LITERATURE

Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are our most powerful weapons. MALALa

Geoffrey Chaucer

I really liked "The Canterbury Tales" because I enjoy this type of poem, in which you can read each story separated from the other but you can understand them anyway. The only thing that made me feel angry is that he hadn't had the possibility to finish his work, so the poem is incomplete. I'd really like to know how it would end.

The best character for me is The wife of Bath, because she is very histrionic and she is an intricated but beautiful character.

Her story is the only one I read, but I found it very interesting and peculiar. I have thought a lot about the question that the Queen Guenevere asked to the knight: "What is it that women most desire?". His answer was freedom, and I think that this is a good answer, but I haven't found my own yet.

William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan age

I was very surprised by the fact that even today we use so many words in english coined by Shakespeare and we don't realize that. Some of my favourite:

If you have slept not one wink
It's greek to me
More in sorrow than in anger

One of the activities that I didn't really like was the creation of new swear words, because I don't like them and I don't use them even in Italian. Instead, I really enjoyed reading the sonnets of Shakespeare. But before them, we have studied the age in which Shakespeare lived, to understand better the situations described by his works.

The Armada Portrait

I think that Queen Elizabeth I has been a great ruler. She had the temperament that a good leader must have. She faced a lot of complicated situation but she overcame them.

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend. Nativity, once in the main of light, Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d, Crooked elipses ’gainst his glory fight, And Time that gave doth now his gift confound. Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow, Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth, And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow: And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand, Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

My favorite sonnet (among those that we have read) is "Like as the waves". The meaning of that poetry is that time is responsible for the down fall of men, but the only thing that is immortal is art. To be remembered in the future, we have to leave a mark, that could be a painting as much as a writing.

Hamlet

We finally arrived to the plays of Shakespeare. We esaminated some acts of Hamlet and I am so fascinated by the imagination that the writer had to think about this play. The only thing that I knew before about this work of Shakespeare was the famous line

to be or not to be: that is the question

But I found that Hamlet is more interesting than that. I really liked the figure of the ghost, because he is plenty of contraddictions. He wants his son to be understanding and kind with his mother, the queen, although she had betrayed him; but at the same time, if he hadn't asked Hamlet to revenge him, his son would not have died. I also enjoyed the topics covered by the tragedy, in particular the theme of madness. Throughout all the play, we don't understand if Hamlet is truly insane or he is pretending to be mad. On one hand he is very upset of his mother and he acts cruely against her; on the other hand he prepares his revenge minutely.

I searched informations about the character of Ophelia, because I was fascinated by her but she isn't one of the main character. She is between two contraddictions: her brother and her father believe that Hamlet would use her but her heart tell her the opposite: she is deeply in love with Hamlet. This dilemma forces her into madness.

romeo and jUliet

The fame of this play is so big that it induces milion of people every year to go to Verona to see the famous balcony. In fact Verona is denominated the "city of love" due to the high reputation given by the tragedy. The main theme, as a matter of fact, is love and passion. As a romantic person, I found this play very involving and peculiar. It shows the strenght of love, that can overcome quite everything (except the death). The scene of the kiss is something ethereal

thus with a kiss I die

I particularly appreciated the important role of time and, accordingly, of fate. If only Romeo had hesitated to kill himself, they would have lived their love story happily. Sometimes I thought about a different ending, where the two lovers get married and they reconcile their families, but I think that this conclusion hasn't the pathos of the Shakespeare's one.

I've seen some scenes of the movie "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes but I didn't like it so I don't recommend it because I didn't like the way they staged the tragedy.

macbeth

Thought I don't like blood and violence, I found this tragedy amazing! The plot is intricate but is also readable. I loved the way the two spouses interact with each other ( it seems that in the couple the man is Lady Macbeth). As you could understand, my favorite character is surely Lady Macbeth. She is a round character and she is quite the devil incarnate. She is like the queens in the Disney's stories. She's the one who spurs on her husband to kill the king and she treats him like a puppet. It is a foregone conclusion that in the end she become mad.

The play starts with the prophecy of the three witches; I believe that this is an innovative way to begin a play. Nothing would have happened without their presence; they are the reason why everything follows because they put many questions into the head of Macbeth, that make him become suspicious.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air.

the merchant of venice

This play is a bit different from the others because there are some topics that are predominantly characteristic of this work, as religion and business. There is the contraposition between Cristians and Jews and surely we can notice that Shakespeare favors the first, but there is a passage that I love where is possible to feel, to understand equality. It makes me understand that at the end of all we are all human beings, no matter which God we believe in or even if we believe in someone; I think that this concept would make a big difference if only everyone realizes that.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

This was the last Shakespear's play that we have analyzed in class and so now I have a complete idea about who he was and what he thought. I think that Shakespeare is the backbone of english literature and you must read his plays in order to read and understand contemporary authors.

"THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER"

Stephen Chbosky

THE BOOK

I really loved this book, even because it can be classified in my favorite genre of books. The story is involving and the book is so page-turner! I liked so much the personal growth of the protagonist, but my favorite character remains Patrick: he is funny but he can also be wise when needed. I also appreciated the ending, because it isn't a commonplace final, but it lets you imagine the development of the main character in the future. I also found the choice of writing the book in the form of letters very interesting and innovative. There are many quotes from the book that are highly significative

We accept the love we think we deserve

This is a sad quote from the book because it shows that sometimes we tend to understimate ourself. I believe that in love there are no rules, so the most handsome and kind man can fall in love with the less beautiful and pretty woman, but this doesn't mean the the girl mustn't accept his love. On the contrary, we mustn't accept the false love of someone that doesn't love us only because we think that this is the best we can ever have. Love is love, and this is all.

enjoy it, because it's happening

This extract reminds me about another film, that is "Dead Poets Society", and its most famous quotation "carpe diem". I think that when something beautiful happens to us, we can't think that it won't happen again, instead we must live the moment, or we will regret it.

It's strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book

Since I am a teenager, I have identified myself in the events that the characters experience. While I was reading the book I had also listened to the songs that Charlie loves. There is a song that is the most repeated in all the book: Asleep by the Smith. I believe that listen to the songs that the book suggests is useful for identifying better with the characters.

The title,"The perks of being a wallflower" reflects the nature of the protagonist: indeed, Charlie tends to listen more than talk, he doesn't do anything but he knows everything about everybody. The italian translation "Noi siamo infinito" derives from the scene of the tunnel, where Charlie said «And I swear in that moment we were infinite».

THE FILM

In the film adaptation there are many striking changes: the most visible is the ending. I preferred so much the final of the book because the one of the film is too commonplace. However it is plenty of other changes, as:

  • The role of the professor in the film adaptation is insignificant, instead in the book he is very important for the personal growth of Charlie. He is also married while in the novel he is only engaged
  • Another fundamental change can be seen in Charlie himself: at first, in the printed version, it seems that he has some sort of mental disease, instead in the movie he is only shy. Even the reason why he goes to the hospital is altered (and I found the one of the book more realistic). In the picture he doesn't smoke and he doesn't cry, whereas in the volume he does it a lot.
  • The relationship between Charlie's sister and her boyfriend is completely different in the two versions. In the publication she is forced to break up with him beause he slapped her while in the movie she leaves him on her own.

I appreciated in the film adaptation the shooting and the music that made the story more addictive. My favourite scene is clearly the one of the tunnel because you can feel the freedom that the characters are feeling.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

THE BOOK

Before reading the book, I had seen some scenes of the film "Frankenstein Junior", so I've been astonished by the reading, because the two stories are quite different. I knew by the movie that Frankestein was an aggregate of body parts created by a scientist who wanted to make life from death. The monster, however, scared the people and for that reason they wanted to kill him. Now that I've read the book I know that the story isn't exactly like that. As first thing I figured out that the name Frankenstein belonged to the scientist and creator of the monster Victor Frankenstein and not only to the monster himself. I also discovered that also in this book there is a love story (although it hasn't a happy ending). I found out that people were scared by the monster, but the only person who really wanted to kill him was Victor.

I really enjoyed this book because it is a classic but it's different from the books I'm used to read. I think that if this reading hadn't been a homework, I wouldn't have read the book but I'm glad I have done it. I really liked the fact that the novel doesn't start directly with the story of the horrible creature but it begin with an external point of view. I was also fascinated by the fact that the scientist created a monster without thinking about the consequences. Some people are so blinded by fame and success that they don't even think about what they are doing. At the beginning I felt sorry for Frankestein because he only wanted a friend, but surely afterwards he acted in a wrong way. This novel is plenty of deep meanings:

  • The happiness of a person it's given even only by the presence of a friend, a relative, in short of someone that takes care of him/her. If the monster had had a companion, he wouldn't have killed and scarred people.
  • The exterior appearance is very important in the mentality of people. A clear example is given by the blind old man, who is the only one that is not scared by Frankenstein and, on the contrary, wants to become a friend of the monster.
  • As I said before, another important theme covered by the book is the one of fame and success, that blind humans. Victor become even sick because of his stubbornness in ending the creation. It's typical of human beings to want to always discover something new without ever being satisfied

I believe that this topics are so actual because we are not capable to change that. We always say that we don't consider the appearance, but it's not true. There are still people that are discriminated for how they look and there will always be if we don't open our mind.

THE FILM

I saw the film: "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994) with Robert De Niro in the role of the monster. I liked this movie because it is coherent with the plot of the printed version. Actually, there were some scene that I didn't like because they were a bit digusting, but the film is about a monster, so it's natural. I enjoyed the sound effects and the music that have created a gloomy background and have added some mistery.

