Road trippin’, Red Hot Chili Peppers

As we are studying the writers of the Beat Generation, I’ve thought to this band.
Road Trippin’ is a song on their famous album « Californication » (in 1999). It deals with adventure, friendship, sadness, freedom…A lot of topics beloved by these authors. There’s a great feeling of melancholy in this album in general but this song represents very well this state-of-mind.
I find this song very poetical, the text as the music.

This is the text:
« Road trippin’ with my two favourite allies(friends)
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies (food and drugs)
It’s time to leave the town
It’s time to steal away (turn away)
Let’s go get lost
Anywhere in the USA
Let’s go get lost

Blue you sit so pretty
West of the one
Sparkles(shining) light with yellow icing
Just a mirror for the sun
Just a mirror for the sun
Just a mirror for the sun
These Smiling eyes are just a mirror for

So much as come before those battles lost and
won
This life is shining more forever in the sun
Now let us check our heads
And let us check the surf
Staying high and dry’s
More trouble than it’s worth
In the sun

Just a mirror for the sun

These Smiling eyes are just a mirror for

In Big Sur we take some time to linger on ( to stay here)
We three hunky dory’s got our snakefinger on
Now let us drink the stars
It’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost
Right here in the U.S.A

These smiling eyes are just a mirror for »

The Coral Island, Ballantyne

We talked about this book in class when we studied « Lord of the flies ».
It was published in 1858. It’s quite important because it’s the first book of this type of story: the children’s literature. It’s the first using children as main characters leading to its success: we has never stopped to print it. It’s also a dystopian novel. Ballantyne is a Scottish author, his story is a « Robinsonade », a story inspired by Robinson Crusoe published in 1719.

The story takes place on a South Pacific island. Three boys are alone, the first part of the book concerns the way they manage to survive (how they find food, how they build a shelter…). In the second part, there is more action, there is the arrival of British pirates and they find Polynesians. They want to convince these men to become Christians, the painting of this culture is very violent, they talk about rape and cannibalism, I don’t know the real story of the Polynesian culture but I think it’s not so ugly the author shows….This book seems to be controversy today.
There’s also a reference to darwinism. His book: « The structure and distribution of Coral reefs » was published the year before. In « the Coral Island », Ballantyne supports the theory of evolution.

In 1861, the boys became adults in another book  » The Gorilla hunters ».

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Yann Martel, a canadian author who has written his novel, realizes that he’s not satisfied. He’s really out of steam and he sends his novel at a wrong adress in a Northern’s country. He stays in India where he’s travelling and in a kind of restaurant he meets a man who says:
-I know a story who makes you a believer.
And the story of Molitor Pi Patel begins like that.
Then, the author met Pi who told him his extraordinary travel which would inspire the film of Angry Lee « Life of pi ».
At the beginning, Pi is a young Indian man.His parents are owners of a zoo and Pi believes to three religions together: the hindouism, the Islam and the Christendom. His family must go in Canada and the boat which leads them there sinks. Pi is the one to survive with the animal and he stays 267 days on the boat withe a tiger.
There’s a suppostion about the animals: they could be human beings that Pi Have turned into animals, the tiger would be Pi himself. He says: What is the importance to know if they are animals or human beings? I prefer the story with the animal

Lord of the flies

As we studied the voyage and return stories, I thought about the Lord of the flies written by William Golding and which is considered a dystopian novel.
There are children who travelled by plane to reach the USA during the World War. They would escape the violence of the war but their plane is fallen in the sea and they are lost in a deserted island. They try to found a society with an organization. The island is very beautiful, at the beginning they feel good.
The leaders tell some stories about a monster present on the island, the children begin to have nightmare and the story becomes fascinating when they fear more and more this monster which is nothing but themselves. Each child becomes violent to survive whereas they have no real reason to feel threatened. The conflict turns into a kind of civil war on the island up to the end, when some adults find them and help them, realizing that they are become crazy indeed. The « lord of the flies » is just the symbol of the monster.
There was a film about this book in the 90’s too.

Roald Dahl

I want to deal with a famous author who had written numerous books that we know and that were adaptated for the cinema.
The writer is Roal Dahl. What we can say first is that he’s funny, he’s not really funny but he makes us laugh for sure, I want to talk about The Big Good Giant who don’t eat the children and who has enormous ears in shape of vegetable for example, he uses absurd things which make the story funny indeed. Then Roal Dahl is also known thanks to his books including orphans or poor children like Charlie and the chocolate factory, where in the end the child is happy in spite of his bad situation.
Afterwards this kind of nonsense, the imaginary world and the importance of the childhood, this author is special because his works move us. I can’t really explain why, there’s something that is poetic I mean. I think he’s a forgotten writer and we should read him sometimes.

