“The Italian” was written in a time when it could be assumed that the main audience was predominantly female. On this note, Ann Radcliffe writes her m“The Italian” was written in a time when it could be assumed that the main audience was predominantly female. On this note, Ann Radcliffe writes her main character Vincentio di Vivaldi as a man with much emotion. From the minute that Vincentio beholds Ellena, he is bewitched by her voice, desperate to catch a glimpse of her face. Ridden with angst, Vincentio expresses his feelings to a friend, however, “His friend laughed at his scruples and at his opinion of what he called such romantic delicacy, that his ignorance of the world was his only excuse for having cherished them” (9).
On top of this, it is a beautiful novel that unlike many of the Gothic novels known, it uses idyllic scenery more than any of its previous novels, which tend to use more sublime and castellated settings. This novel definitely changed Gothic literature, and the idyllic aspects were definitely an inspiration to Shelley's Frankenstein. ...more
It is not a very interesting book. The beginning is very interesting because of the extraordinary events of an armored giant's helmet smashing a charaIt is not a very interesting book. The beginning is very interesting because of the extraordinary events of an armored giant's helmet smashing a character into pieces. Very complex novel because of the archaic writing.
Though yet a long way from the Industrial Revolutions in the 19th and 20th centuries throughout Europe, “The Castle of Otranto” paints itself not only as one of the primary foundational works of Gothic Literature, but it clearly depicts sentiments akin to that of the Gothic genre. As a result, the giant becomes a central aspect drawing the discourse between religion and science, god and mankind. It tells us of a society constantly desiring to be as grand and powerful as the armored giant, a society that has cursed itself by trying to resemble or substitute god, a society crushed by its own creation. This is highly important because it allows the reader to recognize as well the fact that in the depiction of this giant against the whole castellated backdrop, it emboldens the presence of another more idyllic reality—not of damsels or knights—but of peasants (Theodore).
It is important to note as well how the giant comes in parts, telling us how much humans are never complete without heavenly intervention. The fact that it comes in five parts, 1) the giant helmet; 2) the giant foot and leg; 3) the giant sword; 4) the giant hand; 5) the giant self—symbolizes this aspect as well. Five is the symbol of harmony, meaning it is only heavenly interventions which brings harmony to earthly troubles. The fact that it comes in parts also brings into questions the human nature; the fact that the armored giant, a heavenly figure, is composed of five parts, just as we are made up of five fingers, five senses, five members (two arms, two legs, and the head)—it makes the reader wonder whether the armored giant is a projection of mankind, or mankind a projection of the armored giant. In the end it seems to preach a desire of nature—the castle as this dark entity harboring the seeds of sin, and the forest on the other hand as a protective force against the evils of ‘technology.’ ...more
This is a novel full of twists and turns, ghosts and stories within stories, narrative frame, and most importantly; a commentary against the CatholicThis is a novel full of twists and turns, ghosts and stories within stories, narrative frame, and most importantly; a commentary against the Catholic church and its sexual auspices.
The writing is archaic and beautiful; it's the story of Ambrosio, a monk who judges other humans for their faults and he himself ends up committing the most atrocious crimes.
The novel has a transgender theme since we deal with a male character, Rosario, who later in the novel turns into a woman or confesses himself to be a woman whose name is Matilda. This character leads Abrosio into perdition and black magic.
Within this story, is also the story of Lorenzo and Antonia, and within their story is an even more complex story of Theodore, the servant.
The important thing about this novel is it was divided into chapters, or one of the first Gothic novels that began to do this. The ending wasn't so interesting, but overall the novel is beautiful and there's a lot that one can learn from it. ...more
A work of Gothic Literature, this novel was inspired directly from Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto". Clara Reeve wanted to create a work of GoA work of Gothic Literature, this novel was inspired directly from Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto". Clara Reeve wanted to create a work of Gothic Literature much more realistic. While Walpole's novel dealt with an armored giant and fantastic ghostly events, Reeve's novel focused on the relation between characters, lineage, and ultimately a stark presentation of the homoerotic relationship between Edmund and William. It is also a novel important not only to Queer studies but also Feminist studies because of that homoerotic relationship and what it tells us about the female characters in the novel.
