The Lion King.

Hello everyone. Happy New Year.

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature) then you will have seen on my grid that yesterday I had the pleasure of going to see The Lion King at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin. The show was stunning and I can’t think of a better way to kick of a new year than a day at the theatre.

As I said in my Instagram caption, I feel very lucky and grateful that I was able to attend the show as I know that sadly many people have to miss out due to new restrictions but I was lucky to fall into the first come, first served category. I have to take a moment to show my appreciation for the cast, the crew, and the staff at the Bord Gáis because despite all the new restrictions and all the rearranging that they have had to do, they delivered an incredible performance. The theatre was spotless as always, the staff were so kind and helpful, everything was really well organised, and I can’t say enough good things about the evening.

I am now going to take a moment to talk about the show itself. I have seen The Lion King once before, I went to see it the last time it came to the Bord Gáis in 2013. When I found out it was coming to Dublin again I bought tickets asap. We are all living through really strange times at the moment, things are changing all the time, we are living with restrictions and disruptions, and I know that at times I get anxious about everything that is going on, as I’m sure many people do, so that is why I think there was something really special about getting to see The Lion King on New Year’s Day. It was the first day of 2022 and for two and half hours there were no worries, the outside world melted away, and I was at the theatre, seeing an amazing show. It was emotional at times, it was fun, it was colourful. The show is simply an artistic masterpiece. The sets are incredible, the costumes and the makeup and the puppetry that is used is so unique and it creates the most incredible visuals onstage. I think that The Lion King is a very immersive show because of the way it is staged, the actors use their entire bodies to convey their characters. The dancing is energetic and lively, the entire ensemble looks amazing at all times because they are portraying different animals and aesthetics and at times the ensemble even add to the scenery. I think that this show is an amazing example of how creativity and artistry work to tell a beautiful story.

The cast received a standing ovation and it was well deserved. The cast, the crew, the creative team, the orchestra, everyone who is involved in bringing The Lion King to life onstage deserves every ounce of praise they receive because the show is something special and I don’t think I have seen anything else like it onstage. It had to be a challenge bringing an animated story to life onstage but they mastered the challenge. I would easily go and see this show again tomorrow if I could.

The music in the show is beautiful. Of course there are the classic songs that everyone knows and loves from the animated movie such as “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King.” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” There are also new songs that have been created for the stage version, and they add a new layer of depth to the show. I think one of my favourite moments had to be when Nala sings “Shadowland.” because it is a beautiful, powerful song and it allowed Nala to showcase what a strong character she is.

A stand out moment has to be when “Circle of Life.” is brought to life onstage. This song is so many things, it is uplifting, it is powerful, it is joyous, and it is poignant because in the circle of life, there are highs and lows, gains and losses, happiness and grief, but we are all connected and the song combined with how it is performed onstage by the entire cast is incredibly moving.

I highly recommend going to see The Lion King if you get the chance to do so. It is a magical show, the plot is compelling, it is not “just for kids”, it is bright, colourful, energetic, heartfelt, and very moving and I guarantee that if you went to see it, you’d have an amazing time.

This has been a Theatre Trip post because as you all know, I love talking about the theatre. I am very lucky to live in Dublin as we have so many wonderful theatres here, and I am lucky to be able to go to places such as the Bord Gáis to see so many fantastic shows.

Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2022.

Onwards and upwards we go.

Kate xo.

A snap of my lovely new programme.

A Christmas Carol.

Hello everyone. Happy New Year’s Eve.

I wanted to make sure that I published my #bookofthemonth discussion before we entered the month of January so let’s dive in because I am talking about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

I want to take a moment, just like I did when I was discussing The Great Gatsby, to acknowledge the cultural significance of A Christmas Carol. I think that this is a story that has become automatically associated with Christmas time, and Charles Dickens does take some credit for highlighting the importance of generosity and kindness at Christmas time in this novel. This is a story that has been adapted so many times, there is a musical version, there is the amazing Muppets version, there are parodies of this story, there are episodes of many tv shows where a selfish character goes on a journey much like Scrooge does, so this text is really very important. It teaches such a valuable lesson and I think it is a text that everyone should read at least once. I say that about a lot of texts, because I think so many are brilliant, but if I had to pick just one to say this about then I would say that everyone should have to read A Christmas Carol because of what is in this text.

