Monday, January 23, 2006

Interesting Readings

I'm ahead on all of my school readings, although sometimes that can become a disadvantage, especially when classes give reading quizzes, because by that time the book is long past read and you can't remember all the details.
For my Shakespeare class, I'm still in the middle of Henry V. It doesn't really inspire much interest in me, and his depictions of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish accents is irritating. However, strangely enough, in a scene where people are speaking actual French (like when Katherine wishes to learn certain English words), the French is quite straightforward and simple. I was expecting it to be more difficult, considering it's old French, like Moliere, but it was actually easier to understand than some of the English.
I came off of reading Richard III, and while my professor thinks he's a compelling villain and it's one of her favourite plays, I really can't see the appeal. First of all, I haven't read all of the Henry plays that have come (historically speaking) before this one, and so with all of the different Henrys and Edwards and Richards, things can become quite confusing. Secondly, I didn't see Richard as a compelling villain at all - he was completely evil from head to toe. I understand why he had to be so, Shakespeare would not have earned the Tudor Queen's approval by portraying the King who was overthrown by her ancestor Richmond as sympathetic, but that doesn't make him any more compelling.
Black-hearted villains are boring, it's the grey ones who are more fun, at least in my mind. Give him a heart, give him hopes, dreams, wishes, give him love, give him a motive, for God's Sake, something other than "I'm going to be evil, just for the hell of it, because I hate everybody! Ha ha!" Dull, dull, dull. Shakespeare could have made him a tormented anti-hero, a man seeking to prove himself strong and capable after years of being teased for his physical deformaties. I heard someone say once, "Evil is just using evil means to achieve good ends." No one sets out to be evil - they all have a good goal in mind. Terrorists believe they're liberating their people, their beliefs. Thieves believe they're putting clothes on their backs, food in their mouths, roofs over their heads. Richmond believes he would be better for England than Richard - that's certainly a good intention, isn't it?
Moving on - I'm just at the tail end of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. I've enjoyed it. At first it's a little disconcerting how she often writes without quotation marks, in rambling run-on sentences, but it sets a certain rhythm that's not hard to follow, once one gets used to it. I found it much better than Sheila Watson's The Double Hook, which also used no quotation marks, but was so pared down that it was hard to tell who was who's sister, wife, mother, victim, etc. I had to read both for Canadian Literature.
Next up - Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I've heard people saying that while Dick came up with fabulous ideas, his writing was sadly subpar. I guess I'll just have to find out for myself. I know that this book laid out the plot for the film Blade Runner, but what I recently found out was that they actually purchased the film rights to a different story called Blade Runner, just so that they could use the title. I find myself feeling rather sorry for the author of Blade Runner, because now everyone will get the wrong idea of his or her book whenever they pick it up, and the film adaptation of the same name has nothing to do with the story he or she wrote
Currently reading: The Author's Afterward to Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. Next Up: Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you need to memorize this poem:

    Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee,
    Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three,
    One-To-Three Neds, Richard Two,
    Harrys Four-Five-Six... then who?

    Edwards Four-Five, Dick the Bad,
    Harrys (twain), Ned Six (the lad),
    Mary, Bessie, James you ken,
    Then Charlie, Charlie, James again...

    Will & Mary, Anne of gloria,
    Georges ( 4! ), Will Four, Victoria,
    Edward Seven next, and then
    Came George the Fifth in 1910...

    Ned the Eighth soon abdicated,
    So George Six was coronated,
    Then Number Two Elizabeth...
    And that's all, folks (until her death...)!!

    If you go to the website, it explains in more detail. Good luck!