Author Archives: Katryna

Carmilla’s Discreet Actions

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s story Carmilla had an intersting way of coming together, which I thought was done well. At the beginning of the book when the carriage and horses are witnessed by Laura, her father, and governess it does not seem to be an issue besides what I think is curiousness because the carriage looks “of a person of rank.” The first symbol given is the cross which are against vampires; “Just before you reach the castle drawbridge, on the route they were coming, there stands by the roadside a magnificent lime tree, on the other stands an ancient stone cross, at sight of which the horses, now going at a pace that was perfectly frightful, swerved so as to bring the wheel over the projecting roots of the tree.” This stood out to me because the it is placed in this description that to the characters would not seem to be a big deal, a tree–a stone cross. Followed directly by a crash and these interesting looking people which definitely took the characters attention.

Another discreet symbol that got my attention was what Carmilla says herself, “Good night, darling, it is very hard to part with you, but good night; tomorrow, but not early, I shall see you again.” But not early; Laura does not question her saying this, and why would she. She has a new friend and is excited to finally have company and not just any company but a girl around her ago which she has seen years before. Carmilla not being up early goes together with the sun being out. Everyone knows that Carmilla and her mother and the people she was with are mysterious, and most importantly that they will never know about them or where they are going and Carmilla does not say. I also think that is significant because they are just taken by these people when in reality these questions would have to be answered. In this part Laura’s father plays a huge role in because he adores his daughter very much, allowing and actually persuading Carmilla’s mother to allow her to stay in his home. Laura was just let down by her guest who did not arrive because she had died, so this new guest just seemed to fit right in. Laura falls in love with her new friend which makes her father happy that she is happy. When Carmilla went missing I also thought Laura’s father was kind of making an excuse for her when they checked everywhere for her.

Laura and Carmilla’s relationship stood out to me. It was very weird and actually a bit too close in a sexy way (lol). The way Laura described their interactions: “And you asked for the picture you think like me, to hang in your room,” she murmured with a sigh, as she drew her arm closer about my waist, and let her pretty head sink upon my shoulder. “How romantic you are, Carmilla,” I said” and “Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. “Darling, darling,” she murmured, “I live in you; and you would die for me, I love you so.” They are so deep, if that can describe it, mostly Carmilla though.

I do not Laura too so much, for the reason that she ever really has anyone around so maybe she does not know the right way to act or something? She does say herself how she is not all there (when the funeral passes by and Carmilla has that weird moment) but she still cherishes their friendship after all that. On top of that the power Carmilla has over her, for example putting her arm around her making her feel weak and kind of sucked into the moment. Carmilla’s beauty was also mentioned so many times in this story. Everyone thought she was a beautiful girl, and I think that had a lot to do with the characters accepting her, especially Laura.

Wanting to wake up at a certain time of the day and locking her door do seem like normal things a guest would want to do, nothing to call out. Laura even reasons with her when she sees that she gets tired easily when they go for walks. She remembers how her mother did mention she was ill. The description of Carmilla coming out of the carriage when she first arrived was also comes to her attention. She was weak, both of the governess went to her aid and she was not even aloud to go to speak to her right away because she was sensitive still. I think this story at first places the characters in a state of understanding and acceptance because although these weird things are happening around them they are not able to connect it to Carmilla being a vampire and these young girls dying. When the general arrives he gives an explanation to  the loss of his daughter, but still Laura seems to be in confusion, I believe with who Millarca being Carmilla.

A Christmas Carol

“A Christmas Carol” is a timeless story. It does take place during a Victorian era, but the situation of the characters and the lessons learned at the end of this story can be applied to more recent societies. This story has become very traditional during the holidays and is shown in children films, but it does deal with poverty, guilt, and dealing with death. This story is set to take place during the holidays which should make it more touching and have a stronger connection to these spirits appearing to Scrooge and giving him a chance to change before it is too late.

I think it is ironic how Bob Cratchit is described, he is poor with many worries but kind, his situation does not make him hateful. On the other hand, the description the narrator gives us about Scrooge: “Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” He does not have a big family, and has money but he would never be generous, the narrator compares him to a flint which would not even put up a good amount of fire even if he could. From the tone of this I think that the narrator does not like Scrooge because it sounds judgmental and maybe sarcastic, like she/he does not see any good in being as “solitary as an oyster.”

