BOM 5-14-20

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

 

 

Meet Samantha: An American Girl
(American Girl: Samantha #1)
by Susan S. Adler, Renée Graef (Vignettes), Nancy Niles (Illustrator)

 

Meet Samantha: An American Girl is the first book in the Samantha series. It was included with the Samantha doll when the doll was available for purchase from 1986 until the collection’s archival in 2009; afterward, it could be purchased separately. With the release of BeForever, it is now part of Manners and Mischief.

Characters Introduced

Samantha Parkington
Mary Edwards
Gardner Edwards
Cornelia Pitt
Nellie O’Malley
Eddie Ryland
Jessie
Elsa
Mrs. Hawkins
Hawkins
Only in Meet Samantha: Lincoln: Jessie’s husband.

 

Chapter by Chapter Summary

 

Chapter One: Jessie

Samantha’s name is called. An oak tree rustles and Samantha, who had been climbing in the tree, tumbles out. Eddie Ryland, her next door neighbor, is in the hedge between their houses and was the one who startled her and calls her dumb. He says Samantha is so dumb she doesn’t know how to climb a tree. Samantha looks at her scraped knee, pained not by her knee, but by Eddie. She glares at Eddie icily and tells him to go away. Eddie instead replies that Samantha is so dumb that she thinks three times four is twelve. Samantha says that three times four is twelve. Eddie is about to say another thing, but Samantha cuts him off and says that if he doesn’t leave right now, she will take his beetle collection from behind the shed, put it in the church offering plate on Sunday, and tell his mother he did it. Eddie makes a face and leaves to find a better hiding place for his beetle collection.

Samantha looks at her knee—the blood has stopped but her stocking is ripped. She thinks about how Grandmary will look at her if she sees it; she is very stern with Samantha when she is improper. Samantha, with her bow drooping and stockings damaged, decides that she should go see Jessie. She hurries up the walkway and into the house, slowing down at the front door so that Elsa does not catch her. Sam makes her way all the way to the third floor and to the sewing room, where Jessie is working on a dress for Grandmary.

Jessie stops when she sees Samantha. She scolds Samantha on her disarray, mentioning that she is almost a lady but still getting into mischief. Samantha stands quietly, as while Jessie will lecture her she will also clean her up; as she was lecturing she has gotten the grass and dust from her hair. She inspects her clothes and, finding the torn stocking, has Samantha take off her shoes and stockings and asks if her knee hurts. Sam says it’s okay; she’s more worried about making sure she doesn’t have to explain it to Grandmary. She gets a clean rag and wipes up her knee while Jessie starts working on her stocking.

Samantha sees a piece of jelly biscuit on the floor that she dropped the day before. There are three ants on it, and Samantha thinks to tell Jessie but sees more ants coming and decides to see how many will come. She says aloud that it must be boring to be grown up, and Jessie replies that it depends on the person and that Samantha will not be bored even when she is grown. Samantha says that Cornelia, a “friend” of her Uncle Gard, is probably not bored. Samantha thinks Cornelia is pretty, but not right for her uncle; she thinks someone more like Alice Roosevelt would be better, as she is in several papers and doing exciting things. Sam asks if Gardner will marry Cornelia and Jessie tells her that it is none of her business and that children shouldn’t ask those questions. Samantha grumbles that she was a lady a moment ago but is now a child again.

Samantha says that Gard is a spy, and Jessie asks where she got a foolish idea like that. Sam says that he should be as he is handsome and brave, and that everyone would give up their secrets to him easily. Jessie says that Samantha should keep such ideas to herself as she’s made enough trouble today. Samantha asks if Jessie knew her parents, and Jessie says that Sam knows they died two years before Jessie came to work for Grandmary so she didn’t know them. Sam thinks that she only asked out of wishing. She touches the locket pinned to the front of her dress that has a picture of her mother and father inside, then asks Jessie about New Orleans. Jessie begins to talk about the place, and Samantha listens attentively. Jessie’s husband Lincoln is a porter and brings home tales of the city as well as postcards for Samantha and occasionally candy. Samantha listens to Jessie talk for an hour.

 

Chapter Two: A New Girl

At four o’clock, Samantha waits at the parlor doors completely cleaned up for her hour with Grandmary. She knocks on the door and then goes inside, giving her grandmother a curtsy. She thinks of Grandmary as a queen, sitting in her velvet chair with her gown around it. Samantha does try to be a proper young lady, but it’s easier for her when she is being watched by Grandmary; she thinks everyone is more ladylike around her. They greet each other formally and Samantha squirms, worried Grandmary will know she’s been up to trouble. Grandmary instead smiles, bids her sit next to her, and hands her her sampler to work on. Samantha has not gotten very far—the whole thing should read “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” when it is done, but Samantha is only up to ACTIONS SP.

Samantha begins to work on the sampler, glancing at her grandmother to check her mood. She then asks about a doll she saw in Schofield’s Toy Store, and after brief discussion, asks if she may have her. Grandmary says that the doll is quite expensive at six dollars [1] and that if Samantha is to be responsible, she must learn the value of a dollar. Samantha suggests that she could earn the money by making boomerangs and selling them, having read about it in The Boys’ Handy Book. Grandmary cuts her off in shock, saying that a lady does not earn her own money. Samantha replies quietly that Cornelia says that women should be able to earn money and not have to depend on men; Grandmary cuts off Samantha again by saying that Cornelia has quite a few notions she should keep to herself. Samantha goes back to her work, saying with a sigh that she would name the doll Lydia after her own mother. Grandmary becomes gentle and says there are other ways Samantha may earn the doll. She offers that if Samantha does her daily tasks well such as piano practice, she might earn the doll. Samantha eagerly promises to practice the piano an hour a day, make her sampler beautiful, help Mrs. Hawkins, and keep her clothes clean. She almost says she won’t tease Eddie, but cuts herself off before promising something she might not do. She hugs Grandmary tight in thanks. Grandmary says with caution in her voice that they’ll see.

Samantha works on her sampler for a half hour, then hears a low rumble that gets louder and more noisy, accompanied by angry voices and sounds of scared horses. Samantha gets up from her seat and runs to the window, seeing her Uncle Gard and his “friend”, Cornelia, and announces them. Grandmary looks at the ceiling and complains that he’s brought the automobile again and that she won’t know what to say to the neighbors. The car comes to a jerky stop in front of the house and Gardner and Cornelia get out. They are wearing long coats; Cornelia has a hat tied down with a scarf and Gard has large goggles. They make their way up the walk, beating the dust off their coats, and in a few moments Hawkins announces their presence. Grandmary has Hawkins show them in and Elsa bring tea.

The two come into the parlor; Gard greets his mother with a hug. Grandmary says she is well and remarks on the car, saying Gard has ruined the peace with “that horrible machine.” Gard says that Grandmary must keep up with the times, and that he can’t teach Samantha to drive without bringing it. Samantha excitedly asks if Gard will let her drive the car, and Gard says he’ll take her for a ride right then. Grandmary objects immediately, saying Samantha’s clothes will be ruined. Samantha is disappointed until Cornelia offers her duster for Samantha to wear. They go into the hall to get Samantha into the coat and then she and Gard head down the walk, Samantha with the too-big coat on. Eddie was sitting in the car, but scrambles out. Gard lifts Samantha in and goes to crank up the car. Eddie tells Samantha she looks dumb and Samantha ignores him as the car lurches with the cranking. Eddie says loudly he knows something Samantha doesn’t, and Gard gets into the car with Samantha and grabs the wheel as the car sways into the road. Eddie yells that a nine-year-old girl will be coming to live with them. Samantha says that he’s lying, choking on dust. Eddie says he is not and that the girl’s name is Nellie. Samantha doesn’t respond as the automobile lurches towards town.

Inside, Grandmary shakes her head and heads inside to offer Cornelia tea. She is distracted by Jessie coming out of the kitchen in a hurry and asks what she’s holding. Jessie announces that it’s pepper for the sewing room as there are hundreds of ants up there.

 

Chapter Three: The Tunnel

It is days later; Samantha makes her way out of her house with a gingerbread cookie after her piano practice. She has practiced every day for an hour; it feels very long to her and she can’t wait to get outside afterwards. She takes some breaths and leaps before making her way to the tunnel—a hole worn in the lilac hedge between her house and Eddie Ryland’s. She sees a girl hanging laundry in the yard. Samantha is surprised that Eddie wasn’t lying; she goes through, gets closer, and asked if the girl is Nellie. The girl is surprised and says that she is—calling Samantha “miss”—without stopping her work. She is smaller than Samantha. Sam asks if she’s a visitor and Nellie says that she’s there to work. Samantha is a little confused, but still eager to have a friend next door. She offers Nellie some of her cookie. Nellie says that she can’t and when Samantha asks if the Rylands won’t let her, she says that she’s got her job to do, calling Samantha “miss” again. Samantha gives her name, says she doesn’t have to be called “miss”, and sets her cookie down before offering to help so they can play. Nellie is embarrassed; since she can’t stop Samantha, Nellie helps her finish quickly so no one will see her working.

When they’re done, Samantha pulls Nellie to the tunnel and says that no one will see them there while eating. Sam asks Nellie why she’s working, and Nellie turns away as she describes her family. Her father works in a factory, and her mother does laundry. But with three girls, the money they make doesn’t care for them well; she mentions a lack of food and coal for heating specifically. Samantha is shocked with disbelief; she is good at imagining fanciful things, but not hunger and cold. She says that Nellie’s parents sent her away and that it’s awful. Nellie disagrees. She’s paid a dollar a week [2] and, while it is not as much as in the factory, it has better conditions. In the factory she worked every day but Sunday until dark in poor conditions that have ruined her health. She was sent to work for the Rylands because the air is better, the hours are shorter, and Nellie is fed well but does not see her family much. Samantha asks when Nellie goes to school and Nellie says she has never been. Samantha is again shocked, and then gets the idea that the two can meet every day, and Samantha will teach her everything. Nellie is excited, and they make plans. Samantha tells Nellie about her life and family; Nellie is amused about hearing about Gard’s automobile.

The two are interrupted by Eddie Ryland, who says that he sees them and that they’re so ugly they’d scare a moose. Samantha tells him to leave, and he says that’s he’s going to tell and starts towards the house. Nellie looks scared and Samantha yells at him, saying that if he says anything to anyone, she’ll take his new pocketknife and stuff it full of taffy. Eddie stops in his tracks, stares, covers his back pocket where the knife is, backs away, and runs off.

Nellie gets to her feet after Eddie leaves, saying that she must get back to work. Samantha follows saying that they can make a telephone using tin cans and string from Mrs. Hawkins, and string it through the hedge where Eddie can’t see it to talk to each other. She is anticipating the fun they will have together.

 

Chapter Four: Gone!

The next Tuesday after meeting Nellie, Sam is in the parlor sewing with Grandmary and the hour is almost over. Her sampler now reads “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THA”. There is a knock on the door, and Grandmary says come in. Jessie comes in dressed to leave; she curtsies and waits for Grandmary to speak. Sam thinks Jessie looks elegant, especially in her summer coat. Grandmary asks Jessie what she’s there for and Jessie says she won’t be coming back anymore. Samantha jumps out her chair in shock and asks why; Grandmary silences Samantha with a look, then thanks Jessie for her service, says she has been a great help, and that she will be missed. Samantha is horrified at Grandmary’s words and that she is just letting Jessie leave. Grandmary continues, telling Jessie that she can see Hawkins for a bonus. Jessie thanks Grandmary, then stops by Samantha and tells her to be very good and she’ll miss her. She then leaves.

Samantha waits until she is gone before speaking, asking why Jessie is leaving and why Grandmary is letting her go. Grandmary, not looking up from her own lacework, tells Samantha to sit down and not ask questions of her elders. She cites that this is Jessie’s business. Samantha sits down, but is so upset she can only fidget with her sewing and has to redo all her stitches. She can’t understand why Jessie left without an explanation. As soon as the sewing hour is over and she has been excused, she goes to find Mrs. Hawkins in the kitchen. Mrs. Hawkins is working on a meat pie; she asks why Samantha is rushing so, saying she looks like thunder. Sam flops into a chair, saying that Jessie’s left. Mrs. Hawkins says she knows. Samantha, upset that everyone knows but her, asks why and why Grandmary didn’t stop her. Mrs. Hawkins tells her not to fret, getting an onion to peel, and says that there are things that Samantha does not understand and that Samantha should think that Grandmary knows best. Samantha is more upset, feeling that she can’t know if Grandmary or anyone knows best because she doesn’t know anything. Sam leaves the kitchen and goes to the butlers’ pantry. Hawkins is there, whistling and polishing silver. He pulls out a chair for her and gives her a polishing cloth so she can work as she speaks. Sam begins to polish a silver bowl and says that Jessie is gone; she is not surprised that Hawkins says that he knows. She says that no one will tell her why. Hawkins smiles with an understanding look in his eyes, but then says that Jessie is fine and that it might not be easy, especially when young, but she should just trust what is going on.

Sam, deciding she does not want to talk anymore, leaves. As she goes past the parlor, Grandmary calls out to her. She says that Samantha has done well these past few weeks and there is something upstairs on the bed for her. Samantha almost forgets that Jessie has left, and forgets to say thank you as she runs upstairs two at a time and to her bedroom. On her bed is the doll she saw in Schofield’s. Samantha calls her “Lydia”, picking up the doll gently and holding her close.

