The Oval Portrait

I’m going to talk about The Oval Portrait we studied in class. It’s a full short story by Allan Edgar Poe in 1842. There are two characters : the narrator and his valet. They have decided to stop for a night in an abandonned castle. The room where is the narrator is isolated and it’s a particular architecture, the decorations are antique and old. The narrator is reading a book and he moves the candelabrum to have more light, and he see a painting that he had not noticed before. It’s very strange because he is sure that there was nothing before, and because he thought that the girl who is painting was alive. Then there is a decription of the woman who is very beautiful and lovely, and we learn that the painter is passionate by his art. I find this short story very interesting because there is a strange link between art and death with the painter who seems to paint his wife while she gradually dies. And you what do you think about it ?

The Unabridged Journal of Sylvia Plath

In class we worked on The Unabriged Journal of Sylvia Plath, it’s an autobiography. At the beginning of the extract the author is in Benidorm, in Spain, during her honeymoon with her husband. Her husband is also a writer, so writing is the center of their relationship, we can see that Sylvia admires her husband and they seems to leave in a perfect harmony.It gives to Sylvia much energy and she has many projects. Her life seems to be perfect now she is married. Then it’s very strange because just a few hours after, we feel that something has happened, she seems to be lost and there is no more harmony. It’s very surprising because suddenly it’s as if everything around her has changed. We can see that the author souffers probably from psychological instability and we know that she commited suicide. I found this extract very interesting and I like autobiographies because we learn lot of things about authors, but in this case I think it’s different because the journal was published after Sylvia Plath’s death and we don’t know if she would have agreed to publish it. And you, what do you think about autobiographical novel ?

Lord of the Flies

In class we saw the film Lord of the Flies, it was the first time I saw it and I loved it.

It tells the story of boys who survived a plane crash. They are on an island and they try to survive but one of the boys, Jack, decide to going it alone and create a rival camp. Then there is a terrible battle between Jack’s camp and Ralph’s camp, two children are killed. I found this film very interesting, because for me it shows us that we keep in us a strong survival instinct, and I think we have now idea how we would react in such a situation. Gradually in the film the children find their primitive instinct, they just want to survive. I think that even if some scenes may « shock » us, it is very realistic and it reminds us that we are « animals » and we could probably do a lot of things to survive. It is, for me, a very good movie !

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In class we worked about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and there is an extract I particularly liked. Tom Sawyer is a young boy, he is poor. In this extract his aunt has ordered him to whitewash her fence, and he hates the work. His friend, Ben, arrives and Tom tries to get some of his friend to do it for him. He presents his work has being something pleasent, he makes believing that he is so interesting in his work that he doesn’t notice Ben. First Ben is sur that Tom is going to be jealous because he is going to go swimming. Then he is jealous of Tom and he wants to try painting. Tom is clever because he has understood that people always want what they don’t have. I really enjoyed this extract, this child game makes me laugh.

Into the wild

In class we talked about « voyage and return stories ». We said that the action can take place on a remote place, and it reminds me a movie I have seen last year : Into the wild.

It’s about an american student, Christopher Mccandless, who just had his diploma but he decides to leave everything because he doesn’t want to live in the modern society. So he goes by car in southern of United States where he meets many people and mades friends. Then he decides to go in Alaska where he lives in an abandoned bus, and he finally finds peace he was looking for. After that, he decides to go home but he is trapped because of the river so he must stay. He is starving and he eats a plant but it is inedible, and he finally dies. This movie is really good even if it is sad. If you want to see a movie about voyage, I recommend it !

The Birds – Hitchcock

For the cinema option I studied 3 movies of Hitchcock and I would like to talk about one of them : The Birds. Even if I liked it, I found it was a very strange movie. At the beginning of the film a woman, Melanie Daniels, meets a man, Mitchell Brenner, in a dealer birds. They talk about « inseparables », a category of birds that Mitchell wants to offers to his little sister. Then Melanie goes in Bodega Bay where lives Mitchell to bring him the inseparables. After that there are different attacks of birds and we don’t know why. The film is very intriguing and special but in the same time I found it very good. I suggest you to watch it !

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist is a novel by Charles Dickens  in 1837. It tells the story of an orphan, Oliver Twist, who was born in a workhouse. In the extract we studied he is sent in a branch-workouse under the supervision of Mrs Mann, and Mr Bumble, a beadle from the parish, visits the branch-workhouse. I found it interesting to work on it because we learned things about the poor’s life at this time, and because Oliver Twist is a story that everyone knows thanks to the book or different adaptations.

Resistance – Muse

Our teacher told us that the song Resistance by Muse was a reference to the film 1984, and as I love this band I decided to write an article about this song.

I never really paid attention to the lyrics before but indeed we can notice that it seems to be the story of Winston Smith and Julia who have an « illicit romance ». The song shows that they are afraid to be discovered by the Party because their relationship is illegal, they must be in a « hiding place » because they have no privacy, they are always watched by Big Brother which is called the « thought police » because they want to control everything and they want people to stop thinking. That’s why their love must stay secret and it’s their « resistance ».

I hope you will listen this song and enjoy it !

Nicholas Sparks

I would like to talk about Nicholas Sparks, an american author that I read two books : The Last Song  and The Lucky One. He is the author of The Notebook too, maybe you saw the adaptation (in french : N’oublie jamais). Lot of his books have been adapted into movies.

The Last Song tells the story of a girl, Ronnie, who doesn’t see her father since her parents divorced. She lives with her mother but one day this one decide to send away her daughter to the father hoping for a reconciliation. Ronnie’s father is a pianist who lives at the seaside. Over there she meets a boy and falls in love with him… But the story doesn’t stop there. Her relationship with her father is more and more touching, and the end is wonderful…

The Lucky One is about a soldier who find, during the war in Iraq, a photo of a woman. He keeps it in his pocket and lot of good things happen to him. He begins to believe that this photo is his lucky. After the war, he goes in search of this woman and the book tells their meeting… There is a lot of suspens and the story is very beautiful.

Have you ever read them ? Or have you ever seen the movies ? If it’s not the case, I advise you to read the books !

As you like it

We saw in class 3 versions of the play As you like it by Shakespeare. The first version was filmed by somebody in the andience so it was very « natural » and we could hear the laughter of people. The second version seems to be more recent and it was filmed differently. Besides, it was like if the actors played to nobody, the audience was silent. The last version was very modern, and it looked like a movie. The play of the actors was very different from the other and it shocked me because I found it wasn’t faithful to the original play. Consequently I prefer the first and the second version than the third, but it was interesting to see the differences between them.

Frankenstein

The Frankenstein’s play was, for me, quite nice. I found that players were really good because they played a lot of characters. Moreover, I was really impressed, I thought not that I could understand the play so easily. I don’t regret to seeing the play, it was very interesting and I think that it helped me to better understand the story because I never read the book.

I enjoyed the film too. Although supernatural isn’t always my type of movie, I found it interesting to see. In my opinion, players were good too. Finally, I liked working about Frankenstein.

Alice in Wonderland

The author of the book was Lewis Carroll, in 1865. The story is about a little girl who falls in a rabbit-hole and discovers the imaginary world with a lot of funny creatures like the Cheshire Cat. The first version  was in 1903, we saw the film in class and I loved it, it made me smile because characters were moving strangely. Besides, it was very different than the other versions that we all know, so it was really interesting. After we studied the text of « Alice and pig baby » and « Alice speaks to Cheshire Cat », it was very pleasant for me because I like this story. Many things like the conversation between Alice and the Cat take us in a fantasy world. I was very pleasant and I really loved to work about this story.