February’s Book Of The Month.

Hello everyone. I hope you are all having a lovely weekend. Apologies because I’ve been a bit missing in action lately here on Katelovesliterature.com. February has been an extremely busy month, but I am back now and there is so much to come.

It took me some time to decide which book I wanted to focus on this month and because I’ve had so much going on I hadn’t had the chance to properly sit down and read anything, but I have finally decided that this month I am going to discuss Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Feel free to read along with me.

Have you read Alice in Wonderland? Do you consider it a children’s classic? I consider it a classic in general, not just a children’s classic, but I will touch on this in my discussion at the end of the month.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone and I hope that you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day tomorrow if you choose to celebrate it.

Kate xo.

A snap of my beautiful edition of Alice in Wonderland. I just love how gorgeous this book looks on my shelf.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (1961).

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #moviemonday. Today I am discussing the movie adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring the lovely Audrey Hepburn. I have discussed Truman Capote’s famous novella and if you’re interested in checking that out then you will find it in my Book Of The Month category. 

I stated in my book discussion that the book and the movie are extremely different and seeing as we are approaching Valentine’s Day, I thought that this movie would be a good choice as it is quite charming and includes an iconic kissing in the rain scene, a trope that one naturally associates with romantic/romantic comedy movies. 

So let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

This movie was released in 1961 and it was directed by Blake Edwards. 

Plot. 

The plot is the same as it is in the book although there are sections that are glossed over and some of the jarringly offensive language was thankfully left out. Mistakes were still made, if you’re familiar with the movie then you’ll know exactly which casting choice I am referring to. It’s safe to say that the same thing would hopefully not happen if this movie was made in 2022, but in the 60s, standards were different and certain things that thankfully aren’t acceptable today were back then. 

The plot follows Paul, an aspiring writer who moves into a New York brownstone and meets the mysterious and charming Holly Golightly, who calls him “Fred”. Holly’s chaotic yet intriguing lifestyle inspires “Fred” and the more he gets to know her (or not know her), the more intrigued and charmed he becomes and overtime he falls for her although Holly is not really the romantic type. Just like in the book, she’s preoccupied with trying to get herself a millionaire while also paying visits to her “uncle Sally” in Sing Sing. 

The two lost people find a sense of belonging in one another, even though Holly never wants to belong to anyone. Just like in the novel, she’s restless, she’s afraid to commit, she builds walls around her heart so that she can’t get hurt, and she just wants to find that place that makes her feel like Tiffany’s because “nothing so very bad can happen at a place like Tiffany’s.”

I recommend reading the novella before watching the movie because even though the movie is not the exact same and even though it glosses over some of the grittier aspects of Capote’s piece, I believe that you need to read the book in order to understand the movie. It’s hard to explain the plot because there really isn’t one. The novella is about “Fred” telling us about his experiences with Holly. In the novella we don’t even learn his real name. Holly is at one point described as being like a scarf that floats in the wind and that is such an apt description of her character. She’s confusing, she’s at times infuriating, she’s impossible to figure out and yet she’s charming, she’s intriguing, she’s vulnerable, she’s layered. Holly Golightly is an iconic character for a reason and I think that Hepburn did a wonderful job playing her. 

Characters.

The movie’s main protagonists are Holly and “Fred”. As I’ve stated above, Holly is a complex character who has many layers. She’s impossible to define which is ideal because Holly did not ever want to be defined. She didn’t want to be caged or put in a box. Holly is a very vulnerable character who has had a tough past, but she has built a life for herself, she has built a mysterious image that keeps her safe. “She’s a phoney, but she’s a real phoney.” 

“Fred” is much more of the classic romantic lead that one would expect to see in a 1960s movie. He’s handsome, he’s charismatic, he’s kind and understanding, but he’s not perfect, he’s got his own struggles. He’s an ambitious writer, struggling to gain his own independence. He’s trying to get published and make a career out of his dream, all while falling for this girl who he can’t quite figure out. 

There isn’t really an antagonist in this movie. There’s lots of different characters. We meet “Fred’s” decorator, a wealthy woman whom he sees for money, we meet Doc, Holly’s estranged husband whom she married when she was very young. We meet José, a Brazilian politician whom Holly plans to marry at one point, we meet Holly’s rather obnoxious friend Mag Wildwood, and then there’s Joe Bell, he runs the local bar. 

All of the other characters exist in the realm of Holly. “Fred” meets these people because of his friendship with Holly, it’s unlikely that he would have met any of these people by himself, aside from Joe Bell that is. 

Themes. 

I spoke about the themes of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in my book discussion and although the movie is different, and arguably more romantic, I feel the core themes are the same. This is a movie about belonging. The major theme of this movie is this idea of finding somewhere that makes you feel like you’re at ease. A place that makes you feel safe and content. Holly is restlessly trying to find that place and “Fred” believes they could be happy together if Holly would stop running from him and from the idea of commitment. Holly does not want to be caged, but “Fred” doesn’t want to cage her, he simply loves her. Holly comes to see that she loves him too, and just because she wants to settle with him, it doesn’t mean she is trapped. If anything, I think that Holly and “Fred” complement each other. She inspires him to write and he’s charmed by her hard to figure out and follow personality. The pair even spend a whole day doing things that they’ve never done before together and it’s one of the most charming scenes in this movie. 

