American Pastoral – A Review and its Cultural Relevance

Uncategorized

Nabla Media

American Pastoral explores the toll that political tension has on the domestic front of civilization.

The story begins with famous writer, Nathan Zuckerman (David Strathairn) attending his 40th high school reunion. He runs into an old friend, Jerry Levov (Rupert Evans) and the two begin to discuss the tragic life of Jerry’s older brother “Swede”. Seymour “Swede” Levov (Ewan McGregor) was the blonde haired, blue-eyed Jewish athlete that was adored by the entire community in Newark, New Jersey.

The tragic retelling begins with Swede as he introduces his girlfriend and future wife Dawn Dwyer (Jennifer Connelly) to his father. In hopes that the old Jewish business owner would approve of their union, Swede tells Dawn in be steadfast in her approach and she’ll be sure make a good impression. A former beauty queen, Dawn surprises Mr. Levov with her conviction when discussing the potential religious upbringing of the…

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30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 3

Challenges

What are your top three pet peeves?

This is a fairly short lift. But on this list are the things that are enough to drive me up the walls and through the roof. Here are my top 3 pet peeves.

1. When people are too judgemental of others. Ok so this might not seem like a pet peeve because it is a pretty big issue. However, most people think they can get away with the minutest of comments and sometimes I feel like its best to keep your opinion to yourself. There’s a line between healthy venting, and unnecessary hate spreading and ruining the mood. I honestly do not care about what you think of that girl’s shorts. Or about how that guy is smoking a cigarette outside by his car. Some things don’t affect you so don’t upset yourself over them.

2. When people touch me or my things without my invitation. Alright so this is nothing like harassment or anything big like that. But I am unfortunately a bit of a germaphobe and I remember everything and everyone that comes into contact with me or my stuff. I can’t stand hand shakes, and I can stand it far less when people use my things and leave small traces of oil or sweat on them or even ear wax. When I use other people’s things, I try to keep them in a good shape before returning them because I expect others to do the same. Call me prudish, because I may be, but I’ll be darned if anyone handles a few coins, touch the handrail, and sneeze, then expect me to present myself for a handshake. The worst is when people with personal space issues touch me on the head or face. Fingers will be lost on occasion.

3. Bad smells. Ok so if I’m driving through a farm and cow pie comes wafting through the air conditioner, I can have no quarrels. Just wait for the aroma to pass there’s not much more to it. Now the problem comes when absurd odours arise in places where they have no business being in the first place. I’m talking of an old sandwich in a locker. Or a pair of nasty socks on the kitchen table. Yes, I know people who put shoes and other indiscretions on counter tops. This peeve isn’t limited to inanimate objects no, there are sometimes those who harbour a stench foul enough to curdle the wallpaper. Except, I never judge people on their hygiene because they might not always be in the best state to place a quick shower as a priority. Bad breath, however, I am very sensitive to.

Bonus list includes; people who plagiarise or outright copy an idea, music that is too loud that it borders plain noise instead of a catchy beat, and narcissists.

Alright, so now that all that venting is out of my system I can focus on the next thing on my list. Check back tomorrow for the next entry for my 30 Day Writing Challenge. And as always, have a fine day.

Kuroshitsuji: A Contemporary Classic

Anime, Otaku

Kuroshitsuji is the title of an anime which I watched many years ago. The english title is Black Butler and was the first anime I watched thoroughly to completion. I’m also loosely attempting to collect all the manga in the series as the anime does indeed skip some plot points. Written and illustrated by Yan Toboso, this is a series that you won’t want to skip out on.

The protagonists. Ciel Phantomhive (right) and his butler Sebastian Michaelis (left)

The purpose of this post? To give my 2 cents on a wonderful mix of 1860’s English aesthetic with paranormal tones, and flowered with themes of power, sex, loyalty, and love.

The plot revolves around a young boy named Ciel Phantomhive, born to English nobility in the later half of the 19th century. This boy lives alone in his mansion – that had previously burned down, killing his parents – with his staff of maid, cook, gardner, business advisor/head butler, and most prominently a demon who contracted with him. The contract demands that this demon play butler and loyal servant to the young earl in exchange for his apparently delectable soul.

The butler – named Sebastian Michaelis – is suave, intelligent, capable, and cold. He has very strict principles and is thus loyal to a fault to his “young master” and would on several occasions use his invulnerability to guard his master or even perform his commands no matter their ethical implications.

A favourite. This graceful man, clad in a cloak red has blood is more than he appears to be.

