Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

Book #546: To Kill a Mockingbird

My students are given the opportunity to blog about the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for extra credit. The following is an extra credit post received by Kay Dale, who originally read the book during her sophomore year in high school. Kay is now attending Jefferson Community and Technical College to become an RN.  She can be contacted at kdale0008@kctcs.edu.

To Kill A Mockingbird is not a book about mockingbirds.  Although, mockingbirds are to be treasured, preserved, and respected. I believe the author was trying to convey to the reader, we should all as human beings treat one another at the very least as decently as we would a mockingbird, regardless of race, color, religious beliefs, I.Q., or creed. . To Kill a Mockingbird addresses many issues, the discovery of  love and respect for a father, the ideas of preconceived perceptions of people can be wrong, and the horrible fact of evil that lives among the heart of racism. The book deals with honor, dignity, love, compassion, bravery, integrity, truth, betrayal, deceit  and unfortunately injustice.

I was captivated by the narration through the eyes of a rambunctious, mischievous,  nine year old southern tomboy girl.  I loved  the way she spoke and the innocence of her views. The sense of adventure that was within everything she saw and did.

The main characters are; Scout (the narrator), Jem (Scouts older brother). A tree, a character all its own. As you read you wonder what treasures will the tree hold this time.” Boo” Radley ,a strange mysterious neighbor. Mr. Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem’s Father,  who is a well known  respected lawyer in their small town community. Tom Robinson, a soft spoken gentle black handyman. Mayell Violet Ewell (a young white girl), and Bob Ewell (Mayell Violet’s father ).

The story takes place in the 1950’s, prior to the civil rights movement, in a southern community of Maycomb.  Mr.Atticus Finch is a widower, a single father of two, Jem and Scout. They live in the south. Mr. Atticus Finch has a black housekeeper, Calpurnia, who takes care of the children and runs the household (as was customary at that time).  The story begins quite innocently with a mysterious tree where the children discover goodies stored within periodically.  The problem is the tree is on the property of a very dark strange neighbors house , the neighbor is Boo Radley,  who makes it a challenge for the children  to overcome  their fears of the eerie surroundings to acquire the treats. Scout, Jem and Dill, a cousin visiting from out of town, must figure out who, when and why,  the treasures keep appearing. Their curiosity is peaked and a  full blown mystery  investigation ensues. They have heard many rumors about Boo Radley, none of which are good. So the children embark on a way to entice their neighbor, Boo Radley, to come out of his secluded house so they can get a glimpse of him.

A twist in the plot distracts the reader from the childhood wonder and mystery straight into the realism of life when a black man is accused of beating and raping a white woman. Mr. Atticus Finch decides to defend the young black man to the chagrin of his peers and community.  During the trial the segregation and prejudice becomes more apparent. Mr. Finch and the children are treated with ridicule and hatred.  Mr. Finch proves without a shadow of a doubt to the reader, that Mr. Tom Robinson is indeed innocent. Unfortunately, the fate of Mr. Robinson is not that transparent.

Throughout the rest of the story, Scout witnesses the good, the bad, and the ugly, in human beings behavior and treatment of one another. The heartwarming talks that take place between Mr. Finch and his children where he conveys reasons why he must do what he is doing and how Tom Robinson deserves to be represented fairly. The compassion, integrity ,and strength that Mr. Finch shows the children by his example of calm, mature behavior among all the chaos is exactly what endears the reader to him. The children witness the bravery and hardships their father endures with dignity.

Also, there is an incident where an uncontrolled rabid dog is wondering through the town threatening the physical safety of the towns people.  Mr. Atticus Finch is challenged with physical bravery  to react, take up arms and save the well being of his family and the townspeople. Scout and Jem  again see how their father handled crisis and through his example learns  their fathers true character.   There are many other twists and turns that take place within the rich characters created by Mrs. Harper Lee, the author, but I don’t want to tell you everything .You must learn the interesting outcomes when you read the book.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a must read at any age from teenage years to 100 years of age. It exemplifies the hatred and ignorance within prejudices, the goodness in fatherhood ,and the love of family. As a reader we can empathize with all the realms of emotions and strength it takes to endure adversity and conflict.  Even though the book shows the disappointing behavior of human beings it is an overwhelming testimony for the good in people and why the integrity within yourself is what makes you hold your head up high every day.