 

Chapter Five: Night Visit

The next morning, Samantha takes her new doll, Lydia, to show to Nellie in the tunnel. Nellie is enamoured with the doll and is overly gentle touching her. Samantha wonders if it was a bad idea to bring the dolls as Nellie has never even owned a simple doll and Lydia is quite beautiful. She says it’s okay for Nellie to play with Lydia, and points out that her hat comes off and the dress has buttons. Nellie cradles Lydia as Samantha tells her what happened the day before with Jessie and how no one will tell her why. Nellie doesn’t answer, playing with the buttons on Lydia’s clothing. Samantha says that Jessie is going off to be an actress while Nellie takes off Lydia’s hat and looks at it. Samantha goes on, saying that Jessie will become famous and come back and introduce her and Nellie to actors and actresses (and no one else in the town). Nellie continues to play with Lydia.

As the days pass, Samantha continues to think up fanciful reasons for Jessie’s leaving: going to New Orleans to become a singer, that the President has asked her to be a spy in Europe and she will sew for kings and queens and learn their secrets, and that her brother was kidnapped and she must go to South America to rescue him. It is a few days later that Nellie gives a practical solution of Jessie maybe having a baby. Samantha asks why she’d do that. Nellie says that lots of people have babies because they just like them. Samantha agrees that Jessie does like babies and Nellie takes that as proof. Samantha is annoyed that Nellie’s idea is less exciting, but too sensible to be dismissed. She asks why Grandmary wouldn’t tell her about a baby, and Nellie says that grownups don’t like talking about babies coming. Samantha agrees, saying that he one time she asked Grandmary she was told it wasn’t a proper topic. She asked Mrs. Hawkins and was told that the stork brings them, but then Mrs. Hawkins wouldn’t talk about it anymore. Nellie says she doesn’t think that’s true, because when her baby sister was born a midwife came over and she and her other sister had to go out with her uncle; when they returned the baby was there and there was no stork. Samantha asks what a midwife is; Nellie explains it’s a woman who comes when babies are born. Her uncle said the midwife brought the baby in her black bag but Nellie looked in the bag and decided there was no room for a baby in there with the doctor’s things.

Samantha says they must find out what happened to Jessie and that if she knew where she lived, she could ask Lincoln what happened. Nellie says she knows where they live—a woman who makes herbal medicines for headaches lives across the street from Jessie and Nellie was sent there once by Mrs. Ryland to get it. Samantha hugs Nellie and says that they can’t go in the day because they’d be stopped, but they can go at night after everyone is asleep and meet at the tunnel. Grandmary turns off the gas lamps before bed, and Nellie can use that as a gauge to know that Samantha can come meet her. Nellie agrees as no one at the Rylands will notice her missing after her evening chores.

That night, Samantha is disturbed by all the night noises as she makes her way out—she always thought nighttime was quiet. She closes the back door and meets Nellie in the tunnel. The two girls head down the gas-lit streets; while on familiar streets they think of the journey as exciting, but once they cross the railroad tracks, the streets become dark and narrow with dark, narrow houses. Nellie holds Samantha’s hand so tight Samantha can’t let go if she wanted to. She is scared and thinks they should not have come. She asks if Nellie knows the way, and Nellie shakily replies that she thinks so and it’s not far. Sam asks why Jessie lives in such a drab area, and Nellie says it’s the colored part of town. Samantha says in confusion that Jessie has to live here and Nellie says of course. When pressed why by Nellie, Nellie replies that it’s just the way grownups do things before saying they’ve made it. The two girls rush to the wall under a window lit by a kerosene lamp and huddle there.

Nellie asks if Samantha is going to knock on the door. Samantha loses all her nerve, wondering if they have the wrong house or if Jessie and Lincoln have moved away. Nellie says Samantha can look in the window standing on her back, and Samantha says she’s stronger so Nellie can stand on her back. She gets on her hands and knees and Nellie steps on her back. Nellie peeks in the window and says that Jessie and Lincoln are inside along with a cradle. Jessie looks up, sees Nellie, and shrieks. Nellie tries to duck, loses her balance, and kicks Samantha in the ribs. Lincoln comes out to find a tangle of girls with frightened faces and laughs aloud before getting the girls inside.

Jessie cleans up the two girls, saying that she declares that she will spend the rest of her life straightening her up after mischief and asks what she is doing there late at night, even asking for Hawkins. The two girls are shy before Samantha says they came alone because Samantha didn’t know what happened to her and no one would say. Jessie hugs Samantha, saying that she’s sorry and that she never thought she’d worry. She then smiles and says they should come see her treasure; she reaches into the cradle and picks up a bundle, introducing him as Nathaniel. Jessie has had a baby boy. Samantha thinks he is tiny with fine brown skin like his mother’s, soft black curly hair, and a tiny pink mouth and calls him beautiful. Jessie beams and sets Nathaniel back in his crib. She then explains that she couldn’t stay at Grandmary’s because Lincoln is often gone with his work and she’s got to stay there with her son. She does say that she’ll come to see her often and bring Nathaniel. She hugs Samantha again, then hustles the two girls to the door so that Lincoln can walk them home before Grandmary has both their hides.

Samantha feels the walk home is much shorter than the walk there with Lincoln with them. The two girls each creep into their respective houses and Samantha sneaks up the stairs and back to her room without getting caught. She unbuttons her shoes and takes off her stockings, hangs her dress in the wardrobe, and gets into her nightgown, thinking it sweet and warm. She gets into her bed, holds Lydia, and goes to sleep.

 

Chapter Six: A Fine Young Lady

Two days later, Samantha goes out and tugs on the string of her end of the tin-can phone; she and Nellie put bells on either end so that they could signal. Nellie does not respond. Samantha tugs again and, still getting no answer, goes through the tunnel. Nellie is nowhere to be seen, and Eddie is there playing with gum by taking it out of his mouth in long strings and stuffing it back. He says he knows something Samantha doesn’t, looking pleased with himself. This worries Samantha, and she waits. Eddie says that Nellie is going away. Samantha feels like she’s been hit and asks what he’s talking about. Eddie says that their driver is taking her back to the city because she’s sick and his mother doesn’t think she’s strong enough to work properly; Nellie is in their kitchen waiting. Next time they’ll get an immigrant woman who will last. Samantha wants to punch him in the nose, but knows she can’t–not even if she was a boy would she do it because not even a grown-up would do it. A grown up would also not grab Eddie’s gum and shove it into his hair either, but Sam does exactly that because she is only nine and that’s only half grown. She then runs to the Ryland’s kitchen, leaving Eddie howling and trying to get gum out of his hair.

Nellie is there with her things in a bundle at her feet and swinging her legs. Samantha asks if Nellie is sick, and Nellie looks up. She says she’s not, but she has a cough. So Mrs. Ryland is sending her back before she becomes a bother. Samantha frets that Nellie will have to work in a factory again and get sick and asks what she’ll do without her. Nellie starts crying, saying it will be okay but she’ll miss Samantha so much. Samantha, upset that Nellie is crying, tells her to wait and she’ll be back. She runs to her kitchen, explaining to Mrs. Hawkins that the Rylands are sending Nellie away and her family doesn’t have enough food, and that they have to give the family something. Mrs. Hawkins packs a basket of food and Samantha carries it and Lydia back to Nellie. She leaves the basket at her feet and puts Lydia in her arms, telling Nellie to take her to be her friend. She hugs Nellie, staying until the Ryland’s driver takes her away.

That afternoon, Uncle Gard and Cornelia are over for tea. Samantha is there but she is not playing with Uncle Gard as usual. She is working on her sampler, as she is very angry and does not want to speak to grownups as they take away her friends without telling her why. She stabs at her sampler and the adults wonder why she’s in a bad mood. Samantha finally blurts out that she knows why Jessie left. Grandmary, surprised, asks if she does and Samantha says yes, she had a baby. Grandmary asks how she knows and Samantha says that she and Nellie went to her house to see, expecting punishment. Grandmary looks more troubled than angry, saying that Samantha was wrong to do that. Samantha, not feeling respectful, replies that Grandmary was wrong to not tell her why Jessie left. Grandmary inhales sharply and looks at Gardner and Cornelia. They are both silent, and Grandmary confesses she was wrong not to inform Samantha. After silence, Samantha asks if Jessie can come back. Grandmary says Jessie must care for the baby, and Samantha says she can bring Nathaniel because he won’t bother anyone. Grandmary looks thoughtful and says that if Jessie wants to return and Mrs. Hawkins doesn’t object, it should be okay. Samantha wonders who would imagine Mrs. Hawkins objecting to Nathaniel. She thanks Grandmary, almost shouting. Grandmary is not used to making mistakes and is embarrassed. She changes the subject to the new doll, asking where it is. Samantha, her face hot, says she lost the doll. Grandmary becomes upset, starting to fuss at Samantha that she will never grow into a proper young lady and that she is trying to teach her the values of things. Gard interrupts quietly, saying that Sam’s sense of value is fine. She gave the doll to Nellie as she was leaving, and Mrs. Hawkins told him this. Grandmary stops in the middle of her fussing, then nods and says that Samantha’s sense of value is just fine.

Samantha runs to Grandmary, saying they must help Nellie’s family because they don’t have enough food or coal. Grandmary is initially shocked, then laughs and says yes—if Samantha can give up her treasure, then the family can find a way to help Nellie. She gives a smile and says that Samantha is quite a fine young lady before hugging her warmly.

 

Looking Back: America in 1904

Discusses life in turn of the century America. Topics discussed:

  • The lives and households of well to do families like Grandmary and Samantha.
  • The behavior and clothing worn by young children
  • Meal preparation.
  • How elegant households were maintained by servants, the hard work of servants, and the proper position of servants, including how they were expected to keep to a “proper” place and not become friendly with their employer’s families.
  • The gap between rich and poor.
  • The expectations of the upper class.
  • How many women had new ideas about equal rights and social progress
  • Inventions and technology such as expanding cities, automobiles, light bulbs, and electrical equipment.

 

I found this information on

Meet Samantha

Have you read this book and/or do you have the doll? We have the doll but we got her second hand and she didn’t have her book with her. KayKay did rent the book from the school library a few years ago.

BOM 4-21-20

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

Ok this month I picked a book that has a movie made after it. Let us know if you have read the book or watched the movie.

 

I Am Legend

The Book:bom

I Am Legend is a 1954 post-apocalyptic horror novel by American writer Richard Matheson that was influential in the modern development of zombie and vampire literature and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. The novel was a success and was adapted into the films The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007). It was also an inspiration behind Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Plot summary

Robert Neville appears to be the sole survivor of a pandemic that has killed most of the human population and turned the remainder into “vampires” that largely conform to their stereotypes in fiction and folklore: they are blood-sucking, pale-skinned, and nocturnal, though otherwise indistinguishable from normal humans. Implicitly set in Los Angeles, the novel details Neville’s life in the months and eventually years after the outbreak as he attempts to comprehend, research, and possibly cure the disease. Swarms of vampires surround his house nightly and try to find ways to get inside, which includes the females exposing themselves and his vampire neighbor relentlessly shouting for him to come out. Neville survives by barricading himself inside his house every night; he is further protected by the traditional vampire repellents of garlic, mirrors, and crucifixes. Weekly dust storms ravage the city, and during the day, when the vampires are inactive, Neville drives around to search them out in order to kill them with wooden stakes (since they seem impervious to his guns’ bullets) and to scavenge for supplies. Neville’s past is occasionally revealed through flashbacks; the disease claimed his daughter, whose body the government forced him to burn, as well as his wife, whose body he secretly buried but then had to kill after she rose from the dead as a vampire.

After bouts of depression and alcoholism, Neville finally determines there must be some scientific reasons behind the vampires’ origins, behaviors, and aversions, so he sets out to investigate. He obtains books and other research materials from a library and through gradual research discovers the root of the disease is probably a Bacillus strain of bacteria capable of infecting both deceased and living hosts. His experiments with microscopes also reveal that the bacteria are deadly sensitive to garlic and sunlight. One day, a stray, injured dog finds its way to his street, filling Neville with amazed joy. Desperate for company, Neville painstakingly earns the nervous dog’s trust with food and brings it into the home. Despite his efforts, the sickly dog dies a week later, and Neville, robbed of all hope, resignedly returns to learning more about the vampires.

Neville’s continued readings and experiments on incapacitated vampires help him create new theories. He believes vampires are affected by mirrors and crosses because of “hysterical blindness”, the result of previous psychological conditioning of the infected. Driven insane by the disease, the infected now react as they believe they should when confronted with these items. Even then, their reaction is constrained to the beliefs of the particular person; for example, a Christian vampire would fear the cross, but a Jewish vampire would not. Neville additionally discovers more efficient means of killing the vampires, other than just driving a stake into their hearts. This includes exposing vampires to direct sunlight or inflicting wide, oxygen-exposing wounds anywhere on their bodies so that the bacteria switch from being anaerobic symbionts to aerobic parasites, rapidly consuming their hosts when exposed to air, which gives the appearance of the vampires instantly liquefying. However, the bacteria also produce resilient “body glue” that instantly seals blunt or narrow wounds, making the vampires bulletproof. With his new knowledge, Neville is killing such large numbers of vampires in his daily forays that his nightly visitors have diminished significantly. Neville further believes the pandemic was spread not so much by direct vampire bites as by bacteria-bearing mosquitos and dust storms in the cities following a recent war. The inconsistency of Neville’s results in handling vampires also leads him to realize that there are in fact two differently-reacting types of vampires: those conscious and living with a worsening infection and those who have died but been reanimated by the bacteria (i.e. undead).

