Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is one of those stories that is such a classic that most people know the story without ever reading the novel. It has become a classic for a very good reason. The story is timeless!! On an obvious level, this is a novel about the true spirit of Christmas. On another, perhaps more subtle level. the novel is about the economic disparity between the wealthy and the poor/ working class. This economic dissimilitude was present in Dickens’ time and has been present, intermittently, for centuries. A true classic!!
Danielle Steel is a great novelist. I have loved every novel of hers that I have ever read. This novel was no exception. The only real problem I had was that I usually like her characters, but I didn’t really like Valerie or April very much at all. They had their good moments, but they seemed absorbed in their own worlds. The storyline reached the same level as Steel’s previous work and the novel wrapped up just as tidily.
Contrary to the title, there is no real “madman” in this story. This story is an indictment of the aristocracy. To do so openly could have had dire consequences for the alleged madman. Those potential consequences necessitated the protagonist to use the guise of “madness”. Those same consequences necessitated that Lu Xun make a point of leaving the protagonist nameless.
As with all of Lu Hsun’s work, he uses the short stories in this collection to criticize the society he lives in. I haven’t read all of the short stories. The stories I read are “Kung-I-Chi”, “Medicine”, “Storm in a Teacup” and “Soap”. In “Kung-I-Chi”, the title character clearly seems to have been a member of the elite until he failed his exams; causing him to become unemployable and someone to be mocked and laughed at by the rest of society. “Medicine” is the story of a family with a sick child and the reprecussions of the supposed ‘cure’. The cure is requires human sacrifice, but, by the story’s conclusion, we learn that not all is as it appears to be. “Storm in a Teacup” and “Soap” were a bit odd. Women and children, especially children, were mistreated in “Storm in a Teacup”, but there seems to be no clear plot and the ending was a bit flat. “Soap” was a better story. It had a clear, well-developed plot, but I don’t really understand what criticism Lu Xun was trying to make. The main male character in the story criticized the education his son was getting.
I’ve read this play twice now. Both readings were required. This latest reading was better, but only marginally so. “Gabler” is Hedda’s maiden name. She is the newly-wed wife of George Tesman. It is not a love match; at least not on Hedda’s part. They marry because George is expected to be getting a job with a high position in life and an increase in salary. George, for all his academic intelligence, is a dunce as far as common sense goes. The play makes it clear that Hedda has been stringing suitors along for years. Her desire to have every man at her beck and call keeps her from being a real friend to anyone at all. Even as the play closes none of the characters are happy.(less)
Honestly, I think it was Charlotte's Web when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It's the first book I can clearly remember reading to myself. The Amelia Bedelia series and an A.A. Milne story collection are the first stories that were read to me when I was much younger.