Hercules.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #moviemonday discussion which is being published on a Tuesday this week due to some technical difficulties that I dealt with yesterday. 

Starting next Monday I will be discussing Christmas movies here on Katelovesliterature.com as I love Christmas time and I want to embrace the festive season. 

Today I am talking about another Disney movie, I am talking about Hercules

Let’s dive into Movie Monday (on Tuesday). 

Hercules was released in 1997. The movie was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. 

Plot.

The movie is loosely based on the figure of Heracles, the son of Zeus in Greek mythology. 

The movie follows Hercules, the son of Zeus and Hera as he must find where he belongs in life. When he was born, all of the other gods were overjoyed but Hades, Zeus’s brother was plotting to overthrow Zeus, and in order to do that he had to get rid of Hercules because he is the only person who can interfere with his plans. 

Hades enlists the help of his cronies Pain and Panic. The two were supposed to kill Hercules but they do not manage to complete the job. Hercules is stripped of almost all of his immortality before he is adopted by a farmer and his wife. Hercules grows up to be an outcast because of his god-like super strength as without the proper training, his strength does more harm than good. 

Hercules is a kind, young man who wants to do good but sadly his outcast position in life makes this impossible. He feels that he doesn’t belong, and his sadness leads to his adoptive parents telling him the truth. This discovery prompts Hercules to go and find the truth about his parentage, as he hopes that by doing so he will find where he actually fits. So Hercules sets off on his hero’s journey and the movie follows him as he learns about himself, and what he is capable of, and we also watch him learn about love, and loyalty, and what being a hero truly means. 

Characters. 

The main protagonist in this movie is Hercules. I think that Hercules is the typical hero that we see in the hero’s journey trope. He is kind, he is earnest, he just wants to be accepted. He has super strength which with the right training can be used for amazing things, but without training he causes havoc without meaning to, proving that with great power comes great responsibility. 

He is naive, he is plucky, he really is the perfect candidate for the journey that he is about to embark upon because while he is a good man, he does need to learn that strength is more than just a physical thing, and while he is a good character, he is not a perfect one. He has room to grow and learn, and this is what makes him likeable. I find this version of his character very endearing and easy to root for. 

Meg is the love interest of Hercules. I would call her the female protagonist in this movie, and I like Meg because I think she functions as more than just a love interest. She is a complex character in her own right and I think that her story is just as compelling as Hercules’. 

Meg works for Hades, he owns her soul which means that she is effectively his slave. Before the movie’s events, Meg was in love with another man. Meg sold her soul to Hades, and in return he saved her love’s life. This love then betrayed Meg and left her, meaning that she is heartbroken and forever indebted to Hades. Meg is spunky and sarcastic. She has a quick, witty sense of humour and she is conflicted throughout the movie because Hades has promised her her freedom if she helps him harm Hercules, but as time passes and Meg falls more in love with him, she feels that she can no longer lie to him. I think that Meg is a true example of integrity because in the end, despite all of Hades’ threats, Meg always does what she knows is right. 

I have to include Phil the satyr in my protagonist discussion as in this hero’s journey, Phil plays the role of the mentor. Phil trains heroes, and he sees potential in Hercules. He knows he can be the best and so he agrees to train him. It is Phil who shows Hercules that his super strength can be used for good, it is Phil who shows Hercules that he does have potential, it is Phil who guides him, who gives him advice, who tells him when he is wrong. Phil is one of those really great teachers, the ones you look back on and remember fondly because they brought out the best in you. In the hero’s journey trope, the mentor role is very significant because the mentor hugely contributes to the emotional growth of the main protagonist, and that is what is most important. 

I’ve said it before when I talked about the quest narrative, because the hero’s journey is a trope that is very popular within the quest narrative, the thing to remember is that the most important thing about the hero’s journey is the hero’s personal growth. The lesson they learn along the way is the most important thing, because if the hero has not evolved or grown as a person, then the journey will have been for nothing. 

The movie’s antagonist is Hades. He wants to overthrow Olympus and he plans to free the Titans to do so, the only person who can stop him is Hercules which is why he wants to get rid of him. Hades, while he is the antagonist, is one of my favourite Disney characters. Hades is larger than life, he is dramatic, he is over the top. He is not the typical, sinister villain, he is sarcastic, he is quippy, he can be very funny, but all of this doesn’t change the fact that he takes pleasure in destroying people’s lives, he bargains with souls like it’s nothing and he takes pleasure in the fact that he owns Meg. He takes joy in using her to hurt Hercules, and he knows that finding out that Meg was working for him will break Hercules’ heart, and he knows that Meg’s spirit will be crushed when Hercules no longer trusts her, and he takes pleasure in all of the pain that he causes. Hades is a memorable villain. 

Themes. 