After three years, Neville sees a terrified woman in broad daylight. Neville is immediately suspicious after she recoils violently in the presence of garlic, but they slowly win each other’s trust. Eventually, the two comfort each other romantically and he explains some of his findings, including his theory that he developed immunity against the infection after being bitten by an infected vampire bat years ago. He wants to know if the woman, named Ruth, is infected or immune, vowing to treat her if she is infected, and she reluctantly allows him to take a blood sample but suddenly knocks him unconscious as he views the results. When Neville wakes, he discovers a note from Ruth confessing that she is indeed a vampire sent to spy on him and that he was responsible for the death of her husband, another vampire. The note further suggests that only the undead vampires are pathologically violent but not those who were alive at the time of infection and who still survive due to chance mutations in their bacteria. These living-infected have slowly overcome their disease and are attempting to build a new society. They have developed medication that diminishes the worst of their symptoms. Ruth warns Neville that her feelings for him are true but that her people will attempt to capture him and that he should try to escape the city.

However, assuming he will be treated fairly by the new society, Neville stays at his house until infected members arrive and violently dispatch the undead vampires outside his house with fiendish glee. Realizing the infected attackers may intend to kill him after all, he fires on them and in turn is shot and captured. Fatally wounded, Neville is placed in a barred cell where he is visited by Ruth, who informs him that she is a senior member of the new society but, unlike the others, does not resent him. After discussing the effects of Neville’s vampire-killing activities on the new society, she acknowledges the public need for Neville’s execution but, out of mercy, gives him a packet of fast-acting suicide pills. Neville accepts his fate and asks Ruth not to let this society become too heartless. Ruth promises to try, kisses him, and leaves. Neville goes to his prison window and sees the infected staring back at him with the same hatred and fear that he once felt for them; he realizes that he, a remnant of old humanity, is now a legend to the new race born of the infection. He recognizes that their desire to kill him, after he has killed so many of their loved ones, is not something he can condemn. As the pills take effect, he is amused by the thought that he will become their new superstition and legend, just as vampires once were to humans.

The Movie:220px-I_am_legend_teaser

I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic action thriller film[4] based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film stars Will Smith as US Army virologist Robert Neville. The story is set in New York City after a virus, which was originally created to cure cancer, has wiped out most of mankind, leaving Neville as the last human in New York, other than nocturnal mutants. Neville is immune to the virus and he works to develop a cure while defending himself against the hostile mutants.
Warner Bros. began developing I Am Legend in 1994, and various actors and directors were attached to the project, though production was delayed due to budgetary concerns related to the script. Production began in 2006 in New York City, filming mainly on location in the city, including a $5 million scene[5] at the Brooklyn Bridge. It is the third feature-film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, following 1964’s The Last Man on Earth and 1971’s The Omega Man.
I Am Legend was released on December 14, 2007, in the United States and Canada, and opened to the largest ever box office (not adjusted for inflation) for a non-Christmas film released in the U.S. in December, and was the seventh-highest grossing film of 2007, earning $256 million domestically and $329 million internationally, for a total of $585 million. The film received mostly favorable reviews, with Smith’s performance being singled out for praise; criticism focused on its divergences from the novel, particularly the ending.

 

BOM 1-14-20

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post. So get you a cup of Coffee, Hot Cocoa or Tea and join us for a good book.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

War Of The Worlds

1-The_War_of_the_Worlds_first_edition

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialized in 1897 by Pearson’s Magazine in the UK and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race.
The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon.
The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears, and prejudices. Wells said that the plot arose from a discussion with his brother Frank about the catastrophic effect of the British on indigenous Tasmanians. What would happen, he wondered, if Martians did to Britain what the British had done to the Tasmanians? The Tasmanians, however, lacked the lethal pathogens to defeat their invaders. At the time of publication, it was classified as a scientific romance, like Wells’s earlier novel The Time Machine.

2-War_of_the_Worlds_original_cover_bw
Title page, 1927 Amazing Stories reprint.

The War of the Worlds has been both popular (having never been out of print) and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, a number of television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. It was most memorably dramatised in a 1938 radio programme that allegedly caused public panic among listeners who did not know the Martian invasion was fiction.
The novel has even influenced the work of scientists, notably Robert H. Goddard, who, inspired by the book, invented both the liquid fuelled rocket and multistage rocket, which resulted in the Apollo 11 Moon landing 71 years later.

 

Plot

“Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”
— H. G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds

The Coming of the Martians

The narrative opens by stating that as humans on Earth busied themselves with their own endeavours during the mid-1890s, aliens on Mars began plotting an invasion of Earth because their own resources are dwindling. The Narrator (who is unnamed throughout the novel) is invited to an astronomical observatory at Ottershaw where explosions are seen on the surface of the planet Mars, creating much interest in the scientific community. Months later, a so-called “meteor” lands on Horsell Common, near the Narrator’s home in Woking, Surrey. He is among the first to discover that the object is an artificial cylinder that opens, disgorging Martians who are “big” and “greyish” with “oily brown skin”, “the size, perhaps, of a bear”, each with “two large dark-coloured eyes”, and lipless “V-shaped mouths” which drip saliva and are surrounded by two “Gorgon groups of tentacles”. The Narrator finds them “at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous”. They emerge briefly, but have difficulty in coping with the Earth’s atmosphere and gravity, and so retreat rapidly into their cylinder.
A human deputation (which includes the astronomer Ogilvy) approaches the cylinder with a white flag, but the Martians incinerate them and others nearby with a heat-ray before beginning to assemble their machinery. Military forces arrive that night to surround the common, including Maxim guns. The population of Woking and the surrounding villages are reassured by the presence of the British Army. A tense day begins, with much anticipation by the Narrator of military action.

3-The_War_of_the_Worlds_by_Henrique_Alvim_Corrêa_08_b&w
An army of Martian fighting-machines destroying England. (1906)

After heavy firing from the common and damage to the town from the heat-ray which suddenly erupts in the late afternoon, the Narrator takes his wife to safety in nearby Leatherhead, where his cousin lives, using a rented, two-wheeled horse cart; he then returns to Woking to return the cart when in the early morning hours, a violent thunderstorm erupts. On the road during the height of the storm, he has his first terrifying sight of a fast-moving Martian fighting-machine; in a panic, he crashes the horse cart, barely escaping detection. He discovers the Martians have assembled towering three-legged “fighting-machines” (tripods), each armed with a heat-ray and a chemical weapon: the poisonous “black smoke”. These tripods have wiped out the army units positioned around the cylinder and attacked and destroyed most of Woking. Taking shelter in his house, the Narrator sees moving through his garden a fleeing artilleryman, who later tells the Narrator of his experiences and mentions that another cylinder has landed between Woking and Leatherhead, which means the Narrator is now cut off from his wife. The two try to escape via Byfleet just after dawn, but are separated at the Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry during a Martian afternoon attack on Shepperton.
One of the Martian fighting-machines is brought down in the River Thames by artillery4-Correa-Martians_vs._Thunder_Child as the Narrator and countless others try to cross the river into Middlesex, and the Martians retreat to their original crater. This gives the authorities precious hours to form a defence-line covering London. After the Martians’ temporary repulse, the Narrator is able to float down the Thames in a boat toward London, stopping at Walton, where he first encounters the curate, his companion for the coming weeks.

Towards dusk, the Martians renew their offensive, breaking through the defence-line of siege guns and field artillery centred on Richmond Hill and Kingston Hill by a widespread bombardment of the black smoke; an exodus of the population of London begins. This includes the Narrator’s younger brother, a medical student (also unnamed), who flees to the Essex coast, after the sudden, panicked, pre-dawn order to evacuate London is given by the authorities, on a terrifying and harrowing journey of three days, amongst thousands of similar refugees streaming from London. The brother encounters Mrs Elphinstone and her younger sister-in-law, just in time to help them fend off three men who are trying to rob them. Since Mrs Elphinstone’s husband is missing, the three continue on together.
After a terrifying struggle to cross a streaming mass of refugees on the road at Barnet, they head eastward. Two days later, at Chelmsford, their pony is confiscated for food by the local Committee of Public Supply. They press on to Tillingham and the sea. There, they manage to buy passage to Continental Europe on a small paddle steamer, part of a

5-Woking_tripod
The Martian in Woking.

vast throng of shipping gathered off the Essex coast to evacuate refugees. The torpedo ram HMS Thunder Child destroys two attacking tripods before being destroyed by the Martians, though this allows the evacuation fleet to escape, including the ship carrying the Narrator’s brother and his two travelling companions. Shortly thereafter, all organised resistance has ceased, and the Martians roam the shattered landscape unhindered.

The Earth under the Martians

At the beginning of Book Two, the Narrator and the curate are plundering houses in search of food. During this excursion, the men witness a Martian handling-machine enter Kew, seizing any person it finds and tossing them into a “great metallic carrier which projected behind him, much as a workman’s basket hangs over his shoulder”, and the Narrator realises that the Martian invaders may have “a purpose other than destruction” for their victims. At a house in Sheen, “a blinding glare of green light” and a loud concussion attend the arrival of the fifth Martian cylinder, and both men are trapped beneath the ruins for two weeks.
The Narrator’s relations with the curate deteriorate over time, and eventually he knocks him unconscious to silence his now loud ranting; but the curate is overheard outside by a Martian, which eventually removes his unconscious body with one of its handling machine tentacles. The reader is then led to believe the Martians will perform a fatal transfusion of the curate’s blood to nourish themselves, as they have done with other captured victims viewed by the Narrator through a small slot in the house’s ruins. The Narrator just barely escapes detection from the returned foraging tentacle by hiding in the adjacent coal-cellar.
Eventually the Martians abandon the cylinder’s crater, and the Narrator emerges from

6-Famous_fantastic_mysteries_195107
A reprint of The War of the Worlds was cover-featured on the July 1951 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries

the collapsed house where he had observed the Martians up close during his ordeal; he then approaches West London. En route, he finds the Martian red weed everywhere, a prickly vegetation spreading wherever there is abundant water. On Putney Heath, once again he encounters the artilleryman, who persuades him of a grandiose plan to rebuild civilisation by living underground; but, after a few hours, the Narrator perceives the laziness of his companion and abandons him. Now in a deserted and silent London, slowly he begins to go mad from his accumulated trauma, finally attempting to end it all by openly approaching a stationary fighting-machine. To his surprise, he discovers that all the Martians have been killed by an onslaught of earthly pathogens, to which they had no immunity: “slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth”.
The Narrator continues on, finally suffering a brief but complete nervous breakdown, which affects him for days; he is nursed back to health by a kind family. Eventually, he is able to return by train to Woking via a patchwork of newly repaired tracks. At his home, he discovers that his beloved wife has, somewhat miraculously, survived. In the last chapter, the Narrator reflects on the significance of the Martian invasion and the “abiding sense of doubt and insecurity” it has left in his mind.

 

Information from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds

Have you read this book? Have you heard the broadcast? Have you watch any of the movies made of it? What do you think of the story? Let us know the answers to our questions and join us again next month.

BOM 3-19-19

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

Dad is doing the BOM post this month. His opinion is in dark blue.

The Ring of Charon

The Ring of Charon is a science fiction book by American writer Roger MacBride Allen, first published in 1990 by Tor Books. It is the first in a series of three (although the third book has yet to be published) books under the name of The Hunted Earth.
The story unfolds as an unknown alien race captures Earth with the use of a controlled wormhole, which was triggered accidentally by artificial gravity experiments issued from a human outpost in space. The story follows all three viewpoints: the earth, the solar system (sans earth) and the alien race (Charonians).

In my opinion this book is very good. The action starts almost at the beginning . It keeps you wondering what happened because the mystery grows from beginning to end. This is the first book in the series called The Hunted Earth and I want to get the others. The characters are very interesting and diverse. If you like Mystery or Sci-fi you will love this book. Let us know if you have heard of or read The Ring of Charon.

Come again next month to see what the next book will be. Let us know some books you like in the comments. Subscribe to get notifications of when we post.

Dad toon

 

 

BOM 11-12-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

In honor of Thanksgiving this month we have a book about just that.

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History

By: Robert Tracy McKenzie

 

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The Pilgrims’ celebration of the first Thanksgiving is a keystone of America’s national and spiritual identity. But is what we’ve been taught about them or their harvest feast what actually happened? And if not, what difference does it make?

In The First Thanksgiving Robert McKenzie tells the captivating story of the birth of this quintessentially American holiday, and helps us to better understand the tale of America’s origins–and for Christians, to grasp the significance of this story and those like it. McKenzie avoids both idolizing and demonizing the Pilgrims, and calls us to love and learn from our flawed yet fascinating forebears.

The First Thanksgiving is narrative history at its best, and promises to be an indispensable guide to the interplay of historical thinking and Christian reflection on the meaning of the past for the present.

