lunedì 26 agosto 2013

Book review: The Great Gatsby

Sempre un'altra recensione scritta quest'estate..Enjoy!

The book I would like to review is the novel “The Great Gatsby” written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald. The main themes are decadence, idealism, resistance to change and excess, which pervades the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island, where Jay Gatsby lives. He is the main character of the story because of his air of mystery and his conflict with Tom Buchanan. The type of the conflict is sentimental because they are both in love with the same girl, Daisy. The conflict between Tom and George Wilson has the same features. The story is narrated by an internal narrator, who is a character of the story, Nick Carraway.

"That's the best thing a girl
can be in this world, a beautiful
little fool"
He is a Yale graduate and a war veteran from the Midwest, he’s in love with Jordan Baker, an attractive, cynical young golfer with a shady reputation, who seems to love him. Nick seems to appreciate his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, a young, mysterious millionaire with shady business connection: somebody says he killed a man or he is a smuggler. He’s obsessed with Daisy so much that he wants her to admit she has ever loved just Gatsby and not her husband, Tom. Daisy is Nick’s cousin, she’s young, effervescent and self-absorbed and before the war she had a romantic relationship with Jay. Then she married Tom Buchanan, a football star with a husky tenor of voice, who doesn’t like Gatsby. He has a lover in New York, in the valley of ashes, who is Myrte Wilson, a woman who wants to find refuge from her marriage. She died because of Daisy, who strucks her unconsciously. Myrtle’s husband, George, is a mechanic and owner of a garage, shoots both himself and Gatsby because he suspects he was Myrtle’s lover and killer.

"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously
"why of course you can!"
The story is concentrated on the experiences lived by Nick, who rents a house in West egg, an area populated by the new rich. Here he met Gatsby, who lives in a huge house and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night, because he hopes one day Daisy, the girl he has ever loved, will come. Gatsby wants Nick to arrange a meeting between himself and the woman, so Nick invites Daisy to have a tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will also be there. They fall in love again and, after a short time, Tom begins to suspect about it, he’s scared by the thought his wife could be unfaithful to him. Gatsby wants Daisy to admit she has ever loved him and not Tom but then she realizes that she’d better stay with her husband. The same day Gatsby and Daisy go home together by car and Daisy, who was scared and upset in that moment, strucks Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, unconsciously and Gatsby intends to the take the blame. George, Myrtle’s husband, who thinks the driver of the car that killed her must have been her lover, finds Gatsby in the pool at his house and shoots him and then he shoots himself.

I like very much the fictional location of West and East Egg and the character of Gatsby, because he lives in a world full of excesses but he is untouched by them. I think the book is most appropriate for people who know something about the twenties in the USA because they can understand the main themes.
To conclude, the book is ease of reading and enjoyable. The style is simple so you can read it quickly.

domenica 25 agosto 2013

Book review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Soddisfatta di questo scritto di inglese, per il quale ho sudato molto, e ancor di più di aver superato il FCE, ho deciso, anche se con un po' di imbarazzo, di postare qua sotto il sopracitato elaborato, con la speranza che qualcuno lo legga e lo apprezzi (e magari lo corregga nel caso ci siano alcuni errori grammaticali).

"Youth! There is nothing like it!"
I would like to make a review about one of the books I read this summer, that is “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, whose author is Oscar Wilde. The book is a philosophical fiction and the main themes are beauty, fulfilment of the senses, debauchery and dualism. The story is set in London and it is narrated by an external narrator, ho always shares the point of view of the characters. There are two conflicts in the story: the first one is between the soul locked in the picture and Dorian, the second one is between Basil, the artist, and Henry, a lord, because the share different ideals. Both the conflicts are spiritual.

The main character is Dorian Gray, a handsome, beautiful but superficial and carefree young boy who expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait would grew old rather than he. Basil Hallward, a deeply moral man and artist, becomes so infatuated with him that he decides to paint a picture of Gray. Later Dorian kills him after he has seen the magical portrait and his body is destroyed by Alan Campbell, a chemist and one-time friend of Dorian, just because he has been blackmailed by him. Lord Henry Wotton is one of the closest friends of them, he’s an imperious, decadent and extremely witty dandy. He conveys to Gray his view and Dorian becomes corrupted as he attempts to emulate him. Other relevant character are Sibyl Vane, a beautiful, talented but poor actress with whom Dorian falls in love, she commits suicide after he no longer loves her because she has act awfully. Because of that, Sibyl’s protective brother, James, a sailor who leaves for Australia, becomes obsessed with killing Dorian but he dies in a haunting accident.

"The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold"
The novel begins with Lord Henry Wotton watching his friend Basil painting the portait of a beautiful guy called Dorian Gray. When they meet, Wotton explains his point of view of the world, making belive Gray that beauty is the important thing of life. Dorian is so thrilled by the beauty of the portrait that he wishes he can always stay as young as the picture and he declares he would sell his soul for that. Magically, the image of himself becomes ugly and old under Dorian’s sins. He regrets Sibyl Vane, blinded by love, because she is not able to act anymore after she has discovered what love is, so she kills herself. The portrait is hidden in the attic and over the next eighteen years he experiments every kind of vice and sin, including killing his friend Basil. In the end, he tries to remove every proof of his crime by destroying the picture, but doing it he kills himself.

Personally I like very much the themes of beauty and youth because they can be seen both as positive and negative aspects of life. I think the book is most appropriate for people who know something about Shakespeare’s tragedies and about the 19s century because of its philosophical and historical contents. To conclude, the style is simple and the novel is ease of reading, even if sometimes it becomes boring because of the many descriptions.