Literature what I think

WHAT IS IT FOR ME?

I never thought about how literature influences my life. The first thing that I think about when someone says "literature" is an old book some ruined with yellowed pages, I can also smell the aroma of hot chocolate and cookies. When I think to literature I imagine new worlds to discover and new place to visit with my mind. Books tell stories, not the only that is written on the pages but also we can understand why the author prefers to speak about some topics instead of others. I think that literature is everywhere in our life: we are always surrounded by lines from famous poems and books.

THE BENEFITS OF STUDYING LITERATURE

I think that by studying literature we cannot only learning about the life of the authors, but also we can discover something new about the period and the culture of different populations. The literature's power is to bring you in every place in and out of the world, in any eras, in the past and in the future, and the only things you have to do to start this journey is to open the book and start to read. Personally, I think that the best thing that can happen when you are reading a book is feeling immediately part of the story and not only a reader. I know that we are obliged to study it, but this can be also an occasion to express and comparing ourselves with the ideas that are expressed by the author. The best part of literature is that there are no limits, this is the freest way of expression: there are not right or wrong thoughts, they are just thoughts! You can write about what you want and no one can tell you that what you think is wrong, so we have not to judge the way of thinking of someone, we have only to analyze which are our ideas.

GEOFFREY CHAUCER

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343 in London and he was a member of the middle class. He traveled around Europe with the court of the Edward III's son, especially in France and Italy. This journey influenced his writes: we can distinguish three periods in his way of writing, the French, the Italian and the English periods. In the last period he started to write his major poem: the Canterbury Tales. He is the first poet to be buried in the poet's corner in Westminster Abbey.

THE CANTERBURY TALES

This is a poem about 30 people (one is Chaucer himself) that are going on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket in the cathedral of Canterbury. They first meet in the Tabard Inn in London and the host proposes that every pilgrim should tell two stories, one going to Canterbury and the other coming back. Chaucer died before finished the opus, so we have only 24 tales and the prologue. The characters represent the portrait of the English society of that time, there are: members of the clergy, women, merchants, representative of the feudal and middle class society.

During class we read some tales written in contemporary English: the prologue, where there is the description of all the characters, and the first tale that is the one of the Wife of Bath. We also read the description of the Prioress and the Merchant, but the one I liked most is the Wife of Bath.

THE WIFE OF BATH

I really enjoyed in which way the author use the irony and the fickleness to talk about the way of life of the woman. Besides I really liked the tale of the Wife of Bath and the main message is that every woman wants to be free. I think that this tale represents also the modern society: today lots of organizations fight for the women's rights. Nowadays is discussing on the themes of abortion, civil rights... Some people think that changing the things could lead to disorder. Personally, I think that everyone must be free to choose what is the best for him. Certainly Chaucer was not thinking about that when he wrote this tale but this demostrates how medieval literature can be adapted to nowadays.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 April 1564; he was the son of a Glover. He frequented the Grammar school during the Elizabethan period; when he was 18 he married Anne Hathaway that was 26 and they had one son and two daughters. In 1592, he moved to London where he started theatre's production. He died in 1616 in London.

SONNETS

Shakespeare wrote many sonnets, they follow a common scheme: three quatrains (ABBA, CDDC, EFFE) and a couplet (GG). During classes we read three sonnets: "My mistress'eyes", "Shall I compare thee" and "Like as the waves".

MY MISTRESS' EYES

It is about a woman that is not the most beautiful girl in the world but the writer is in love with her and his love is such rare as the one of the people that say that their girl is so perfect. I really like this sonnet because most of the people, when they are in love, tend to see their lover has he is perfect, forgetting that he has defects as everyone else.

SHALL I COMPARE THEE

The main theme is the immortality of the arts, in particular of the poetry. I never thought how everything can be mortal unless the men decide to make it immortal, by handing it through the centuries; we have this power and we have not to forget it. This proves that we can make the difference, by diffusing what we think is important for the mankind.

