Response to Jane Eyre and Discussion on Creating Complex Characters

 

Jane Eyre

photo source: goodreads.com

I recently finished reading for nth time Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  (first published 1847) I find myself usually rereading this novel every winter out of habit. I love this novel for so many different reasons but the main one being that Jane is smart, witty and stands up for herself which should not be taken lightly. The novel is set in the early to mid 19th century and revolves around the story of Jane Eyre from her youth to adult years. Her life story is full of loneliness, pain, seclusion, and hardship. The main subject of the novel is the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, a man about twenty years her senior who hires Jane as a governess for a child he has taken into his home. Besides the love story, a plot which is full of drama and secrets, there are aspects of the novel that really stand out to me.

I am a Writer, obviously, and I do like to write in short fiction. Fiction is a genre that resounds with me on a creative level whenever I may have too many words for just poems. The issue of creating characters that are not one dimensional is one of the elements that I find myself occupied with the most. I have read multiple books with advice on how to create lifelike three-dimensional characters through writing and I found myself amazed (yet again) when reading Bronte’s writing the details and layers that she uses in making Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester so complex. A reoccurring theme in most of the books on fiction writing that I read is that adding complexities to your character (for instance a character that hates liars but in fact lies constantly) is one of the ways in which your character can come to life. A key piece of advice that keeps popping up for me now is also, “Show, don’t tell.” Which is a part of my writing that I have struggled with from the beginning.

How do I show readers through words what my character is like as a person? How do I do this through dialogue, action, and narration without making my writing feel forced?

I know this is not a new question and it is a possibility that whoever reads this post may be dealing with the same obstacles in their own writing. If so, I would love to read some comments on how you, as a writer, try to create complex lifelike characters, what books have you read? what advice have you heard?

As for me, here are a few books that I have read (or am reading) that have been invaluable in my constant learning to write regardless if its fiction, prose, or poetry.

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School

 

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

 

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by [King, Stephen]

photo source: amazon.com

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

I am constantly searching for more books about writing, how to write, and study literature. If anyone has any suggestions please leave them in a comment below! If you would like me to respond to a question about writing please also feel free to message me or leave the question in a comment below!

Thank you so much to all my readers (new and old) for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

 

 

 

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Reflection/Response: Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice

I have most recently finished Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. These two novels are classics of the western European literary tradition and question social status, class, and gender-related issues of 19th century England. I enjoyed both for different reasons and at the same time had my own complications with the two.

Pride and Prejudice (published 1813)

The characters are vibrant and possess a lot of stubborn vigor when it comes to family and gossip. The socio-cultural habits of middle-class and upper-class (somewhat royalty) families are the main subject of this book revolving around complicated marriages, friendships, and of course the tumultuous romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I enjoyed reading this novel again purely because the dialogue is extremely witty and the plot is full of plenty of drama. My complication, or struggle, with this book is probably the same as anyone else’s Elizabeth and Darcy’s behavior, mainly their stubbornness and arrogance which is sometimes frustrating and painful to read. I love Elizabeth for her honest and straight-forward ‘say-it-like-it-is’ style which I think is refreshing to read and comforting. Overall it is a novel I would read again at any opportunity.

Wuthering Heights (published 1847)

This is a much darker more tragic novel than Pride and Prejudice, it is not a happy romance. Lockwood rents a home from Heathcliff and what results is a long story told to  Lockwood by Nelly, a housekeeper about the complicated history of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love and the generation after. Illness, madness (mental illness), rage, and abuse are consistent throughout. There are mysterious elements in this novel such as ghost stories and apparitions, and I believe this could be considered a Gothic Novel. My complication with this story was the role of Nelly, she is the narrator and ultimately a complete meddler in people’s affairs but she has no family, few friends, and is a life-long servant to the two main households in the story making Nelly, in my opinion, an equally complex character to that of Heathcliff and Catherine. I found this novel interesting and heart-wrenching but I gradually became more curious about the possible inspiration or reasons that Emily Bronte would write such a book. Overall I am impressed by this novel and I have been struggling to think of anything I’ve ever read that could be similar to it that is from the same century.

