Gone With the Wind Movie Review

Good morning everyone! I will be beginning the month of June by discussing the movie based on my all time favorite book.

Gone With the Wind is an ingenious story set during the time of the Civil War in America.  The main character is intentionally unlikable while the other major characters all have their lovable quirks.  The writing in this book is phenomenal, having one of my most loved first lines, “Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful.”

Based on this brief selection of my many praises for the book, it should not come as a surprise to you that I would like to say a few words to the director of the highly-acclaimed movie, Gone With the Wind. 

I am not saying that the movie itself was a bad rendition of the story, but it is missing quite a few key parts. I think the director deserves some praises for making the characters portrayed so well, and not messing up the overall story line, but in my personal opinion the development of Scarlet and Rhett’s relationship was cut short and messed up due to the fact that Scarlet’s two other children were lacking from the movie.

I believe that those two children played important roles in the story since it was originally because of them that Rhett became so close to the family, and eventually led to his departure from it because of Scarlet’s intense desire not to have more children and deliberate act of not caring for the ones she already had.

I apologize for this brief rant, but I believe that even characters as minor as Scarlet’s two children have a major impact on the development of any story.

What would you change about the movie, Gone With the Wind? 

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Why I love Memoirs

Obviously, I love to read, and I hope that all of you, whether you are a writer or not, because you follow this blog, share my feelings towards books.  There is one particular genre of books that has recently struck me in its importance, and I would like to share a few reasons why.

That genre is Memoirs, and here are a few examples as to why they should be given more time in the spotlight.

  1. They tell the real story.  I love historical fiction as much as the next person, but no matter how much research is done, it will still never compare to having the physical experience.  Memoirs are told my people who physically experienced history whether in a large way or in their own small impact, and there is no way to compare to the experience we are given to be able to read a real life story.
  2. More times than not, Memoirs are told very straightforwardly. Because, again they actually experienced it, the author of a memoir does not have to “dress anything up” for the reader because he knows the precise words needed to describe his past situation.
  3. They are relate-able. I am not saying one cannot relate to a fictional character, I relate to them all the time, but it is much easier to relate to a real person who has gone through life, and is completely human with all his realistic faults and virtues than it is to relate to a fictional character created by an author for a specific purpose.
  4. They are not meant to be monumental. People who write memoirs do not do so with the hope of it being made into a giant movie, or for billions of people to be forever impacted by it.  They write memoirs so that hopefully at least one person will read their story and understand they are not alone.
  5.  To write a good memoir, one must be humble.  If an author is going to write an honest memoir, he will include all of his failings, and most memoirs have this.  When a reader finishes a memoir, he/ she does not usually have the opinion that the person they read about was a perfect angel, rather they feel relieved and inspired because someone just as human and imperfect as them managed to do some good things.

Here is a memoir that I am currently reading and would recommend everyone do so: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

 

Reasons to Have a Daily Writing Habit

Okay, I am assuming that we all, at least to some extent, enjoy writing; therefore, the fact that I am informing you on the importance of a daily writing habit should not be too surprising.

Throughout my life, I have been told by many people that writing daily is imperative. They tell this to everyone, even those who do not particularly find any joy in writing.

Below I have provided you with ten basic reasons for why a daily habit of writing is incredibly beneficial. There are millions of reasons, but it would take me a life time to type them all, so I hope  the message is clear with just ten.

  1. Writing every day helps to improve your writing skills from how fast you are able to write, to creating your writing voice, to just making your writing cleaner in general.
  2. It forces you to see importance, beauty, and uniqueness every day.  Writing every day includes writing on the blah days, which makes you appreciate every moment.
  3. It leaves hard proof of your life. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years someone will come across your journal stack, and children will be forced to learn about you.
  4. It humbles you.  Writing every day is very difficult. It trains you to overcome resistance and just write even when it is not easy.
  5. There are many different ways to write. You do not have to do diary entries.  It could even be creating a random story, or describing a picture.
  6. It helps your prayer life. I personally like to keep a prayer journal, basically talking to God in my writing.
  7. Another way to have a prayer journal is to note how God spoke to you that day.
  8. Or You can even combine the two and write down the things you are thankful for.
  9. You will thank yourself in the future. If you write daily, you are then able to look back and read over memories that made you happy when you are having a bad day.
  10. If you intend to pursue writing as a career, this can help you to see how your writing improves over time, and even to pick and choose the different techniques you use to decide how you want to write as a professional.

