Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gone with the Wind Part 1

The movie Gone with the wind that starred Vivian Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler has a lot of influence while I’m reading the novel that the movie based on. I always pictured Scarlett as pretty as Vivian Leigh and feel surprised found out that Margaret Mitchell described her as not beautiful but have her ways and charm to make every boys/men adore her. She’s clever although school boring her, stubborn, narcissistic and a little bit cunning. The sixteen year old Scarlett purpose of life was to attract as much young man in his neighborhood and marry Ashley Wilkes.

Scarlett O’Hara was a first daughter of Gerald and Ellen O’Hara; she has two siblings Suellen and Careen and also three bothers that have died. The O’Hara was an upper class and wealthy landlord of Tara plantation, Georgia. The Wilkes, Tarleton’s and Fontaine’s are the other landlord in Georgia. They become close friend and always had a barbecue party every week. Each family have their unique character, The Wilkes is known for their strange hobby reading and playing music and married their cousin, The Tarleton’s is famous for their weakness in alcohol and the Fontaine's very well known for their short-tempered. All those families, except Wilkes family, support Georgia to leave the confederation because they hate the Yankees who against slavery.

This first part describe the main character one by one, Scarlett, the major character, her family and neighborhood also the politic situation in Georgia and also America  before the Civil War. It quite interested that the Afro-American slave of the landlord has a hierarchy too and despite their suffering because of slavery they also secretly insult and feel better than the poor white family. They was accustomed to be slave for years that made them serve their master deliberately and never thought of freedom. This is a quite different point of view compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

*spoiler alert*
Back to the story, Scarlett who thinks Ashley Wilkes loves her too felt very hurt when she heard that he will engage to Melanie Hamilton his cousin. Feeling confident that Ashley possibly loves her, she decided to confront Ashley and told him that she loves him. Fortunately Ashley loves her but he confused with Scarlett behavior toward him and another young man, he convinced Scarlett although they love each other, she never will understand Ashley because they gave a different hobby and interest. Feeling rejected and humiliated, Scarlett made a decision that she hope will hurt Ashley and other girl who gossiping her but also realized that it hurts herself too.
*spoiler alert*

After all, I think I enjoyed this part, didn’t amaze me but not bored at all. I’m ready to read part 2 know because in that part Rhett Butler maybe start to enter Scarlett life deeply. Can’t wait to read it. If you interested, just join us at GWTW read along hosted by Fanda started this September and will end at November, 8th.

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The Importance of being Earnest

Bunburyist is a strange word that I doubt you will find in any English dictionary. The term Burnburyist here was used by Algernon Moncrieff to describe an act for pretending that someone has a (imaginary) friend or brother or relative for the purpose to run away from tiresome social obligation. He found himself lucky knowing that his friend Jack Worthing had a same secret as his, Jack also has fake bother named Ernest that always masking trouble and needed to be save by his big brother Jack, but the fact is Jack is Ernest himself, he created Ernest to give himself a leisure time in London to do whatever he wants despite his obligation as a guardian of eighteen year old Cecily Cardew, a landlord and other responsibility.

If Jack had Ernest, Algernon had Bunbury, his invalid friend that always ill and had to stay in bed. The conflict begin after Jack/Ernest fell in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax, Algernon cousin, fortunately Gwen also love him and accept his proposal because she loves being married with someone named Ernest that inspire absolute confidence, she could not love anybody else that has a different name. For her, the name Jack is too plain for her and refuse married someone named Jack. This made Jack very confuse and decided to christen as Ernest.

In the other hand, Algernon decided to pay a visit to Cecily and posing as Jack bother’s Ernest. Cecily found him charming and funny and decided to marry him after Algernon/Ernest proposed. Poor Algernon, he really loves Cecily and feeling sad after found out that Cecily, similar to Gwen, interested in him only because his name is Ernest, she probably not wanted to married someone named Algernon. The same as Jack, he decided to get himself christened as Ernest. How will this mess be managed?

I found that this play was humorous and also ridiculous in other side. The plot is quick, the dialogue is amusing but somehow the conflict is a little bit superficial. Frankly speaking, I think this play is the only one classic literature that I've read (especially Victorian novels) that not stressed me with many details of role character and their feelings, it just fun and not easy to forget because it’s a short play. Even though the conflicts are not deep enough but we could draw several moral lesson: that earnest is importance and lie needs another lies to work. This made me curious to find another Wilde’s piece of work. If you need a break during Wuthering Heights or Great Expectation, Oscar Wilde works will amuse you, I guarantee it.

