Thursday, 31 May 2012

June: A Victorian Celebration


So this month will be a start of 2 months journey of Victorian adventures through literature. I have always loved Victorian Era and all the elegance, mystery, and even the darkness of the era. I love the fashion, the language, the sarcasm in the language, the history, everything.

That's why I decided to join the celebration held by A Literary Odyssey and in this post I'd like to mention some of the books that I'll read during the next 2 months. I won't list too much, since I am not sure whether I can finish all of those, but if I can manage to finish the list before the end of July I'll add more to the list. Here they are:

  • Carroll, Lewis – Alice's Adventure in Wonderland
  • Dickens, Charles – The Tale of Two Cities
  • James, Henry – Portrait of a Lady
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis – Treasure Island
  • Thackeray, William – Vanity Fair
  • Wilde, Oscar – The Importance of Being Earnest

I plan to re-read some Sherlock Holmes too, but I won't put them on the list yet. So, happy Victorian reading for those who celebrate it.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo: Not Just Revenge


It is very hard for me to at last write about this particular novel. I don't know how to describe everything I want to say in the length of a proper blog post. This novel left a deep impression on me, since the story, the characters and the philosophy inside are very much of my liking.

Some would say the novel talks about revenge, some would say it's about love, but for me it's much, much, deeper than that. I see a young man at the beginning of the novel, a young, naïve, handsome man, who had no ambition whatsoever but to live a happy seaman life with a beautiful woman he loved. But as the story goes, and misfortune befell him, he grew older, and became more mature, and he tried to find happiness in his own way.

The story begins with Edmond Dantes, a young man, who was about to become a captain of a ship. He was about to marry a beautiful woman, Mercedes, and to lead a simple but happy life with her. But “the course of true love never did run smooth”. Edmond was falsely accused of committing a treason, and sent to Chateau d'If, a prison, for years without even understanding his crime (which he didn't commit).

“I knew a man who like you had fixed all his hopes of happiness upon a woman. He was young, he had an old father whom he loved, a betrothed bride whom he adored. He was about to marry her, when one of the caprices of fate, -- which would almost make us doubt the goodness of providence, if that providence did not afterwards reveal itself by proving that all is but a means of conducting to an end, -- one of those caprices deprived him of his mistress, of the future of which he had dreamed (for in his blindness he forgot he could only read the present), and cast him into a dungeon.”

There he met a noble Italian, an Abbe, that was very learned, clever, and experienced. So instead of living years of idleness, he started to study the things that would later proved to be very useful for him. He studied history, mathematics, languages, manners, chemistry, and so on. But he always wanted to escape from that place.

One day, the Abbe told him about a treasure buried in a small island called the Island of Monte Cristo. The Abbe gave him all the treasure there if he could escape, one day. And yes, he did, in a very peculiar, interesting and thrilling manner he escaped the cold and dreadful Chateau d'If.

In a short time, he was born anew. He was now rich, and free. He inquired all the things that happened while he was imprisoned and he found out that the people he loved were all in misfortune, while his enemies led a rich, respectable lives. The woman he loved had married someone else, his father died, and his master bankrupt. Filled with rage and disappointment, he swore revenge.

Some usually stress how well-thought the revenge was, how well-devised, how well-planned and well-executed. They are right. The revenge was horrible. Dantes actually tried to hurt only those who hurt him in the past, but as we know, such thing never happens. Everyone has a family, has people to love and people who love them. Dantes' enemies did as well. When he avenged his misfortunes, he hurt as well those innocent people, who deserved more good things in their lives; and Dantes didn't feel very good after he realised that fact.

Twice, the novel says, he overcame his doubt. No, twice he ignored his conscience's voice. "Triumph" he called his journey was, and yet he wanted to punish himself for doing it. The Avenging Angel of God, he thought he was. Was he? Would God be happy to see an innocent young man deprived of his honour and wealth or a young boy of his life? 

This novel is about all that. How a man thought that by revenge he would feel better, he would be satisfied, but he at last he realised that he only caused trouble, and felt remorse and guilt. This story is about a man who after looking for so long, at last found happiness, far from his dreadful past, in a way he didn't expect, in a way he never thought about. I love him, I love him, I love him.


"God has sustained me in my struggle with my enemies, and has given me this reward; he will not let me end my triumph in suffering; I wished to punish myself, but he has pardoned me."