The key themes of this movie, in my opinion, are the themes of love, family, heroism, and finding yourself. This movie has a brilliant soundtrack and I think the song “I Can Go The Distance” sums up the movies themes really beautifully. Hercules feels like he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and I think that he personifies a lot of insecurities that many young people may face. The thing that makes him a hero (at least physically) is his strength, and when he is young and untrained, this strength is the very thing that makes him an outcast. I think that this is something that many people, especially younger people, can relate to because often the things we come to appreciate as adults are the things that can make us insecure when we’re in school. We all just want to fit in, and we all just want to feel loved and accepted, and Hercules is willing to do anything he can do in order to achieve that feeling, which is why he throws himself into training with Phil. 

I think that love is such a key theme of the movie. It is love that fuels the farmer and his wife to take in this baby and raise him as their own child. They are kind, loving parents, they know their son has unique strength and they don’t love him any less because of it. They simply want what is best for him, which is why they support his journey even though they are going to miss him terribly. 

Meg has been fuelled and betrayed by love. It was her love for her partner that made her decide to sell her soul in order to save him. She thought he’d be overjoyed. She thought he’d 

always be there for her, but her heart is broken when he waltzes off with another woman, leaving her enslaved to Hades. Her heart has hardened, she does not wish to be hurt again which is why when she begins to develop feelings for Hercules, she refuses to admit it – “I Won’t Say I’m In Love”.  As time passes, she realises that she cannot shut out her heart, and it his her love for Hercules that leads to her risking her life to help stop Hades. 

Hercules learns that there are many strengths besides just physical strength. He comes to learn that kindness, character, and integrity are just as important as physical strength, and it is not just how strong you are, but the size of your heart that matters. I believe that love can be a source of strength, because a love for someone can spur you on in hard times. It is his love for Meg that leads to him making a deal with Hades, and in the end, it is his love for her that teaches him what it means to be a true hero and ultimately, Hades is defeated by love, because love is what gives Hercules his inner and physical strength back. 

Hercules also grows as a person, he becomes a confident man throughout the journey of this movie and at the end he is a far cry from the scrawny outcast we met at the beginning of the movie, showing that self-growth is one of the most important things of all. I think one of the best things about getting older is that as we get older, and as we learn, we tend to become more confident and comfortable in our own skin and that is exactly what happens to Hercules. 

Structure. 

I love how this movie is structured. The plot is narrated brilliantly by the muses through song, and the movie does a lot of showing rather than telling which means that we can see exactly what is happening which makes the plot really easy to follow. The movie is just over an hour and half long which I think is the perfect length. I like that we can really see the development of Hercules as a character. We see him as a baby. We see him struggling, we see him training, we can see him getting swept up in the superficial adoration of the crowds, and then we see him as a mature man who loves his friends dearly and wants to keep them safe. He isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but he grows and that is what makes him so likeable. I also think that this movie has a very grounded structure, and that is due to Hades’ plan. He gets rid of Hercules because of his plan to overthrow Olympus. His plan is why he wants to ruin Hercules, it is why he forces Meg to help, and throughout the entire movie, we know the day is coming when Hades will release the Titans, that is the main event, and I feel like this constant plot point keeps the movie very grounded. 

Final Thoughts. 

Overall I think this is a really great movie. It’s got a compelling plot, layered, fun, memorable and easy to root for characters. The themes are very poignant and the soundtrack is brilliant. I really enjoyed watching this classic Disney movie before I move forward into festive movies for the next few weeks. 

This has been Movie Monday on a Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Kate xo. 

When in Norway – A Look at A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another #fridayschoice. 

This Friday is a very special Friday because I am talking about a play that I love, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, but not only am I talking about a play that I love by a Norwegian playwright, I am in Norway. 

I shared my November news earlier in the week which is that I am in Oslo this weekend. I couldn’t be happier. Oslo is such a beautiful city and there are so many wonderful connections to literature so make sure to follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), because I will be posting the highlights of this weekend on to my stories and on to my grid. 

It’s been the best day, I have thoroughly enjoyed strolling around the city. I had the pleasure of stopping by the Ibsen Museum which has been one of the highlights of my trip. I saw the National Theatre, the Opera House, and I’ve even had drinks in a pub called Dr. Jekyll’s which is of course a reference to the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

I talked about the musical Jekyll & Hyde in another Friday’s Choice a few weeks ago as part of my spooky season here on Katelovesliterature.com. I absolutely love the story so you can imagine my excitement when I got to visit this pub. It was so cool. The best part of my day was walking through a bookcase. I have added a new goal to my bucket list and it is that one day I would like to have a bookcase that is secretly a door to another room in my house. It is an out-there goal but one can dream. 

A Doll’s House was originally published in 1879. 

It is a three-act play and it is a very significant play because of the reaction it caused when it first premiered. Ibsen was determined to write a feminist play and A Doll’s House highlighted the issues that women faced in a male dominated society. 