Style. 

I want to take a moment to appreciate the movie’s opening scene because I think it is a beautiful and cleverly shot opening scene. The movie opens on a scene of a beautifully empty fifth avenue in the early morning. A woman in a black dress, Holly, only we don’t know that yet, is looking into the window at Tiffany’s. She’s eating a pastry and drinking a coffee. She’s all alone. She’s got dark sunglasses on. We only see her through the reflection of the store window and I just think this is a brilliant opening scene. We are filled with questions. Who is this woman? Where was she? Why is she at Tiffany’s? All of these questions are fantastic because Holly is a character who evokes nothing but questions. She’s a riddle, right from the opening credits. 

Later, when Holly tells “Fred” about how much she loves Tiffany’s and how she goes there whenever she needs to feel better, this opening scene can be viewed differently. It’s open to interpretation, but I think one could say that Holly was at Tiffany’s early in the morning after a bad date with a client, hence the black dress, and she wanted to chase away the “mean reds”, so she went to Tiffany’s and longingly stared into the window while she ate her breakfast. 

I also think that the emptiness of fifth avenue could be open to interpretation too. Was the street really empty or did it just appear empty because Holly was lost in her own world? 

Was the empty street a metaphor for the emptiness in Holly’s life? I like to think about this sometimes. Some may say that is a stretch but that is the beauty of personal interpretation. 

Structure. 

There is something about the way this movie flows, it is almost like a free verse poem, perhaps because Holly is such a free person. The scenes seem to melt together in a dreamy sort of way. It is a visually beautiful movie. I’ve said before that it looks like a painting. There is something incredibly charming about it and I always enjoy it whenever I watch it. 

Final Thoughts. 

If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, watch this movie. If you have never seen this movie, watch it. While it is very different from the novella, I think that it is still a very enjoyable movie to watch. There is something very peaceful about this movie, there is a certain charm to this movie, it is visually stunning, the story is compelling and I think that it is just a lovely romantic movie that hits the heartstrings because the idea of wanting to find somewhere where we belong is very universal. I think that Holly is an iconic character because even though she can be a complex riddle, I think in many ways, her fears, her vulnerabilities, her anxieties etc., are very relatable which makes the movie much more enjoyable. I think at some point we all just want to feel like we belong, which is why we hope that Holly finally finds that place she’s searching for, because we all hope we will find that place too. 

This has been Movie Monday. 

Kate xo.

Sunday’s Choice: Twin Peaks.

Hello everyone. I’m calling today’s post Sunday’s Choice because Friday was unbelievably busy and sadly I didn’t get a chance to make sure I was happy with this discussion before publishing it, but I will never publish a discussion on Katelovesliterature.com unless I am 100% happy with it. 

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. It is a rainy Sunday here in Dublin so I’m enjoying some coffee while I clean my room and my desk with some lovely jazz in the background. Later I’m going to sit down and continue enjoying my day off with a show so keep an eye on my Instagram stories as I may share some #watchtvwithme snaps. 

As we approach Valentine’s Day, you can expect some romantic comedy themed Movie Monday’s coming up but lately I’ve been watching a variety of different things, one of those things is Twin Peaks which is what I am going to be talking about today. 

The original Twin Peaks aired in 1990 and the show has gained a cult following and an iconic status as the show is referenced so much in many different forms of media. It is one of those shows that I’ve always known of, a lecturer of mine really enjoyed the show and he would mention it often in his lectures, and it’s a show that I’d always sort of known had this reputation for being really good but a little weird etc., but even though it’s always been in the background, I’d never actually watched it – until last week. 

Last week I watched Twin Peaks for the very first time. I watched the pilot and I watched the first episode so I can’t say too much at the moment about the plot or it’s themes other than I’m intrigued and very excited to see what happens next. 

I’ve spoken about this before, but I really love the concept of a stranger entering a small town where everyone knows everyone and said stranger has to adapt to their new environment whilst also trying to win over the people in said small town. Twin Peaks has this exact dynamic as Special Agent Dale Cooper arrives in the fictional town of Twin Peaks to help the local sheriff investigate the murder of highschool student Laura Palmer. 

So far I really like the show. I’ve said before that crime dramas are probably my favourite genre of television shows so I knew going into the show that I would like the premise as I always tend to enjoy plots that focus on an investigation, especially when they’re done well and so far, I really like the setup of this storyline. I like the small town atmosphere, everyone knows everyone, and more importantly, everyone knew Laura so the devastation her death brought to the town felt particularly poignant. 