Thanks, Kay, for introducing us to this wonderful book. Happy Reading!

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Book 100: Wuthering Heights

My students are given the opportunity to blog about the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for extra credit. The following is an extra credit post received by Brad Mattingly, a sophomore at Jefferson Community & Technical College.

In 1847, Emily Bronte published Wuthering Heights and the world was introduced to the love story of Heathcliff and Catherine. Some people thought the book was inappropriate and depicted too much cruelty and passion.

The book opens with Lockwood writing in his diary describing his first couple of days as a tenant at Thrushcross Grange. He describes a meeting with Heathcliff at his home Wuthering Heights when he is left in a room with mean dogs only to be helped by a housekeeper.

Lockwood goes to meet Heathcliff again at his home but he is not there. While in his home he spots a young woman who is very beautiful but he assumes this must be Heathcliff’s wife but she in turn ends up being his daughter-in-law.  When he leaves the home he lets a man know he is taking a lantern, because it is snowing and dark, but promises to return it when Joseph assumes he has stolen the lantern and releases the dogs on him. He is led back to the home by housekeeper to stay for the night.

While he is in the bedroom he notices the name Catherine etched into some paint with three different names at the end Earnshaw, Linton and Heathcliff. He also discovers a diary belonging to Catherine Earnshaw and reads an entry about her father passing away and how her brother hated her good friend Heathcliff. He then falls into a series of nightmares that cause him to break a window. Heathcliff runs into the room and Lockwood exclaims the the room is haunted.

Lockwood then falls into a pit of loneliness and his housekeeper Nelly tries to clarify things for him on the three different Catherines. She also tells him about Mr Earnshaw growing to love Heathcliff more than his own son Hindley which in turn causes Hindley to resent Heathcliff.

Mr Earnshaw falls ill and becomes more and more weak and frail and eventually becomes disgusted by the fighting between Heathcliff and Hindley and sends Hindley away to college.  Soon after Mr Earnshaw dies, Heathcliff and Catherine turn to their religious beliefs as they await Hindley’s return.

Hindley returns and is the new controller of Wuthering Heights along with his wife Frances, at which time Hindley decides that Heathcliff can not receive an education any more and must do common labor work. One night when Catherine and Heathcliff sneak off, Hindley notices and locks them out forbidding anyone to let them back into the home.

Catherine is attacked by a dog on their night out and spends five weeks recuperating at the Grange.  Once Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights, Hindley insists that Heathcliff treat her like any other servant which leads Catherine to tell Heathcliff he is dirty compared to the Linton kids.

Catherine eventually starts spending more and more time with Edgar and acting like a true lady should, but once she is with Heathcliff again it’s the same behavior as always. Hindley’s wife has a child and Frances later dies.

Heathcliff eventually decides to seek out revenge for the way he has been treated by Hindley and the betrayal of Catherine because as deeply as he loves her it drives him mad that she spends so much time with Edgar.

As Catherine lay dying she exclaims that Edgar and Heathcliff have both broke her heart and that she will not die while Heathcliff remains alive. She begs Heathcliff for his forgiveness but he will not forgive her and lets her know that her behavior caused her to commit murder on herself and he refuses to forgive a murderer.

Catherine gives birth to young Catherine prematurely and later dies. Hindley does not attend his sister’s funeral.  Young Catherine moves into Grange without any knowledge of Heathcliff.

Edgar begins to fall ill and Catherine has to care for him. Young Catherine then starts spending some time around Linton her cousin and Heathcliff’s son and Heathcliffs explains he hopes someday  she and his son will marry.

Edgar eventually dies and in death he is left with the belief that Catherine has married Linton and will be safe.

To show her well meaning, Catherine gives Hareton a book and promises she will teach him to read. After giving Hareton the book Heathcliff and Catherine begin to argue about her relationship with Hareton. As more and more time passes Heathcliff falls ill and refuses to eat and he is eventually found dead by Nelly.