I hope this has persuaded you to begin a habit of Daily Writing!!

Waking Nightmares Part 1 Group Story

The last thing I remembered was my own startled gasp ringing in my ears as I fell to the ground. I could see green swirling around in my head, red burning my hands, blue tingling my feet. The icy snow almost felt comforting as my vision blurred and all went black.

A bone chilling frost was what woke me from the darkness of my consciousness. My eyes opened with a start as I shivered and called out into the blinding white of my surroundings, but my throat was too hoarse, and instead I sounded like a wounded dog.

Suddenly, a burst of blue light shone through the pure white of the snow-covered hills. I stumbled towards it, aching all over. I tripped and skidded a little ways forward before pushing myself back to standing. My eyes widened as I beheld the object in front of me.

It was a stone, but not just any stone; this boulder towered over me, blasting a blue light, and on it was written a message:

 

“WHEN PREY KILLS PREDATOR, THE MAN OF GOLD BEGINS THE AGE OF DEATH.”

It all flashes before my eyes, my hand, a knife, cool blood trickling down my arm, the blinding light, and my skull cracking as I hit the ground.   Had I killed something or had something tried to kill me?

I slowly breathed in and out through my nose as I tried to recollect myself. The area wasn’t safe. I turned from the boulder to limp away from the blue light, but my blood froze and my muscles no longer obeyed my mind. A wounded white timber wolf with blood matting his pelt snarled back at me; bristling at me in fear. I took a step back, startled; I hadn’t even heard the creature until it was mere feet in front of me.

The beast opens its mouth presumably to growl again, but instead it speaks.

    “Into the realm of waiting you fell, lonely but not alone, a temporary punishment for an eternal crime.”

     With a whisp of wind he disappears. Lonely but not alone…I didn’t see the wolf coming. Maybe there were other wolves, other creatures out here.

I shuddered at the thought and glanced around for something, anything, to serve as a makeshift weapon. There, to my right- a rock, with something peeking out from behind it.

    “Who…Who is it?” My voice trembles as I try to remain composed. A blonde haired blue eyed girl pops her head outside of the rock, but there is something very wrong with her face.  She was pale, almost-see through and corpse like.  Her blue eyes were a misty plue without an iris or any sort, almost as if what she could see had nothing to do with the visible world.

    Her mouth remained closed as she spoke.

     “Take a leap of faith and you’ll be freed forever, cower in the shadows and you’ll seal your own doom.”

      I instinctively stepped away from the creature, holding the rock up and pointing it at her. “What are you?”

     She repeated her macabre statement. “Take a leap of faith and you’ll be freed forever, cower in shadows and you’ll seal your own doom.”

    My whole body began to tremble in fear, frustration, and rage. “What are you?” I screamed louder.

     The girl’s eyes slanted upwards as her still body echoed malicious laughter.

When I felt the entire atmosphere shifted into bloodlust, that’s when I decided that the rock in my hand was necessary for escape. It was either me or her. I threw the rock at her forehead with an alarming accuracy that I didn’t know that I had in me and prayed silently to myself that one blow to the head was all that was needed to distract her long enough to get away. Suddenly, the creature stopped mid laugh and her hand shot up to her temple. She threw the stone down into the snow irritatedly, turning her attention back to me with her clouded pale blue eyes.

   “You dense human- I came here to bring a message to you, so why would I kill you?”

    “Then would you like to explain why I felt bloodlust emitting from you in pulses?”

A single ghostly white, bony finger pointed to her stomach. “Nonhumans get hungry too. The bloodlust you felt wasn’t exactly for your own flesh- in fact, humans taste abnormally more disgusting than most.”

“Where am I?” I question her again as my body restarts its trembling. There is something about this place that is causing even the most controlled portions about me to be very unstable.

“You’re certainly not in the human realm if that is what you are asking,” the blonde said dryly. “If you yourself do not know how you have gotten here, then my best estimate is that the Drydren took an interest in you and brought you to this place. How annoying. At least the Dryads leave humans alone.”

For the first time in my life, I begin to feel some sort of gratitude for my mythology nerd side. I recognize these names. The Dryad’s cousins, the lore goes, are known as Dryden, and they were more keen to.. interact with humans.

