Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nothing to add...well, mabye a little

Well after your guys(Mom, Shyla, Tegan) I have nothing more to add. I finished the book by the 3rd post. I thought it was a great book. I think everyone should read it. It is just a great reminder of people being people and needing to accept them. Not change them, or talk about them, but accept and love. And who doesnt' need that reminder. Fantastic choice!! Loved it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Great Ending

Wow, I hardly know what to say. I agree with everything that Mom and Shyla said. I definitely had tears in my eyes when I was finished with the book. How scary for Jem and Scout! What is that crazy Ewell trash thinking! Poor Atticus is so shook up (as he should be) that he cannot even think straight. I do not think that the thought even entered his head that Boo Radley ( I perfer Boo over Arthur) was the one that saved his children and killed Bob Ewell. And I am interested in why Aunt Alexandra feels that the whole thing was her fault (page 307). She said she "...had a feeling about this tonight...". Of course Alexandra and Atticus would feel safe letting Jem and Scout go to the school alone. Didn't Scout say that everyone in Maycomb knew everyone elses voice?(page 302) I know they feel bad about not being there and I am sure there is a lesson there. Listen to your gut feelings, alot of the time they are right. I also like how the author does not try to tie up all the lose ends and ruin the novel. The characters in the book are living life and trying to deal with things that happen to them the same as the readers. I feel sad that Scout never saw Boo again. I hope he was happy the rest of his days. So Shyla, are you saying that none of her other books are any good? If they are, I would like to read them. Good book choice Shyla, and excellent book. Definitely one to keep in your library at home.

What a book!!

I have mostly rambling thoughts and comments about the text but was hit hard with the powerful ending of this book. Lee writes with such simple intensity. Another way to describe childhood. Scout's simple directness is refreshing, almost an interruption, in the way we do adulthood. I liked the way Scout gets mixed up about time and decides she needs to ask Jem (p. 278) For instance, the way she spoke to the men in front of the jail and the way she took Arthur's hand and led him through their home, chatting all the way. And the description of Boo (p. 310). Humor in one liners runs through the book p. 309 "We'll have to make him a deputy, go ahead." and when Tate says "Scout is eight years old, he said. ' "She was too scared to know exactly what went on." "You'd be surprised," Atticus said grimly."' Or when Scout says "I thought Jem and I would get grown but there wasn't much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra."

Why this book isn't about Tom Robinson at all. He's almost a minor character! I liked the objective of "current events" (p. 279) I am a bit confused about Arthur or "Boo". Wasn't he the son who was rebellious and was confined to his house? But according to the end of the book, he was really a painfully shy individual. Perhaps there comes a point in the relationship between a child and a parent when the hug is more for the hugger (Atticus) than the huggee (Scout) p. 307.

So Scout, in her simple direct way thought accusing and then ultimately convicting the man who actually committed the crime (if crime it be), Arthur, was like "killing a mockingbird". A sin indeed.

So Boo killed Ewell, right? Initially, Atticus thought it was Jem. Heck knew it was Boo but blamed it on Bob Ewell.

Yes, that is the beauty of a good book. A classic. The next time I read it, I will love it all over again. It's not a book; it's a friend.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What an Ending!

The end of this novel is where Harper Lee shines. I stayed up an hour past my bedtime to finish it, even though I have read it before and know exactly how it ends. I love it when a book is so good that I get the same rush reading the ending no matter how often I've read it before.

I especially admire the end of this book in light of other books I've been reading lately, where the author really doesn't know how or when to end the book and does a poor job. The need to resolve every past and future issue ends up in an anti-climatic, poorly written ending that usually doesn't flow with the rest of the book. No interruption of flow here. I like Harper Lee's writing all the way through, but it is these last chapters: the descriptions, the seamless weaving of storylines, the drama, the final character sketches and revelations (both Boo and Tate), the right mix of action, dialogue, and internal thinking, where she really rises above the average writer. Just like last time, Lee had me absolutely entranced and by the time I was done reading, I have to admit I had a big lump in my throat.

The idea of this book is fantastic. She writes about big issues from a child's point of view. It feels realistic and sincere. She tackles racism, poverty, ignorance, women's issues, cruelty, violence, and even single parent families (both Scout and Dill). She doesn't go into each issue in depth or even try to pinpoint and resolve Scout's feelings on each issue. She is surrounded by it, and like the rest of us, is constantly working through her feelings and understanding of issues and doesn't come to any final resolves or resolutions in life. Because it is written from a child's point of view, the language is simpler, which is more powerful. This is a kid we can all relate to, but contrary to what many of her contemporary critics said, this is not a kid's book. You have to be an adult to really "get" this book. Absolutely beautiful and fantastic. If I had written this book as my first novel, like Lee, I think I would have been pretty reluctant to try and follow it up. If everyone just wrote the one good novel they had in them and skipped the rest of the crap they write, it would be quite a compelling literary world.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Victims of Bigotry and Heartbreak in Knowledge

Atticus knew all along. When he was talking to the jury he was speaking to the individual juror. And this book says something about jury selection. It also says something about women serving on a jury. Talking about individuals taking opportunities, Miss Maudie was the only one in the ladies' group to speak up as well. And Mrs. Merriweather is leading the pack of hypocrites. It takes courage to fight evil on an individual level. I'm ashamed to admit I don't do it every time I get the chance (or perhaps ever). That is one of the powerful things about this book, it causes self reflection, something usually painful. Atticus is trying to teach Jem (but Jem already knows this lesson) on page 251 "If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man." When reading, an eye closing moment: p. 231 "This case is as simple as black and white." Then Atticus furtively pitches equality to a jury made up of "Ewells." Mr. Gilmer's questions to Tom:
"But you weren't in a fix--you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she'd hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?"
"No such, I's scared I'd be in court, just like I am now."
"Scared of arrest, scared you'd have to face up to what you did?"
"No suh, scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do."
Tom isn't the only victim of bigotry. His wife, his family, Atticus, Atticus' family, Heck Tate, Mayella, everyone. And yet, the evil lingers. Even Scout says to Dill when Dill has a fit about the way Mr. Gilmer talks to Tom, "Well, Dill, after all he's just a Negro."
Jem's right, why can't we all just get along. But we can't! And that includes me. The days of "...fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water." are over (p. 266)
Note the words used to describe the atmosphere of the courtroom "...same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still, and the carpenters had stopped hammering on Miss Maudie's new house, and every wood door in the neighborhood was shut as tight as the doors of the Radley Place. A deserted, waiting, empty street.." All references to previous events in the book. Nice writing tool.
Adolescence is killing Jem. At least he started to grow hair on his chest (well, theoretically) and hair under his arms. We all know you need armpit hair to play football. Isn't adolescence when you learn that grown ups aren't perfect, even the ones you love? This knowledge is breaking Jem's heart.
I knew this book would be painful to read.
I have a question. I don't understand Dill's purpose in this book. Wouldn't the story be just as good without Dill?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Does any one know?...

