the events of the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. His research leads him to a correspondence with Newt Hoenikker, the midget son of Doctor Felix Hoenikker, father of the atomic bomb. After meeting with Newt, destiny leads our protagonist to the impoverished island republic of San Lorenzo, where among other adventures, he finds religion, falls in love, and becomes president. All of this by itself would make for a very entertaining book, but it is not in the story line that Vonnegut's genius lies. Cat's Cradle is rife with painfully accurate insights into the institutions that our society holds so dear, such as, religion, politics, and science. Vonnegut invents for the inhabitants of San Lorenzo a brand new religion based completely and admittedly on "foma", or lies. This wouldn't be so shocking, except for the fact that this "bokonism" seems to make perfect sense. Other Vonnegut ironies pervade the book and are too elaborate to go into. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author of all time. Cat's Cradle is one of his funniest, most absurd, and frightening novels. This book truly causes one to stop and think about the things that one holds as unquestionably true. All of the incredible people, places, things, and ideas in Cat's Cradle are intricately woven into a perfect tapestry that sums up and spells out many of mankind's self-created problems in 191 pages.

An outstandingly intelligent story that is a must read
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is by far one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Vonnegut brings this fictional story to life with great detail at every turn. From the creation of ice nine to Bokonism, Vonnegut weaves a complex but entirely believable story. The novel begins with the main character John who is writing a book on the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima called The Day the World Ended. His writing this book leads him to his destiny as he travels to the laboratory where the bomb was created and then to San Lorenzo where he becomes president. San Lorenzo's founder, Bokonon, created a religion for the people. This is an average idea except for the fact that Bokonism seems uncannily real, with it's own terms and practices all created by Vonnegut. This novel is a masterpiece.

Cat's Cradle is fast passed, deeply detailed, and very interesting. The novel is very ironic and a must read for everyone. Kurt Vonnegut weaves a great story that never lets you down. Through its outlandish turns and twists Vonnegut makes it seem so very real. This novel is definitely a 5 out of 5.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (January, 2001)
Authors: Erich Maria Remarque and Harold Bloom
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NL-S Approved Book
All Quiet on the Western Front is the best WW1 novel that I have ever read. The book provides wonderful insight into the trials and tribulations of a common soldier. This book was very enjoyable to read because Remarques' ability to tell how the people who did the fighting thought and acted. Paul, the main character, is a volunteer soldier who is caught in the midst of war. He tells of how he and his fellow soldiers share the special bond that only they have. They debate over the purpose of war and why they fight. They worry about what this war has done to them, and what they will do when the war ends.

The book has graphic depictions of the horror of being on the battlefield. Although it is impossible for me to know that fear, I think the author does an excellent job of helping me picture the people in those situations. There is a frequent theme that war is for the elite returns periodically. The point of view is one of the best things of the book. It shows how gruesome war can be from a German soldier's perspective. It is easy to sympathize with the main character as his closest friends are killed.

This book isn't for the squeamish. Men die in many ways, and Remarque describes most of them. The descriptions of being out in the trenches are outstanding. But the book is a classic for a reason, and I think everyone should read it.

I was supposed to read this novel around 25 years ago, for a high school English class, and decided to skip it and just read the back cover and take notes in class. Turns out the joke was on me. I finally got around to reading this classic book, and let's just say that it's all the good things you've heard about and will read about below. The story is told simply but powerfully. One memorable scene follows another, and the battle scenes are particularly strong and at times even overpowering. But somehow the strongest scenes describe our protagonist--Paul's--thoughts when he realizes, during quieter moments, such as when on leave, that the war has changed him and made him no longer able to fit into society. And the scene where Paul shares a shellhole with a dying French soldier, and contemplates on the brotherhood of man, and on our universal commonality, and of the utter uselessness of war, is so memorable that...well, if you don't get a lump in your throat while reading this scene, you're better than me! Me recommending this book to you is like someone saying "Citizen Kane" is a good movie or that the Beatles were a swell group. Let's just say that if you deprive yourself of this emotionally moving reading experience, as I did for so many years, you'll really be missing out. 'Nuff said.

Still incredibly relevant.
I had started this book more than once, and finally this weekend I forced myself to sit and finish it. For being a book that describes horrible events, it's a very fast, and very powerful read.