I know this short article is not enough to describe my feelings towards the Count and his beautiful story. But be rest assured, I will write more on this subject. As the Count says, just “wait and hope”.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Weekend Quote #3


“To learn is not to know. There are the learners and the learned. Memory makes one, philosophy, the other.”

This is the quote I choose for this weekend. It is taken from The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas. (I believe by the end of the month I will have Dumas dominate my tags).

The words above are spoken by Abbe Faria, and Italian gentleman who was imprisoned in Cateau d'If, just like our Edmond Dantes. He was a learned man, old and experienced. He made Dantes' imprisonment become rather a good fortune than misfortune.

Socrates and Plato
Personally I like the words because I think it is right. Firstly, “to learn is not to know”. Somebody may learn something for years without even knowing what it is he's learning. (Personal experience, I may say). But knowing means understanding the subject thoroughly, being able to see it as a whole, and see the linkage of everything on the subject.

For example, a doctor must know human body as a whole. He can see which part of the body connects to which part, what the meaning of some symptoms, etc. It would be different, of course, from something that a high-school student learn. He knows which part is which and what the functions of it, but he would find difficulty to see the connection of every part of the body and how it affects the body as a whole.

And so is knowledge. The learned has philosophy – a kind of wisdom gained by deep thinking, by meditation – while it only needs memory to learn.

That is my weekend quote for this week. What are yours? Feel free to share it in the linky below. (For more information, please see this post)


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Character Thursday: Albert de Morcerf


Alright. I'd like to have someone from Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. It's one of my favourites, and I always re-read it when I have the time.

But, I will not take the Count as this week's subject. First, because I believe that many will focus their attention to the Count when they read it, and some of my friends haven't read the book yet, so I hope that in future months I will read their opinions on the Count. Second, I'm afraid that, being too excited in describing every aspect of the Count's mysterious being, I would bore the readers with unending lines of words.



Rupert Friend, I think, would make a good
Albert de Morcerf. 

“You cannot imagine, mother, how beautiful I think you! You are, indeed, the most beautiful and most noble woman I ever saw!”

So now, I will content myself with a less mysterious and bizarre character, but who also has good personality in him: Albert de Morcerf, whose father is Monte Cristo's loathed enemy, but who is a good friend (at least I want to believe that it remains so) of the Count. Albert de Morcerf is introduced in the novel as an honourable, noble young man who pays a tourist visit to Italy. There after an 'accident' with Italian banditti, he proves to be a courageous young man, though impulsive in nature, something that must be forgiven, if one remembers that he's still young and inexperienced.

His bravery is evident in his dealing with the Italian banditti, when he was captured and taken prisoner in Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. Even after being threatened by the captain of bandits, Luigi Vampa, that he would be dead the next morning, Albert fell asleep, soundly, peacefully that night. Even the count and the captain were impressed.

His impulsive nature is shown in whole length of the novel. For example, when hearing about his father being put to suspicion he challenged his friend immediately to a duel. Lucky for him, though, his friend had more wisdom in the matter that their friendship remained unbroken. Not long after te same thing happened, this time towards Monte Cristo himself. Thankfully his quickness in anger is accompanied by his good nature of humility. He asked Monte Cristo for forgiveness and even asked him to remain, if not a friend, an acquaintance of his.

But were I to describe Albert in his most dominant characteristic, I would say "a devoted son". This applies only on the account of his mother, and not really on his father. I believe that he would even readily die for his mother. The fact is so evident that every line containing the word 'mother' in Albert's dialogue always contains the sense of filial duty and admiration.

This love is so great that he wouldn't do anything, anything at all that would hurt his mother's feelings. It doesn't mean that he is spoiled, or too dependant, because certainly he is not. You can read it in the book. But he could see that his mother had experienced much suffering, and pitied her for it. Her paleness, her agitation, for him all that made her more beautiful in his eyes.

That is all that I would say about him, because the more I write, the more I seem to leak out the story of The Count of Monte Cristo, which I believe, wouldn't be pleasant for those who haven't read it. But believe me, interesting as he is, Albert de Morcerf doesn't have the slightest chance to defeat the Count in tickling your curiousity.

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Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.