I have been waiting to ask this question. When Miss Maudie is at Alexandra's party and the other ladies are talking about Aticus being led wrong. They say he's a good man but he's 'misguided'. Now from what I remember Ms. Maudie doesn't say much and she's not too open about her stance on things, but she says on page 233 1st para. down "his food doesn't stick going down , does it?" and it seemed to somewhat shut them all up. But what does it mean? It's been bothering me for some time now.

Tom's fate is sad. He kinda went crazy. But who wouldn't. And poor Jem, facing the hard facts of life. That some people think they are better than others. And are we? We learn we are not or at least that is the wrong attitude to have. It is so obvious to us now looking back on history the wrong choices people make about putting themselves above others and how does that happen now? I think it's interesting. I also like how in chp. 22 at the end how Ms. Maudie (and I love how she has a relationship with the kids now, like a grandma) how she says that Atticus can't win. There is no way he can, but he's the only man who could keep a jury out that long and that it was a baby step. It just reminds me that one person really can make a difference. Not in the movement of civil rights, that takes many people. But one person can make a difference in giving others courage to do what they think might be right. How difficult that would be to do by oneself. It would be much easier with a group of good friends to all make the right choice all at once, but that's not usually how the cookie crumbles is it?

The courage in this book amazes me as I think about real life. This is a great book. I can't believe I didnt' read it in high school! What kind of school did I go to?

Don't forget about my question!! :P

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Disturbing Reality

This was a pretty heavy set of chapters. It ended heavy with Tom's death. I feel sorry for Jem in these chapters. He is just so hopeful and confident that people's decisions will be based on purely the legal issue of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt instead of having the other nonlegal factors come into play.

Tom's death is disturbing. I'm not frustrated that he didn't wait for his appeal. I think Atticus knew that the chances of a court ruling favorably on an appeal of the case of a black man allegedly raping a white woman was rare; additionally, even if the appeal were granted and ruled on favorably, Tom would have gotten another trial but the result more than likely would have been the same. And I guess that is the disturbing part. We are sad Tom dies the way he did, but we know it doesn't matter because any way you cut it that would have been his ultimate fate. The distubring part of Tom's death is the reality that he couldn't avoid it from the day he was accused no matter what great lawyering and what great facts were on his side, combined with his final realization that that was his reality.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


At the beginning of Chapter 10, Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Miss Maudie (who else?) explains that "mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy." As I read the court proceedings, specifically of Mayella's Ewell's testimony, it occurred to me there is more than one mockingbird in this book. Poor Mayella. Poor, dumb, bigoted, lonely, unhappy, abused white girl. She's goin' down and she's taking Tom with her. Although I view her with disgust and shame, do you ever wonder why some are born Kennedys and others are born Ewells? Of course, unlike a mockingbird (although Nathan says they just make a bunch of loud noise) she doesn't do much to brighten the world. But what a victim!! However, there were more than several moments to snicker over in these chapters:

"Will you write your name and show us?"
"I most positively will. How do you think I sign my relief checks?"

When Gilmer objects to Atticus browbeating the witness (Mayella) and the Judge says:

"Oh sit down, Horace, he's doing nothing of the sort. If anything, the witness's browbeating Atticus."

Now the book is getting heavy. It isn't fun anymore. However, it is still an essential read. By the way, what is the next book?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Main Message

I thought the main message of the book was about racism and equality of men. That all men can be good or evil, no matter the color of thier skin. We have very obvious examples. The Ewells- white but ignorant, disrespectful, and trashy. And then we have Calpurnia and Tom Robinson-honest, hard working, good morals, respectful. Clearly we can see that the color of skin doesn't matter. But what Shyla said is true. The small mindedness of Aunt Alexandra cannot be changed even when they have the good example of Atticus around. Atticus is respectful of all persons and treats them well. I enjoyed reading the whole court scene. I thought it was well written. The only part that I thought got a little long was when Atticus was delivering his final speech to the jury. We got the point already. I feel the author could have cut at least two paragraphs of the closing speech and it would still be enough. Too bad the Sheriff and the Ewells did not get thier stories straight before they got on the stand. What a bunch of idiots!!

Mrs. Dubose-poor lady

I actually have to say that I agree with mom and Shyla about Mrs. Dubose. She is that word that Shyla said. And why I think she was an old cranky lady anyway, (she probably had cats), the addiction to morphine made her not herself. It never says how or why she got addicted. Some people are in some real pain. And her life sucks.

I do think Atticus is teaching something important to his children which is respect and I do agree that many kids aren' t taught this. But that does fall back on the parents. Good for Atticus for sticking to his values and instilling them in his kids.

One thing I think the book really teaches us is that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. And that people are people and every one should be treated with respect and like a person and that they have value. And sometimes just because everyone else is doing it and it's important to know ourselves and what we beleive despite 'everyone else jumping off the cliff'. Mom, no one is perfect and it is possible that sometime in your life you will make a mistake at school. I think it best to treat her like a person who has value and prove her wrong in a nice way by asking her questions and letting her figure it out on her own. As opposed to the 'I said so, and I'm the adult and it is that way' response. Kids don't respond to that, probably because it doesn't really work. Not that you do that... Not that I do this either, but it's what Eddie would do.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


no, no, No, No, NO! Mrs. Dubose is nothing of the kind! True, she is rude, cranky and speaks badly of Atticus to his children. There was a time I believe, in Massachusetts or New England some place, where children could be executed for being incorrigible. Pre Word War II children were to be seen, not heard. The last several generations have been robbed of the opportunity to respect adults if for no other reason than because they are older. I had a student today challenge me loudly, repeatedly and disrespectfully on whether a question on a quiz was correct or not. She is nine!! What the hell does she know about it? Mrs. Dubose's treatment of Jem and Scout is a reflection of that attitude. And I'm telling 'ya, I don't know if our children are better because they have "rights" that they tend to exercise boldly and without authority or buy-in. Current generations would not even respect Atticus enough to obey him and he is a hero of character, integrity and grit. Mrs. Dubose is harsh and rude but it is reasonable to me that Atticus expect his children to be respectful and polite. The true test of character is not how we are treated but how we treat others. The entire book is about how people can be their worst selves when their very foundation is challenged. Add mob mentality to a segregation south and you have Maycomb. But this book is a reflection of a the time and culture of Maycomb Remember the copyright date of this book is 1960. Our nation was fast approaching the reality of segregation and it was violent and vicious. There are no bad guys in this book (yet). However, the reactions of the people of Maycomb to Tom Robinson's crime is almost more hideous than what Tom did. And we would be smug to think that our behavior is "far" above that of the citizens of Maycomb. Maycomb represents the "best" and the "worst" in all of us.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nothing but a bitch

I don't feel sorry for Mrs. Dubose. I don't think she is just cranky because of her addiction or that she really does like Atticus. I think she is unbelievably rude, ill-mannered, and ungrateful. Of course, that was no reason for Jem to destroy the yard of an old lady. Although I will say the kids are in a hard spot because defending themselves (or their father) against her comments or even ignoring her is considered rude and disrespectful. And it's not like they seek her company out--they are just trying to walk to town.