“They exist? Dryden and Dryads, I mean.”

She cocks her head, nodding at me. “Tell me, are the kind of person who has to see it to believe it? Am I, standing right in front of you, not enough proof?”

I shrug my shoulders in agreement, “Why would a Dryden take interest in me?”

“And why does the human universe exist? I may be an Oracle, but there are still some things that I cannot answer. Now choose a weapon.”

The oracle extends her arms presenting a series of objects; a twig, a pair of tweezers, a butter knife, pen and paper, and a brick.

I hesitate, my hand hovering near the butter knife. It was certainly the most practical of my options. Then my eyes darted over to the twig.

It was long, pointy, and mundane but for one thing- the slight shimmer in the air around it. I took a deep breath and grasped the twig.

The Oracle disappeared, but her voice remained. “Best of luck.”

Suddenly, a memory flashes before my eyes, “Remember, Nera,” my mother smoothed out my hair. “Never leave without a pen and paper somewhere on your person.”

    The Oracle had said a weapon, but she wasn’t even here. Taking a glance around, I quickly snatched it up and put into the satchel that lay on my left side.  

    I did not have time to regret my choice of weapon, but a sick feeling in my gut rested as a reminder that I picked the wrong one.  Holding my head high, I begin to trudge down the deserted wasteland.  

In most adventure stories, the protagonist quickly becomes swarmed by enemies, but my antagonists are not physical.  A mental agony overwhelms me. I am at war with my mind.

“You know the reason you were taken here.” The voice in my head starts to whisper.

I stumble and trip, realizing anew that I am to blame for everything.

Clutching the stick as tightly as I can, I whirl around, my eyes scanning the horizon for somebody, anybody. I stop for a moment, and instead desperately scrabble through the contents of my bag, grabbing the pen and the piece of paper.

To be continued….

Book Suggestions

Hello, my fellow writers. Today I am going to give you a book suggestion for each book genre and a short sentence about why I love that particular book.

Non Fiction: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Unbroken is a beautiful biography, telling the incredible story of a WWII soldier and Olympic runner.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves inspirational stories and also enjoys learning about war statistics and details on how war machinery was used.

Fiction: This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This was the first book Fitzgerald ever wrote and as a huge fan of Fitzgerald, I can say this is by far my favorite book by him.  He utilizes every word to perfection in all of his books, but this book in particular has great utilization of words and philosophies, telling the story of a boy who is too focused on worldly things.

Historical Fiction: Gone With the Wind: I personally have hundreds of favorite books, but Gone With the Wind is definitely near the top of this list. I love books about the Civil War, and this is by far the best in my opinion.  There are so many hidden meanings behind everything that happens in this book on top of the beautiful writing and the fact that the author intentionally makes you dislike the main character while at the same time falling in love with her story.

Comedy: The Princess Bride: I have heard a lot of negative things about this book, but I think it is because most readers are expecting an epic adventure romance, which do not get me wrong it kind of is, but The Princess Bride is more so a comedy.  If I tell you that the movie is the best book to movie remake I have ever seen being word for word from the book your expectations become a little different.  I highly recommend this book to those who are looking for something fun and funny to read.

Drama: Of Mice and Men: This a short book with a large story.   Telling the tale of a man and his friend with special needs, this book will warm your heart and tear it to shreds in about a hundred pages.

Horror: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier: If you like creepy, mystery, suspensful, yet well-written and meaningful books, this one if for you. It is impossible to put this novel down.

Realistic Fiction: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This is another short novel that will cause you to fall in love with the characters and break your heart in just a few pages. Set in Oklahoma in the 1900s. This book portrays the tough lives of a few hard-hearted yet loving teenage boys.

Romance: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Okay, do not laugh at me for putting this very obvious book down.  The Fault in Our Stars is an incredible book not only centered on the love between two teenagers but also incredible friendships and love of stories.

Satire: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: This novel about the correspondence between a man and a devil has great satirical humor that highlights the faults of man.

Tragedy: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: This novel is a Russian Literature masterpeice portraying the effects that mortal sin can cause upon an entire family.  I have previously posted a book review on Anna Karenina for those who would like to learn more about this incredible novel.  It is under the category of book review.

Tragicomedy: Empire Falls by Richard Russo: For those of you who, like me, live in a small town, this is the book for you. Telling the story of an average man living in a pretty unknown average town, it demonstrates the importance of each persons story, even that of an extremely average person.

