I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.
-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
-Phillip K. Dick

Saturday, March 16, 2013

American Literature II [1]

Let me start by saying I'm a little behind on posting on here due to the fact that I have various books I have to read in my American Literature II class.  There are so many that I've read, I'd prefer to just post the ones I like, and thus this is what will be posted here.  I will be reading more stories for my American Literature II class and if any are worth writing a review about, I will come back and post another massive dump.  For now though, I hope you enjoy this review dump.

A ROSE FOR EMILY by William Faulkner
Genre: Classic / Horror / Mystery
This is a story about a woman who doesn't pay her taxes and who buys arsenic, for a purpose which is left up to the reader to decide.

What I thought:
I was expecting this to be a terrible read, having not read any Faulkner and having heard terrible things.  However, this story quite blew me away.  For being a short story it flows well and is very developed.  My only dislike is the fact that we never know why Emily buys arsenic, it's up to the readers interpretation of this.



Rating: ****/5
WINTER DREAMS by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Classic / Romance
Not technically a romance, but I see it as such.  It's a story about a man who in his youth was a Caddy and later falls in love with a woman of whom he may never truly have.

What I thought:
I was quite bored at the beginning but this didn't last.  The story finally unfolds and by the end I felt myself feeling for the lead character Dexter.  I couldn't dislike it for the fact that it's a very painful thing, unrequited love.  It's one thing that can be most understood for certain people reading it.  I feel in a way that he was quite a strong character.

Rating: ****/5

WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
Genre: Classic
This is a book with various stories that all intertwine to create a larger whole.  It's about people called grotesques, and the meaning of grotesques in this book is basically along the lines of larger truths.

What I thought:
Some of the stories were dull and not something I would ever want to reread.  Not one of the best novels I have ever read.  I enjoyed some of the stories, and found myself coming to new understandings that are personal only to me.  I feel that anyone who reads this might, through a character's story, come to a new understanding of their own life or the world around them.

Rating: ***/5

THE OPEN BOAT by Stephen Crane
Genre: Classic
This is a story about men surviving a ship wreck by the only means they simply know how.  It's a story of their desire to survive, and their struggle to obtain freedom from the vicious natures throes, the ocean. 

What I thought:
I was expecting for this short story to be quite dull and boring but it was actually kind of interesting.  It didn't take me too long to read and I found myself wondering what was happening in it.  By the end I felt that the men had been more loyal to their captain than to themselves, sacrificing their lives for their loyalty in a way.

Rating: ***/5

DAISY MILLER by Henry James
Genre: Classic / Romance
This is a story about a woman who wants to live by her own rules, and a man who chases after her with love enveloping his very soul.

What I thought:
This felt like a shorter read than it was.  I burned through the pages like fire to paper. I felt connected to the man who loves Daisy, Mr. Winterbourne.  At first I thought he was kind of a douche, for a lack of a better word, but in the end I found myself feeling for him and his situation.  I felt like this is the beginning of a longer novel and was quite disappointed it was left so short.

Rating: ****/5

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain
Genre: Classic / Young Adult / Historical Fiction
This is the story of Huck Finn himself.  It tells of his drunken abusive father, and then leads us into his adventures after he escapes the coils of his father's shack.

What I thought:
This book started out as a 5 star review, but it slowly began to spiral down into a novel of lesser enjoyment.  I was expecting this to be one of the best novels I have ever read, but unfortunately, it wasn't.  I didn't find myself connecting to Huck himself, or the other characters really either.  By every chapter it was a new story, take from that what you will.  I felt like it was a bunch of stories that didn't really connect well to one another.  I'd have to say that I enjoyed the language and comprehension I got from this story more than from the story itself.

Rating: ***/5

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