She had every right to be upset at Jem and I am okay with the fact that she made him read to her. However, I am not okay with the fact that she started each reading session with a string of insults about the kids and their father.

I think the whole Dubose experience demonstrates Atticus's patience and politeness. It also shows that Atticus is the type of person who sees the good in everyone, is always willing to help people, and is the person his townsmen seek when they need something. However, some of those people, including Dubose, are quick to forget about how he has treated them and what he has done for them, and instead contribute to a growing town mob that makes the life of his family miserable. In Maycomb, the depths of the people's racism goes so far as to turn them against a person like Atticus, who has been nothing but a friend and is still the person they call whenever something is needed.

The presence of Aunt Alexandra highlights Maycomb's way of small town thinking outside the racism context. As with the racists, Alexandra's thinking irrationally grasps on to traditional ways and a small, closed world view (only families who have been on the land for years are of any worth, strict categories of ladylike and unladylike), and she even creates her own truths/seeks to perpetuate false ideas (Cousin Joshua is not crazy). Sure, I think we are supposed to see that there is more than one side (Dubose is a bitch, but she is also a heroic morphine addict overcomer; Aunt Alexandra is usually ridiculous but is trying to help Atticus and do what she thinks is best). Nonetheless, what it comes down to is that unlike Atticus, these people maintain their small mindedness and aren't willing to buck any traditional but irrational way of thought and that is what lies at the heart of the main conflict in this book.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Better late than never!

Well, I finally caught up on my ten chapters that I was behind on. I am really enjoying this book. Harper Lee is very good. Like someone said in their post (mom I think) she really puts you there in the story. One of the things that hit me was the death of Mrs. Dubose. I guess she couldn't keep her mouth shut because she was so cranky from her morphine addiction. But how brave of her to want to die without it. And what a good lesson for Jem and Scout. Atticus said he would have made Jem read to her anyway. Too bad about her plants that Jem ruined. And how sad to send him a flower after her death. I think this gesture showed forgiveness and love, but Jem didn't seem to like it too much. It hurt too much. The other thing that sticks out to me is at the end of Chapter 15 when Jem, Scout, and Dill save Atticus. Now, I am trying to figure it all out still. Was it Scout's kindness and good manners that saved him? I am going to assume that it was. Those men must have realized that Atticus is a good man after all. That or they didn't care to beat the tar out of him in front of the children (I'm not sure that is true for all the men).I liked Jem's stubborness. I'm so glad he didn't go home. It is hard for Jem to grow up, you can tell. It is hard on everyone. I also liked when Calpurnia took the kids to church with her. I liked how she scrubbed them up real good (not giving Jem his privacy) and how the people there accepted them. I am glad that Cal is smart and has good morals. She is perfect for those kids. I have read the book before but have forgotton the whole story. I am excited to see what happens.

Gabby 'Gilmore Girls' Give

So, I have been watching Gilmore Girls from the first episode. And last week I was watching an episode and they were in their town meeting talking about their town someone whether. He was an obscure person and no one really knew him personally, but they were all kinda familiar with him. And Laurali said something to the effect of "but if we get rid of him who is going to be our town Boo Radley?" It's true. Can you imagine my delight?!! I felt so educated and read. It was priceless I tell you, priceless.

Anyway, I already finished the book. It was very good. So I don't really know what to comment on because you haven't read the chapters that I really had comments about. So next post should be better. I did want to make sure I mentioned the Gilmore Girls part. I think reading classics is very informative because there are references to them often in all genres.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This book is better than gossip! Lee takes half the book to develop the characters! And characters (even our own) are developed through actions. Mrs. Dubose (how do you pronounce that?) doesn't hate Atticus at all, she just hates what he is doing. Another thing about Lee's writing style which we tout to students in writing classes, vary your sentence length. She has some classic short one liners. And the first line of each chapter (so far) is italicized, notice that? (that could be the editor or even the printer though, huh?) But her descriptions, you are there. The entrance to Mrs. Dubose's home p. 121, the description of Mrs. Dubose on page 122, the way the children were treated at First Purchase (p. 135), description of Aunty on page 145 and many more. Scout's personality is cleverly revealed in her thoughts , her comments about Jem on page 131, and on page 132 "With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable. I stayed miserable for two days."(she was talking about Dill not coming for the summer). And I really like this one, "That Calpurnia led a modest double life never dawned on me. The idea that she had a separate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her having command of two languages."and conversations with Atticus. And Atticus's principled pontifications (no examples, but they are carefully strewn throughout the book) when he is conversing with and teaching his children not only reveals his personality and values but serve as foreshadowing, a tool of good writers.
I do have a question though. At the end of Chapter 13, the last line. "I know now what he (Atticus) was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work."
Powerful was the conversation between Atticus, Aunty and Scout on pages 154 and 155. I knew what Scout was going to say before I read it. She said "I didn't ask you!" but Atticus "...pinned her to the wall with his good eye" and she was payin' attention. Atticus takes a strong stand for Cal and against Aunty on p. 155. I was thoroughly entertained when Scout called Jem a "damn morphodite and then proceeded to fight "her equal" until Atticus arrived. But even at the conclusion of the episode Atticus smiled and said "Let's leave it at this: you mind Jem whenever he can make you. Fair Enough?" I can't do that still. When the Jarman kids fight it breaks my heart. Eddie, on the other hand, lets it go on for awhile, thoroughly entertained, and then he urges them to stop. Watching your kids raise your grandkids is a killer.
Poor Jem. He's maturing and it's breaking his heart. And it's killing Scout too. When Dill had run away and was found at the Finches. Jem said "You oughta let your mother know where you are. You oughta let her know you're here..." Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. Jem of course tells Atticus that Dill is there. It made me think of the comment Scout made on page 63 "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company." So among the many themes of this book a "rite of passage" surfaces as well.
I can't put this book down. But I must because Book Club is next week, at my house, and I'm leading the discussion on Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons. I'm going to the ASU game tonight with Margene Burk (Rick is out of town). I was going to "comment" on Cy's rude comment and then she apologized and ruined the whole thing. Tell me, please, how can anyone not love Cylynn? That's like somebody not liking Shy. Ok, well this is going someplace uncomfortable. POST YOU GUYS.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I wanted to "comment" on Cy's comment but I couldn't figure out how to get to comments. (now that is a metaphor as well as being repetitive. So what does Cy mean when she says bigheadedness? I ask all of you because I'm sure she doesn't know (or else I'd ask her)
And while I'm at it, why aren't other people posting?

