Perfect little story about a Christmas with Capote, the child, and his not quite right cousin "Sook." They make fruicakes, drink whisky, and exchangePerfect little story about a Christmas with Capote, the child, and his not quite right cousin "Sook." They make fruicakes, drink whisky, and exchange gifts in rural, Depression-era Alabama. Bring a kleenex....more
"But they need not thought that they could possess her, body and soul."
If there ever was a Feminist Manifesto, it truly is Kate Chopin's "The Awakenin"But they need not thought that they could possess her, body and soul."
If there ever was a Feminist Manifesto, it truly is Kate Chopin's "The Awakening."
Edna Pontellier is a 28-year-old wife and mother in New Orleans, 1900. Her husband is well-off, and Edna's days consist of watching the nanny take care of her two young boys, scolding the cook over bad soup, giving and attending champagne-filled dinner parties, and receiving formal calls from high society New Orleans ladies on Tuesdays. Also, the Pontelliers spend every summer on the coast of Louisianna, in a beach house. (The nanny goes with, while Edna is free to spend her days as she likes--which happens to be boating and swimming with the unmarried son of the beach home's proprietor--Robert).
But there's an anguish growing within Mrs. P. Her inability to connect with her husband and her children leaves her feeling oppressed. Gradually, and with the aid of young Robert, however, a spark is lit. "In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her." In other words, after seven years of marriage, Edna's finally getting "schooled" on what it really means to be a wife and mom. And she's not feeling super cut-out for the job.
Mrs. Pontellier is at a crossroads. Reminded of walking aimlessly through a meadow as a child, Edna yearns for the time (pre-loveless marriage, pre-kids) when she didn't have to calculate every step. She longs to be lifted from the weight of her "blindly assumed" responsibilities and to be allowed to wander purposelessly. Edna aches for solitude, but fears she doesn't possess the courage to defy social constraint and become a free entity--free to leave behind her husband, home, and children and follow her heart.
Edna's duality and transformation reminded me of several in fiction--from Frankenstein's monster to Kafka's cockroach. The new, sexy Edna recognizes herself as different from her former self--a new creation. Like the monster, she is a "newly awakened being." The old world is now "alien" and "antagonistic." She has cast aside the mask that she has been wearing for the world. New Edna is bold and frisky, like "an animal waking in the sun."
Big sigh, because here's where I try to fit myself into Edna's way of thinking. I guess somewhere on the feminist spectrum, like all theoretical spectrums, I fall somewhere in the middle. Yes, I can see how Edna might feel trapped and oppressed. Domestic life can surely be repetitious, mundane, and exasperating. I can imagine yearning for something to happen to break the monotony. I can imagine how it would feel to a woman to be regarded as a piece of property--hand picked to run a household and bear children, with no hope of variation, peering out on the rest of her life and seeing very few choices ahead--outside of what will be next for dinner.
But toward the other end, I can see things that Edna failed to see--the gratification that comes from growing a family...what you get when you give...the inner peace that comes from never doubting your purpose and the course of your life. Edna felt her children were robbing her of her soul, I give mine away freely, every day.
Although I don't 100% identify with Edna, I can still appreciate works like this. Because women like Chopin were bold enough to write characters like Edna, the way women were perceived was drastically changed. Books like The Awakening paved the way for modern women to choose where we fall on the spectrum (the CHOICE is the key), to chart our own course, to soar and not sink.
I certainly didn't intend to spend the larger part of my summer getting through The Blind Assassin. I can't really put my finger on why this didn't enI certainly didn't intend to spend the larger part of my summer getting through The Blind Assassin. I can't really put my finger on why this didn't engage me. The writing was interesting and brilliant, but the story itself just didn't propel me.
There is the story of two sisters growing up in the 1900's in Toronto. Their mother dies at a young age and the tale is of their father trying to raise them with their wise housekeeper's help, his business failings, the World Wars, and the elder sister's arranged marriage; as well as a series of events leading up to the younger sister's suicide at the age of 25.
