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. 

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. 

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. 

November’s Book Of The Month.

Hello everyone. Here’s to a new month. I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks as I have a few exciting things planned which will be revealed soon.

If you follow my on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you’ll already know that November’s Book Of The Month is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is a childhood classic and I’ve chosen it because I wanted to be nostalgic in November. Feel free to read along with me.
Kate xo.

A snap of my gorgeous hardback copy of the book.

Subversive Literature.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #theorythursday. I cannot believe how quickly the time is passing by. Next week is the last week of October and then we are moving onwards and upwards into a new month. Last week I talked about the difference between horror and terror, and you should check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about subversive literature. 

 If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will already know that I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left me a comment either on Instagram, or here on the website, and to those of you who sent me a kind message, thank you so much. I really appreciate the support and engagement that I have received during the month of October. I have really embraced the Halloween spirit, and I have been talking a lot about horrors, which I know not everyone enjoys. I will be taking a break from horror as we move into November, but I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to watch movies that I usually wouldn’t as horror is definitely not my favourite genre, but I have found that there are aspects of it that I do enjoy. 

With that being said, let’s dive into the second last #theorythursday in October. 

What is subversive literature? 

Subversive literature is literature in which the plot challenges things we consider normal. 

A subversive narrator will take things that the reader should already be familiar with, and challenge our understanding of that thing. Subversive narratives are common in gothic literature, which is why I decided that I would talk about subversive literature in October because it fits into the horror/gothic themes that I have been exploring this month. 

An example of subversive literature can be found in a text such as Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto or in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Both of these novels subvert the idea of home being a safe place. Usually one’s home is their safe place, their sanctuary, their escape from the world, but in these novels, and in many other gothic novels, the home has become the place where danger lurks. Home is the place where the characters must escape from. Sanctuary is found outside of the home rather than in the home, and this development warps the reader’s idea of safety. When we read these novels, we no longer view the home as a safe space, because the idea of being safe at home has been twisted by a subversive narrative. 

I think that Neil Gaiman’s novella Coraline is another example of a subversive piece of literature. The character Coraline feels ignored by her parents who have to work around the clock, and so when she first encounters her “other mother” and “other father” in the parallel universe that she discovers, at first everything seems wonderful, so much so that she starts to prefer her “other mother”, but she soon learns that all is not as it seems and her idea of everything being perfect in the parallel universe is challenged and subverted when she learns that the perfect parallel universe is actually a place of nightmares. 

Why is it important to know about subversive literature? 

As I’ve said above, I felt that it was a good idea to talk about subversive literature alongside the gothic and horror that I have been discussing in October, because subversive narratives are often found in horror movies and gothic novels. I also think that it is important to understand subversive literature, because subversive literature can be extremely powerful. Subversive literature is sometimes radical, or political. Subversive narratives are often employed when an author wants to make a statement, but this isn’t always the case. I think there is something very powerful about a book having the power to take something that we think we understand and challenge it and twist it so much so that we have to re-examine our understanding of that thing. That is powerful. That is thought provoking. That is how conversations start. That is how critical thinking begins, when we are challenged, and so that is why I think that subversive literature is so important, because it has the potential to be incredibly moving and powerful. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you all again for the lovely support I’ve received this past month. It is much appreciated, and I am so excited for the months to come. 

Happy Friday Eve. 

Kate xo. 

Shows I Streamed in September.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Friday’s Choice. Today I am going to be talking about five shows that I streamed this month. I have really been enjoying these shows and as we move into late autumn and winter, which means longer, darker evenings, I think it’s always a good idea to have a list of shows to watch. 

So let’s dive into #fridayschoice. 

I’m going to be talking about these five shows in no particular order. So let’s start with Annika. I mentioned this show in my Ten Crime Shows That I Binge Watched list. At the time I wrote that list, Annika had just started airing on Alibi. The first season of the show is now complete, and I really hope there is a second season because I thoroughly enjoyed season one. Annika is a detective series. Each episode had its own investigation. I really loved the small ensemble of characters. The story is told from the point of view of Annika, I mentioned before how she breaks the fourth fall and addresses the audience directly. I said how I really liked this as it was something new and different, and I hadn’t seen this done in a crime show before. Now that the season is complete, I will say that I really enjoyed this style throughout each episode. The moments where Annika addressed the audience directly were clever, witty, and her monologues often made me laugh. I also really enjoyed how in each episode, she would reference a literary work, an Ibsen play, or a Greek tragedy etc. It made for a unique approach to a crime drama, and so as I have said already, I really hope that there is a season two. 