The art is beautiful. Each character is sculpted to perfectly fit their era and their personalities stand out relative to appropriate period attire. Characters are also very consistent, meaning that they seems to truly embody their character. Character interactions are flexible and this plays wonderfully to plot progression as there is never a point when the story halts because of boring character interactions. The characters are also loveable, regardless of their alliance, as they all have their own unique quirks that inspire something special within the audience.

The plot is dark. Yet the story focuses on keeping a light hearted comedy with dark undertones. One chapter deals with the infamous Jack the Ripper and the mysterious murders that plague London. The introduction to this chapter seems severe, but the characters quickly lighten the mood while still retaining enough seriousness to the case that the audience can keep invested in the mystery. The conclusion to this chapter is also incredible and leaves an impression on the audience, it also adds a layer to the protagonists, introduces new themes, as well as a new subset of characters. The chapter is ultimately drawn to an emotional and satisfactory conclusion. After which, the true motives of the protagonist are further revealed and the story dynamics are enhanced to introduce more possibilities for a complex plot.

This formula is continuously put into play. With each chapter, or arch introducing more to an (already interesting) story to give it several layers and reel the audience in. Every character has a story, and every story feels genuine.

Music is, as you could probably assume, all based on contemporary genres. Side from theme songs that are technically pop, but with a tone of dread to emphasise true themes that are dealt with in the series. I can still listen to the soundtrack despite the number of times I’ve listened through it. It never gets boring.

Sebastian Michaelis. Notice his devilish eyes and stark grin.

I have a special place in my memory bank for this series. It has recently begun to pick up pace with new instalments in the anime series so there is yet much to look out for. My only quarrel is that the first and second seasons deal with the ending of the story, that hasn’t even been revealed yet in the ongoing manga series and this left some fans disgruntled. Regardless, this series is one to look out for. It is rich with full characters, an attractive plot, and beautiful aesthetic to keep your visually artistic side fulfilled.

This has been the first of many anime reviews. Should interest persist, I can assure you that there will be more to read on here if you fancy anime or manga. Keep in touch for more, and feel free to continue a discussion in the comments because I would love to hear from you.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 2

Challenges

Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot

Here’s the second entry for my 30 Day Writing Challenge. It took me the whole day to think of what to write for this post and I’m still struggling to find the perfect thing write about. There are a few options but I want to write about one that I think you’d find most telling of my personality. Here goes.

I’ve been told by a few people that I tend to stand out. For some reason, when I’m seen with a group of people, I’m usually the one that they take notice of most. Whether it be my face, my posture, my clothes, there’s never any true indication to why people notice me more. I take this as both a compliment but conversely, cause for discomfort.

While I do enjoy having my moment in the limelight or being noticed, I sometimes feel that the more people tell me this, the more I tend feel as though I am being watched. And it does take a moderate toll on me, emotionally, because it does get quite exhausting when I’m out in public and I’m worrying about what I do or say because there are other people around who’ll see. It sounds ridiculous I know, but it has happened a few times where people would make a comment such as,

“Oh, I saw you today at so-and-so and you seemed very so-and-so.”

I would sometimes prefer it if people not give me their opinions on how I compose myself, especially when I’m not conscious about my movements, posture, or facial expressions.

I also find it funny when numerous people claim to have seen me somewhere when I haven’t been in the area in a while. Apparently, I have doppelgangers running around town.

At the end of the day, I’m happy that people take notice of me. Because usually I do try to look and act my very best and knowing it gets noticed is a small reward but still appreciated.

Come back soon for the next entry and follow the 30DWC tag to stay updated. Until then, have a fine day!

This Ifrit of a Thing

Poetry

There is a pressure in the air.

A tension that makes the body bend and twitch.

It’s not a new thing.

It might ne’er been a new thing.

But it comes and it goes.

And it mocks us.

When the eyes are around you feel them.

When the eyes are not around you feel them.

The nerve is tugged.

The veins stream with fluids.

The combs and perfect rows reveal.

And the nerve is yanked.

The air becomes heavier.

So heavy it can be heard.

We can only hear it.

More eyes.

There or not, we feel them.

Now the nerve is torn from its foundations.

The pressure in the air,

Makes homes from the cavities of our lungs.

The body bends and twitches.

It comes again.

And boils the fluids.

This Ifrit of a thing.

Gargles on its own spew as it mocks,

From the spaces we deny it entry.

Palettes

Poetry

If you were told it poison,

Ne’er would it glaze your palette?


