Quote of the Day

Source: quotefancy.com

Source: quotefancy.com

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Top 5 books in classical literature

This is a series of posts with reviews on the top 5 books in classical literature, in my opinion.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Possibly one of the most influential books ever. Put this one top of your reading list. Stoker created something beautifully disturbing here. Read on.

Main characters:

  • Count Dracula – The vampire
  • Jonathan Harker – A young solicitor. Engaged to Mina Murray
  • Mina Murray – Assistant schoolmistress. Jonathan’s fiancée
  • Miss Lucy Westenra – Mina Murray’s close friend
  • Dr. John Steward – Head of a lunatic asylum

Themes:

  • Sex
  • Modernity
  • Confinement

Why read Dracula?

Dracula is a book about the consequences of modernity in the Victorian era. It’s an absolute must read for anyone interested in Gothic literature. And anyone who wants to see where the modern day vampire evolved from.

Opening:

The book opens with Jonathan Harker, a young English solicitor, travelling to Transylvanian to finalize a real estate contract with the mysterious Count Dracula.

Harker receives warnings by locals of his destination. They give him crucifixes and other charms against evil. Harker is scared but determined to conduct his business.

oh-hell-no-giphy

Credit: ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com

Harker meets Count Dracula’s carriage as arranged and journeys to the Count’s castle.

Harker soon realizes he’s a captive of the count and attempts to escape.

Middle:

Dracula leaves Transylvania with 50 boxes of earth, set for England.

Harker’s fiancée Mina visits Lucy at the seaside town of Whitby. A ship is wrecked on the shore. The crew is missing, the captain dead.

Mina finds Lucy sleepwalking soon after. She believes she saw a dark figure with red eyes bent over Lucy.

Lucy has two tiny red marks on her neck that Mina can’t account for.

Lucy dies after a wolf attacks her. (is that really the end of Lucy?)

End:

Lucy becomes one of the “un-dead” and is caught preying on children. She is killed again.

Harker and his companions join forces and agree to destroy Dracula.

gianni_lunadei_interpretando_al_conde_dracula

Will Harker and co kill Dracula? What of Mina? Are you scared yet?

Read it.

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

Watch the movie trailer for the 1992 version here.

Clip Credit: YouTube user – ryy79

Favourite quote: 

“There is a reason why all things are as they are.” 

Reccomendations:

I honestly recommend everything to try this book. It had such a huge impact on literature and film, even now it still has an impact.

Stoker broke boundaries with this one.

5 out of 5 cup rating. 

This is part 5 in a series of 5 posts.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

 

Oedipus Rex: An analysis of Freewill V Determinism

Overview:

Oedipus Rex a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles in about 441B.C. It is a play that deals with issues that still have relevance today. The theme of freewill versus determinism is a strong component of this play. Would Oedipus have been able to prevent the prophecy if he had acted differently?

Discuss of Freewill Vs. Determinism

Although he was saved from death and sent away from Thebes he still fulfills the prophecy. He would have preferred death that to commit such foul acts as incest and patricide. “Should mate with my own mother, and beget a brood that men would shudder to behold… murder of my own father”.[1]

Oedipus believes that due to his rescue he had no power in controlling the wheel of fate. However the symbolism of the crossroads where he killed Laius is detrimental to the play. In Ancient Greece this would have symbolized a choice.

Oedipus chose the path he faced the moment he chose confrontation and violence as opposed to fleeing. Whilst it does show he is a strong character of swift responses, these attributes of his character sealed his fate.

Themes in the play:

  • Freewill
  • Determinism
  • Patricide
  • Incest

The themes of patricide and incest are the foundations of the play. The revulsion these two themes produce is paramount.

In the time of Sophocles in ancient Greece and the performing of these plays, the spectators would have been horrified by the themes.

This disgust still has a massive impact on the audience/reader of today. It is a social taboo and in most societies and cultures there are laws prohibiting it.

Patricide and Incest:

The two acts are considered heinous, but ultimately it’s the hideous act of incest that brings about the death of Iocasta, who, too tormented by the thoughts of her actions hangs herself to escape reality.

The question of whether Oedipus could have avoided his fate must constantly be questioned although he made a choice at the cross-roads, he was left marked by being bound by the ankles as a child, was this fate’s way of marking him out for his demise or a simple mischance of luck as to be left scarred?

Oedipus as a character:

Oedipus is a complex character. He is seen morphing from a strong, clever man who outwits the Sphinx to his commanding self when he’s trying to piece together who killed Laius. Then he becomes demented and frantic upon discovery he murdered his father and the married of his mother.

He is a tragic victim at his own hand.

What Sophocles creates:

Sophocles creates a feeling of empathy for Oedipus, whether it was his freewill or fate that caused the series of events to unfold, he did not predict the outcome and you can see his utter devastation at the end.