The play’s main protagonist is Nora. She is married to the very controlling Helmer. The play is about her plight because she borrowed money behind her husband’s back, and in order to keep her marriage intact he must never find out. Nora’s actions are that of a scared woman who had no other option. Her husband was sick, he would not accept help, her father was sick, she had no real life skills because she was raised to be extremely sheltered and naive. Nora spent her entire youth dependent on her father and then when she married she was entirely dependent on her husband, and he liked it that way. When her husband was sick and would not accept help, Nora was afraid of what would happen if she were to lose him because of his pride. So she goes behind his back, she borrows the money they need to help him recover. Nora had nothing but good intentions even though she may have gone about things the wrong way, and now all of her past actions are coming to haunt her in the present. Her secrets will be exposed and Nora is terrified of her life crumbling before her eyes. In all of this, Nora comes to learn about herself. She reflects upon her sheltered upbringing, she reflects upon the fact that she has never shared her opinions, or argued with her father or her husband, she has never acted for herself because she has never been allowed to, and as time goes on she realises that her secret being revealed may not be as terrible as she thinks. 

I will not ruin the play, and there are characters and plot points that I have purposely left out of this discussion. I think that A Doll’s House is a play that everyone should read and it is a play that I would love to see in a theatre someday. I studied this play for the first time when I was doing my Leaving Certificate, the second time was when I was doing a Leinster School of Music and Drama exam, and then I studied this play again in college when I was working towards getting my BA in English Literature, so it is safe to say that it is a work that I am very familiar with. It is a work that I really enjoy. It is a work that I find something different in every time I read it. It is a work that I think everyone should read at least once. 

The story is layered and compelling. The themes are so important. Nora is one of the most nuanced and complicated characters that I have studied. I absolutely love her character. I think she is a difficult one to play because she can so easily be misunderstood. I think she is a very poignant figure and a very powerful one. 

I actually really enjoy reading scripts because I like the way that I can envision the show taking place on a stage. When a piece is written for the stage it is very different to a piece that is just meant to be read as it is, and I really enjoy thinking about how the written word will translate onstage. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen or read A Doll’s House

Have you read any of Ibsen’s works, and if so, I’d love to know which one is your favourite. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

Tone.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about who the antagonist in the story is, so check that out if you haven’t already. 

Today I am going to be talking about the tone of a work. 

So let’s dive into Theory Thursday. 

What is tone? 

If I am talking about the tone of a particular work, I am referring to what mood I think the author is trying to put across based on certain choices they make. The tone of a work can also refer to how the text makes the reader feel. Many things impact the tone of a work, for example the writer’s word choice is very important because certain words can make us react differently. 

For example, if I were to say that I dislike something, I think that gives off a very different tone compared to if I were to say that something disgusts me. Dislike and disgust are two very different things, disgust is a much stronger emotion so if I were to use stronger word choices then the tone will be much more intense. 

Why is tone important? 

Tone, like all aspects of literary theory, is important because having an understanding of tone will only enhance your reading experience, and if one is discussing a work then it is important to be able to articulate what sort of tone you think the author was trying to establish. The tone of a piece can also be open to interpretation because you may base your opinion on the piece’s tone on how the piece made you feel. If a piece made you sad, or moved you in some way, then you may suggest that the author was presenting a tone that was sad and poignant, and you could suggest that the author’s intention was to move readers. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you all enjoyed it. Happy Friday Eve. 

Kate xo. 

November News.

Hello everyone. I hope you are all keeping well. I mentioned last week on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), that I had something really exciting coming up this week. I said that I am planning to finish out the month of November in a really fun way. Today I am sharing my news. 

I am so excited because I will be spending the weekend in Oslo. I have some family members who are currently living in Norway, and I have not seen them in nearly two years so I could not be more excited to be taking this trip. 

I have not travelled since November of 2019 so I am a little apprehensive about it, but I am mostly just extremely excited. I know that everyone has their own opinions about the situation that is going on in the world and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think it is important to always be courteous and polite. I am fully vaccinated, as are the family members that I am travelling with, as are the family members we are going to see. We will be following all health and safety guidelines, sanitizing, mask wearing, and generally just doing everything in the safest way possible. 

Oslo is a city that is filled with amazing connections to literature. I am hoping to go to the Ibsen Museum. I plan on taking some beautiful pictures of the city, I will be talking a lot about the works of Ibsen this week, and I have some other really cool places that I plan to visit. So keep an eye on my Instagram page because I will be sharing the highlights of my trip. 

Have you been to Norway? Do you like the works of Henrik Ibsen? If so, let me know what your favourite piece is. I’d love to know. 

Kate xo. 