I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge that Charles Dickens was not just a writer, he was a social critic. He used his novels, fiction and journalism to critique the society that he lived in. He highlighted some of the worst aspects of human nature. He spoke about poverty, workhouses, hypocrisy, domestic violence, child abuse, he did not shy away from the dark realties of society and he held a mirror up to society and said we must fix these problems, people cannot and should not live like this, and he does this again in A Christmas Carol.

I am going to take a moment to talk about the style of Dickens. Dickens is a detailed writer. His books are dense, he is very descriptive, in fact I would say that his use of description is so detailed that it allows for very vivid images to be created, and some of them are hard to read but that is the point. He does not shy away from the gritty details. Dickens describes them fully and he makes readers face those issues. Dickens is also what I would call a character writer. I think he is one of the best authors when it comes to creating vivid, well-rounded, different characters who jump off the page. The three characters that immediately spring to mind when I think of Dickens are Fagin and Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. There are of course other characters that I love but these three are the first three that always pop into my mind and I think it is because these three are so iconic. Bill Sikes is arguably one of Dickens’ darkest characters and I would argue that Scrooge is famous because of his character arc.

So let’s talk about that arc. Scrooge goes through major emotional development in this novel and he is a changed man by the end of the novel and this is crucial because if Scrooge stayed the same, then the events of the entire novel would have been for nothing.

When we meet Scrooge he is a coldhearted man. The only thing Scrooge cares about is money. He does not care that he has no relationship with his only family members, his nephew and his wife, he does not care that he has no friends, he does not care about his employees and he certainly does not care about the poor. He begrudgingly gives Bob Cratchit the day off for Christmas. He outright refuses to donate any money to the poor. He coldly declares that the poor belong in workhouses and if they would rather die than go to a workhouse then they better hurry up and die.

Scrooge is haunted that night by the ghost of his dead partner Marley. Marley is a striking character because he is a tormented ghost who is bound by locks and chains. He warns Scrooge that he wears the chains in death that he forged in life and that unless Scrooge starts to change his selfish ways, he too will wear chains in death as he is forging them in life.

There is an image that I love in this book and it is a moment when Scrooge looks out his window and he sees that the street is full of tormented ghosts, all of them are bound in chains. All of the ghosts are trying to help a homeless woman who is shivering on the street with her baby but it is too late. They sneered at her and refused to help her in life, and now they cannot help her in death because the chains have already been forged. They have seen the error of their ways too late and now Scrooge is going to be haunted by three ghosts. The ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmases yet to come because unless he changes his ways, he too will be a tormented ghost, chained and bound by every cruel decision he’s ever made.

The main themes in A Christmas Carol are poverty, the importance of compassion, and the idea of examining one’s moral compass. Dickens always writes about working-class people in a good light. He reminded wealthy people in his time that poor people were people too and they deserved to be treated with dignity and respect. Scrooge does not view the poor as people until he goes on this journey with the three ghosts, he sees all the things he has lost because of his own greed and he is filled with regret.

The most striking image in the novel is in the ghost of Christmas present section when the ghost shows Scrooge two starving, ragged, sickly looking children. Scrooge is appalled by the sight of them. He asks who do the children belong to and the ghost responds by telling him that they are man’s children. This means that they are children of society. Dickens never shied away from discussing the fact that adults were not the only people to suffer, innocent children suffered too, children who could not help the families that they were born into, children who did nothing to deserve such hard lives and such disdain and the key thing to remember is that every poor adult was once a poor child and Scrooge is horrified when the ghost throws his own words back at him and asks are there no workhouses for these children? He throws back Scrooge’s words about how if they are going to die then they should hurry up and do it, and Scrooge cannot bear to hear or see anymore. He becomes even more appalled when he sees that Bob’s son, Tiny Tim is likely to die and for the first time ever, Scrooge cares about the people around him and he cares about something more than money.