An interesting thing about this work of early Gothic literature is the fact that the novel is not divided into chapters or sections. The style is archaic and overall the novel presents a highly sexualized notion of the sublime in the form of power.
The first time I heard about Kafka was in high school, but it wasn't until very recently in College that I decided to actually take the time to read "The first time I heard about Kafka was in high school, but it wasn't until very recently in College that I decided to actually take the time to read "The Metamorphosis," a novel (short story) of which I'd heard of dozens of times both in literature and philosphy class, but had never had reason enough to read. What impressed me the most was the exotically abrupt manner with which the story begins: "One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug." and in this manner the entire story explains Gregor's psychological difficulty in adapting to his new body. What is most interesting about the story, however, is the fact that everbody in the story go through a true metamorphosis except Gregor Samsa--whose change is only physical, and as a static character, at the end of the story even though he is not human anymore, he is still Gregor, the individual submissive to the whims of his parents. His physical metamorphosis allows for his sister's personal metamorphosis and helps her transition from a spoiled youngster, to a fully responsible adult....more
This novel is about the Igbo culture in Nigeria and how European culture comes to destroy their seeds and their customs. The intrusion of the white maThis novel is about the Igbo culture in Nigeria and how European culture comes to destroy their seeds and their customs. The intrusion of the white man in Nigeria and how they tried to impose their ‘leprosy’, their beliefs and systems of government in Nigeria. Like leprosy, they were spreading throughout Africa, taking the culture away from Nigerians and dissolving it into Christianity or other European forms of mission. Therefore, the white man was seen as horrible men, who wanted to take away the culture and destroy it.
Okonkwo, one of the main characters in the book and the one with who the book is introduced, is best exemplified in his vulnerability towards an effeminate and weak attitude. One has to take into consideration that Okonkwo was a man who despised his father, and wanted to present himself as a man strong enough and rather masculine.
For this reason, Ikemefuna (ironically not one of his sons) came to be one of the most important persons in Okonkwo’s life both as an individual capable of demonstrating an invincible strength and masculine ‘attire’, but also as a son. Okonkowe admired Ikemefuna’s ability to bring in that masculine and strong aspect to the family, for he would teach important things to Nwoye, things which Okonkwo considered to give men a great potential and spiritual strength. After Okonkwo decided to plot against his own adoptive son, Ikemefuna, Okonkwo fell under great consternation, sadness and incredible guilt. ...more
Master Harold and the boys is yet another beautiful play about Apartheid South Africa. It revolves around the story of a young white boy Hally and hisMaster Harold and the boys is yet another beautiful play about Apartheid South Africa. It revolves around the story of a young white boy Hally and his black friends Sam and Willie. The story is beautiful because it depicts the racial boundaries between these two groups and how this young boy is taught to despise individuals which he deems friends at first just because of their race.
The style is magnificent, not only because of the philosophical questions explored, but also because of the lessons learned. While Hally is a young boy getting a European education and he deems his friends ignorant, Sam and Willie are actually the ones that teach Hally a lesson in the story; they may be ignorant without an education, but they have the moral basis for a society that clashes in harmony, like the waltz in the story. ...more
The style is completely modern and nostalgic at the same time; it is a book that definitely explores sexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality within tThe style is completely modern and nostalgic at the same time; it is a book that definitely explores sexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality within the three main characters. It explores the bonds of friendship as well as the mutability of humans towards their emotions. The book definitely breaks boundaries....more
Death of a Salesman is a beautiful play about a family suffering the struggles of the depression in the 1930s. Willie Loman is a father with a wife anDeath of a Salesman is a beautiful play about a family suffering the struggles of the depression in the 1930s. Willie Loman is a father with a wife and two sons; throughout most of the play he regrets his mistakes of the past and how that affected his sons, who are incompetent, and he sees his mistakes and cheating on his wife as the foundation of all the troubles that caused him to finally end up as a Salesman, depressed, and ultimately to his tragic death.
This is yet another impressive depiction as Arthur Miller manages to capture the slang terminology used in the era--this is interesting in comparison to his play "The Crucible" and much like that play, this one deals with an important era in the history of the United States and how this affected Americans of lower income.