Ruthless People.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #moviemonday. It is the last week of November and I am really looking forward to next month because I am going to be getting into the Christmas spirit and concentrating on Christmas movies for the next few weeks. 

According to my Instagram poll, my followers prefer Christmas over Halloween so I am hoping that you will all enjoy the festive content that is coming up. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you should consider it as it is where I keep everyone updated about what is coming up here on Katelovesliterature.com. It is also lots of fun, so think about checking it out. 

Today I am talking about Ruthless People

Let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

Ruthless People was released in 1986 and the movie was directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. 

If you are a fan of Bette Midler then I think you have to watch this movie if you have not already seen it. She is a brilliant comedic actress. 

Plot. 

The plot of Ruthless People is really straightforward, and really funny. The movie has been described as a dark comedy, and while I do agree with that, I would also call it a comedy of errors. This is another one of those movies where I think that the audience will root for the characters who are technically the ‘bad guys’. 

The movie follows Ken and Sandy Kessler as they decide to get revenge on their boss for stealing their ideas and life savings by kidnapping his wife Barbara. They have no intention of hurting Barbara, they simply want to get ransom money from Sam Stone, but it turns out that Sam has no intention of paying the ransom because he was planning to kill his wife himself so that he could have her family’s fortune and live with his mistress Carol. Carol discovers that Sam was planning to kill his wife, so she attempts to blackmail him so that she can have a wealthy life with her boyfriend Earl. So the entire plot is one big farce and Barbara, played by the wonderfully funny Bette Midler, is at the heart of it. When she learns what her husband had planned, she becomes determined to get revenge herself so in a brilliantly funny turn of events, she ends up in cahoots with her kidnappers. If you want to see how it all plays out, go and watch the movie. 

Characters. 

Usually when I talk about movies, I discuss the protagonists and the antagonists but in Ruthless People, I think that everyone is as bad as each other, which makes for a wonderfully dark comedy. 

Barbara Stone is perhaps one of the most annoying people on the planet. Does this mean that she deserved to be kidnapped? Of course not, but Bette Midler understood the assignment. Barbara makes life hell for her amateur kidnappers who are clearly in way over their heads. The over the top plot points combined with all of the movie’s twists and turns makes for a really funny movie. 

Ken and Sandy are out of their depth and it shows. All they wanted was their life savings back. They did not expect that Sam would not pay the ransom. What was supposed to be a quick and easy plan rapidly speeds out of their control, and watching them flounder is delightful. Obviously it is wrong to kidnap someone, there is no question about that, but within the context of this absurd movie, you can see that Ken and Sandy are good people, and oddly enough I think that audiences will root for them, especially when Barbara joins forces with them. 

I even like Carol the mistress. She knows her role and she plays it well. When Carol discovers that Sam was actually planning on killing Barbara, she is horrified, but true to her role in this movie, she decides that she is going to blackmail him and I will be honest, I think audiences may root for her too. 

The movie’s only truly bad person is Sam Stone. He is the actual antagonist of the movie. He is the one who had the malicious intention to kill his wife, take her fortune, and run away with his mistress. When he came home one day to find her kidnapped, he was delighted that kidnappers had done the work for him. He is thankful, and throughout the entire movie he disobeys the ransom requests hoping that each time, the kidnappers will actually kill his wife. This should be horrifying, it is horrifying, but Danny DeVito plays his part so well that he manages to make Sam Stone’s exasperation about his wife still being alive very funny. 

There is a reason why this movie is described as a dark comedy. It is dark, it is absurd, it is full of twists and turns. It is over the top, and that is what makes it brilliant. 

Themes.

The movie’s main themes are revenge and greed. This is a revenge movie. The characters are driven by either revenge or greed. Sam Stone is driven by greed. He stole Sandy’s ideas, he stole Sandy and Ken’s life savings. He wants his wife’s family fortune, so much so that he is willing to kill her for it. His entire life’s focus is money. Sandy and Ken do what they do because they want to get revenge on Sam. Carol blackmails Sam because she wants money, so she too is driven by greed. When Barbara finds out about Sam’s intentions, she too becomes driven by revenge because she is determined to get back at him, so this is a movie that is full of people doing outrageous things because they want either money or revenge. 

This movie is described as a dark comedy, and that is exactly what it is, a dark comedy. I don’t want to analyse it to death because that is not the point. I could easily choose to discuss this movie in a much deeper way, and talk about how the use of satire and dark comedy could be suggested to be a tool to demonstrate how corrupting money and greed can be. This dark comedy shows the hideous lengths people will go to because of their desire for money and because of their thirst for revenge. I think this is a movie that highlights how important context is, because in a different movie, the idea that a husband would be delighted that his wife has been kidnapped could be presented as a horror or a thriller, because it is a dark concept. It is horrifying to think that Sam Stone was hoping that his wife would meet such a horrible end, and a plot like this could be an entirely different movie if it was presented differently, but it wasn’t. Ruthless People was presented as a very dark, outrageous comedy and that is what it is. It is absurd, but that is the point. 