LIKE AS THE WAVES

It is about the passing of time and how our lives are so short and this is compare to the ocean waves rushing towards the shore. This makes me think that we do not have time to be sad or angry, we have to enjoy every single second of our life, also when we think that we are touching the bottom because we can get up again and again. We have to do what makes us feel good because we do not know what can happen later.

HAMLET

This is the story of the prince of Denmark, Hamlet; the ghost of his father, who was killed by his brother Claudius, asks to Hamlet to revenge him, but this brings the protagonist to the madness. During class we read three acts from the opus: "Hamlet meets the ghost", "To be or not to be" and "Ha! Have you eyes?".The first one conveys the hard relationship between father and son: the ghost does not know the nature of his son, so he imposes him something that he could never do alone. In the second text, the main theme is the fight between life and death. The third "Ha! Have you eyes?" is the conversation between Hamlet and his mother where he tries to explain her the differences between his father and Claudius.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

My favorite part is "To be or not to be" because lots of times I heard this period but I never thought about what it really means. Hamlet thinks about how our lives are marked by pain, injustice, unrequited love and, with the suicide, we can stop all of them, but, as the ghost said, we do not know what there is after the death and it can be worst or better than life. As Hamlet, I do not think that the suicide is an act of cowardice because we do not know what will happen next, but this does not mean that the suicide can solve our problem, we have to help who is thinking to make this choice.

ROMEO AND JULIET

This is the story of two lovers that are the members of families struggling from a long time. Romeo is a Montague and Juliet is a Capulet; this long standing quarrel ends because of the death of the two protagonists. In this opus the fait plays a main role: everything is dictated by it (the meeting with Tybalt, the letter that does not arrive in time to inform Romeo of Friar Laurence’s plan…) and it also determinates the tragic end of the two lovers.

In class we analyzed some parts of the poem, but I did not really like this story. I think that is unrealistic that two people could falling in love in just a night and the day after get married. We often associate the Romeo and Juliet’s story with the kind of love that everyone wants, but we forget how the story ends; are we sure that we want to live a love story where the two lovers die? The two protagonists are young and impulsive and this are the consequences of their action: they do not reflect enough of what will be the results of their choices.

THE BALCONY SCENE

This is the most famous scene of all Shakespearian opuses. In this scene, Romeo is declaring is love for Juliet while he is looking at her when she is doing the same thing in his regards. Juliet is also reflecting about the relevance of a name: is not a name to define someone, like the rose that would have the same perfume though it had a different name. When she becomes aware of the facts that Romeo is watching her, they start to declare their love to each others. The conversation that they have is unrealistic: Juliet is only thirteen and she acts as if she was much older; Romeo instead represents the courtly love (he uses lots of similes and hyperbolas) and he uses a language that is very different from his behavior. They cannot see the reality: they think that their love his so powerful that it could overcome the feud between the two families.

MACBETH

This is the story of a soldier that becomes the king of Scotland. He is a tragic hero, at the beginning he is a valorous knight and in the end of the play his ambitions put him against everyone.

Lady Macbeth plays a very important role: she convinces her husband to kill the king and his best friend; in the first part of the play she is calm but in the second part she becomes mad and she starts to walk in the middle of the night in the castle: she is obsessed with the murders that she obliged his husband to commit. For the following reasons, she is my favorite character: she is not an ordinary woman, she is not subject to his husband, she takes a position, she has ambitions. Lady Macbeth is a strong woman: she guides his husband when he commits the murders, she tells him what to do and she is not scarred to give him orders. Shakespeare underlines that humans cannot stand in front of a murder without have any reactions; this also happens to Lady Macbeth that becomes mad and she kills herself. I really appreciate the psychological aspects of this play.

THE THREE WITCHES

This is the opening scene of the play where the three witches predict Macbeth’s future. I really like this passage because in just a few lines we can know that something bad will happen in the opus.

In class we did not analyze the meeting between the witches and Macbeth, so I looked for it and I found this video that is like I imagine how things have happened. I think that starting a play in this way is unusual also nowadays: in the first act are usually presented most of the characters, but here we have a prophecy that will influence the behavior of all the main characters.