Syarat Mengikuti :
  1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
  2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
  3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
  4. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di bawah ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
  5. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik


Coat-of-arms: Monte Cristo


For the first article, I'd like to start with Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, and this time, the main character's coat-of-arms. Why? First because I remembered I studied the heraldic terms while reading Monte Cristo for the first time. Second, I've just realised that he had a coat! I mean, I read the story tens of times and I didn't pay so much attention to the detail until last week.

So, here is the description of his arms in French:

“aux armes de Monte-Cristo, armes représentant une montagne d'or, posant sur une mer d'azur, avec une croix de gueules au chef”

And the description in English:

“Monte Cristo arms, which were a mountain, or, on a sea azure, with a cross gules on the shield.”

Monte Cristo arms
I try to make a picture of it based on the blazon, but the description does not really state the background colour of the shield. So I leave the background in sable, or black, because I think it suits the Count more than argent. You can see it here.

Now I'd like to explain the meaning of the blazon above.

Or, gules, and azure means gold, red, and blue (but you know that already). The term “posant” literally means sit. It is usually used with animals, but in this case, it just means the mount is put on the sea. The term “chief” means the upper one third part of the shield. So the red cross is to be placed up there.

So in plain terms, the blazon of the arms of Monte Cristo literally means,

“a golden mount on blue sea with a red cross on the upper part of the shield”

That's all for now. Any question, critics, or advice is readily welcome. For more information please visit Heraldica.org.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Coat of Arms in Classic Literature


It has always been my intention to write on this subject. For readers who live in Europe and are well-acquaintanced with coat-of-arms, perhaps this sopic is not really interesting. But for readers who, like me, live far away from that part of the globe, the idea of coat-of-arms is something quite novel, and sometimes confusing.

Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately), many classic writers love to insert them in their writings, providing the reader with a character or a family's coat-of-arms, blazoned as it should be in description. It leaves its own trouble for the reader, of course, who are not accustomed to that idea, to decipher the meanings of the blazon.

Faced by such trouble, I spent my holiday few years ago studying the coat-of-arms. The purpose: to understand it whenever I encounter it in a book. Its complicated, of course, but the main idea is not really difficult, and with the help of Heraldica.org, a website that provides us with glossary, that task become more simple than expected.

I will not say that I'm an expert, because I'm not. I still have a lot to learn and coat-of-arms is a lot of things, not among those easy. But I will try to do my best.

What is coat-of-arms?

Coat-of-arms
Coat-of-arms is a symbol representing family, country, or organization. It gives information about the identity of the bearer. It's common in Europe, and the nobles in England, French, and Italy usually have one. Coat-of-arms appear in symbol of shields, decorated with pictures and colours, plus other things around, such as crest, motto, supporters, and so on. (I will add more details in futura articles if necessary.) The way it is described formally is called blazon.

I will make series of articles, containing one coat-of-arms from classic literature. I will try to blazon it, and provide readers with a picture that I think will resemble it. I will also explain the meaning of each term in the arms, and thus help readers to know more about it. Please wait for the articles. I will provide them shortly.

For more information regarding the coat-of-arms and its blazon, please visit heraldica.org.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Weekend Quote #2



'Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'

This quote comes from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship ot the Ring. Frodo said this after meeting an elf and asking him for counsel, but the elf said “both no and yes”. The elf replied that giving counsel is a serous matter, and a wise person should always be careful when giving one.

I agree with that. Giving counsel or advice is a serious business. If the person takes our advice and later it proves to be wrong, don't we have the share of responsibility in that mistake? It's sometimes better to give “both no and yes” answer, especially if the counsel is given for crucial decisions or other important issues. How?

Instead of saying “you should do this” or “you shouldn't do that”, we should let the person choose for himself. We can give the strenghts and weaknesses of each option possible, and weigh those options. Thus we can help him to make his own decision, instead of choosing for him. It's way better for both the advisor and the one asking for advice, don't you think?


Friday, 18 May 2012

Persuaded by Mark Antony's Speech


Julius Caesar is one of the most renowned works of Shakespeare. As for me, it is one of my favourites. The story relates the events that lead to Caesar's death and things happen after. One of my favourite parts of the play is Antony's speech in Caesar's funeral. The speech is an art of persuasion, tact and communication skill.

