Posts Tagged With: shakespeare

all time favorite literary charaters

I hate New Yorkers

Thing C posted this to my facebook wall Friday afternoon. We share a strong common love for The Great Gatsby. We talked about the post at breakfast Saturday morning. I remarked that it’s funny and sad because it’s true. He agreed, especially the I hate New Yorkers part. We laughed that Nick was all, “bye Felicia” to New York to go home to the midwest.

Nick Carraway, without a doubt, is one of my all time favorite literary characters.

Actually, this reminds me of a question from the “Proust Questionnaire”: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Here is my answer: Nick Carraway, Katherine Minola (from Taming of the Shrew), Colonel Christopher Brandon, Princess Elizabeth (from The Paper Bag Princess), Kate Cummings (from The Secret of the Strawbridge Place), and Ron Weasley.

My love for Nick Carraway began when I first read Gatsby in American Lit my junior year of high school. I’m acutely aware that there is many a Nick Carraway character analysis out there in the world. But what I love about him is that he’s hopeful, but realistically so. Not like Gatsby with the unattainable green dock light. Nick is at once involved in the shenanigans yet remains apart from it. He understands what he sees and isn’t blinded by all the gilt trappings. He understood that though Gatsby was doomed, because he would never be able to relive the past, his intentions were pure.
One of my favorite lines is this one about the Buchanans: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Katherine is less shrew than misunderstood. It’s rather obvious her younger sister is her father’s favorite. It’s rather obvious he takes no interest in Katherine other than to wonder why she’s not more like her precious sister. Being big sister is not easy…especially when you have a parent that constantly pits you against each other.
That would make me bitchy too.
She’s also more savvy than most of the men in the story…that’s surely irritating! She has to be married off to one of these idiots? Again I say, that would make me bitchy too.
(disregarding all the ploys to get to Bianca)
Enter Petruchio.
He’s her match in every single way. And throughout all his “mistreatment” of her she never truly loses herself. She tricks him into believing he “tames” her.
The love and respect between Katherine and Petruchio is real.
And finally when they return to Padua for her sister’s wedding she can use her true voice and is respected for it. “Fie, fie! Unknit that threat’ning unkind brow. And dart not scornful glances from those eyes.”
It’s all a matter of how you’re perceived.

Colonel Brandon is so much more than he initially appears. He seems so quiet and not terribly interesting at first glance. But as we spend more time with him we learn that his integrity is the hallmark of his character. He has great capacity for love. He has great patience and his kindness is overwhelming. I love his friendship with the Dashwood ladies. Especially his love for Marianne. She learns to appreciate the strength and sincerity of his love.
When he and Elinor are discussing Marianne’s “immature” romantic notions and he disagrees with Elinor that Marianne should “wise up”, he says: “When the romantic refinements of a young mind are obliged to give way, how frequently are they succeeded by such opinions as are but too common and too dangerous!”
How precious is this man?

The Paper Bag Princess is a children’s book by Robert Munsch. A favorite of my girls when they were little, so much so that when invited to a come-as-your-favorite-princess birthday party Thing 1 went as this spunky princess.
Princess Elizabeth is set to marry a prince called Ronald, but a dragon comes and burns down her castle and kidnaps her betrothed. Does Elizabeth give up? Absolutely not! She dons a paper bag and sets out to save Ronald.
She’s a “can-do” kind of girl. She’s all about being the hero of her own story.
Girl Power!
Here’s a cute reading:

Kate Cummings is a girl growing up in Ohio during the depression. She is smart and spunky. Kate is brave and loyal. She has so much heart. This girl is passionate about everything she does from reading Sherlock Holmes to learning how to do the breast stroke. She loses her patience when tested, but never her kindness.
Kate and her friend Oscar spend their summer searching for the secret of the farm where she lives, the old Strawbridge Place. It’s rumored to have been somehow connected to the Underground Railroad. Their summer is an adventure which changes both their family’s lives.
I met the author when I was nine years old. She inscribed this book and it’s “sequel” to me. It’s in my top twenty favorite books of all time.
Kate is a hero but she’s also just a regular girl.
Kind of like:

Ron Weasley is best known as the redhaired sidekick of boy wonder, Harry Potter. Now I adore Harry, but Ron is my absolute favorite character from that series. Even more than Sirius Black, and I freaking LOVE him! Ron is stalwart and true. He is a fierce friend who would never betray the trust of his friends. He’s much brighter than he receives credit for…especially when Hermione is always flexing her brain.
Ron understands the importance of family, and this goes beyond the other Weasleys. He’s a pureblood without the bigotry that’s occasionally associated with being such.
Ron stood up to “notorious mass murderer Sirius Black” with a broken leg to protect Harry and Hermione. Ron wasn’t afraid to make sacrifices for the good of others, even at the age of eleven when he climbed on the horse on the giant chessboard.
I love Ron’s sense of humor. I love his loyalty. I love that he’s not starstruck by Harry, he just befriends him. He’s flawed, that’s for sure. He’s occasionally jealous of the attention Harry gets. He struggles with his personal insecurities but never waivers. Even when he leaves during the never ending camping trip, his loyalty never waivers.
Book Ron is better than movie Ron. Only because something was lost from page to screen.
Weasley is our King!

Who are some of your favorite literary characters?
Please share in the comments.

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getting my literary dork on

At the dinner table last night, we were going over the course catalog for Thing G’s high school career, YBW, Thing C and I were remarking how taking yearbook as an elective would be a really great experience and why. Thing G gives us his one raised eyebrow, mouth slanting down one side “y’all are so weird” look, which in actuality is rather charming and not offensive. (He was SO not feeling us.)

