Friday, February 24, 2017

Week Seven: The Novel of Spiritual Education

Week Seven: The Novel of Spiritual Education

This week is really beautiful one, because my sister and I always loved reading Harry Potter, and it was really nice to be able to go back and grab that book and just let J.K. Rowling immerse me again in that fantasy world that makes me want to stay there forever. The author represents such an important part of most people's lives, I can't think of anyone from my life circle that has not been mesmerized by J.K. Rowling's fantastic storytelling.

I really enjoyed analyzing the main character, Harry, for this week's blog. As a person who is really interested in storytelling, I find it fascinating to analyze characters in depth and find out; what makes them memorable? What makes them likeable? In Harry Potter, Harry is the type of character that we do not expect much from, he is ordinary, he doesn't have a good family, he doesn't have much money, his parents are dead and he doesn't even have any friends in his life. Harry's life really couldn't go worse, and that's what makes the audience so happy when something is finally turning out good for him.

Another aspect that makes Harry likeable is his very genuine personality. His values are what drive the story forward, is what makes us care so much for him, because despite him being able to use the powers for the bad, he decides to use it for the good will. The fact that he didn't judge Ron for its cover when they first met on the train, and accepted him as friend also makes him likeable because he is presented as uncritical and humble. 

Also I really enjoyed watching in class the last scene of the Harry Potter 7th movie: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" because it really shows the characters finally going into puberty and developing in their unique ways. And that is perhaps the whole beauty of the book, that it allows us to stay seven years with these characters watching them grow up and see them mature. Something that is really captivating about that ending scene is how some character traits never change. Malfoy does not become best friend with Harry in the end, Harry does not change his personality, sure he has grown and learnt but he is not a different person, he is still that humble, believable character we first met in the first movie "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".

Friday, February 17, 2017

Week Six: A Rich Fantasy Life

Week Six: A Rich Fantasy Life

This week I got the chance to read "The Hobbit". Despite having watched the movie first, I really enjoyed this fantasy book. It is really easy to read, and moreso compared to the Lord of The Rings book. The Hobbit is a really relaxing read, and entertaining. It can be enjoyed by children and adults, since the way of writing is somewhat simple following the steps of J.K. Rowling.

Tolkien is really important in the world of the fantasy genre, since it pionnered a new style of content and writing. The Hobbit is really unique in the realm of world building, creating a world that allows the reader to really get absorbed by the beauty of these rich stories. But it never feels too much for the reader, because of how smart Tolkien presents every new element to us. 

This book is full of mystical creatures, which really trigger our imagination to unexpected places. From dwarves, to goblins, from wizards to elves, the Hobbit is by far a beautiful book that allow us to go on a journey with Bilbo to get back that stolen treasure, encountering creatures that will remain in our minds forever. 

One of the most interesting things about this book is that we can find our inner-Hobbit, or inner-child in it, despite our desire to have an easy, comfortable life, there is still always someone inside all of us that calls for adventure and journeys. That is one of the reasons why I think The Hobbit is such a memorable reading, because it touches your heart in a place where not most people are comfortable going, opening a topic that no one really wants to dive into, unless they are mentioned about it. The Hobbit awakens the inner-child you have inside, reminding you to enjoy the little adventures that life gives you and never lose that curiosity that makes life feel like a fantasy tale.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Week Five: Witches

Week Five: Witches

I am really excited to write about this week's topic: Witches! And it might be because in literature, witches portray very specific standards, for example being well known for representing the power of the female gender which is something really empowering to see. A witch represents powerful woman that have the ability to do things that normal people can't do. Witches are dominant and fearless, they represent the power of femininity, empowering all female readers that come across to the witch archetype.

For this week, I got the chance to read Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones and I also re-watched Kiki's Delivery Service as well. They both present beautiful and unique versions on how we portray witches, placing them as main characters, and protagonists of the story. 

On one hand, Jones portrayal of witches was really interesting. I really enjoyed how Aunt Maria doesn't really look like a witch, she looks like a normal old woman, human looking, and innocent. Also its important to say, that as well as Kiki, Aunt Maria is the protagonist of this novel, not the antagonist character like the Wicked Witch from the West in Wizard of Oz. What makes the novel frightening is that she is covering her power beneath her shell, she appears to be helpless and really destroyed physically while making others do what she wishes.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed re-watching Kiki's Delivery Service. Studio Ghibli always manages to immerse me in their unique worlds, with their magical storytelling. I got transferred to a world where the stereotype of the "evil witch", as being malicious, is replaced by a much more unique and fun setting where all Kiki wants to do is to find a use to her power, to be normal and use her abilities for the good will. Kiki has lot of power but she doesn't know it yet, and is through the progression of the movie that the author manages to empower the character and make them go on a journey to find their purpose in life and herself.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week Four: The New Weird

Week Four: The New Weird

This week's topic is really interesting for me, because it is really different from what we've read before. These stories present weird element, that are immediately perceived by the readers. The idea of the New Weird is to combine the supernatural and the bizarre, and it's the mix between reality and weird imagination is what makes the audience submerge quickly into the reading.