In the book while Heathcliff is a man in love he also becomes a villian who is abusive and hateful. Why would someone want to write such a story? Why wouldn’t Hindley come to Catherine’s funeral? Why didn’t Heathcliff ever get over his anger toward Catherine?

Thanks, Brad, for introducing us to this book. These questions are certainly good ones! Happy Reading!


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Book 250: Ethan Frome

My students are given the opportunity to blog about the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for extra credit. The following is an extra credit post received by Myra (Katie) White, who is a second year student at BCTC–Leestown Campus and is studying Medical Assisting.

Ethan Frome…love, betrayal, an extramarital affair, a horrible accident!  Scandalous!  I signed up for the rest of the book.  Set in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts during a long winter.  We are introduced to Ethan by a newcomer and unnamed narrator to the town who seeks to understand the mountain of a man most people in the town never refer to without mentioning “the accident”.  The newcomer soon finds himself intrigued with Ethan and begins a friendship, if it can be called that, with him due to a lack of transportation to his job in a neighboring town.  While plodding along in the high snow the tries to converse with Ethan, but he is a man of few words, so the information must come from others in the town.

Through the gossipmongers, we learn that Ethan was once a young and robust young man who went to further his education out of state, where he wished to learn more about mechanics.  Upon learning of his mother’s illness, and with his father already deceased, he returns home to help care for her. A distant cousin of his mother’s is also sent to help care for her.  Zenobia (Zeena), who is seven years older than Ethan appears to be of good health and decent company, so after his mother’s death, Ethan decides to marry Zeena so as to not be alone.  But soon after their marriage Zeena takes ill, with no obvious notations, we’re to assume she is a hypochondriac.  Though she and Ethan had discussed moving to a big city, Zeena’s illness coupled with their lack of financial backing, Ethan soon learns moving will not be an option.  Instead of moving, they actually need someone to come to help tend to the household chores as Zeena is no longer able to because of her illness.

Mattie Silver, an orphan cousin of Zeena’s is sent to help. Young and full of life, she catches Ethan’s eye as he is so downtrodden with life, she must seem like a ray of sunshine, especially with the red ribbon she often wears in her hair. He thinks of her often and kind of dreams of her and the life they could have. Zeena never says anything about the air of romance between the two, but she simple does small childish things to lead them to wonder if she is aware of their feelings for each other. Like not putting the key to the door under that mat, so when they arrive home after Ethan picked Mattie up from a dance, they are left in the cold until Zeena decides to come unlock the door, claiming she forgot to put the key under the mat.

Around this time Zeena begins to tell Ethan they need to come up with an alternate plan because Mattie’s been there too long and she’s sure she’s going to marry soon and move out.  Ethan is devastated and begins thinking of ways to keep Mattie there.  During Zeena’s trip out of town for medical advice, Ethan and Mattie find themselves alone.  The infamous pickle dish, a wedding gift from a distant cousin that Zeena never used, even for special guest, is broken during the evening meal and Mattie is sure that Zeena will send her packing when she discovers the broken dish. It seems as though the pickle dish is representative of Zeena and her invisible presence, something that Mattie and Ethan feel at all times. A conspiracy is set in place when Ethan sets the dish back in the cupboard and tells Mattie he will get glue and glue it back together so no one will be the wiser.

Most of the next day is Ethan scrambling to figure out a way to keep Mattie but do the right thing by Zeena. He searched through town to find glue for the pickle dish, but upon his return home Mattie tells him that Zeena’s has returned from her overnight trip and the climax of the story begins. She tells Ethan that the Dr. has told her she must get someone to help her and she has even hired someone to come, they will be there the next day and she has set up a plan for Mattie’s trunk to be moved and someone to take her to the train station. Zeena tells Ethan that she lost her health because of caring for his mother, so it will be his responsibility to figure out how to pay for the new “nurse”. Zeena soon discovers the pickle dish, while searching for hidden medicine and wants to know what happened. Mattie finally confesses that she had used the dish and Zeena uses this as more ammunition to show Ethan that she has to leave.

