Showing posts from February, 2012

Part XVI: Hunchback of Notre Dame: novel vs Disney cartoon

Spoilers from: The novel by Victor Hugo and Disney cartoon

Today, the most familiar form of Hunchback of Notre Dame is the Disney cartoon instead of the novel by Victor Hugo. If I could say what the cartoon is like when comparing it to a novel, I'd describe it as a castrated version of the novel, as well as very infuriating. Before reading the book, I used to like cartoon, but not anymore. There are so many things wrong with the cartoon and the way it created the characters as well as the plot, which I will discuss in this article. I will briefly compare and contrast characters and discuss some plot points of cartoon vs the novel.

One of the things Disney had done is change the character of Phoebus being from someone you want to murder to a "good guy". In the book Phoebus is already engaged to Fleur De Lis, and is a crude soldier who has no finese or anything of that kind. He lusts after Esmeralda, not loving her or caring about her. (Spoiler: In the end when he might ha…

Book Review of #3 The Girl from Junchow by Kate Furnivall

Name of Book: The Girl from Junchow

Author: Kate Furnivall

ISBN: 978-0-425-22764-0

Publisher: Berkley

Part of a Series: Lydia Saga; The Jewel of St. Petersburg, The Russian Concubine prequels

Type of book: Russia, China, communism, 1929-1930, relationships, interracial relationship, Asian male/white female, protection

Year it was published: 2009


China, 1929. For years Lydia Ivanova believed her father was killed by the Bolsheviks. But when she learns he is imprisoned in Stalin-controlled Russia, the fiery girl is willing ot leave everything behind-even her Chinese lover, Chang An Lo.

With her half brother, Alexei, Lydia sets out on a dangerous journey. Tension grows between the two as Alexei's search for his past threatens Lydia's quest to find her father and forge a new future for herself. But when Alexei abruptly disappears, Lydia is left alone, penniless in soviet Russia. As she continues her search for information, Lydia finds herself caught in a perilous entanglement wi…

Book Review of #9 The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Name of Book: The First Four Years

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

ISBN: 0-06-440031-X

Publisher: Harper Trophy

Part of a Series: Little House Series

Type of book: 1885-1889, farming life, sickness, storms, tragedies, prairie, pioneer

Year it was published: 1971


Laura and Almanzo Wilder begin married life on their small prairie homestead with high hopes. The beautiful prairie world seems like a paradise. There are wildflowers in the spring, wild geese in autumn, pony rides, and warm and happy times together. But each year brings unexpected disasters as well- storms destroy the crops; there is sickness, fire, and always, always, unpaid debts. The first four years often prove heartbreaking for the Wilders. Still, they have each other, and their little daughter Rose, and a fierce determination succeed.


I didn't understand why Laura couldn't set Rose to working on things like Ma did on Laura and other sisters. I also am shocked that for someone who helped take care of Gr…

Book Review of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

Name of Book: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Author: Victor Hugo

ISBN: 9780451527882

Publisher: Signet Classic

Type of book: France, Cathedral, forbidden love, square love, secrets, 1482, Paris

Year it was published: 1831 (version I have 1965)


The setting of this extraordinary historical novel is medieval Paris: a city of vividly intermingled beauty and grotesquerie, surging with violent life under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame. Against this background Victor Hugo unfolds the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the monstrous hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work which gives full plya to the author's brilliant historical imagination, his remarkable powers of description. Whether depicting the frenzy of a brutish mob or hte agony of a solitary soul, whether capturing the drunken blaze of of sunligh…

Book Review of Evelina by Fanny Burney

Name of Book: Evelina

Author: Fanny Burney

ISBN: 0-19-281596-2

Publisher: Oxford World's Classics

Type of book: society, 1777-1778, Britain, orphan, manners, country, diversions, company

Year it was published: 1778


Evelina, the first of Burney's novels, was published anonymously and brough her immediate fame. It tells the story of a young girl, fresh from the provinces, whose initiation into the ways of hte world is frequently painful, though it leads to self-discovery, moral growth, and, finally, happiness. Hilarious comedy and moral gravity make the novel a fund of entertainment and wisdom. Out of the graceful shifts from the idyllic to the near-tragic and realistic, Evelina emerges as a fully realized character. And out of its treatment of contrasts- the peace of the countryside and the cultured and social excitement of London and Bristol, the crows od life-like vulgarians and the elegant gentry- the novel reveals superbly the life and temper of eighteenth-century Englan…