I wanted to give brief reflections on these two novels, to keep it short and sweet. Usually, I would include a little background info on Emily Bronte and Jane Austen but I am thinking about posting a small summary of the lives of Emily and Charlotte Bronte as well as Jane Austen sometime soon. I am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the nth time (it is one of my all-time favorites) I have no idea how many times I have read this novel but it is incredible and I love it, do expect a reflection/response post to this novel as well!

Thank you for reading my reflections and writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

 

 

Marilyn Manson’s latest release ‘Heaven Upside Down’

After years of Marilyn Manson and countless albums, we’ve come to ‘Heaven Upside Down‘ released only a couple weeks ago. ‘Heaven Upside Down’ calls back to the era of Manson where blame was put on the shock rocker for multiple problems within society (notably the Columbine Shootings which would mark Manson for the rest of his career).  Marilyn Manson a.k.a. Brian Warner seeks to shake the public from the comfort it finds within institutions that dumb them down and constricts them to beliefs that may be seen as more harmful (his opinion) than beneficial (Christian religions). It is worth it to look into the philosophical beliefs that Manson has himself and to acknowledge that behind his in your face attitude and abrasive personal beliefs there lies a man that is more brain and wits than just pure “Fuck You!” anthems on repeat.

‘Heaven Upside Down’ reminds me of a few earlier albums by Manson such as Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood, and The Golden Age of Grotesque (albums from the years 1998-2003). The ‘pop-iest’ song on the album I feel would be ‘KILL4ME’ that hooks listeners into a repeated chorus “Would you kill kill kill for me?”, a reminiscent love song that harkens back to the overwhelming betrayal and questioning in ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’. There are also many songs on the album that comment on the socio-political state of America right now giving the album more weight with its sharp lyrical statements and catchy rhythms, songs such as ‘Saturnalia’ ‘Revelation #12’ and ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’. A few songs that remind me of the album ‘Mechanical Animals’ would be ‘Je$u$ Cri$i$’ and ‘Blood Honey’. For ‘Holy Wood’ I would argue for ‘SAY10’ and ‘Tattooed in Reverse’. Although I do feel like many of the songs on this album synthesize multiple elements from these three albums, these particular songs could be interchangeable in where they would fit under as songs like those on ‘Mechanical Animals’, ‘Holy Wood’, or ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’ songs.

This latest album by Manson is a welcomed one. I find relief in the music by one of my favorite artists especially in times like these. I would recommend this album to anyone with an open mind, well versed or new, to the music of Marilyn Manson, it is an album fitting for the season and year but not one to listen to lightly or shuffle through.

Music Videos thus far for songs on the ‘Heaven Upside Down’ album


 

Thank you for reading my writing! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049  is a worthy sequel to the first Blade Runner (1982). This movie is packed with so much detail and references to the first that it requires multiple viewings. The plot is simple, ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) goes in search of an old Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to get some answers. There is too much involved in this simple plot and if I were to give out too many details it would ruin the surprise. The questions that I have are simple and have been explored by other reviewers of the film. ‘Reviews’ not so much, more like critiques. There are two aspects of the film that I found myself questioning. They are as follows 1) role and representation of female figures 2) white male as the oppressor and oppressed in the ‘future’….hmmm

(Possible Spoilers* from here on that don’t ruin the SUPRISE)

*The screen is taken up by K as the leading male role. We are introduced to his mundane life and learn that he is a replicant and Blade Runner working for the future LAPD. His boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) is the only real human woman that he comes into contact with for a good portion of the film. Joshi is tough and emulates a masculine domineering figure over K. At one point Joshi actually demeans K and hits on him at the same time. For Joshi, K is just another weapon she can use to get her job done. This representation of the female figure in 2049 can be contrasted with K’s girlfriend who is a hologram, created and programmed specifically to emotionally please their owners. This holograms name is Joi (Ana de Armas). In the very first scene we actually see Joi she is wearing a 1950’s dress and presents K with a hologram meal of steak and fries that she places over his mundane ‘real’ one. She is constantly flickering here and there donning different clothes (often in the same scene) and asks K about his day. She is manufactured, presented, and used just to please K in the same way as he was created to be a Blade Runner and ultimately hunt down his own species (replicants). So with this first example, my question is, What is Blade Runner 2049 suggesting about the Female/Male relationship (replicant or not) and more importantly what is 2049 saying about the Female in its world? Asking this question along the lines of the heteronormative suggestion that 2049 focuses on.