It would seem that a description of World War I in all it's full horror, as well as the generation it wrecked wouldn't be particularly relevant to today's society. But the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking about this upcoming war with Iraq we seem to be tossing ourself into, how lots of people on both sides will be dying senseless deaths, how gas and chemical warfare is very much a possibility, and how SO MUCH of the book, written so many years ago, still applies.

In addition to enlighting the reader on the gritty details of trench warfare, the book delves into a lot of other themes as well--the cameraderie that war induces, the effect of the war on life outside of the war (and by extension, a soldier's interactions with his family, with doctors, with civilains), and confrontations with the idea of killing (the act of humanizing or dehumanizing the enemy).

The writing is straightfoward and easy. The characters are well developed, and the storyline is fascinating as well as multifaceted. The message is clear, and the book is very, very much worth reading.

Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (November, 2001)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Ken Kesey
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A great read
This is an amazing book; I honestly wish that I would have read it long before I saw the movie. Try as I might, I still cannot help but picture Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher whenever McMurphy or Nurse Ratched were "on stage."

Much more complex than the movie, the novel works on many levels. The characters are gripping, and the psychological undertones amazing. I read this first in high school, again in college, and twice during adult life, and each time I see something new in it that I hadn't seen before. In short, it is a modern masterpiece.

The book is told from the Chief's viewpoint. Chief deeply troubled psychotic, and pulling this off is Kesey's tour-de-force. Every utterance of this schizophrenic character rings true as he moves from the "fog" of fear into the real world. Not only does this progression make the novel more interesting than the movie, it makes you question certain elements of the movie.

For instance, was Mac a savior, or simply a dangerous whacko? The movie points towards savior, but the savior interpretation is merely the interpretation of a troubled mind yearning to be free in the novel. The nurse, too, seems less intimidating when you move back from the Chief's interpretation of her. I imagine that she was more humane than his inner fears and the fog that stands between him and the world would allow him to see. Once this is understood, the characters of Mac and Big Nurse become less "cut and dried," and more real, more vital and much more ambiguous. And Kesey's true purpose seems to surface. The actual characters of Mac/ Big Nurse are not important; how they react on the Chief's psyche is.

Seen in this way, the novel traces one of Joseph Campbell's grand mythic themes: The liberation of the masculine psyche from the chaotic rubble of the mother dominated chaos (can you tell this interpretation is based on my college paper?). This journey, which Campbell describes in his "Hero With a Thousand Faces," is a man's major mission early in life. To be free, a male must liberate himself from the feminine and establish himself in the real world. Mythic literature the world over teems with this theme. A man's inability to liberate himself from this dark, restraining yet safe world is a major cause of many psychoses. Kesey has managed to bring that myth into the modern world, and the effects are just as amazing and relevant as the original myths were.

By the way, I received an "A+" on my college paper, which took the novel apart along these lines. I hope that a student here or there stumbles on this. There is ample room for exploration in this book that seems so simple on the outside, but so deep and complex the deeper you dig. This is, after all, the mark of a truly great work of art.

At the same time, don't let all this "noodling" ruin such a perfectly enjoyable book. [Noodling (v)- The cursed blessing of a liberal arts and science education. :-}]

As excellent as the movie was...
...the book is better.

I had to read _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ for my Literature and Film class, and I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book "for school" as much as I enjoyed this one. I'd never seen the film before I read it, and not knowing the plot presented in the movie was definitely worth it.

If you've seen the movie (and even if you haven't), read the book for Dale Harding. Those who've seen the film will remember him as.. a rather dislikable character at odds with McMurphy throughout. He was done a -great- disservice in the film, and was by far my favorite character - I read it mostly to experience scenes with him.

Ken Kesey's prose is quirky and elegant - with such descriptions of physical idiosyncracies that I've never seen so accurately written - such as the way he describes Harding as trapping his pretty hands between his knees and folding his thin shoulders about his chest like green wings. It's difficult to understand at times, since the narrator, Chief Bromden, is also a mental patient on the ward and sees things differently than a sane person would - but anything he says that's hard to grasp at the beginning slowly becomes clear as the narrative goes on.

_One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ is made brilliant by a number of things: the beauty and eccentricity of the prose, the development of character, the layers of plot and subtext, and the subtle messages, meanings, and morals scattered throughout the pages in such a way that you learn them but don't realize they're there. I highly recommend this book - it's one that will stay with you again and again, and is warranted a second and third time reading.

