On Saturday, June 9th, also my birthday, 6 classmates and I got the chance to meet a tony nominated play-write named Lydia Diamond. Lydia Diamond teacOn Saturday, June 9th, also my birthday, 6 classmates and I got the chance to meet a tony nominated play-write named Lydia Diamond. Lydia Diamond teaches drama at Boston University and wrote the tony nominated play titled Stick-Fly. She is the author of another phenomenal play named Harriet Jacobs, which these 6 students and I voluntarily read, discussed and connected to our lives. When we first met Ms. Diamond, she was beyond enthusiastic to meet us, she knew we were going to be there as the kids from Medford High School. She told us that the reflections and questions she read blew her away and were some of the most well thought out, well articulated, deepest and most personal things she has ever received (and she has traveled the country). We later all ran the event and all gave our opinions and discussed the book, speaking into a microphone, in front of about 80 people. Harriet Jacobs is a play loosely based off of the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. It is targeted toward adolescent audiences to help you try to understand the emotional abuse that slaves, primarily the women, had to face during the times of slavery. Throughout our lives and in most years of history we take, we learn about slavery. Each year, more violence and more graphics are introduced to us, desensitizing us to the fact that this actually happened. All we see are the pictures of whipped backs and people in cotton fields and are asked to try to connect to these people but we cannot because most of us don’t know how it feels to be in a cotton field, and what it feels like to be whipped to near death. In no year of history do I remember us connecting to the emotional half of slavery. This play allows us to see and live Harriet’s life through her perspective and to experience what she did. Although we cannot fully understand what happened, the main purpose of this book is to try to give you the whole emotional story. “I try to understand myself…I fear that you would incline your heads a bit to the left or the right and say ‘yes, I understand, poor girl’, and think no more of it. I fear that you throw your head in exasperation and say ‘tell us something we have not already heard’ I promise, I shall try. It is slightly beyond knowing, I live the stories and I do not yet understand” One way we connect to this story, is through love. Harriet had a true love, his name was Tom and he was a slave on another plantation and was also denied Harriet’s hand in marriage by her master who had a physical attraction to Harriet. He would try to force her into things and who knows, without her grandmother, a free woman, she may have gave in to this sexual abuse. These women had no chance to say yes or no. Another connection we have is watching our children grow up and not being able to do a thing about it because whether or not you are involved in their lives, they are going to grow up. We live our lives the way we live them, we suffer through hardship and they realize that “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”. It really helps you try to understand what it is like to be a slave in the house and sometimes they would rather work the fields. I cannot talk too much about details, you should read this play. It’s about 60-70 pages long and it’s a very quick read, it is phenomenal. Ms. Jacobs really executed the dialogue in such a fashion that we are transported back to the 1860’s where the story is set. The way the words are used are very casual and half the time Harriet sounds intelligent and half the time she has the standard speech of a slave who hasn’t received any type of formal education because it is not allowed. The situations, and the way that Diamond introduced characters and the subtleties that forced us to infer things was incredible in the play. This play is unique in the sense that it is based off of the only slave narrative written by a woman, so we receive a women’s perspective. It is also unique because it is closely related to Diamond because her great great grandfather was enslaved and she feels as is she has a connection to properties that were once slave plantations. Also being a woman, she could write better from this perspective, as well as throwing in a love triangle. I was surprised when I read this book because I did not know what to expect and personally I thought I was going to be bored. That was not the case at all. I was fully engaged in the text and it was funny, heartbreaking, heartwarming, hopeful, soulful, violent, historical and also connectable. Every one of the seven students that talked to Ms. Diamond that day had something different to say, and I’m sure we all had more to add but could not with the allotted time. If you order this play, and find you have an hour or two to spare, please read it. It will change your thoughts on slavery and provide you with new insight and also a new appreciation for what you have now. ...more
**spoiler alert** MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE ENTIRE SERIES. READ THIS REVIEW/ESSAY IF YOU MUST, BUT DONT BLAME ME IF IT**spoiler alert** MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE ENTIRE SERIES. READ THIS REVIEW/ESSAY IF YOU MUST, BUT DONT BLAME ME IF IT GIVES ANYTHING AWAY.