I'd like to discuss in this article the famous speech of Mark Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I've been in love with it since the first time I read it. I will not dissect all of it, since it would consume pages and pages of words. Perhaps somebody out there has made a paper or even a book on the subject anyway. But I'd like to share something that made me smile the first time I read the speech, something that made me say to myself, “Look at what he's doing, and what a foolish crowd.”

So I'd like to cut te speech into three parts, and tell you what get at each part. Let's begin.

First Part:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him...
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.

At this stage of the speech, he said that he only wanted to bury Caesar. He said that Brutus was perhaps right, and thus Caesar died. But then he reasoned with the audience that if Caesar were ambitious, he would have taken the “kingly crown”, but he didn't. He also reminded the crowd of his noble deeds, making Rome and the Romans prosperous.

Antony closed his reasoning with those two sentences: “I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, but here I am to speak what I do know”. It's like saying, “I only want you to know my point of view, based on my experience. I bear no grudge against Brutus. But Caesar had been my friend, and I know him well.” Then the crowd began to wonder. Antony's ready for his next step.

Second part:

But yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world.

What is he saying? He is saying that what happened between Caesar and the conspirators were just a matter of misunderstanding. Caesar wasn't wrong, and neither were Brutus and his collegue. Caesar said something “against the world”, something different from others' opinion. Then after mentioning the will, and showing the dead body of his dear friend, he said his last part of his speech.

Third Part:

Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honorable.
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it.

Aw. Can you see what happened there? He changed his words again. This time, it's not just a misunderstanding, it's a “private grief” -- personal grudge -- that made them do it. Those words, of course, moved the Romans from haters of Caesar into avengers of Caesar. They forgot everything Brutus said just minutes earlier.

That's what so interesting about Antony's speech, for me, personally. What do you think about it?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Character Thursday: Thomas Lieven


This person is not from any classic literature. He's a character in a book I found on a sale, with a title that aroused my curiosity. I'd never heard about him or this novel before I bought it. I thought it must be something unpopular, although the cover said that it's a bestseller. So I read it anyway, and the main character proved to be someone very, very interesting.

Thomas Lieven in J M Simmel's book The Monte Cristo Cover Up was a normal banker, living in London, having a club, loving beautiful women, good food and nice life. Then after unpredicted turn of events, was forced to become the most dangerous secret agent and later, most wanted fugitive in all Europe. His crime: betraying every nation he worked for.

Along his work, Lieven had considerable number of passports and false identity. Once he was a German, another time, a French, then American, then Englishman. You cannot predict who he would be next.What's interesting, though, he had never intended to cause anyone harm. In fact, he took all the trouble to save people's life – in a way that might not be acceptable at that time.

“How easy it is to betray and kill people. And how laborious and troublesome it is to rescue and protect them from torment, persecution, and death..”

The book was set in WWII's era, when Europe was in war. The spirit of patriotism filled the air, everywhere in Europe. Thomas Lieven, had no trace of patriotism even just a little bit. On the other hand, he believed in a different way of thinking. He believed that human beings must view them self as human beings, not just as a part of a nation. As he stated in the epilogue of the book:

“All my life I have distrusted grand phrases and grand heroes. Nor did I ever care for national anthems, uniforms and so-called strong man... We are all endowed by nature with the ability to think. If only we could believe less and think more for just a little while! The consequences would be marvelous. There would never be any wars then.”

This is my character for this Tuesday – the brilliant, daring, and adventurous Mr. Thomas Lieven.

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Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.

Syarat Mengikuti :
  1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
  2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
  3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
  4. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di bawah ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
  5. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik


Friday, 11 May 2012

Weekend Quote #1



My first Weekend Quote post!
“Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.”
- Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
I was thinking about another good quote on a public transportation when these words popped into my mind. The quote is from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, one of the earliest Shakespeares' I read.

Antonio played by Jeremy Irons in the
film Merchant of Venice (2004)
To give a clearer view of the context, the quote is a part of Antonio's dialogue when he was tried before the Duke of Venice. He was tried because he owed a certain sum of money for the sake of his friend, Bassanio. His opponent, a Jew named Shylock, demanded a pound of his flesh taken from his breast. When the judge said that Shylock had the right to get what he demanded, Antonio said these words.