A Fantastic book
For a book written by a paid volunteer to use hallucinogenic drugs, a book written by a man who at some points while writing was under the influence of LSD and peyote, and a book that funded the writer's San Francisco to New York road trip on psychedelically painted bus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest turned out perfectly normal, in fact even clever and stimulating. Considered a masterpiece by many, this novel is an extremely insightful satire of the society of the 1950's. Just as the drugs and psychedelic bus may suggest, Kesey could in fact be considered a founding-father of hippie-ism. His "hippie" attitudes shine through with this book, which in many ways challenges numerable aspects of authority and society. The setting is inspired by Kesey's work at the Menlo Park, Virginia hospital, where he was introduced to LSD by a government-sponsored program researching the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. This experience led him to continue his drug use, and further developed his opinions of society, which we can read about in this excellent book. The story starts when R.P. McMurphy is admitted into the mental ward, transferred from a work farm. He's a self-proclaimed gambling champion and womanizing sex machine, a rough-around-the-edges cowboy of a jokester. McMurphy is the one person who stands up to Nurse Ratched, the symbol of the cold oppression and conformity in society. The book is the story of the patients' struggle against the strict policy and rules of the ward. Under the leadership of McMurphy, who sings, laughs, walks around wearing only a towel, and does anything that he can think of which will disrupt the cold order that Nurse Ratched has on the ward, their adventures include everything from rowdy poker games, to a fishing trip, to a completely against policy late night party in the ward, complete with alcohol, marijuana, and prostitutes. The books end is sad, but realistic and a reminder of the control society ultimately has The narrator of the book is the paranoid Chief Bromden, a 7 foot something giant of an Indian who fakes deaf and dumb in order to hear everything and yet remain safe. It is his narration that keeps the book interesting. Bromden, always standing in the corner with a broom, is able to see and hear everything that goes on in the ward. He is extremely insightful and the style that Kesey uses to portray Bromden as a character is very entertaining to read. Bromden, a paranoid schizophrenic, at some points in the story, hallucinates. The imagery that he provides is usually mechanical and he often talks about seeing fog from a machine that the nurse controls. His hallucinations are metaphors, he describes the ward as having hidden mechanical components, and frequently he sees fog that represents confusion and fear. He depicts society as a combine, a giant machine, and all of the patients at the hospital are broken parts needing repair. They are parts that didn't fit into their place in the machine, didn't fit into the conformity of society. Not only is it an entertaining read, but also a compelling cautionary story. Kesey is giving a warning about a society centered around conformity. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is Kesey's investigation of the control of the 1950's society over the individual, bringing into play themes ranging from the importance of laughter and sexuality to the definition of insanity. The book's ending gets mixed reactions, but it is realistic, and a reminder of the control society ultimately has. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is a fantastic book, a highly recommended read, both entertaining and intellectually stimulating, truly a masterpiece.

William Styron's Sophie's Choice (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (December, 2001)
Authors: Harold Bloom and William Styron
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I didn't know what I was getting into - I promise!
This is a romance novel between Stingo, Sophie, and Nathan. Sophie's choice is between Nathan and Stingo. Wait. That's not it at all. Since I had no idea what the book was about, I didn't know what the primary issue being addressed truly was. Fellow readers, the plot is the aftermath of a Polish woman who survived her residence in a German concentration camp during World War II. She tells her story in America to the narrator, Stingo, who is in love with her. Very interesting and powerful stuff. Not so fast. If this were all the novel was about, it would be pretty straightforward. We also must note Sophie's detrimental relationship with Nathan. "Detrimental" is a euphemism. Can someone please explain to me why Styron felt inclined to have Sophie tortured in both Germany AND America? What message was he trying to ram home? I admit that his scholarship provided irreplaceable insights, images, and facts concerning the occurrences inside and around the camps. But I found the devastating dynamics of Sophie's relationship with Nathan too difficult to swallow. Styron put too much on my plate, and I didn't ask for some of the portions he generously plopped down. In conclusion, if you are reading this book in the summer, try to listen to some cheerful music to raise your spirits. I recommend the Beatles' White Album. If you are reading this in the winter (the better season for such a novel), it should get you through those bitterly cold evenings while you imagine what Sophie goes through. Well Styron, you win. I don't think I'll ever forget this book. And you, my fellow readers, likely will not either.