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2013

I found this book at https://www.christianbook.com/thanksgiving-tells-about-loving-learning-history/robert-mckenzie/9780830825745/pd/825745?en=bing-pla&event=SHOP&kw=books-0-20%7C825745&p=1179517&dv=c&msclkid=4da28c9c33731d50cbb4d779f2ee96bf&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping%20Main&utm_term=4580290564250971&utm_content=s-academic#CBD-PD-Description

 

I hope you have enjoyed the information about this book and let us know if you have read or heard about this book in the comments.

 

Post written by: Mom Classic White

 

BOM 9-18-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

This month our BOM is Grace (Girl of the Year)

Grace

Grace (Girl of the Year) 2015

Summery:

Nine-year-old Grace Thomas is always thinking up big ideas, like starting a business with her friends over the summer! When her mom announces a trip to Paris instead, Grace gets on board, but it quickly seems as if none of her plans are working out the way she’d hoped. She and her French cousin aren’t getting along, and Grace’s friends back home have started a business without her. Can she find the courage to stay open to new ideas and turn the summer around?

My opinion:

Have you read this book? I have and I have also watched the movie and Grace is my favorite American Girl. I am hoping to find her because we don’t have her and I really want her but we started getting into American Girl after she had retired.

Questions For You:

What is your favorite American Girl?

Have you read this book?

Do you like this book?

What book would you like us to look at?

Please like, comment and subscribe. Also join us every month for a BOM post and check out our other posts.

 

Have a blessed day

BOM 8-16-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

This months BOM is The Indian In The Cupboard
By Lynne Reid Banks

I love this book and I first read it when I was in the 4th or 5th grade in school and there is a movie of it also that I watched when it came out. Let me know if you have read the book or seen the movie.

9780380724048-us-300

The Indian In The Cupboard

The Indian in the Cupboard is a low fantasy children’s novel by the British writer Lynne Reid Banks, published in 1980 with illustrations by Robin Jacques (UK) and Brock Cole (US). It was adapted as a 1995 children’s film under the same name.
The original book was followed by four sequels: The Return of the Indian (1985); The Secret of the Indian (1989); The Mystery of the Cupboard (1993); and The Key to the Indian (1998). All were published by Doubleday Books in hardcover, then by Avon Books, now HarperCollins, in paperback. There have been multiple reprints, in various formats, including movie tie-in editions. The publisher recommended reading level is age nine and up.

1

The Indian in the Cupboard (1980)

The Indian in the Cupboard is a low fantasy children’s novel by the British writer Lynne Reid Banks, published in 1980 with illustrations by Robin Jacques (UK) and Brock Cole (US). It was later adapted as a 1995 children’s film under the same name.
On Omri’s ninth birthday, his best friend, Patrick, gives Omri a small plastic Indian figure. Although Omri was not particularly fond of the present, he politely accepted his gift. Later that day Omri gets a cupboard from his older brother, Gillon. He uses a key inherited from his great-grandmother to open it. Omri, unaware that the key is magical and can bring inanimate objects to life, puts the toy Indian in the cupboard. When he awakens the following morning, he discovers that the toy has been brought to life as a three-inch tall Iroquois man. After a bewildering first encounter, Omri and the Indian come to an understanding, and the reader eventually learns that the Indian is named Little Bear (in some editions he is called Little Bull). Omri and Little Bear explore his home and lawn, while Omri provides for Little Bear’s basic needs. Omri places a toy horse into the cupboard, inserts and turns the key, and ends up with a live miniature horse. Omri also does this with a toy soldier. Soon, Omri’s best friend, Patrick, finds out about the magic cupboard and brings a toy cowboy named Boone to his house to test the cupboard’s properties. Despite Omri’s warning not to put Boone in the cupboard (as Boone and Little Bear will inevitably fight), Patrick ignores his request. Later in the novel, Boone and Little Bear fight while Patrick refuses to reverse the process until it is too late and Boone gets shot by Little Bear with an arrow. Omri remembers he has the toy World War I soldier that could help treat the injured Boone, but the magic key necessary to bring the medic to life has gone missing. After a brief adventure with an escaped pet rat, the key is found and Boone is treated.
Little Bear is considered to be a demanding character, and ultimately Omri must provide him with a bride to appease him. Omri thinks it is best to send Little Bear a bride named Bright Stars (in some editions she is called Twin Stars) and it is later decided (with Patrick’s agreement) that the couple and Boone be sent back to their own time. Omri gives his mother the key so he is not tempted to bring them back again, but it is suggested that a sequel is to follow.
The original book was followed by four sequels: The Return of the Indian (1985); The Secret of the Indian (1989); The Mystery of the Cupboard (1993); and The Key to the Indian (1998). All were published by Doubleday Books in hardcover, then by Avon Books, now HarperCollins, in paperback.[citation needed] There have been multiple reprints, in various formats, including movie tie-in editions. The publisher recommended reading level is age nine and up.
All the stories revolve around a young boy discovering the powers of a magical cupboard that turns toys into real living beings, specifically a toy plastic Iroquois Indian figure.This book was reviewed for The New York Times where it was called “the best novel of the year”. The book has been used as part of teaching curricula for children at the novel’s reading level. It was illustrated at least by Robin Jacques (UK), Brock Cole (US), and Piers Sanford (later).
The book has been both critiqued and praised on its literary merit and has once been recommended reading in school curriculum. The book has received its share of positive and negative reviews and has even been credited with a number of awards. Reviewing its first sequel in 1986, Kirkus Reviews observed, “The first book had a fine balance between childish desire to play with the tiny figures and awareness that, though small, they were real people who ought not to be so manipulated.” Despite the wide range of views on this novel, little information exists about any challenges the author faced in publishing it. At one time classrooms and libraries widely accepted the book.

Plot summary

On Omri’s ninth birthday, his best friend, Patrick, gives Omri a small plastic Indian figure. Although Omri was not particularly fond of the present, he politely accepted his gift. Later that day Omri gets a cupboard from his older brother, Gillon. He uses a key inherited from his great-grandmother to open it. Omri, unaware that the key is magical and can bring inanimate objects to life, puts the toy Indian in the cupboard. When he awakens the following morning, he discovers that the toy has been brought to life as a three-inch tall Iroquois man. After a bewildering first encounter, Omri and the Indian come to an understanding, and the reader eventually learns that the Indian is named Little Bear (in some editions he is called Little Bull). Omri and Little Bear explore his home and lawn, while Omri provides for Little Bear’s basic needs. Omri places a toy horse into the cupboard, inserts and turns the key, and ends up with a live miniature horse. Omri also does this with a toy soldier. Soon, Omri’s best friend, Patrick, finds out about the magic cupboard and brings a toy cowboy named Boone to his house to test the cupboard’s properties. Despite Omri’s warning not to put Boone in the cupboard (as Boone and Little Bear will inevitably fight), Patrick ignores his request. Later in the novel, Boone and Little Bear fight while Patrick refuses to reverse the process until it is too late and Boone gets shot by Little Bear with an arrow. Omri remembers he has the toy World War I soldier that could help treat the injured Boone, but the magic key necessary to bring the medic to life has gone missing. After a brief adventure with an escaped pet rat, the key is found and Boone is treated.
Little Bear is considered to be a demanding character, and ultimately Omri must provide him with a bride to appease him. Omri thinks it is best to send Little Bear a bride named Bright Stars (in some editions she is called Twin Stars) and it is later decided (with Patrick’s agreement) that the couple and Boone be sent back to their own time. Omri gives his mother the key so he is not tempted to bring them back again, but it is suggested that a sequel is to follow.

Controversy

The novel has been criticised on its portrayal and representation of Native Americans. At the 1991 American Library Association national conference, Caldwell-Wood and Mitten (ex presidents of the American Indian Library Association) considered the book and its sequels to be “classic examples of highly acclaimed books riddled with horrendous stereotypes of Native Americans. Banks has created her ‘Indian’ character from the mixed bag of harmful cliches so common among British authors”. Similarly, Rhonda Harris Taylor explains that one aspect of controversy surrounding this novel is the “fact that the book’s portrayal of Native Americans is seen as acceptable, implying its representations of American Indians as savages are the way American Indians are viewed in the mainstream”, and that the role of Omri reinforces ideas of white paternalism. According to Freedom to Read, the book was challenged by a school board in Kamloops, BC and was temporarily removed from public libraries on the basis of the “potentially offensive treatment of native peoples.” The book was reintroduced into libraries but the title was placed on the list of challenged materials for teacher information.

Awards

Aside from being considered as The New York Times’ “best novel of the year”, The Indian in the Cupboard has received several literary awards across the years and is becoming regarded as a classic in children’s literature. A list of the awards received is as follows:
WINNER 1989 – Arizona Young Readers Award
WINNER 1985 – California Young Reader Medal
WINNER 1984 – Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award
WINNER 1987 – Virginia Young Readers Program Award
NOMINEE 1988 – Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award
WINNER 1988 – Massachusetts Children’s Book Award
Because of the varying opinions on the subject matter and portrayal of Native Americans in the novel, the quality of the book is largely subjective. While it can be argued that the stereotypes perpetuated by the novel are unforgivable, advocates for book praise the novel on aspects of convincing characters, reader captivation and enchantment, and keeping in touch with young readers, among other things.

2

The Return of the Indian (1985)

The second book in the series was published in paperback by Avon books, now an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. It was a New York Times Notable Book. It was illustrated at least by Bill Geldart, William Coldart (UK), and Piers Sanford (later).
Omri and Patrick intervene aggressively in Little Bear’s home world, Kirkus observed in contrast to the first book. “Feisty, likable characters and the precise logic by which Banks evolves events from her premises make this one of the better recent fantasies. Readers, enjoying the action and adventure, may also ponder its moral dilemmas.”

Plot summary

One day Omri receives a letter announcing that he has won first prize in a story-writing competition for his tale “The Plastic Indian” (actually a recount of everything that happened in the first book; everyone else assumes that Omri’s story is fictional.) Wanting to share his good news, Omri brings Little Bear and his wife, Bright Stars, back through the magic cupboard. However Omri sees right away that Little Bear has been badly wounded by French soldiers. To make matters worse, Tommy, the World War I medic, has died since the events in the previous novel.
Omri confronts Patrick again, and Patrick accepts that the magic and the little people are real once more. Patrick shows Omri a set of plastic figures that his cousin Tamsin recently received as a birthday present; it includes a modern surgical team. They intend to sneak out with the group and bring them to life in the cupboard, but Tamsin catches the boys on the way out and Omri is only able to retain one of the figures.
On the train home, Omri sees that he has taken the nurse from Tamsin’s set. Seeing this as better than nothing, he and Patrick put the nurse in the cupboard and bring her to life. The nurse, called Matron is led to believe that she is dreaming and saves Little Bear’s life through careful operation. Matron also announces that Bright Stars is pregnant and the boys decide that they will bring her again when the baby is born.
As Little Bear recovers, Patrick brings back his old friend Boone through the cupboard. When Boone talks about ways to help Little Bear’s people, Patrick gets the idea to take plastic soldiers (with modern weaponry) back through the cupboard to Little Bear’s time. Little Bear likes the idea of using new weapons (he now calls them “now-guns”) but wants to only take fellow Iroquois warriors with him. So the boys buy several more plastic figures from the local shops and bring them all forward with the cupboard. They also recruit a miniature Royal Marine corporal (later sergeant) named Fickits to instruct the Iroquois in weapons usage.
After Little Bear and his troops are sent back, the boys express a desire to go back themselves. A casual comment by Boone prompts Omri and Patrick to wonder if it is merely the key which is magical and not the cupboard – meaning that if they found something big enough they could indeed go back. Using a large chest he recently acquired, Omri is sent back and inhabits a drawing on Little Bear’s teepee. Omri witnesses a group of Little Bear’s enemies, the Algonquins attacking the village, and he is nearly burned to death before Patrick brings him back. He bears a few scars from this encounter and is visibly shaken. Later that night Patrick brings the Iroquois back only to find that they were completely unprepared for the use of modern weapons and their numbers have been decimated; their unfamiliarity with the power of the weapons resulting in them surrounding their enemies and shooting without realising how far the shots would travel, with some of them being shot by their own side by accident. Matron is able to save several lives but many are near death and eight of them have already died. Little Bear feels ashamed of leading his troops into death, but Bright Stars is able to comfort him by showing off their newborn son, whom he names Tall Bear.
As Omri sleeps downstairs, he spots a trio of skinheads breaking into the house and taking a few of his family’s possessions. He becomes enraged and brings back their Marine friend Fickits along with a complement of troops to deal with the burglars. Omri, Patrick and the soldiers defeat and scare the skinheads, leaving Omri free of their oppression for good as they are now too scared of him to hurt him any more. As the story concludes, Little Bear learns why Omri originally brought him back to this time, and reflects that his son will be proud to know that his father will live on in Omri’s story long after his death.

3

The Secret of the Indian (1989)

The third book in the series was illustrated at least by Graham Philpot (UK), Ted Lewin (US), and Piers Sanford (later).