It is at times quite a scathing text. The aim of it was to prick the conscience of upper-class readers, because many of them likely shared Scrooge’s original attitude. It is easy to look the other way and scoff at those who you deem beneath you, but when you are confronted with the image of children who are dying, children whom you could have helped, it is not so easy to look away and Scrooge learns that if he continues to look the other way then chains await him in death so the novel ends with his change of heart.

The change of heart is key to the success of Scrooge’s character. If he did not learn a lesson then his journey through the past, present and future would have been for nothing. It is a heartwarming tale despite the harsh realities of the poor that are highlighted. It is at times hard to read, but that is what makes it so important in my opinion because poverty is not a Dickens era problem, it still exists, as does homelessness, as does greed, and it is so important to remember that we must be compassionate, we must treat others how we would wish to be treated ourselves, we must understand that when we are ruled by greed, we lose so much, it is important to be thankful for how fortunate we are, and we must always remember that those who are less fortunate than ourselves are people who are still worthy of kindness, decency, and respect. No matter what our job or role in life, everyone is entitled to kindness and respect and everyone’s basic needs should be met.

If you have read or watched A Christmas Carol, tell me what your favourite version is, what is your favourite scene etc, I’d love to know.

This has been December’s Book Of The Month.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone.

Kate xo.

A Quote For The New Year.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #fridayschoice. Happy New Year’s Eve.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and if you do not celebrate Christmas then I hope you are keeping safe and well. It’s New Year’s Eve and we are about to enter a new year, and I think that New Year’s Eve can be a bittersweet night almost because we are looking forward to a new year but we are also reflecting on the year that is ending and it has been a hard year for so many people.

I was thinking about what I would choose today as my Friday’s Choice and I have been reading a lot of Dickens lately. December’s Book of the Month is A Christmas Carol and I will be publishing that discussion this evening as well. I have mentioned many times now that I am a fan of Charles Dickens. I just love his writing, and I feel like so many of his texts just leave such an impact on readers because of the way he uses words so beautifully.

I came upon a Dickens’ quote and I have decided that this single quote is what I am going to discuss as my Friday’s Choice because I think it sums up how I feel about going into 2022 perfectly.

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.

Charles Dickens.

I really love this quote and it stayed with me for a long time after I read it. I think that it can be really easy to get bogged down thinking about everything that is going on in the world. Things are changing all the time and we have to adapt. We miss people and we miss doing things and sometimes bad news can seem endless, but when I was thinking back on 2021, there were some lovely moments despite the weird times we are all living in.

I’m so lucky to have my family and my friends, my dog, my loved ones, work, college, this website, even though I don’t leave my house much anymore and I don’t see my friends as often as I used to, I’ve felt very lucky because in 2021 I have been able to achieve goals and create new ones and those are my lights in the dark.

When times are uncertain, I want to remember to appreciate those lighter moments and I think that in the times that we are in, those little moments of light mean so much more.

So this has been Friday’s Choice.

Do you have any New Year resolutions? Do you have a quote that you are going to take with you into the new year? If so, let me know.

Kate xo.

Terminology – Juxtaposition.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about punctuation, I specifically talked about how to use a semicolon. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Today I am talking about terminology again and I am talking about the term juxtaposition.

What does the term juxtaposition mean?

In literary terms, the term juxtaposition refers to when an author or a director places two different concepts directly beside each other. Doing this has two purposes, it highlights the stark difference between the two things and sometimes it can highlight surprising similarities between the two things.

I think that the theatre is a brilliant place for a writer to use juxtaposition because it can be such a visual thing. A really good example of juxtaposition onstage is in the musical version of Les Misérables.

In the stage show there is a scene where young Cosette and young Eponine are onstage together. Cosette is treated very badly by Eponine’s family. She is beaten and dressed in rags and forced to work. In the scene, young Cosette is scrubbing the floors while being berated but then young Eponine enters, dressed beautifully, and she is doted on by her parents.