Evil and madness
William Styron has written a profoundly moving and disturbing novel with 'Sophie's choice'. The story of Sophie, a beautiful Polish Catholic who survived Auschwitz and was left with no family, and Nathan, her schizophrenic American Jewish lover, as related by Stingo, a naive but sensitive 22 year-old Southerner wishing to be a writer, is, perhaps, one of the most harrowing stories one can manage to read. Styron evidently conducted a considerable amount of research on the Nazi occupation of Poland and the hideous dynamics of their concentration camps, and his synthesis through Sophie (whose name, etymologically, means knowledge) is convincing and compelling. But what makes 'Sophie's choice' go beyond a mere historical novel is the excellent way in which Styron weaves Sophie's story with those of Nathan and Stingo and the deep ruminations on the nature of evil and madness and their consequences. Although Styron sometimes gets long-winded, especially when he has Stingo ponder about sexual matters, the novel succeds in making us understand a sad historical event in more humane terms. Perhaps a creative university professor teaching World War II history would be wise enough to assign this novel to make students realize that history is not, as somebody once facetiously said, 'one damn fact after another'.

Styron's masterpiece is _the_ masterpiece
I can honestly say that I have never read a better book. That is not to say it was the most fun to read, nor the easiest. It is an unforgettable book, the kind that probably will darken your mood, but will teach you as no other book can.

The story begins in 1947. Stingo, a cocky but nevertheless self-deprecating young Southerner, gets himself fired (with flair!) from his job in a prestigious, rather stodgy publishing firm. He gathers up his savings and moves into a boarding house, with plans to write The Great American Novel during the rest of the summer, or at least until his money runs out. Almost against his will, Stingo is drawn into a relationship with two of his neighbors-- the gorgeous Sophie, a survivor of Auschwitz, and her Jewish lover Nathan, an oddly compelling but often terrifying man.

Meanwhile Stingo tries desperately to have sex with a girl, any girl. The retelling of his hysterical failures are intertwined with Sophie's tortured memories of the death camps of Poland. And then the truth about her experiences, as well as the truth about Nathan, is revealed. Ow.

Styron is an amazing writer. He makes me gnash my teeth at my own pitiful efforts to write. This is his best work.

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (Modern Library)
Published in Hardcover by Modern Library (02 January, 2001)
Authors: Cormac McCarthy and Harold Bloom
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The West Lost and One
Other reviewers admonish to adapt Blood Meridian to film. This simply could not, and should not be adapted because this book's characters drool blood , and the violence here could not be aptly and fairly depicted on screen. If readers are not satisfied with the imagery ,and therefore crave to actually see this brutality on a screen before them, then McCarthy's vision of man as beast indeed can be verified. Blood Meridian is a partly historical account of the 19th-century westward movement and destruction of America's native people in America and Mexico by the bloodthirsty and goldthirsty and nihilistic Glanton Gang. The depiction of killing has scarcely been so graphic, and yet so alluring: you find yourself reading the horrifying scenes over and over again for their sublime description and almost dreamlike imagery. You have never seen nor imagined true Comanche Indian garb, and here it is. You have never read of a more evil character, and here you may, in Judge Holden. You have never read a novel whose main protagonist you almost forget exists, because of the book's other enticing components. And you have never imagined a sky this blood red, but remember: it was. Blood Meridian is McCarthy's masterpiece, and truly sets him apart as the late 20th Century's master of apocalyptic prose.

An American Classic
Blood Meridian will become an American classic. It will stand along with Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Melville's Moby Dick as an epic evocation of American culture. The kid is Huck Finn gone bad, Huck Finn without the civilizing influence of Widow Douglas, Aunt Polly, or the moral example of Jim. The Judge, a hulking, hairless albino, without soul or conscience, evokes Melville's white whale, a symbol of absolute evil. These characters along with a host of others ride the blood red dust of the Sonoran desert, McCarthy's Mississippi and Atlantic. McCarthy is not a moralist, like Twain or Melville, but he does demand that the reader reflect the characters and action upon the history of violence in America past and present. (I couldn't help but relate Blood Meridian to Gangs of New York, which share both theme and character.)