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Deadest Shot "or Gentle Giant

From the beginning, Dill has been the culprit. Dill is forcing Jem to question the status quo and that is part of transitioning from a child to an adult. Jem begins some tangent that Scout doesn't understand nor can she accompany him. On page 63 she says "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company." And while the kids are wrestling with Boo Radley, Atticus is wrestling with doing what he knows is right (representing a Negro) and protecting his children from what he knows will be ugly-the persecution the Finches will endure because Atticus is doing what he thinks is right.
I am constantly impressed with Lee's style and her one liners. The description of climate on page 65 and "Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts." And her use of metaphors (however, I think I identify things as metaphors and they probably aren't) p. 70 "Tree's dying. You plug 'em with cement when they're sick. You ought to know that, Jem." But why is Jem crying at the end of Chapter 7, page 71?
I remember so little of the book. But starting from Chapter 8, I am beginning of Mr. Avery is a good guy or a bad guy.
Atticus is gentle with Scout on page 77. I don't think I would say Atticus isn't gentle it's just that a parent doesn't need to be gentle all the time. So is it Boo who puts the blanket on Scout? And is Mr. Avery really the hero of the fire? And Atticus, a lawyer, really has a way with words. When he and Scout our discussing what Cecil Jacobs said "'s what everybody at school says." "From now on it'll be everybody but one--"
When Scout lies about hitting Cecil, I don't think it is because she is ashamed of Atticus and is loyal. I think it is because she told Atticus she wouldn't fight anymore when she heard things about Atticus. She didn't want Atticus to know she broke a promise. Promises are precious.
And I think Atticus wanted to keep the "deadest shot" issue quiet because he is ashamed that he once enjoyed killing things. And maybe to the wise Atticus, they were all "mockingbirds."
Notice Uncle Jack, one of my heroes, has a cat for a companion.
However, the classic Atticus parental style is reflected at the end of Chapter 9 when he knows Scout is listening to his explanation to Uncle Jack of what he is worried about.
It is interesting to note that the children are missing a part of growing up by not having neighborhood children to be with.
"Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street." Why did Atticus gind his glases to powder after he dropped them while shotting Tim Johnson? And is it another metaphor when Mr. Tate says"You were a little to the right, Mr. Finch". Atticus respond s with "Always was" "If I had my 'druthers I'd take a shotgun." Miss Maudie who continues to prove herself in these chapters says "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents..." And Jem sums up the entire episode with "Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"
I not only get excited by the contents of the text but by Lee's style. As you can probably tell by my post, I have underlined many, many passages. This has become a labor intensive exercise that I am thoroughly enjoying.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Second Impressions

I like this book more than I thought I would, and wondered if I every really read it, or was just supposed too.

I must admit that I hate that Atticus and Miss Maudie are "old" .

The blanket part was sweet, of Boo, I want to meet him now too.

A Dead Shot

I liked this set of chapters because we learn a lot more about Atticus. He doesn't worry what other people think of him, including his own kids. It seems he can sense how his kids feel about him being so old, yet, he still doesn't feel the need to brag to them about his shooting abilities. I think it is part his own humility and part trying to create humility in his children. He also wants them to be less worried about superficiality. He wants them to be proud of him for taking a difficult-on-all-levels criminal defense case and not for being a dead shot.

We also see more of his parenting style, which is pretty relaxed, but yet still attentive. He knows his kids well and knows what their biggest weaknesses are. He has enough sense to ignore Scout's language and to focus his attention on the bigger problem, her hotheadedness. Also, when he talks to his brother about having kids you start to see that he he isn't detached and that he really does love his kids and loves that he has kids. Atticus would be a confusing parent to have at first, but once you were old enough you could look back with appreciation and see what a devoted parent he was, which is what Harper Lee/Scout seems to be doing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Wow Tecia. Well said. The purpose of good literature is to touch our lives. Have you gotten smarter since we read the last book? Oh yeah, I forgot, I didn't read the last book. Oops. I meant this as a comment. I'll never get the hang of this dang thing.

yeah, so....

Is it just me or did it take until Chap. 4 to realize that Scout was a girl? Maybe I was a little sleepy when they mentioned that in the beginning.

Like some of you I did not like Atticus at first. On page 6 Scout says her and Jem found their father 'satisfactory' and that he treated them with 'courteous detachment. Then we learn how he handled Walter coming over for lunch. How wrong first impressions can be, or how views from others can be misleading and tainted. Here we are forming our opinions on a 6 year olds views when Atticus really is a good man. How often we do this in real life.

I think Dill is funny and Miss Caroline is dumb. I like how Lee writes, it kinda reminds me of mom. Please note at the bottom of page 5, "they ambled across the square". It's totally something mom would say. I'm just glad I knew what ambled meant.

I think you should treat people like people. Miss Caroline's problem is that she made the first day a power struggle to show that she was boss and it came back to bite her in the.. well it came back to bite her. I think we do this in life as well and that is why I mention it. There have been many lessons about real life in these 4 chapters (oh calm down!! I know the schedule says 5, but I only got to 4. Sheesh!)

I like it so far and the characters do seem interesting. Am I the only one who hasn't read this book before?

Miss Maudie

I almost forgot. Read again what Miss Maudie said to Stephanie Crawford when she said Boo was looking in her window at night on page 51. It is hilarious!! Gotta love Miss Maudie!

Required Reading

Lee has a great wit and vivid descriptions of the space and culture that is "Maycomb". Read again the reason Atticus doesn't like criminal law on page 5. And how about the description of the heat and culture of Maycomb on pages 5 and 6? I am not sure if it is fair to size up a man from the things he does at 10. Jem is a good boy who loves his sister and is being raised by a black cook and a father who is lonely. Some of the great significance of this work is the time in which it was written and published-1960. This was just a little after schools were segregated and we realized that we had a race problem in America. Atticus is principled. Poor Scout doesn't know when to shut up. And she's so smart (p. 20). And isn't it hilarious that Miss Caroline doesn't want Atticus to teach Scout any more that it would interfere with her reading (p. 19). She's making fun of teachers who take themselves too seriously (and well she should). When I read a book I am always mindful of the dedication in the front of the book and the part in the book where the origins of the title of the book are presented. It is note worthy of the respect that Miss Maudie has for Atticus when she says "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets." This isn't a fast moving book but life isn't either. The pace of the book reflects the time it represents and the way we really live. There are many reasons this book is required reading. But the really neat thing, I love it!


I like to think and read about Scout. I like how innocent she is and how practical she is. I think she is definitely older than her years but it all makes sense to her. I think that her teacher feels stupid when she sees such a young person reading things that she probably never will. I feel bad that Scout had such a hard first day of school. she tried so hard to do what was right and explain why the Cunningham boy refused to take the money. I like what Atticus told her about new people not understanding "all Maycomb's ways in one day". Atticus seems very wise and loving. Jem and Scout do not seem to realize how lucky they are to have a father that loves them alot. I mean, look at Dill for example. He's crazy and makes up all sorts of stories about his dad. He can tell the difference. I think that it is funny that they all run by the house as fast as they can. I like that Scout does not deny being afraid and that she points out Jem's weakness whenever he tries to be tough. I think it keeps Jem somewhat humble. I remember reading the book awhile ago but I do not remember what happens so I am definitely enjoying the book. Sorry about all ideas crunched into one paragraph. I am going to blame my pregnant brain for that.

Hero, Villian, or Just a Boy?

I am interested in Jem's character. I enjoy reading about him because sometimes I like him and other times I am disgusted with him. I really wanted to write a post about how he is a bad person or a typical ego-obsessed, pushy, insecure man but I just don't think that is quite right. I think he is just a young boy trying to grow up.

