Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Enemy

As some might already know, Dear Enemy is the sequel to Daddy Long Legs, both novels by the brilliant Jean Webster. My interest in classic literature featuring intelligent and independent women started after I start reading Jane Austen’s novels. Then I pried for more novels with the same theme and found Daddy Long Legs. I read it last summer and loved it very much. And I think it was a very original idea to build a story just based on letters, one sided letters; it satisfies us enough but still keeps us wondering what exactly happened.

I found out later that there is a sequel to Daddy Long Legs; Dear Enemy but the book is not in our library. The title alone sparked interest in me since I assumed the story is still about Judy and wondered what happened between her and Jervis that made them enemies. Of course I just had to find out  found a great website that have free ebooks. And the first one I looked for was Dear Enemy and they have it. Yay!!!

I read it and finished it in one night. Now I know what the novel is all about. It was diffrent from what I had expected but I was satisfied. Even when the novel was about a new character, Sallie McBride, after finishing reading it, I was left with the same warm, fuzzy, giddy, content feeling inside me; the very same feeling I had when I finished Daddy Long Legs. But this time, it was somewhat more, satisfying. And I have to say I like Dear Enemy better than Daddy Long Legs for some reasons.

First, I can relate more to Sallie than Judy since my own personality is more like Sallie than Judy. Unlike Judy who was more strong willed and mild tempered, I’m more like Sallie who might not be as strong willed but can be so if she had her heart set on something and with her short temper.

Second, Dear Enemy involved more complicated emotions regarding the evolution of hatred/dislike to love/concern unlike Daddy Long Legs that involved emotions from something unknown; probably curiosity into love. And the emotions in Dear Enemy are so much deeper and so much darker. Maybe because Sallie was very honest with her feelings inside her letters since she was confiding her best friend.

Third, I personally like Sandy a.k.a Robin McRae (I REALLY like the doctor's nickname) than Jervis and it’s truly a personal preference. Jervis is a good man but I prefer Sandy. Who could resist an enigmatic man who is actually wounded and battered by his harsh past?

Fourth, I laughed so much more when I read Dear Enemy. Sally can be very funny with her blunt and witty words but with her heart in the right place; it’s just impossible not to love her and enjoy the bickering and misunderstandings she had with the gloom doctor.

Fifth, Dear Enemy addressed the matter of marriage so much more seriously than Daddy Long Legs. Maybe because the setting was after the women graduated from college but it was so much more realistic. Judy married Jervis and they lived happily without problems while Sally had to struggle with the asylum, the children and her own family and future.

The biggest reason is probably because I personally long for the kind of relationship such as Sally and Sandy since I am quite the person with my own charm; i.e sarcasm and bluntness. So I guess I would appreciate someone that wouldn’t affected (much) by those and is able to see beyond those.Hope I can find my own 'Dear Enemy' one day~~~ 

I’ve gathered some classic novels and I will be spending my winter holiday going through them. I haven’t decided yet what I wanted to read first but I have a few titles in mind.

p/s : Oh, John Anderson, my jo!!!!!

p/s2: And there’s nothing wrong with reading classic literature for fun!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lessons I've Learnt From 'How To Train Your Dragon'

*Warning: Rambling. Read at your own risk*
*Warning: Spoilers for the movie*

I've watched 'How To Train Your Dragon' last summer but it was blury and all so it didn't get to me as much as yesterday when I watched it in high quality, in the comforting solitude of my dark room and my trusted laptop. Needless to say, the movie blew me away (for the second time). How cute is Toothless? And how funny is Hiccup with his sarcastic and witty remark? Love them! And of course since I'm a fan of Gerard Butler, I just love his voice as Stoick, Hiccup's father. it~~

Anywho, the lesssons I have learnt from this movie is not exactly about dragons and viking but more like about relationships between people.  I know the movie title is ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ not ‘How To Be In A Relationship’ but watching this movie reminds me that the relationships featured in the movies is very much like relationships in our daily life, if you watch really closely. So, let me break my opinion down for you.. 

Ok, picture yourself as Hiccup and Toothless as someone new in your life, someone you just met and started to get acquianted. When Hiccup met Toothless, he was so afraid of it and so did Toothless; of the unknown. But they learnt that they both shared the same curiosity and interest to know each other. Same goes when we meet a new person. We're practically started with being strangers and we gradually started to know each other despite being scared/afraid/nervous/unsure when we first meet them.