The words touch me deeply. Firstly he said that he did not begrudge Bassanio the punishment, and that the only thing Bassanio should feel sorry about is that he “would lose a friend” by the death of Antonio. But what really touching is the next phrase: “ For if the Jew do cut but deep enough, I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.

What a wonderful expression! He plays upon the word “heart” literally and figuratively. Of course he thought that he would pay it with his literal heart, since the pound of flesh would be taken from his chest. But by saying “with all my heart” he emphasised again his sincerity in paying Bassanio's debt.

Any quote that you like (or hate) the most? Would you like to share? Please join the Weekend Quote

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Meme: Weekend Quote


Hi, friends. I am trying to make a meme for all book bloggers to do on weekend. It's called “Weekend Quote”. I love quotes, and I hope there are many who love them as well.

I got the idea after reading Thursday Interpretations by Zakiya. Problem is, I already join the Character Thursday, so two memes a day would be too much work. That's why I'm making my own every weekend.

The idea is to pick a quote from a book or author you read, like, or hate, and write your comment about it. You can post the “Weekend Quote” article every weekend (Saturday or Sunday), or at any weekend suits you best.

Here are the rules:

  • You have to pick one quote and comment about it. It may be the reason why you agree or don't agree with it, or why it is interesting for you. I can also be your experience that reminds you of that quote. Feel free to use your imagination. :D
  • Please put the picture of “Weekend Quote” on either your blog sidebar or everytime you post the quote. (It helps people to know what we are doing).
  • Please give a link back to this page at your post.
  • Fill the linky. :D


So, this is Thursday (no, sorry, Friday), so anyone who would like to start this weekend can do it. Have fun!  

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Character Thursday: Peter Blood


So, following a meme hosted by Fanda, I'd like to choose a character from a novel and fangirl about the character. I have to be careful, since I don't want to choose a character that would make me write a whole book about him, but also not a character so minor I don't know what so say about him.

Okay, After a little bit of consideration, I choose a character I was in love with 3 years ago. Not that I don't love him now, but back then I was obsessed. He is Captain Blood, from Rafael Sabatini's book with the same title.

Peter Blood was an English doctor who was exiled to work in a plantation due to a misundertanding. It wasn't fair at all, but he could say nothing in his defence (he tried, and failed). Anyway, while some of his friends suffered the hard work in the plantation, he could live a better, more decent life because of his skill as a doctor. But then, something unexpected happened, and he ended up being a pirate.

What I love about him..

Peter Blood had a long list of abilities which he used to become the most outstanding pirate in Carribean. He was good in swordsmanship and he's a great doctor. As a leader, he's skillful in making decision for all aboard his ship. The life of pirates were hard back then, but his crew respected and honoured him.

There was no doubt whatsoever about his valour. He courageously challenged a tracherous Captain Levasseur for a duel and was victorious. He enganged another ship in battle although it was evident he couldn't win without a great loss. Then, he had a decent sense of humour. I like his sense of humour. The way he treated Colonel Bishop or Levasseur was so full of comic sarcasm.

His conducts were also honourable and gentle towards ladies. Once he rescued a girl so honourably from the hand of a lusty pirate, and he was also very kind to the girl he loved, Arabella Bishop. This is what he said to a silly girl who were in love with the treacherous Captain Levasseur after she had been recued.
"Mademoiselle, I beg you to dismiss your fears. Aboard this ship you shall be treated with all honour. So soon as we are in case to put to sea again, we steer a course for Tortuga to take you home to your father. And pray do not consider that I have bought you, as your brother has just said. All that I have done has been to provide the ransom necessary to bribe a gang of scoundrels to depart from obedience to the arch-scoundrel who commanded them, and so deliver you from all peril. Count it, if you please, a friendly loan to be repaid entirely at your convenience."
And last is his patriotism. He hated the king for he was a bad king and he was the cause of his exile. However, he reamained loyal to England even after he became a pirate, by attacking neither British vessel or any of its allies. His last battle on the sea was also for the sake of his country.

So for my Character Thursday this week, I encourage all who haven't read Sabatini's Captain Blood to consider putting it in your to-read list. You might fall in love with Peter too, for he is doubtless one of the best pirates ever in the history of Pirate Books.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.
- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.
- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.

