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Short Story Review: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

Sunday, 12th November 2017

trees

 

Story Title: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Date of Publication: 1890

 

This story has a twist ending that I really don’t want to spoil for anyone who hasn’t read it. But in essence this story starts with a man who is about to be hanged for treason. The story is set during the American Civil War and our main character is a wealthy Southern slave owner (and proud of that) and he has been captured by the Union army for his attempts against them. The man is hanged, but the rope breaks and he falls into the water below and commences his escape.

 

I’ll include a link to read the story (free) for yourself, here.

 

There’s also a short movie of the story, it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, if you’d like to watch – here. The movie is less than 30 minutes in length and doesn’t have much dialogue. It’s enjoyable though

 

What did I like?

I really enjoyed this story. The twist ending really added to it overall. The twist ending is something that, while not necessarily unexpected, was great and really made the story interesting.

 

What didn’t I like?

Truthfully there wasn’t much I could say I didn’t like without being extremely nit picky or spoiling the twist.

 

Would I recommend it?

This is an amazing story and the twist ending. Well worth reading!

 

My Personal Rating: 4.5/5

 

(I apologise that it’s vague and short – I really wanted to avoid spoilers, especially for the ending. Now I’m gonna go watch this film while I’ve got it open)

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

Short Story Review: Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, 10th November 2017

goodmanbrown2web

Story Title: Young Goodman Brown

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Date of Publication: 1835

 

The story begins with Goodman Brown leaving home reluctantly for unknown reasons, though it is implied it is something questionable. On his travels through a wooded area he meets a man, who is possibly the Devil. At first he wants nothing to do with the mysterious man. Time passes, the two continue on their path, despite Goodman’s desire to return home. People from his town pass through the forest on their way to a Devil worshiping ceremony. This leads Goodman to a sort of epiphany – that people are not as good or pious as they seem. He becomes bitter and frustrated for the remainder of his life.

 

I’ll include a link to the story, here.

 

What did I like?

This story is fairly ambigious in nature, and is – in my opinion – open to quite a significant amount of individual interpretation. I liked that it left a lot to the imagination and there was no force-feeding of exact information. In a weird way, I almost felt as though I was walking down a dark wooded path with a mysterious and somewhat dubious character.

 

What didn’t I like?

On the other hand, as I read the story I felt the story was very vague. Goodman Brown leaves home to do something – it’s never clearly stated – and meets a man en route. Did he intend to meet this man all along? (I got the impression he didn’t) If not where was he going? What was he doing? What was so bad about it? (As part of his inner monologue he feels what he’s doing is not a particularly good thing). Who really is this man? As the reader I can only speculate. What’s his interest in Goodman Brown? What does he want? There’s no clear motive for anything. The ending is a particularly gloomy ending and actually quite underwhelming. Goodman has this huge (at least for him) epiphany and it ends with him dying a miserable old man. It almost felt rushed.

 

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would recommend it. It is an interesting story.

 

My Personal Rating: 3/5

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

Short Story Review: The Damned Thing By Ambrose Bierce

Friday, 3rd November 2017

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Story Title: The Damned Thing

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Date of Publication: 7th December 1893

 

 

The Damned Thing is a short story written by Ambrose Bierce in December 1983. It opens in a small room in a cabin in a remote area (which is never specified) with 8 men, one of whom is dead. The purpose of the gathering is to determine the cause of death of the… well… dead man. The coroner shows the body, with all it’s gruesome injuries, and questions at witness in front of a jury. Ultimately the jury determine the death was caused by a mountain Lion. However, the dead man’s journal reveals killer was something else…

 

I’m going to include a link for a free pdf of the story, click here.

 

What did I like?

I like the element of mystery in it. Towards the end of the story we discover that whatever killed the deceased wasn’t a Mountain Lion and all we have to go on is the speculation of a man’s journal and his speculations. There’s no conclusive answer as to what killed him and in a way it’s left to the imagination of the reader.

 

I think it was interesting that there was some ambiguity as to location. I think when reading it, it’s fairly certain it’s the Western US, but not once does it explicitly say. Like the implied location there are things about the story that seem to be implied or suggest

 

What didn’t I like?

There isn’t much I could say I really disliked about the story. I could argue it isn’t particularly ‘action packed’ in a way I’d be expecting or perhaps used to, especially from a more horror-esque text. It does follow tropes of the genre (as would be expected from any story or movie in any genre.

 

I would say that describing away the killer as something we can’t see or hear because we’ve limited senses at the very end of the story as potentially rushed. Bierce, arguably, may not have considered what had killed the man until the end. Maybe he realised he had to add in something like this for closure or maybe this was the plan all along. It was somewhat underwhelming though. It felt almost like a ‘oh, yeah, we will never know what killed this fella because… because… we can’t perceive it with our limited senses… yeah… that…’ (Though I do like the notion that there’s more to this world of ours than we could ever possibly imagine. Sort of gives a spark of intrigue to life, I think.)