Then Hiccup and Toothless get along, not really well at first. But with effort from both sides, they managed to know what the other like or hate. Like the time Toothless drew lines on the ground and Hiccup stepped on his drawing and Toothless snarled. It’s the same application with relationship. We will step on someone’s boundaries or tick them off by doing something that they don’t like/hate. Then Hiccup realized why Toothless was snarling and he realized the reason why Toothless was so upset. Same goes with relationships; we learnt from our mistakes and learnt new things. Then Hiccup learnt more about Toothless, what he likes and what he hates and what made him angry and what made him purr. Same goes in real life.

Then Hiccup realized that Toothless is not perfect, he lost half his wing tail. And Hiccup tried to filling up the gaps with his handmade wing. After that, it took them quite some time out of trial and error to figure out how to make things work. In real life, we will find out our partner new friend/partner/acquinatance/bf/gf/etc is not perfect and will be with flaws, lots of them. And we will do the right thing by accepting it and try to fill the gaps. And the both of uswill try and try and try again until we get it right to make things work. Note that I use the word ‘fill up’ and not ‘fix’ with Hiccup and Toothless. Same goes for us, we can’t fix our partner and etc to be the way we want them to be, we can only fill what was missing and it won’t be as good but it will work, with both our efforts. Just like Hiccup and Toothless.

Then when the people around them found out about Toothless and Hiccup, we can learn a few things based on their reactions. In this case, Astrid found out. Let’s say Astrid is someone quite important in our life, say a good friend. When the good friend found out that the two of you are getting closer, they would start going protective over you or worst, jealousy. And we will feel torn apart between our partner (from now on, let's refer to this new person in our life as our partner) and our friend; that is normal. Like Hiccup with Toothless and Astrid. Bear in mind, our partner and friend will most probably start off with the wrong feet and will probably hate each other for some time. But then the friend and our partner will learn about each other; just like they did with us and they will see what we see. Just like how Astrid saw how Toothless is not so bad and vice versa.

Then, came in the family. In the movie, the family is Hiccup’s father, Stoick. He was very protective of Hiccup from Toothless since he has a prejudice and doubt and distrust towards Toothless. The same goes in our family. Our father @ mother @ siblings @ all of the above will dislike our partner when they meet them for the first time especially when they are not quite ready for the ‘meeting’. Especially a surprise one, like in the movie and seeing us covering/protecting/ backing up our partner is just going to spark the prejudice/doubt/ distrust to a whole new level a.k.a infinity.

In the movie, Stoick took Toothless away from Hiccup. In real life, our family will take us away from our partner or drive them away or at least try to do so. But Hiccup loves Toothless so he went after him. If we really love our partner, we will do the same once we realize that you really need and love your partner and they are worth the trouble. 

So Hiccup went after Toothless. They fought the Giant Dragon and managed to defeat him. Of course in real life there are no giant dragons, or dragons for that matter but let’s think of the giant dragon as a trouble/problem/barrier/issue in life that we both have to face as a couple (or as friends etc). And if we work together with our partner like Hiccup and Toothless, we will get over it. In the movie, Toothless lost half a wing tail and Hiccup lost one of his feet. In real life, we might not lose a body part (well, depending on the situation anyway), but there will be some lost too; emotionally or mentally. But just like Toothless and Hiccups who accept each other’s flaws and helps each other with their problem and just being there while their partner needs them, so do you, we, everyone in relationships. And if we could do so, then we will have an ending like the movie; happy.

But then again, like isn’t the movie and the ending is only THE ENDING so before the end, we might have to repeat the process in the movie a few times, maybe more for some people. But we will learn in time. And with experience, we will be quicker the next time. So, of course you and me are not Hiccup and our partner is not a dragon, but as different as Hiccup, a boy and Toothless, a dragon, so aren’t we, right? Conclusion, people in new relationships ARE like Hiccups and Toothless but we can work it out; with efforts, patience and love.

p/s: I started writing with using 'you' as in adressing the public and not myself but when I think of it, I am in the same situation so I changed into 'we' as in including myself in this whole situation.

p/s2: I would like to read the book to know how the story is told in words. It's just so much diffrent seeing a story formed in words and in images.