Structure. 

Ruthless People is only 94 minutes long, so a lot happens in a short space of time. There are a lot of moving parts to this movie as it features an ensemble cast of characters and all of them are scheming. It moves very quickly, and there are a lot of twists and turns but I don’t think that it gets too confusing as I didn’t feel lost at any point. 

Final Thoughts. 

It was my Mam that suggested that I should watch Ruthless People because I had never seen it and she thought I would like it. I am so glad she suggested it because I really enjoyed it and I would highly recommend it. It is not too long. The cast is fantastic. The story is absurdly funny, and my advice to anyone who is thinking about watching this movie would be to simply lean into the absurd and embrace it. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen Ruthless People? What is your favourite Bette Midler movie? Let me know. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

Kate xo. 

Short Stories: The Yellow Wallpaper.

Hello everyone. Happy Friday. Here’s to the weekend, welcome to another #fridayschoice. 

Today I am talking about a short story entitled The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This short story was published in 1892. 

I really like short stories because I like reading narratives that are contained within a short space of time. The interesting thing about short stories is that very often, they give us a snippet of time or we can get a contained story that doesn’t have too much of a wider context, but it could. I think a sign of a good short story is when the tale leaves us wanting more, we get the impression that there is more happening, but we’ve just been given a snippet. 

I also think that short stories are great if you want to read something short and sweet. I think that reading is very relaxing but sometimes after a long day if I don’t feel like opening a longer novel, a short story is a really great alternative. 

I have studied this short story in great detail in college. It is a text that I really enjoyed, and it is a text that is regarded as very significant because of the way it portrays attitudes towards mental health. I think that mental health is being talked about much more openly in 2021, which is fantastic, and I think that this text is a really good teaching tool when discussing attitudes of the past. 

The story is narrated in the first person, and it is also an example of epistolary form as the story is written down in journal entries. The plot follows a woman who is writing about her time spent in a house that her husband rented. Her husband is a doctor, and he doesn’t want her to work or write or do anything as she is recovering from “hysterical tendencies.” 

I think that this is a really powerful, very poignant story and I think it is a piece that everyone should read at least once. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

Meet The Antagonist.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #theorythursday. Last week I talked about who the protagonist in the story is so check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am going to be talking about who the antagonist in the story is. 

So let’s dive into Theory Thursday. 

Who is the antagonist? 

In literature, the term “antagonist” traditionally refers to the main opponent of the main character, the person who is the thorn in the protagonist’s side, the person who is working against the protagonist. 

I mentioned last week how the term “protagonist” has become associated with the idea that the protagonist is the “good guy”, and that the term “antagonist” has become associated with the idea that the antagonist is the “bad guy”. Now, this can often be true, and when I am discussing movies, I tend to make this general association simply because it is easier, but while the antagonist of a story is often the “bad guy”, it is not the case every single time. 

I think that sometimes the antagonist is not a bad character, but they are simply the counterpoint to the protagonist. If one was to look at a movie like Legally Blonde as an example, I would argue that Vivian may seem like the “bad guy” at first, but actually she isn’t the bad guy, she isn’t even the antagonist, she is simply the opposite of Elle. This type of scenario can happen often too so it is important to not confuse counterpoints with the “bad guy”. I also think it is important to acknowledge that someone disagreeing with the protagonist doesn’t automatically make them the “bad guy”. 

It depends on the narrative, but some stories end with the protagonist and the antagonist finding a point of understanding, whereas in other narratives, they remain opposed. There is also the idea of the “anti-hero”, but this is a concept that I will discuss in detail on another Theory Thursday. 

Why is it important to understand who the antagonist is? 

It is important to know who the antagonist is because they are a key part of the narrative, they are where the conflict lies, and without an antagonist, the protagonist doesn’t have a challenge. I would argue that the antagonist functions to challenge the protagonist and make their arc meaningful. In the antagonist’s point of view, the protagonist is their challenge, and it is important to always remember who is telling the story, because a story told from the antagonist’s point of view could paint an entirely different picture. 

This has been Theory Thursday. Happy Friday Eve. 

Kate xo. 

Little Women.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #moviemonday. 

This week on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), I mentioned that the last movie that I physically went to see in the cinema was Little Women, so I decided to watch it again and discuss it. 

So let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

Little Women was released in 2019 and the movie was directed by Greta Gerwig. 

The movie is the seventh adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women. 

Plot. 