Fantasy: The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare: For those of you who are obsessed with the City of Bones Books I allow you to correct me on the statement I am about to make.  This trilogy is a prelude to the City of Bones series, but it is not necessary to read the City of Bones because it is simply set in the same world.  I personally really dislike the City of Bones but am completely in love with the Infernal Devices.  I cannot put these books down, and they contain the best love triangle I have ever read.

Mythology: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Okay, these books were my childhood. I’ve read this series five times. That’s really all I can say ,other than if you have not read these books, you must, before going on a very long rant.

Christian: Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle: This is the story of how one man helped and converted, and continues to do so, hundreds of gang members in the United States.

Christian Fiction: The Shack by William P. Young: Okay, I have heard a lot of negativity about the movie, but you have to keep in mind this is Christian Fiction so it is based on Christian beliefs but everything is not direct references to the bible.  This is the story of how one man comes to terms with the tragic death of his daughter through a personal encounter with the trinity.

I hope you are inspired to take the time to read some of these beautiful novels.

Love,

Melayna

Observance: A Short Story Based on the Writing Techniques of Classic Authors.

 

I went past the field of sluggard;

Past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;

Thorns had come up from everywhere,

The ground was covered with weeds,

And the stone wall was in ruins.

I applied my heart to what I observed

And learned a lesson from what I saw:

A little sleep, a little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to rest-

And poverty will come on you like a thief

And scarcity like an armed man.” –Proverbs 24:30-34

           

Strollin’, yes, strollin’ that’s what I seem to do best. I’ve found in my many years accompanying the subject that a man can learn much in a simple, observant stroll.  Though, in my youth, I never seemed to be inclined to put much action into my learnin’.

I awoke that morning, some forty years ago, with a desire for wandering.

Nodding at my ma and da, I placed my hands on the doorknob.

But you know how those Irish women are.  My ma glared at me with those feisty eyes of hers, and pointed to the table.  I knew what that gesture meant.  I may have been a grown man, accustomed to living the free life of a single scholar, but that did not mean I was allowed to leave the house without consuming some of my ma’s fry.

Sighing, I turned around and gently walked up to her, pecking her on the cheek before seating myself at the table.

“Cayce, did you really think you were going to leave without eating? You just arrived yesterday, and you’re already trying to amble about alone. You could’ve starved. All this education doesn’t seem to have done you any good. You haven’t changed one bit. Still the same bloody careless boy I raised.” She grinned down at me, her wrinkles curving up in a teasing fashion.

“It was delicious, Ma.” I pecked her on the cheek once more before setting my plate by the sink and heading out the door.

The cool breeze, swooping over the rolling hills caressed my face. It hugged my body in a simple greeting.  It was glad I was home.

I gazed out over the fields of sheep and cattle, the rows of barley and wheat that my ole man has so carefully tended.

My family was a strong one. I was the youngest of six children all of which had moved on with their lives, but my parents remained there, caring for their land and livestock. They were opinionated people, surrounded by other farmers who tended to their land in different ways.  My da never seemed to agree with his neighbors because land was an Irish man’s prized possession and my ma would never disagree with him.

I curled my bare toes into the soft, clay ground. Putting my hands in my pockets, I trudged down the bothrin that connected the surrounding farms to mine.

I stared at the ground for some time, just humming to myself. I enjoyed watching the ground.

You can tell a lot about a man by how his ground is toiled.

My family’s ground wasn’t perfect, but it was far from unhealthy. The cool mud squished between my toes, firm but free.

There came a point on my mindless stroll where the ground turned bricklike, molded into hardness. It no longer was open to growth, but had turned cold to the world, pricking the feet of all who dared to cross it.

My eyes wandered away from the ground. I knew the land. I stared out across the way before me cringed at what I beheld.

A barren wasteland is what it was, laid out with brown, dead plants and scrawny cattle.  Rusted tools were sprawled across the field along with musty children’s toys.

This was the home of Jierney O’Braonain, his slapper wife Darcy, and their six thick children.

I recalled observing my ole man as he would interact with Mr. O’Braonain.  He would communicate in a respectful manner, but his eyes never lied about his true opinion.