Book Review of #8 These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Name of Book: These Happy Golden Years

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

ISBN:  0060264802

Publisher: Harper Trophy Book

Part of a Series: Little House Series

Type of book: Settled, courting, prairie, pioneer, working, schooling, growing up, marrying, 1883-1885

Year it was published: 1943


Laura, not yet sixteen, takes a job teaching school in a drafty shanty twelve miles from home. It's a terrifying job. Most of her pupils are taller than she is- and she has to board with a hateful, crazed lady. Laura is miserable, but she must help to keep her blind sister Mary in school. And every Friday, when the school week is over, Almanzo arrives in his sleigh-come all twelve miles across the desolate icy slough to take her home to her family for the weekend. Could it be love?


Just like Laura is growing up, so we are growing up with her and we see her start caring for the trends, getting jobs and staying busy, all to help the family. The family no longer seems to be isolated, and Lau…

Book Review of Brothers by Da Chen

Name of Book: Brothers

Author: Da Chen

ISBN: 978-1-4000-9728-9

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books

Type of book: China, 1960s-1980s, bastard brother, ridiculous coincidences, true love, money, power, wealth, ambition

Year it was published: 2006


At the height of China’s Cultural Revolution a powerful general fathered two sons. Tan was born to the general’s wife and into a life of comfort and luxury. His half brother, Shento, was born to the general’s mistress, who threw herself off a cliff in the mountains of Balan only moments after delivering her child. Growing up, each remained ignorant of the other’s existence. In Beijing, Tan enjoyed the best schools, the finest clothes, and the prettiest girls. Shento was raised on the mountainside by an old healer and his wife until their deaths landed him in an orphanage, where he was always hungry, alone, and frightened. Though on divergent roads, each brother is driven by a passionate desire—one to glorify his father, the other to seek revenge…

Planned Books

Books I'm Reading:

Mansfield Park- Jane Austen 128/372
Evelina-Fanny Burney 193/406
Brothers- Da Chen 291/419
Les Liaisons Dangereuses- Choderlos DeLaclos 106/396
The Count of Monte Cristo-Alexandre Dumas 174/531
The Hunchback of Notre Dame-Victor Hugo 368/501
Homeland- John Jakes 20/1174
Gone with the wind- Margaret Mitchell 40/1037
Bury Me Deep-Christopher Pike 56/211
Fall Into Darkness-Christopher Pike 72/213
The Eternal Enemy- Christopher Pike 43/180
Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott 22/405

The Good Earth- Pearl Buck
2. Sons 92/313

The Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
3. The Warning Voice 184/613
Lydia Trilogy- Kate Furnivall
3. The Girl from Junchow 312/488
People Saga Quartet- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
2. People of the fire 55/467
The Storyteller Trilogy-Sue Harrison
1. Song of the River 56/560
Tigress Series-Jade Lee
6. Tempted Tigress 147/346
As Long as we both shall live-Lurlene McDaniel
1. 'Till Death do us part 19/203
Little House Series-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Book Review of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Name of Book: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Bronte

ISBN: 0-553-21141-2

Publisher:Bantam Classic

Type of book: British, 1700s-1802, interracial romance, curse, all in family, supernatural, soul-mates

Year it was published: 1847 (version I have 1983)


"My great thought in living is Heathcliff. If all else perished, and HE remained, I should still continue to be...Nelly, I AM Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure...but as my own being."

WUTHERING HEIGHTS is the only novel of Emily Bronte, who died a year after its publication at teh age of thirty. A brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death, it is also a fierce vision of metaphysical passion, in which heaven and hell, nature and society, and dynamic and passive forces are powerfully juxtaposed. Unique, mystical, with a timeless appeal, it has become a classic of English literature.


For me personally, all the characters are not likable. I felt sorry for Heathcliff, a…

Simon and Zoe

Story Origin:

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause (Click here to read my review.)

Story Summary:

Zoe is a seventeen year old girl who enjoys writing dark poetry and unfortunately has a mother dying of cancer in a hospital, as well as her best friend Lorraine moving away. She and her father are not close and she seems to have a danger streak of sorts. One day while walking at a park at night, she comes upon Simon whom she finds beautiful.