I think my favourite scene so far had to be the scene where the highschool principal has to announce the news of Laura’s death over the intercom to her teachers and classmates. It’s a devastating scene. The teachers are devastated, her classmates are horrified, her best friend is breaking down in sobs and the principal himself is struggling to remain composed while talking to the students. When the intercom clicks off, he too breaks down crying, and there is an incredibly eerie shot of the terrible news ringing out in an empty school hallway. It is in that moment that you can feel the impact this news has brought. This town, those teachers, and especially Laura’s family and friends will never be the same again. This nightmare isn’t going to end, it’s only going to continue as Dale has to investigate. The reality sets in that this is real, this happened, Laura is gone, and as the investigation digs into everyone’s secrets, it becomes clear that there’s more to everyone than Dale realised. 

Despite the plot being serious and some of the scenes being extremely emotional and sad, another one I have to mention is when the sheriff tells Laura’s father about her death. Her father is on the phone to her mother when the sheriff arrives and we can hear her sobbing through the phone as she hears the news, but despite the sad and serious themes, there are some very funny moments in the show because there is an undercurrent of humour throughout. Lucy and her ramblings are very funny, Dale is always speaking into his recorder telling someone called Dianne all about his thoughts, discoveries, and observations, some of which are highly comical, so I like that the tone of the show is a little off kilter. It isn’t a comedy, but it isn’t all doom and gloom, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as I know there are some soap opera and horror tropes to come. 

At the moment I am rewatching the 2014 BBC adaptation of The Three Musketeers, which is entitled The Musketeers. I have spoken about it briefly before as I mentioned it was a great action series however I think after this rewatch I will discuss it in more detail because I think some of the character arcs are really impressive. I’m also watching The Simpsons for the first time because that was another show that I didn’t properly watch when I was younger. I went to see the movie in the cinema and I saw an episode here and there, but it’s been highly recommended to me so I am watching it all from the start and I will probably talk about it at some stage as I’m really enjoying it so far. As always I’m watching The Golden Girls because it is my comfort show that just never gets old, and I’m also making my way through a list of movies so there is lots to come here on Katelovesliterature.com. Speaking of there being lots to come, my February #bookofthemonth pick will be revealed during the week. Stay tuned. 

This has been Sunday’s Choice. Are you a fan of Twin Peaks? Let me know!

Kate xo.

Back to Basics: Adjectives.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about the concept of suspending one’s disbelief because I was so inspired by seeing The Lion King in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Check that out if you haven’t already. 

Today I am continuing on with my #backtobasics series. I’ve already talked about verbs and nouns, so be sure to read those discussions too if grammar is something that you want to brush up on. 

Today I am going to be talking about adjectives. So let’s dive in. 

What is an adjective? 

An adjective is a word that is used when an author wants to describe a noun. When I was talking about verbs, I said that the easiest way to explain what a verb is would be to say that a verb is a doing word. I would say that the easiest way to explain what an adjective is would be to say that an adjective is a describing word so in a sentence, the adjective would come before the noun. 

I’m going to make up an example. 

“The beautiful necklace sparkled in the case.” 

In this sentence, the necklace is the noun, because a noun is a person, place or a thing. A necklace is a thing, so the adjective in this sentence is the word “beautiful”, because this word is describing the necklace. 

Other examples of adjectives can be found in sentences such as: 

“The red door opened with a loud creak.” 

In this sentence, the word “red” is the adjective because this tells us that the door, the noun, is red. 

An adjective can also be used when an author is describing how many there are of something. 

An example of this can be found in a sentence such as “It looked like there were a thousand stars in the sky.”

In this sentence, the word “thousand” is the adjective because it is telling us how many stars there are, and stars are things, so the word “stars” is the noun. 

Why is it important to know what an adjective is? 

I say the same thing every time when I am talking about basic aspects of grammar such as nouns, verbs, and now adjectives too. It is important to understand these basics because they can be found so often in writing. When you are a student, it is important to know what these terms mean so that you can recognise nouns, verbs, and adjectives in passages of writing. I also think that refreshing one’s memory on certain terms can be really helpful in general, because when we learn the basics in school, it can often be assumed later that we remember everything perfectly, but sometimes that isn’t the case, which is why I’ve decided to break things down in a back to basics approach. 

This has been Theory Thursday. Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.

The Oscar Wilde Collection: A Selection Of His Greatest Works.

Hello everyone. Happy February. If you’ve been following all of my updates here on Katelovesliterature.com, then you’ll already know that I decided to read The Oscar Wilde Collection: A Selection Of His Greatest Works and discuss this collection as January’s Book Of The Month. 

I chose to read a selection of short stories because I wanted to explore more of Oscar Wilde’s work, but I also felt that a collection of short stories would be a good choice to read through in January as it can be a long, busy month after Christmas. 

Firstly, I will say that I really enjoyed reading the collection and if you are a fan of Oscar Wilde then I think a collection like this is a really lovely collector’s item. I’m very glad that I bought it as it is a welcome addition to my classics collection. 

As this is a collection of stories rather than just one text, I’ve decided that I’m going to take a moment to talk about Oscar Wilde’s writing style in general, before I move on to focus on one story from the collection that stood out as I was reading. 

