Religion in literature

Religion is an interesting topic. Religion can be used for good, but it can also be used for evil means. As I finished watching the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale based on the novel by Margaret Atwood this is a thought that kept replaying in my head. These characters in this story are using religion for their twisted and perverse means. The premise of the story is of this dystopian world where women are no longer allowed to read and you have these women that are known as handmaid’s whose main role is to give their bodies over to this couple who can’t have children of their own. They’re not seen as a person, more of a vessel to create life and when they have a child they’re not considered the mom but the leaders of that household are. Now their whole justification for this way of living is based off of the Bible story of Rachel and Leah. Below is an excerpt from Genesis 30:1-3. The people of Gilead, the city in which the story takes place, took this scripture as literally as you can get. The handmaid lays on her back with the wife behind her while her husband has intercourse with her. There’s no intimacy, it’s cold and impersonal. In a way it’s like the handmaid isn’t even there. The thing that stands out to me in the story though is their supposed love for God and his scriptures, but it’s nothing more than mind control. I honestly see it as a reflection of today’s society. People use religion today as a fear tactic or as a form of mind control to get you to do what they want or be who they want you to be.

Another story that I could say that uses religion as mind control is Carrie by Stephen King. More specifically I’m thinking of the character of Carrie’s mother in the story. She was a known religious fanatic in the town, and she made Carrie feel bad about being normal. I remember watching the scene in the original 1976 adaptation when Carrie got her period and she didn’t know what was going on or what was happening to her body. When she got home and talked to her mom, her mom pulled out a Bible and started preaching to her about the sins of women.  I’ll post that scene below, but you can’t you see how religion in literature is also a reflection of real life. Carrie’s mom made her feel dirty and wrong even though what her body was doing was perfectly normal and natural, but instead of talking to Carrie about it she hit her with a Bible…literally.

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
King James Version (KJV)

Posthumous recognition

I would like to pose a question. Why is it that most of the time amazing, creative people such as Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, H.P. Lovecraft, and several others don’t get to see the fruits of their labor. It always makes me incredibly sad when I research these people and find out that they didn’t get recognized for their work until AFTER they died. Why?! And most of them also died penniless and it’s just so incredible to think that these people struggled until their death pursuing their passion and making nothing of it when I as person know the kind of mark that they’ve made in pop culture. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts I’ve not too long finished reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, which follows the highs and lows of Zelda’s relationship with famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald. A lot of the book was centered around Scott’s manic obsession with being the best writer in the world and solidifying his mark in American literature and then he never got to see what kind of impact he made. The Great Gatsby is his most notable work and it has been made into two movies and his novel is read by high school and college students every year. These true creative minds will never see how they made a way for future writers and that they truly became literary icons.

What constitutes a classic novel?

I’ve taken many English courses in my life, and I have had to read some of the most classic pieces of literature known in society. This question crossed my mind today as I was sitting in the bookstore and just happened to glance at the section entitled “Literary Classics.” What exactly constitutes a work of literature as a classic? Stories like To Kill A Mockingbird, The Scarlett Letter, Walden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, The Great Gatsby, and the list could go on and on. What makes these novels so beloved by so many people and places them in the category of literary classics. Is it because they’re so well-known. I did some digging because I was looking for these very answers and I came across this website:

(This website goes into depth about what constitutes a classic. First, a classic has to be timely but it also has to be timeless. A classic novel has to reflect the times that it was written in. There’s more characteristic gems like this in the article.)  I love classic literature. Some people may read classics to make themselves seem smarter or well-rounded. I don’t know. I just think classics give a sense of prestige and makes one feel well-educated and knowledgeable. Below I have posted a link of over 100 classic works of literature. It would be a fun challenge to see how many of these you can read! I might even challenge myself.



Update on Stephen King’s IT

Well, I’ve gotten into the book pretty well. I had written a previous blog about my initial thoughts on the book and the fact that I wanted to read it before the new movie comes out in September, and it’s going fairly well. This book is creepy beyond believe and very disturbing, but I was prepared for that. I had heard nothing but great things about the book. One common thread between the many comments that I read on the internet was that the book was scarier than the movie. That’s something that always amazes me. How can a book be scarier than a movie? A movie is something that you can visually see. You would think that being able to see something would cause more fear but that is not the case with Stephen King’s IT. King paints such a vivid picture…a vivid disturbing picture that takes the readers on a terrifying journey. Last night as I was reading before bed I came across a scene that was really disturbing and just threw me (I’m not giving any spoilers!). My mouth literally fell open and I was like “Did that just happen?!” It was crazy, but King is a magician when it comes to writing. He’s just that good. Well, so along as I go read some more before bed.

Fitzgerald embodied the Jazz Age

I’m sitting here watching Jeopardy! and one of the answers is “The Strange Case of Benjamin Button was based off of a novel by this Jazz Age man” and I immediately say F. Scott Fitzgerald even though I actually didn’t know that for certain. If anyone is familiar with literature and that time period you know that Fitzgerald was the epitome of the Jazz Age. He embodied that time period. Everything he did reflected that. Everything from his lifestyle and his literature. It’s simple. When you think of Jazz Age you think of Fitzgerald. How can you not?

Poe’s Influence

Just the other day me and my family were talking about Edgar Allan Poe. Me and my dad were both saying how “The Tell-Tale Heart” is our favorite story by Poe. I absolutely love Poe. I have one big, thick book of all of his collected short stories and poems and Tell -Tale Heart will always be my favorite. I thought that story was always intense. I like the ending:

“I gasped for breath –and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly –more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men –but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed –I raved –I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder –louder –louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! –no, no! They heard! –they suspected! –they knew! –they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now –again! –hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! –It is the beating of his hideous heart.”

*I always thought that was genius writing. The intensity just kept building and building and then bybthe end of the story the man’s paranoia got the better of him and he admitted to his crime. Poe really built a name for himself because of his twisted mind He was really consider the father of horror and father of the detective story. I love writers who are a little off and Poe really messed with your mind.

Writing poetry

I started really writing poetry in college. I had a poem that I had written in college that I submitted to my college’s literary magazine and it got published.  I didn’t really think too much of it until one of my professor’s really encourage me to continue writing because my poem was deep and also disturbing. I had written after my parents had split up and I was in 8th or 9th grade and I was feeling depressed. After reading my poem she actually thought I needed to go see the school counselor! I told her no and that I was fine because this was when I was a lot younger. Poetry for me is such a release. I’ve always been better at written communication and poetry is a channel that allows me to be who I am. People who write poetry approach poetry in different ways. Most people feel the need to write everyday. I don’t write everyday if I don’t feel that I have anything important to say. I usually write when I’m feeling inspired and if I’m dealing with something. Writing should be about writing about your own experiences. To my fellow writers how do you approach your writing? Here’s the link to my poem