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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »

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monicaprochnow has commented on (3) products.

Arabian Nights, Volume 1: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights (Signet Classics) by Richard Francis Burton
Arabian Nights, Volume 1: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights (Signet Classics)

monicaprochnow, August 5, 2012

Despite its intimidating size, this edition of Arabian Nights is a quick and easy read. Its contents are surprisingly familiar. Read on:

The tale begins, essentially, with a loving king whose wife has betrayed him. She was discovered to have had an affair with a slave, and the king immediately slays them both in response. Although his actions were justified by his authority, he is heartbroken over the loss of his wife. The king decides to marry each single woman in the kingdom, one at a time. After each nuptuals, the king enjoys them for a night, taking their maidenhood and satisfying his lusty pleasures, but then has them slayed the next day to prevent himself from falling victim again to another woman's infidelity. He is then free to marry another one that next night, only to repeat the slaying again. He does this until there are no more virgins left in the kingdom except his own adviser's daughter, whom the king has promised to spare. The daughter, who is intellectual and clever, insists that she marries the king anyway, and uses her storytelling skills every night to pique the king's intellectual interests and sparing future women from harm.

The majority of the book is the tales that the daughter (new queen) tells to the king each night, staving off her own demise. These tales include familiar ones like "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" and "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" and are in their original form.

The book has a story-within-a-story format, and it provides an interesting insight into an ancient Muslim culture. Some of these stories are a bit bloody and, on occasion, a bit formulaic, but the book is an enjoying read overall. Oh, and know that the Richard Burton who served as the translator is not the same Richard Burton who was married to the actress Elizabeth Taylor.
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Arabian Nights, Volume 1: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights (Signet Classics) by Richard Francis Burton
Arabian Nights, Volume 1: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights (Signet Classics)

monicaprochnow, August 5, 2012

Despite its intimidating size, this edition of Arabian Nights is a quick and easy read. Its contents are surprisingly familiar. Read on:

The tale begins, essentially, with a loving king whose wife has betrayed him. She was discovered to have had an affair with a slave, and the king immediately slays them both in response. Although his actions were justified by his authority, he is heartbroken over the loss of his wife. The king decides to marry each single woman in the kingdom, one at a time. After each nuptuals, the king enjoys them for a night, taking their maidenhood and satisfying his lusty pleasures, but then has them slayed the next day to prevent himself from falling victim again to another woman's infidelity. He is then free to marry another one that next night, only to repeat the slaying again. He does this until there are no more virgins left in the kingdom except his own adviser's daughter, whom the king has promised to spare. The daughter, who is intellectual and clever, insists that she marries the king anyway, and uses her storytelling skills every night to pique the king's intellectual interests and sparing future women from harm.

The majority of the book is the tales that the daughter (new queen) tells to the king each night, staving off her own demise. These tales include familiar ones like "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" and "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" and are in their original form.

The book has a story-within-a-story format, and it provides an interesting insight into an ancient Muslim culture. Some of these stories are a bit bloody and, on occasion, a bit formulaic, but the book is an enjoying read overall. Oh, and know that the Richard Burton who served as the translator is not the same Richard Burton who was married to the actress Elizabeth Taylor.
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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Fight Club

monicaprochnow, August 4, 2012

I teach this novel in my senior-level high school class. While it isn't exactly the classical literature that school administrators prefer, this novel is one that my students, particularly my low-/regular-level male students, enjoy. Time and again, these students tell me that this is not only their favorite book, but for many of them, it is the first book they have truly read--usually they have faked reading the previous assigned novels only to get a passing grade on their assignments.

Now, down to the nitty gritty: This is a post-modern novel that struggles with societal definitions of what it means to be a man in the 20th/21st century and the hypocrisy of our gender-based identities and role expectations. The novel also questions the notion of "success" and explores the frustrations that go along with chasing and finding the American Dream. It also presents ideas about power--who has it, the collective power of people, how to obtain/abuse power, and how power can be used to create, strengthen, or obliterate people and communities. And finally, this novel is great for those who need to feed their rebellious, anti-establishment side. Read the book, of course, and then you can watch the movie and compare the directorial choices.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



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