Cathedral

This week, I had the pleasure of reading Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” for my American Literary class. Having heard of the writer before but never having gotten around to any of his work, I was very excited to get stuck into his. If you don’t know and aren’t afraid of spoilers, the story focuses on a man and his wife as his wife’s old friend, a blind man, comes to visit them. The man is suspicious of this friend, but also amazed, he is shocked that he can use a knife and fork so well. After a while, the man adjusts to the blind man and they become friends. They sit on the floor and draw a cathedral together, as the blind man has never seen one and wanted to know what they are like. As they do so, the protagonist stops and questions whether he has really been seeing things all along or not.

After this story was published, it was later revealed that it was based on a true event that happened to Carver himself. I feel that this obviously gives the story a lot more depth but also a lot more heart. What do you think? Is i t just a two-dimensional story or is it something deeper? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo: St Johns Cathedral, Limerick. source

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Housekeeping

One of the works I read for a class this week was Marilynne Robinson’s “Housekeeping”. Though I still haven’t finished the book yet, I’ve so far found it enjoyable and interesting. If you’ve not heard of the book, like I hadn’t two weeks ago, it focuses on a dysfunctional family of women living in a small house on the edge of a lake in the town of Fingerbone, somewhere in the south of the United States.

Not to give too much away, (massive spoiler alert), but towards the end of the novel two of the main characters, Ruth and Sylvie, cross a railroad bridge to the other side of the lake and go to start their new life. Though in their new town and new jobs they are not really seen to really be there or to be real at all. It is thought that they died on their crossing of the bridge but that their spirits and souls live on again, while others say that they were dead in the first place and that it was only their souls that crossed to the new town.

What do you think? I personally think that they only died on the bridge, but that’s my opinion. Am I right? Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you next week, as always.

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Jekyll & Hyde goes pop

Hey guys,

Having just finished an essay on Robert Louis Stevenson’s work ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’, I thought it would be fun to have a look at the story and also to have a look at how it has been translated to other parts of pop culture over the years.

If any of you haven’t read it or somehow have missed the countless references everywhere, here’s a quick guide; Dr. Jekyll, a scientist, creates a potion that turns him into a maniac monster, Mr. Hyde, when he drinks it. He wrecks havoc around London before killing himself. That’s it in a nutshell. It became massively popular at the time and the story has been adapted to more than 123 film versions!

This trope has been used time and time again over the years in both t.v. and film and here are some of the best:

  • “Hare Remover”, 1946 (Warner Bros) starring Bugs Bunny
  • I, Monster, 1971, starring Christopher Lee
  • The Song “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by The Who, released in 1968
  • A song by the same title by Men at Work, released in 1982
  • J. R. R. Tolkein’s character of Gollum in  the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy
  • Appearances are made by both Jekyll and Hyde in Alan Moore’s comic  “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman”.

Of course, there are a lot more instances, I’ve just listed some of my favourites here. Do you think there are some other note worthy references that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you back here next week!

 

Is Dorian Gray real life now?

Hi guys, good to see you again.
This week I’ve been reading Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ as I’m using it for an essay. I’d read the book before but I’m reading it in a lot more detail this time and pulling out lots of quotes to use. About halfway through the book, I started thinking about how the whole theme and moral of the story seems awful similar to the way modern day celebrities are living. I know this has probably been said many times before but I haven’t read it anywhere else so bear with me. Take Justin Bieber for example. The young, pretty, adored by millions, teen heartthrob. Then he started getting older and and started lashing out and just being an all around annoyance. Now don’t get me wrong, this could just be him being your average early-20’s guy, just on a much bigger scale. Or is he living in fear of loosing his adorned looks that made him famous, similar to the way Dorian acted in the same situation. There are so many other celebrities this could be applied to but Bieber seems the most relevant and honestly the most know.
What do you think? Is the comparison there or am I just talking nonsense? Let me know, and I’ll see you back here next week.

