Sunday, 31 March 2013

Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson

Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson is the story of working class Australians in the changing world of the 1980s to 90s. It is set in an industrial (most probably Wollongong) town, where the industries are now being sold to create a resort. The main characters are Barbara, her lover Den, Barbara's daughter Verge and Barbara's brother in law Ron. 

I am not sure if Diving for Pearls fits into the book review categories but I read the play as if it was a book so I am writing about it. Actually, this is more me complaining and whining about the play. I had to read it for school and I didn't even understand hot it can pass as an actual play. 

The play is supposedly trying to show what it was like for Australians in the late 80s and early 90s, especially for those in the steel industries. If the book was successful in doing so, then Australians were really rude, pessimistic and unmotivated or just plain unskilled. It was ridiculous how many swear words were in the play, while I understand that Thomson was trying to show the real day to day life (very generalised) of the working class Australia of that time period, it didn't make the play any less inappropriate for a class reading as well as making Australians seem really bad. 

The worst part of the play was that I couldn't empathise with the characters. I couldn't understand their personalities and motives and so the story was never real to me. A good book or play is supposed to make you feel for the characters and understand them so that their story becomes real. This play was the complete opposite

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.” 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a gothic romance novel that has become a classic. It is the story of Jane Eyre a strong, fierce, passionate, educated, god-righteous woman as seen by her eyes. Jane was an orphan, she was sent to a boarding school for the destitute when she was 10 by her neglecting aunt. There, she received quite a good education and found a teacher that really inspired her. Jane always wanted to travel and discover the world so after completing her schooling and teaching there for two years, she becomes a governess to a rich family with a mysterious master. The story is her struggle in finding the balance between the morally right thing and her own passions, between being obedient but independent and free-willed. Jane critiques the social class division however sticks to it and believes in it all through her life.

Charlotte Brontë made my thoughts on old novels change. Through Jane Eyre I found that there can be classic that I become absolutely enthralled. Sure, it still had some of the conventional language found in older and gothic books: long paragraphs describing something that appears to be insignificant (I’ll confess that sometimes I end up skipping a line or two when it is too descriptive) and the complete opposite, when a scene changes without notice that you are left to wonder what is going on.

I think that Brontë used Jane Eyre to explore concepts of social hierarchy and if status and behaviour is innate. However, she did not use the protagonist to challenge these concepts but rather, through her writing, gave the readers a ‘challenge’ to ponder for themselves in this issue. Jane Eyre was a strong, independent woman however she never saw herself as an equal.