Simon has a body of a teenager, but in fact he's a vampire who tries to avenge his mother by trying to kill his brother Christopher, another vampire who has a body of a child and does sick things to women.

The two as well meet a number of times; Simon follows her home a few times, (doesn't sneak up into her room though.) and somehow love blossoms between them. At some point Simon tells her about the vampire's curse, and of his family history. Zoe also shares her pains with him, the fact that her mother is dying of cancer, that she and …

Stephanie Ryder and Jen En Yong

Story Origin:

'Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin (Click here if you want to read my review.)

Story Summary:

Stephanie Ryder, a 21? year old young woman arrived to Chungking for a journalistic assignment and gets into a scuffle with a soldier named Towering Cloud Hsu who harmed a pregnant woman when they try to clear out the slums. When she transported the woman to a hospital, she meets Jen En Yong. (Jen Yong,) a Chinese doctor and its literally love at first sight. Jen secretly trains doctors and with some help sends them over to Yenan?

Stephanie and Jen date a few times before she gets sent to a special city that no one has been in. In there, during an attack, she captures pneumonia and along with others must live in a cave. Very soon, Jen joins her and through difficulties and hardships they get married. Worried about her health, Jen tells her to go back home where she can recuperate and must also deal with her father's ignorance or hatred of her marriage to Jen.

She recovers a…

The Young Girl and the Lover

Story Origin:

The Lover by Marguerite Duras and The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras. (I've only read The North China Lover, my apologies. (Click here for review of North China Lover.) 

Story Summary:

The young girl, who is never given a name, (most likely she's the author,) is a poor young girl of thirteen or fourteen years. She lives with her mother, her brothers, and the servant named Thanh who acts as a family's servant of some sorts. The older brother is always trouble, and the younger one is "special needs".

One day, while riding on a ferry, she meets a Chinese man (Manchurian) who's at least twenty-seven years old and is extremely wealthy. He offers her a ride to town on his car, which she accepts, and in a way their relationship begins. All the time they talk about various things and he lusts after her, while its unknown what she might have felt. After the ride, they part for a little while.

Apparently, the  lover has fallen hard for her, for he …

Newland Archer and Countess Ellen Olenska

Story Origin:

From The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. (Click here to read my review.) 

Story Summary:

(I've read this story only once so I slightly find it confusing.) Newland Archer is looking forward to getting married to May Welland, but very soon May Welland's cousin, Ellen Olenska returns to New York. At first, Newland Archer doesn't care for her, although because of his love for May he tries to help her out.

But when he starts visiting her and starts seeing how different she is than May and that she's liberated and a free-thinker, he starts to fall in love with her and no longer has the same emotions for May. (Newland wants for women to think for themselves instead of thinking by societal expectations.) He starts visiting often, even sending flowers towards her.

However, Ellen's husband, Count Olenski, wants her back, while she wants a divorce. The society of is of 1870s New York (the Old New York.) so if Ellen gets a divorce from her husband, then there w…

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler

Story Origin:

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell. (Click here for a review.) 

Story Summary:

(The book itself a little over a thousand pages. I will skip over most of the things though. Very sorry.)

This book begins in 1861, when Scarlett O'Hara was sixteen years old and goes to a ball where she overhears a dreadful message that the man she loves, Ashley Wilkes, will be marrying Melanie Hamilton whom Scarlett holds in contempt.

At the same ball, as she's having a conversation in the library with Ashley in hopes of eloping with him, she grows angry with his words and actions and slaps him as well as throws the vase. This wakes up Rhett Butler who set the South against him by being truthful about how civil war will play out.

Scarlett, out of anger and spite, marries Melanie's brother Charles Hamilton who is supposed to be a fiancĂ© for one of Ashley's sisters, either India or Honey Wilkes. He dies and leaves her with a child. Her mother, worried about her, moves her t…

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy

Story Origin:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. ( Review not created.)

Story Summary:

(I've read this few years back so I'm sorry that my memory is kind of faulty.) Elizabeth Bennet has four sisters and no brothers. The sisters aren't married at all, and their parents desire to play a matchmaker to the girls. One day Elizabeth and Jane go to a ball where they meet two men; Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley for Jane.