Syarat Mengikuti :
1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
3. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di bawah ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
4. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

When Kindness Goes Unnoticed (Part 2)


In the last article we discussed about the kindness of people in Wilde's Happy Prince and Nightingale and the Rose. We will now see people's reaction to it and the reason behind that reaction.

The author himself said in a notable quote:
The nicest feeling in the world is to do a good deed anonymously-and have somebody find out. ” - Oscar Wilde
I'm not saying that it is necessary to be credited for some good deeds you do, because as we see in the last article, the satisfaction we feel for doing a good thing is enough. But the above quote implies that our good deed is sometimes nt appreciated because nobody knows about it. Ignorance is the keyword.

Ignorance of the deed

In the Happy Prince, people in the city knew nothing about what the Happy Prince and the Little Swallow did for them. As a result, they didn't appreciate the did. Those who actually do something good don't always look like it. The Happy Prince couldn't move, so he was aided by the Swallow to do what he wanted to do. Similarly, for one reason or another, somebody perhaps doesn't want his name to appear when he does something for the sake of others.
The Swallow on the other hand, could fly, so many people knew about him. But they didn't know what he was doing, thinking of it as nothing more than a peculiar phenomenon. In the same sense, sometimes we see people being busy with thing we don't understand, without knowing that they are doing something good to us. As the result, we say no thanks to them.
The Nightingale too, died without the scholar knew what she had done for him. Thus, while calling the girl he liked “ungrateful”, he was ignorant of his own ungratefulness towards the gift of the Nightingale.

Ignorance of the motive

In Nightingale and the Rose, when the scholar saw the Nightingale sang for him, saying how she would make him a red rose, his respond was not good at all. Even though he did not understand a word she said, the song of a Nightingale is still a wondrous gift, since it's so beautiful. But because he didn't know the motive behind the singing (that is to give him a last message) he showed no appreciation to it.

And even when they knew..

Why, the girl in Nightingale and the Rose wasn't grateful at all for the rose although she knew that the scholar loved her. She chose a “better” gift. So, even when our good deeds are well-known and well-understood, there will still people who choose not to be grateful. But it doesn't stop us from doing good, does it?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bible Challenge

Following the example of Delaisse, plus the fact that I am going to read it anyway for the Classic Club's Project, I decided to write down a Bible Challenge. I have been reading it for a while, not in chronological order though, so here is my list:

The Old Testament


  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua 
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles  
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra 
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther
  • Job 
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon
  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

The New Testament


  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts (of the Apostles)
  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation
I hope I'll be able to finish it before the end of next year.

February 23rd 2014, I've finished the book of Leviticus and now is doing a double reading schedule of Numbers and Psalms. Let's do it!

December 2014, done it!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

When Kindness Goes Unnoticed (Part 1)


Among those in his era, Oscar Wilde was perhaps the most frank. His sentences are strong, clear, and simple, yet show his deep thoughts on the subject of life. This thing is true even in his short stories for children. These stories, although simple, always touch the hearts of the readers due to their sad and somewhat annoying ending. I'd like to focus on two of those stories, where kindness has been the theme sounded along the storylines: The Happy Prince and The Nightingale and the Rose. What I'd like to underline is how kindness and people's reaction to it described in these stories.

Motive of Kindness

“And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot chose but weep.” - The Happy Prince
The kindness that the main characters in the story show is unconditional, pure-hearted kindness, full of good intentions towards the subjects of kindness. The Happy Prince was moved by the sufferings he saw in the city, the Nightingale by the 'love' he saw in the scholar. Both of them felt sorry for people they knew little (if not nothing) about, and they expressed it in most noble way, giving what they have for them.
The Swallow in the Happy Prince story, however, although kind, showed kindness for a different motive. He didn't do it for the sake of the people at first, feeling that people had never done him any good anyway. But he liked and admired the Prince for his kindness, and felt that by doing so he helped the Prince to do what he wants. But as he did so, he found the work so satisfying.

Sacrifice

“Death is a great price to pay for a red rose.. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?” - The Nightingale and the Rose
All three of them sacrificed their best for people. That is kindness. They didn't do kindness because they had leisure times. In fact, the Swallow needed to migrate to Egypt when the Prince asked him to stay. They didn't do it using their “leftovers”, something they didn't need any longer. They did the best that they could.
The Nightingale gave her best song and her life to help the scholar.  She had sympathy for the scholar and book initiative to help him.The same thing goes with Happy Prince. He saw the sufferings of the people and sympathized them. Thus, he took initiative to help them; he gave them his precious belongings.What about the swallow? He sacrificed his journey to the south to help the prince, and later, to keep him company. The Prince had told him to go, but he stayed. It's an act of kindness towards the blind Prince.