Wilde is often described as a very memorable person, someone who was expressive and very witty and I think that his wit and clever use of word play can be easily pointed out in The Importance of Being Earnest, which is my favourite Wilde play. Wilde is a very imaginative writer, he describes things very vividly and very beautifully, I think that his language is often poetic at times. Wilde also uses paradox very often, and I think that some of his writing can be read through an almost sarcastic lens as he was very often making comments about the society that he lived in, this social commentary can be found again if one looks to The Importance of Being Earnest. I plan to discuss this play in more detail at a later date. 

I really enjoyed reading through this collection because some of the descriptions he has written are extremely beautiful, even if they are morbid. I think that I actually enjoyed the saddest paragraphs the most because I was so moved by his words. I think that Wilde was a real master of the English language, he was able to use words in such a precise way that they really paint a very vivid picture in one’s mind. 

The story that stood out to me when I was reading this collection is entitled The Nightingale and The Rose

This story stood out to me because in my opinion, I think that this story highlights the clash between English Literature and more so-called “serious” subjects. When I was in secondary school, there was this idea that English class was “only English”. I think it is a subject that people don’t take seriously unless they enjoy it. I think that this can happen quite a lot where people who do not study or do not enjoy the arts have this idea that it’s “only” music, and I can only speak from my own experience but I always felt that maths, science, and business were given more respect than English, music, and art. I think there’s still an idea that exists where if you like the arts, you can often be told to choose a more serious or more realistic topic. I would like to clarify that I respect all subjects and all professions. I think it is amazing that we have so many options about what to study. If someone loves working with numbers and chooses to pursue maths or science then I say good for them, but I think that you will hear someone say “it’s only English” more often than you would hear someone say “it’s only science” or “it’s only business”. 

The Nightingale and The Rose is about a student who wishes to woo his love interest with a red rose. Only a red rose will do. A little nightingale loves the student, she loves his wish for love, she wishes to help him woo his love so she gives her life so that he may have the reddest rose of all, because the rose was formed from her music and stained with her heart. The nightingale gave herself in song, she created something utterly beautiful, she gave her all, but the student didn’t appreciate it. The student dismissed her singing because singing “does no practical good”. 

The rose is formed and the student is overjoyed as he will finally win over his love, but the girl does not care for the rose, another boy has given her jewels so the beauty of the rose no longer impresses her. The student is hurt by her ungratefulness and he throws the rose to the ground, and then he returns to his books. He returns to studying mathematics and philosophy, newly determined in his belief that love is a silly thing for there is no logic in it, and logic rules all. 

The student knows nothing of the nightingale’s sacrifice. He does not know that she gave her life for him, he still believes her to be a selfish creature that only cares about her song. The nightingale’s sacrifice was for nothing because the student, nor his love, appreciated it. 

I found this story to be extremely poignant. Art is such an important medium of self expression, as is poetry, as is music, and when one is an artistic person, so much of oneself goes into our art. It is our passion, it is so important, and when we sing or paint or write, we give something of ourselves. So when one dismisses the arts, they are also dismissing the artist because it can be a deeply personal thing. 

I interpreted this to be a story about how much artists give to creativity and how disappointing it is when someone does not see the value in one’s work. I was so frustrated by the student. I wish he knew that the nightingale had given her all for him so he could at least appreciate her, but I know the point is that he didn’t. 

Obviously there are many ways that one could interpret this story. One could think about the dangers of giving up one’s entire being for love, and this is a valid point. This short story serves as a reminder that while it is okay to love someone and be in love, you should never give up your own self worth or individuality for that person. You can be in love while retaining your own sense of self and individuality. 

I think that this story can prompt thoughts about love and how we show love. This student was determined to win over his love by presenting her with the most beautiful red rose. He thought if he could give her this rose then she would dance with him at the ball and all would be well, but she didn’t appreciate his gift. She wanted more, she was far more impressed by jewels, and perhaps it is a message about how one shouldn’t be so obsessed with physical things. Love should be about kindness and respect and the connection one has with another person, not about trinkets but I think Wilde could have been making an observation about society. To this day, many people are preoccupied with physical things and wealth rather than genuine connections. 

Overall, I think this is a really poignant short story that can be discussed from many different angles and it can be interpreted in many different ways. It is beautifully written by Wilde as it is so descriptive and imaginative that even the saddest of moments are still beautiful to read. It felt almost lyrical and I really enjoyed it. 

If you have not read much of Oscar Wilde’s work then I would highly recommend starting with The Nightingale and The Rose. 

This has been January’s Book Of The Month. I hope you enjoyed this discussion. 

Have you read much of Oscar Wilde’s work? Let me know. 

Kate xo.

West Side Story (1961).

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another #moviemonday. 

Today I am talking about West Side Story. I am talking about the 1961 version today and in a few weeks I will talk about the latest version that came out in 2021, and I will compare both versions and decide which one I prefer. 

I am starting with the 1961 version directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins because this version was the first version of West Side Story that I watched, so this is the version that introduced me to this story. It is a story that I am very familiar with, it’s one that I really enjoy. I was in a production of West Side Story when I was a teenager in drama classes so I think I’ll always love it just because I have so many lovely memories associated with this piece. 

