Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Thoughts on "Emma"

Almost a month ago I read Jane Austen's classic, "Emma." I enjoyed it very much, as I enjoy all of Austen's novels. Now, this blog will not be all about Jane Austen, but I seem to be on a J.A. kick right now....

For those of you who aren't familiar with the novel, Emma Woodhouse is a beautiful young woman living with her father in their luxurious home, Hartfield. Mr. Woodhouse worries constantly, but Emma patiently waits and comforts him. He is worried Emma will marry and leave him, just like her "poor, dear sister," Isabella. Emma swears she will never marry. Instead, she takes pleasure in playing matchmaker and marrying off others. Emma thinks she knows everyone's heart, but, after a turn of events, she wonders if she even knows her own....

Let's start out with the characters, shall we? While I liked how kind Emma was to her father, and how she seems less perfect, and, I don't know, I find I can just relate more. Some things I could not relate to were her arrogance, vanity, and know-it-all attitude. I'm not saying I dislike Emma Woodhouse, but occasionally I would get annoyed with her throughout the book. The perfect cringe-worthy example would be the picnic at Box Hill. Poor, poor Miss Bates! I loved Miss Bates, with her silly, happy, almost naive ways- NAIVE, MOTHER!- I quite agree with Mr. Knightley (why is Blogger saying Knightley is spelled wrong, don't they know anything! ;) It was definitely "Badly done, Emma." 

Which brings me to Mr. George Knightley..... WONDERFUL! Absolutely, positively, undoubtedly  WONDERFUL! I love how kind he is to Emma and Mr. Woodhouse, how sincere, how wise! I fell in love with him from the very beginning. I wish he was a little younger, though. That was his only flaw- and it wasn't that big a flaw, either. He is one of my top favorite Jane Austen heroes. Shall I even mention chapter 49 (or, at least, I believe it was 49...) I was smiling a goofy, romantic little girl smile all the way through that one. I was so pleased that J.A. actually elaborated more on the proposal scene, and even ever so briefly mentioned the wedding. For, although Jane Austen is a romance writer, she doesn't seem to like going into detail on the actual declaration of love and marriage.

I love Mr. Woodhouse dearly. He has so many funny quotes and he reminds me a little of someone that I know and love. Some of the quotes I liked from him are: Mr. Woodhouse: Cake! Surely you're not serving cake at your wedding, Miss Taylor! Far too rich, you put us all at peril! Where is Mr. Perry, the apothecary? I'm sure he will support me! 
Mrs. Weston: Ah, he is over there, Mr. Woodhouse, having some cake. Mr. Woodhouse: What? 
and also, Then please, my dear, encourage no one else. Marriage is so disrupting to one's social circle. 
one that I also keep thinking of, that was definitely in the movie and possibly in the book, "Women are like delicate flowers." I don't know exactly why but I actually laughed out loud at that one. There were so many moments when I would read about Mr. Woodhouse and smile.
Now on to Miss Taylor- "Mrs. WESTON father!" I found her very nice and a wonderful friend and anchor for our Emma. I almost related to her more. She was so kind and gentle, *spoiler* I was so happy that she got a lovely baby girl at the end *end of spoiler*
Mr. and Mrs. Elton were simply, wonderfully atrocious they were so annoying. So amusingly "superior." I enjoyed it and was amused and annoyed at them by turns. The only time I was really mad at Mr. Elton was at the ball. How? How could he do such a thing! I know his wife is a fink, but for some reason he didn't seem as bad. Well, he mus ha've been, because I couldn't comprehend anyone doing such a thing otherwise. And Harriet was in hearing, too!
Ah, Harriet. I liked her, but I never really liked her. Do you understand? Well, if not, I'm afraid I can't explain it. Mr. Knightley was right, as always. Harriet was not a suitable friend for Emma, and visa versa. If they hadn't been friends, Harriet would have accepted Mr. Robert Martin. I loved poor, dear Robert Martin! I don't know exactly what he saw in Harriet, but if he wanted her, he should have her! I'm so glad they did get together in the end! It was about time Harriet got a backbone! I cheered for her as she made her own decision.
Jane was nice, but rather dull. Who wouldn't be reserved and quiet and, possibly even resentful. though in that circumstance? I couldn't have put up with it, that's all I know! Frank Churchill was nice at first, but I couldn't forgive him in the end. What can I say? I have a bad almost-Anne-Shirley- like way about holding grudges sometimes. :) The only thing that kept me from absolutely despising him was how much in love he seemed to be.