The juxtaposition of Cosette’s ragged state directly beside Eponine’s beautiful clothes shows the audience straight away that there is a stark difference in how these two little girls are treated.

Why is it important to know the term juxtaposition?

Understanding what the term juxtaposition means will allow you to recognise it in books, movies, and tv shows. When you can see something happening and understand why an author made that choice, it allows you to understand the piece on a deeper level.

This has been Theory Thursday, I hope you enjoyed it. Happy New Year’s Eve Eve.

Kate xo.

The Santa Clause.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas Day. 

I know that Christmas is behind us now, but it is still the month of December and so I want to talk about one more Christmas classic. Today I am talking about The Santa Clause so let’s dive into #moviemonday. 

Before I dive in, I also want to say that last week I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home and I really enjoyed the movie. I want to talk about it here on Katelovesliterature.com but I want to let some more time pass so I can discuss the movie’s themes without giving away any spoilers. There is one scene in particular that I felt was extremely poignant, but I can’t discuss it without revealing certain things so I am going to wait a while longer before discussing this movie. 

The Santa Clause was released in 1994, and the movie was directed by John Pasquin. 

Plot. 

The movie follows salesman Scott Calvin and his young son Charlie after they discover Santa Clause on their roof. Startled, Santa falls to the  ground which means that Scott and Charlie must deliver all of the presents. The pair find themselves back at the North Pole, where Scott learns about “the Santa clause” which states that if you put on the suit, you become Santa Clause. At first Scott tries to deny what is happening, but as his belly grows, and his hair turns white, and his beard grows no matter how much he shaves, he must face the fact that he is now Santa Clause, the real Santa, and he must convince his loved ones of this fact too. 

Characters. 

Scott Calvin is the movie’s main protagonist, along with his son Charlie. Scott is a salesman who no longer believes in Santa but he wants Charlie to keep believing in the magic. At first he is dismayed by his situation, he does not want to be Santa and he tries to run from it, but over time, he comes to learn that in fact, he might just be the perfect man for the job. 

Charlie is Scott’s young son and he is upset after another kid in school tells him that Santa is not real. He believes in the magic of Santa and he is completely in awe of the North Pole. Charlie is a really good kid and he deals with a lot in this movie. I will discuss this further in the themes section but when I was younger, I did not fully understand the heavier topics that this movie touched upon. 

Bernard is the no nonsense head elf, and he informs Scott all about his new role as Santa because putting on the suit means that Scott has accepted all of Santa’s responsibilities. He may seem like a stickler for rules but he’s got a good heart and he helps Charlie understand that while his father may be living at the North Pole, he will always be there for him. 

This movie does not necessarily have antagonists, although I would argue that for the majority of the movie, Laura and Neil come across as very unlikable. Laura is Charlie’s mother and Neil is his stepfather. Neil is a psychiatrist, and he and Laura stopped believing in Santa at a very young age and so they think it is time that Charlie learns he is not real. 

Laura and Neil believe that Scott is deliberately toying with them during his journey to becoming Santa (the hair, the beard, the weight gain), they worry about the impact this will have on Charlie as he and other children believe Scott is the real Santa, so they have his visitation suspended. 

I will talk about this more in themes, but after rewatching this movie as an adult, I can appreciate their arc more which is why I have decided that while they are not always likeable, they are not antagonists. 

Themes.

The core theme of this movie is the belief in Santa, which translates further into the idea of believing in magic in general. The other major theme of this movie is family, and family dynamics. As I said above, when I was younger, some of the heavier topics in this movie such as things like visitation, went completely over my head. 