I do agree with Karen that he is manipulative. But he is also manipulated by Dill and unwittingly by Scout. He is definitely insecure though. His insecurity was behind him being mean to Dill when they first met--because he is insecure, he first had to establish his superiority over Dill before he could accept him as a friend. He also seems worried over and eager to maintain Scout's hero-worship of him. Yet, Atticus does seem to be having an influence on him. I was really happy when he invited Walter to lunch and it was the exact approach I imagine Atticus would have taken to the situation. It was secure, compassionate, and dignified. Unfortunately, that was the only good thing I've seen him do in five chapters. I think this book is supposed to be about Scout growing up, but I hope we will get to see Jem just do as much growing up.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Perhaps I have a simple mind but I have never been able to understand why author's choose the titles that they do. For instance why was that one book we read not called Shangri-blah and what does this book have to do with to kill or not to kill a mockingbird?

Maybe I will figure it out later and maybe I will never understand...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I am still in the process of forming my opinions about the characters in the story.

Atticus, I didn't like him at first, because his children called him by his first name, and I felt that was
because he must be overbearing and aloof. I now understand that they call him that because everybody calls him that, and I think I will really like him.

Jem, is a fraud. Fake bravery by touching the house. Different rules at school than at home.
Twisting his fathers words, and manipulating his little sister.

Scout, I can't get over the fact that her teacher said her being able to read and write was a
bad thing and she should stop doing it. I think she is older than her years, and I hope she will
not keep following the boys and sharing their trouble making, but I think the chances of that are slim.

Dill, I worry about that boy, I think he will go to far.

Capurinia, I think every family needs her to keep them thinking right.

Boo Radley , I am pretty sure he isn't stuffed up the chimney, I am scared, sorry and interested in him.
so I guess I am glad the kids will keep bugging him, so I can learn the truth of what his life is.

I like the way the people in the neighborhood and school let me feel the superstitions and prejudices of the
the time and place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Harper Lee

Wiki biographical excerpt:
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.

After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female
Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944–45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945–50). While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, Ramma-Jamma. Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.

Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her
cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.

Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends
Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." Within a year, she had a first draft. Published July 11, 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The End!

Wow... I'm pretty far behind the rest of you, but I finally finished the book on Thursday. As soon as I finished I HAD to go to Barnes and Noble to buy the movie, then proceeded to watch it twice in a row. I thought it was a really cute story! I think the movie helped me visualize Catherine a little better, but I liked the ending in the book better. If you think the book ended abruptly, I think the movie did a worse job of it (although I have to agree with Tecia that the kissing part is hilarious). I'm pretty much in love with Mr. Tilney; I didn't think there could ever be another man for me besides Mr. Darcy, but I found Henry's wit and humor and honesty very refreshing. He's got sort of a Mr. Knightly feel to him in the way that he gently reprimands Catherine and gradually grows in his affection for her as they grow in friendship. To me that is a lot more natural than all those "love at first sight" kind of stories.

I liked seeing Catherine grow up through the story. I'm glad that she developed a lot more sense and maturity, and that she was able to see a bit of the world and the frailties of human nature before she was married. She was raised to have high standards and proved herself true to them, even through her naivety. My absolute favorite part of the book was how Austen described Catherine's homecoming, and how seeing her family and being embraced by them washed away all of the sad and self-piteous feelings she had. What a great statement on the importance of family love!

Well, I could go on and on, but I have to do some homework. I'm glad we read this book, and am excited to find out what the next one will be!

Monday, March 10, 2008


So, i was dissatisfied with my response to the end of the novel. Here is my new response.

Catherine and Mr. Tilney deserve some credit. They waited until his father was reconciled to the fact that while she wasn't wealthy, she wasn't poor - and reconciled to their getting married. It wasn't exactly his idea of the perfect match. And Mr Tilney should be given props. While he could have pushed the issue and told Catherine that it was ok to get married right then, he waited until the timing was better. And he was faithful through it. That says a lot about his honorability. I'm also glad that he fessed up to gradually loving her. Yes. Love. I think it was more than just getting used to her. I don't think she would have married a guy who was just accustomed to her and didn't mind having her around. She's too Romantically minded.

Isabella got what she deserved and is a little hussy. -i've been wanting to say that word about her for a while- I'm sure she'll trick somebody into marrying her despite her lack of money, property and connections. Maybe she'll grow up and realize that she can find a husband easier if only she was a little less desperate. Part of me feels bad for her. She really ought to have some self-esteem.

It was refreshing to read this again. It's a nice break from Jude the Obscure.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

not bad

I liked this book over all. I think I'm pretty easy to entertain, but there are actually things I didnt' like about it. The thing I REALLY didnt' like, is when Mr. Tilney comes back and they take their walk to visit the Allen's, Austen just writes in like one paragraph their conversation. And she tells it from a narrators point of view. This is the reason I love to read these books. When the two people get together. I didnt' think she made it as obvious that it Catherine and Mr. Tilney were soul mates like she usually does in P & P, Emma, and Sense and Sen. The climax just wasnt' quite there for me. I also have to say I just skimmed over all the stupid "horror novel" part. It was boring and pointless.

Isabella is a nim- kum- poop! I think she just didn't know she was a tramp. But she found out in the end. Poor James because he thought she was good like she did, but when the first opportunity came, she bombed and was unfaithful to him. But I really do think she loved him or at least thought she did.

I don't even want to start on Mr. Thorpe. Red flags all over the place. I'm glad the Thorpes are out of the picture. They played an interesting roll in the book.

I have a question: Is Catherine wealthy? I thought the last part of the book was really wordy. I could barely make it through it.

I like Eleanor but I don't understand why she didnt' just tell Catherine that her dad is a jerk. It would have helped her "dear friend" and saved her a lot of grief. It's a good thing Mr. Tilney came to the rescue. Did you guys see the movie? When they go to visit the Allen's and he proposes they go to kiss and it looks like two little kids trying to kiss, it actually makes me laugh to think of the scene.

So that is what I think. Like always, I'm glad to have read another book.

the end

I am glad that Catherine ended up well and that Austen wondered aloud about what kind of moral she was giving to the story. 

Not her best work

First I must say that I did enjoy the book. I don't want my title to throw everyone off. However, I think that she wrapped it up rather quickly and I do not think it was a deep as some of her other books. Obviously Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are written much better. But I do like how Catherine grows up in this story. I think reality can be pretty harsh and Catherine handled it rather well. At least she had enough sense NOT to go out in a huge strorm and get herself sick (like Maryanne in Sense and Senseibility). I knew that James and Isabella would not last. Poor James, he really liked her for reasons that none of us will know. And Isabella did not learn a darn thing. Trying to get Catherine to get her a James back together! The nerve!! Thank goodness Catherine realized the importance of cutting her off. So, I guess, in the end, Catherine did grow a brain after all! I am excited for the next book. Can it be "To Kill A Mockingbird" since I just bought it at a library book sale for fifty cents?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Parting Thoughts

1. John Thorpe is an idiot. I noticed his behavior paralleled the behavior of Jane Austen's rejected lover in the movie "Becoming Jane" (he wrote a letter to the uncle of the guy she liked and told him she was a poor girl trying to find a rich husband). I don't know to what degree that movie is an accurate portrayal of Austen's life, but I think either Austen's fiction might be copying the truth or the movie's fiction might be copying Austen's fiction.