Sherlock

This week I’m going back to the reading aspect of this blog and I want to talk a little bit about Sherlock Holmes. Everyone knows a little bit, if not a lot about Sherlock Holmes already, if not from reading the books then by watching the t.v. show or movies. This week I started reading one of the books for an assignment and it has been my first taste of the literature side of Sherlock’s world. So far (I haven’t finished reading it yet) I’ve found the book to be very interesting, gripping and entertaining. I wanted to take this space to talk about the ways the characters differ in the books than in the t.v. show or movies. First and foremost, the t.v. characters differ greatly as they are set in a modern time, and have different detective abilities thanks to technology. In the film adaptations, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, the characters are living in a similar world to where they were written into originally and they behave in similar ways, except for the added comedic aspect for cinema. Overall, I think that all the media adaptations, that I have seen, of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works have been very good efforts and deserve all the recognition that they get.

What’s your favourite version of Sherlock? Do you agree with me or do you think I’m just talking nonsense? Let me know in the comments below!

More Writing

Hey guys, hope ye liked the writing piece I posted last week, as I’m going to post my conclusion to it today. It is a pretty short piece so I might work some more on it and develop it more in the future but for now this is all I’ve done. Again, let me know what you think in the comments below or if you have any tips for me!

 

“Lucy, what?…. Do you know what time it is?” Lucy looked down at her watch. 2:15 am. “Shit” she whispered. “I’m sorry Anna I didn’t realise. It’s just.. Is it okay if I stay with you and Laura for a bit?” “Yeah of course it’s okay. But what’s wrong Lucy? Why are you calling so early? Are you and Jack okay?”. Silence. “Lucy? Come on, you’re scaring me now, what’s wrong?” “It’s nothing” Lucy replied quietly, “It’s okay. I’ll see you in a few hours yeah?” “Okay” Anna replied, still sceptical, “I’ll see you then”. Lucy ended the call and dropped the phone in her lap. “We’re not okay though” she whispered as she rubbed the red hand print on the side of her face.

My Writing

This week I’m going to start using this blog as a place to put some of my creative writing not only to showcase it, but in a hope to improve it. Today I’ll be posting the first part of a short story I’ve been working on, and I’ll post the continuation next week. Let me know in the comments what you think of it or where you think it could be made better!

 

The bitter November wind threw itself against Lucy as she struggled to make her way towards her car. She shivered as she felt the familiar cold gust around her small, pale frame and tightened her jacket around herself as she fished the keys out of her pocket with her free hand and tears streamed down her face. She reached the car, a battered, old Honda Civic, opened the trunk and tossed her rucksack in before slamming it shut and making her way to the driver’s seat. Once inside she loosened her jacket a little before taking a breath and staring out the window for what felt like an eternity. Gradually coming back to reality, Lucy reached into her pocket to get her phone and started scrolling through her contacts list before finding her sister, Anna. She hit dial and started to zip up her jacket a little, realising again how cold it could actually get at that time of night. “Hello?”, came the tired and confused voice on the other end of the phone. “Um… Hi Anna, it’s me” Lucy replied quietly, not quite sure what exactly to say.

Hills Like White Elephants

One of the first, and one of my favourite readings I had for a class this week was Ernest Hemmingway’s “Hills like White Elephants”. Having read the story before, I was excited to get a chance to read it in more detail and to get a chance to analyse it and hear different opinions on it. The short story, first published in 1927, gives us an insight into the life of a couple as they wait for a train. It is obvious from the start that there is a certain amount of tension between the two, and while the writing style is quite direct, the characters try to beat around the bush and not actually talk about what’s bothering them.  When first published, the story was met with great praise from critics and it still is to this day, while there is still much more in depth research to be done to it. Have you read it? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments below and let me know what type of things you’d like to see on this blog from now on.

Until next week,

Orla.

(here’s a drawing I did based of the original cover of the book, but I inverted the colours because I like drawing sunsets)

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