Plot summary

Following the previous book, Patrick deeply wants to travel back to Boone’s time. Omri agrees to “hide” Patrick’s true whereabouts in the large chest he has in his room.
Patrick mistakenly keeps the Boone plastic figure in his pocket during time travel and nearly kills Boone in doing so. Boone is unconscious when Patrick arrives in the Wild West. Patrick manages to find a saloon and meets Ruby Lou. Ruby Lou (and the saloon piano player) helps him find the unconscious Boone.
Meanwhile, Omri gets Patrick’s cousin Emma to help by providing more toys. She chooses Ruby Lou as her own “person” to bring to life.
Also Omri is left alone to deal with the consequences of the battle in the last book. Many Indians are seriously injured and nine die despite Matron’s best efforts. Due to Patrick’s carelessness Boone nearly dies too, but is saved by the combined efforts of Matron and Omri. Thanks to the toys Emma provided Omri, Matron is able to get a surgical team that saves the rest.
Ultimately Omri can’t keep Patrick in the past any more and brings him back using the chest, using its powers to send the Indians back to their own time at the same time. Doing so saves Patrick and Ruby Lou as a tornado was about to kill them, but the tornado is pulled forward through the chest, destroying it, severely damaging the cupboard and sending the key to an unknown location while the tornado wreaks havoc on England. Ruby Lou is pulled forward in time thanks to Emma’s toy version of her, but she and Boone are trapped in the cupboard. While Omri manages to repair the cupboard (which inadvertently saves Boone’s life), the key is still missing. Boone and Ruby settle in the present and fall in love and want to get married, but also want to return home. One day Omri, by sheer luck, finds the key in the bushes. Omri uses it to summon all of the group’s friends for Boone and Ruby Lou’s wedding before sending everyone home. Afterwards Omri decides to put the key and cupboard into a safe-deposit box and not use them again, leaving them perhaps for his children, having realised that the power is just too dangerous after everything that has happened.

4

The Mystery of the Cupboard (1993)

This book was illustrated at least by Piers Sanford (UK) and Tom Newsom (US). HarperCollins recommends its 2004 edition for ages 8 to 12. Kirkus Reviews recommended it for ages 10 to 13 in 1993. And concluded, “Not the best Cupboard book, but fans won’t want to miss it; with a first printing of 75,000 they won’t have to.”
Kirkus observed that “Banks plots expertly” and develops the relationship between Omri and his father. “There’s not much chance to stereotype Native Americans here, as Banks was charged with earlier, but Jessica Charlotte is certainly a caricature of a music-hall singer; one wonders whether it’s reasonable, or merely foolish, to deplore such shorthand in popular fiction.”

Plot summary

Omri and family move to rural Dorset, where they have inherited a house from the family of Jessica Charlotte Driscoll, Omri’s “wicked” great-great aunt. There Omri learns the origin of the magic key and its history of time travel. Omri does all of this as one night when the roof is being re-thatched; he finds a cashbox and a journal called the Account in the fallen thatch on the ground. The Account was written by Jessica Charlotte herself as she was dying of a fatal illness. Omri learns that she has a psychic gift that grants her some magical power to see the future by pouring lead for people, although she was also a dance-hall star in the early twentieth century. After she is separated forever from her niece Lottie (Omri’s maternal grandmother who was killed in the Blitz during World War II) by Lottie’s mother, she steals a pair of precious earrings from her sister. To do so she makes the Key, a duplicate of the key for her sister’s jewel-case. She accidentally imbues it with magical power through her own Gift, as she is so bent on making it, which allows her to open any lock with it. She is also accidentally responsible for Omri’s great-grandfather’s death: Lottie is accused of stealing the earrings and runs out into the street where her father follows her, resulting in him being run over and killed.
Unfortunately Jessica grows too weak to finish the Account and has Omri’s great-uncle Fredrick takes over. From this Omri learns that Fredrick actually created the Cupboard, which is itself somewhat magic. Fredrick had a hatred of plastic toys- which had replaced the metal toys he used to make as a profession- so Jessica had him create the cupboard and throw his hatred of plastics into it. Since Fredrick inherited some of her power this caused the cupboard to somehow only bring plastic toys to life, which is why no other materials ever worked when Omri tried them in the cupboard. Omri’s interference with his own family history sets the stage for his first adventures.
Omri also meets one of the thatchers who worked on the roof when Jessica was dying, a man named Tom, and learns from him that Jessica somewhat let him in on the secret. She also gave him a little person to care for on his own named Jenny, a servant girl from the 1800s who sought to escape her home life after she lost her position, but after having lived as a little person for thirty years she had died a few months before Omri met Tom; Tom speculates that, based on the timing of the era when she would have left, hospitals were becoming so overcrowded that the doctors simply decided to let Jenny’s seemingly comatose body die. Omri initially suspects that the stolen earrings are in the cashbox he found with the Account and realises that the magic key could probably open it. He goes to get it out of the bank during his half-term, during which time he also has Patrick join him. Patrick breaks his arm and has to go to the hospital; while he’s away, Omri opens the cashbox and finds five wrapped bundles, four of whom are people brought to life by the magic key (although one has died since he was last ‘summoned’ and only his damp uniform is left). He suspects the fifth bundle is the earrings. The people turn out to be Elsie, a widowed shop owner; Bert, a thief from Elsie’s time; Ted, a retired policeman from around twenty years after them; and (the one who had died) Sergeant Charlie Ellis, a naval officer who apparently fought at the Battle of Trafalgar; all of whom Jessica herself brought to life repeatedly with the cupboard, along with Jenny. They reveal that Jessica knew of the power of the key and the cupboard but only found out when she accidentally brought them to life for the first time. She brought them back and forth many times like Omri did with Little Bear and the others and eventually revealed to them that she was dying before sending them all back, except for Jenny who had only a horrible life to go back to. Omri learns that one of them, Bert, is the one who stole his great-grandmother’s jewellery box after her husband had died and made her live a poor life. After learning this (Bert had only just done it before he was brought forward, although he defends himself on the grounds that he believed that he had robbed the woman before her husband had died), Omri insists that Bert return the jewellery box to her hoping to change her future for the better. He finally convinces him and then sends them back one final time through the cupboard.
Omri subsequently learns that the last bundle is not the earrings but another sleeping person, but before he can investigate further he is called to the house of the old thatcher Tom. Tom fell and was fatally injured but asked for Omri, having remembered something more. He tells him that Jessica sent him all over the place looking for a plastic figure of herself. He bought dozens not knowing which one was just right and after she looked through them and found the one she told him to take care of the rest, although still just plastic figures, saying, “This is me but everyone is someone”. After he finishes his story Tom loses consciousness— his last words being “On my way, Jen” – and is taken to the hospital, where he dies without ever waking again. Omri and his father also retrieve Patrick from the hospital and head home where Omri explains that he’s figured out the identify of the final person he brought to life: Jessica Charlotte herself, apparently just after she fell asleep after creating the key.
Omri wants to convince her to not to take the earrings but Patrick tells him that doing so could change the future and possibly result in him not being born due to Lottie’s life turning out in such a manner that she never meets his grandfather. Omri freaks out, remembering that he convinced Bert to return the jewellery case, and worries that it will cause him to cease to exist. Jessica wakes up and Omri and Patrick tell her she’s visiting the future and it’s a dream and get her to give a performance for them. They greatly enjoy it, but when Gillon starts to come in they send her home suddenly through the cashbox. Later Omri learns from his mother that the jewellery box was returned in ruins with none of the jewellery inside, changing nothing (Bert only said he would return the jewel-case without specifying that the jewels would still be in it). He then remembers she mentioned something about this back when she first gave him the key so everything is all right. A week later he attends Tom’s funeral and figures out that Jessica gave the earrings to Tom who gave them to his daughter after Omri sees her wearing them. He’s solved the mystery but decides not to do anything about it.
He returns home to find that his father has added proper shelves to his room and bolts on the door so he can lock them. He’s excited but can’t find Little Bear and the others. He goes to his father to ask him about it and learns he locked them in the cupboard and heard them come alive. In the end Omri’s father finds out about the “little people” and is let in on their adventures. He promises not to tell anyone and Omri brings him in on the secret and introduces him to everyone.

5

The Key to the Indian (1998)

This book was illustrated by at least by Piers Sanford (UK) and James Watling (US). HarperCollins recommends its 2004 edition for ages 8 to 12.

Plot summary

Omri and his father learn that Little Bear needs their help as American colonists are starting to head into his people’s land. The two realise that they must travel back in time and lend their aid but need to figure out how to do it. They have the key but they need something big enough to hold them. Omri’s chest that he and Patrick used before was destroyed in the tornado they accidentally brought back and it isn’t big enough to hold them. Omri’s dad decides to use the car as the time machine and comes up with an elaborate plan to pretend to go on a camping trip as a cover for their time travel, but they realise that the key won’t work in the car and start to despair. Omri tells his father everything about what he learned and shows him the Account.
After reading that, Omri’s dad figures out that Jessica Charlotte could possibly create them a magical copy of the car key so they can travel back in time. The two also figure out that Omri has inherited some of her psychic power and that’s most likely why he can tell when one of his friends from the past needs his help. It gives Omri the power to sense various things, like being able to figure out what’s going on with Jessica in her time even though she was so weak at this point when she wrote the Account that only a few words can be made out: she’s learned that her brother-in law has died and is going to try to drown herself. The two feel that they must bring her forward no matter what. Omri later brings her, initially planning on waiting, but his psychic gift senses her in trouble and causes him to bring her forward. She’s drowned herself and isn’t breathing so Omri summons Matron, who manages to revive her. He tries to comfort her about what happened and when she hears that he’s Lottie’s grandson she agrees to make a magical copy of the car key. He brings his father and they give her the key and send her back. That night they summon Little Bear to get something of his to use to travel back, and he gives them his wampum belt. He also agrees to have Bright Stars make toys for them to travel into when they journey to the past.
The next day Omri’s father summons Jessica Charlotte without him and she returns the original car key and gives them the copy, but unfortunately the scale difference means that the key is too small to see, and hence is useless to them. They decide to go camping anyway and bring Gillon along, but Omri has an ivory elephant from India and Gillon is leaning against a knapsack from that time also and they suddenly find themselves in India about 90 years before. Omri figures out that Jessica Charlote’s attempt to create the magical copy of the car key where she bent her entire will on it probably caused the original car key to become magical. He figures his father will realise what happened and bring them back by shutting off the car. During the trip Omri and Gillon are marionettes – Gillon, embarrassingly enough, is a female figure—and a couple of children spot them moving on their own and try to show them off. Feeling bad for the children Omri goes along with it but when the children’s mother shows up both Omri and Gillon are dropped and Gillon hits his head. Thankfully before they can get hurt further they’re pulled back to their time where Omri finds they never left the house as the father got pulled back to Little Bear’s time due to the wampum belt being in his pocket and were pulled back when Omri’s mother found them and shut off the car fearing they were dead. Omri’s father ended up in a faceless doll but Little Bear promised that next time the dolls would have faces.
The two decide to pretend to go camping but head to the top of a nearby hill and time travel from there. They summon Patrick to send them there and back but Patrick is unhappy he won’t be going until he realises that he has the cupboard and can call any of their friends back. He sends them back and they meet up with Little Bear. The two eventually advise Little Bear to take his tribe to Canada but are attacked by two settlers. They set fire to the longhouse and start killing Indians. Old Clan Woman, the oldest and wisest member of the tribe manages to scare them off with Omri and his father’s help, but she is killed by the two retreating men. Little Bear and his tribe escape and start the trek to Canada but Omri and his father are forgotten in the rush. They escape outside but are trapped in the stockade and the two men return and go to kill them. Before they can succeed Little Bear returns, having remembered them after hearing of their heroic actions earlier, and kills the two men and rescues them. He also retrieves a false face mask from the longhouse. He apologises to them for leaving them behind and is ashamed as Omri is his blood brother. He tells Omri he is no longer a boy: Omri is now a warrior. He leaves the two a moccasin to use as a shelter until Patrick brings them back in the morning, and leaves after saying a final goodbye.
The next morning they are returned to their time by a frantic Patrick who explains that he brought Boone and Ruby Lou but lost them. They eventually find them in a septic tank and rescue and clean them up. Patrick also reveals that he planned to bring Little Bear to the present while they were away but Sergeant Fickets convinced him not to. A couple of weeks later Omri’s mother brings him the wampum belt and he realises that she knows the truth. She reveals that she, like Omri, has inherited some of Jessica Charlotte’s psychic powers and, seeming to read his mind, explains that she’s known the truth since the beginning but has kept it to herself. Omri’s brothers have no idea and never will. They both agree that it is time to end the adventures for good. Omri closes his figures and the magical car key in the cashbox and decides to give the magic key back to his mother so he will no longer have the temptation to use it to bring the others back again. He first sends the wampum belt back and senses through his psychic powers that Little Bear and his tribe have successfully and safely reached Canada and reveals this to his father along with the fact that his mother knows the truth. However an apparently psychic dream indicates that perhaps he will still have further adventures.

This information came from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Indian_in_the_Cupboard

I have only read the first one and I don’t have the other books but I would love to get them and read them as well. Let me know if you have read any of the books in this collection? That is all for this months BOM come back next month.