The “real witch” is the wife of Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) that knows deeply his husband and she can manipulate him and his actions. In my opinion this play has more psychological aspects than the others and, probably, this is the reason why I liked it very much.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

This play has two plots: the main plot is about the two merchant Shylock and Antonio and the subplot is about the love story of Bassanio and Portia and the other of Shylock’s daughter Jessica and Lorenzo. Shylock is a Jewish and Antonio is a Christian and they are both money lenders; the main difference between the two of them is that Antonio lends money for free.

For the complex plot and for the behavior of the characters, this is the play that I liked less. There is not a character that I really like, I like some of them when they do something that I think is good but I do not have a particular feeling with any of them. In my opinion the complexity of the plot distracts from the main themes of the play.

I AM A JEW

I really appreciate how Shakespeare can be so contemporary so long ago. Also today we always we hear of discriminations and racism and we might think that these themes are new but we are wrong. In this passage we can become aware of the ideas of who is usually discriminated: everyone wants to be happy in his life and to have the same opportunities and wrights of the others.

MARY SHELLEY "FRANKESTEIN"

THE BOOK

In my life I heard of the story of Frankenstein, but I had never read that until our teacher gave us this book to read for the summer. What I knew before starting reading the book was only that the monster was created by a scientist assembling parts of the body of dead people. I did not except that the story was so complex and I really liked it. I had no totally any idea of the reasons why the scientist wanted to create a human being and when I became aware of his story I was surprised because they were unexpected.

An aspect that I find really interesting is that Victor is so focused on what is creating that he does not think about the consequences that will happen when the creature will be alive. I think that this can also happen to us nowadays when we focus on something but we do not think about the consequences. Another aspect that we can relate to contemporary time is that sometimes we cannot accept that we cannot do something and so we start to do something that can be consider immoral just because we cannot accept our limits.

This book made me think about how the human beings always need to discover something new, something that no one had the bravery to explore… we are always trying to go beyond the limits. We do not want to stop our need of knowledge: all our actions are aimed at expanding our knowledge.

THE FILM

I choose the film adaptation of the book “Frankenstein of Mary Shelley” directed by Kenneth Branagh and realized in 1994. The striking changes between the book and the film are the presence of some scene that are not described in the book and the absence of some parts of it. In the film adaptation Frankenstein brings back to life Elizabeth but she burns herself because she does not want to be like the monster. In the film there is not the murder of Frankenstein’s best friend and his stay in Ireland.

The setting and the time of the film is faithful to the book: it is set in the 1794 and the places where Victor sets his story are: Geneva, Ingolstadt and the family home.

The soundtrack makes the narration more involving and, in my opinion, it emphasizes the feelings of the characters.

The camera is most focused on the close-up of the characters and it rarely frames the open spaces.

STEPHEN CHOBOSKY "THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER"

THE BOOK

I really enjoyed reading this book: this story was really involving and I could not stop to read it. The protagonist, Charlie, is very clever and very emotional and this are two of the reasons why he was my favorite character. The quotations that are above are the ones that, in my opinion, are the most significant of the whole book.

We accept the love we think we deserve

This quotation is really interesting because I think this is definitely true: sometimes we accept someone because we think that we cannot have anything better and this do not make us fully happy. Maybe sometimes we have only to try to find happiness and do not think if we deserve it, because maybe we have done something that was important for someone and we do not know it.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite

This is my favorite quotation of the entire book. A couple of time happened to me as well and in those moments I felt as powerful as I could do everything I wanted. You feel like you are part of something important and, in my opinion, this is fantastic.

I would die for you, but I won't live for you

I agree with Charlie when I said that in his opinion this quotation means that everyone has to live his own life and share it with the others but do not live their life. This is a very difficult quotation to be interpreted but I think that his meaning is definitely true.

THE FILM

Between the film adaptation and the book there are some differences.