Blood Meridian is a literary masterpiece and a page turner. Note many books can reach that distinction.
The story is archetypal and mythical, but the style and narration are objective and naturalistic, the great periods of American literature, romance,realism, naturalism, and minimalism are all represented in the texture of this novel. McCarthy is a masterful stylist reminiscent of both Faulkner and Hemingway. His language is objective, vivid, and mesmerizing. And nowhere is there a better literary rendering of the topology and geology southwestern deserts in than this book. While the experience of reading this novel is unique, I also think it would make a great American film.

Our American past written out on a mythic scale
I was directed to Blood Meridian quite by accident, and opened the novel with no idea of its contents. What I found was an unforgiving and towering vision of human cruelty. Cormac McCarthy's text is thoroughly unsentimental, laying out the harsh landscape and times of the 1850's U.S./Mexican border wars with a cascading series of unfogettable images. At no time does the book allow the reader into the minds and hearts of its characters- we are forced to live as they do: mystified and terrorized by the scale of unending destruction and carnage the novel describes.

But the book is much more a than historical novel. Blood Meridian is the story of an innocence lost- an innocence not of single character in the book (none there would admit to naivete), but lost by the whole of mankind. In the character of Judge Holden, Cormac McCarthy gives us the final outcome of man's thirst for knowledge and experience: the elegant sadist. All things are known unto him, and (once known) may not exist without his consent. The judge gathers the facts of his world coolly and precisely- but he does not store them to create. He gathers them simply to show the ownership and stewardship of his world, of himself and all creation. As all things are known, so are they destroyed- as lightly and as simply as their weight and measure has been taken. His knowledge is the deepest knowledge of all: the hollowness of his own heart. In this way he is the horrible (and logical) product of Adam's first taste of the Tree of Knowledge.

The language of this novel is a delight, both exacting and all encompassing, and the details of its descriptions are shared with a carnal glee. The amazing work of McCarthy's text is that it calls to be devoured, and eaten whole. It's no accident that the reader feels a partipant in the predatory cycles of the world of novel- and it is only after he has eaten that he realizes what it is he is digesting.

Alice Walker's the Color Purple (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (January, 2000)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Alice Walker
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The Color Purple
The Color Purple, a novel by Alice Walker, tells the tale of Celie, an impoverished, barely literate woman living in the South, who struggles to escape the cruelty and degradation of her treatment by men in her life. The story is primarily told through Celie's letters, initially addressed to God and then to her sister Nettie. At first, I found the use of language, or lack thereof, of Celie, the narrator, to be ackward, difficult to read, and bothersome. Yet, as I progressed through the book, I found that it was this very vernacular that adds to the authenticity of the novel. The language chosen by Alice Walker tells a story in of itself, of the depravation of education of an intelligent woman who longed for it immensely. I found myself greatly enjoying this book due to the extremely colorful narrative and character development. Many of the thoughts and questions that Celie has are readily identified with, because they are quintessentially very human. The letters that Nettie writes to Celie, in my opinion, are very informative and interesting to read. Nettie's trip and adventures in Africa was very entertaining, yet Celie's journey through her mind, in an effort to discover her true self, is where the true greatness of this book lies. Although this novel is generally of extremely high quality, I did find some flaws. First, the men in the novel are depicted extremely negatively. One could argue that none of the characters are perfect, all having unforgivable flaws, yet it is very obvious that men are depicted very unfavorably. Also, I found the ending of the book did not fit and was far too giddy. It seems that Alice Walker, seeing that she was approaching the all too commonly magic mark of three hundred pages, decided to end the book on a happy, made-for-the-movies note.

The Color Purple
The Color Purple is a nice story about a young black woman named Celie, who still learns how to love. Ironically the person who shows her love is Celie's husbands lover, Shug Avery. The only other person Celie loves is her sister Nettie, who is far away in Africa doing missionary work. They keep in touch through letters. Another help Celie gets, is a believe in God. But through Shug, Celie finds out who her true maker is. I really enjoyed this novel. I was consumed by the plot and engulfed by the characters. Alice Walker truly gave the novel a feeling of reality with her descriptions and the dialect. She also adds some humor to the novel so it is not just happy and sad. I recommend this novel to people 16 and over. There is some foul language and many references to sex, homosexuality, and rape. However, these are the elements that give the novel the impact it has on the reader. Overall, this book is extraordinary and everyone should make time to read it.

