Friday, October 12, 2012

Poems of William Shakespeare

After hearing a lot about William Shakespeare and his works that were supposedly literary masterpieces, so I decided to form my own opinion of his poems. Thus, I am able to confirm that William Shakespeare is undoubtedly a literary artist, his pieces so impeccable that I could barely tear myself from them. The poems I have read include "Over Hill, Over Dale," "All the World's a Stage," "Blow, Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind," "Some Say that Ever 'Gainst That Season Comes," "To Be or Not to Be," "Oh My Offence is Rank,"  "How All Occasions Do Inform Against Me," "One More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends,"  "Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks!"  and "The Merciless Macdonwald." These poems are all found in Shakespeare plays and this provoked my fascination as I enjoy theatre. Admittedly, the Old English found in these poems confused me and I had to self-monitor in order to maintain my grasp on understanding of the poems. However, I managed to form a basic understanding of each piece through inferring and the use of my prior knowledge to find definitions for the words I had not previously encountered.

I would like to comment on the fact that that almost none of these pieces contain topics that are highly inappropriate yet they are highly enjoyable. The language is crafted beautifully in a way that is foreign to typical modern society, yet ingenious and packed with assisting language features. One of the most frequent parts of speech used in these poems is the metaphor; I have enjoyed inferring the meanings of phrases such as "My thoughts be bloody" and "villainies of nature."

Another wonderful aspect of the poems I have read is that not one is a repetition of another; they are each unique with their own meanings. Many are very philosophical, such as "All the World's a Stage," and I would recommend all these poems to anyone who enjoys contemplation - or simply nice poems.
As You Like It - All the World's a Stage

This Shakespeare poem is very thought-provoking. It presents life from a different view: a stage where each human is an actor with a role to play. Shakespeare outlines here that several "actors" have to adopt many roles throughout their lives - examples including infant, schoolboy and soldier. I have identified several metaphors in the poem through self-monitoring and have noticed that these metaphors create a philosophical literary "atmosphere" for the piece. I was able to visualise the happenings of the poem as they were so intricately described with the frequent use of adjectives. This poem is very innocent yet quite different from Shakespeare's other poems, causing me to look forward to reading more Shakespeare poems.
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Over Hill, Over Dale

I have now read the poem "Over Hill, Over Dale" from William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I have found Shakespeare's ability to rhyme so accurately remarkable and have enlarged my vocabulary greatly while reading this piece. I have also developed a fascination for Old English (which is used within the poem) and intend to study how it has evolved to the English that the larger part of society uses today. This poem displays the artistic talent of the poet and is so innocent that it is suitable for all ages, although one would want to be capable of fully comprehending the poem - an ability that may be obtained at a certain age.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Sister's Keeper
Never has a book triggered so much emotion from me the way Jodi Picoult's beautiful novel, "My Sister's Keeper," did. I must admit, upon starting the book I could not decide whether I liked it or not but as I continued to turn the pages, the beauty in the plot became visible and in the last few action-packed pages that simply brought me to tears, I made up my mind that "My Sister's Keeper" is painfully amazing.

I mentioned in my previous blog post that many books have some inappropriate and unnecessary aspects. This is the place in which "My Sister's Keeper's" single flaw lies. There were some features that disgusted me, but I must say that these were almost made up for in the never-declining language quality and the ingenious concepts explored in the main (and appropriate) plot. The basic story features the Fitzgerald family - Sara, Brian, Jesse, Kate and Anna. When Kate is two, she is diagnosed with leukemia and it soon becomes clear to Sara and Brian, her parents, that she will need a donor who will be willing to donate several organs to Kate in order to keep her alive; thus Anna is born. When Anna is thirteen, she files a lawsuit against her parents after it is discovered that she is required to donate a kidney to Kate. Through the course of this case, Kate's entire record of suffering is exposed, along with the neglect the other Fitzgerald children have had to endure as a result of Kate's illness. The story is gripping from beginning to end and the reader stumbles upon a major twist towards the end.

Even after completing the novel I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, contemplating its concepts. Is it fair for a child to be born for the sole purpose of saving another? How do people like Sara and Brian bear the fear and pain that constantly plagues them? I strongly recommend this novel to those who can manage the release of their emotional baggage - it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nineteen Minutes and typical Young Adult Fiction - Discussion
The first page of Jodi Picoult's novel, "Nineteen Minutes," told me a lot about the novel. It contains a captivating introduction to the plot, listing multiple activities one could complete in the space of nineteen minutes. The writing quality is more than satisfactory and I was excited by the novel's impeccable first impression. I am pleased to be able to say that these wonderful features continued throughout the book and that I did enjoy this piece of literature, but there was an aspect of it that I feel a desperate need to discuss.