2. I still think Catherine is dumb or as Tegan dubs it "maddeningly slow." She should have caught on a lot sooner when Eleanor was kicking her out. Also, I don't care how upset she is. How can she even think of making the long journey home alone without checking to see how much money she had?

3. Eleanor is my favorite character in this book even if she does lack backbone.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Male Mrs. Bennett

The most ridiculous character in this novel is absolutely General Tilney. He is the female version of Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Both are obsessed with rank, class, money, and their children getting advantageously married. Both also brag, dominate conversations with stuff no one cares about, make quick ill-informed judgments and react accordingly, are prideful and rude, compare themselves with others, seek out a feeling of superiority, and make it painful to be in the same room with them.

All of Austen's novels seem to have a ridiculous character embodying these traits Austen hates most in society. In Pride and Prejudice it was Mrs. Bennett. In Sense and Sensibility it was Fanny. I am fascinated that in other novels it is a woman that embodies these traits, but here it is a man. In so doing, Austen shows that ridiculousness is not limited to the female population; men and women alike have the potential to embody these negative characteristics. Although it is interesting here that the General did not start out obviously ridiculous like Fanny and Mrs. Bennett. We have to get to know him a bit to really see it. In Jane Austen's eyes these characteristics cross sex as well as class/money (Fanny and the General are very wealthy, Mrs. Bennett is not). If she has a message threaded through her novels other than marriage based on love is preferable, it is that these characteristics are to be criticized and avoided. That said, I still want to marry a rich guy--but don't worry I won't brag about how new our carpet is or anything.


I think that the problem with the young women having too much time on their hand is the fact that they spend it reading gothic romance novels. What trouble Cathrine gets into because of Udolpho! (Ch. 24). Thank goodness for the gentle teachings of a loving Henry Tilney. I sure that Henry can see the naivety and unexperience of Catherine and maybe that endears her to him more. I was so embarrassed for Cathrine getting caught looking in rooms she had no buisness or permission being in. I have to somewhat agree with Shyla when she says that Catherine is stupid and annoying. I like Catherine but she is maddeningly slow. I like that she can only see the good in people but if she can't start picking better friends then she will not be seen in a good light in society. Come on Catherine! Grow a brain and stop hanging around Isabella who never writes to you and only uses you!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Regarding your comment about my last post: Shove it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


John Thorpe makes me sick, and I feel so bad for Catherine that she constantly has to put up with him! It reminds me of this guy who made me dinner a couple weeks ago, and then obliged me to watch all these clips of some stand-up comedian talking about Hot Pockets on You-tube... how do you get out of something like that? Sorry, that wasn't very nice, but I can sympathize a little.

So... I haven't quite finished this week's reading, but I thought I should post before it is too late. From my observations I think there is something very suspicious about General Tilney. I'm not convinced he is really their father. Also, the fact that he and John Thorpe seem to get along so great is kind of odd as well. It is difficult to tell how Mr. Tilney feels about Catherine, but I think he likes her. I do find it kind of odd, though, because his attachment to her seems to have formed rather quickly. I am curious to see what developments arise from this...

Sorry, my thoughts are kind of scattered right now; probably because of my 2 mid-terms and 3 projects that were due this week, on top of all the usual stuff. I did want to say, however, that I really like Catherine as the "heroine". I think she shows a lot of strength despite her sheltered upbringing and naivety. I am really proud of her for standing up to her "friends" (if you can call them that... I don't know what kind of friends would treat a person that way) and refusing to go with them. She certainly shows much more character than her brother, who always takes the side of the pretty face and falls for the oldest trick in the book when Isabella starts crying. He is so dense. I am glad Mr. Allen has some sense and supports Catherine in her decision. Mrs. Allen is just plain silly, as many of Miss Austen's female characters are. I wish Catherine had a stronger person there with her to advise and support. But perhaps she will find that within herself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Why haven't you responded to "my response?"

Bag the guilt; you guys are off topic

It would appear that I have yet to post. You see, I am not fond of Catherine. Therein lies the rub. And it is not looking too good for the 2nd and the 9th. What is the next book?


Ok- it has taken me a bit to read and I'm not even caught up. I got the email on a week that wasn't good for me to start reading. I am not quite through Chp. 11 but I will get there. I have to try and remember my roman numerals. You don't need it much with my life right now.

Well, first Cy.. Cy... Cy... It is amazing that mom wouldn't have sent you a book isn't it. Esp. when you hated our last two books and I quote: "Shangri Blah". And I'm sure mom didnt' know she would have to be responsible for you. As for those who didn't get a book, I beleive you got something else from Grandma. She stresses about gifts and I think appreciate should be expressed for what you did get and not what you didn't( even if it is in good fun)....;] Anyway, I'm just glad I got one. And I beleive Susan and Kristen aren't using theirs. You and Kristen are chummy aren't you Cy? The funny thing is that you keep posting...

I saw the movie when it was on Channel 8 a few weeks and ago and I must have been tired or something because what I remember from the movie and what I am reading are different. They don't describe the characters the same. It seems to me in the movie that they imply Mr. Tilney is bad, so that's what is in my head. Sorry to all of you who just "wha?!!!!!" out loud. So I am trying to forget the movie and focus on the book.
I think Catherine is just naive and is slowly coming out of it. She has never been an interest to any man so I think the fact that she doesn't like Mr. Thorpe is good. It shows she knows a bit about herself. I think Miss Thorpe is crazy. But at least Catherine has a friend.

I don't know why Mr. Tilney just left Bath without saying something to her about it earlier. She clearly likes him way more than he likes her.
I don't recall the conversations with Miss Tilney. What do they talk about. I hope one doesnt' talk about their kids and the other their gowns like Mrs. Allen and the other lady. Which is funny because they supposedly enjoy each others company when they dont' talk about anything the same.
Mr. Thorpe on page 44 when he has just met his mother, made fun of her hat and said it made her look like a 'witch' and then called his sisters 'ugly'.. no 'very ugly'. What a jerk. And then making her promise to spend all that time with him. Why is he being so crazy? Just because it's James' sister? I don't get what brought it on. Other than he thinks she's pretty.

Does Mr. Tilney thinks she's pretty? I don't know what he really thinks of her. All I know is that he knows about gowns.

I also think that Catherine can't be blamed for not getting the jokes. It says on pg. 60 that her family were plain matter of fact people who seldome aimed at wit of any kind. Eddie's family can only tell when I'm being sarcastic when they are looking at me. Talking to them over the phone or in an email (except Beth of course) is really hard. I have to say just kidding all the time. Even Eddie still over the phone I have to explain that I am just kidding. So it kinda just comes with the territory as it were.