Thing C told the story of how the yearbook his junior year had been rushed to press and was riddled with mistakes, which lead him to recite the quote: All in all you’re just another brick in the wall. Then he said, “It’s cool because the school is named after Jackson, so I get the wall part, but…yeah, that quote doesn’t really mean what they thought it meant.”
First we laughed about The Princess Bride: you keep using that word I do not think it means what you think it means. But Thing G has not yet seen that so we had to quickly explain about “inconceivable”. (Must show him that movie, I suspect he’ll actually like it.)
He was much more interested in the wall quote and why it was inaccurate for the yearbook which means we then had to explain all about The Wall…which was humorous to say the least. YBW was spectacularly accurate in his explanation. (I did not know that my sweetie was a closet The Wall fan…I can’t decide if that’s cool or freaks me out…though I guess we all went through that phase, I know I’ve seen that movie at least 10 times…but not since the middle 1980’s.)

Thing C remarking about misusing a quote reminded me of being in model home during a “parade of homes” visit years ago. In the most beautifully decorated nursery I’ve ever seen there was a Shakespeare quote painted on the wall above the crib. …to sleep, perchance to dream…
This blew my mind! Why would ANYONE write that on the wall of a child?
Uh…because they had no idea what it actually means.
So I relate this story and Thing C is in agreement, YBW seems to accept my point of view but I feel his frustration that we’ve moved so far away from course selection.
Thing C and I talk about Hamlet’s soliloquy and how inappropriate it would be to encourage that for a child. Thing G doesn’t understand why I’m making such a big deal about, so we explain why Hamlet says those words and how trying to decide whether or not to take your own life is written beautifully by Shakespeare, but taken out of context it doesn’t mean what the designer thought and it’s not a positive message to aid a baby’s sleep.
We finally sorted the course schedule for next year, and in addition to the core curriculum, Thing G is interested in technical drawing and NOT yearbook.

Thing C and I began an offshoot conversation which began with his remark that he’d never read or seen Macbeth. Which made me go all theater girl about the superstitions surrounding that particular production. “The Scottish Play” stimulated an interest to do research, so away from the table we went, we spent the next forty minutes our faces in his laptop screen getting our Shakespeare on. The only way it could have been more perfect was if Thing 1 had been here…she shares our passion for the Bard.
I have so much love and gratitude for Shakespeare, his words continue to delight, entertain and educate me, and for Thing C, who shares that love with an unfettered heart.
Golly, I love exercising my literary dorkiness!

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a “date” with Thing C

YBW’s Thing C is one of my very favorite human beings! I absolutely adore this young man! He is kind and compassionate with a wicked sharp sense of humor.
We talk of music and movies and books and girls.
We share music, I’m educating him on some seriously old school classic and punk rock and he’s helped me learn to love Dave Grohl.
I’ve seen Fight Club (and loved it) because of him and he’s watched Some Like it Hot (and loved it) because of me. (This is only the tip of the iceberg.)
We share a love of Shakespeare and The Great Gatsby and so much so that this year on his birthday, he decided he wanted to rewatch the new Gatsby movie simply because I had not yet seen it. We’ve read and discussed plays and I’m absolutely dying to take him to the American Shakespeare Center/Blackfriar’s Playhouse when something we’re both interested in is playing.
I ask questions about girls because he doesn’t really seem to talk to either YBW or his mom about them, sometimes it’s good to have a “grown-up” who loves you and keeps you safe that isn’t exactly your parent to say those kinds of things to. I even tried to set him up with a girl who works part time at my school (she’s the same age and goes to the same local university as him), this didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to…though perhaps it did, she wasn’t interested…which means she’s not as awesome as I first suspected. Both my two Things have met this girl and decided she’s stupid because our Thing C is a catch!
Neither one of us really likes Asian food very much but we both love Mexican…we plan silly little “dates” to have Mexican food just because we can.

When I see his car parked in front of our house when I drive up I get so excited! It means good conversation and laughs and perhaps something new to share. I am always met with a hug and a sincere interest in my day.

Thing 2 left today to head back to her daddy…Sundance took her to the train station…I was feeling a bit sad when I came home from school, but when I turned the corner onto our street I saw his car in front of the house and I was instantly smiling!
After big hugs, we talked about a gig he’s playing (He’s a bassist.) and whether or not I was to photograph it for them we also read the most inappropriate comment strand on one of my friend’s fb statuses and laughed at the complete lack of propriety. (Should I be ashamed of myself? I’m not.)

This might seem like a strange post…but Thing C has been visiting his grandparents in the lone star state for the last two weeks and I missed him so there was big love and happiness today!
Since YBW and Thing G have plans for tomorrow we’ve planned a “date” to go get Mexican food and discussed lying on the sofa to watch my favorite movie of all time, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Then perhaps we’ll go over the used bookstore and see what moves us. It’s going to be a great Saturday!

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

let’s get this show on the road

YBW and I are going on a mini-break this weekend and I am so ready to get on the road. Two year olds make for exhausting playmates, I’m looking forward to spending time with my grown-up playmate.

It’s Autumn! My favorite time of year and we’re going to wander the streets of a small historic Virginia town and catch a Shakespeare play. I plan to do a bit of holiday shopping…never know what I’ll find in those cute little shops on the main street.
I want a ridiculously decadent dessert and a frothy cappuccino late at night for absolutely no reason! I want to hold YBW’s hand and walk down the sidewalk in the crisp air without a care in the world. The only specific thing YBW said he wants to do is visit wineries on the way home…though I think he’s excited about the play.
We’re both just ready for a little time off…to be together away from home…just a mini-break from the daily goings on.
I think we deserve it.

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