“That man is a tool, Cayce.” He would tell me. “He has no respect for land. Land, a man’s greatest possession.  Never forget that, Cayce. A man who treats his land and raises a family in such a manner deserves no respect.”

As I looked out upon the land, I could see why my da would have had such a hard kneck towards that family.

Jierney O’Braonain was raised in an abusive home, or at least that is what I had been told. He grew up to be a hard man, but feared any form of discipline. He married the first woman who gave him more than a two second glance, and together they raised their six children without any morals.   When had been growing up, Jierney would borrow from other farmers, too lazy to put any effort into his crops.  Farmers no longer gave him any assistance, for it had been learned that he would never repay.

Darcy had never trained her children to do any more than roll in the muck with the pigs.

As I stared at their crumbling home, I noted that the twins were doing precisely that.

Two of the O’Braonain girls, stood near the twin boys, laughing as they covered themselves in mud.

Kyna and Alannah were their names.  Their matted hair locked around their ears.  They must have been in their mid-teens. They might have been pretty at one point, but by then, it was far gone.  Rumors surrounded their beings that they were the village brassers, stuck in a life of sin as a result of their parent’s slothful ways.

The twins were the youngest.  They were vile children when I had lived at home, and it appeared that nothing had changed.

They were called Hugh and Lee, and I could recall a day of their existence that they had some sort of parental guidance.  It appeared as if they have never been bathed, spending their days tearing at the roots of any plant who had managed to spring out of the hardened ground.

A raspy yell echoed across the barren wasteland.

I turned my head towards the front of the house where the hunched body and cruel face of Faolan, the oldest son of the O’Brainoan’s stood.  He had at one point had some sort of brightness too him, but his father’s temperament had drilled into him the idea that education was of no worth.

“Cayce,” he called at me. “Is that you?”

“Aye, it is Faolan. How are you?” I stepped towards him warily. No part of me had any desire to interact with the man, but the gentleman in me took over.

“Things are well as ever, Cayce, I hear you’ve been sucked into the stupidity of the university life.”

“Indeed, I have.” I grimaced.

“Have you heard about what happened to my hoor of a sister?”

“Which one?” I questioned politely, but I could tell by his stale voice that he meant Beibhinn.

Beibhinn was the oldest daughter and was Faolan’s closest sibling.  She was about my age, and was the only good thing that had managed to come out of that family’s household.

“Beibhinn.” He responded flatly, confirming my suspicions. “She has left us to go work in the city.”

“How is that bad thing?” I inquired.

“She knows her duty is to pass on the tradition of agriculture. It is all of our duties, and as I’m sure you recall, she had quite a knack for doing so, she helped us through the plague.”

I nodded my head in understanding. “I’m sorry to hear that, but I suppose she has found a knack that suits her more.”

Before Faolan can go on a rant, I nodded my head in respect and headed on my way.

As I continued down the path, I recalled the plague vividly.

Everything had been wiped out overnight. My family awoke to a murdered harvest. What little hope the O’Brainoan’s had of earning a living was completely washed away.

Beibhinn, in her non-inherited kindness had managed to bring forth some sort of food out of the nothing to save her family.

I smiled at the thought that she had found a way to not pass on the tradition of poverty and slothfulness her family had been so insistent on and brushed the thought of the O’Brainoan’s aside.

Suddenly, my toes found themselves sinking into healthy soil.

I turned my gaze away from the narrow horizon, and found myself on the well-known plot of land of ole’ crazy Mr. Eamonn.

He was a kind-hearted man. I had never quite understood why my ole man regarded him as a lunatic.

“It’s insanity, Cayce.” My da used to ramble. “I don’t think the man sleeps. He just sits on his porch watching his land, wasting his life away. There has to be something up with the man, don’t ever go near him, Cayce, ya hear?”

Being the respectful lad that I was, I never disobeyed this demand of my father, but now as I looked across the almost heavenly field, I found myself walking directly towards the wrinkled farmer who had never taken his eyes off of his land.

“Ah, Cayce Nolan, I’ve been waiting for you to pay me a visit.” The man’s blue eyes seemed to stare straight through my soul.

“Excuse me, Mr. Eamonn, but I do not understand.  I have never come to see you before.”

“Yes, you have, my boy. Every time you have walked through my land on one of your curious strolls, your mind has visited me. Your eyes have asked me thousands of questions. You have just not given me the chance to answer them until now.” He grinned wisely as if he had just caught a child doing a playful act.