The movie follows the lives of the March sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, although one could argue that Jo is the movie’s main protagonist out of the four sisters. The story follows the girls from childhood to adulthood. The sisters must find their own way in the world, and as they grow up they experience love and heartache. I would say that the main plot in this movie is Jo’s ambition and journey to becoming a writer. This is why I would say that while the story is about all of the March sisters, I would still say that Jo is the main protagonist because the movie starts and ends with her, and I think it could be interpreted that Jo is the one who is telling this story. 

Characters. 

Jo March is passionate. She is stubborn. She is creative. She is strong willed. She has an active imagination, and she dreams of being a writer. At times she can seem unreasonable, or rash, but at the end of the day her heart is in the right place as she loves her family more than anything. She is very close with all of her sisters, and with her mother, even though they argue at times as all siblings do. Jo wants to be taken seriously as a writer, and she wants to make it clear that a woman can write, and that women can do more than just be romantic articles. I will discuss Jo’s character, and why I really like her in more detail in the themes section of this discussion. 

Meg March is the oldest of the sisters. She is kind, she is mature, she helps her mother take care of her younger sisters while their father is away. Meg is the opposite of Jo because Meg wants what some would describe as a more traditional life. She is called the most beautiful of the sisters, and she dreams of having nice things that poverty doesn’t allow her to have. As she grows up, she matures, and she realises that her happiness does not lie in money. She marries for love, and although she and her husband are poor, she is happy. She does sometimes struggle with wishing she had more, but I think this makes her a very real, human character. She is imperfect, but none of the March sisters are perfect, and I think that is what makes them so relatable. 

I will also talk about the difference between Jo and Meg in the themes section of this discussion too because I think that the story of Meg and Jo is one that carries a very important message. 

Amy March is in my opinion, the most complex character in the movie. Many people dislike Amy as she can be spoiled, and a tad obnoxious at times, but I happen to really like her, and I will go on to explain why. Amy is extremely artistic, she loves to draw, she loves the idea of travelling and learning, and she looks up to her older sisters and she just wants to be like them. In her younger days, Amy can be bratty, she can be envious, and she can act out when she is angry, but she grows up to be a beautiful, educated woman who is a talented artist. It is Amy, who in this adaptation specifically, understands the reality of being a woman in this time period and I think that Florence Pugh did a remarkable job playing this arguably difficult part. I think that Amy can be a difficult character to portray because if it isn’t done correctly, she can be unlikable, but I feel that Pugh really captured how her character was feeling, and so she was able to make Amy understandable and likeable, and even admirable as she matured. 

Beth March is the kindest of the sisters, she loves her family, she is always good natured, and she is extremely musical. I think that Beth and her story is what keeps the sisters so closely knit. They are aware of how precious life is, and it is Beth that teaches everyone about love and loss. 

Laurie is the March’s neighbour, and he is quite literally the “boy next door”. Laurie loves being at the March’s house and he becomes fast friends with all of the March sisters but specifically with Jo. Her loves her stubborn mind, and he encourages her dreams to become a writer. Laurie is charming and kind, and he is a true friend. He is warmly embraced by the March family. Some people argue that Laurie and Jo were perfect for one another, however I disagree and I will explain why later. 

There is a larger ensemble of characters in this story. Marmee March, the girls’ mother is the matriarch of the family. Marmee is warm, kind, and extremely understanding. She is a strong, steady presence and her girls are always able to lean on her. There is Aunt March, she is strict, she is somewhat cold, she is very demanding, but she wants what is best for the girls, and I would also argue that she, like Amy, understands the reality that she is living in. 

Themes. 

I think that the movie’s key themes are love, family, loss, and maturity. The March family are connected by the love they have for one another, and they go through many trials and tribulations together, including a tragic loss. This story shows the girls as they mature from childhood to adulthood, and as they mature, we see how they grow as people. This is a family who sticks together. They argue, like all families do, they hurt each other, but when it comes down to it, they rally together, they support each other, and they realise how lucky they are to have each other. 

I said earlier that I think Jo and Meg’s relationship is important and I am going to explain why. Jo and Meg are extremely different. Jo spends a long time being uninterested in romantic relationships. She wants to travel, she wants to write, she wants to be independent, and most importantly, she wants to be taken seriously as a female writer. She wants to make it clear that women “have hearts and minds”, and they can do more than simply get married. 

Meg finds love, and when she falls in love, she wishes to get married. She wants to settle down, she wants to have a family, and she makes it clear that although her dreams are different to Jo’s, it doesn’t mean they are less than or invalid. 

This is something that I really like about these two characters. It is important to note that this story is set in the 19th century, and at that time women were expected to thrive in the domestic sphere. They were supposed to grow up to be wives and mothers, and Jo could be described as a feminist character because she is stubbornly refusing to do that, she wants to do more, she is not demure, she is not gentle, she is not what a 19th century woman was “supposed to be”, and this is great. Jo is a great character. She is complex, she is dynamic, she has agency and it is wonderful to see, but something that I really like, is that this movie doesn’t belittle Meg’s dreams either. 