Ne’er would it glaze your palette,

The eye and the mind suffice.


Our palette is dry.

When the fluids began to flow,


It did not water like a Spring garden,

On Sunday.


We be told it poison,

And our palettes be cursed by holy words.


We keep our mouths closeted.

It hopes to keep our garden in spring,

As all the other gardens.


Not all but some.

They want not their palettes glazed.


They withhold for too long,

Yearning and praying,

Begging. They break.


They whither and wilt,

And dry out.


And you be told this the cause,

Of it being poisoned.

A Girl From The Sea

Poetry
There once was a girl from the sea,
Who wore not just two shells, but three.
            One for each boosum,
            And one for her koosum.
Though she did all but hide them from me.

Going through some old files on my hard drive yielded some personal treasures. I went through a short phase of limerick obsession and every word spilt from my lips were either limerick or nonexistent. Although short-lived, my phase was volatile and created some works that I have to admit are jovial if anything. The poem presented below is about a girl who wore seashells, but presented herself exclusively to the speaker.

The intention of this poem was to promote a sense of liberation. I am an advocate of the human physique, especially in art. And writing this helped me further how I already felt to shame for appreciating the human form without the sexual connotations that are always applied to it.

30 Days Writing Challenge – Day 1

Challenges

List 10 things that make you really happy

This is a difficult one. A good start to get the juices flowing, nonetheless. One of the hardest things to do is name things that you usually don’t think of often, regardless of their importance in your life. But if I think hard enough about it, my list would probably consist of this;

  1. A walk in the woods.
  2. A catchy tune that I can sing along to.
  3. Selecting a new save file on a video game.
  4. Being able to draw exactly how I feel it to be.
  5. Getting something done right the first time.
  6. Spacing out and feeling a part of something bigger.
  7. When my friends or family tell me something big they wouldn’t tell others.
  8. The smell of a library or books.
  9. Being free to chose where to travel, live, or work and being confident in my choices.
  10. The rare occasion where I feel relaxed in public and can do things normally.

Perhaps you share the sentiment with some of these. A common theme is relaxation. Having social anxiety is a mess on the mind and it makes the simplest tasks seem like an impossible feet. Sometimes it’s there, and sometimes it isn’t. It also depends on the people I’m with, therefore I’m unconsciously very selective of whom I allow into my close circle but you might now what I mean.

Feel free to comment some of the things that make you happy and share your thoughts, it’d do wonders for my curiosity.

Be on the lookout for Day 2 and until next we meet, have a happy life.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: First Impressions

Poetry

A few months back, during my stay in the Netherlands, I cam across a book in a quaint bookstore. In the English Literature section of the store stood a hard cover book, clad in off-white and title in azure blue. Titled “POEMS that make GROWN MEN CRY”, this book is a compilation of poems chosen as favourites by famous authors and literates.

The compilation is edited by father and son duo Anthony & Ben Holden. The poems chosen all hold a special place within the authors and editors. This genuine sense of appreciation authenticates what these men feel and is a perfect bridge among those men (and women) who can appreciate words in all their intricacies. Whether these poems make you cry, whether you’re a man, a women, or anything in between. I can whole-heartedly recommend this book to you. Poems have a profound effect on moving people, and in my experience, the effect is multiplied tenfold when it is presented as a form of explicit expression of oneself to another.

Now for the true purpose of this post. Although I could potentially (and extensively) sing praises to this book, I’ve decided to reserve this post as a general overview or first impressions post. Over the course of my thorough read through of this book, I should hope to make posts about the actual content of the book. What I enjoyed, what I didn’t, what I understood, or what I couldn’t; all of this ought to arise.

I’ll tag posts specific to this book as PGMC which would be a simple tag to follow in case you wish to do so.

Check back soon for more on one of my favourite finds of 2014.

You could also follow publications on this book here for more information.

30 Days Writing Challenge: Introduction

Challenges

Fruitful day to all my readers.

30-day-writing-challengeHaving browsed through some blogs, I’ve noticed a trend among some writers. The 30 Day Writing Challenge seems to plague all formats of blogs and I’ve decided to take part in it. Every day I’ll post a short piece relating to the challenge of the respective day. Each challenge, listed on the right, was found on another blogger’s page.

Perhaps some day I’ll create my own challenge, but for now this ought to be a good starting point.

I’ll tag my posts as 30DWC so finding all entries should be simple in case you missed any previous posts.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the little tidbits of literacy and that your support will motivate me to persevere throughout the challenge.

See you in the next post.