I think that it is easy to dislike Laura and Neil, but in reality it was an unbelievable situation. Suddenly her ex-husband has gained loads of weight, his hair has turned completely white, he has a long beard, and her son is adamant that his father is Santa and he is going to live in the North Pole, and he becomes very upset when others tell him this is not true. Laura and Neil are not perfect, but they were trying to do what they thought was best for Charlie, and while I won’t give any more details away, a scene that I really appreciate is a scene where Neil apologizes to Charlie. This is a really important moment, and it is one that I think we should see more of. Adults need to understand that they are not above apologizing to children. An adult should be able to admit when they are wrong, and if they owe a child an apology then they absolutely should say sorry. I don’t like the idea that children should not be given the apology they deserve because it somehow makes the adult weaker, it does nothing but make the adult stronger as it demonstrates compassion, and it shows children that you are willing to lead by example. So I won’t give away what leads up to this moment because no spoilers here, but Neil saying sorry to Charlie is a key scene in my opinion. 

The only thing that I cannot justify is Laura and Neil’s belief that Charlie should find out Santa isn’t real, simply because they found out early. I don’t believe they specifically state his age, but the actor was eight when he played the role so I am going to place Charlie at around eight years old, which is far too young to ruin the magic of Santa. 

Childhood is such a short time. There are so many things we can never get back. The true wonder and magic of Christmas when you believe in Santa only lasts a few years because when you are a toddler, you don’t fully understand and then from around ten upwards, you start to question it. My Mam said she thinks you only have from about four to nine when your kids really, truly believe, and she says she misses that wonder so much. 

I have spoken a lot about the importance of wonder and the absurd, and I think this movie highlights how important that belief in magic is. It is special. It is something that you can’t get back. Laura and Neil were hurt which is what lead to their disbelief, and they don’t think about how important Santa is to Charlie, and how he is not hurting anyone or doing anything wrong by believing for a few more years. They are too ruled by logic, and the movie demonstrates that you have to let kids be kids because when they finally experience true wonder again (again, no spoilers, go watch the movie), they understand how wrong it would have been to take that away from Charlie too early. 

The movie also covers some heavier topics such as trying to get along with new partners (Scott and Neil), things such as visitation, and of course, Charlie saying goodbye to his father because he will now be living at the North Pole and he will be at home. 

It is a Christmas movie. It is fun, it is cheesy, it is magical, but there are some heavier topics that ground the movie and pull on the heartstrings. 

Structure.

The movie is an hour and a half long, and it operates within a full-circle structure in my opinion. It starts and ends at Christmas with Scott and Charlie delivering presents, so the movie begins and ends the same way, but all of the characters have evolved massively from beginning to end. 

I think that you can also see some aspects of the reluctant mentor trope in Scott’s character. I will explain this trope in more detail on an upcoming Theory Thursday, but he goes through a journey of believing it was all a dream, not wanting to become Santa, and then stepping up, and understanding that he is right for this job, he believes again, and he does all of this while also contending with custody battles. Scott Calvin is a great character and I don’t think anyone could have played him like Tim Allen. 

Final Thoughts. 

The Santa Clause is a Christmas classic. It’s so much fun, it’s magical. It’s a great story in my opinion, it is a really interesting plot that is filled with heart, and it has some heavier moments that ground the movie. It has moments that you appreciate more as an adult I think, and overall I love the appreciation for, and the highlighting of the importance of magic and wonder. They are not silly, they are not useless, wonder, and magic have their place, and we must not lose that sense of wonder entirely. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Kate xo. 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Hello everyone. Merry Christmas Eve. I hope you’re all having a lovely day and that you are ready for Santa.

Today I am talking about a childhood classic, a Christmas staple, I am talking about the poem entitled A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem is most often referred to as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ because this is the first line, and many poems are referred to by their first line instead of their official title.

I could not let Christmas Eve pass by without mentioning this poem because it is, in my opinion, one of the sweetest poems about Christmas. The poem is set on Christmas Eve and it is about the excitement about Santa Clause coming and the magic of Christmas. It captures the merry feeling when the house is all decorated and no one can sleep because they are so excited.

I have known this poem forever. My Mam always read it to me at Christmas time, I have a beautiful edition of this book, we have given this book to people as presents and they have always loved it. It is just a really sweet, really merry poem and I think it is a great poem to share with children because it is easy and straightforward, and it may introduce a love of poetry to them.

The poem makes me feel nostalgic and I think that this poem has reached the status of being a Christmas tradition in my house as I have read it every year on Christmas Eve since I was a toddler.