When I asked myself these two questions after the film, I was disturbed. I love the original movie but I do have a few problems with both when it comes to presentations of the Female. For instance, the ‘love’ scene where Deckard (Harrison Ford) forcibly ‘manhandles’ Rachel (Sean Young) and in the end, they are seen by audiences ‘making out’ (Blade Runner). Rachel is introduced to Deckard in a similar way as audiences are introduced to Joi both are quiet, beautiful, and there to be looked at and enjoyed. They have little to no authority over their own bodies and they are controlled by the dominant male. In 2049, I feel the issue of the ‘real’ Female representation is more serious. Besides Joshi, there is only one known ‘human’ (or part human) female in the entire movie. The ‘real’ females, the ones that ‘have children’ (which seems to be valued above all else, the discussion of birth vs. creation) is almost non-existent. This aspect supports the synthetic future within the film, where everything is a copy of a copy and almost NOTHING is actually organically birthed (except for humans which of course, are the oppressors).

The second aspect of Blade Runner 2049 was that it is a crime noir film with the usual white men (real or replicant) fighting against other white men (bad guys, good guys, detectives, murder, etc). The replicants, K especially, are oppressed and controlled by humans. In contrast, those today who are victims of oppression and discrimination every day within our own society (minorities) are not fully present within the film. There are less than five (characters that are not white) presented in the film which I found curious since, if Blade Runner 2049 is at all set within a dystopian future that suffers from overpopulation, why is everyone white? The notable traces of Asiatic countries and their presence is seen in both Blade Runner’s but whenever the main characters talk to anyone not speaking English, they only respond in English ( for example the scene where K goes to a shop owner to find out if a wooden horse is made from real or synthetic wood). Although I love Blade Runner 2049 for its visual aspects (the scenes are shot beautifully and the color schemes paired with the soundtrack is awe-inspiring), It is a movie that makes me question exactly what it is saying to its audiences and specifically which audiences?

Overall, I would recommend any fans of the old Blade Runner to go and see this film maybe not with the intention of looking too closely into the details since what we can find there is more disturbing than comforting.


 

Thank you for reading my writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun Album

Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album “Hiss Spun” was released on September 22nd of this year. “Hiss Spun” is her fifth album and features a synthesis of her trademark gloom-folk rock * that echoes with her uniquely haunting voice. The complexities within each song on the album are to be admired; mixing heavy guitar and pulsing drums that bring a feel of the darkly ritualistic. Notable tracks on this album (that stand out to me) include 16 Psyche, Vex, and Offering.

Chelsea Wolfe’s music offers (no pun intended on track ‘Offering’) an essence of the dark spirit that resides within us all. Her voice feels as if it echoes from a dimension within our minds and the human experience that is primal and yearning. To embrace her music is to expand your mind to the possibilities of the spirit and at the same time acknowledge your own quiet inner voice that echoes with Chelsea’s.

This is a short review and is more of a personal opinion than a complete deconstruction of the elements within this album. My goal is to queue the interest of readers so that they may want to listen to her music and see what they think for themselves.

Thank you!

-Alina


* Chelsea Wolfe, Spotify page ‘about’ describes her music as “doom-drenched electric folk”

Featured Image photo source: www.instagram.com/cchelseawwolfe

 

My Favorite Tracks: Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe’s magnetic voice echoes across a world of emulated darkness, a darkness that is welcomed. Her music often exudes a sense of other-worldliness, or a world we have long since forgotten, with tribal drums and mysteriously magical lyrics. I would say Wolfe touches on a darker and truer form of the human psyche, one that may still believe in old Gods and worship them, or one were there is an endless abyss that is a more holistic definition of human life.

That being said, here are some of my favorite songs by Chelsea Wolfe,

I am excited for the release of her new album HISS SPUN on Septebmer 22nd of this year and her upcoming American tour!

Chelsea Wolfe is coming to SALT LAKE CITY~! Oct. 28th at the Urban Lounge

 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my posts! I hope you will return in the future! -Alina