I am an avid reader of all genres of literature. My favorite authors include: Woolf, Steinbeck, Langland, Donne, Faulkner, and Eliot. My goal is to become a fluent writer.
Can You Teach Someone How To Become a Writer?
I have recently been faced with this question and I find that my response is not as black and white as I had originally supposed. Yes, you can teach someone the fundamental aspects of writing: thesis, introductory paragraph, syntax, diction, body paragraphs, topic sentences per paragraph, and a conclusion. But what about teaching someone to think like a writer? The love/hate relationship with writing that leaves one elated or deflated? Do you believe being a good writer is an innate gift, or something that can solely be taught? I do understand that some people need to be pushed to realize they do have the gift for writing, but what if it is not there, can it be induced?
Are We Desensitized to Human Deaths on the Screen while Traumatized by Animal Brutality?
Do you notice how a movie can feature one death after another and there is not one shriek from a member of the audience until the killing of an animal occurs? Why does the audience accept the loss of human life yet become upset and unsettled when a dog is shot to death? Is it a matter of innocence? The animal lacking the same mental faculties as the human and therefore placing it in an inferior, and therefore more sympathetic position? This is a phenomenon I have witnessed countless times across a number of different audiences, and I, too, have the exact same reaction. Another interesting aspect is when the victim is an infant or young child, though still in the process of development, clearly superior to a dog, but still conjuring a higher level of sympathy. This leads back to my prior questions: is this a matter of inferiority? A matter of innocence? Please discuss whether or not you have witnessed similar reactions and what is your thinking behind this disparate response?
Are Audiobooks a Lazy form of "Reading?"
I recently read an article in which a woman was complaining about constantly having to defend herself for listening to audiobooks. People would accuse her of being "lazy," or "cheating." Sadly, this said person had brain surgery 5 years ago that left her eye sight greatly diminished and reading had become a difficult process, and audiobooks her salvation. Where do you weigh in on this argument–just skim through the internet as those for and against audiobooks take great pride in stating their stance–and why is it even necessary to discuss one’s "reading" habits? Is this a form of prejudice? Why should individuals feel the need to defend themselves? When did the format of reading–though it has been occurring on the e-reader versus paper platform for many years–become such a volatile topic?
The Night Of..What Exactly is the Overall Message of the Series?
The Night of is currently airing on HBO as an miniseries consisting of 8 parts, but due to the successful following there are now talks–similar to what happened with True Detective–to now having a 2nd season. The miniseries, which began talks in 2012, with the late James Gandolfini slated to star, is based on the BBC miniseries Criminal Justices (2008-2009). The series follows the events of a young american-pakistani’s night out, and the repercussions that occur following the events of this night that, as conveyed to the audience, are a blur. Numerous themes are explored adding to the multitude of audiences responding to the series, ranging from racial prejudices, problems with the judicial system, economic hardships, and questions of morality as well as ethical responsibilities.What theme do you believe resonates most with audiences that is making this series such an overnight success? And if you are able to pinpoint one specific theme, please explain how it is able to resonate with a vast multitude of varying audience members.
Bruegel the Elder’s painting depicts the famous passage from Book VIII of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Daedalus, the father of Icarus, provides his son with feathered wings, glued together, and warns him not to fly to close to the sun, for he will be burned, and not to fly to close to the water, for he will drown. The boy does not listen; flies too high; the glue begins to melt; and he plummets to the water in which he drowns. The moral can be understood as moderation as the key to living a successful and fruitful life.
Confessions of a Book Snob
I refer to myself as a book snob due to having such a difficult time approaching contemporary literature. I tend to stay in the realm of the classical cannon, Medieval Literature, and only "contemporary" authors–Pynchon, Foster, DeLillo–who I know are phenomenal and up to my standard of expectation. I bring up this topic because yesterday I finally purchased The Girl on the Train. It has taken me a year to make this purchase, every time placing the book down, and telling myself I won’t like it, but then falling trap to all of the conversations surrounding the book (then again Fifty Shades of Grey was constantly spoken of!). We tend to discuss the decline in film, but what about the decline in literature? Am I a book snob, or am I accepting the painful reality that there really aren’t many good contemporary reads available? Does anyone else feel this way? Disagree, and provide numerous examples that will have me copying down the list and enthusiastically ordering contemporary books.
Breaking Bad: A Television Series Leaving Viewers Questioning the Meaning Behind it All.
Though the television series Breaking Bad has been discussed numerous times on this platform, a conversation that has yet to be broached is the amount of symbolism, allusions, and "clues," the creator, Vince Gilligan provides throughout the series. For example…In season 3 episode 7, "One Minute," the time on the dashboard is 3:07. At the same time, Hank gets a call that he has one minute, as two men are on the way to kill him. 3 7=10, or let’s look at it as one minute. Also, the episode is from season 3, episode 7–same time displayed on the dashboard. Lastly, the room number of Skylar’s room when giving birth to Holly is 307. All of these connections are intricately woven by the creator.
Other examples for discussion: the constant mentions of Icarus, The Godfather and Scarface references, the similarities between Hank (ASAC) and Ahab from Moby Dick, The meaning behind the title of the series finale, "Felina," (hint, think periodic table of elements and cooking meth; also a few other possibilities), etc. There are numerous connections and allusions, from episode titles that allude to popular movies, to songs, providing the missing puzzle pieces.
What does it all mean? It must be important or else why would the creator take great time to intricately weave every single element of the series together. Questions to consider: Why does Walt begin cutting off the crust on his sandwiches?, Look at the wardrobe evolution of characters, consider the episode title, "Grey Matter," etc. The possibilities are endless….let the explorations begin!!!
Middlemarch: The Greatest Novel Ever Written?
We have grown quite used to seeing numerous lists ranking books, movies, and television: "The best television shows of all time," "The worst series finale of all time," "The best books ever written," "The top movies of all time." They are fun to read, and at times infuriating when you disagree. As for Middlemarch (1871), written by George Eliot, there has yet to be a list in which this novel is not included, or even at the top of the list. Yet, so many people are quick to say, "I’ve never read Middlemarch." What makes this novel immensely appealing to a wide range of individuals, critics, avid readers, and literary theorists? Why are there so many readers who have yet to tackle this novel consistently noted as one of–if not the–best novels ever written? Is it the size of this novel? Could it be the fact that people are so tired of Victorian Literature, which has constantly been viewed as "a one size fits all," style of writing? Is Middlemarch really the greatest, or just another example of an over-hyped medium of art?
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