1984

When we have seen 1984 in class, it was the first time I think, I watched such a film because of dystopia (I’ve seen Hunger Games but that’s all) and I found it surprising.
T thought that Orwell represented one of the real totalitarianism but it was a general denunciation indeed. It just made me think of how men could erase moral and physical independence and it was very terrifying!
In the other hand, we can fear the fact we could be cruel without any reason and the consequences for human… I knew all that things but I forget it because we live in a society where we are rather free (in comparison with the society of Winston). I remember now that the human could be mad like it was the case during all the wars and it has made more sensitive about there horrors.

to kill a mockinbird

I read « To kill a mockinbird » 2 years ago which a novel written by Harper Lee (a woman) in the sixties. If we know this book, it’s thanks to the impact it had, denouncing racism.
The story takes place in a calm city in the South of the USA. There is a child’s point of view, Scout is the daughter of Atticus Finch the lawyer chosen to represent Tom, a black man accused to have rape a white woman.He didn’t do it and of course nobody wants to believe that the woman has lied.
This novel let us some famous quoting like « I wanted you to know what is the real bravery, it not a man with a gun, the real courage is to know what is the real bravery, it not a man with a gun, the real courage is to know that you have already lost but to continue again and to fight up to the end ».
I’m sorry because the quoting isn’t very very precise but it echoes one of the main idea of the novel which are the individual freedom and responsibility, the fact that we can’t know someone just by his aspect and the importance of the courage and justice.

Dead poets society, 1989

Dead poets society is Peter Weir’s movie, an american director. The main character is Todd Anderson ( we can’t really say that he’s the main character indeed but he’s the most likeable). He arrives in a prestigious school at the beggining of the film where he meets rather reach and skilled at school young men. All his teachers are careful and authoritarian man exept one of them: his literature’s teacher : Mr Keating. His first words are « Carpe Diem ».
Teaching a class without dreams, without others ambitions that one’s of their parents, he wants his students to become more sensitive. The poets society is a society created by Mr keatin and his friends when they were younger and the boys rebuild this society in spite of their conditions ( their parents’ disagreement, the condemnation of their school…).

This movie is another story of freedom and youth but it also explore their limits, it shows that sensitivity often leads to tragical ends. Can we think that our society is adapted to this kind of freedom? I think we should wath this film because of its poetry.

Yeats

It’s obvious that the one name of English poets is William, isn’t it? William Shakespeare, William Blake…William Butler Yeats is especially an Irish poet and dramatist ( like Shakespeare ). He was born in the end of the nineteenth century (1865) and died in the wake of the Second World War (in 1939).He’s the founder of the Abbey Theatre.
At the beggining of his works, he wrote quite a romantic poetry. In 1893, he wrote « The Celtic Twilight ». It’s a blend of mysticism and romantical subjects.
This is an extract from this book: a poem who is entitled « The clothes of Heaven »

« He wishes for the cloths of heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. »

It’s really a famous poem of Yeats that we can translate in modern language

« (He would have) the clothes of heaven (clothes can be a synonym of voile, sail or curtain)
(If I had) the embroidered clothes (of heaven)
(With their) golden and silver light
The blue, and the (white) and the dark clothes
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would (put) the clothes under your feet
(But I am poor and I have only my dreams)
I (put) my dreams under your feet
(Walk with sweetness because you walk on my dreams) »

It was the poem we all should know, I think.

Do you know the wonderful wizzard of Oz?

You have probably heard this story or its name when you were a child, I didn’t read the book but there is a lot of similarities with Alice adventure’s in Wonderland.

The main character is Dorothy, a little girl who flies away because of a hurricane. She arrives in an imaginary world and her house, which has also flown away, kills one of the witchs opposed to the wizzard of Oz. She needs to this wizzard to go back to her home. On the road to reach the wizzard, she meets a lion which needs courage, a scarecrow (used to scare the birds in the fields) which needs a brain and a lumberjack (cuting trees in the woods) who needs heart. Each one goes to the wizzard of Oz to get what he needs. This wizzard asks them to kill the others whitch opposed to him and helps the three Dorothy’s companions but not her ; the wizzard flies away in an airship and another whitch (a kind whitch this time!), that helps her to go back home.

This story seems strange as much as Alice in Wonderland, we can recognize many similarities between both story, but if Alice is only a story for child, The Wonderful wizzard of Oz is indeed a metaphor of the economic situation at the end of the 19th century, in the United States. There is a great depression and each characters of this story represents a political party or an economic agent of the United States society at this time ( for instance, the scarecrow symbolises the farmers, the lumberjack represents the workers and the travel of Dorothy represents the misadventures of a normal citizen ).

Frankenstein

About the story of Frankenstein, we’ve seen a film too. It was rather a recent movie and I thought that elements well represent the book and romantism (the place of dance, colours representing emotions, red for example…) so it was interesting. The actors adapted them to the genre. Still, in my opinion, it is made to touch a wide audience and there was any details that make it very interesting, I think it’s just a distraying film

About Frankenstein

Two weeks ago, we saw Frankenstein, acted by four actors in a play. First, we must say that it would be a great challenge for them, I think. The scene was narrow, it was the first time that they acted this play, above all for only young people… But they were very involved in their play and gave many energy….and we have understood. The third man who acted a comical character gave a new dimension to Frankenstein which only belongs to the romantical genre. I have tried to read the book but I didn’t finish it because I don’t know why, but I found it boring. However, the play wasn’t boring, I think it was thanks to the comical dimension.

How bilbo the hobbit was born

While correcting his students’tests, Tolkien found a white sheet of paper and started to write the bilbo’s story on that page, up to the dragon smaug’s death.
At home, he read the beginning to his children but while they grew up, the novel disapeared step by step.One of his student discovered it and was very interesed so he decided to write the end of his first success.