Not much happening around here. I’m working on NaNoWriMo, so I’m doing some re-reading rather than trying anything new. Still, I’m getting new impressions from old favorites, as always.
First up, I’m working through the last of Tolkien’s great epic, The Return of the King. I’ve just gotten past the rescue of Faramir, and I’m once again struck by the contrast between Theoden and Denethor, as I mentioned in another post. Theoden comes to Gondor only to see the devastation from the siege. For a moment, he is bent with despair; but then, he rallies and leads his men into battle. By contrast, Denethor is faced with a hopeless situation and gives up. He refuses to lead his men, partly because of his guilt over the treatment of his son, and in the end tries to kill both himself and Faramir to avoid ignoble defeat, rather than fighting on until the end.
As always, I enjoyed Eowyn’s defeat of the Witch King, and Wose Ghân-buri-Ghân refusing to put up with condescension.
I wasn’t sure what to read next on Project Gutenberg, so I just decided to re-read Little Women before I go on an adaptation binge. It’s such a sweet, pleasant book, but I have to say it does get preachy at times, although I’m somewhat appeased by the fact that Alcott herself admitted to doing it on purpose because she knew that was the kind of book that was popular at the time. But I think it’s no coincidence that the unofficial protagonist is Jo, who in many ways is the embodiment of the exact reverse of proper Victorian femininity. I was particularly amused this time around by Jo’s trolling Amy when she’s forced to go on social calls. But, at the same time, I did notice how protective and maternal Jo gets toward her sisters and Laurie (the main reason I can’t be a Jaurie shipper). I think Alcott did this on purpose, to show that a woman didn’t have to be a proper Victorian housewife to be a good mother (or wife).
Also, I was amused to realize that people have been taking Mrs. March’s comments out of context. For a while I saw the “I am angry almost every day” quote being tweeted everywhere with the implication of anger against injustice…but in the book, Mrs. March basically just admits that she gets irritated with people and small, trivial life events and has to hold back her anger. Extremely Relatable.