 

Have a blessed day

 

 

BOM 6-22-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

The Scarlet Letter By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

cover

 

The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, an 1850 novel, is a work of historical fiction written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Plot

In an extended introduction, Hawthorne describes his employment in the Salem Custom House, and how he purportedly found an old document and a piece of cloth embroidered with the letter “A” in a pile of old papers. This fictitious document being the germ of the story that Hawthorne writes, as follows.220px-Hugues_Merle_-_The_Scarlet_Letter_-_Walters_37172
In June 1638, in a Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman who has given birth to a baby of unknown parentage. She is required to wear a scarlet “A” on her dress when she is in front of the townspeople to shame her. The letter “A” stands for adulteress, although this is never said explicitly in the novel. Her “punishment” (because adultery was illegal at the time) is to stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation, and to wear the scarlet “A” for the rest of her life. As Hester approaches the scaffold, many of the women in the crowd are angered by her beauty and quiet dignity. When demanded and cajoled to name the father of her child, Hester refuses.
As Hester looks out over the crowd, she notices a small, misshapen man and recognizes him as her long-lost husband, who has been presumed lost at sea. When the husband sees Hester’s shame, he asks a man in the crowd about her and is told the story of his wife’s adultery. He angrily exclaims that the child’s father, the partner in the adulterous act, should also be punished and vows to find the man. He chooses a new name, Roger Chillingworth, to aid him in his plan.
The Reverend John Wilson and the minister of Hester’s church, Arthur Dimmesdale, question the woman, but she refuses to name her lover. After she returns to her prison cell, the jailer brings in Roger Chillingworth, a physician, to calm Hester and her child with his roots and herbs. He and Hester have an open conversation regarding their marriage and the fact that they were both in the wrong. Her lover, however, is another matter and he demands to know who it is; Hester refuses to divulge such information. He accepts this, stating that he will find out anyway, and forces her to hide that he is her husband. If she ever reveals him, he warns her, he will destroy the child’s father. Hester agrees to Chillingworth’s terms although she suspects she will regret it.
Following her release from prison, Hester settles in a cottage at the edge of town and earns a meager living with her needlework, which is of extraordinary quality. She lives a quiet, somber life with her daughter, Pearl, and performs acts of charity for the poor. She is troubled by her daughter’s unusual fascination with Hester’s scarlet “A”. The shunning of Hester also extends to Pearl, who has no playmates or friends except her mother. As she grows older, Pearl becomes capricious and unruly. Her conduct starts rumours, and, not surprisingly, the church members suggest Pearl be taken away from Hester.
Hester, hearing rumors that she may lose Pearl, goes to speak to Governor Bellingham. With him are ministers Wilson and Dimmesdale. Hester appeals to Dimmesdale in desperation, and the minister persuades the governor to let Pearl remain in Hester’s care.
Because Dimmesdale’s health has begun to fail, the townspeople are happy to have Chillingworth, a newly arrived physician, take up lodgings with their beloved minister. Being in such close contact with Dimmesdale, Chillingworth begins to suspect that the minister’s illness is the result of some unconfessed guilt. He applies psychological pressure to the minister because he suspects Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father. One evening, pulling the sleeping Dimmesdale’s vestment aside, Chillingworth sees a symbol that represents his shame on the minister’s pale chest.
Tormented by his guilty conscience, Dimmesdale goes to the square where Hester was punished years earlier. Climbing the scaffold, he admits his guilt but cannot find the courage to do so publicly. Hester, shocked by Dimmesdale’s deterioration, decides to obtain a release from her vow of silence to her husband.
Several days later, Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest and tells him of her husband and his desire for revenge. She convinces Dimmesdale to leave Boston in secret on a ship to Europe where they can start life anew. Renewed by this plan, the minister seems to gain new energy. On Election Day, Dimmesdale gives what is called one of his most inspired sermons. But as the procession leaves the church, Dimmesdale climbs upon the scaffold and confesses his sin, dying in Hester’s arms. Later, most witnesses swear that they saw a stigma in the form of a scarlet “A” upon his chest, although some deny this statement. Chillingworth, losing his will for revenge, dies shortly thereafter and leaves Pearl a substantial inheritance.
After several years, Hester returns to her cottage and resumes wearing the scarlet letter. When she dies, she is buried near the grave of Dimmesdale, and they share a simple slate tombstone engraved with an escutcheon described as: “On a field, sable, the letter A, gules” (“On a field, black, the letter A, red”).

Major theme

The major theme of The Scarlet Letter is shaming and social stigmatizing, both Hester’s public humiliation and Dimmesdale’s private shame and fear of exposure. Notably, their liaison is never spoken of, so the circumstances that lead to Hester’s pregnancy, and how their affair was kept secret never become part of the plot.Hester_Prynne
Elmer Kennedy-Andrews remarks that Hawthorne in “The Custom-house” sets the context for his story and “tells us about ‘romance’, which is his preferred generic term to describe The Scarlet Letter, as his subtitle for the book – ‘A Romance’ – would indicate.” In this introduction, Hawthorne describes a space between materialism and “dreaminess” that he calls “a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbues itself with nature of the other”. This combination of “dreaminess” and realism gave the author space to explore major themes.

Other themes

The experience of Hester and Dimmesdale recalls the story of Adam and Eve because, in both cases, sin results in expulsion and suffering. But it also results in knowledge – specifically, in knowledge of what it means to be immoral. For Hester, the Scarlet Letter is a physical manifestation of her sin and reminder of her painful solitude. She contemplates casting it off to obtain her freedom from an oppressive society and a checkered past as well as the absence of God. Because the society excludes her, she considers the possibility that many of the traditions held up by the Puritan culture are untrue and are not designed to bring her happiness.
As for Dimmesdale, the “cheating minister”, his sin gives him “sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind, so that his chest vibrate[s] in unison with theirs.” His eloquent and powerful sermons derive from this sense of empathy. The narrative of the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is quite in keeping with the oldest and most fully authorized principles in Christian thought[citation needed]. His “Fall” is a descent from apparent grace to his own damnation; he appears to begin in purity but he ends in corruption. The subtlety is that the minister’s belief is his own cheating, convincing himself at every stage of his spiritual pilgrimage that he is saved.
The rose bush’s beauty forms a striking contrast to all that surrounds it – as later the beautifully embroidered scarlet “A” will be held out in part as an invitation to find “some sweet moral blossom” in the ensuing, tragic tale and in part as an image that “the deep heart of nature” (perhaps God) may look more kindly on the errant Hester and her child than her Puritan neighbors do. Throughout the work, the nature images contrast with the stark darkness of the Puritans and their systems.
Chillingworth’s misshapen body reflects (or symbolizes) the anger in his soul, which builds as the novel progresses, similar to the way Dimmesdale’s illness reveals his inner turmoil. The outward man reflects the condition of the heart; an observation thought inspired by the deterioration of Edgar Allan Poe, whom Hawthorne “much admired”.
Another theme is the extreme legalism of the Puritans and how Hester chooses not to conform to their rules and beliefs. Hester was rejected by the villagers even though she spent her life doing what she could to help the sick and the poor. Because of the social shunning, she spent her life mostly in solitude, and wouldn’t go to church.
As a result, she retreats into her own mind and her own thinking. Her thoughts begin to stretch and go beyond what would be considered by the Puritans as safe or even Christian. She still sees her sin, but begins to look on it differently than the villagers ever have. She begins to believe that a person’s earthly sins don’t necessarily condemn them. She even goes so far as to tell Dimmesdale that their sin has been paid for by their daily penance and that their sin won’t keep them from getting to heaven, however, the Puritans believed that such a sin surely condemns.
But Hester had been alienated from the Puritan society, both in her physical life and spiritual life. When Dimmesdale dies, she knows she has to move on because she can no longer conform to the Puritans’ strictness. Her thinking is free from religious bounds and she has established her own different moral standards and beliefs.

Publication history

It was long thought that Hawthorne originally planned The Scarlet Letter to be a shorter novelette, part of a collection named Old Time Legends, and that his publisher, James Thomas Fields, convinced him to expand the work to a full-length novel. This is not true: Fields persuaded Hawthorne to publish The Scarlet Letter alone (along with the earlier-completed “Custom House” essay) but he had nothing to do with the length of the story. Hawthorne’s wife Sophia later challenged Fields’ claims a little inexactly: “he has made the absurd boast that he was the sole cause of the Scarlet Letter being published!” She noted that her husband’s friend Edwin Percy Whipple, a critic, approached Fields to consider its publication. The manuscript was written at the Peter Edgerley House in Salem, Massachusetts, still standing as a private residence at 14 Mall Street. It was the last Salem home where the Hawthorne family lived.
The Scarlet Letter was first published in the spring of 1850 by Ticknor & Fields, beginning Hawthorne’s most lucrative period. When he delivered the final pages to Fields in February 1850, Hawthorne said that “some portions of the book are powerfully written” but doubted it would be popular. In fact, the book was an instant best-seller, though, over fourteen years, it brought its author only $1,500. Its initial publication brought wide protest from natives of Salem, who did not approve of how Hawthorne had depicted them in his introduction “The Custom-House”. A 2,500-copy second edition included a preface by Hawthorne dated March 30, 1850, that stated he had decided to reprint his Introduction “without the change of a word… The only remarkable features of the sketch are its frank and genuine good-humor… As to enmity, or ill-feeling of any kind, personal or political, he utterly disclaims such motives”.
The Scarlet Letter was also one of the first mass-produced books in America. In the mid-nineteenth century, bookbinders of home-grown literature typically hand-made their books and sold them in small quantities. The first mechanized printing of The Scarlet Letter, 2,500 volumes, sold out within ten days, and was widely read and discussed to an extent not much experienced in the young country up until that time. Copies of the first edition are often sought by collectors as rare books, and may fetch up to around $18,000 USD.

Critical response

On its publication, critic Evert Augustus Duyckinck, a friend of Hawthorne’s, said he preferred the author’s Washington Irving-like tales. Another friend, critic Edwin Percy Whipple, objected to the novel’s “morbid intensity” with dense psychological details, writing that the book “is therefore apt to become, like Hawthorne, too painfully anatomical in his exhibition of them”. English writer Mary Anne Evans writing as “George Eliot”, called The Scarlet Letter, along with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 book-length poem The Song of Hiawatha, the “two most indigenous and masterly productions in American literature”. Most literary critics praised the book but religious leaders took issue with the novel’s subject matter. Orestes Brownson complained that Hawthorne did not understand Christianity, confession, and remorse. A review in The Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register concluded the author “perpetrates bad morals.”
On the other hand, 20th-century writer D. H. Lawrence said that there could not be a more perfect work of the American imagination than The Scarlet Letter. Henry James once said of the novel, “It is beautiful, admirable, extraordinary; it has in the highest degree that merit which I have spoken of as the mark of Hawthorne’s best things—an indefinable purity and lightness of conception…One can often return to it; it supports familiarity and has the inexhaustible charm and mystery of great works of art.”

All the information about the book came from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Letter

I loved this book and I loved the movie they made of it that has Demi Moore in it that was made in 1995. Have you read this book or have you seen the movie? Let me know in the comments. Also if you have any book recommendations let me know.

 

BOM 4-17-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.
Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

Our BOM this month is American Girl’s Real Stories from My Times TITANIC book.

AG Titanic

This book is a story from Samantha’s time it has true facts about the Titanic’s maiden voyage and the aftermath of the sinking plus Samantha’s experience with her family members being on the ship. The book was done very well with awesome pictures and an emotional experience for you.

I chose to get this book at KayKay’s school book fair because I am very interested in the Titanic. I was also hoping that I can get KayKay to learn more about this time in our history and the tragedy behind it. I hope that AG keeps doing this type of book and I hope you get it to read. I am not going to go into to much detail on this one because I don’t want to spoil it for everyone considering its a fairly new book. So I am going to say that is all for this post and let me know if you have read it yet? If so what did you think about it?

Have a blessed day

BOM 2-20-18

Book of the Month
(BOM)

The book of the month is a book we have read for the month and want to share with you. We do look up info on the book and post a large summery about it but we only post the books we have read and we recognize the website we get the info from at the bottom of the post.

Let me know if you have read it in the comments.

 

Little Women

 

Little Women

 

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.

Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success with readers demanding to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (entitled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, although this name originated from the publisher and not from Alcott). It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 as a single novel entitled Little Women.

Alcott wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: “domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine’s individual identity.”

Little Women “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth”, but also “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well”. According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children’s fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format. Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the “All-American girl” and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.
The book has been adapted for cinema; twice as silent film and four times with sound in 1933, 1949, 1978 and 1994. Six television series were made, including four by the BBC—1950, 1958, 1970 and 2017. Two anime series were made in Japan during the 1980s. A musical version opened on Broadway in 2005. An American opera version in 1998 has been performed internationally and filmed for broadcast on US television in 2001.

Development history

In 1868, Thomas Niles, the publisher of Louisa May Alcott, recommended that she write a book about girls that would have widespread appeal. At first she resisted, preferring to publish a collection of her short stories. Niles pressed her to write the girls’ book first, and he was aided by her father Amos Bronson Alcott, who also urged her to do so.

In May 1868, Alcott wrote in her journal: “Niles, partner of Roberts, asked me to write a girl’s book. I said I’d try.” Alcott set her novel in an imaginary Orchard House modeled on her own residence of the same name, where she wrote the novel. She later recalled that she did not think she could write a successful book for girls and did not enjoy writing it. “I plod away,” she wrote in her diary, “although I don’t enjoy this sort of things.” Scholars classify Little Women as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.

By June, Alcott had sent the first dozen chapters to Niles, and both agreed these were dull. But Niles’ niece Lillie Almy read them and said she enjoyed them. The completed manuscript was shown to several girls, who agreed it was “splendid”. Alcott wrote, “they are the best critics, so I should definitely be satisfied.” She wrote Little Women “in record time for money”, but the book’s immediate success surprised both her and her publisher.