I am excited to keep reading. Esp. now that I am trying to put the movie out of my mind. I still don't get her making fun of the times. I just don't know that much about it. But I can enjoy it on a level not as deep. That is what I like about Jane Austen. For people who know about things you can annalize and be all crazy. And for people like me, and dare I say Tegs, we can still enjoy it without all the indepth stuf. Maybe even Cylynn. or maybe she's not quite there yet.

There I've posted. I will keep reading until I fall asleep and try to catch up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tilney: Good or Just Not as Bad?

As stated before, I like how Austen is using this novel as a vehicle to express her criticisms of prevailing societal attitudes, behaviors, and ways of thinking. I think she also points out flaws in the "good" characters. I like this. Clearly, Tilney is supposed to be the hero of the book and the readers are supposed to love him. Check. But, does it necessarily follow that Tilney is an ideal man?

During Catherine's walk with the Tilneys she feels upset over not knowing much about drawing. Austen takes this opportunity to say that a person wishing "to attach" should not feel shame over ignorance. 104. Ignorance brings with it the pampering of your desired's vanity (he will love you because your ignorance makes him feel smart). "A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well as she can." 104. If that isn't a pointed criticism of her contemporaries' thinking, I don't know what is. Austen goes on to say that a reasonable and well-informed man desires nothing more than ignorance in a woman. Personally, I feel quite a bit of disgust for that type of thinking. I have had guys tell me they want a wife that is smart enough to converse a little on most subjects and to help the kids with homework, but not too smart that they have any personal ambitions or that they are smarter than the husband. I would think that Austen's ideal, as is mine, is a partnership that does not depend on ignorance of one to pamper the vanity of the other. I think Jane Austen is placing value on the hunt for a true intellectual equal instead of someone with whom to feel superior or inferior intelligence-wise. Tilney, though better-mannered, more fun, and having more integrity than Thorpe, is choosing a partner that feeds his vanity rather than inspires and challenges his thinking; thus, he is not perfect and is not the ideal man. (I know everyone is going to disagree with my reading, I mean I could practically write your responses for you, but I think I am right, and I'm throwing it out there.)

Two random tidbits. First, the James and Isabella thing is just painful to read. But, I predict Isabella is going to get an offer of more money and dump James anyway. Second, Tegan would like me to say that her computer isn't working but she will post as soon as possible.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Slowly but surely

It's funny that Catherine is so convinced by Isabella's devotion to her brother. wasn't it less than a month ago that Isabella was "not" flirting with strange men she saw? Suddenly she's going to be loyal now that she's officially promised to somebody, and one she was apparently so taken with since she first beheld him. Well, I guess she's just looking to get married to the first sucker to come along. I like Catherine's loyalty, she is a true friend and it's so great that she's finding a truer friend in Miss Tilney. Their friendship started off better, in my opinion.

I still can't handle John Thorpe. He's like one of those creepy guys who seems cool at first but turns out to be stalker-ish. And then when you stop being nice to them they still don't go away so you end up having to be mean and ignore them at the expense of propriety. They are also very awkward.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Catherine's Education

Catherine is learning life's lessons the hard way. I think she can clearly despise John Thorpe as much as I do. I feel very proud of her for standing up to him, but why can't he seem to see she doesn't like him? He such a LIAR.

Isabella seems harder for her to see thru, and now that she has trapped James (what is he thinking!!) I fear Isabella will be more manipulative than ever. I think Catherine feels she should like her, but when following her heart, is more attracted to Miss Tilney, and happier when she is with her.

Mr Tilney, as perfect as he is, has a flaw, he is vain and Catherine unmasked adoration plays right into it. I really enjoyed their conversation on history tormenting children. Mr Tilney is clever and cute in all his conversations, such an opposite of John Thorpe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't worry... I'm finally done with the first week's reading

Yeah, that took me way longer than it should have, but what can I say? I have a lot of other things (less enjoyable, I might add) that I am obliged to read. However, I am determined to stay somewhat on top of things and contribute to the book club this time around.

I really like the book so far. The quick wit of Miss Austen is really captivating and has made this story easier for me to get into than some of her other ones. The most enjoyable part for me is the way the characters parallel people in our day and age. John Thorpe is conceited and worldly (like so many boys I know) and bores poor Catherine to death with details of his "mode of transportation". That part made me laugh so hard because I've been in similar situations, and I was shocked to see that things really haven't changed. Isabella is a typical vain young woman-- I have known so many just like her, and I don't think Catherine is dumb for being her friend. When a beautiful, confident person pays you (a very normal and unextraordinary girl) special attention and compliments it is difficult not to be flattered and desire more of the attention. I like Mr. Tilney a lot, and think he seems very charming and intelligent. I agree that Catherine does not quite seem up to his level, but I am excited to see her grow and change as the story progresses.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


First of all let me thank Tegan, Tay and Kalli for giving me support during this very difficult time. To Tay and Kalli, I am sorry that GRANDMA Debs didn't get either of you a book, it seems she may have spent the money for your books on that stupid cat of hers, you know the one she probably stole from the Sandberg's with the hope of getting them back for stealing her irrigation.

Anyway, on to the main subject of my post.

1. How can you say that you were "determined" to be nicer and not swear this year? I was simply stating my sincerest of feelings and meant no harm. However it seems I have initiated your descent to a life filled with filthy language that I know will get worse throughout the year. I beg you to try and demonstrate a little more character in the future. I can only imagine what kind of nasty things you will have to say after this post. Please try to keep them G rated as innocent children (such as myself) read this blog on occasion.

2. Do not tell me that I can only post regarding the book when you yourself are taking the liberty of posting on a subject unrelated to the book or its characters. Shyla is the blog owner and will make the decisions related to what posts can and cannot be made. Step down and assume your roll as blog contributor, nothing more, nothing less. As far as I can see, you did not post on the first reading, probably because you couldn't figure it out before the deadline, but that is beside the point.

3. Can you belive that you are a GREAT GRANDMA? Does that make you feel old? Okay so that was a little low, but it is a valid question.

4. Please do not lie to me and say that you do not know where Shyla lives although I think she would like to have it that way. Anyway, I know firsthand that you are well aware of her location because I had to hear about your then, upcoming visit, on more than one occasion. On the upside, if you figured out where Tegan lives then I could come and visit you because Tegan and I are only separated by a few hours.

5. I still don't have the book so do not expect any book-related posts from me.

I think that is all I have for now. Just for the record and to keep you from breaking your weak resolution to be nicer and not swear, this post was written out of love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thanks Mom!

Mom, I just wanted to say thank you for all the goodies that came with the book! Before, when we have read the books, I would be reading and and come across a question I had or want to highlight a good line and would be too lazy to go and get a pen a paper, thinking that I would remember the question or comment when I posted. Of course I would not remember. But this time I had the trusty dusty bag of goodies and was actually able to write down my thoughts and questions. Now to the book, and Cy, please don't have hurt feelings about the goodie bag. We love you.