At first sight of Elizabeth, at the ball, Mr. Darcy makes disparaging remarks towards Elizabeth, which causes her to judge him extremely harshly.However, later on, Mr. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth and begins to pursue her.

During that time, the officers move in, in particular Wickham who falls in love with Elizabeth, and also a priest visits in hopes of marrying Elizabeth just for convenience, but Elizabeth rejects him and he marries Elizabeth's friend. Lydia, the third or forth youngest Bennet sister, ends up eloping with Wickham and scandaliz…

Emily St Aubert and Valancourt

Story Origin:

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (Click here for review.) 

Story Summary:

(Due to the nature and scope of the novel, I will skip the sections that don't have anything to do with Valancourt, very sorry.)

In 1584 in Gascony, Emily St. Aubert lives happily with her parents who taught her to control her passions and to eschew the "world" and enjoy the natural landscapes surrounding their castles. For a while Emily lives in pleasure, until the fateful moment when her father becomes. Her father gets better, but then her mother becomes sick and dies. To recover from tragedy, both Emily and her father decide to go on a trip.

While making a trip, Emily and her father become acquainted with Valancourt who also has similar views to Emily's father. St. Aubert also enjoys his company and the three make good companions. At one point, when they become separated, without their knowledge, Valancourt pursues their carriage, and not knowing it was him, St Aubert s…

Pygmalion and Galatea

Story Origin:

Originally Greek,but Ovid tells it too.

Story Summary:

The story has the same ending, but its told slightly differently. In Robert Graves' Mythology Vol I myth 65, basically Pygmalion fell in love with Aphrodite (Greek Goddess of love) but she wouldn't have him. So instead, he created a woman that looked exactly like Aphrodite and Aphrodite brought it to life as Galatea.

Together they married and had a son and a daughter; Paphus and Metharme. Paphus is the father of Cinyras who founded the Cyprian city of Paphos and built a temple dedicated to Aphrodite.

In Edith Hamilton's version, Pygmalion was a sculptor who abhorred all women and vowed never to marry anyone. However, despite his hatred, he created an exquisite statue of the "perfect" woman. He isn't satisfied and soon he fell in love with his own creation, pining and unhappy.

He bought gifts, clothes, trinkets for her, often dreaming of her thanking him. He took her to bed with him like a chi…

Pyramus and Thisbe

Story Origin:

Ovid. There appears to be no Greek version of the story.

Story Summary:

Pyramis and Thisbe grew up in the same city next to each other. I think in today's terms they lived in a duplex styled housing. Throughout the years they fell in love, but their parents forbade the marriage and the love.

There was a crack in the wall where they could communicate with one another and even barely kiss one another. However, they desired to be together.

One day they agreed to meet at a world famous tomb of someone, and Thisbe came first. She waited and waited but Pyramis didn't show up. She saw that a lioness appeared, and she ran away, dropping her cloak on the ground.

Pyramis came along, saw the lioness and saw that she carried Thisbe's cloak with her. Thinking that his lover is dead, Pyramis blamed himself for what happened, then took a dagger and plunged it into his heart, staining the mulberry bush.

Meanwhile, Thisbe came back, for she didn't want for her lover to thi…

Baucis and Philemon

Story Origin:

Ovid. (There's a somewhat similar in Greek Myths, but names and circumstances are completely different. Flood is only thing they have in common.)

Story Summary:

Whenever Jupiter tired of being on Mount Olympus, he grew curious about mortal lives, and with his companion Mercury, the two descended on earth for some adventures.

One day they descended to the town called Phrygia as poor travelers to see how the people would receive them. No matter where they went to, they were shunned and turned away until they went into a hovel where they were greeted by an old couple; Baucis and Philemon.

There they treated the gods like royalty by giving them delicious food to eat, and nice drinks as well. When they exhausted their efforts in catching a goose, however, Jupiter stopped them and told them who they were, and told them as well that he flooded the entire countryside with water.

He gave them a temple where they can worship him and asked them if they desired something. Philemo…

Daphne and Apollo

Story Origin:

Originally Greek. Ovid tells story.

Story Summary:

I remember in one version I read that Apollo got into a fight with Cupid and Cupid used his arrows to cause Apollo fall in love with Daphne, daughter of the River god Peneius, to prove that love is a very powerful emotion.