I liked the love, humor, and wit in this endearing novel. I love the movie adaptation. (the Emma 2009, I haven;t seen Emma 1996 because it is not on YouTube in its entirety.) I sincerely recommend it to anyone who loves classic novels in general and especially those who like Jane Austen in particular. This was the third book I have read of Jane Austen's. 
Now to finish off with some quotes: (these mostly take place toward the middle and end of the book, as I didn't start marking them until then.)"General benevolence, but not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be." 
"No- Mrs. Knightley;- and, till she is in being, I will manage such maters myself."
"None of that upright integrity, that strict adherence to the truth and principle, that disdain of trick and littleness, which a man should display in every transaction of his life." (I love how Emma was unconsciously describing Mr. Knightley. :)) 
"It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!"
"Oh God! That I had never seen her!" (a very relate-able quote)
"'My dearest Emma,' said he, 'for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma.'" (One of those Ch. 49 quotes!)
"Oh! I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other." (a very Emma-ish quote)
So, what are your opinions on the book? Who's your favorite character? What's your favorite movie adaptation? I hope you enjoyed this book review, as it's my first!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Review of Sense and Sensibility (1995)

This is my first review, so you must be patient with me. I will first start with a summary, then go on to actors, music, costumes, theme, &tc. Book comparisons will undoubtedly pop up throughout the blog. As I am writing this review, I am listening to the Sense and Sensibility music. I think it is delightful! But, to start with:

 The Summary:
 Sense and Sensibility is a story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, who are both in love with two men who are not free to give their own love in return. They both have their hearts broken. Elinor, as is her way, takes it in stride and remains calm and collected for her family. "Always submission and resignation. Elinor, where is your heart?" So said Marianne to Elinor, a very characteristic response. Marianne is vivacious and headstrong. She does not hide her feelings, and weeps despairingly for a long time and hides her sorrow from no one when her heart is broken. So causing the famous scene where Marianne ventures out and it rains and she catches pneumonia. ( At least, I believe that is what it was...) In the movie, Col. Brandon saves her, quite heroically. While I love this scene, and Col. Brandon, that is not how it was in the book. I especially like the lines "Miss Dashwood, give me an occupation or I shall go (or was it run?) mad!" said by Col. Brandon. Sorry that I seem to not know the quotes word for word, this is all off the top of my head. I simply abhor Willoughby. I admit I didn't at first, I thought he was wonderful, saving Marianne in the rain (sigh) and bringing her flowers. But I saw his true colors, and that was the end of that. I also have seen that actor in several other places (Cranford, anyone?) and he is nothing but trouble in them all. Edward and Elinor, though are my favorite couple. In the book I liked Edward, but in the movie I adored him. I think it was because we got to see (and hear) more of him. The scene with Margaret and the atlas? It melted my heart. The same could be said for the wooden sword fighting scene. From book to movie, I thought it was well done. While you can't fit everything from the book into the movie, they did a fairly good job, in my (not so) humble opinion. I know they took out a few characters and added some extra things to the movie, but I enjoyed it and thought they made sense. I really like the movie and was so glad to have received it from my bosom friend (as Anne Shirley would say)  for my birthday. (Which, by some happy coincidence, is December 16, Jane Austen's birthday!!!)

The Actors:
I really liked the actors in this movie. Emma Thompson may have been a bit old for Elinor (I believe Elinor in the book is around eighteen) but she is wonderful in the role. She has such fabulous facial expressions, such expressive eyes. I always marvel at her sense. She also has a sense of humor, and several witty things are said throughout the movie by our Elinor. Kate Winslet played Marianne exceptionally well. I believe she would've been a tough character to portray; she is so unique, but, in any case, Winslet was very expressive and played the feeling Marianne very well. (Fainting and tears are hard to do.) While reading this over, I think I might give the impression that I do not think very highly of Marianne, which is not the case. She is just young and naive, and I don't look up to her as I do Elinor. (But I do adore her, upon my word, I do.) Greg Wise as Willoughby was done well, as I did not get the impression until later that he was somewhat of a fiend. I never did like it when Willoughby insulted Col. Brandon, though. I am so glad Elinor stuck up for him! Hugh Grant was very good. I thought he was very nice, and as I said, I loved Edward in the movie. Imogen Stubbs did a good job of making me hate Lucy Steele. She was so sly! So deceitful! So... oh, she just rubbed me the wrong way. She was exactly how I pictured her to look in the book, and I was quite pleased. I'm glad she ends up with nice, simple-minded Robert Ferrars, instead of dear Edward. Apparently, the actor who played Robert Ferrars was Emma Thompson's brother-in-law! Anyway, on to Snape Alan Rickman. At first, I was iffy. Could Snape play my beloved Col. Brandon? I was very soon reconciled to him however, and now I think of Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon instead of Alan Rickman as Snape. See the difference? On to Mrs. Jennings and Sir John Middleton. I thought they were the funniest pair. I laughed (with a grimace) at their jokes concerning the elusive "Mr. F." I especially liked Margaret's line, "I like them. They talk about things. We never talk about things." :) Fanny and John  Dashwood... let me suffice to say Fanny was proud and intolerable, just as she should be. Her hair always reminded me of a baby octopus, but I guess that was the "fashion." John Dashwood was easily persuaded and slightly dull. You could see he wanted to be courteous and help his sisters, but what is thought without action? Nothing, in my book.

