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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Macbeth Analysis

For my Literature class this semester, I was required to write a paper about Macbeth, in which I took a scene and wrote a close reading and an analysis of that scene.  Having received an "A" on this paper, I want to share an excerpt of my paper.

Close Reading of Macbeth, the infamous "damned spot" monologue. Act 5.1.19-45
In this scene, Lady Macbeth is imagining blood on her hands that will not wash off.  She begins to walk into a room holding a candle and speaking to herself.  Somewhere nearby, a doctor and a gentlewoman are watching her as she rants about the stains on her hands (“Look, how she rubs her hands.”) (Lines 19-21).  The gentlewoman remarks that Lady Macbeth has been partaking in this activity often, and for long periods of time, and has been sleepwalking all the while.  She seemingly believes her hands are covered in blood and laments that they will never be clean (“Out, damned spot! Out, out I say!”) (Line 25).  She then tries to console herself, saying that she and her husband cannot be found guilty anyway, but her guilt seems to be mounting as she adds, “Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” (Line 25) She is rubbing her hands, trying to free herself from the guilt consuming her (“What, will these hands ne'er be clean?”) (Line 31).  The feeling of Duncan’s blood on her hands clouds her minds.  The guilt follows her in her senses as well – she visualizes the blood, feels it, and even scents it, believing that not even the greatest of perfumes can erase the smell.  “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” (Line 35).   This realization that her crimes cannot be washed away coincides with one line from the Bible, “your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” (King James Bible, Isaiah 59 2.3) The doctor remarks that there is nothing he can do for her: “This disease is beyond my practice.” (Line 40) This shows the apparent uncontrollable aspect of her mental breakdown, and that nothing can repair the damage done not only to her, but to her husband and the people who have died.  Lady Macbeth says that what’s done is done, and then exits with the words “To bed, to bed!” (Line 45).  The doctor watching declares there is nothing he can do for her (“This disease is beyond my practice”) (Line 40), showing that Lady Macbeth’s ailment is perhaps supernatural and there is nothing that can be done to help it.  He also adds, “I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds,” which is foreshadowing of Lady Macbeth’s death following is passage.  Reassuring herself that “what’s done cannot be undone” is an attempt to wash her hands clean of the murder, to relieve the guilt from herself.  This washing of hands parallels the Bible story of Christ’s passion, in which Pilate washes his hands of Christ’s blood and says he has nothing more to do with His death (“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, … he took water and washed his hands …, saying ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.’”)(King James Bible, Matthew 27.24)  This passage is reflected earlier when Lady Macbeth says to her husband, “Retire we to our chamber. A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it, then!” (2.2.67).   This scene brings to the very front of the reader’s mind the play’s theme of guilt and motif of blood.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review || Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George

Review of
Princess of the Midnight Ball
Jessica Day George

Date Published: January 20th, 2009
My Rating: 5/5
My Review: 

This book was awesome. Sure, a little bit cliche in spots, but I was drawn in from the very beginning.

The story is of the twelve dancing princesses. Rose and her eleven sisters are imprisoned by the King Under Stone, who forces them to dance with his twelve sons every night, and plans to marry them in order to keep them with him in his palace forever. The sisters are cursed and cannot speak of what is happening to them. A young soldier named Galen comes to work in their palace, and wishes to help solve the mystery of the princesses' worn shoes, and save them from whatever is so dangerous they are unable to utter a word.

Though not defined as Christian or Catholic this book does make references to God, and there is mention of priests and cardinals and bishops, so I am categorizing it as Christian.

Jessica Day George writes in a manner that reminds me of myself - mystical and explanatory, describing things in lovely detail and making you fall in love with the setting. Her characters were wonderful and colorful and full of life. I especially loved Galen, who was gallant and chivalrous and who was all too easy to love to pieces right away.

This book reminded me of Entwined "Entwined" by Heather Dixon, which wasalso a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. It's difficult for me to choose which of these two is better than the other; they're both so, so good, and I absolutely loved them both. Fairy tale retellings are the best stories to read in my opinion so you really can't go wrong with them. 

If you like princess-type books, or royalty, this is the perfect book for you. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who likes to read, period. Well done Jessica!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Serial Saturday || Review of Somewhere To Belong, by Judith Miller

Serial Saturday On Saturdays I will write a review of the first book of a series I have read.

Review of
Somewhere To Belong
Judith McCoy Miller
Date Published: March 1st, 2010
My Rating: 4/5
My Review:

The first book in the series "Daughters of Amana" was excellent. I am definitely going to read more by Judith Miller, starting with the next book in this series, titled "More than Words" (More Than Words). Only issue with this book, for me, were the plot twists...perhaps more time could have been spent on backstory and character development, and the new twists couls have been spread out through the series. I have yet to read the rest of the books however. I am excited to get the next one!