I stared at him for approximately thirty seconds before I realized my mouth was gaping wide. Pinching my lips together, I reasserted myself and tried to restart the conversation.

“Well, then Mr. Eamonn, I have some questions for you.”

“You’re not going to run away this time?” He chuckled to himself. “I know what your father thinks of my farming strategy.”

The man had caught me there. Every time I had ever made eye contact with him, I had run. Run because I was afraid of what my father thought of him, but when the whole earth seemed to have been wiped out by the plague five years ago, one place had been left standing and that was the land Mr. Eammon. Rumors had stated that it was the result of sorcery that saved his land, but my conscience disagreed.

“No, sir.” I held my ground. “I want to know how you managed to save your land, and why you never sleep.”

The old man’s eyes smiled at me, and there appeared to be this wisdom behind is sallow iris that outdid any knowledge I had ever attained through books

“Let me begin by asking you this, lad. It is my understanding that your father has taught you clearly that land is a man’s prized possession did he not?”

“Yes, sir.” I scooted my way into the rocking chair beside him.

“Your father was right in telling you that. The one thing that has caused the most deaths and started the most wars is land. If you have land, then you have something to take pride in.  You must care for it as if it was a child or it will go nowhere.”

“That is understood, sir.” I replied. “My father has always done that, but not to the extent of never taking his eyes off of it as it appears you have.”

“Now, lad, does it look like I have any other responsibilities? I have never been married, never had any children of my own, and whether it is out of judgment of my farming or jealousy towards my continuous profit, I appear to have no friends to visit with.  The Good Lord has blessed me with one thing and that is my land, and I intend to care for it to the best of my ability.”

I shrugged my shoulders in acknowledgement.

“I have observed the neighboring farmers’ ways all these years.   Why do you think the O’Brainoan clan has turned out the way they are and with a barren crop at that.”

“It was a lack of guidance, sir, a lack of love; I guess you could even narrow it down to a lack of supervision and observance.”

“You are correct.  It burdens me that those children have such careless parents. Now, I have watched you and your family extremely close. Your father is a good farmer, a good husband, a good father, and overall a good man, but he does have his failings, as all men do.   Every person in the agriculture business must learn to always be observant of what the sky, animals, and earth is telling them in regard to future blessings or set-backs. The night before the plague, all three of us your da, Hugh, and I were sitting on our respective porches.  Hugh was drinking a glass of brandy while his children rolled in the mud, your father had his head turned away from the land, watching Hugh with disgust. I’m not blaming him for I would have been doing the same if my first instinct was not to listen to nature.  Meanwhile, I was observing the sky, and planning for what I must do to salvage my crop.”

“What are you insinuating?” I asked, concerned that he may have insulted my father.

“I am trying to explain to you that my crop’s salvation was not a work of sorcery, as some seem to believe it; rather, it was a work of observance. I had learned long ago that slothfulness never brings any fruit other than more laziness, and that judging is in fact the opposite of observing; it causes negligence.  Your father forgot his morals in the breath of a moment, and in that breath, lost everything, but nature does not punish forever, he is prospering again, but he has not ceased to judge. I tell you, dear lad. It would be good for you to learn from your observances. I see the wisdom behind your walks.  Do not allow the knowledge given to you to go in one ear and out the other.”

Mr. Eamonn nodded his head at me to indicate that he had said all he wanted, and I nodded back in return. “Thank you, sir.”

I stepped off the porch and wandered home, his words ringing in my head.

I never forgot the lesson I’d learned that day; it taught me more than any book ever could.  That I could learn more from observing, and act more from that knowledge than any man could from hours of toil if he proceeds to enjoy a moment of vice.

Now, I sit forty years later, still recalling Mr. Eammon’s advice as my grandchildren run joyfully around my feet, and my land is filled with prospering plants, still observing, still learning, still applying lessons in my heart from the wanderings in my mind.

 

 

A Paradox of Paradoxes

“I know myself, but that is all.” Thus is the phrase with which F. Scott Fitzgerald ends his masterpiece, This Side of Paradise. The novel is told from the point of view of a philosophical intellectual known as Amory Blaine.  It is the tale of his life, depicting his many struggles and painful character development, representing the political viewpoint of the world during that time period.   Although he remains a deep thinker throughout the story, his thought process and personal views seem to take many drastic changes as the novel goes on.  Starting out as a young boy who believes he owns the world, the book ends with a broken man who has resigned himself to raising a white flag and surrendering to the cruelty of the world.  Amory Blaine introduces many notable philosophies throughout the novel, for example; the need to be successful, the inability to see evil, and the opposition to change.