It’s one of those things that I want to pass on one day if I have kids of my own, I would get them an edition of this poem for their first Christmas and make sure to keep reading it every year.

I think it sets the tone for Christmas Eve, and it is a lovely, magical poem that is full of descriptive language. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas? Is it a classic for you? Let me know.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. Stay safe and enjoy the day.

Kate xo.

Punctuation – The Semicolon.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #theorythursday. Last week I discussed what the term ‘arc’ means so check that out of you haven’t already. Today I am talking about punctuation again so let’s dive in.

What is a semicolon?

A semicolon is a punctuation mark, it looks like this ;.

A semicolon is used when a writer wants to link two separate ideas or ‘clauses’ in a sentence that are different but closely related.

A clause is a group of words that have a subject and a verb. The subject and the verb will have a relationship.

A subject is a thing, and a verb is a doing action. So if I say something like “Mam was polishing the silverware.”, this is an example of a clause, and in this clause, the silverware is the subject and the verb is polishing.

A semicolon is used when a writer wants to link two clauses that are closely connected. An author could write two different sentences but by choosing not to and using a semicolon, it gives the two sentences equal importance.

An example of this can be seen in a sentence such as “I have work tomorrow; I can’t go out tonight.”

Here are a few more examples of a semicolon being used:

“John loves school; Sarah hates it.”

“Sarah hid under her bed until the storm passed; she’s always been afraid of thunder.”

I could write “Sarah hid under her bed until the storm passed. She’s always been afraid of thunder.”

In this clause, the subject is the storm and the action of hiding is the verb.

I could use a full stop instead of a semicolon, making them two separate sentences, but using the semicolon connects the two ideas and it also removes the pause one would take when reading that sentence aloud.

When using a semicolon, it is important to remember that when a writer is linking clauses with the use of a semicolon, the independent clause must come before the dependant clause.

An independent clause is a complete sentence that can stand alone, a dependent clause cannot stand alone because it is not a complete sentence that expresses a complete thought.

If one looks at a sentence such as “I cannot run in the race because I sprained my ankle.”

The subject is the race, to run is the verb, and the second half of that sentence “because I sprained my ankle” is the dependant clause.

You can’t say “because I sprained my ankle.”, without saying anything else because that is not a complete sentence so therefore it does not make sense.

“I cannot run in the race.”, is a complete sentence that makes sense by itself, making it the independent clause.

I could say “I cannot run in the race.” “I sprained my ankle.”

This works because these are two complete sentences, but I could also connect these ideas with a semicolon by writing “Sarah couldn’t run in the race; she sprained her ankle.”

This works because the dependent clause is following the independent clause, and this would not work the other way around.

Why is it important to know how to use a semicolon?

Understanding punctuation will always be useful. The semicolon is used very often and some people see it without knowing why it is there, and some people use a semicolon without understanding what it is or what it does, and if you don’t know how to use it then you could use it incorrectly. If you are studying English in school or college and you have essays to write then having a broad understanding of punctuation will be really helpful, but even if you are not a student, I still think it is nice to have an understanding of punctuation because it will simply enhance your reading experience.

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

Kate xo.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas. It’s hard to believe that next week Christmas will be behind us. I still have one more festive movie lined up for the month of December so be sure to stay tuned.

Today I am talking about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation because I think it is a must watch at Christmas time. So let’s dive into #moviemonday.

This movie was released in 1989 and it was directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik.

Plot.

Clark Griswold plans to have the perfect old fashioned family Christmas with his entire family coming to stay with him for the holiday. Clark is also dreaming of putting in a pool with the Christmas bonus that he is expecting, he’s already paid the deposit. The movie follows the Griswold’s as hijinks ensue on their journey to Christmas Day, but despite everything going wrong, Clark is staying positive because he is absolutely determined to have the perfect Christmas.

Characters.