The story is about two girls who live in a small German settlement called Amana. Johanna Ilg is twenty one and longs to see the world outside the settlement, but is not allowed to leave. Berta Schumacher and her parents have just moved to Amana, and she hates everything about it - the constant prayer meetings and having to work early in the morning and throughout the afternoon, and especially the dark and plain clothing she must wear.

Johanna is forced to take Berta under her wing, much to her displeasure. Slowly, they become friends, and though they both go through bad experiences, they use their faith in God to keep their spirits high.

In my opinion, the plot twists could have been spread out more evenly throughout this series, but it was still extremely enjoyable and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good Christian-based series. I think all of you would enjoy it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review || The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet--A Memoir

Review of
The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet--A Memoir
Dara-Lynn Weiss
Date Published: January 1st, 2013
My Rating: 4/5
Quick Backstory: Because this is not a widely-known book, I am going to write a backstory for you. Dara-Lynn Weiss' daughter was seven years old and pronounced obese. From that point, Dara-Lynn knew she had to change things before her daughter's health got worse. This book documents the journey of her family as they all adapted to a new way of life to help her daughter, Bea, overcome her fears and challenges.
My Review:

This book exceeded my expectations. I opened it thinking I would read a depressing story from a defeated mother, and the trials of her obese daughter. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the story of the courage from both Dara-Lynn and her daughter to face the challenges, and the maturity of Bea. This story read more like a fiction novel than a real-life situation. It seems crazy to imagine a seven year old diagnosed with obesity! Reading this book really makes you think, and realize how easy it is to gain weight, no matter what your age. I applaud Dara-Lynn, and I think she did the right thing. I believe I would have done the same.
Now, I gave this book four stars because I disagreed with Mrs. Weiss on one point: her opinion on exercise. She believed it was not necessary for weight loss. Personally, I think weight loss depends largely on exercise. The diet, as well, is important, but without exercise, the heart grows weak and out of shape. Circulation is vastly improved by cardiovascular exercise. Weight-lifting builds muscle, which replaces fat and burns throughout the day. So, on this, our opinions clash.
Other than this, the book was excellent and I found it difficult to put down. Dara-Lynn Weiss should be a model for other moms. Her methods may seem ridiculous to some, or outrageous and cruel, but in my opinion, she did exactly what she should have, and her daughter is probably better off because of it. Well done, Dara-Lynn!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Review || Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson

Review of
Helen Hunt Jackson
Date Published: 1884
My Rating: 5/5
My Review:
Read from January 03 to 10, 2014

Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson is a book that was assigned to me for school to write an analysis paper on. When I read the description of the book, I thought it was intriguing and was eager to start it. The first chapter or two are somewhat slow, but once you really read the story and immerse yourself in the vivid descriptions and beautiful word usage, you can absolutely picture yourself in the landscapes described so wonderfully by Jackson.

This tale follows a girl of nineteen named Ramona, who lives on the estate of a woman called the Senora Moreno, whose husband died and whose son, Felipe, is weakened by illness. The beginning of the book sets the story in the Moreno estate, in Southern California, at sheep-shearing time. Felipe was ill and the shearing had to be put off until he was stronger, something which greatly annoyed him. Though Felipe was the man of the house, the Senora runs the place and sees to it that everything works smoothly. A man named Alessandro comes with his sheep-shearing group to assist in the work, and Felipe is supposed to rest while it is done. Instead, he decides to help, and becomes weaker, and Alessandro decides to stay until he is well. Ramona, the main character of the story, is a half-Indian girl whose father had entrusted her care to his former lover, a woman named Ramona Ortegna. When Senora Ortegna died, little Ramona was sent to live with Senora Ortegna's sister, the Senora Moreno, where she has lived for fourteen years. During Alessandro's stay, Ramona at first believed Alessandro loves a maid girl named Margarita, and so avoided him. Many of the people at the ranch were convinced she was in love with Felipe, and she thought so of herself. The longer that Alessandro stayed with them, however, the more Ramona realized that he loved her, and she began to feel amorously towards him as well. The book is mostly centered around Ramona and Alessandro; and I will leave off any more description in order to prevent spoilers. Know also that this story is also majorly about social injustices towards Indians. The rest of this review will be my opinion and afterthoughts on the story...will contain spoilers.

I absolutely recommend this book.

--Spoilers follow. Read with caution.--