I’m surprise to know that Oscar Wilde has an awful life in his late age. Before become famous because of his works, he was a flamboyant man that although not very wealthy he was famous. He was imprisoned because of Marquess of Queensberry (who is homophobic) accusation that Oscar made his son, Lord Alfred a homosexual. According to the law at late 18th century, homosexual was a crime. After released from prison his spirit was broken and decided to live in Paris as a poor man. Despite his story of life, this witty and amusing play should list as must read book/plays.

Silas Marner

Feel betrayed by his best friend, community and his fiancée, Silas Marner decided to leave Lantern Yard and move in to the first place he feels settled, Raveloe, a countryside village. He tried to forget all that happened and doing numbing routine of solitary work as a weaver. His neighbor found him as an introvert person but had a special knowledge for herbal remedies and his fine work as a weaver that made him secretly rich. He rarely joined the other villager for drinking or just gossiping at local bar. His only amusement was spending every night counting his gold that has been hidden beneath floorboards.

So had his way of life: - he invited no comer to step across his door-sill, and he never strolled into the village to drink a pint at the Rainbow, or to gossip at the wheelwright’s; he sought no man or woman, save for the purposes of his calling, or in order to supply himself with necessaries....
But his secret being suspected and there was rumor in the village that he was rich and had a lot money, this rumor made Dunsey Cass - a greedy and trouble-maker son of Squire Cass - interested and one night he decided to go to Silas house and plan to intimidate him to lend Dunsey some money, but, alas he decided to steal the money instead. The calm and peaceful life of Silas wrecked because of this tragedy. But at the very same day, out of nowhere, there is a baby girl that left at his door by his dead mother. Eppie - he named the baby after her mother name - made Silas realized that he finally find a true happiness that can console him from his lost (his faith and his money) and give him a new hope of happy life. He became more socialized and welcomed in that village because of Eppie. But trouble keep hitting him, the real father of Eppie claimed her after abandoned her for many years. Would Silas let Eppie go?

Silas Marner was the first George Elliot works that I ever read. I pick this book to catch up with Victorian challenge for June and also because it has the least pages compared to other Elliot’s books. George Elliot was pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, whom like Silas, she also keep questioning and struggle with her faith. This story was a simple story, with a no surprise plot and had a not-shocking ending. But it still interesting books because Elliot known for her deeply philosophical novel. The character of Silas was well described also the other character.

To sum up, this story have a positive moral lesson such as we cannot base our happiness only to materialistic thing but also to the relationship with other human that will made us truly happy. The other was no matter how deep you buried your bad deeds, they are always coming up, so be careful with your life and be honest to everyone.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

#12 The House of the Spirits

This book was consider as the most notably work of Isabel Allende and I think this book is deserve to be in 1001 books you’ve must read before you die. This book has many plots and twist also the character is so rich yet eccentric that made me forgets for a while that this is a quite thick book.

This story began with Del Valle family most famous daughter, Rosa and Clara. Rosa the eldest sister has an enchanting beauty and often regard as an angel. She has yellow eye, green hair and transparent skin that made her looks like from outer world. The baby of this family, Clara, also consider as an outer world person because her gift (or curse) as clairvoyant. She claimed that she can see ghost, predict the future and also move things even without touched it.

Rosa was engaged with Esteban Trueba Rosa died before she married as Clara predicted. Despite his grief, Esteban decided to rebuild the old family farmland, Tres Maria (Three Maria). The egocentric, harsh and materialistic nature of Esteban made him a successful and arrogant landlord. He treated his farmer as a slave and raped every female teenager surrounding Tres Maria. This action made him a father of many illegitimate children who would cause many pain in his later life. After he married Clara, his life had change and he decided to live in the city and build “the big house on the corner” (a.k.a the house of the spirits). The influence of three women in his life, Clara, his daughter Blanca and his granddaughter Alba made Esteban realized many bad deeds that he had done and finally changed him to become more kind-hearted person.

If I can conclude this family saga was about how legitimate and illegitimate children from Esteban Trueba interact, mainly this relationship was full of hatred and revenge. Things that Esteban did in the past finally come back to him but through his daughter and granddaughter. This book was categorized as magic realism book, genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world (Wikipedia). In this book the most prominent magical elements includes Rosa beauty features and Clara’s habit to communicate with spirits.

I think this book is also a historical fiction because the coup in some South America country was very similar with what happening in Chile. This book also consider as Isabel Allende’s story of life because her uncle, Salvador Allende was a socialist president of Chile who assassinated in a military coup led by General Augusta Pinochet, this story similar with “the candidate” in her story that finally became first socialist president in that country. Maybe it’s the recipe how Isabel could bring the same intense of the terror into this novel. I have to say that this story is a must read book. Enjoy it!