Category Archives: Art & Literature

Angela’s Ashes

Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1)Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Frank McCourt won a Pulitzer Prize for this novel. I picked this up as an audio book at a bargain book sale and loved it. Why? Because his father was a drunk and the family lived in squalor. This was the condition of many immigrants in the early 1900s throughout the Depression. McCourt’s voice and ingenuity keeps readers engaged; otherwise, the story would be so tragic, it would be difficult to read.

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Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Solomon Northup is an intelligent man, a great writer, and a hero. His story corroborates my Civil War research. If a slave had a benevolent master, he was treated well. If not, he suffered terribly. Solomon was such a kind man, it was hard to see him suffer. Worse still was Patsey. She was such a cheerful, hardworking slave; and yet, her master abused and tortured her. When Patsey got whipped, it left me physically ill. It’s rumored that she left Epps’ plantation with the Union Army. I certainly hope so, and I hope God blessed her for her suffering.

My friend in prison said this book gave him hope to go on living.

God bless Solomon Northup for touching our lives today.

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The Children’s Hour

I recently saw the play The Children’s Hour performed in my hometown. The actors did a great job. Lillian Hellman is one of my favorite playwrights. I think she’s up there with Tennessee Williams, Ibsen, and Chekov.

old schoolhouse

old schoolhouse

The Children’s Hour was based on a true story about two women running a school in Scotland in the early 1800s. Back then most professions weren’t open to women, so this was their livelihood. One of the female students disliked a teacher. The girl spread a rumor that the teacher and her co-teacher were lesbians. In real life, the teachers took the matter to court and won. The only problem? Their reputations had been ruined.

Hellman’s play came out in 1934. It had numerous runs, but it was banned in certain cities because discussing homosexuality was taboo. However, I don’t believe the two female characters were gay. Women can and do love each other. Some women are jealous if a good friend marries. Back then, to be gay meant you could be thrown into prison for “indecent” acts or “unnatural” affections. When I first saw the movie with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, I thought the underlying theme was gossip: telling other people’s personal business, whether it’s true or false.

Gossip has destroyed churches, reputations; even marriages. Gossip is a sin, but let’s face it: people love gossip. Tabloid magazines make millions on it.

Well, times have certainly changed. Gays are accepted, but gossip is still deadly. Hellman’s play shows us how deadly gossip can be.

 

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