It is okay to want to be a wife and a mother. It is okay to be more traditionally feminine. Meg’s dreams are just as important as Jo’s even though they are different, and as Jo grows up she sees this. She sees that if Meg is happy than that is what is important, and she also learns that she can be strong willed and independent, and she can be a writer, but she can also let love into her life. 

I think this is very important, because it acknowledges that while yes woman are, and should be portrayed as more than simply being love interests to men, it is perfectly okay to choose to have love in your life, it is okay to want a relationship, and I like this modern take on this story. 

I think that when it comes to women making choices, all of their choices are valid. If a woman chooses to be career driven, that is wonderful. If a woman chooses to travel, that is wonderful. If a woman chooses to be a stay at home Mam, that is wonderful. I think that we should all be free to make our own choices, and there is a big difference between someone choosing to do something as opposed to being forced to do something by someone, or by society, simply because they are a woman. 

In the 19th century, women were expected by society to become wives and mothers, simply because they were women, and so it is great that Jo pushes that boundary and makes her own decisions, however Meg wants that life, and so her choosing to have that life is equally as impressive. It can be hard to present Jo’s narrative without belittling Meg’s, but this version of the story manages to do it very nicely. 

I also mentioned that I don’t think that Jo and Laurie should have ended up together, and I think that Laurie and Amy are a very nice couple, and I am going to explain why. I think Jo and Laurie are wonderful friends, and Jo mentioned that they wouldn’t ever work because they’d get sick of each other and I think that that is true. Amy pushes Laurie to be his best, and I think that the adult that Amy grows up to be is the perfect match for Laurie. Amy is a very difficult character to play because she can be unlikable. Amy is always living in Jo’s shadow, and I think that in many ways the two are similar. They are both stubborn, they are both headstrong, and they can both sulk if they don’t get their way. Amy is artistic, Amy wishes to travel, Amy has dreams, she is creative, and she grows up to be an educated, smart, intuitive young woman. 

Amy understands what it means to be a woman in her time. She understands that marriage is a contract. She says so in her amazing speech to Laurie that Pugh delivered so wonderfully. She knows that she grew up poor, and in order to do well in life, she must marry well and she is prepared to do so, but ultimately she ends up going with her heart and she marries Laurie. 

I think that my favourite scene with Amy is the scene where she draws Laurie, he tells her how he feels, and she gets up and walks away. She tells him he is being mean, she tells him she won’t allow him to choose her just because Jo turned him down, she will not be second best, not when she has loved him all of her life, and this is the moment that captures the complexity of Amy. She has always been second to Jo. Jo is a writer, Amy is a painter. Amy got to travel with Aunt March instead of Jo because Aunt March decided to bring Amy to punish Jo. If it wasn’t for this, she likely wouldn’t have been considered. Amy is upset when she can’t go to the ball, she says why should Jo get to go when Jo doesn’t even care about it, and it is a fair point. She strikes out when she is hurt, but so does Jo, and yet it is Amy who is placed at fault. The two sisters love each other deeply, but they are the ones who argue the most and I think it is because they are so similar. 

I think that this version did a great job of capturing what a nuanced character Amy actually is, and I think that she and Laurie are very well matched. 

Structure. 

I think that this adaption is very interesting because the story isn’t told in chronological order, instead it jumps back and forth which is really interesting because I think it changes the way we view the events. I also think that the movie is a little bit slow moving at some parts, but overall I really enjoyed it, and I especially liked the movie’s ending. There won’t be any spoilers here, but I would say to anyone that they should watch this movie if they want to know what I’m talking about. Another thing to note is that Jo is our narrator seeing as it is her who is reflecting over her life, and the events of the story, so we are seeing things through Jo’s recollection of them. 

Final Thoughts. 

I enjoyed this movie when I went to see it in the cinema. I cried in the cinema. I enjoyed watching it again, and I did cry again. It is a very touching tale, and I’ve always enjoyed the book. I think the cast was brilliant, and I think that the story managed to be somewhat modern while also staying true to the original text. I enjoyed the complexity of the themes and the characters felt very realistic and compelling. I would watch the movie again, and I’d highly recommend it.

This has been Movie Monday. Have you seen Little Women? 

Kate xo. 

Movies vs TV Shows.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #fridayschoice. I hope you all had a good week. 

Today I’ve decided to talk about why I love movies and tv, even though the two mediums are very different. 

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of tv, and so I decided to think about why I love tv vs why I love movies. Overall I would have to say that I prefer movies, but I love when the right series comes along and I get invested. 

The idea that I would put forward is that the main difference between a movie and a tv series is time. When we watch a movie, we know that the narrative is going to be contained within two hours. The plot has to go through a beginning, middle, and end in the space of those two hours. There will always be exceptions, an example would be if a movie ends on a cliffhanger or asks more questions than it answers because there is going to be a sequel, but usually, a movie’s message and the main character’s arc is contained within a certain time frame. 