In the beginning of the novel, it is evident that Amory holds himself to a high standard in every aspect of his life.  He believes that he has great potential, and that it is imperative to be successful in worldly things. “If one can’t be a great artist or a great soldier,” he claims. “The next best thing is to be a great criminal” (Fitzgerald 18).   This appears to be the one moral he sticks to during his early life.  Amory Blaine becomes a great scholar, a great friend, a great lover, and a great scourge.  Although this life of success entertains the young man for some time, he comes to the realization, as all people have to come to at some point, that the constant striving for triumph is tiring and fleeting.  It caused him to lose “half his personality in a year” (Fitzgerald 117).  As the burden of life’s sorrows began to be placed more on Amory’s shoulders, he started to give up his philosophy of success.

After his college years, Amory faced the horrors of war and much heartbreak.  The once spritely and brilliant young boy was a broken man beginning to create his hatred for the world. “If we could only learn to look on evil as evil, whether it’s clothed in filth or monotony or magnificence” (Fitzgerald 175).  Amory comes to understand that the world changes its definition of wrong based on what is popular at the time.  Frustrated by his many losses, he begins to blame his pain on the fickleness of society.  “It’s the whole thing,” he asserted. “It’s the one dividing line between good and evil. I’ve never met a man who led a rotten life and didn’t have a weak will” (Fitzgerald 149).  Convinced that this was the imperative opposition to cruelty, Amory begins to strive for the one thing he believes he can control, his will.  Although this seems to work for a period of time, even his strong will becomes worn down, and he must revert to yet another life moral.

Amory comes to the decisive conclusion that the problems within the world are completely reliant on society’s opposition to change.  “They haven’t clear logical ideas on one single subject except a sturdy, stolid opposition to change” (Fitzgerald 317).  Stating this with stern confidence, Amory begins to take on the mindset of a socialist.  He does not agree with the way Socialism has been carried out in the world, but he has now come to the understanding and agreement for the backbone upon which it was created.  His heartbreak and loss of all dignity he believes rests on the fact that, “They don’t think uneducated people should be highly paid, but they won’t see that if they don’t pay the uneducated people their children are going to be uneducated too” (Fitzgerald 318).  During his first argument in favor of socialism, Amory introduces many new concepts to his audience.   He claims that the only flaw to socialism is the fact that human nature is prone to be greedy, but if people learn to fight against their self-love and become open to the reality of change, Socialism is a decent structure to turn to.  “I’m sick of a system where the richest man gets the most beautiful girl if he wants her, where the artist without an income has to sell his talents to a button manufacturer” (Fitzgerald 318).  Fitzgerald speaks through the mouth of his protagonist, proclaiming the truth that the darkness of the world is due very much too undeserved fame and undermined creativity and uniqueness all which spurn from the opposition to break out of the comfortable norm and embrace change.

Fitzgerald introduces countless philosophies in his novel, This Side of Paradise, that continue to be relevant lessons in our modern world; including: the human need to be successful, the inability to see evil, and the opposition to change.  The main protagonist, Amory Blaine, starts out as a confident young man who holds the firm belief that his dignity and personality are rooted in his worldly success no matter where that category of success rests in.   He soon learns that this success-driven personality is “a physical matter almost entirely; it lowers the people it acts on” (Fitzgerald 118).  Beginning to be broken down by the hatred he has seen in the world, Amory blames his hurt on society’s inability to recognize evil.  He comprehends that all his heartbreak was largely due to “evil creeping towards Amory under the mask of beauty” (Fitzgerald 255).  Amory’s final philosophical claim lies under his newfound belief that the issues in the world are only occurring because of people’s opposition towards change.   Once also against change, but now a broken man, Amory states “I’m in love with change and I’ve killed my conscience” (Fitzgerald 319.) This Side of Paradise does not end on a positive note but it is not necessarily a negative one either.  It concludes with an understanding that, at least in this world, the only thing you can claim to understand or control is yourself.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. Scribner. New York. 1920. Print.