The color purple - Alice Walker
This brilliantly evocative book which rightfully won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983, invites the reader to join Celie, an African American woman on a journey to self discovery, acceptance and freedom.

The novel is made up of a collection of letters written by Celie firstly to God and then to her sister Nettie. She begins her 'diary' by explaning that she is so ashamed of her life and scared of expressing herself that she can "tell nobody but God" about the sexual, physical and mental abuse that she recieves from her "father" and her husband to whom she starkly refers to as Mr_____.

For the first part of this touching novel Celie's life seems to deteriorate from one day to the next. after being raped repeatedly by her "father" at just fourteen years ols she gives birth to children that she is not allowed to keep. She is then forced into an unhappy and abusive marriage. Despite this she remains uncomplaining and puts up with her shocking situation.

But as her journey continues, Celie meets the colourful, head-strong Shug Avery who, with the help of other women such as Sofia, teaches Celie to respect herself.

By the end of this compelling novel, Celie finds peace within herself. She learns to accept her past, come to terms with the present and look to the future with hope.

Through this novel, Walker also manages to examine the African-American culture and the struggle of black women to free themselves from the demeaning position where society has placed them.

It is a moving portrayal of one woman's struggle to freedom, who represents the strength and resiliance of thousands of black woman in the deep south of the USA.

This brilliant, eye-opening novel cannot be missed.

Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (January, 1999)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Toni Morrison
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Tears, ebony tears, that turn to type and illuminate
I've read SOS going on four or five times now, floored, awestruck, enraptured each time, every twist and turn a new surprise arrives. Milkman is a wonderful archetype for a Black man searching for what he can claim as his own. His mind, his body, his sex, money? What is his and not tainted by the past, by racism, by internal family feuding? This is what I call a "Patience Book", you have to sit with it the way you would sit with a child on a Sunday afternoon. Patience. You have to breathe in rhythm with this book. Morrison is one of those few writers that it's silly to ask all of your questions of even after you finish the book. Pick it right back up and breathe, savor each page, have patience. It is not an easy read for it is literature and you are reading, truly reading. Not surfing through pulp fiction knwoing that the hero lives, the heroine is saved and everybody sleeps well on the last page. Uh uh. Patience. What else but patience could you use to understand Magdalene, Pilate, Corinthians? My all time, all time, all time favorite literary scene that chills me, tears me up, knocks me around hard and then uplifts me: Pilate at the funeral. "That was my baby, That's my baby, AND SHE WAS LOVED!"

Honey, welcome to real African American literature, impossible to translate to film for this is patience reading. Patience, free at last, free at last!

I've read SOS going on four or five times now, floored, awestruck, enraptured each time, every twist and turn a new surprise arrives. Milkman is a wonderful archetype for a Black man searching for what he can claim as his own. His mind, his body, his sex, money? What is his and not tainted by the past, by racism, by internal family feuding? This is what I call a "Patience Book", you have to sit with it the way you would sit with a child on a Sunday afternoon. Patience. You have to breathe in rhythm with this book. Morrison is one of those few writers that it's silly to ask all of your questions of even after you finish the book. Pick it right back up and breathe, savor each page, have patience. It is not an easy read for it is literature and you are reading, truly reading. Not surfing through pulp fiction knwoing that the hero lives, the heroine is saved and everybody sleeps well on the last page. Uh uh. Patience. What else but patience could you use to understand Magdalene, Pilate, Corinthians? My all time, all time, all time favorite literary scene that chills me, tears me up, knocks me around hard and then uplifts me: Pilate at the funeral. "That was my baby, That's my baby, AND SHE WAS LOVED!"

Honey, welcome to real African American literature, impossible to translate to film for this is patience reading. Patience, free at last, free at last!

Morrison's (& America's) Best
I recently re-read "Song of Solomon" (for the sixth time) as part of a book club discussion and was once again taken aback by the book's power. It is a novel about coming-of-age and of self-discovery. But it is that and much, much more: In telling the tale of Milkman Dead and all of those that he comes in contact with, Morrison relates the story of not only Black America, but also the human spirit.

"Song of Solomon" is a complex story that borrows from history, African mythology (The Mwindo Epic of the Congo) and the rich tradition of American Literature. No other contemporary American novelist can compete on the same level as Morrison. Her writing is believeable, inciteful and always lyrical. "Song of Solomon" is clearly a must for any english professor's list of great reads.