 

Am I being nit picky? Yeah, probably.

 

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a very interesting story and is short. It is well worth the short amount of time it takes to read it.

 

My Personal Rating: 4/5

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

 

P.S: hopefully next time will be much sooner. Sorry!

Going back to College!!!

Friday, 8th September 2017

back-to-school-bb

How’s it shakin’ bacon?

 

So, I am going back to college. Yay! Officially start on the 18th of this month. I’m hoping that if I’m able to balance my time right I’ll be able to have, maybe a weekly update about progress through the course.

 

I applied for a Higher Diploma in English sometime in July (I think) or maybe early August because at that point in time I was getting so few hours at work I was beginning to wonder if I still had a job anymore. So, I decided, what the heck, send in an application – the worst that can happen is they’ll say no and I’ll have to wait until next year. Anyway, time passes and I’d essentially forgotten about the application. I get an email to check my application because the status changed (it’s one of those online things for applying) and what do you know, they offered me a place – so I accepted immediately. I was impatiently waiting for emails about when I’d start etc. and trying to some bit of my own research.

 

I met with the course co-ordinater on Wednesday gone and made my subject choices today. I like to think they’re quite broad, like: Old English, Medieval and Renaissance Drama, European Cinema, modules about Irish literature and Victorian Literature. If this course goes well, I’ll be apply for Masters courses for next year. Hopefully the next few months will be interesting enough to warrant a weekly blog post about it.

 

Until next time, warm hugs

Morgenstern!!!

Howdy!

Friday, 1st September 2017

 

How is it September already? I’m certain my laziness has reached new heights! On the plus side should anyone need a professional procrastinator, I’m your woman! Or am I? Would I end up procrastinating my way out of it? Hmm… *shrugs*

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about what sort of topics I want to cover here, or if I want to focus on something in particular. I want to avoid being preachy in posts. How do I begin to express thoughts or opinions that matter to me? Can I do it in a rational and educated manner? How do I express thoughts and opinions in a clear concise form? Does anything on this small, irrelevant blog from this irrelevant person mean anything? Then I just start feeling like I’ve been sucked into a very dark place – just imagining what I could or, even, should be doing, things I’m not doing and my own irrational, yet wholly crushing, fears.

 

Does any in this short existence we have really matter? I don’t know, but I hope so. I hope that in whatever time I can do something. I doubt I’ll ever do something great, or big – but no matter how small it is, I hope I can do some bit of good. Somehow? I don’t know if I can achieve anything – but, one can hope right?

 

That got much deeper than I had anticipated! Sorry! And for all I know, this post will make no sense.

 

Until next time!
Morgenstern

Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Thursday, 8th June 2017

How’s it shakin’, bacon?

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Book Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publishers: Bloomsbury

Date of Publication: August 15th, 2013

Ratings: 4.5/5 (Goodreads), 4.8/5 (Barnes & Noble) & 4.5/5 (Book Depository)

ISBN: 978-1-4088-3494

Link for purchase: Book Depository

 

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

 

Celaena has become the King’s champion and has been tasked with killing those who stand in his way. Failing to do so would result in losing those who mean the most to her, but what are the consequences of following his orders? What does a long dead Queen want her to do? Why Celaena? Celaena must come to terms with who she is and accept what she must do, but can she?

 

What did I like?

I really like the way Sarah J Mass writes, how the plot unfolds and the way every last detail fits into the story. Questions are asked, eventually answered but more questions arise, but it’s not so complex that it can’t be followed. The plot progresses smoothly and doesn’t feel forced. Looking back on what I just read, it’s so clear that everything that happens is leading to the end – probably sounds stupid – but it’s as if it could never end any other way once everything in the story is considered – every line, every word seems to be pointing you, the reader, to that ending of the book – but also the series. It’s like following a string to it’s inevitable end. Side note: not gonna spoil the ending of the book but it was… pretty good. I expected this connection to be made, but none-the-less – it was interesting to watch it unfold as it did. Also, leaves me wondering where Chaol’s loyalties lie, or if he even knows himself.

 

What didn’t I like?

No book is flawless and I honestly found this love triangle grew very frustrating, very quickly. While I like the characters in the story, I don’t like a lot of their behaviors and a lot of Dorian’s and Chaol’s thoughts and feelings around the others mutual love for Celeana were petty. I can’t help compare them to Jem and Will from The Infernal Devices (honestly I thought the love triangle in that series was better executed) and maybe that’s where my problem lies – me wanting them to be more like Jem and Will, call me Captain Obvious, but their not. I try not to make that comparison, I really try! While their is increasing tension between the pair of friends, they whine a lot to themselves, in a tone that may suggest they feel they have some definite claim on Celaena as theirs and only theirs.

 

Would I recommend?

I’d highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. It’s well worth the time spent reading it!

 

My personal rating: 4.5/5

 

Until next time, warm hugs

Morgenstern!