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Dear readers,

I am off to the beach until July 12, so I’m afraid that I won’t have any new posts here until then. I will, of course, be reading plenty during that time, so I will have lots of books to review on my return!

Hope you all are having a fabulous summer, and don’t have a month+ of solid rain, like we’ve been having… Here’s hoping the beach will be sunny!


Undine

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Issues

I’m trying to do a couple of posts with links and pictures and whatnot, but whenever I click the link in WordPress to insert something, Mozilla crashes and shuts down. I can’t use IE since it is far too slow on my computer, so I’m going to just try again tomorrow, but is anyone else having this issue?

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Spring break has officially begun! I finished my bio test, practically ran back to the room, finished packing, and hit the road with my roomie! We’re road-tripping it to my home for a few days, then to her home, then back to our home at school. We got through the first part of the trip, to my grandparents’ house, basically unscathed. And now we’re slightly hopped up on sugar/caffeine and not looking forward to going to bed, but with the full knowledge that we need to go to bed or tomorrow will certainly be hell. But that’s half the fun! Right?

Anyway, I just wanted to give y’all a quick update, and promise more on the morrow. Or the morrow after that. Or, you know, whenever.

Good night!

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Living in Virginia, I have discovered, means dealing with temperamental weather. Up north, where I live while not in school, we have two seasons: winter and not winter. I chose to attend school in the south so that I might experience a) more than two seasons and b) less winter. What I didn’t sign up for, however, is Mother Nature toying with me.

One day it’s gorgeous and 60 degrees outside.  The next, it’s 35 and rainy.  It’s depressing!  I love love love the 60 degree weather in the middle of February, particularly when I hear about another couple of inches/feet being dumped on good ol’ Massachusetts.  But it just makes it that much worse when the actual ‘winter’ weather returns!  And it makes me sick, what with all the constant changes in temperature/pressure/whatever.

So please, Mother Nature, just make up your mind!  If it’s going to be winter, let it be winter.  Don’t taunt and tease us with springy weather and then snatch it away!  Pretty please?

Otherwise, this is going to be your theme song:

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Happy New Year, World!

I’ve never been one to make new year resolutions, and I’m not about to start, sorry.  Nor am I going to join the club of reflecting on my last year.  Sorry if you were looking forward to that.

What comes in this new year will come.  The past is the past.  The future is the future.  Now is now.  Life is in a perpetual state of motion, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

That’s the secret of life.  My new year’s gift to you.  You’re welcome. 😀

So happy new year, however you chose to celebrate it, whether it be with loads of crazy people or alone with your tv (which was my choice, thankyouverymuch!).  Have fun!

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Today was my second day of leaving work at the Writing Center and discovering that it was completely dark out.  At 6pm.  Welcome to daylight savings time, folks!  It’s a tad discombobulating, I must admit.  I don’t remember the change being so dramatic last year.

I wish I had more to comment on currently, but it’s just not in me right now.  I’m planning on spending most of tomorrow writing.  I have a paper due on Friday, and I want to write up a few posts that will publish while I’m in Georgia for my great-grandmother’s funeral.  Plus, I need to write some more emails and just get stuff done.  So tomorrow is my writing day.  Hopefully, you’ll have some lovely long rants to read soon enough instead of these short snippets!

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NB: The following was written as a response paper for an English class I am currently taking.  I am posting it here, verbatim, because I would be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the matter.  So have at it!

[The page numbers refer to the exact edition linked to on Amazon]

In the beginning of The Water Babies, Charles Kingsley introduces us to his protagonist, Tom. In terms of an outlook on life, Tom “took [chimney-sweeping, and being hungry, and being beaten] for the way of the world, like the rain and snow and thunder, and stood manfully with his back to it till it was over… and then shook his ears and was as jolly as ever; and thought of the fine times coming, when he would be a man, and a master sweep, and sit in the public-house with a quart of beer…” (44). Essentially, Tom has accepted his lot in life and only dreams of being like his master someday. In this, names play an important role. We are clued in to this from the very first pages, where Kingsley draws attention to his protagonist’s name: “Once upon a time there was a little chimney-sweep, and his name was Tom. That is a short name, and you have heard it before, so you will not have much trouble in remembering it” (43). A few pages later, we learn that Mr. Grimes, Tom’s master, shares his name: Thomas (49). This fits with the description of Tom that Kingsley provides, that of a boy wanting to grow up and become “a man…. just as his master” (44). This highlights the cycle that Kingsley draws attention to, the cycle of abuse that comes from child labor: Tom (a boy’s nickname), is going to grow up into Thomas (a man’s name). That is, until a magical happenstance interrupts the cycle, turning Tom into a water baby, where he learns those moral lessons his life had previously been lacking.

At the end of the book, Kingsley comes full circle back to Mr. Grimes at the end of the world. As if the lessons of Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid and Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby weren’t enough, here Tom sees what his future could have been. Mr. Grimes is as literally stuck in “chimney No. 345” as Tom’s life metaphorically would have been, had he followed the path laid out for him in the beginning. Here, in addition to seeing the contrast of the life he has now and the life he could have had, he learns forgiveness and redemption, for, “as Grimes cried and blubbered on, his own tears did what his mother’s could not do, and Tom’s could not do, and nobody’s on earth could do for him; for they washed the soot off his face and off his clothes; and then they washed the mortar away from between the bricks; and the chimney crumbled down; and Grimes began to get out of it” (225). Thus, Grimes has freed himself from the prison of the chimney-sweep world through his acceptance of his past faults and errors, showing it is never too late to become redeemed; one does not have to be a child like Tom to learn the (Christian) lessons taught throughout the book.

Returning to the value of names discussed previously, as we never learn Tom’s last name, he and Thomas Grimes could easily be two manifestations of the same man, except showing the different paths a man can take. Connecting to the larger picture of a Christian allegory, this highlights the importance of discovering faith and morals. If you are like Thomas (remember doubting Thomas?), then you will continue down the path you are on, and blindly find only misery. If you are like Tom, however, and become baptized and learn the “Golden Rule” and redemption, then you can become “a great man of science, and can plan railroads, and steam-engines, and electric telegraphs, and rifled guns, and so forth; and [know] everything about everything” (229-230). These two vastly differing paths are equally possible in the figure of the boy Tom. We can easily see him turn into the adult Thomas, but in seeing the magical transformation to a water-baby and back to a man again, the other path seems just as natural (if you accept magic, of course). Again, considering the text as a Christian allegory, Christianity is just as magical to the ignorant mind (like Tom in the beginning) as a transformation to a water-baby. Thus, though it seems as if this shift in Tom is much more radical than anything that could happen “in real life”, when considered in this context, it becomes plausible that a boy chimney-sweep could become a learned man through Christianity.

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