Let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

Plot. 

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story follows the love story of Maria and Tony, two people who love each other but are forbidden to see each other because they belong to rival teenage gangs. The Jets and the Sharks are fighting for control of the Upper West Side. They have planned a rumble so whoever wins will get control of the territory once and for all. Despite all the hatred around them, Maria and Tony fall deeper in love and they don’t care who disapproves. They plan to get married and they also try to stop the rumble but alas, disaster ensues. 

Characters. 

I am going to talk about Maria, Tony, Bernardo, and Anita, because I believe these characters are the “core four” characters of this movie. The entire ensemble is incredible. 

Maria and Tony are the movie’s main protagonists. The star-crossed lovers are the movie’s Romeo and Juliet. 

Maria is sweet and kind, and a tad naive. She is portrayed as the innocent one because of how much her overbearing older brother Bernado worries about her. Maria really comes into her own as the story progresses. She does not hate Tony just because her brother and the Sharks tell her she should. She makes up her own mind, and despite the pressures that she faces, she refuses to blindly accept an arranged marriage, and she fights for the man she loves. Maria plans a life for herself with Tony, and she learns that she is capable of using her own voice to speak up for herself. 

Tony is the former leader of the Jets. Seeing as this is a movie that is inspired by the stage musical,  Tony really is the ideal male lead. He’s romantic, he’s kind, he’s cleaned himself up and he now lives a life that does not involve gangs but he still loves his friends and he is very loyal to them, so he does feel torn between his love for his friends and his growing love for Maria, but overall, he knows that all this hatred and violence is wrong and so he does genuinely try to make things right. He is a very sincere character and I can’t help but find him endearing. 

Bernardo is Maria’s older brother. He is the leader of the Sharks. He is fiercely proud, and he is extremely protective of Maria. He feels he knows what is best for her and I’d argue that he treats her as younger than she actually is. He is a kind character, but he has gotten swept up in all of the hatred and the violence. 

Anita is possibly my favourite character. She is Maria’s best friend, and she is Bernardo’s girlfriend. She is more mature than Maria, she’s spunky, she’s more confident. She has really come into her own before the movie begins, whereas we are watching Maria come into her own during the course of the story, which makes sense as this is Maria and Tony’s story, but it is brilliant seeing the strong, smart woman that is Anita. She really is the voice of reason sometimes and I think she is the character who sees things very clearly. She sees that all of the hatred won’t end just because Maria and Tony love each other, it’s gone on too long. She sees the danger in the world, and she wants Maria to be aware of that danger too. She knows that Maria and Tony being together is near impossible and so she tries to be a good friend to Maria by pointing this out. Anita is loyal to Bernardo, but she is also able to put her own views aside and listen to Maria. She is a true friend, and a fantastic singer, and I think that Rita Moreno did an incredible job of portraying her in this movie. Her songs are dynamic, and some of the scenes she does are quite intense. There is one moment in particular that always makes me tear up. There will be no spoilers here, but if you know the story then you should know what scene I am referring to, it is a scene where Anita’s strength is truly laid bare for all to see, and it is very powerful. 

Themes. 

West Side Story is a truly powerful piece as it deals with some very complex themes that still remain prevalent and universal today. As this piece is inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the movie’s major theme is that love should conquer hatred. This is a movie about two people who have managed to put all of their perceived differences aside, and love each other despite all of the hatred and ignorance around them. Maria and Tony, like Romeo and Juliet, can see that all of this violence and feuding is pointless and it is dangerous, and they are striving for peace. Gang violence is an unavoidable theme of this movie as the entire plot is fuelled by this upcoming rumble for control of the territory. West Side Story adds an element that does not exist in Shakespeare’s text. Romeo and Juliet come from feuding families yes, but both are wealthy, upstanding families. West Side Story is set in New York. The Jets are American and the Sharks are immigrants from Puerto Rico so in this movie, the dangers of racism and ignorance are also key themes in this piece. The Jets and the Sharks hate each other because of preconceived prejudices and ignorant ideas about each other and this movie shows how destructive racism, poverty, and ignorance can be. It’s a very powerful message and unfortunately it is a message that some people still need to learn in 2022. The piece holds a mirror up to society as it really is a piece about morality. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has always been a piece about morality. It forces people to look at themselves and realise that they are part of the problem, they are forced to reflect upon the views that they hold and ask themselves why do they think this way? Can they overcome it? Can they overcome differences? Was all of the violence worth it? Were the lives that were lost worth it? In West Side Story all of these questions are explored. It is a moving, powerful piece that is only highlighted by a beautiful, dynamic score. 

Structure. 

When you go to see a show in the theatre, there is an act one and an act two, and I think that this movie does a good job of remaining faithful to the original stage musical as I would say that the movie plays out in two-acts instead of the more common three-act structure. 

There are three key events. The dance, the rumble, and after the rumble. 

The dance is where Maria and Tony meet and this is the event that truly kicks off the plot because now the star-crossed romance has begun. 