“A Christmas Carol” is trying to say something about the high class society, and the working class in the Victorian era, and it is difficult to not side with the poor family. Scrooge is given a chance to say what his opinion is that should be done with the poor when he is asked for a donation, “”If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don’t know that.'” He is harsh, and careless about others and the story also mentions that he does not mind that people avoid him. He needed a chance to see how people truly felt about him and it bothers him that nobody cares that he is dead, but instead they are relieved and hope their debt has died with him. I think that this story in more recent times has become traditional and picked up for being about a man who is helped to find his Christmas sprit  as shown in movies and children’s books rather than looked at as an example of a class system more, but at the same time we are reading about how a working class worries about money, and how a rich man holds on to his  wealth risking relationships and only lets it go when he sees life after his death. He sees he could have helped a struggling family. These three sprits prove their point to Scrooge and he changes when he finally falls to his knees and asks for another chance.

Even though this story does not focus on Tiny Tim, he is symbolic. He is not miserable even though he is in a bad condition. By the end of the story and Scrooges journey he becomes better and does not die the way the ghosts showed Scrooge, and they become friends. The conclusion of this story is very happy; my opinion is that the ghosts that appear could be a strong conscious Scrooge has about his personality, like a reality slap which is life changing.

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This picture is from a Christmas display from a Macy’s in Philadelphia. I am pretty sure that Herald Square has put up displays about “A Christmas Carol” up but I could not find any of those pictures. During the holidays these displays are very popular and the show the whole story, this one specifically leading up to gaining generosity and holiday spirit. This picture shows the ghosts. More pictures are on this site. 

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre starts off this novel by going into her life when she was younger. The family she had been living with, the Reeds were not nice to her and just picked on her, especially John in one instance, where she even got punished and she had to stay in the red room. I felt very sorry for Jane, but we can see that she has a strong attitude, she defended herself but because she was young, and had enough, and was a burden to the Reeds she just got into more trouble. The Reeds do not let her forget that she is an orphan and lower than a servant since they say she does not pay for her room and is not thankful. Jane felt very out of place because she did not have a true home or family.

The red room at this point of Janes life is important. It was her uncles room; she does bring him up a couple of times, for example when she wants to stop thinking about him while she is locked in there and does not want his ghost to comfort her, and when she asks her aunt what he would think if he was still living. The color red is not known to be a calming color, it is deep, vivd, and can stand for a lot of things (love, danger, blood, etc.) and Jane was kind of having a panic attack so this room would not do her any better. But because Jane went into this room she began thinking and went through a trauma which later on leads her aunt to send her away. I think it was very evil for Mrs. Reed to put a child in a room where someone had died and lock her in. Although Jane is living with her rich, estranged family she is tormented. It is interesting how everyone antagonizes Jane and then scold her and lecture her about her behavior, and they do not see that is why she acted against them. She does not support what is not right.

Jane prefers to go to school than stay with the Reeds. She did not like the way Mrs. Reed described her to Mr. Brocklehurst because of course she was trying to make her look bad. All she had in their home was Bessie, who actual saw Jane as a child and respected her more than the others did. At Lowood Jane could not be the only one who gets into trouble she will have some type of equality with these girls because she will not be the only poor orphan, although Jane does not want to be poor and does not think that Lowood even looks appealing but she accepts it.

In other stories about poor orphans (Oliver Twist, Cinderella, Annie) they all are kind of saved by wealthy people from their bad living conditions, whereas in Jane Eyre she was already living with a wealthy family and could have had a decent life and education but she was looked down upon and not really considered their close family. She was freed from them by going into a maybe below average in Victorian times school. In these other stories these orphans go through obstacles which lead them into finding a better home. But in Jane Eyre she is really on her own and in a new environment where she has to start from the beginning and meet new people. There still are obstacles in Janes life from Lowood, like not being fed well but she is able to handle herself and makes friends. She is no longer what the spoiled Reeds pick on. One thing that this novel does have in common with other stories about poor orphans is the character of Bessie. She is the nice one and the understanding one who let’s Jane hold her hand when she thought she saw something in the red room, but she never crosses the line of being completely on Janes side because she has to keep her place (and job.) Stories like Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Annie, and Cinderella all take place in different time periods but there are characters who have effect their lives and look down on them because the don’t have their families.

Jane sounds like she is beginning to understand why her aunt was treating badly, she thinks they have different attitudes and temperments. Would things really be different if her uncle was living?