Nobody likes a traitor..
Other than Judas, history has no more famous traitor than Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with betrayal. A military officer in the American Revolution and a friend of George Washington, Arnold fell to persuasion from Major John André, a British spymaster, into surrendering West Point to the British for £20,000. This would have enabled the British to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies.
Have you ever wondered why a heroine makes the romantic choice she does, because you would have chosen someone else? That difference of opinion has often happened to me over the years, but never more than in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Seated in the theater, my hands in a popcorn bucket and eyeballs glued to the screen, I knew if I had been lucky enough to be in Elizabeth’s shoes, I would have picked not the dashing and romantic Will Turner, but the witty and reliable James Norrington! Continue reading
I have a particular fondness for little boys. Their humor, their antics, the orneriness. I love it when my dad talks about his boyhood antics. Never in a million years would this girl have thought about dropping a cherry bomb down a chimney or hopping on a train! I enjoy reading about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn because Mark Twain knew what it was like to be a little boy. He wrote what he knew. He was, most probably, an ornery little kid. And the best fictional boys come from those who were ones. Continue reading
Sherlock Holmes made an enormous impact on crime literature. His unusual methods (deductive reasoning, observation, and intuitive conclusions) were so different from the Penny Dreadfuls of the day, he became one of the most famous characters in history (only Bram Stoker’s Dracula has had as much fame). But what makes Holmes live on when history has forgotten many other fictional detectives? Continue reading
The world had never seen, nor will see again, an author such as Terry Pratchett. At thirteen years old, readers caught its first glimpse of his satiric humor when he wrote a story about the Devil asking for help in marketing hell, becoming distraught with all the “noisy people” now crowding his “amusement park,” and begging the marketing agent to fix it. Continue reading
History has seen bloody uprisings and peaceful upsets. You could call abolishing slavery a “revolution,” also the feminist movement. But one revolution waged war on morality and traditional values, and its seeds began in Regency England. Continue reading
“Have courage, and be kind,” our heroine’s mother tells Ella before she passes away.
The theme resonates through the story, as Ella is joyous amid her troubles—when banished to the attic by her wicked stepmother, she rearranges the scraps of furniture and shakes out a dusty blanket, before she tells the mice how much she enjoys solitude. Continue reading
P.T. Barnum was an all-American scrapper, a self-built from the bottom up businessman of the highest caliber, a man who saw money-making opportunities everywhere he looked, and, was ahead of his time and in others, was very much a product of his times. Most famous for creating the recently retired Barnum & Bailey Circus, last year filmmakers took his life as loose inspiration for the crowd-pleasing, slow-burn box office smash, The Greatest Showman. Continue reading
The first black big screen hero in the Marvel Avengers franchise to earn his own cinematic origins story, Black Panther is many things—a celebration of African diversity and culture, a grand adventure, a reflection on family dynamics, and about the awakening of its hero to social needs outside himself. It has all the pulses and beats of a hero’s story with echoes of a Messianic tale (loss, betrayal, death, and resurrection, with him extending forgiveness to his attacker and being found by ‘the women’), but at its core is a deeper message about forgiveness of the past and shifting the world toward social betterment, instead of violence. Continue reading
How much social prejudice would you endure to change the world?
In the 1940s, the interracial marriage of Prince Seretse Khama, heir to the Bechuanaland throne, to an English clerk, Ruth Williams, shocked the world. The couple faced criticism from his royal uncle, but soon won over the people of his nation, who were reluctant to lose his leadership. Having banned interracial marriage, the South African government exerted pressure on the United Kingdom to have him removed from power. Since England relied on inexpensive South African gold and uranium, they investigated his leadership, then suppressed the report (which found him fit to rule) and sent him and his wife into exile in 1951. Continue reading