This movie is made up of a great ensemble cast. Clark Griswold is the main protagonist as he is the captain of this Christmas Day. Clark is a family man, he is perhaps the ultimate family man. He loves his wife and his children and he wants nothing more than to make them happy with a perfect Christmas Day. Clark has energy and positivity in abundance. He gives his all 100% of the time, and sometimes he is relentless about achieving his goals even if they seem unrealistic.

Ellen Griswold is Clark’s wife. She supports his dream but she knows that Christmas can be a stressful time and she knows that all family members under one roof is bound to be stressful at some point, but Clark won’t hear of it. Ellen keeps him grounded and she picks him up when he is down. She is the voice of reason in this relationship.

Clark and Ellen’s parents arrive and they bicker for the entire trip. Audrey and Rusty, Clark and Ellen’s children are sharing a room while their relatives stay, much to Audrey’s dismay. Ellen’s cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie arrive in a beat up RV with their children Rocky and Ruby Sue, and their dog Snots. Clark is not thrilled to see Eddie but he is still determined to make it work and have the perfect family Christmas, meanwhile Ruby Sue is concerned that Santa Clause won’t come again, as he did not come the previous year, revealing the money problems that Catherine and Eddie are facing.

Despite the bickering, this is a family who loves each other and when the going gets tough they all pull together.

Themes.

This is a Christmas movie about Clark Griswold and his family so obviously it is going to be a cheesy, somewhat over the top, family friendly Christmas movie. It is about family and love and everyone coming together for Christmas because it is a special time of year. This is a comedy but there are some deeper moments in this movie, and while it is not extremely obvious, the movie does cover important subjects such as how much pressure people can put on themselves at Christmas, how much people can rely on their Christmas bonuses and how money issues can have a very big impact on people, some people cannot even afford to give their children presents at Christmas time so while it is a special time of year, it can also be a time that adds stress and pressure to many so it is always important to be thankful for the things we do have and for the people in our lives. Clark learns that he does not need a million Christmas lights or the perfect turkey to have the most perfect Christmas, he just needs his family with him as they are the most important people in his life.

Structure.

This movie is 97 minutes long. I think that an hour and a half is a really nice running time, I have mentioned this before but it is not too long but it also feels like a decent movie length. We get a lot of story but it does not drag on too long. Some movies need more time, and there are movies that I love that are two hours long or maybe even slightly longer, but there are also movies that are longer than they need to be, but I think with this kind of cheesy, fun, festive movie an hour and a half is the ideal length.

I would say this movie follows the three-act structure. The first act sets up Clark’s unrealistic Christmas expectations as he prepares for family to arrive.

Act two is when the in-laws arrive and chaos begins to ensue but Clark pushes on, determined to make things work.

Act three is Christmas and all of the problems along the way don’t seem to matter anymore as the true meaning of Christmas is remembered once more.

Final Thoughts.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a fun movie. Every time I watch it I laugh the entire time. It’s festive, it’s fun, it’s got great heart to it, and it does touch on some serious moments without bringing the tone down. It will always be a must watch for me.

This has been Movie Monday. Do you like this movie? Let me know.

I hope you all have a great week.

Kate xo.

Honourable Mentions: Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

ello everyone and welcome back to another #fridayschoice. 

Today I am talking about Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. 

This is sort of like an honourable mention movie discussion because even though they are classic movies, and I know that some people watch them year in and year out at Christmas time, these movies did not make it on to my #moviemonday list of movies for December. 

There were a few other Halloween movies that did not make it on to my movie list in October so I have made a note of them for next year and there will be some Christmas movies that I will be saving for next year too so Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York will likely get discussed in more detail at some point in the future on Katelovesliterature.com but they will not feature on a #moviemonday this December even though they are movies that I enjoy. 

I am going to talk about them today though because I could not let December pass by without mentioning them at all, and since there is a new movie out this year in Disney plus called Home Sweet Home Alone, I feel like I am hearing about these movies constantly lately. 

I did watch Home Sweet Home Alone on Disney plus, and I have heard mixed opinions on it. I did not love it, but I thought it had some funny moments, but in my opinion, the first two movies can’t be beaten. They are the best. 