Going to his “study” that night Ethan remembers all the plans he had for his life and thinks of leaving Zeena.  Maybe he could get an advance on the lumber he has delivered to the mill and he and Mattie can go out west and begin a new life!  Zeena could sell the farm and live off the proceeds!  Ethan even begins a letter to Zeena about him leaving and how she can sell the farm, etc. but he crumbles it in his hand as he realizes, this would just be a dream.  That there would be no profit on the farm and Zeena would have no means to survive. A man of good morals, but a passive man, Ethan knows that in staying in Starkfield he is going to lose Mattie.

The plan for Mattie’s trunk to be sent along takes place and Ethan tells Zeena he will take Mattie to the train station. With heavy hearts, Ethan and Mattie start for the train station. They remember they had always planned to go sledding, but never had, so a quick trip down the hill is called for.  Sitting with Mattie in front of him, and Ethan sitting behind her, the two realize they cannot live apart, their love is too strong.  The danger of sledding and hitting the infamous elm tree at the bottom of the hill enters the picture and a suicide pact is discussed.  If they die together they will never have to be apart.  A few stolen kisses later, with Ethan in the front, they soar down the hill.

The following scene shows the newcomer/narrator being forced to spend the night at Ethan’s home as the weather is too bad to travel in. There we find two aging women, Zeena who is fixing a meal and tending to the household duties, while Mattie sits in a chair, paralyzed. It seems as though things have come full circle.  Zeena now has to care for Mattie, as Mattie once did for her. And Ethan is doomed to a life of unhappiness, living with the woman he loves from afar, and the woman he is supposed to love, his wife. It becomes apparent to the visitor why Ethan is viewed the way he is. A victim of circumstances, Ethan, lacked the real emotional strength and the ability to make a decision has forced him to live a life as a disfigured man. Some wonder if Zeena takes a sick pleasure in caring for them, as she knows they were trying for a quick death to escape her. And we wonder if Mattie still feels undying love for Ethan. As the three begin their meal with their guest, we are left to wonder how long the three can live together, how long the can endure the tension that has filled the house for years and the stark, white winters than can only be seen as the background that is Ethan Frome’s life.

Thanks, Katie, for sharing this book with us. Happy Reading!


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Book 223: Wings of the Dove by Henry James

I originally began this blog to chronicle my 1001 Books Challenge, but I found that I was reading more for fun than for enlightenment! I am happy to have a post for the challenge today. Today’s post is by a guest blogger who has written about Book 223 of the 1001 Books Challenge as extra credit for one of my English courses.
 
Book 223: Wings of the Dove by Henry James
by Rhonda Page
The novel “The Wing of the Dove “written by Henry James in 1902, is about the main character of the story named Milly Theale. Milly was loved by many people that respect her life from her generosity and help to others that she was fond of until she died from as sudden illness. Millys’ character is based on Miany Temple who was James Henrys’ beloved cousin that died from tuberculosis in which Henry is truly sadden by. The title “The Wings of the Dove” was James way of wrapping his cousins’ memory in the beauty and dignity of art.
 
The novel continues on about Kate Cory and Merton Densher who are two engaged people from London that wants to get married with no money because they are both in poverty. This issue that Kate is upon is caused from family situations causing her to live with her aunt Maud Lowder that provided for her while in need. Milly Theale who was a wealthy American young lady fell in love with Densher previously, but she never said anything about it. Kate and her aunt welcomed Milly to London when she entered their lives as a traveling companion who enjoys good social interactions. While in London Milly went to see a physician because that is non-curable and she fears for her life. Kate begins to become worried for Milly, Densher met Milly in America but he had then returned back to London to find his heiress. Kate made sure the Densher focused on Milly and Densher didn’t know why but it was because he didn’t know how wealthy Milly was but Kate did. Kate was careful to stay quit to Milly and other people that she and densher are engaged. Milly decided to travel to Venice with her confidante and companion Mrs Stringhaw, Aunt Maud, Kate and Densher that follows along.
 