Explanation of the novel’s title

According to literary critic Sarah Elbert, when using the term “little women”, Alcott was drawing on its Dickensian meaning; it represented the period in a young woman’s life where childhood and elder childhood were “overlapping” with young womanhood. Each of the March sister heroines had a harrowing experience that alerted her and the reader that “childhood innocence” was of the past, and that “the inescapable woman problem” was all that remained. Other views suggest that the title was meant to highlight the inferiority of women as compared to men, or, alternatively, describe the lives of simple people, “unimportant” in the social sense.

Plot summary

Four teenaged sisters and their mother, Marmee, live in a new neighborhood in Massachusetts in genteel poverty. Having lost all his money, their father is acting as a pastor, miles from home, involved in the American Civil War. The women face their first Christmas without him. Meg and Jo March, the elder two, have to work in order to support the family: Meg teaches a nearby family of four children; Jo assists her aged great-aunt March, a wealthy widow living in a mansion, Plumfield. Beth has to stay at home and help with housework; Amy is still at school. Meg is beautiful; Jo is a tomboy; Beth is a pianist; Amy is an artist.

Jo is impulsive and quick to anger. One of her challenges is trying to control her anger, a challenge that her mother experiences. She advises Jo to speak with forethought before leaving to travel to Washington, where her husband has pneumonia.

Their neighbour, Mr Laurence, who is charmed by Beth, gives her a piano. Beth contracts scarlet fever after spending time with a poor family where three children die. Jo tends Beth in her illness. Beth recovers, but never fully. As a precaution, Amy is sent to live with Aunt March, replacing Jo after Beth recovers.

Jo has success earning money with her writing. Meg spends two weeks with friends, where there are parties for the girls to dance with boys and improve social skills. Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence, Mr. Laurence’s grandson, is invited to one of the dances, as her friends incorrectly think Meg is in love with him. Meg is more interested in John Brooke, Laurie’s young tutor. Brooke goes to Washington to help Mr. March. While with the March parents, Brooke confesses his love for Meg. They are pleased but consider Meg too young to be married. Brooke agrees to wait but enlists and serves a year or so in the war. After he is wounded, he returns to find work so he can buy a house ready for when he marries Meg. Laurie goes off to college, having become smitten by Jo.

Meg and John marry and learn how to live together. When they have twins, Meg is a devoted mother but John begins to feel left out. Laurie graduates from college, having put in effort to do well in his last year with Jo’s prompting. He realises that he has fallen in love with Jo. Sensing his feelings, Jo confides in Marmee, telling her that she loves Laurie but as she would love a brother and that she could not love him romantically.
Jo decides she needs a break, and spends six months with a friend of her mother in New York City, serving as governess for her two children. The family runs a boarding house. She takes German lessons with Professor Bhaer, who lives in the house. He has come to America from Berlin to care for the orphaned sons of his sister. For extra money, Jo writes stories without a moral, which disappoints Bhaer. Amy goes on a European tour with her aunt, uncle and cousin. Jo returns home, where Laurie proposes marriage to her and she turns him down. He and his grandfather go to Europe. Beth’s health has seriously deteriorated. Jo devotes her time to the care of her dying sister. Laurie encounters Amy in Europe. With the news of Beth’s death, they meet for consolation and their romance grows. Amy’s aunt will not allow Amy to return with just Laurie and his grandfather, so they marry before returning home from Europe.

Professor Bhaer arrives at the March’s and stays for two weeks. On his last day, he proposes to Jo. Aunt March dies, leaving Plumfield to Jo. She and Bhaer turn the house into a school for boys. They have two sons of their own, and Amy and Laurie have a daughter. At apple-picking time, Marmee celebrates her 60th birthday at Plumfield, with her husband, her three surviving daughters, their husbands, and her five grandchildren.

Characters

Margaret “Meg” March

Meg, the eldest sister, is 16 when the story starts. She is referred to as a beauty, and manages the household when her mother is absent. Meg fulfills expectations for women of the time; from the start, she is already a nearly perfect “little woman”. Meg is based in the domestic household; she does not have significant employment or activities outside it. Before her marriage to John Brooke, while still living at home, she often lectures her younger sisters to ensure they grow to embody the title of “little women”.

Meg is employed as a governess for the Kings, a wealthy local family. Because of their father’s family’s social standing, Meg makes her debut into high society, but is lectured by her friend and neighbor, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, for behaving like a snob. Meg marries John Brooke, the tutor of Laurie. They have twins, Margaret “Daisy” Brooke and John “Demi” Brooke. The sequel, Little Men, mentions a baby daughter, Josephine “Josy” Brooke, who is 14 at the beginning of the final book.

Critics have portrayed Meg as lacking in independence, reliant entirely on her husband, and “isolated in her little cottage with two small children”. From this perspective, Meg is seen as the compliant daughter who does not “attain Alcott’s ideal womanhood” of equality. According to Sarah Elbert, “democratic domesticity requires maturity, strength, and above all a secure identity that Meg lacks”. Others believe that Alcott does not intend to belittle Meg for her ordinary life, and portrays her in loving details, suffused in a sentimental light.

Josephine “Jo” March

The principal character, Jo, 15 years old at the beginning of the book, is a strong and willful young woman, struggling to subdue her strong willed personality.

The second-oldest of four sisters, Josephine March is the boyish one; her father has referred to her as his “son Jo”, and her best friend and neighbor, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, sometimes calls her “my dear fellow”, and she alone calls him Teddy. Jo has a “hot” temper that often leads her into trouble. With the help of her own misguided sense of humor, her sister Beth, and her mother, she works on controlling it.

Jo loves literature, both reading and writing. She composes plays for her sisters to perform and writes short stories. She initially rejects the idea of marriage and romance, feeling that it would break up her family and separate her from the sisters whom she adores. While pursuing a literary career in New York City, she meets Friederich Bhaer, a German professor. On her return home, Jo rejects Laurie’s marriage proposal.

After Beth dies, Professor Bhaer woos Jo at her home, when “They decide to share life’s burdens just as they shared the load of bundles on their shopping expedition”. She is 25 years old when she accepts his proposal. The marriage is deferred until her unexpected inheritance of her Aunt March’s home a year later. “The crucial first point is that the choice is hers, its quirkiness another sign of her much-prized individuality.” They have two sons, Robin “Rob” Bhaer and Teddy Bhaer. Jo also writes the first part of Little Women during the second portion of the novel. According to Elbert, “her narration signals a successfully completed adolescence”.

Elizabeth “Beth” March

Beth, 13 when the story starts, is described as kind, gentle, sweet, shy, quiet and musical. She is the shyest March sister. Infused with quiet wisdom, she is the peacemaker of the family and gently scolds her sisters when they argue. As her sisters grow up, they begin to leave home, but Beth has no desire to leave her house or family. She is especially close to Jo: when Beth develops scarlet fever after visiting the Hummels, Jo does most of the nursing and rarely leaves her side. Beth recovers from the acute disease but her health is permanently weakened.

As she grows, Beth begins to realize that her time with her loved ones is coming to an end. Finally, the family accepts that Beth will not live much longer. They make a special room for her, filled with all the things she loves best: her kittens, piano, Father’s books, Amy’s sketches, and her beloved dolls. She is never idle; she knits and sews things for the children who pass by on their way to and from school. But eventually she puts down her sewing needle, saying it grew “heavy.” Beth’s final sickness has a strong effect on her sisters, especially Jo, who resolves to live her life with more consideration and care for everyone. The main loss during Little Women is the death of beloved Beth. Her “self-sacrifice” is ultimately the greatest in the novel. She gives up her life knowing that it has had only private, domestic meaning.”

Amy Curtis March

Amy is the youngest sister and baby of the family, aged 12 when the story begins. Interested in art, she is described as a “regular snow-maiden” with curly golden hair and blue eyes, “pale and slender” and “always carrying herself” like a proper young lady. She is the artist of the family. Often “petted” because she is the youngest, Amy can behave in a vain and self-centered way. She has the middle name Curtis, and is called by her full name, Amy.

She is chosen by her aunt and uncle to travel in Europe with them, where she grows and makes a decision about the level of her artistic talent and how to direct her adult life. She encounters “Laurie” Laurence and his grandfather during the extended visit. Amy is the least inclined of the sisters to sacrifice and self-denial. She behaves well in good society, at ease with herself. Critic Martha Saxton observes the author was never fully at ease with Amy’s moral development and her success in life seemed relatively accidental. Due to her selfishness and attachment to material things, Amy has been described as the least likable of the four sisters, but she is also the only one who strives to excel at art purely for self-expression, in contrast to Jo, who sometimes writes for financial gain.
Additional characters

The March Sisters by Pablo Marcos

 

Margaret “Marmee” March—The girls’ mother and head of household while her husband is away. She engages in charitable works and lovingly guides her girls’ morals and their characters. She once confesses to Jo that her temper is as volatile as Jo’s, but that she has learned to control it. Somewhat modeled after the Author’s own mother, she is the focus around which the girls’ lives unfold as they grow.

Robert “Father” March—Formerly wealthy, the father is portrayed as having helped friends who could not repay a debt, resulting in his family’s genteel poverty. A scholar and a minister, he serves as a chaplain in the Union Army during the Civil War and is wounded in December 1862. After the war he becomes minister to a small congregation.
Professor Friedrich Bhaer—A middle aged, “philosophically inclined”, and penniless German immigrant in New York City who was a noted professor in Berlin, who is also called Fritz. He lives in Mrs. Kirke’s boarding house and works as a language master. He and Jo become friends, and he critiques her writing. He encourages her to become a serious writer instead of writing “sensation” stories for weekly tabloids. “Bhaer has all the qualities Bronson Alcott lacked: warmth, intimacy, and a tender capacity for expressing his affection—the feminine attributes Alcott admired and hoped men could acquire in a rational, feminist world.” They eventually marry, raise his two orphaned nephews, Franz and Emil, and their own sons, Rob and Teddy.
Rob and Teddy Bhaer—Jo and Fritz’s sons.

John Brooke—During his employment with the Laurences as a tutor to Laurie, he falls in love with Meg. He accompanies Mrs. March to Washington D.C. when her husband is ill with pneumonia. When Laurie leaves for college, Brooke continues his employment with Mr. Laurence as a bookkeeper. When Aunt March overhears Meg rejecting John’s declaration of love, she threatens Meg with disinheritance because she suspects that Brooke is only interested in Meg’s future prospects. Eventually Meg admits her feelings to Brooke, they defy Aunt March (who ends up accepting the marriage), and they are engaged. Brooke serves in the Union Army for a year and is invalided home after being wounded. Brooke marries Meg a few years later when the war has ended and she has turned twenty. Brooke was modeled after John Bridge Pratt, her sister Anna’s husband.
Margaret (Daisy) and John Laurence (Demijohn or Demi) Brooke—Meg’s twin son and daughter.

Uncle and Aunt Carrol—Sister and brother-in-law of Mr. March. They take Amy to Europe with them, where Uncle Carrol frequently tries to be like an English gentleman.

Flo Carrol—Amy’s cousin, daughter of Aunt and Uncle Carrol, and companion in Europe.

May and Mrs. Chester—A well-to-do family with whom the Marches are acquainted. May Chester is a girl about Amy’s age, who is rich and jealous of Amy’s popularity and talent.

Miss Crocker—An old and poor spinster who likes to gossip and who has few friends.

Mr. Dashwood—Publisher and editor of the Weekly Volcano.

Mr. Davis—The schoolteacher at Amy’s school. He punishes Amy for bringing pickled limes to school by striking her palm and making her stand on a platform in front of the class. She is withdrawn from the school by her mother.

Estelle “Esther” Valnor—A French woman employed as a servant for Aunt March who befriends Amy.

The Gardiners—Wealthy friends of Meg’s. Sallie Gardiner is a rich friend of Meg’s who later marries Ned Moffat.

The Hummels—A poor German family consisting of a widowed mother and six children. Marmee and the girls help them by bringing food, firewood, blankets and other comforts. They help with minor repairs to their small dwelling. Three of the children die of scarlet fever and Beth contracts the disease while caring for them.

The Kings—A wealthy family with four children for whom Meg works as a governess.

The Kirkes—Mrs. Kirke is a friend of Mrs. March’s who runs a boarding house in New York. She employs Jo as governess to her two daughters, Kitty and Minnie.

The Lambs—A well-off family with whom the Marches are acquainted.

James Laurence—Laurie’s grandfather and a wealthy neighbor of the Marches. Lonely in his mansion, and often at odds with his high-spirited grandson, he finds comfort in becoming a benefactor to the Marches. He protects the March sisters while their parents are away. He was a friend to Mrs. March’s father, and admires their charitable works. He develops a special, tender friendship with Beth, who reminds him of his late granddaughter. He gives Beth the girl’s piano.