The rumble is important because this is the event that holds all the stakes. The entire movie has been leading us to this rumble. Maria and Tony have been trying to stop it, the others have been preparing for it. The audience knows that no good can come from this rumble. It’s senseless. We know violence will occur and all of the hatred between the two gangs will come to a head so there is no good outcome here. The stakes are high and it’s great because despite all of the important and complex themes, the plot itself is not overly difficult or complicated. It’s rival gangs who are going to violently fight, and this really straightforward premise allowed the movie to explore ideas of love, hatred, coming of age, racism, poverty, and violence. 

After the rumble is important because it is in the aftermath where all of the movie’s key themes really make their point. Are these people really that different? No. Should they be able to put their prejudice to one side because they are all human beings? Yes. Was all of this violence worth it? No. 

The aftermath of the rumble is quiet and poignant, and I think this is where the movie really shines. 

Yes it’s a musical, so there is wonderful music, colourful, elaborate dance routines, at times it is larger than life, it is funny, but at its core there is a great heart to this movie. It is a piece that explores really heavy topics in a very artistic yet impactful way. 

Final Thoughts. 

If you have seen the 2021 adaptation of West Side Story and you enjoyed it, go and watch the 1961 version if you haven’t seen it already. There is a reason why it is considered one of the greatest movie-musicals there is. I’m really looking forward to seeing the newest adaptation of this movie, and I will talk about it in time, but I am so glad that the 1961 version is the version that introduced me to this story. It is brilliant. I love the songs, I love the cast, the costumes are stunning, the ensemble numbers are fantastic. The emotions and themes that are explored are utterly compelling. There is a reason why this story is told again and again. I think it is a timeless piece. Go watch it if you don’t believe me. You’ll have a great time. 

This has been Movie Monday. Have you seen West Side Story? Do you have a favourite version? 

Let me know. 

Kate xo.

A Quote About Dreams.

Hello everyone. Happy Friday. I’ve chosen a lovely quote as my #fridayschoice pick tonight.

Dare to dream, then decide to do.

Annette White.

I decided to share this lovely quote because I stumbled across it and I just really liked it.

It’s simple, it’s to the point, I think it’s really sweet. I think that having dreams, passions, and goals are so important and I’d always encourage people to find something that they love. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. Have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

Suspending Disbelief: Inspired by Disney’s The Lion King.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I discussed nouns in my #backtobasics series so check it out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about the idea of suspending one’s disbelief so let’s dive in.

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen that on Tuesday evening I went to see The Lion King in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for the second time.

I’ve written a blog post already about going to see this fantastic musical which you can find in my Theatre Trip category if you are interested in reading my thoughts on the show. I jumped at the chance to see the musical again as it is so incredible and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

I study English Literature and I am also a drama student so I was really blown away by the staging of this piece. I think it is a testament to the amount of talent, passion, creativity, and skill that goes into creating a piece of theatre. As I was watching the show again, I became inspired to write about the idea of suspending one’s disbelief because I think that The Lion King musical adaptation really invites audiences to suspend their disbelief and go on a journey with the characters onstage.

What does “suspending your disbelief” mean?

The easiest way I can think of explaining this concept is to say that the idea of suspending one’s disbelief means that as an audience member, we willingly decide to believe in something that is not logical. We allow ourselves to believe that something that should be impossible is possible, we don’t question magic or fantasy, we just accept it because doing so allows us to enjoy the piece.

In a piece like The Lion King, audiences are asked to suspend their disbelief because we are asked to look at these actors who are standing on a stage and accept that they are lions. The Lion King is an immersive work of art. The use of masks, puppetry, scenery, and costumes creates the landscape of the jungle onstage. I love that we can see the actor’s faces beneath the lion masks, I love that we can see the actors working with the puppets, I love that we can see the ensemble wearing costumes that represent different parts of the set, and as the show goes on, we begin to embrace it. We don’t say “it’s a man playing Simba.”, we just say “there’s Simba.” It’s beautiful, and it’s highly theatrical, but the show’s success proves that audiences don’t need things to be spelled out for them, we can accept that we are watching a story about animals. We are willing to suspend our disbelief. It does not matter that we can see the man operating the puppet, that only adds to the magic, it does not take away from it.

If audiences were unable to suspend their disbelief, if we always said “but, it’s not really a lion.”, then shows like The Lion King would not be successful. Shows like Wicked wouldn’t be successful. This idea does not only apply to stage musicals, I could talk about many movies too where the notion of being able to suspend one’s disbelief is crucial to the plot. Recently I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I haven’t discussed it yet as I can’t discuss themes without including some spoilers, but superhero movies are a great example of movies that depend on audiences suspending their disbelief because if we said “but a boy can’t actually swing across buildings” then the entire premise falls apart. We are told that Spider-Man gets his powers because of a radioactive spider bite and in order to enjoy the rest of the story, we accept this fact without question. I’ve spoken about The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl many times but I have always loved the moment when Barbossa tells Elizabeth that she “best start believing in ghost stories. You’re in one.” I have always felt that this line could be interpreted as being directed at the audience too. Barbossa is telling us that, like Elizabeth, we best accept that ghosts are real because if we kept nitpicking and saying “but ghosts aren’t real” then that movie would fall apart too as one of the key plot points is that Barbossa and his ghostly crew must break the curse, and if we refuse to believe in ghosts then this plot point becomes pointless.