I found "Nineteen Minutes" in the Young Adult Fiction area of my local bookstore. The bookstore had specified an age range which I fit into. The exterior of the novel gave no indication or warning of any inappropriate contents the novel may have borne, so I felt quite secure when I made my purchase. Alas, as I traveled through the book I encountered profanity after profanity and frequent references to topics that were so inappropriate that my mother nearly terminated my journey through this novel. The most terrible thing, though, is that these features are such that the plot could be just as thrilling without them. The majority of these features are highly irrelevant to the plot of "Nineteen Minutes" and those with a touch of relevance could have been replaced with alternatives which bore the same effect. Now, this is not just to raise an issue that I have found in one novel, but without exaggeration every novel I have read over the last two or three months. "Freax and Rejex," "Noughts and Crosses," "Revolution," "A Gathering Light," "The Supernaturalist" and several other books contain so many inappropriate features with barely any relevance to their plots. When I read all the novels listed above, I dismissed these problems as small mentions which arise in any Young Adult Fiction book, but upon reading Nineteen Minutes (where I found a word I would be deeply ashamed to use every few pages) I began to question this. I have not been allowed to finish the several of the novels in the Young Adult Fiction section of any bookstore or library that I have picked up because of ridiculous contents I have found within their pages. I understand that if a student goes on a shooting rampage in their school like in "Nineteen Minutes," a few curses may be uttered, but not so many that the reader of the novel would be ashamed of their reading choice.

 I have begun to wonder why authors place such things into their masterpieces. I'm sure it can't be a marketing technique, but what else could it be? My mother has suggested that I try the books one age range down but I have, quite frankly, grown out of them. In this blog post, I have shared my opinion of inappropriate contents within the vast majority of Young Adult Fiction novels that I have read. I would appreciate comments on this post as it would be interesting to view this issue from a different angle.

Thank you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Supernaturalist 
Fellow readers, prepare to consider me an outlaw, for I have allowed an obstacle to block the path of my reading this week. :) Yes, I did have a bit more homework than usual over the last week, however I have nearly finished reading "The Supernaturalist." I hope that you will forgive my failure to finish the novel during the week.

I discovered a few things about "The Supernaturalist" when I did sit down to read it - the first being that I was reading a novel that was composed simply of basic features of the English language. The structures of several paragraphs reminded me of a those within my Social Studies book - topic sentence, explanation, example, tie-back sentence. This structure is helpful and enhancing when used in Social Studies paragraphs, however when used in a fictional novel, the plot tends to melt into pure monotony. 

The pace of the novel changes rapidly and often fails to suit the event being described.. I've found that the author tends to dwell on everyday happenings that have a low level of relevance to the plot, yet when key events occur, he simply rushes through them, making them unclear. 

The novel is written from a third person omniscient which I sometimes think is too insightful. If the fact that the book was written from an omniscient was eliminated, the author could have seized the opportunity to exercise the technique "show-not-tell," which I am certain would have made the novel far more exciting and pleasant to read.

Despite all of this seemingly endless pontificating, however, I have heard several praises for other novels by Eoin Colfer and this has encouraged me to continue reading "The Superaturalist." Who knows what the rest may hold?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Supernaturalist
I have decided to complete my challenge of reading dystopian novels before I continue to read "The Deep," however I will undoubtedly be carrying on with it as soon as possible. In the meantime, I have just begun an extremely engrossing novel: "The Supernaturalist" by Eoin Colfer. Presenting the somewhat sad future scene of a city that is completely reliant on a single satellite, the first fifty pages of the novel have introduced me to Cosmo Hill, a fourteen-year old boy who, unlike most other residents of Satellite City, has no sponsor. Within satellite city, sponsorship is the only thing that allows one to trace their biological parents, thus the story initiates with Cosmo desperately hoping for an opportunity to escape from the walls of his cruel orphanage.

The problem in the plot is yet to unfold, however I am holding high hopes for an interesting read. The vocabulary involved is advanced yet understandable, although I am prepared for the book's high levels to decline as I have read so many books which follow this pattern. I am trying, however, to avoid holding prejudices which could affect my enjoyment of the novel as I continue to read.