Throughout literature, symbolism has played a part in telling stories, signifying them and connecting them to our lives. One famous and frequently reoccurring theme in many novels today is the symbol of Hell and high water, where hell is represented by fire and high water is represented by a flood, or a wave, or dangerous waters of various sorts. In The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, there are constant references to Hell and high water in obvious and sometimes overlooked ways. In The Hunger Games, images of Hell and high water occur in different places. First, the coal mine explosion. The coal mine explosion can represent hell because there is fire involved in explosions and this killed two characters that drastically affected protagonists Katniss and Gales’ lives. Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne’s fathers were killed in this explosion which put their lives through hell for a while. Katniss’s mom went into a deep depression she couldn’t escape from for over five years. During the parade of tributes, Katniss and Peeta’s outfits were set aflame, and that hell represents that they are going to bring hell. Katniss’s dress during the interviews represents this as well as her nickname “girl on fire”. Katniss had to make sure she wasn’t going to spiral into her depression again when she volunteered in her sister’s place for the 74th annual Hunger Games. When Katniss is in the Arena, she sleeps in a tree and ties herself down so she doesn’t fall. One day she is woken up by the roaring flicker and snaps of burning trees and a colossal forest fire that is going to kill her if she doesn’t move. Then, she is dodging fireballs and gets burnt by one. This represents hell because first of all, Katniss is in a fight to the death with 23 other people and now she is fighting for her life because of fire. It represents the game as a whole and how hellish the games are. It also gives the gamemaker, Seneca Crane, somewhat of a personality. He is a character we grow to love throughout the books and the movie and this move with the fire gives him a demon side, but a demon side with logic because he set the arena on fire to redirect Katniss to the other players to continue the horrible Hunger Games. Catching Fire is the second book of the trilogy and has significant representations of hell and high water. The first symbol is clearly and obviously the name of the book. Catching Fire symbolizes the start of a new rebellion. This year is the 3rd Quarter Quell, or the 75th Annual Hunger Games. During the quell, instead of the usual two people per district, rules are mixed up and this year the arena will be occupied with past victors, one girl and one boy from each district. This year, Peeta and Katniss are chosen again, being the only male and female victors from district 12 besides Haymitch. The arena is twelve islands, each with their own torturous thing. For example one island has acid fog and another has killer mutts. One of the islands is a lightning bolt which represents fire because it is the first thing that happens during the games. It kicks off another Hunger Games of Hell. Another island’s torture is a giant wave, which represents high water. The arena is also mostly water which can drown some people if they cant swim and the wave causes problems for even those who can swim.
Mockingjay is the third and final book of the series and there are also examples of hell and high water. Fire is everywhere from the bombing of the headquarters of the peacekeepers in district two (although that caused an avalance, so that can also be considered high frozen water) to the firework-like arrows Katniss has with her Mockingjay outfit. These represent hell because the districts are going through hell with another rebellion. Towards the middle of the book when they are in the capitol playing the “76th annual hunger games”, there is a flood wave in the city. Also, after they get Johanna out of the capitol with Peeta and other captives, they find out Johanna was being tortured with water and now she is afraid to even take a bath. At the end of the book there is one last explosion that takes the biggest toll on Katniss’s life and I cant tell you what that is because I cannot. Hell and high water are very important symbols in literature because they can represent many different things as we have seen here with its representation throughout The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These symbols can be interpreted in different ways and it depends on the reader to determine the importance of these symbols or if they are symbols at all. ...more
Atonement, by Ian McEwan, is a moving drama about a girl named Briony Tallis and her aspirations to be a playwright and her stupidity through accusatiAtonement, by Ian McEwan, is a moving drama about a girl named Briony Tallis and her aspirations to be a playwright and her stupidity through accusations which drastically alter the lives of her older sister Cecilia and her lover (both of CeCe and Briony), Robby Turner. The book starts off in England in 1935 and Briony attempting to put on a play she wrote called The Trials of Arabella. The first few chapters clearly define her personality and we as readers grow annoyed with her selfishness and misunderstanding of her surroundings, taking under consideration she is 13 years old. Later on in the book you learn to detest her, but soon learn that with age comes regret and maybe you will feel sorry for her. I did to an extent, I suppose. . Cecilia Tallis, Briony’s older sister in her early 20’s, a former student at Cambridge University is filling up a precious priceless Ming vase acquired by her uncle during the First World War. Robbie Turner, the housekeeper’s son whom CeCe grew up with and an aspiring doctor comes over, they fight and the vase breaks. This is the beginning of the end for these two protagonists.