[This is my review from four years ago, but it still applies.]

One of the Greatest Novels I Have Ever Read
Song of Solomon is one of the greatest books written in the 20th century. Many writers can tell thoroughly engaging stories, write believable characters, and present it in insightful, clever prose. Morrison does all of these things and a level beyond, in some instances several levels.

Song of Solomon is probably the most brilliantly thought out stories ever put to paper. Morrison adds little details here and there early in the novel, and many times throughout, that seem to be used only to show the eccentricty of the characters or just to throw a little humor in there. But every single story behind the story, every little 'joke' or amusing tidbit about some characters past ties together in the final chapters in a literary feat I have yet to seen matched.

Dickens presented stories wide in scope, with many characters and symbols to show a culture or to present a political idea. Morrison does the same, only she makes every word matter. THERE IS A REASON you learn such and such about Pilate in chapter 2, or that this comment is made about Guitar by this character, and it all jells, aboslutely, thoroughly beautifully by the close of the book.

Song of Solomon cannot receive enough superlatives from me. I have yet to read Beloved or Jazz, Morrison's other two supposed masterworks, but I can only hope I will be equally if not moreso dazzled by them.

When you reread Song of Solomon, as I have done twice, you not only come to find the secrets and reasons hidden along the backroads and tangents of the characters' lives that went previously unnoticed, but to re-immerse yourself in the brilliance of the story that has always been and will always be there.

Richard Wright's Native Son (Bloom's Notes)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 1996)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Richard Wright
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The Definitive Review of Native Son
Native Son is a very deep book that explores the race relations (or lack of them) in Chicago in the 1940s. A black twenty-year old named Bigger Thomas accidentally kills a prominent white woman and then tries to cover it up. Wright goes deeply into the feelings of Bigger, mostly in regard to his attitude toward the whites. Bigger has been so oppressed by the whites that his major feelings are hate and fear. Native Son really made me think about how hard it was for blacks back then and, to some extent, even now. The book is very depressing to read because Bigger is such a sad character. He has no options in life, so after his accidental murder, he's almost happy because now something is happening to him. He's finally the center of attention, and he matters in the world. The parts where he covers up the murder, the reporters find the dead girl, and the police's chase of him through the streets and apartments of Chicago are very exciting. However, the rest of the book focuses mainly on Bigger's emotions, and gets a little boring. The best part about the book is how the author, speaking through Bigger's lawyer, explains how the oppression of blacks has made all blacks hate and fear whites, forcing Bigger to murder. This attitude is much different than the one expressed in To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. While that book has a hopeful outlook on race relations, Native Son has a much more negative viewpoint. Wright feels that the oppression and dehumanization of blacks has made it so that blacks and whites will never treat each other as they would members of their own race. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a long book that isn't easy to read but really makes one think.

In the top 5 BEST Books I Have Ever Read
It`s my personal opinion that Richard Wright`s Native Son is one of the best books ever written by an African-American writer. In his book he desribes the pains of ghetto life for the negroes in Chicago`s black belt, cira 1920. Never has an author ever caught the thoughts and feelings of a single person as Wright did with the main character Bigger. Bigger`s life is portrayed as bleak and dark but, things start to look up when he accepts a job as a driver for the millionaire Dalton`s. He is getting paid well with extra spending money and the opportunity to get an education. His first job is to take the Dalton`s daughter to a university function but, there is a change of plans, a change that turns out to be fatal. I don`t want to give the whole book away so I highly suggest read and find out what happens to Bigger. So if you enjoy reading classic American books you will enjoy Richard Wright`s Native Son.

