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Roald Dahl and the Importance of Children’s Books

Reader,

We all have to start somewhere. For me, my love of literature was first ignited following my encounter with Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’. Much like Matilda herself, I was left wholly inspired to pursue more and more novels, one after the other. Admittedly, my four or five year old self didn’t quite begin to tackle novels by Dickens, Hardy or Austen, as Matilda supposedly did from such an age. Nonetheless, that is where my literary journey began. Continue reading “Roald Dahl and the Importance of Children’s Books”

A Clockwork Orange: The Fall Of Man

Reader,

‘A Clockwork Orange’, Anthony Burgess’ 1962 dystopian novel, is set in a future of youth violence and a repressive totalitarian government. In a society where brutality seems to be the societal norm, we follow Alex, a fifteen year old boy, in his peak of inhumane and immoral tendencies. Burgess traces the rise and fall of the young criminal, throughout his darkest offences, oppression and ill treatment, as well as his loss and rediscovery of the self. Continue reading “A Clockwork Orange: The Fall Of Man”

Emma: A Woman Not To Be Wed

Reader,

Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’, is rather certain of one thing- she is most assuredly not in want of a husband. Establishing Emma as the cupid of the novel, Austen indicates the mischievous nature of Miss Woodhouse, as well as her oblivious and naive tendencies, with regards to matchmaking. Continue reading “Emma: A Woman Not To Be Wed”

1984: The Manipulation Of The Mind

Reader,

Never have I felt such a sense of immersion when reading a novel, as I did when reading the fantastic ‘1984’ by George Orwell. Unlike many novels I have read, I attempted to maintain a sense of isolation and seclusion from any potential spoilers or even the basic plotline itself, in order to fully experience the twists and turns of the contemporary classic. Feeling overwhelmingly uncertain and sceptical, I began ‘1984’ with the interest of discovering a novel subversive of my usual reading list, in the hopes of broadening my literary sphere and challenging my ideological views. To say that I was left totally captivated with the exceptionally enlightening piece of dystopian fiction is an understatement. No longer was I willing myself to read a few chapters a week to reluctantly finish a tedious novel, but I found myself perusing through the enthralling life of Winston Smith, who, on the surface, appears to be no more than an ordinary, ageing man, living in a monotonous, black and white world. Continue reading “1984: The Manipulation Of The Mind”

Wuthering Heights: Dependency and Despair

Reader,

Following my love of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’, it was only natural to progress towards the works of Emily Brontë. With its setting on the moors, the Gothic style and the thematic similarities of love and madness, ‘Wuthering Heights’ seemed the perfect next step, upon discovering them to be the same beloved qualities that encaptured me in ‘Jane Eyre’. However, I was rendered surprisingly disappointed in the novel and in a state of disillusionment at the hype surrounding such a classic. Continue reading “Wuthering Heights: Dependency and Despair”

The Great Gatsby: The Death Of The Dream

Reader,

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is renowned for its exploration of 1920s America and more specifically The American Dream, despite its more obvious depiction of unattainable love. Jay Gatsby is an affluent man, residing in West Egg, which symbolises “new money” and perhaps the undeserving rich, according to those of “old money”. However, Gatsby’s long lost lover, Daisy Buchanan, is situated in East Egg, a symbol of inheritance and aristocracy- the pure blood of wealth and the upper class. Perhaps this initial juxtaposition of dichotomies foreshadows the ill-fated events to occur. Fitzgerald charts the degradation of morality and traditional values, either in the name of love, lust or greed, as he seeks to expose the idealistic nature of The American Dream, within the fast-paced, prosperous life of the Roaring Twenties. Continue reading “The Great Gatsby: The Death Of The Dream”

The Color Purple: The Pursuit Of Autonomy

Reader,

‘The Color Purple’, written by American author Alice Walker, is an epistolary novel set in rural Georgia. Walker depicts the meagre social position held by African-American women in southern United States. Beginning with letters to God and slowly transitioning to letters shared between sisters Nettie and Celie, Walker conveys the brutality of sexism and racism, as well as the strive for liberty, throughout the 1930s. Continue reading “The Color Purple: The Pursuit Of Autonomy”

Wide Sargasso Sea: The Lost Identity of Antoinette Cosway

Reader,

‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ is the remarkable, contemporary prequel to ‘Jane Eyre’. Written by established author Jean Rhys, ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ offers an alternative perspective to the demise and character of Bertha Mason. Rhys’ novel seemingly directs primary focus towards the previously affluent lifestyle of Antoinette Cosway, a young Creole daughter of ex-slave owners, throughout the collapse of white aristocracy, within 19th Century Coulibri, Jamaica. Continue reading “Wide Sargasso Sea: The Lost Identity of Antoinette Cosway”

Jane Eyre: A Woman Ahead Of Her Time

Reader,

‘Jane Eyre’ is a beloved Brontë classic, globally renowned for the courageous ascent of orphan Jane, in her journey of female subversion and passionate, unprecedented love with the brooding Mr Rochester. Charlotte Brontë aptly depicts the hauntingly Gothic settings of Gateshead, Lowood School and Thornfield Hall, thus providing reader suspension and apprehension, throughout the dramatic life of the insurgent Jane Eyre, in defiance of the looming patriarchal society. Continue reading “Jane Eyre: A Woman Ahead Of Her Time”

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