In the book:

  • Charlie speaks more about his family (in particular of his brother and his sister's boyfriend);
  • Charlie speaks more about his feeling and he cries many times;
  • the relationship between Charlie and his teacher is different: Charlie goes to his teacher's house and they have more confronting;
  • Charlie's sister leaves his boyfriend not being obliged by her parents
  • Charlie does not start again to go the psychologist;
  • Charlie smokes

In the film:

  • there are more points of view
  • Brad and Patrick fight in the school's canteen
  • the English teacher is married

Between the book and the film adaptation, I preferred the book because I could understand better Charlie’s feelings for Sam and his thoughts about what was happening around him.

SHELLEY,KEATS,BYRON

"I RAGAZZI CHE AMAVANO IL VENTO"

SHELLEY

I really liked his poems in particular the one “Evening: Ponte al mare, Pisa”; in this poem everything is calm, there are not striking changing in passing from day to night. The surface of the river changes and the shimmering of the city moves with it, but the city does not change, it is motionless. This poem make me feel calm and serene and it makes me think about how everything on our life is so muddled that we have not time to stop and watch the fantastic things that we have around us.

The author makes often references to the natural world, describing the serene country side and the huge cliffs of the Italian territory. Everything is a bit nostalgic and the author appears to looking for freedom and serenity.

KEATS

My favorite Keats’s sonnet is “Sonnet to Sleep” because he describes the sleeping as something that makes you do not think about the bad things that happened during the day. The sleeping makes you escape from your responsibilities but they return when in the morning the sun rises again. In this poem the sleeping can be also the moment when past events return in your mind and, for this reason, the author asks to the sleep to “seal the hushed casket of my soul”.

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT, OLD AGE SHOULD BURN AND RAVE AT CLOSE OF DAY; RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT. THOUGH WISE MEN AT THEIR END KNOW DARK IS RIGHT, BECAUSE THEIR WORDS HAD FORKED NO LIGHTNING THEY DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT. - DYLAN THOMAS

From the poems read it seems that the author wants to alienate himself and to find more freedom.

BYRON

I liked the parts of the two poems that I read, but there is not one that I liked most. In every poems the author describes with meticulousness the details of the place. The nature has a central role in his poems, it is described in every aspects and in every scene it seems to be more important of what is happening.

THE DNA JOURNEY

I chose this video because I was curious by its title: I thought that it could be something related to the discover of something new in the DNA and I was for some aspects right. While I was watching the video I was surprised because I did not except that it was possible to discover to many things only through the DNA. It is incredible that you can discover where your ancestors were from until 2 thousand years ago!

This video made me think a lot. It is so incredible that two people that live in two different places and have different cultures share an ancestor. The protagonist of this video sais at the very begging that she hates the Turks, not the people but the government, and then the results show that she is more than three quarter from Iran/ Caucasus and that means she is in part Turk. This results show that the Turks, who persecuted the Kurds, were persecuting people that could have their same origins, with the same ancestors. This make think! All the wars that the men have done to impose a “race”, if for me they had no sense before, now they are definitely totally crazy! The so-called “pure-races” are just an invention because we are the result of many unions of very different people with different origins.

We share our lifestyle, way of thinking, customs and traditions with people that could have a very different ethnic mix from ours, and maybe we discriminate someone that could look very different from us but that have a very similar ethnic mix to ours.

WALL OF PEACE-BELFAST

This summer I went to Ireland and I had a trip to Belfast where I discovered the conflict between Protestants and Catholics. In the 1969 the authorities did build a wall, called “wall of peace”, to divide them in order to avoid the bloodshed, but this was not enough to stop them: until the 1998 Protestants and Catholics massacred each other and only with the Belfast Agreement the armed struggle ends. Today the wall still exist to maintain the peace, but I the last years there were many attacks between the two communities. I think that nowadays this is unacceptable, after all the wars, after all the walls that have been break, we still to construct new ones.

After watching this video, I thought about what I saw in Belfast and how people, that maybe are so similar and have just few differences, fight against each other. I think that is a very important theme and all the people, in particular the ones of my age, should be aware of what is happening in a country that we consider one of the most evolved in the human rights. People should know about the walls that nowadays (we are in the 2017!!!) are built to divide people because they cannot get along and accept their differences.

Murals in the Protestant area

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