The Reward

And what's the result of being kind? What do you get when you show kindness towards people? In both of the stories, the 'good guys died, miserably. Nobody cared about them anymore. The ending is so tragic I couldn't cry. Is there nothing, then, they could get from doing kindness?
"It is curious," he remarked, "but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold."
"That is because you have done a good action," said the Prince. - The Happy Prince
Whether the Swallow realised it or not, he felt 'warm' for doing good. He felt the satisfaction and joy for doing good. The same thing applies to the Nightingale and the Prince. In both of the stories we do not see any regret in those three characters, even though they died at the end.

But what about the persons the helped? I'll focus on that subject in the next article.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Classics Club Project






Joining the Classic Projects by Jillian, I'd like to post my to-read list here just to remind myself (and to half-force me to read classics). I am not sure about the time I have to read, and some of the books here are long, while others are things I think I have to read before I die but am very lazy to start, so I only include 50 books.

If in fact, I finish all these before the due time I will add more to the list.


  1. The Bible
  2. Caroll, Lewis - Alice's Adventure in Wonderland
  3. Caroll, Lewis - Through the Looking Glass
  4. Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
  5. Dickens, Charles - A Christmas Carol (re-read)
  6. Dickens, Charles - Tale of Two Cities
  7. Doyle, Arthur Conan - The White Company
  8. Dumas, Alexandre Jr. – La Dame Aux Camellias (re-read)
  9. Dumas, Alexandre – The Count of Monte Cristo (re-read)
  10. Dumas, Alexandre – The Man in the Iron Mask
  11. Dumas, Alexandre – The Three Musketeers
  12. Dumas, Alexandre – Twenty Years After 
  13. Euripides  The Trojan Women
  14. Fitzgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby
  15. Fitzgerald, F. Scott – This Side of Paradise
  16. Homer - Illiad
  17. Homer - Odyssey
  18. Hugo, Victor - Les Miserables
  19. LeBlanc, Maurice - Eight Strokes of the Clock
  20. Leroux, Gaston – The Phantom of the Opera
  21. Malory, Thomas - Le Morte d'Arthur
  22. Melville, Herman – Moby Dick
  23. Milton, John – Areopagitica (re-read)
  24. Neruda, Pablo - 100 Sonnets of Love
  25. Neruda, Pablo – Book of Questions
  26. Orwell, George - 1984
  27. Ovid - Metamorphoses 
  28. Pyle, Howard – The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  29. Rostand, Edmond – Cyrano de Bergerac
  30. Sabatini, Rafael - Captain Blood (re-read)
  31. Sabatini, Rafael - Scaramouche
  32. de Saint Exupery, Antoine - The Little Prince
  33. Scott, Sir Walter – Ivanhoe 
  34. Shakespeare, William - Antony and Cleopatra
  35. Shakespeare, William - Julius Caesar (re-read)
  36. Shakespeare, William - Lucrece
  37. Shakespeare, William - Much Ado About Nothing (re-read)
  38. Shakespeare, William - Othello
  39. Shakespeare, William - Richard III
  40. Shakespeare, William - Sonnets (re-read)
  41. Shakespeare, William - The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  42. Shakespeare, William – Venus and Adonis
  43. Shaw, George Bernard – Pygmalion (re-read)
  44. Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
  45. Sheridan - School for Scandal
  46. Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (read)
  47. Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
  48. Spencer, Edmund - Faerie Queene
  49. Stevenson,R L - Treasure Island
  50. Sydney, Sir Philip - Astrophel and Stella
  51. Thackeray, W M - Vanity Vair
  52. Verne - From the Earth to the Moon
  53. Verne - Twenty Thousand Leagues under The Sea (re-read)
  54. Virgil - Aeneid
  55. Voltaire - Candide
  56. Wilde, Oscar - An Ideal Husband
  57. Wilde, Oscar - The Importance of Being Earnest
Start Date: May 5th 2012
Finish Date: May 5th 2017

I edited my list (11/08/2012), because I don't want to read Faust and Dorian Grey (the movie and opera frighten me devilishly) and I changed them with some adventurous novels, my favourite genre. To make amends of the sin I've committed, I add one more book to the list, Pyle's Robin Hood. 