Krakken and Three Moments of an Explosion are two examples of China MiĆ©ville's work. To start with, I really enjoyed how simple and short the stories from Three Moments of Explosions were, and how much the author can leave an impact on you in such a short amount of time. Related to last week's post, I really love the idea of allowing the readers to solve things for themselves, I like that the author does not say everything to the reader, but allows him/her to solve the puzzle and as a result they become active in the reading of the story. 
Furthermore, as for Krakken, I really enjoyed the reading, as it combines really interesting subjects like magic, science, and religion. China MiĆ©ville work is amazing, it sometimes makes you feel really confused, and this idea of confusion is something that makes this genre so important and unique. 

We as readers are meant to feel awkward and startled while reading this weird genre. There is lot of mystery and puzzlement in Mieville's work that makes the stories so provocative, exciting and intriguing. The author gives us a new way of seeing things, which we might think its weird at first, but they become more and more fascinating the more in depth you become with this genre. I really enjoyed opening my way of thinking by reading these stories and really appreciate the wonders that writing can bring to one person's life. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Week Three: Asian Horrors: Vengeful Spirits

Week Three: Asian Horrors: Vengeful Spirits

Murakami's work is really figurative and methaporical, seeming sometimes nonexistent. He wants the reader to be actively thinking and figuring things out, like a puzzle. Murakami's work is very specific for combining the real with the surreal, the conciousness with the subconciousness.

Furthermore, this week's reading was A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami, and by reading it I could see that everything the characters are chasing after is really a metaphor, and that something, seems really hard to grab. This is one of the reasons I love Asian literature, because of the ability that the authors have to leave the reader with some sort of uncertainty, making them feel and connect on a level that feels really personal. Asian literature "forces" you to think about what you are reading and forces you to connect you with your own personal experiences in order to truly get a message out of it. This makes the readers connect on a deeper level to the piece, making them more intellectual as well because he leaves the audience the possibility of creating their own idea of what the characters might be chasing.

Finally, reading Kwaidan stories was a really nice but different experience. Despite the differences between Western and Asian horror, they both include the personificaion of ghosts,  but the difference is that in the Kwaidan stories the author goes back to the roots and tradition of the culture, yet in Western horror not so much.What is interesting about the Kwaidan is that the author is slowly trying to immerge you into the story, and it might take you some time to really see the horror, but as the stories keep developing it becomes more and more disturbing, as uncertain elements appear in the reading.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week Two: Vampire: Love and Pain

Week Two: Vampire: Love and Pain

I really enjoyed this week's class discussion as we found that despite vampire presenting characteristics like darkness, evil and blood, they still have the ability to attract both readers and characters. Vampires are really well known among the horror literature reading community by their constant pale skin, their need for blood, their pointy fangs and their need to feed the life of people in some way or the other. Yet, Ann Rice created a vampire very different from the first generation of vampires that ever appeared on reading.

She indeed wanted the audience to discover a different way of perceiving vampires. She introduced the idea of vampires having a pursue of love and happiness instead of only wanting blood and death. Ann created a type of vampire that despite having the characteristics of the vampire,they are still able to have human emotions. It is interesting how the author introduced a new way of seeing horror literature, as she reminds us that although vampires have an evil nature, they also desire things like lust and romance.

Anne Rice takes the folklore of the vampire and transforms it for the modern audience. Previous versions of vampires, always saw the vampire as a creatures who only seek for blood and no one really cared what was their past. Thanks to Interview with a Vampire, Ann Rice allowed us to change our mindset, thinking of vampires as no longer creatures, but as characters who represents someone. What is more, he way she portrays sexuality, is not through very gore imagery, but instead with something more sensual and intimate, imitating how humans would perceive sensual experiences. 

Something very important to point out is also the introduction of the heroic vampire, since now the vampire have become the victim. the ones that needs to survive in this condition surrounded by people that don't understand them. It's very interesting how the audience positively reacts to this type of vampire, and I think it is mostly because in modern era, the readers are more welcoming to the different and unusual types, than readers from the past.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Week One: Beginning with Frankenstein

Week One: Beginning with Frankenstein

One of the most important components of Gothic on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is the element of the supernatural. Frankenstein’s creation, is one element that the author choses to represent the Gothic genre. The presence of the dark aspects of life and the fact that Frankenstein himself was created during nighttime reinforces the Goth genre as well.

After the creation of Frankenstein, Victor has a dream that foreshadows Elizabeth’s death. The element of dream is also a common component of Gothic novels, which serves to clarify the monster’s murder of Elizabeth. The dream that becomes reality, is a consequence of the rejection society had of his creation.

Another main characteristic of Goth present in Shelley’s writing is the constant threatening that the main character goes through. Danger is everywhere, the monster is an agent of rage, an instrument of revenge. He resents his creator for rejecting him at birth and abandoning him to the cruelty of the human race. He blames Victor for leaving him lonely and isolated when he was actually born with a loving heart.

Family drama is also an element present in gothic literature, the threat of destroying a family’s happiness or its union. Due to Victor’s reject of creating a mate for the monster, the creature realizes that he will never be accepted into a family. That is the reason why he swears his vengeance to Victor and his loved ones, killing not only Victor’s young brother and his best friend, but also the love of his life, Elizabeth.