Theodore “Laurie” Laurence—He is a rich young man, older than Jo but younger than Meg. Laurie is the “boy next door” to the March family, and has an overprotective paternal grandfather, Mr. Laurence. After eloping with an Italian pianist, Laurie’s father was disowned by his parents. Both he and Laurie’s mother died young, and the boy Laurie was taken in by his grandfather. Preparing to enter Harvard, Laurie is being tutored by John Brooke. He is described as attractive and charming, with black eyes, brown skin, and curly black hair. He later falls in love with Amy and they marry; they have one child, a little girl named after Beth: Elizabeth “Bess” Laurence. Sometimes Jo calls Laurie “Teddy”. Though Alcott did not make Laurie as multidimensional as the female characters, she partly based him on Ladislas Wisniewski, a young Polish émigré she had befriended, and Alf Whitman, a friend from Lawrence, Kansas. According to Jan Susina, the portrayal of Laurie is as “the fortunate outsider”, observing Mrs. March and the March sisters. He agrees with Alcott that Laurie is not strongly developed as a character.

Aunt Josephine March—Mr. March’s aunt, a rich widow. Somewhat temperamental and prone to being judgmental, she disapproves of the family’s poverty, their charitable work, and their general disregard for the more superficial aspects of society’s ways. Her vociferous disapproval of Meg’s impending engagement to the impoverished Mr. Brooke becomes the proverbial “last straw” that actually causes Meg to accept his proposal. She appears to be strict and cold, but deep down, she’s really quite soft-hearted. She dies near the end of the book, and Jo and Frederich Bhaer turn her estate into a school for boys.

Annie Moffat—A fashionable and wealthy friend of Meg and Sallie Gardiner.

Ned Moffat—Annie Moffat’s brother, who marries Sallie Gardiner.

Hannah Mullet—The March family maid and cook, their only servant. She is of Irish descent and very dear to the Family. She is treated more like a member of the family than a servant.

Miss Norton—A friendly, well-to-do tenant living in Mrs. Kirke’s boarding house. She occasionally invites Jo to accompany her to lectures and concerts.
Susie Perkins—A girl at Amy’s school.

The Scotts—Friends of Meg and John Brooke. John knows Mr. Scott from work.

Tina—The young daughter of an employee of Mrs. Kirke. Tina loves Mr. Bhaer and treats him like a father.

The Vaughans—English friends of Laurie’s who come to visit him. Kate is the oldest of the Vaughn siblings—very prim and proper, Grace is the youngest. Fred and Frank are twins; Frank is the younger twin.

Fred Vaughan—A Harvard friend of Laurie’s who, in Europe, courts Amy. Rivalry with the much richer Fred for Amy’s love inspires the dissipated Laurie to pull himself together and become more worthy of her. Amy will eventually reject Fred, knowing she does not love him and deciding not to marry out of ambition.

Frank Vaughan—Fred’s twin brother, mentioned a few times in the novel. When Fred and Amy are both travelling in Europe, Fred leaves because he heard his twin is ill.
Inspiration

The attic at Fruitlands where Alcott lived and acted out plays at 11 years old. Note that the ceiling area is around 4 feet high

For her books, Alcott was often inspired by familiar elements. The characters in Little Women are recognizably drawn from family members and friends. Her married sister Anna was Meg, the family beauty. Lizzie, Alcott’s beloved sister who died at the age of twenty-three, was the model for Beth, and May, Alcott’s strong-willed sister, was portrayed as Amy, whose pretentious affectations cause her occasional downfalls. Alcott portrayed herself as Jo. Alcott readily corresponded with readers who addressed her as “Miss March” or “Jo”, and she did not correct them.

However, Alcott’s portrayal, even if inspired by her family, is an idealized one. For instance, Mr. March is portrayed as a hero of the American Civil War, a gainfully employed chaplain, and, presumably, a source of inspiration to the women of the family. He is absent for most of the novel. In contrast, Bronson Alcott was very present in his family’s household, due in part to his inability to find steady work. While he espoused many of the educational principles touted by the March family, he was loud and dictatorial. His lack of financial independence was a source of humiliation to his wife and daughters. The March family is portrayed living in genteel penury, but the Alcott family, dependent on an improvident, impractical father, suffered real poverty and occasional hunger. In addition to her own childhood and that of her sisters, scholars who have examined the diaries of Louisa Alcott’s mother, Abigail Alcott, have surmised that Little Women was also heavily inspired by Abigail Alcott’s own early life.

Publication history

The first volume of Little Women was published in 1868 by Roberts Brothers.

The first printing of 2,000 copies sold out quickly, and the company had trouble keeping up with demand for additional printings. They announced: “The great literary hit of the season is undoubtedly Miss Alcott’s Little Women, the orders for which continue to flow in upon us to such an extent as to make it impossible to answer them with promptness.” The last line of Chapter 23 in the first volume is “So the curtain falls upon Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Whether it ever rises again, depends upon the reception given the first act of the domestic drama called Little Women.” Alcott delivered the manuscript for the second volume on New Year’s Day 1869, just three months after publication of part one.

Versions in the late 20th and 21st centuries combine both portions into one book, under the title Little Women, with the later-written portion marked as Part 2, as this Bantam Classic paperback edition, initially published in 1983 typifies. There are 23 chapters in Part 1 and 47 chapters in the complete book. Each chapter is numbered and has a title as well. Part 2, Chapter 24 opens with “In order that we may start afresh and go to Meg’s wedding with free minds, it will be well to begin with a little gossip about the Marches.” Editions published in the 21st century may be the original text unaltered, the original text with illustrations, the original text annotated for the reader (explaining terms of 1868-69 that are less common now), the original text modernized and abridged, the original text abridged.

The British influence, giving Part 2 its own title, Good Wives, has the book still published in two volumes, with Good Wives beginning three years after Little Women ends, especially in the UK and Canada, but also with some USA editions. Some editions listed under Little Women appear to include both parts, especially in the audio book versions. Editions are shown in continuous print from many publishers, as hardback, paperback, audio, and e-book versions, from the 1980s to 2015. This split of the two volumes also shows at Goodreads, which refers to the books as the Little Women series, including Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

Reception

G. K. Chesterton notes that in Little Women, Alcott “anticipated realism by twenty or thirty years,” and that Fritz’s proposal to Jo, and her acceptance, “is one of the really human things in human literature.” Gregory S. Jackson said that Alcott’s use of realism belongs to the American Protestant pedagogical tradition, which includes a range of religious literary traditions with which Alcott was familiar. He has copies in his book of nineteenth-century images of devotional children’s guides, which provide background for the game of “playing pilgrim” that Alcott uses in her plot of Book One.

When Little Women was published, it was well received. According to 21st-century critic Barbara Sicherman, during the 19th century, there was a “scarcity of models for nontraditional womanhood”, which led more women to look toward “literature for self-authorization. This is especially true during adolescence”. Little Women became “the paradigmatic text for young women of the era and one in which family literary culture is prominently featured.”. Adult elements of women’s fiction in Little Women included “a change of heart necessary” for the female protagonist to evolve in the story.

In late 20th century, some scholars have criticized the novel. Sarah Elbert, for instance, wrote that Little Women was the beginning of “a decline in the radical power of women’s fiction”, partly because women’s fiction was being idealized with a “hearth and home” children’s story. Women’s literature historians and juvenile fiction historians have agreed that Little Women was the beginning of this “downward spiral”. But Elbert says that Little Women did not “belittle women’s fiction” and that Alcott stayed true to her “Romantic birthright”.

Little Women’s popular audience was responsive to ideas of social change as they were shown “within the familiar construct of domesticity”. While Alcott had been commissioned to “write a story for girls”, her primary heroine, Jo March, became a favorite of many different women, including educated women writers through the 20th century. The girl story became a “new publishing category with a domestic focus that paralleled boys’ adventure stories.”

One reason the novel was so popular was that it appealed to different classes of women along with those of different national backgrounds, at a time of high immigration to the United States. Through the March sisters, women could relate and dream where they may not have before. “Both the passion Little Women has engendered in diverse readers and its ability to survive its era and transcend its genre point to a text of unusual permeability.”
At the time, young girls perceived that marriage was their end goal. After publication of the first volume, many girls wrote to Alcott asking her “who the little women marry”. The unresolved ending added to the popularity of Little Women. Sicherman said that the unsatisfying ending worked to “keep the story alive”, as if the reader might find it ended differently upon different readings. “Alcott particularly battled the conventional marriage plot in writing Little Women”. Alcott did not have Jo accept Laurie’s hand in marriage; rather, when she arranged for Jo to marry, she portrayed an unconventional man as her husband. Alcott used Friederich to “subvert adolescent romantic ideals”, because he was much older and seemingly unsuited for Jo.

In 2003 Little Women was ranked number 18 in The Big Read, a survey of the British public by the BBC to determine the “Nation’s Best-loved Novel” (not children’s novel); it is fourth-highest among novels published in the U.S. on that list. Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named it one of “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. In 2012 it was ranked number 48 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.

Influence

Little Women has been one of the most widely read novels, noted by Stern from a 1927 report in the New York Times and cited in Little Women and the Feminist Imagination: Criticism, Controversy, Personal Essays. Ruth MacDonald argued that “Louisa May Alcott stands as one of the great American practitioners of the girls’ novel and the family story.”
In the 1860s, gendered separation of children’s fiction was a newer division in literature. This division signaled a beginning of polarization of gender roles as social constructs “as class stratification increased”. Joy Kasson wrote, “Alcott chronicled the coming of age of young girls, their struggles with issues such as selfishness and generosity, the nature of individual integrity, and, above all, the question of their place in the world around them.” Girls related to the March sisters in Little Women, along with following the lead of their heroines, by assimilating aspects of the story into their own lives.

After reading Little Women, some women felt the need to “acquire new and more public identities”, however dependent on other factors such as financial resources. While Little Women showed regular lives of American middle-class girls, it also “legitimized” their dreams to do something different and allowed them to consider the possibilities. More young women started writing stories that had adventurous plots and “stories of individual achievement—traditionally coded male—challenged women’s socialization into domesticity.” Little Women also influenced contemporary European immigrants to the United States who wanted to assimilate into middle-class culture.

In the pages of Little Women, young and adolescent girls read the normalization of ambitious women. This provided an alternative to the previously normalized gender roles. Little Women repeatedly reinforced the importance of “individuality” and “female vocation”. Little Women had “continued relevance of its subject” and “its longevity points as well to surprising continuities in gender norms from the 1860s at least through the 1960s.”. Those interested in domestic reform could look to the pages of Little Women to see how a “democratic household” would operate.

While “Alcott never questioned the value of domesticity”, she challenged the social constructs that made spinsters obscure and fringe members of society solely because they were not married. “Little Women indisputably enlarges the myth of American womanhood by insisting that the home and the women’s sphere cherish individuality and thus produce young adults who can make their way in the world while preserving a critical distance from its social arrangements.” As with all youth, the March girls had to grow up. These sisters, and in particular Jo, were apprehensive about adulthood because they were afraid that, by conforming to what society wanted, they would lose their special individuality.

Alcott “made women’s rights integral to her stories, and above all to Little Women.” Alcott’s fiction became her “most important feminist contribution”—even considering all the effort Alcott made to help facilitate women’s rights.” She thought that “a democratic household could evolve into a feminist society”. In Little Women, she imagined that just such an evolution might begin with Plumfield, a nineteenth century feminist utopia.
Little Women has a timeless resonance which reflects Alcott’s grasp of her historical framework in the 1860s. The novel’s ideas do not intrude themselves upon the reader because the author is wholly in control of the implications of her imaginative structure. Sexual equality is the salvation of marriage and the family; democratic relationships make happy endings. This is the unifying imaginative frame of Little Women.
Adaptations

Film

Besides silent versions in 1917 and 1918, Little Women was filmed by George Cukor in 1933, Mervyn LeRoy in 1949, David Lowell Rich in 1978, and Gillian Armstrong in 1994.
In January 2017, a Little Women film was announced with a casting call. The film is to be produced by Maclain Nelson and Jake Van Wagoner.
Television

Little Women was adapted into a television musical, in 1958, by composer Richard Adler for CBS. Little Women has been made into a serial four times by the BBC: in 1950 (when it was shown live), in 1958, in 1970, and in 2017.

In the 1980s, two anime series were made in Japan Little Women in 1981 and Tales of Little Women in 1987. Both anime series were dubbed in English and shown on American television as well. In 2012, The March Sisters at Christmas, used the characters of the novel, set in 2012, concerned their house would be sold, was aired, directed by John Simpson.

Musicals and opera

Little Women was performed on Broadway in 2005, then toured in the US. It was staged in Sydney, Australia in 2008.

The Houston Grand Opera commissioned and performed Little Women in 1998, and NPR broadcast it on radio in the US. The opera was shown on television in 2001 and has been staged by other opera companies since the premiere.

Stage

A one-act stage version has been produced in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Australia, Ireland, and Singapore.

Myriad Theatre & Film adapted the novel as a full-length play which was staged in London and Essex in 2011.

Marisha Chamberlain and June Lowery have both adapted the novel as a full-length play; the latter play was staged in Luxembourg in 2014.

Web video

A modern adaptation of the novel, titled The March Family Letters, was produced by Cherrydale Productions and distributed by Pemberly Digital on YouTube, with the original run beginning December 25, 2014.

Audio drama

A dramatized version, produced by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, was released on September 4, 2012.

 

I found all this information at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Women . I hope you like this months book i love it and it is a classic. All right everyone don’t forget to comment and we will see you all later. Do you have an idea of a book we should do? If so tell me in the comments.

As always we love you all and have a blessed day.

Mom Classic White

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