A Book to learn from
I recently read Native Son,by Richard Wright, in my 8th grade English class while my class was reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Native Son is the shocking story of a young African American man, Bigger Thomas, living in the "black belt" of Chicago. Every second of his life he encounters the hateful separation society has put between blacks and whites. One night, caught in fear, anger and hate he commits his first murder against the daughter of his employer. Reading the two books simultaneously, I found many interesting comparisons between Native Son and To Kill a Mockingbird. They are both about the trial of a black man. In To Kill a Mockingbird the black man is innocent, however the racist town convicts him. Yet in Native Son he is guilty. Harper Lee tells her story through the point of view of a white person ( she herself is white) yet Richard Wright (a black man) tells the tale through Bigger's eyes. It is interesting to compare the two points of view, telling a similar tale through the two sides of racism. Both authors show their side of the story. Bigger's tale is told in a bigger and more dramatic way than how the whites regard the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird. Both stories portray the separation between African Americans and whites. Reading about this separation in both stories taught me a lot about this countries history. I learned about the strong hate that came between the races and the fear, anger and rage that results from it. The content of Native Son, is not always light. The hideous crimes Bigger commits are hardly small sins, but actions that effect an entire society. Wright's phenomenal writing described the hateful emotion of racism I will never understand. I found it difficult reading such horrible tales of hate, fear and anger. However, I found that reading it helped me to understand a lot of the scandalous society I live in. I learned to what degree racial discrimination of any kind can affect a person. It taught me a lot about issues I don't encounter everyday. I could not honestly say I liked this book; it is not a book one enjoys. It was a book that taught me a lot about our countries history and simple human emotions. I can only say that I am glad I read it, for it was a worthwhile experience. It is a hard book to read, both in language in content, but it shows an account that most likely happened at some time. Its historical aspects teaches the reader not only about racial discrimination but hate, anger and fear. Everyone living in America should read Native Son.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (Bloom's Notes)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 1996)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Aldous Huxley
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Brave New World - Getting Closer to Reality?
Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World to illustrate how society can go wrong. It was a very good book, and pretty well written. I believe that it deserves four stars. In the book, everyone was pre-conditioned to think what the leaders of society wanted them to think, and to work unconditionally. They are kept happy with drugs and entertainment. It is, in essence, a journey back to the dark ages, where slaves and serfs are plentiful, disguised as the glorious advancement of society.
When Huxley wrote the book in 1932, it was seen as a far-sighted prediction. Now, this horrible future could be awaiting us just around the corner. This book contains many parallels to modern life. Just as in the book, religion has almost been eliminated from public life, and replaced with total materialism. Now, everyone in the industrialized world worships themselves. In the book, every human baby is cloned, grown in bottles, and sleep-conditioned in the ways of society. We have already started down that perilous path. We may have already cloned the first human baby, and DNA engineering is not far off. Will this be the fate of our future? Only time will tell.
Overall, my impression of Huxley's book is that it is a very good work. It is very accurate and reasonably well written, although I believe he stressed unimportant things at times. On the whole, it was a very thought-provoking novel. I had a hard time putting it down.

Good book with interesting social commentary
I recently reread Brave New World for a college freshman english class. I definitely think I enjoyed it better the second time because I took the time to analyze the story. I think Huxley paints a terrifying picture of a future without individual freedoms. The absence of disease, old age, sexual repression, etc. was certainly attractive. Although the society seems to have no problems or ills, none of the benefits outweigh the lack of individual freedom or free thought. Members of the society are conditioned to the point where their thoughts are not their own. These thoughts are responses that the Controllers have deemed to be appropriate for the entirity of society to learn. Also, members of this society are not allowed to choose their occupations. They are conditioned from their creation to unquestioningly enjoy their jobs with no possibility of change. This does not seem ideal to me. I would never give up my right to choose my fate for a seemingly easy existence. The world in the book is devoid of life because it eliminates the pain and loss that is an important part of our existence. I don't want the easy way out. I want the full monty.

Great in its own way
I feel that 1984 and B.N.W. can be compared as long as one admits that each has vast differences that make each equally special to the literary world.

1984 is a straightforward, easy to read, entertaining tale of a dim future.

Brave New World is more philosophical and a harder to read than 1984. However, if you are willing to stick with BNW--afterall it's not THAT long--you'll come away amazed at the book.

What makes BNW so unique is that it remains accurate and possible even though it was written nearly 70 years ago. Huxley did it just right.

This story is humorous as well as bleak, and one can eiasly see how our modern society is quickly entering into a society much like the one found in the, "brave new world."

This may be among the best s.f. books ever written--along with Dune--and should be required reading. Often, it is. No doubt in a hundred years or more, this book will become a main part of the s.f. cannon. Or, however, if Huxley's predictions are true, Our Ford may not allow it.

Afterall, it IS a tad old. (read to find out why this is funny)

Summary: Go read it already!!! It's worth it.

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