Mr. Palmer was so droll! He and his newspaper. Poor man! What a silly wife he has! His face when he is holding his baby is priceless! "Mr. Palmer is just so good with him!" As if, Mrs. Palmer! Ahh, how funny. Now, I think I have covered many of the important characters. On to the music.

The Music:
As aforementioned,  I find the music delightful, if not a tad melancholy. "Play something a bit less sad, dearest." :) I don't think sad was quite the wording, but I'm sure you get the reference. The music sounded classical to me, which fit the period exactly, but my piano teacher might point out some or chords and things that show otherwise, but to the untrained ear (mine) it seemed to suit. Marianne was playing the piano quite often, and beautiful songs were played each time. That's about all I have to say about the music, without repeating how delightful I found it.

The Costumes:
They were all wonderful. I can't seem to find fault with this movie, can I? While they might not have been as accurate as some, (P&P '95) I thought they were very nice and fit with the time period. They dresses are cut rather low, but that was the style. Marianne's hair was a beautiful tumble of curls, and I thought Elinor's wavy bun suited her nicely. Many of the hairstyles seem to reflect the old Roman hairstyles, which I find fascinating. Lucy Steele's is the first to come to mind. I have seen that ribbon headband and bun style in my Latin textbook at school. The men's hairstyles I always enjoy. For some reason, long tussled hair looks good with their outfits. I do not like curly white wigs, though. (eh hem, Sir John Middleton!) Now, as this post is becoming rather long, I will wrap up with the overall theme.

The Theme:
I love Jane Austen's novels (of the three-going-on-four that I have read so far.) Love has always given me this wonderful, happy feeling. What can I say? I am a girly, hopeless romantic. She not only writes about love, but as many have noticed Jane Austen does a wonderful job of studying human characteristics. She makes wonderful, true to life characters (and sometimes caricatures.) She develops setting so very well also. Some say her books don't have a plot, but that, I believe is because of the plots subtlety. She does not bang you over the head with adventures and disasters, that much is true. Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite novels of hers, (or anyone's) and I think it is safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie adaptation.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The First Post

This is The Madd Rose. I decided that would be an appropriate name for my blog because it has been a nickname of mine since I can remember. Madd is a shortened version of my name and Rose is my middle name but I don't suppose you would care for the particulars, would you? ;) I decided to make this blog because a couple months ago, I stumbled upon Amy Dashwood's Yet Another Period Drama Blog, and was hooked. I couldn't beieve there were people who liked Anne of Green Gables,  An Old Fashioned Girl, and Jane Austen as much as I do! There were many contests and events that appeared on blogs like these, and I was eager to participate. I soon realized though, that you needed a blog to fully participate. I toyed with the idea for a while. Would it be worth it to have a blog? Could I actually make one? Would anyone care about what I have to say? What shall I put on it? I decided I would make one, obviously, and I hope to make it about Period Drama movies and mini-series, classic books I enjoy, and old shows I like to watch. Maybe even the occasional ramble about nothing in particular. Maybe no one will read it, but I shall enjoy the experience. This is my first blog and my first blog post, so forgive me if it's too short, or too long, or too boring... and I'm rambling. Sorry, terrible habit of mine. :) In the posts to come I hope to have book reviews, movie reviews, quotes, quizzes, and the like. This should be fun. I hope you all (whoever you may be) think so too.