I've read this over the course of my life a number of times and each time it is a different book. When I read it as a child, it was like a companion.I've read this over the course of my life a number of times and each time it is a different book. When I read it as a child, it was like a companion. I lived in the Marsh's home and I was a sister. Later, I began to see the many threads of an everyday life lead during trying circumstances and understood that a good life was come by not in having circumstances work out perfectly but working within the circumstances of my life and sometimes dragging the good out of the impossible.
Later, reading it in college, I have to admit that I felt it was dated and I arrogantly read it as a history book. I took nothing from it, even though I did again enjoy the antics of Jo, the strivings of Amy to become something she was not and the tragedy of Beth, but it seemed no more valuable to me than a Walmart paperback.
Now I look at it through the eyes of modern values and mores and realize how much we have lost. I am afraid this age has lost the ability to hear the message of this book. All around me I see angry demanding young women who bulldoze through life ungratefully grabbing all the superficials and losing the pathway of growth through striving, through adversity, and through love. I am afraid that the struggle to meet every situation with patience, and humility and constantly trying to hold oneself to a higher standard than the indulged, self-absorbed toddler is something so lost that society doesn't even recognize it is as way of life that has motivated generations to make themselves and the world a better place. Not all are like that, but what is on TV and in the movies seem to encourage us to revel in our basest behavior instead of making sacrifices and following the Golden Rule.
I have a picture in my mind the YouTube video of the angry young girl at Yale who screamed at a professor to "Be quiet!" as he tried to respond to her diatribe and to ask for the right to have a different opinion. She was screaming that the college had an obligation to give her whatever she wanted. but was oblivious to the rights of others. Could she and her friends ever understand the struggles of the Marsh girls?
Our divorce laws make it possible for one person in a family to end a marriage without any thought to the lives that are wantonly destroyed. Families have been ripped apart and the ramifications last for generations, and yet this is seen as a healthy thing for the individual. "I just have to be me! Louisa May Alcott could not even have envisioned the depths of selfishness that exist today. Her characters are selfish, but in their love for each other, they struggle to make amends and to do what is best for the whole family.
This is a book that needs to be read, taught and discussed, not as a throwback or the desire to live in a simpler age, but as a guide for a discussion of what is being lost in these selfish indulgent days. In the 60's many of societal norms were turned over and rightly so. It was the same with the timeline of this book. (Civil War) The lack of expectations for women, the educational system and other issues of social justice which are accepted in this novel and not blueprints for the future, but is that strident young woman a Yale going to have a better life than the Marsh's?
I loved this book! I had no idea that Trollope wrote so exquisitely. I marked so many passages. One of the more unique features is using a narrator whI loved this book! I had no idea that Trollope wrote so exquisitely. I marked so many passages. One of the more unique features is using a narrator who plays with the readers. I found myself enjoying this as much as the plot. At times the narrator actually misleads the reader, only to chide him or her for being surprised.
The characters are a mix of bad and good and Trollope actually chides an author who can only be Dickens because his good characters are totally good and the bad characters are thoroughly bad. The main character, the Warden, is the only character that the readers can be totally sympathetic with, and he is the one who is mainly hurt by the actions of many of the other characters....more
This was an excellent summary of the different kinds of heroes and legends that are found in literature, including contemporary novels. The first partThis was an excellent summary of the different kinds of heroes and legends that are found in literature, including contemporary novels. The first part which deals with literature such as The Odyssey, Beowulf, and other early legends. I studied them in college, but I have forgotten a lot of those stories and I got a little lost. However, after about the 5th book the series became much more interesting. Dr. Shippey detailed heroes in just about every era and it was extremely interesting to peel back the layers of story to reach the basic hero story. The last lecture was about Harry Potter and it summed up a lot of my own feelings about Rowling's books and why they have had such a wide appeal to readers of every age.
Aside from being interesting, this series is great for listening to. It is broken up into 30-minute lectures which provide a synopsis of each book. If you need a synopsis of one of the books mentioned it is easy to listen to just the section you want....more
This was extremely interesting. Professor Drout gives the background of the Liberal Arts and explains why he thinks it is important. His main focus isThis was extremely interesting. Professor Drout gives the background of the Liberal Arts and explains why he thinks it is important. His main focus is that the Liberal Arts teach us how to think. For years, I have hated the elections. For about 6 months every time you turn on the television, you hear contradictions, fuzzy thinking and criticism of the opponent based on the most idiotic comparisons. When we finally get these folks elected, they cannot possibly do the things they promised, but they still make speeches which try to convince us that they have done exactly what they said when even the simplest of us can see that they haven't.
For years, I have asked if any of these politicians, or voters, know how to think. This course should be required reading! Professor Drout explains how to think based on the ancient Greek/Roman systems. He explores faulty arguments and sloppy comparisons. He shows us that the liberal arts give us a basis of facts and situations which enable us to come up with solutions that can actually work. A study of history, literature, philosophy, and others give us a database that we can refer to when approaching big and little situations.
He gave the example of our Founding Fathers, all of whom had a classical education. Not only did they create a government, but they also did it without using reams of paper. ...more
This is one of Thurber's most famous stories. In it the mild mannered Walter Mitty experiences five daydreams while on a regular shopping trip with hiThis is one of Thurber's most famous stories. In it the mild mannered Walter Mitty experiences five daydreams while on a regular shopping trip with his overbearing wife. While she goes to the hair dresser, he runs some errands and has daydreams connected to something that happens on the way. In these daydreams he is always a confident hero who gets the task done bravely at great risk. In some of the story is heard a sound of "pocketa-pocketa-pocketa" as the daydream is in full swing and which signals a "Mitty moment" to any of the readers of Thurber's best story....more