On a plane they were all off to a party that Milly gives in Venice Palazzo, although Milly knows she’s terribly ill she feels that she had to attend for the last time. Kate finally reveals her complete plan to Densher, that he has Densher demands that Kate consummate their affair in order to continue on with the plan. Unfortunately Milly finds out about the plan and passed away, but still leaves him a large amount of money although she found out about the deal that he and Kate had. Densher does not like tainted money and decide not to take the money and for Kate to do the same, but if she choose the money he wanted to break up with Kate because he didn’t want money to out weigh the love between them “ We shall never be again as we were “, he stated.

Thanks, Rhonda, for sharing this book with us. Happy Reading!

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Journey to the Center of the Earth

Today’s post by guest blogger Danielle Wade focuses on Journey To The Center of the Earth, book # 136 in the list of 1001 books to read. Danielle is a returning student from sixteen years ago and is excited to be preparing to study physical therapy at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Danielle may be contacted directly at dwade0029@kctcs.edu.

The author of Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Jules Verne, was known for his inventions and his love of scientific discoveries.  Several of his books were written about the newest inventions of that time.  Hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and electromagnetism were a few of the things that he wrote about in many of his books.  In Journey To The Center Of The Earth, he explores a few different theories about how the earth was formed.  He mentions natural disasters, prehistoric people, how coal was formed and even evolution.  I’m not surprised  that this book is on the list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die.  Jules Verne was a visionary and in most cases pinpointed the future exactly.

 The story opens in Hamburg, Germany, 1863.  Professor Otto Liedenbrock was known far and wide for his intelligence and ability to answer any scientific or mathematical question.  He rushes in the door early one day to his nephew Axel and demands that he quickly meet him in his study.  He found an ancient Icelandic book and upon opening the book, an old parchment paper fell onto the floor.  Professor and Axel opened the paper to find words written with code in a language that they couldn’t interpret.  Professor declared that no one would be permitted to eat until they discovered what the code meant.  Several days later, Axel was fanning himself with the paper and realized that they words were written backwards!   “Descend into the crater of Sneffels…and you will reach the center of the earth.”  Immediately Professor yells at the staff and Axel and tells them to get ready, they are going to Iceland to descend into the cave that will lead them to the center of the earth!  Days later, Professor Liedenbrock and Axel are on their way to find their anticipated destination.  Their journey was to begin in a small cave in Iceland.
 
Arriving in Copenhagan, which is Denmark’s capital, Professor discovers that an alchemist Arne Saknussemm had discovered the entrance to the cave many years ago.  It was said that  Saknussemms’ books were destroyed so that no one would discover his secret. Professor Liedenbrock is determined that they will find out the secret behind Professor Saknussemm’s discovery.  After much research they find that they must go to the volcano Sneffels and await for noon time to see the cave entrance.   He hires Hans the Hunter to help them carry their things and be a guide for their journey. 
 
They descend into the cave and start their journey.  The descent into the cave begins the physical party of this journey.  Axel is worried and has recurring nightmares about being burned, lost and never getting to go home.   As they advance further into the cave, they run into problem after problem. The realization sets in that they are running out of water.  Axel loses strength and falls to the ground in sheer exhaustion and dehydration.  Hans listens closely and hears something rushing in the walls beside him.  He slams his axe into the wall and a gush of water flows out!  They are saved!  A potential crisis diverted, they breathe a sigh of relief.  After resting and refilling all of their canteens they realize that if they follow the water downward it would have to take them to the center of the earth. 
 
Days later with many more caverns, trails, and caves Axel becomes separated from his team and wanders for miles in a different direction.  By a strange phenomenon he finds later that he is able to communicate with his group and they are eventually reunited.  They reach a vast cavern that is lit by electrically charged gas and filled with a deep subterranean ocean.  The land is filled with giant mushrooms and walking further they see a 13 foot tall man standing against a mushroom!  Not knowing if he was friend or foe, they decide not to take the chance and do not disturb this giant.  The team works together and builds a small raft to take them across the underground ocean.  During this journey they are caught between two prehistoric creatures that are fighting in the ocean.
 