The next show that I watched and would highly recommend is Mare of Easttown. Kate Winslet was absolutely brilliant in this show, as was the rest of the cast. There were only seven episodes of this series, and if I were to describe this show in one word, I would call it gripping. It is not an extremely new story. A detective is searching for a missing girl who has been missing for over a year, and more and more young girls are being found dead. This isn’t a revolutionary new plot that has never been done before, but it is done incredibly well. The characters are intriguing, the show is filled with twists and turns, and the story is utterly compelling. It is one of the best shows I’ve watched in a long time. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Up next is ClickBait on Netflix. I started this show after I finished watching Mare of Easttown, which was a hard act to follow. I started off thinking that while this show was good, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had enjoyed Mare of Easttown however as each episode went on, I was becoming more and more invested. I would call this show a slow-burn because while it didn’t grip me straight away, I would say that by episode three I was very intrigued, and the last few episodes were definitely stronger than the first few. I felt that this show was really relevant as it featured a lot of the dangers that can occur due to social media. It really is amazing, and scary seeing what can be done in just a few clicks, and again this was another show that was filled with twists and turns, especially in the final few episodes. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen from my stories that just last weekend I started watching Vigil. I loved it so much that I watched all six episodes in one night. It was brilliant. There is a trend here as all of these shows have a common denominator – they all are filled with twists and turns. A major theme of this show is corruption, and it was done so well. The cast was fantastic, particularly Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie. I thought that these two actresses were brilliant, and in my opinion they led the show. The premise was really fascinating, I don’t want to spoil anything but what I will say is that I enjoy when characters are limited to certain settings because I feel it’s more interesting. When there are only so many places a person can go, it means that the narrative is challenged to operate within that space, and when an investigation is occurring in limited space, it means that there’s only so many places where evidence can be hidden. I would have to say Vigil is my second favourite show in this list, as it follows Mare of Easttown. 

The last show I’m going to mention is Only Murders in the Building on Disney plus. There are only five episodes of this show so far, and I’m very excited to see the next one. I absolutely love Steve Martin and Martin Short. I think these two actors are a brilliantly witty duo, and Selena Gomez joining them makes for a very funny, sarcastic trio. I think that this show has a great premise. It’s something that true crime fans will enjoy. It’s funny, it’s witty, I would say it’s satirical. There are moments that do seem nonsensical, but I am able to suspend my disbelief and go with it because it is a satire and it’s cleverly done. Despite the satirical nature of the show, the mystery is still very intriguing, and I am very curious to see what happens next. So if you want something that’s lighthearted, different, but still mysterious, I would say to watch this show. 

So this has been Friday’s Choice. These have been five shows that I streamed in the month of September. Have you seen any of these shows? What did you think? Do you binge watch shows the way I do? 

I am very excited because starting Monday, it is spooky season here on Katelovesliterature.com, and I am going to be embracing horror, and thrillers, and ghoulish galore in the run up to Halloween. Stay tuned. 

Kate xo. 

October’s Book Of The Month.

Hello everyone. Here’s to the first of October. I am very excited about this month because I feel like there are so many amazing texts that can be enjoyed especially as we lead up to Halloween. I think October is a really fun month because we can explore horrors, thrillers, cult classics, eerie stories, and more. 

I will not just be discussing horror in October as I know that not everyone enjoys horror, and I am aware that not everyone enjoys Halloween so as always I am going to attempt to keep the content varied while also leaning into the Halloween spirit however with that being said, this month’s Book Of The Month is a gothic novel. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will already know that October’s #bookofthemonth is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. 

This is another classic, and it is a novel that I have read many times and studied in great detail, and I am looking forward to reading it again because it has been a while. 

So please feel free to read along with me and enjoy October’s Book Of The Month.

Let me know in the comments below if you have read Shelley’s text, and/or let me know your opinion on gothic literature in general. Do you love it? Hate it? Unfamiliar with it? Let me know, I love hearing from you. 

Happy reading. 

Kate xo. 

Narrative: Chapter 2.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Theory Thursday. Last week I began to discuss the different types of narration that we can come across in literature. I focused on the third-person perspective last week, you should go and check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am concentrating on the first-person narrative so let’s dive into #theorythursday. 