The play is called "Death of a Salesman" because despite the fact the story revolves around many incidents in his life as a man and the life of his sons Happy and Biff, it is his death which ultimately relieve the family of the heavy load which they have been carrying for most of their lives, and the load which does not let them move forward and out of the depression. ...more
I first saw the movie before reading the play, yet I have to say this is certainly a masterpiece both as a movie, and as a play. The movie concerns inI first saw the movie before reading the play, yet I have to say this is certainly a masterpiece both as a movie, and as a play. The movie concerns in the same manner as the play primarily because Arthur Miller took part in the production of the film. Therefore his representations both in the film and the play are important in consideration of this work of art.
Yes, the story is about a young girl, Abigail Williams, and the Salem Witch trials of the 1700s in Massachussetts. However, this work is important more so because, curiously, it was written in the 1950s, the era of the Red Scare in the United States where communism was to be purged through a 'witch hunt.' Therefore, what this work tells us about society both in the 1700s and the 1900s and taking both into perspective is what makes this work of literature so important. Along with these historical implications, the style itself highly educative, and Miller's ability to capture the diction of the 1700s is marvelous. Definitely one of my favorite works both as a film and a play....more
No other work of literature has sparked so much discussion in the world of academics as Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House." The title itself is importantNo other work of literature has sparked so much discussion in the world of academics as Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House." The title itself is important enough and certainly more than enough to understand a story about Nora (the protagonist) and how the perfect family idosyncrasies of Victorian society have forced this woman towards her downfall. This, of course, is debatable; for downfall or not, it is certain that by the end of the third Act Nora has become fully aware that her integrity as a woman with the freedom to choose her destiny is far more important than the maintenance of a perfect 'Doll's House' life. In addition to all of the arguments concerning Victorian society and the type of woman Nora represents both at the beginning and the end of the play--the manner in which Ibsen has decided to end the play is of much importance and bewilderment. We hear the door close, and that's the end of it. Did she in the end finally decide to stay living as a doll in her perfect world at the cost of moral integrity, or did she decide to free herself of her archetype and become a free woman even without her children. I think the latter; there is far too much evidence in support of this argument. And that more than anything makes "A Doll's House" revolutionary....more
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of those books that the first time you read it, you think it may be rubbish. However, the second time IOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of those books that the first time you read it, you think it may be rubbish. However, the second time I read this book it inspired something within me and I understood it far more, and that may be because I was more aware of the historical implications of Russia during Stalin's era. This is a book that, without this background, it can be almost meaningless.
One of the disadvantages of the book is the fact that it is a translation, therefore a lot of the nuances are lost and one is left with nothing much but the content. However, even though it is a translation, the matter-of-fact somber tone of Shukov (the protagonist in the book) is clearly evident, as well as various symbolism in the novel, particularly the Valenki, which he wears and symbolize his struggle to keep sane in a world where nothing but sane is left.
The story, other than telling the story of one day in the life of a political prisoner in Siberia, it is a most remarkable story because it is so infused with heavy imagery and so many things, yet it is only telling the story of one day. Only Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is able to do this, and this is both magical and dramatic. This is why this is one of my favorite books ever....more
The House of the Spirits is a book both amazing in Spanish and English. I had the opportunity to read it in both languages and Isabel Allende's magicaThe House of the Spirits is a book both amazing in Spanish and English. I had the opportunity to read it in both languages and Isabel Allende's magical realism and beautiful style hardly misses anything in the translation. Very similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez both in theme and genre. The difference is that it uses female characters to tell the story of three generations of women and the political struggle in Chile throughout the 1970s.
The magical realism is definitely something that comes into play here, not only because she is mimicking Gabriel Garcia Marquez's style, but also because she employs this style in conjunction with the very serious topic that she is dealing with--a dictatorship in Chile. The juxtaposition of style and subject in her novel and this gap between the magical and the realistic is what makes this novel a masterpiece.
On top of this, there is apparent symbolism throughout the entire novel, particularly colors and the style of magical realism is something that gives way for these various kinds of symbolism to happen. I definitely recommend this novel to any one desiring to become better acquainted with Allende's female criticism of Latin American political society. ...more