Why is it important to understand the concept of suspending one’s disbelief?

Well I think it is important to understand the concept of suspending one’s disbelief because if one sat down to think about it, many movies depend on the audience doing so. I’ve mentioned a few examples above and I’m sure I could list shows, movies, and series if I wanted to, but so many things rely on suspending our disbelief because doing so allows us to understand and enjoy the piece.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. I will say again that if you get the chance to see The Lion King, don’t miss it. It is utterly brilliant.

Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.

Scream.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another #moviemonday. 

Today I’ve decided to talk about the original Scream. Let’s dive in. 

This movie was released in 1996 and it was directed by Wes Craven. 

Plot. 

This movie takes us to the fictional town of Woodsboro, where a mysterious killer is running around in a Halloween costume. This killer seems to target Sidney Prescott, a young high school girl who is struggling with the impending anniversary of her mother’s death. 

The movie is sort of a combination of a slasher and a mystery movie because the movie plays with horror tropes, spells them out and attempts to subvert them, while also keeping watchers guessing who the masked killer is. 

I think that Scream is really clever because it is almost a really dark comedy about horror movies. This movie makes fun of horror tropes, while also demonstrating how thought provoking the horror genre can be, and it is easy to see why this movie stood out when it was first released because it was the first horror movie to break the fourth wall almost, because the characters in the movie are aware of horror movies. They talk about horror movies, they watch horror movies, and all of the characters play a certain role. 

Characters. 

Sidney Prescott is the movie’s main protagonist. She is smart, she’s kind, she’s a normal high school student. She has good friends, a boyfriend whom she loves, and all is going well except for the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is approaching. Sidney’s mother was murdered so this first anniversary is obviously very difficult for her and it is made even more difficult when this masked killer shows up in town. 

Sidney is set up to be a horror protagonist who is not like other horror protagonists. She doesn’t believe in the set up of “scary movies” and she often points outs things that she thinks are ridiculous about horror movies. For example, she says that the girl always “runs up the stairs instead of out the front door” – I’ve paraphrased this line here, but the idea is that Sidney is poking fun at the stereotypical girl that tends to star in horror movies. There is often a trope in horror movies where the female character is being chased by the killer and rather than running out the door, they run upstairs which only leaves them with nowhere to go. 

Sidney is smart and she is strong and throughout this movie she has some incredible scenes where she fights back and the action scenes are really enjoyable to watch. 

This is an interesting movie because it has a really strong cast of ensemble characters. There’s Sidney, her boyfriend Billy, her best friend Tatum and her brother Dewey. There’s Randy, the movie nerd, he’s the one who tells the rest of the characters, and the audience, all about the “rules” of horror movies, so I would say that Randy is the one who is pointing out the horror tropes, and demonstrating how Scream is attempting to subvert them. There’s Stu, Cotton Weary, the man who Sidney believes killed her mother, so much so that she testified against him, and finally there is Gale Weathers, the most opportunistic and ambitious reporter you’ll ever see. 

The movie’s antagonist is the killer obviously. This masked killer goes by the name “Ghostface” because of the Halloween mask he wears while committing his crimes. “Ghostface” is a vicious, sadistic killer who likes to taunt his victims on the phone before he chases them down and kills them with a knife. “Ghostface” is a very creepy antagonist because of the way he lurks around corners. The audience knows someone else is going to be murdered when we see a shot of “Ghostface” lurking in the background. 

I obviously won’t be revealing who “Ghostface” is because that would spoil the whole movie, but what I will say is that I think Scream is extremely well written because at some point, in seems that anyone could be the killer. As I was watching I was trying to guess, and because of the way the movie subverts horror tropes, I was making guesses but then changing my mind because it seemed too obvious, only to circle back and think well maybe the movie is trying to throw me off by being so obvious. The movie knew what it was doing, the premise was very clever and it was executed really well. 

The other character that I can talk about in more detail without spoiling any details is Gale. At first I disliked Gale because of her uncaring attitude towards the victims in the stories she is reporting. At the beginning of the movie, Gale sees every case as an opportunity for a story, for publicity for herself, she wants to make the news, she wants to be the one reporting it but as time goes on, she becomes less exploitative and more caring towards Sidney and the other people of Woodsboro. I thought she was a really interesting character because in a way I felt she was a mirror of society, I felt that she represented the way in which society can be fascinated by crimes and by violence. I mean there is a reason why murder mysteries and detective shows are so popular, and it is because there is something unexplainably desirable about experiencing violence in a safe way. That’s why it’s called a morbid fascination. We want to know the details of events that have taken place, we want to know who did it and why, but we don’t want to be part of the violence ourselves. This movie and Gale’s character points out why people enjoy horror, it’s scary and thrilling, and morbidly fascinating, but at the end of the day, the events that are occurring in Woodsboro are not entertaining, or at least they shouldn’t be.  