How do I recognise the first-person narrator in a story? 

It is very easy to recognise when a story is being told in the first-person, because the narrator is either the protagonist telling their own story, or another character who is telling the protagonist’s story from their point of view. 

I mentioned on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), that today is a double post day because my #bookofthemonth discussion all about F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will also be published today seeing as it is the last day of September. It just so happens that The Great Gatsby is a brilliant example of a story that is told from the first-person perspective. The character Nick Carraway is the narrator of Fitzgerald’s novel and he tells us the story of Jay Gatsby, the novel’s protagonist, and since the story is told from Nick’s point of view, we are seeing Jay through his eyes. The novel is an example of a first-person perspective in which another character telling the protagonist’s story – Nick tells Jay’s story. If Jay was telling his own story, he would also be a first-person narrator. 

When a narrator is speaking in the first-person, they will use words such as “I”, and “we”, as they are telling readers about events that they experienced themselves, or witnessed themselves. 

I mentioned last week that I tend to prefer stories are told in the third-person, and this is because I feel that the third-person perspective gives readers a broader story because the narrator is outside of the events looking in, and so the narrator is therefore more objective but a first-person narrator is speaking from their own experience, so their feelings will come into play, which means that the story we are told may be biased – this is where the concept of an “unreliable narrator” comes into play, and we must always be open to questioning how the story may be different if it was told by someone else. 

If we think about The Great Gatsby for a moment, it is a good example of a novel that could be argued to have an unreliable narrator. I’ve already said that readers experience Jay Gatsby through the eyes of Nick Carraway and while at times he despises Gatsby, there are also times that he admires him. Nick has sympathy for Gatsby and so readers most likely will too, however Nick does not have sympathy for Daisy or Tom, and he judges them harshly for their actions despite claiming he’s not judgemental, and despite overlooking Gatsby’s similar behaviour which is hypocritical – but it’s easier to overlook behaviour from someone you sympathise with than someone you do not. 

I would also argue that it is crucial that The Great Gatsby is told from Nick’s perspective. I don’t think this novel would work if it wasn’t. Nick is the mediator between the readers and Gatsby, and because Nick sees Gatsby as a layered and complex man, who he can both admire and despise, readers do too. I feel that it could be argued that Gatsby would not be as dynamic or sympathetic of a character if he was the narrator because if he was the one talking of his misdeeds and then of his better qualities, he could risk coming across to readers as an obnoxious man who is boastful and simply trying to justify his actions, but having Nick speak of Gatsby’s admirable qualities allows Gatsby to become layered, to become dynamic, and somewhat redeemable, having Nick tell his story means that he gets to be a mysterious entity rather than an absurdly rich man talking about himself. Nick telling Gatsby’s story of doomed romance makes him a tragically romantic character, but if Gatsby was speaking, would he simply be a rich man who is pining and whining? Maybe. 

Why is it important to know about the first-person narrator? 

Well, as always I think it’s important to understand how different types of narration can impact a story. Narration is a key aspect of fiction, and types of narration are key aspects of literary theory and understanding literary theory can only deepen one’s understanding and enjoyment of a text. I say this every week, and I will continue to do so because it is true.

If we think about the above example I gave, The Great Gatsby is a text that highlights how much of an impact the type of narration used can have because as I stated above, I think it can be argued that having Nick Carraway narrate that text is crucial to the text working, I don’t think it would be as dynamic, layered, and impactful of a text if it was wasn’t told from Nick’s first-person perspective, so even though I do generally prefer stories that are told in the third-person, I can recognise texts in which a first-person perspective would be the better choice, and in my opinion, The Great Gatsby is one of those texts – if you want to hear what else I have to say about this novel then check of September’s Book Of The Month discussion. 

I hadn’t planned it in advance that this week’s Theory Thursday would align so perfectly with September’s Book Of The Month selection. It was a coincidence that both posts would be published today as this Thursday just happened to be the last day of September, and I like to post my #bookofthemonth discussions on the last day of every month. I also hadn’t planned for this week’s aspect of literary theory to be such a huge factor of the text I am discussing. It was another coincidence that last week I decided I would begin to explain the different types of narration and first-person narration just happened to be prominent in my Book Of The Month selected novel. 

This has been Theory Thursday. This has been a breakdown of the first-person perspective. As always if anyone has any comments or questions, I’d love it if you’d drop them below. 

Here’s to Friday Eve. 

Kate xo.