In Robert Graves' Mythology Vol I, the paragraph from 21st myth, Apollo had long been in love with her so it was no sudden impulse and even killed a rival of his, Leucippus. Later on, the book states that Mother Earth rescued Daphne and sent her to Crete under the name of Pasiphae and instead of her body, a laurel tree stood.

In Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Daphne is described as a woman who hates marriage and who desires to be like goddess Diana (a virgin goddess of hunting and forest.) Her father dislikes her decision and wants grandchildren.

One day, Apollo began to chase her, but she ran away from him. At first even he had a difficult time keeping up with her, but soon he overtook her and begged…

Ceyx and Alcyone

Story Origin:

Greek. Ovid is the best source for the story.

Story Summary:

There's a Greek version of the myth and one for Ovid. Ceyx, is a King of Thessaly and son of Morningstar known as Lucifer (NOT THE CHRISTIAN LUCIFER!!!) Alcyone is the daughter of King of the Winds named Aeolus and Aegiale. Both were madly in love with one another, and according to Greek Myths Vol I by Robert Graves, Alcyone compared herself to Hera and Ceyx to Zeus which caused later problems, although Edith Hamilton's Mythology omits that fact.

What is known is that Ceyx was compelled to take a trip far away from his beloved Alcyone and on the way back home, a storm comes over (supposedly by angry Zeus,) and drowns him. His last thoughts were of Alcyone.

Alcyone counts off days until his return and busies herself a great deal. She prays to gods and goddesses, and Hera answers her, taking pity on her. She gives instructions to her messenger Iris to fly away into God of Slumber's cave and send Alcyo…

Orpheus and Eurydice

Story Origin:

Orpheus with Argonauts told by Apollonius of Rhodes. Rest is by Virgil and Ovid according to Mythology by Edith Hamilton. Parts of it will be told from Robert Graves' The Greek Myths Vol. I myth 28 entitled "Orpheus".

Story Summary:

Orpheus is the well-known musician of the wold; such are his voice and playing that thousands and millions are charmed. He himself is the son of the Muse known as Calliope (the muse of epic poetry), and the King of Thrace called Oeagrus.

Before becoming married, he supposedly was with Jason and Argonauts and helped them bypass the Sirens as well as encouraging them. None know how he met up with Eurydice and how he wooed her into becoming his. All that is known is that shortly after the marriage, Eurydice walked through a meadow, stepped on a serpent and has died. ( In Vol. I of Greek Myths, it is speculated that Aristaeus tried to rape her and that is why she ran away.)

Orpheus, devastated by this outcome, made a choice to travel…

Cupid and Psyche

Story Origin:

(According to Edith Hamilton's Mythology) told by Apuleius, Latin writer of 2nd century modern era. Latin names are used and told tale after manner of Ovid.

Story Summary:

Long time ago, a king had three daughters; of which Psyche was the most beautiful. Many people would travel to see her and often compared her to Venus, which caused the goddess to be extremely jealous and angry. She begged her son Cupid to use an arrow to make Psyche fall in love with the most hideous man in existence. When she showed him the girl, Cupid fell in love with her.

Psyche's admirers dwindled, and her parents, alarmed that no one wanted the girl, went to an oracle of Apollo who told them that Psyche is desired by a god and to put her in mourning and leave her on a hill. Reluctantly, it was done as directed.

The wind, Zephyr, meanwhile, took Psyche to a very beautiful and grand house, and at night her husband visited her, not allowing her to see him. It thus continued for a while until…

Something special for the valentines day

The most powerful words in the English language are "Romeo and Juliet" and "star-crossed lovers." With these words images of forbidden love, tragedy, grand schemes are evoked, deeply appealing to the psyche we were raised with.  With all that said, what better way to celebrate February, until Valentines Day than with forbidden lovers? The endings will both be happy and sad, and the couples memorable.

For those who read my blog frequently, you guys know my feelings towards Shakespeare; for those who don't, I never liked him.The reasons are that his language is archaic and I was forced to read him. If you are forced to read somebody whose language is archaic and where you need lots of translation just to understand him, its not likely one thinks of him as genius. Despite my personal feelings, Shakespeare's plays are famous, or at least the phrases are. Since I'm not willing to subject myself to Shakespeare torture, I will not cover his plays or anything o…