When we are watching a tv series, if there are several series of one show, it means that the characters have more time to grow and develop and change. I think that tv shows have great potential to explore many different aspects of a character or a theme, because tv shows have the opportunity to be more episodic, meaning that each episode will have it’s own contained story and usually when this happens it means that you could watch the episodes out of order as there isn’t an overarching theme, but tv shows could also decide that each season will have a focused plot, and there will be an overarching theme or storyline that spans over several episodes. When this is the case, the episodes really should be watched in order so that plot points are not missed, but even with an overarching storyline, the characters still have more time to deviate and do other things, whereas in a movie it’s hard to keep the balance between the main plot and the subplot, because if there are too many things going on in a movie, it can feel sloppy and it can leave audiences feeling like too many things started that weren’t finished in a satisfying way. 

I love sitting down to watch a movie. I find it relaxing. I love the art of film, I really enjoy seeing how someone chooses to tell a story through film, and so when I watch a movie, I pay close attention to the style, the shots, the score, and I do like seeing how a character’s arc is achieved within a timeframe. I think that’s very interesting. Storytelling with a time limit means that some things may have to be left out, and I also think that just like there are things in books that don’t always translate well onscreen, there are things that movies can do that tv series can’t and vice verse. 

When it comes to a tv series, I do like the fact that we have more time with characters, and over the series, a character can grow and change and do many things. It keeps things interesting because the show can take on different directions whereas a movie can’t really do that. With that being said, I also think it’s important to make sure that certain storylines don’t drag on for too long because then they run the risk of becoming repetitive. I also think that some series can go on for too long, and then when the quality of the show starts decreasing, one wonders if perhaps the series should have quit while it was ahead. I can think of a few examples of shows where I think that there were a few more seasons than there needed to be, but I also know that if a show is popular and getting good ratings, then show runners will want to keep that show on the air. 

I think that ultimately I prefer movies over tv shows because I like the bigger story that can be presented. Yes the narrative has to be contained within two hours or so, but I like the fact that so much can be done within two hours whereas sometimes a show can have twenty episodes in a season and unless I’m extremely invested in the story, I’m just not going to be too excited about watching it. Personally I think that movies grab my attention much more quickly than a tv show does. When a tv series does catch my attention, it is the best because I become invested, I want to watch the next episode, I really enjoy watching it, and when that happens, it is fantastic because it means that I thoroughly enjoy a series, but I’ve noticed that only a few shows do this, whereas I find myself captivated by movies much more quickly and much more often. 

Both mediums are wonderful forms of expression, and I do think that different stories lend themselves to different mediums. There are some stories that will lend themselves to tv, while others lend themselves to movies, and I think this is because, as I’ve said above, movies and tv shows have different strengths and they can do different things, so depending on what the story needs, one medium will likely work better than the other. I think that would be an interesting topic to discuss in the future. Perhaps at some point I will pick a move and discuss why I think it wouldn’t have worked as a tv show, or I will pick a tv show and discuss why I think it would or wouldn’t translate well on the big screen. 

Keep an eye out on my Instagram stories (@katelovesliterature), because I am currently watching the sixth series of Shetland, and I am also watching Angela Black, and I will be posting my #tvthoughts to my stories, just like I did when I watching Only Murders In The Building.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Tell me do you prefer tv or movies? I’d love to know. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

Meet The Protagonist.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #theorythursday. Today I am going to be talking about who the protagonist is in the story. This may seem extremely simple and straightforward, but I have chosen to write about the protagonist because I want my website to be a place where literature and literary theory is accessible to everyone, and there may be readers who aren’t overly familiar with terms such as “protagonist” and “antagonist”, etc. 

I use the term “protagonist” a lot, and it is a term that anyone who is talking about literature should become familiar with. 

So let’s dive in. 

Who is the protagonist? 

The term “protagonist” refers to the main character (or main characters) in the text. It is the person (or people) whom the story revolves around. 

The word “protagonist” has arguably become associated with the idea of goodness, so the term “protagonist” is often used to describe the “good guy” and the term “antagonist” is often used to describe the villain of the text – I will talk about this on another Theory Thursday. 

I do think that although I usually describe the “good guy” as the protagonist out of ease, I think it is slightly more complicated than that as not every protagonist is purely good. Characters can be nuanced and complex, and of course there is the idea of the anti-hero etc, but these are topics for another day. 

Why is it important to know who the protagonist is? 

I think it is important to know who the protagonist is because they are the main character in a work, and when one is discussing a text, the term “protagonist” is used often so it is important to understand who that term is referring to.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you all have a lovely Friday Eve. 

Kate xo.