When they reach the other side, they discover huge mastodon bones and even the bones of an oversized human.  They continue to explore the coastline and find a passageway that was marked by Saknussemm his predecessor.  They come upon a granite wall that is blocking their path and have to blast through the wall.  The blast uncovers another ocean and they are swept away at lightning speed.  The rushing water takes them to a volcanic chimney and they find that they are being swept up at lighting speeds and the water is getting more and more hot.  Finally, they are ejected from the active volcano on the Isle of Stromboli. 
 
They return to Hamburg and are hailed as heroes and become known as some of the greatest scientists in history.  Their story comes to a close with Axel returning to his sweetheart, Grauben, and Hans going back to continue his quiet and simple life in Iceland.
 
Thanks for sharing, Danielle! This makes me want to read it again. Until Next Time, Happy Reading!

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A Christmas Carol

Today’s blog post is by guest writer Shelly Cormney.

Charles Dickens was a very famous author. He wrote several books that are still popular today. One of his most popular books is A Christmas Carol. This book was first brought to the public in 1843 and is still enjoyed during today’s Christmas season. This book is #89 on the 1001 book list. This is a short book that tells a very powerful story about love and giving during the Christmas season. A small group of characters make this book worth reading. Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character and we see his life in different part through traveling to the past and looking towards the future. We also see the dead ghost that Scrooge spent most of his life working with. They were business partners and friends. We also see Scrooge relive moments with past and present family members and business partners. Not only do we see Scrooge with living people that he has a connection to but we also see him being visited by ghosts that center on past, present and future Christmases.

When the book starts off it tells that Marley (the person Scrooge used to work with) his been dead for many years. This is an important point for the story because Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge soon after the book begins and it scares him. Before Scrooge is visited by Marley’s dead ghost, he is paid a visit by his nephew named Fred. Fred tries to be nice to Scrooge and asks him to come to Christmas dinner. Scrooge does not like Fred and is mean to him. People collecting money for charity also come to visit Scrooge and he is very rude to them and tells them that people who can’t take care of themselves should go to the poorhouses or prisons. He does not give them any money.  During this part in the book we also get to meet Bob Cratchit. He works for Scrooge and is also treated badly.

The action of the book begins when Scrooge thinks he sees the face of Marley appear in the door knocker in the dark building where he lives. Scrooge does not believe that this is real at first and goes about his business but double checks things. Scrooge lives in a cold and dark building but he does not mind because cold and dark make living cheap. Scrooge tries to rest for the night but Marley’s ghosts visits him and scares him. Marley is tied to chains because he treated people badly before he died. He tells Scrooge that he will have chains when he dies because he has done the same thing to people. Marley also tells Scrooge that three ghosts will come and visit him over several days. Scrooge does not like this but Marley goes away.

Scrooge went to sleep but got woke up by the first ghost. This ghost was going to show Scrooge how he had spent Christmas in the past. Scrooge had to follow the ghost and by touching the ghost he could fly and the ghost took him through the wall and they ended up in the country.  This ghost told Scrooge about his past at school when he was a child and what happened at one Christmas. Scrooge got to see his sister at this point in the story. This made him sad. The next place the ghost took Scrooge was his first job to see his boss give a Christmas party.  Scrooge was happy to think about this part of his past but it became clear that Scrooge was concerned with work. Scrooge was also in love with a girl but it did not work out because of money problems. Scrooge then asked the ghost to not show him any more of his past. The next ghost shows Scrooge what is going on at the present Christmas.  This makes Scrooge upset because they go to two places. They go to Fred’s house and Scrooge sees that the people are making fun of him. They also go to Bob’s house and Scrooge sees how poor they are and how hard they have it because Bob has a lot of children and one of them is very sick. Scrooge asks if the little boy will die and the ghost says maybe. Bob’s wife does not like Scrooge but Bob wants to thank him for the feast. The last ghost shows Scrooge what is going to happen in the future on Christmas. Scrooge sees that he is going to die and nobody is going to care. This makes him very upset. But he wakes up in his own bed and realizes that the ghosts only took one night so he did not miss Christmas. The ghosts make Scrooge want to turn his life around. He starts being nice to Bob and giving him more money and he goes to visit Fred and his family for Christmas. He gives money to the poor.

