Tag Archives: rachel kovaciny

Persistence and Patience: Jane Austen’s Persuasion

When I was seventeen, my parents gave me a set of four Jane Austen paperbacks in a little slipcover case for my birthday or Christmas, I forget which. Pride and PrejudiceSense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion. I’d seen movie versions of the first three by then, but not of Persuasion. I read the other three first I think—it’s a hard to remember, twenty years later. Persuasion was the only one of Austen’s books my mom hadn’t read before, so she couldn’t tell me much about it either. I had to go into it not knowing anything but the blurb on the back cover.

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Dystopian, But Not Depressing: Fahrenheit 451

I don’t care much for dystopian fiction. The intentional bleakness, the pervasive misery, the general feeling of “mankind screwed everything up and now the world is a sucking, swirling eddy of despair punctuated only by brief flashes of false hope” —none of that appeals to me. And yet, I love Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 dearly. 

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Quiet Gallantry: Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

I was in my early teens when they released the movie Gettysburg (1993). My family rented it as soon as it hit the local video store. We settled down for a deeply moving, relatively accurate depiction of the battle at Gettysburg that turned the tide of the American Civil War in favor of the Union. Continue reading

Nonsensical Geometry: The Two Love Triangles of Jane Eyre

The central romance in Jane Eyre resolves happily. (Do I need to mark that as a spoiler? Surely not! Surely, if you haven’t read Charlotte Bronte’s triumph of a novel by this time, you’ve at least watched a movie version?) Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre overcome every obstacle, including those within themselves, to meet as equals at last in the eyes of all, marry, produce offspring, and live happily ever after. Good for them. Continue reading

More Than a Kindred Spirit: Ramona Quimby

I don’t remember the first time I encountered Ramona Quimby. My mom read me one of Beverly Cleary’s books when I was probably five or six—so long ago, Ramona has always been a part of my consciousness. Why? Because, though I didn’t know how to phrase it that way, I knew from the start that Ramona and I were kindred spirits. Continue reading

Not a Fool: The Importance of Portraying Dr. Watson Correctly

All but four of the original sixty Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (also known as the “canon”) are narrated by Dr. John Watson.

You know what that tells us?  Watson is not merely a sidekick.  He’s not an afterthought.  He’s not just the comic relief.  He’s not a cardboard cut-out for Holmes to bounce ideas off. Continue reading