The Long Walk By Stephen King

Stephen King published this novel in 1979 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman wich is a pseudonym that he used frequently.

In this novel we follow the main character called Garraty. He participates to a competition called « The Walk » where the competitors, named « Walkers », must walk as long as possible and they must maintain their speed above four miles per hour, after three warnings a Walker who doesn’t follow the rules is killed.

So we follow the Walkers in an adventure full of actions and suspense where the main characters are surrounded by mysterious Walkers that readers will discover throughout the novel. We also follow the evolutions of the health, physical or mental of Walkers that leads to a lot of drama because lives are at stakes.

This a very good novel very well written, the story never became boring and always keeps the focus of the reader with a writing very effective. According to the American Library Association, it is one of the best book for teenage readers published between 1966 and 2000. I liked it and I recommend you this novel.

The Principal characters of Lord Of The Flies

Lord Of The Flies was written by William Golding and published in 1954. As you know because we studied an extract and watched the film, it tells the story of a plane carrying british boys from high society that crashed on a desert Island where all the adults died. The kids must survive by themselves.

The group must build an organized society to survive. Each kid on the Island has a signification.

 

Ralph is the smartest, he is almost a teenager and he became the leader of the group by being elected, he symbolizes the republic and the reason in the group.

Jack takes gradually the control of the group by being brutal, he represent the warrior power. He is charismatic and adventurous contrary to the Ralph’s reason.

Roger is the right arm of Jack, he represent the disturbing and violent cruelty, the pleasure of hurting and killing

Piggy is the fragile obese kid, he represent knowledge but also dependence and weakness, his glasses can makes fire that is the most usefull thing on the island. He is despised by the warrior power but he needs him to make fire, so his glasses were stole by Jack and Piggy died, pushed off a cliff.

Simon represent wisdom and positivity, he loves the nature of the island. He was the first kid who died in the group in a bloody sacrifice on the altar of superstition when he went to destroy it by bringing the truth. So his death represent the loss of truth. He also represent the Christ figure in this novel because he has the capacity to see beyond the wrong ideas and what he lived in this novel can be compared to the life of Jesus Christ.

 

Lord Of The Flies is sometimes considered like a novel for children, but it’s clear that William Golding created those characters to raise dark and deep thoughts about great ideas and subjects about society.

Mark Twain.

Mark Twain, borned Samuel Langhorne Clemens in November 30, 1835 and died in april 21, 1910, he was an american author and also humorist.

In his first novels, he describes his travels in Europe and Polynesia where he makes fun of the prejudices of his friends and he also describes the time where he was a gold researcher. But thanks to The Adventure Of Tom Sawyer he became famous as an humorous author.

But he also wrote more serious works where he describes realistically and severly the american society and the excesses of civilization, he was often compared to Dickens for that. Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884 and this is with this work that he combined humor and criticism of the society. He also talked about Christian Science so he approach religious themes in his works.

Behind the author well-known for writing Tom Sawyer’s adventure there is also a lot of serious works that are not insignificant.

Running Man by Stephen King

This novel was published in 1982 (because its publishing was refused in the 70’s) and it can be classified as one of the classical ones by Stephen King.

In the manner of Brave New World this is a novel of anticipation and a dystopia, it shows the american society of 2025 that is a dictatorship where the economy is ruined and violence is everywhere in the country.

We follow a hero named Richards who belongs to the poor class and his only way to earn money and pay caring for his highly sick daughter is to participate to a horrible TV show. In this show, the participants are tracked through the country by hunters who kills them if they are found, and all the people are able to report a participant if they recognize one of them. Sheila, the wife of Richards receives money for each hours Richards will survive.

Stephen King in this novel denounces the human behavior. In fact, all the people in this futurist society are addicted to the TV that broadcast extremely violents shows where poor people dies for entertaining rich people instead of reading books, somebody who reads books is considered to somebody weird. And the pollution is really high, some people catch cancer just by breathing the air of the city.

I recommend this novel where we can find action, suspense, and even humor.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in Septemeber 24, 1986 to an upper-middle-class family. He was named to tribute to his distant relative Francis Scott Key who was the lyricist of the National Anthem of America : The Star Spangled Banner.

He was a famous american writer, now known for his novel The Great Gatsby published in 1925, even if this novel did not sell well at the time. He was considered to be the leader of the Lost Generation that was the literary movement between the World War I and the World War II, he was also considered to be one the leaders of the Jazz Age. When he was about forty years he claimed that the death of his two sisters before his birth encourage him to be a writer : « « Well, three months before I was born, my mother lost her other two children … I think I started then to be a writer. »

The end of his life was sad. His wife Zelda became crazy and was taken in a psychiatric hospital, and F. Scott Fitzgerald died while working in something that he hated : scriptwriter in hollywood.

Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

Sherlock Holmes is a character that we can call an antihéro. In fact, he struggles against crime but he doesn’t appreciate the official police authority and he doesn’t hesitate to get around the law to achieve what he wants. He is also an egotist, his superior mind despises people who has a low mind. His knowledge that doesn’t affect his job are poor, he lives only for his job and when he can’t work, he sometimes do drugs like cocaine, but he also tries to complete his encyclopedic culture necessary for his job.

 

This novel was created in 1887 but it is so famous that it still has adaptations today. We can notice the thriller movie directed by Guy Ritchie in 2009 with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law that tell the story of Sherlock Holmes who have to stop a mad magician called Lors Blackwood by collecting clues that reveals loony murders and a lot of mystery about black magic. A second Sherlock Holmes movie called A Game Of Shadow by Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law was created in 2011. In this movie, Sherlock Holmes must stop the dangerous scientist Moriarty and convince Watson to cancel his honeymoon and struggle with him.

