Out of all the Austen novels I have read (and I’ve read them all excepting Mansfield Park which was too painful), I believe I like this one best. It i...moreOut of all the Austen novels I have read (and I’ve read them all excepting Mansfield Park which was too painful), I believe I like this one best. It is fairly straightforward and there’s an elegance in Austen’s prose that makes the story flow much better than say in Mansfield Park. I feel a bit ridiculous talking about Austen’s writing since she’s easily one of the most revered writers out there but I, as you may know, prefer Charlotte Bronte over Austen. Anyway, Persuasion is a pastoral story about second chances and (tepid) true love. It’s rather didactic – actually, it is really didactic and Anne’s goodness is rather grating. But that’s just me being a modern reader.
The thing about all of Austen’s novels is the incessant dialogues/discussions which, I suppose, aim to further her “scathing commentary on society and its philistine ways” but honestly? It just makes me wish she’d get on with the story.
Don’t watch the movie. The latest one. It ruins the novel. Takes away certain parts that are quite important to the narrative as a whole and turns the story into a (bad) retelling. My personal opinion? Persuasion is the most palatable of all Austen’s novels so if Mr. Darcy turns you off, read Persuasion.(less)
Ostensibly and really, unless you think about it, Just Ella is a re-telling of the Cinderella. However, as one of my fellow seminar participants point...moreOstensibly and really, unless you think about it, Just Ella is a re-telling of the Cinderella. However, as one of my fellow seminar participants pointed out, when a tale has done away with everything that has to do with fairies and all other things that make up a fairy tale (for reference purposes, consult Propp's Fairy Tale morphology) does it still remain a fairy tale? Or has it somehow transcended mediums to become just a tale. Just Ella.
We read this after we read Ella Enchanted so there were comparisons between the two.
This is not really a review but more of a discussion so please bear with me.
We had problems with Ella. One of the students pointed out that she doesn't really give the culture, the world a chance and instead rebels against every single thing. She doesn't have a dream of her own. She has no passion - except for the prince and that soon dies out. She is whiny, judgmental and...well, very much like a teenager. Which is all very good except that she is referred to as a woman instead of a fifteen year old as she truly is.
I realize that the book is written meant for teens and of course it will be scissored to suit the market but what is up with the prince? I understand that the author is probably trying to make a point but I believe, as a reader, that this point would have been more effectively made if he had not been portrayed as this psychopathic person who has no thoughts and no personality of his own. Even if he were portrayed as a villain or more interestingly as someone Ella ended up being friends with but had no passion for - I believe those scenarios had so much more potential than what we got.
Jedd. The Priest-To-Be who less Charming than Prince Charming. The guy encourages Ella to talk to the prince in the hopes of ingratiating himself in the prince's good books (and as his wallet) - he encourages Ella to sweet talk him in bed. I wonder if this is before or after he falls in love - no, this must be after because he does say that he falls in love at first sight. I would have much rather have Ella end up single and wiser than end up with Jed.
The book perpetuates the standards of beauty that, as a society, we should be wary of. Is that the message we want to send to our kids? Being thin is in and being fat makes you ugly? Unhealthy yes, but ugly? And someone else pointed out that Ella's unwillingness to accept her beauty encourages girls who should really take compliments with a confident smile to think that all compliments are lies and not really meant. I thought that was poorly done.
On the whole (because I'm getting tired) Just Ella took Cinderella and tried to tell it from a modern perspective, infusing the narrative with thoughts and ideas prevalent today. However, because it is such a cynical reinterpretation, instead of representing magic in a different way, all it does is rain on the parade. There are attempts - such as the obvious theme of "girl power" but these do fall short when in the end it is Jed who is doing something to end the war while Ella is away in some refugee camp waiting for him to come back to her.(less)