I edited my list (11/02/2013) because I don't know why. There are books I don't feel like reading anymore. But I keep my pledge, and add one book to my list for editing. It's Sabatini's Scaramouche.

Editing this again (13/03/2014) because some books must be written off the list. I can't suffer Portrait of a Lady, nor do I have the heart and diligence to read Vicomte de Bragelonne. Eugene Onegin is off, too, until I have strong enough heart to see others' shattered. So I turn to Ovid's Metamorphoses because it's a great source for Renaissance writers, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein because I am determined never again to mistake the Doctor and the creature like so many ignorant souls, and Orwell's 1984 because I don't usually read dystopia book. The addition is Canterbury Tales. 

Hope I can finish these books by then.  

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Answers of Tolstoys' Three Questions


Today I'd like to write about one of Leo Tolstoy's short stories: The Three Questions. For those who have not read it, you can easily find it here.
The story basically tries to answer these questions:
  • When is the most important time?
  • Who is the most important person?
  • What is the most important thing to do?

The answers for these questions, if you have read it, are:
  • The most important time is now.
  • The most important person is the one with you.
  • The most important thing is to do him good.

As philosophically simple as it may seem, I'd like to go deeper and see what it implies. The questions and answers are interesting, so let's see one by one.

The most important time

The most important time is now. I believe Tolstoy didn't mean 'now is the time, do what you like, you cannot repeat it anyway'. Nor does it mean that we should do something now for present time's sake. As we see in the story the king's kindness affects his future, his entire life. So when the hermit says that now us the most important time it actually means 'be careful what you do today, make sure you won't regret it later'.
Why is the present time is the most important? The hermit mentions the reason. He says “it's the time when you have power”. Time doesn't move backwards. Once you lose it, you lost control on it too. On the other hand, we have no control on the future time either. Therefore the only time we can control is 'now'.
So according to that answer, instead of doing whatever we want right now, we should do what is right, right now. In making decision, using the present time to the full means doing the best we can do now for the future time's sake, because we can only decide to do or not to do something right now, but our decision can influence our entire life.

The most important person

In the story, the hermit says that the most important person is the one with you right now. The reason? “For no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else .” So Tolstoy basically says that you don't know if you will ever have any other chance to deal with the person with whom you are. Therefore, he is the most important person for the time being.
Here's another reason. Just as the present time is the time you have most control over, the person with whom you are is the person you have the most power over. The lenght and frequency of your being with him is also influential to your power over him. The more you spend time with him, the more you can do to him. Thus, yoiu will have the more chance to influence him for good or bad.
On the other hand, the person you are close to, who is “with you right now” can influence you for good or bad. Thus the person becomes essential, because he changes you in a way or the other.
So in my opinion the person “with whom you are now” doesn't only imply someone who is physically with you, but rather someone over whom you have power or who has power over you (in this context, influence you). And he is important because you cannot possibly know what he will change in your life.

The most important thing

Back to the first two questions. The most important time is now, the most important person is with whom you are. So what's the most important thing you can do to that person now? Tolstoy answered: do him good.
As a religious person who believed in the Bible, he had no doubt known Matthew 7:12.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
In doing good to people, we apply sympathy. “What would I want from someone in that kind of situation?” Thus we do what we think is best for the person. And who knows whether in the future he'd do the same for us?  

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The First Post


I think it is most proper for me to introduce myself in my very first post on this blog. I'm an amateur, raptorous reader who loves classics, mostly classic literatures.

I have to admit that English is not my first language, but I love to practice my English, especially in writing, and am passionate in using it. So please forgive an error or two (or more) in my English grammar or structure. A building advice is always welcome.

As I cannot possibly major in language or literature due to my current activities (in different major), I have to find a different media to pour out my passion for literatures, and blog seems nice. Besides, I think it'll be more effective to write what I think about a certain novel or a certain character here than to babble about it to my classmates who know nothing about it.

I'm not sure it will look good academically, but at least I will try to do my best. As I said before, any advice regarding the matter will be nice.

So here it is, enjoy.