And the other recent adaptation is the TV series Sherlock, broadcast since 2010. In this series we follow Sherlock Holmes and Watson in a contamporary context, in fact, Sherlock Holmes uses his deductions and observations skills to resolve his investigations, but him and Watson also uses modern technologies like internet or cellphones.

 

Sherlock Holmes is a cult british novel that passed into history, we can see that by the adaptations that are made today.

The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann, behind the scenes.

I find this video very interesting because the director of this movie, Baz Luhrmann, tells us many things about the creation of The Great Gatsby. From the idea of adapting the F. Scott Fitzgerlad novel to the shooting and the points of view of Leonardo Di Caprio and Tobey Maguire, the two main actors in this movie.

The Theatre of the Absurd

The Theatre of Absurd movement began in Paris in the mid of the 20th century, in fact, the first precursors of this movement were french like Eugene Ionesco or Jean Genet. But it considered that several older plays inspiring this movement like The Winter’s Tales or The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

The term of « Theatre of the Absurd » was given by theatre critic Martin Esslin in 1961, he also says that the four leader of the genre were Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Arthur Adamov and Jean Genet.

The particularities of this kind of plays are meaningless or repetitive dialogues and nonsense. It says that this movement is an answer to the realistic movement, when playwrights tried to represent the real life in their works. Unlike them, absurdist try to give an unreal and unique exprerience to the viewer. In this kind of plays, time and setting are not precisely defined and the characters can’t exist in real life, they are often metaphorical or archetypal.

This genre is very particular, we can say that it can’t please everyone, but I really enjoy this ! What about you ?

Endgame, by Samuel Beckett.

Endgame is an one-act play written by Samuel Beckett in 1957. It count the story of four characters, three of them are disabled and one can go wherever he want, almost.

This play is very ambiguous, the dialogues are typical Beckett’s work, some lyrics are meaningless and not advance in the plot of the play, and there are a lot of silence and breaks, otherwise, 30% of the play is made of stage directions. Also, the play parody the conventions of classic theatre, in fact, the end of the play is tell at the beginning and, at several moments, the characters speak to the public to say that they are bored. Contrary to Waiting For Godot, this play don’t give way to humor at any moment, all the play is about death or disease.

This play is associated to the Theatre of the Absurd genre but the author denied any membership to any literary movements. It’s another weird creation by Samuel Beckett.

« All the world’s a stage »

« All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like a snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. »

 

This is the famous monologue spoken by Jacques in Act II Scene VII from As You Like It. By writting this monologue, William Shakespeare compare life to a stage and say that a man play different role in different acts in his life. These acts, or « ages » represent the stages of life, they are seven :

 

The first age is the infancy, when we are a little baby in our nurse’s arms.

In the second age we play the role of a little child, who don’t want to go to school.

The third age is the lover, the part of our life dedicated to the feeling of love.

The fourth age is called « the soldier », when we struggle for honour and reputation.

The fifth age is when we play the role of « Justice », we use knowledge and experience to advice people.

In the sixth age we become more weak and and fragile.

And the last age is compared to a second childhood, because we’re once again dependent to other. And we loose our teeth, our eyes and also our memories, to death.

Lewis Carroll.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll is a british writer, photographer, and mathematician born January 27, 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire and died January 14, 1898 in Guildford.

He is famous for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Trough the Looking-Glass. He also wrote poems like The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky, there are all examples of the genre of literary nonsense. He was also known for his facility at word play.
He began to write poetry and short stories from a young age, he sent them to various magazines, enjoying a moderate success, these works were humorous, sometimes satirical. His first work under the name of Lewis Carroll was a romantic poem called Solitude, this name is a play on his real name Charles Lutwige translated in Latin as « Carolus Ludovicus » and then translate back to english as « Carroll Lewis ».

Charles became a teacher at the Oxford’s Christ Chruch College in 1855, old math students of Lewis Carroll have said that his courses were boring. In 1856 he worked with the magazine The Train for published his photos under the name of Lewis Carroll, he bought his first camera in London March 18, 1856. A few days later, he photographed the Cathedral of the Christ Church College and took for models the three Liddell little girls whose Alice who inspired him for the main character of Alice in Wonderland.

Frankenstein, or the modern prometheus.

Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus is a novel written by the british author Mary Shelley, it count the story of Victor Frankenstein, an eccentric scientist who created a Monster.

 

The subtitle « the modern Prometheus » is really important, Mary Shelley specify with this subtitle that Frankenstein is a rewrite of the Prometheus myth that she known by reading Ovid. Some have claimed that for Mary Shelley, Prometheus was not a hero but rather something of a devil, he gave the fire to humans and the vice of eating meat, so hunting and killing.

The forbidden knowledge quest is an important theme in the romantic genre. We can notice that « Prometheus » means « foresight », it’s ironical because this is the quality that lack Victor, he create the monster unconsciously and his life became a disaster, he sees his family die.

But Prometheus and Victor want the desire of personal glory. Frankenstein borrows at the same time the greek myth of Prometheus, the thief of the fire, and the latin myth, the creator of a human. Prometheus and Victor are both punished for their actions, Prometheus is tied to a rock and a vulture devours his liver each days, it became an endless suffering, like Victor who lost the love of his life.

 

We can consider that Frankenstein is partly a gothic rewrite of the Legend Of Prometheus, they give the same morality that it can be dangerous and unfortunate to defy the ban.

Alice in wonderland, behind the scene

In class we watched Alice In Wonderland, a movie directed by Tim Burton.

Here we have a video that show us how this movie was made. This movie contains a lot of scene made with synthetic image so the actors had to play surrounded by a green screen imagining the other wonderful characters, this is a great performance.