Themes.

It goes without saying that violence is a major theme of this movie. It is a horror movie about a masked killer who prefers to stab his chosen victims to death, and while it is a funny movie too, there are some scenes that if you’re squeamish like me you should definitely avert your eyes during them. This may be an underrated take, but I think that an underlying theme of this movie is the idea of a love for film. Randy’s character specifically loves horror movies and so he is the one explaining the “rules” of a horror movie. The movie then plays out these rules in front of our eyes, and this demonstrates a real love for film because the movie pays homage to, and also subverts classic horror movie tropes and themes. I said already that I think it was a really well written piece because this premise was really clever, at the time of this movie’s release this kind of satire in horror movies was unique, and the idea was executed really well. 

Structure.

The movie is an hour and fifty minutes long. I would say that this movie follows a three-act structure. The movie opens with a young girl making popcorn alone in her house, and while she’s doing this she gets a phone call from the killer. He taunts her on the phone, quizzing her about horror movies, and when she fails to get his questions right, he reveals that he has killed her boyfriend. The girl, played by Drew Barrymore, attempts to escape but the killer gets her and her death is what establishes what this movie’s plot is going to be – a sadistic killer is on the lose and he’s not finished yet. 

The second act of the movie is when the killer seems to set Sidney in his sights and he harasses her on the phone. This is the part of the movie where the audience begins to question who the killer is and it becomes apparent that it could be anyone. The ensemble are trying to live their lives while dealing with the fact that there is a killer in their midst. 

The final act is the final showdown. We know that Sidney will battle “Ghostface” at some point in time, it’s a question of when, not if, and we are hoping that Sidney will be the last girl standing. We also know that before this movie ends we will need to learn who the killer is, so the stakes get higher and the action gets more intense, and the movie really ramps up the tension before the reveal. 

I think the movie moves at a nice pace because it doesn’t feel too long, but it’s also not rushed so the tension has a chance to sit with us and suspense builds really nicely. 

Final Thoughts. 

I don’t think I ever would have chosen to watch this movie by myself. I’ve said before how I just don’t like blood, but I was told that I would really like this movie because of the mystery aspects to it and because of the way it plays with tropes and themes. As an English Literature student who has studied film theory, I did really enjoy this movie because of this subversion of horror tropes. I like how the movie poked fun of the genre while also being part of it. I thought it was really clever. Despite the moments of gore, I actually really did enjoy this movie and believe it or not, I would watch it again. I’ve recently watched the sequel, and although I hid behind a pillow for certain scenes, I did enjoy that movie too and I am looking forward to finishing the original trilogy. 

If you like scary movies then you’ll like Scream, and I completely understand why this movie has the following that it does. I’m glad that I watched it. I would watch it again. If you don’t like scary movies, I would say that this movie combines elements of horror and elements of dark comedies, so it’s not a gore fest throughout, and at times it even plays like a mystery “who done it?” so you may end up liking it a lot, just like I did. 

This has been Movie Monday. It won’t be long before we move into February and I will be talking about some romantic comedies as we move closer to Valentine’s Day, so I thought that Scream would be a fun choice, especially since I’ve just watched it recently. 

Have a great week. 

Kate xo.  

A Hopeful Quote.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #fridayschoice. Today is a very good day. If you are Irish, then you will know that the majority of restrictions that have been in place in Ireland for the last two years are being lifted at last, and although there may still be some twists and turns ahead, today is a happy, hopeful day.

It has been a long two years. So many people have missed out on so much, our lives were on hold, many of us lost loved ones, many of us dealt with health scares, and overall I think it goes without saying that is has been a really tough time.

I would like to take a moment to talk about the impact of literature and and the arts because I think that in times of darkness, the arts have always been a place where light can be found.

I’ve been very lucky over the past two years, yes I missed out on things, and yes I have missed friends, and I completed a degree alone in my room, but I am very lucky to be able to say that I had a passion that kept me going, I had goals that I was working towards and now I am working towards new ones. The thing that I am the most thankful for is the fact that I am able to say that all of my loved ones are happy and they have remained healthy so I really am truly grateful for all that I do have and while I will always be thankful and appreciative of those who work in our healthcare sectors because they have been heroes over the last two years, I have to acknowledge how much English Literature has positively impacted my life.

Over the last two years, we have turned to streaming services and Netflix and Disney plus and when I look back over the last two years, particularly when I look back at those times when we were in lockdown, I’d have been lost without my books and my shows, and I am so happy that now, finally, the arts can live again. We can sing again. We can be joyful again. We can create and inspire each other again and that is a brilliant thing. The arts are so important and they can touch so many lives, and I will always talk about the importance of the arts in our society.

Today, as my Friday’s Choice, I am going to share a Victor Hugo quote because I feel that it is extremely fitting at this time.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

Victor Hugo.

Stay safe everyone. I wish you all a very happy and healthy weekend. Here’s to hope.

Kate xo.