Then there's the story within the story...of two lovers meeting secretly. He spins for her science fiction stories...one of which is entitled The Blind Assassin. Not until the end do we find out the true identities of the lovers, the writers of the story, and all sorts of paternity issues and family secrets.
The epic nature of the book is ambitious, and the writer sees it through. No stone is unturned as the plot revelations come to fruition. What's unusual about the main character, the elder sister, Iris, is her lack of emotion about the tragic elements of the story. It's like she's not even remorseful that she turned the blind eye to her sister's sufferings, as if she herself were the victim.
I wish I had picked another Margaret Atwood book to begin with. I think I would have liked another better. I'm glad I got through this. I enjoyed some of the philosphical quips and the flat tone of the book, but I feel like I have already forgotten the story. Maybe I'm just missing something, because it's evidently a modern classic....more
This book is so much better than the (overrated?) movie. This is one of the types of books that I need to stop reading because they keep me awake at nThis book is so much better than the (overrated?) movie. This is one of the types of books that I need to stop reading because they keep me awake at night worrying about my kids! The story came off like Shakespeare--tragic and highly dramatic. Brilliantly written, but stays true to the true crime genre--disturbing, fascinating....more
I love memoirs, especially when people rise above their grim circumstances to acheive greatness. It makes me feel like they're looking at me, saying,I love memoirs, especially when people rise above their grim circumstances to acheive greatness. It makes me feel like they're looking at me, saying, "And what's your excuse?" For a while I called this "my favorite book of all time." Will break your heart, and you'll love it....more
I REALLY enjoyed this book. This is really *my kind of reading* in that it uses an interesting story to illustrate a deeper meaning.
Toward the end, tI REALLY enjoyed this book. This is really *my kind of reading* in that it uses an interesting story to illustrate a deeper meaning.
Toward the end, the question is raised..."What does is profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul"? I think this is the heart of the novel. Does the soul exist, and if so, what is it's significance? What is important in life...the acquisiton of *things* and the way that we *appear* to others, or the way we make use of our time for a greater good, and the way we treat others?
I think it's very interesting that Wilde, who seemed to live an "indulgent" lifestyle, would write one of the greatest morality tales ever. I really loved the way this turned Gothic and macabre at the end, too (bringing to mind E.A. Poe). Highly recommended! ...more
I'm copying/pasting previous comments because...I'm just that lazy. And, it frees up some time for me to make a little jacket for my clock radio (I'veI'm copying/pasting previous comments because...I'm just that lazy. And, it frees up some time for me to make a little jacket for my clock radio (I've been thinking of doing that). :)
I don't think (MTPOD) is necessarily as "funny" as it is "jealousy-inducingly clever". I mean...the man has a way with words. And he sees things in a way that most people just don't. I think he's very unique & talented, although not particularly laugh-out loud hilarious.
In "Go Carolina"...describing his speech therapist, when she finally opens up..."Who was this college bowl fanatic with no mixer and a fiance in Vietnam, and why had she taken so long to reveal herself?"
See, I, too would be able to appreciate the oddball humor in that situation, but I would never be able to put it on paper in a way that the reader could truly "see" it...highlighting what is wonderfully absurd in what would be to most a bland encounter. I know Sedaris has his detractors, but I like his style. To be able to see the world through different eyes is one thing, but to be able to actually describe it is truly a gift (or an illness? :>)
From Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities...
"A life in music was his great passion, not ours, and our lessons had taught us that without the passion, the best one could hope for was an occasional engagement at some hippie wedding....That night, as was his habit, our father fell asleep in front of the stereo, the record making its pointless, silent rounds as he lay back against the sofa cushions, dreaming."
Also, as I said in Holidays on Ice, I love the way he writes about his family...loveable but flawed.
Must add one more quote that makes me smile on the inside...
"To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his interests. We certainly expressed enthusiasm for our mother's hobbies, from smoking and napping to the writings of Sidney Sheldon."