There aren't too stricking changes between the printed and the cinema version (as I said the film was more or less choerent with the book) but there are some parts of the novel that have been cut out from the movie, as the death of the best friend of Victor, Henry, and consequently the part of the prison, and some others that have been added, like when the scientist brings to life the dead body of his wife Elizabeth.

After all I've preferred the book (this is because I always prefer the printed version) but I really enjoyed also the movie, even though at first I was skeptical

i ragazzi che amavano il vento

P. B. Shelley, J. Keats, G. G. Byron

SHELLEY

He is my favourite among the three because I can feel the freedom that his works transmit. I love his poems because he makes you think about ordinary things in a different way, as in "The Cloud". I would never have thought about a cloud in the way he had written about it. I respect poets mostly because they see things from a different point of view.

My favourite is "To a Skylark": this piece of poetry is a sort of dialogue between the author and this skylark. Shelley makes the bird the most important thing and he compares it to many different significant figures. When I read this poem I thought that I would like to be this skylark and I believe that the biggest success of a poet is when someone identifies with the object of his scripts. This poem makes me feel light.

In the golden lightning of the sunken sun, o'er which clouds are bright'ning, thou dost float and run; like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun

KEATS

Among the three, he is the one that I like less, maybe because he hasn't wrote about something interesting for me and because his poem "Ode to a Nightingale", compared with the one of Shelley, was less involving. I found his works a bit stodgy. However, the poem that I like most among his is "Sonnet to Sleep". Keats asks to the sleep to come and to watch over him. It resembles a prayer to a distant god. The sleep is like the lifeline from the nightmares of the day.

save me from curious conscience, that still hoards its strength for darkness, burrowing like the mole

BYRON

I really liked his writing style and I found him really enjoyable and sometimes even funny because he wrote about the life of Venice at his time and now it is a bit different. I loved the way he wrote about his life because he is truthful and he use a lot of descriptions, so I've been able to immagine the places and the events. I also really liked the use of the rhyme scheme (ABCABCDD) because it has given musicality to the text. Clearly my favourite poem is "Beppo: A Venetian Story" but I really liked also "Don Juan" because the extract contained in the book was about a love story

A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth and love and beauty, all concentrating like rays into one focus, kindled from above

The earth's fall

As first I wanted to say that I love his videos: he makes people think about wat he is saying and he is very persuasive. But lets concentrate on the topic. This video made me feel in many different way: sad, angry and guilty. I agree with everything he says. Our Planet, little by little, is destroying, WE are destroying it. I felt so bad when he said that maybe future generations will not even know what trees are. They are what makes us alive; and what do we do for them? We cut them, we burn them, we kill whole forest because for us money are more important than air. There is a significant metaphore which impressed me a lot: we use nature like a credit card with no limits. This make me think that we believe that the Earth is ours and so we could do everything we want, but the truth is that if we continue like that, our children and grandchildren really risk to live in a horrible place. There is a strong statement that he says:

we have the nerve to call this distruction progress

There are a lot of people, important people, that avoid the problem. In this video there is the example of Sarah Palin: she thinks that is not a man fault what is happening to the globe

However, the effects can still be seen. Pollution is something we have to take care of: childrens in Beijing are forced to wear pollution mask just to go to school. We can't deny the evidences. We often blame politicians for not doing anything, but as he said "we are the roots, we are the foundation" and so it's up to us to do something.

we are not apart from nature, we are a part of nature

We often don't realize how much we owe to nature. We are always busy thinking about things that seem more important, but what is more important than the place that is our home? "We pay so much attention to Isis and very little to how fast the ice is melting in the Artic". Surely they are both important, but that is why we should find a solution for both and not procastinating the problem.

We can still fix the bad things that we have done during our permanence on the Earth because "an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it". At the end of his video he suggests to donate to an association which protects forests. But we can do something even in our daily life. When I was younger, in my elementary school, each component of the class planted a tree at the end of the five years; and this is a practice that still takes place today. But there are many other things that we can do to help our planet

But more than everything I found inspirational his latest statement:

whatever you are fighting for: racism or poverty, feminism, gay rights or any type of equality it won't matter in the least because if we all don't work together to save the environment we will be equally extinct

Another important theme that is significant for people of my age, for me, is the one of waste. We waste so many things, from food to water, from clothes to paper, only because for us they are superfluous but there are some people that would pay gold for what we have. But to us it is not enough, we want more and more. And then old things become boring and we throw them away.

We must think about poor people when we throw away some food only because we don't like it, or when we have a shower which lasts an hour. We are lucky even if we don't notice it!

Created By
Camilla Colanero
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library" • pixcarraldo - "wave sea sun" • HarryFabel - "verona balcony italy" • Michael Gwyther-Jones - "Venice" • taymtaym - "OKIMG_7711"

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