This book gives people a lot to think about at Christmas because most people don’t like to give away their money but it is important to help those they don’t have enough. It is also important to be nice to people and see your family at Christmas. 

Thanks, Shelly! Happy Reading. 

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The Color Purple

Today’s blog is by guest writer Ronnie Stoner who is finishing his last year at Jefferson Community & Technical College, where he will be graduating with an AAS degree in criminal justice. Ronnie may be contacted at Juvyboy32@gmail.com.

 The Color Purple by Alice Walker is 730 on the list of 1001 Books.

Struggle has been a part of history since the beginning of time. It’s something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, but some struggles may be harder than others. Alice Walker, the author of the book entitled The Color Purple, was raised during the times of hardships in the south and she spent her career writing about women and their struggles. Out of all the work she has done, The Color Purple is the most recognized. Is it solely because it’s a great story? Or is it because people can relate to some, if not all of the struggles the characters faced in this book? Noticeably, people tend to gravitate towards things that are relatable, things that are real. Things that are fictitious are a good escape from, but not a remedy to problems or struggles.

Celie, the main character, was raped as a young girl by her father and was forced to give away the babies that were born from incest. She had been told all of her life how ugly she was as well as being useless and dumb. While being married to a man she was forced to marry, she discovers he has a lust for her sister Nettie. Since Nettie refused the advances of Celie’s husband, she was kicked out and that caused her and Celie to be separated.

Although, those things are sad and may be unimaginable for some, there are so many people in the world now and before who have faced these same struggles if not worse. That is why this story is so relatable. People can readily identify and connect immediately with the main character Celie because they feel her pain and can sympathize with her. It is also believed that the popularity of this book is due to the uniqueness of how the book was written. The book was written as letters from Celie to God, and some letters Celie wrote to her sister Nettie. Celie hoped that Nettie would one day return to her and her hopes came true at the end of the story. Nettie is saved from having to face the difficulties and tragedies that Celie had to face, but she was terribly missed by her sister.

Usually when in a struggle, you constantly wonder when will there be an end, or a light at the end of the tunnel. Celie finally found that light. After years of abuse, rejection, a great deal of losses, and hardship, she was able to start her own clothing company called “Folks pants”. She inherited her home, she found love in a woman named Shug who later decided she wanted Celie’s love forever, and she was reunited with her sister Nettie.

In the story, Alice Walker gives an explanation for the title of the book. In the beginning of the story, the color purple symbolized pain. For example, Sofia’s bruise was purple; it was described as the color of eggplant. Later in the story, in a conversation between Shug and Celie, the color purple adapted a different meaning. Shug began to encourage Celie by telling her to enjoy life. She began to teach her how, by noticing the simplest things. She told Celie to embrace the beauty of the purple flowers while standing in a field full of them. “You must look at all the good and acknowledge them because God placed them all on earth,” Shug told her. This was a defining moment for Celie; she then began to look at life differently. Sometimes struggles make us stronger, like the old saying “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Sometimes struggles come to help us learn things, or build and or shape character in us. This story is a testament to all people who struggle, that struggle doesn’t last always. There is light at the end of the tunnel for most struggles. As a reader who has dealt with my fair share of struggles, hearing the good outweighs the bad and that’s how captivating Celie’s story is. She went through a lot, but she overcame. She had faced many adversities, but she didn’t give in, she kept pushing and kept hoping. That hope turned into freedom. Stories like this one, gives readers hope and encouragement and in today’s time, that is needed and rare. That’s what makes this book such a great read.

Reading a story that is fictitious and non-relatable can soothe your mind for a moment, for the duration of the read. But once that book is finished, it hasn’t taught you anything. Life is still present and struggle still lies ahead. After reading a story about overcoming adversities, you can apply those same principles to life and share them with someone else who may be in need. Why not enjoy a book that teaches you a lesson in return? In The Color Purple, Alice Walker does just that.

Thanks, Ronnie, for telling us about the Color Purple. Happy Reading!

 

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