In most cases in books, an apology letter would be the way to handle things and it would make situations better and sometimes forgotten. In Atonement, Robbie is signing a death certificate when he decides to handwrite Cecilia a formal apology for breaking the vase. Later that night, after Briony had given CeCe the letter, Lola, CeCe’s cousin was caught in the aftermath of a rape and saved by Briony. This resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of Robbie. Later when the war started he would fight for the French Army and continuously write letters to CeCe in code. “Ill wait for you” commonly said by CeCe who now was in no contact with her family. Robbie was at the miracle at Dunkirk and spent his life foraging for food, and fulfilling porky favors of women. McEwan finely portrayed the twists and turns of this story, and knows just how to word things to make us feel exactly what we should be feeling at certain points of the book. At times I wanted to laugh and times I wanted to sit and cry for a few hours.
Briony is now doing her part in the war as a nurse just as CeCe is. The building blocks of her new character start to form here, even though while reading it I and probably every other reader knew what had happened in part one and that would never change who Briony is as a person or how we view her. Ian did a spectacular job creating this character and did a great job in keeping her past in our minds while making us feel sympathy for this future. CeeCee reacquaints with Robbie briefly, but after this encounter no one knows if they would ever see each other again, or be together as they intended. True love conquers all as some say, but this book isn’t exactly what you call your typical love story and that’s one thing I and thousands of others would say is the best quality of this book. It is not your typical WWII; rich girl falls for poor guy love story. The ending of the book I can’t reveal to you it will kill your desire to read it. So go read it right now.
His use of symbolism and ways to make you feel certain feelings are great. Symbolism in the book would be the vase. The Ming vase is so priceless and so valued dollar wise and by the family that any damage to it would the family in chaos and there would be Tallis hysteria. The trouble to keep the vase safe and the story behind it takes up a chapter and its incredible what their uncle did just to preserve it. Although it represents priceless things and importance within the family, it also is a symbol that if the vase breaks, the story is altered therefore in my opinion making it the most important rising action in the book. If the vase hadn’t broke, then Robbie wouldn’t have had to…well go read the book and find out! If the vase stayed intact than the book would not be the book and McEwan subtly made this vase one of the most important objects in the book even though we don’t recognize it as one right away. Bear with those few chapters, I know I was wondering why he was writing a chapter on a vase, but now that I finished the book I understand and feel that there should have been another chapter on it.
There are some parts of the book that drag, and it’s those times when you don’t think much of the book and usually those times that describe war times and make you feel very sad. There are parts of the book where you begin reading at 30 words per second because your desire to discover what happens is immense. There are times where things are so stupid you just want to laugh and there are times where all you women out there wish you were Cecilia to have someone a good a lover as Robbie in your life (and for all you males out there, you wish you were Robbie). No matter what the feeling Ian makes you feel, throughout the book you have this defined hatred for Briony and it grows throughout the book and becomes more subtle toward the end, but if you want to laugh, cry or dream, you still hate Briony. On another note, Atonement is the only book I’ve read by Ian McEwan and it was fantastic. He uses sophisticated, appropriate and a vast variety of vocabulary that I’ve learned more words than I ever thought I would in a book. He knows how to construct a novel to draw the reader in, and make them feel they are actually witnessing the story. Also, he shows that with the tap of a typewriter, or the press of a keyboard key, you can alter history and make yourself believe anything you want to. Now go read Atonement and enjoy it as much as I did. Then watch the movie. Book first, then movie.
Lastly, there was one reason I read the book or even knew it was a book. Around 2008 I had been watching the Oscars and I heard of this movie Atonement, I had no idea what it was and I knew I wanted to see it. I finally got around to it this past August and it was spectacular. That and the fact that I think James McAvoy is a wonderful actor in any role he plays, most recently playing the part of Professor X in X Men, where he teaches you that pure concentration is the point between rage and serenity. Also, he’s quite the looker.
Read it or not, I believe it’s a great book to have on your “read” list because of Ian’s use of vocabulary and his way of making this, in my opinion, fall under the category of “classic” books. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, or to those who are interested in the love story gone wrong, wars and punishment type of story. The first few chapters are alright but bear with it, they are quite important.