I’ve been thinking about this, and I think that I prefer Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. I think it is my favourite of all the movies. I know the original is a classic, it has so many quotable, and meme-worthy moments, but I remember falling in love with New York when I watched the sequel. I think it is almost like a love letter to New York because the city just looks so magical. I still want to stay in the Plaza Hotel someday. 

I think that sequels can be hit and miss, but there are a few sequels that I love, and there are one or two sequels that I would say I actually like better than the original movie but I will save those picks for future #moviemonday discussions. I may even do a #sequelseries where I talk about sequels that I really liked, along with others that I feel were unnecessary. 

Is Home Alone on your must watch list? Which movie do you prefer?  Home Alone or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?  Let me know. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. We are getting closer and closer to Christmas and I cannot wait. I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Kate xo. 

The Character’s Arc: Terminology.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about the concept of the anti-hero so you should check that out if you haven’t already. 

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I use terminology and phrases that I am very familiar with such as ‘the character’s arc’ etc., very casually in my discussions on Katelovesliterature.com. I use terms and phrases like this very often because I study literature in great detail and I have become really comfortable using terms that are often found in literary theory discussions but, I have been thinking about it and not everyone is so comfortable using literary terminology so I have decided to break down some of the things that I talk about the most, starting with the term ‘arc’. 

What is a character arc? What does this mean? 

In most narratives, the main protagonist will have a story arc. This means that they will develop throughout the story and by the end of the story, the character should be a changed person somehow compared to the character we met at the beginning of the story. 

This transformation and development is what I am referring to when I say something like “Will’s character arc is very satisfying to watch.” Since it is December, and this month’s #bookofthemonth is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I will use the character Scrooge as an example. 

Scrooge has a very touching arc and I will of course elaborate more on this point in my Book Of The Month discussion at the end of December, but when we meet Scrooge he is a cold, cruel, selfish man who does not care about others and by the novel’s end, he is transformed, he repents, he is more empathetic, and he is determined to make up for his cruel behaviour in the past. 

Scrooge becomes a changed person because of his experiences in the novel which I won’t talk about anymore because I want to discuss it properly in my Book Of The Month discussion but he is a great character to turn to when trying to explain the term “arc” because he famously becomes a changed person after his experiences in the novel. 

If a character does not have an arc then they will not change at all throughout the novel. They will not grow, they will not evolve, and I think if a character does not have any kind of growth or development then they can be a bit one dimensional. The arc is very often the most important part of a character’s journey because if Scrooge for example did not have a change of heart, then the entire journey he went on in the novel would have been for nothing because the whole point of the arc is that the character is supposed to learn and evolve. 

I talk about Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean a lot, but that is because he is a great character in so many ways and his arc is equally as important because on his journey he learned about himself, and his father, he became more confident, he polished up his natural skills and became more trained, and he was able to stand up for himself and what he believed in at the end of the movie. If he did not stand up to Norrington at the end of the movie then audiences would wonder did he learn anything on his journey at sea at all? 

Scrooge’s change of heart, and Will’s moments of bravery are just two examples of characters who have really satisfying arcs that we can see so clearly because when we read or watch these stories, we root for these characters in these moments. I could list examples all day, but the point is that the arc, and the evolution of a character is what is satisfying. Without an arc, the character is dull.Without an arc, the journey will have been for nothing, and that is not a satisfying narrative. 

So the growth and evolution of a character is what I am referring to when I am talking about a character’s arc. Why is this important? 

It is important to understand terminology because if I am talking about how touching a character’s arc is and you don’t know what that means, then the discussion is pointless. If you don’t understand something then it is not enjoyable, and like every aspect of literary theory that I talk about, I think having an understanding of the term “arc” will allow you to understand literature on a deeper level and when you understand what an arc is, you will begin to see arcs in literature, you will be able to appreciate character arcs because you know what that means, and when you can spot a really satisfying arc, I think you will enjoy that story and like that character so much more. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Who is your favourite character in any book/show/movie? I’d love to know. Happy Friday Eve. 

Kate xo.