So, I like pg 32 when she goes on and on about how novelists do not get proper respect that they should. Is this her first novel?

Pg 45 If Catherine can see right through John Thrope, why can she not see that his sister is the same? I can see and understand that Catherine has set Isabella on a pedestal and nothing Isabella does will be wrong. I have done this before. However, when Catherine does begin to see the real Isabella, I think that all respect will be lost for her as it happened for me. But she will also feel a freedom and will be able to grow and move on with her life. I can't wait to see that happen. James worries me a little bit. He obviously has trouble picking out respectable people to be associated with. And I was really annoyed when Isabella told Catherine that she had been waiting for her for half an hour when she had only been there for five minutes! Who does she think she is? Come on Cathrine, open your eyes and be happy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

For Hell Sake!

Cy, Cy, Cy: For Hell Sake! Would you please get over yourself. It's bad enough I have to have ten kids but to have eleven and have the eleventh one be you is just a little more than even I can take. And even if I was inclined to send you a book, you couldn't be found in Missouri, Michigan or Montana. I'm not sure if I got the states right, but rest assured I don't even know what state Shyla lives in, so not knowing in which state you reside makes you in good company (maybe I should reword that). The fact that you are a "rebel rouser" and that the kerfuffle you have caused gives me a headache where I sit down only gives me cause to revel in consternation as I reflect upon the energy you take. Now settle down. Read the damn book. And when you post make sure it is about the book and not your bruised ego. Actually, you could be the eleventh child. You would fit in perfectly!! And I was determined this year to be nicer and stop swearing. You see what you have done?!! With all my love, debbs
I hate John Thorpe. He is such a nasty guy! I don't know if he just can't take a hint or if he just wants Catherine to punch him in the face. If it was me, I would have done something rash, so it's a good thing the book is actually about Catherine.

Catherine seems to have some issues. It seems to me that her parents should have enlightened her about the world before they let their friends take her out into it. The same goes for their son, who is making an idiot of himself for the sake of a desperate woman. Catherine was raised so that she couldn't help but be naive about people because her family was so normal-esque and accommodating of any personality. 

I'm excited about Mr. Tilney. While Catherine has a lot of potential growth, he is already a good man and worthy of Catherine's hopes. I'm also glad that he has such a nice sister who gives Isabella reason to worry about her influences over Catherine. 

A Simple Misunderstanding

Well after reading some of the previous posts concerning the book we would be reading I started to dislike my postman. Now some of you may be asking how in the world are these two related but ask no longer I will tell you.

It seemed that everyone (except for me) got the current book selection for Christmas. I was certain that Debs couldn't have forgotten about me so I waited and waited, checking the mail every single day, looking for the package that contained my book. I began to think that my postman was incompetent and couldn't deliver a package on time, but much to my disappointment it looks like I was never scheduled to receive the book.

I thought that being part of this book club would include me in more of the family things but I can see that Debs has not changed her mind about poor little Cylynn. I was never part of the family nor will I ever be part of the family.

I finally understand that I am not to be expecting the book. I guess I should have realized that "Freestone Family Book Club" literally means for the Freestone's. How could I have been so foolish?

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I really liked what Miss Austen said about reading of novels (pg 22). I think this book is filled with "genius, wit and taste"

I don't think of Catherine as dumb, just without experience, she is ready to like everybody and find the good. I think she may be too worried about what others think, like when telling her brother she liked Mr Thorpe, when she couldn't stand him.

Isabella is insincere and shallow, the whole Thorpe family seems geared that way, I guess we will see.

I look forward to knowing the Tilney's better.

Austen's Heroine: The Continuously Confused Catherine

Well, I must say this novel is surprising me. It has a very distinctive tone from Austen's other novels. It is extremely tongue in cheek. As she writes, she makes fun of her own characters, society in general, and even authors of novels. I find it quite amusing.

I do wish though that since Catherine is the main character, or as Austen affectionately calls her--the heroine, that I could stand her a bit more. I'm getting a bit sick of her dull-wittedness and extreme naivete. It should only take her about two seconds to figure out that Isabella is a conceited, boy crazy, insincere, self-absorbed, attention getter type. It makes me sick every time Catherine becomes confused at the inconsistencies in Isabella's behavior. For instance, it was obvious that Isabella loved it when the boys were staring at her and couldn't wait to think of an excuse to try and catch up with them. p. 36-37. If you ask me, if I know the type, and I do, that was all in Isabella's head anyway and those boys weren't staring at her at all. However, the one thing more pathetic than Isabella's behavior is Catherine's failure to correctly interpret it.

I am worried that Tilney's wit must be almost completely wasted on Catherine. Even the narrator tells us that Catherine "hardly understood" the "archness and pleasantry in his manner [of conversing]." p. 19. In the pump room he played with the formalized, insincere type of conversation carried on by their class (how long have you been in Bath . . . surprise), the frivolous treated as serious pursuits of young girls at the time (journal writing about clothes, events, and superficial descriptions of the opposite sex), and Mrs. Allen's lack of perception, depth, and understanding. (I actually wonder if Catherine's entire character is to mock Richardson's "Pamela"--a very popular novel in England. Pamela is pretty much as dumb and annoying as Catherine is.) While Catherine is amused by Tilney, I think it is due largely to a recognition that Tilney is funny and somewhat surprising and improper; I think she is missing the depth of his humor and the deeper character observations he is making. (Elizabeth Bennett would have gotten it right away.) Which means, if he falls in love with her, Austen is really going to have to sell it to me. Because, right now, I keep thinking, how is anyone that smart going to like anyone that dumb?

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Quotes

Jane lies in Winchester—blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made!
And while the stones of Winchester, or Milsom Street, remain,
Glory, love and honor unto England's Jane.

Rudyard Kipling, 1924

``Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. What induced you to say that you would rather have written Pride and Prejudice or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley novels?

"I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I had read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerrotyped [photographed] portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck [stream]. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses. These observations will probably irritate you. but I shall run the risk.

"Now I can understand admiration of George Sand [Lucie Aurore Dupin]...she has a grasp of mind which, if I cannot fully comprehend, I can very deeply respect: she is sagacious and profound; Miss Austen is only shrewd and observant.''

Charlott Bronte (in a letter to George Lewes)

I guess that it's a good thing we're not reading Pride and Predjudice. Apparently it's insipid and dull.... :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quotes About Jane Austen

"(Jane Austen's novels) appear to be compact of abject truth. Their events are excruciatingly unimportant; and yet, with Robinson Crusoe, they will probably outlast all Fielding, Scott, George Elliot, Thackeray, and Dickens. The art is so consummate that the secret is hidden; peer at them as hard as one may; shake them; take them apart; one cannot see how it is done."
---Thornton Wilder, 1938

"There have been several revolutions of taste during the last century and a quarter of English literature, and through them all perhaps only two reputations have never been affected by the shifts of fashion: Shakespeare's and Jane Austen's... She has compelled the amazed admiration of writers of the most diverse kinds."
---Edmund Wilson, 1944

"Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going, but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!"
---Sir Walter Scott, 1826