Oedipus condemns himself to exile, he will not allow himself the release of death and punishes himself viciously “He smote his eyeballs with pins, not once, nor twice; and as he smote them blood ran down his face.”[2]

Oedipus Rex

Credit: goodreads.com

The warning:

Not only does Oedipus give the Greek audience a spectacle he gives them a warning, in the time of Sophocles the audience believed that these characters existed so not only is Sophocles warning against patricide and incest he is showing the audiences the fate of those who are involved in such acts.

 

[1] Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King and Electra, edited by Edith Hall. New York: University Press. (2008)  p.75

[2] Ibid p.92

Charles Dickens Feature

Charles Dickens is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era.

He was born on the 7th Feburary 1812 in Landport, England and died 9th  June 1870. He is buried in Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Education:

  • William Giles School until 1924
  • Wellington House Academy 1924-1927
  • After age 15, Dickens was mostly self -educated.

Early Life:

His father was imprisoned for debt. Dickens was sent to work in a factory to support his family. He later remarked “how I could have been so easily cast away at such an age?” ( Forster 2006, pp. 23–24.)

The abandonment Dickens felt by the adults in his life was a recurring theme in his work.

Collection of works:

Dickens wrote 26 major works and hundreds of minor works, some of his most popular works include;

Some words/phrases coined by Dickens:

  • The creeps – a feeling of fear/revulsion
  • Devil may care -reckles/ careles
  • Flummox – confuse/perplex
  • On the rampage -to act or move in a ramping manner; spring or rush violently; rage or storm about.
  • Artful Doger –  noun. A con artist or street thief.
  • Bah Humbug –  interjection. An exclamation of irritation or disgust
  • Doormat –  noun. Used metaphorically, a person who is treated poorly.
  • Fagin – someone who trains children in crime.
  • Butter-fingers – clumsiness

Facts on Dickens:

  • He was paid by installment
  • He published novels serially
  • He was an advocate of hypnotism and attempted to use it to cure his wife and children of ailments.
  • He was an obsessive compulsive, reportedly always re-arranging his hotel furniture and having to sleep with his head pointing north.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary credits Dickens with introducing 247 new words or new usages into the language.
dickens_gurney_head

Credit: Wikimedia commons

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This book is a mixed bag – the characters are, on the most part, detestable. Its a novel about revenge and a demonic romance. It’s a must read for any fans of the Brontë sisters – just because.

Main characters:

  • Nelly Dean – Main Narrator
  • Lockwood – Sub Narrator
  • Heathcliff – Orphan taken in by Mr. Earnshaw. Loves Catherine desperately, married to Isabella Linton
  • Isabella Linton – Edgars sister and Heathcliff wife
  • Catherine – Heathcliffs childhood sweetheart. Married to Edgar Linton
  • Edgar Linton – Catherines husband
  • Mr. Earnshaw – Catherine and Hindleys father, adopted Heathcliff
  • Hindley Earnshaw -Mr. Earnshaws son, Catherines brother

(This is not a full character list – just the most significant)

Themes:

  • Revenge
  • Love and Obsession
  • Belonging
  • Social Class

Why read Wuthering Heights?

You should read Wuthering Heights, if you’re a romantic or someone who enjoys vengeful complex characters.

Opening: 

It opens with the narrator Lockwood visiting his landlord in Wuthering Heights(WH). He is baffled by the behavior of the occupants. Whilst at WH, the weather becomes wild and Lockwood is forced to stay overnight.

He stays in Catherines old bedroom. He finds some of her old diaries and reads through them. Lockwood experiences something supernatural whilst in the room; this both scares and intrigues him. Once home in Thrushcross Grange he begs his servant to tell him about the occupants of WH.

Middle:

Mr. Earnshaw – the then owner of WH brings home an orphan from London – Heathcliff. His son and daughter, Hindley and Catherine detest this newcomer. Hindley is vicious and cruel to him. However Catherine quickly comes to love him deeply.

Heathcliff and Catherine play together on the moors and are oblivious to any one else. Until, they meet the Lintons. Catherine becomes ill one day and has to spend 5 weeks at Thrushcross Grange. By the time she leaves she is infatuated with Edgar. She starts to spend less time with Heathcliff and more with Edgar. Heathcliff hears her say one day that she could never marry him. He leaves for three years.

Climax:

In the time he’s gone, Catherine and Edgar marry. A romance doomed. Heathcliff returns sporting a mysterious fortune. He loans money to his enemy Hindley, because he knows he will drown himself in debt and drink. Hindley dies and Heathcliff inherits the estate of WH.

Cathy and Heathcliff

Catherine and Heathcliff

Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton. Catherine dies giving birth to Edgars son. Heathcliff is distraught and begs her spirit to stay on earth.

End:

Heathcliff vows revenge on Edgar Linton – the man who stole his soul mate.

What of Catherines ghost? What of her child? What lengths will Heathcliff go to exact his revenge?

Read it to find out.

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

Watch part 1 and 2 of the 2009 remake of the movie here.

 

Favourite quote:

If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” -Catherine

Reccomendations: 

I would recommend this book to Brontë fans, obviously. And to people with the believe that love can redeem the worst of people.

3 out of 5 cup rating.

This is part 3 in a series of 5.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/