Tag Archives: rachel sexton

The Magic of Love: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

Pretty much everyone loves movies and television. Most people would also add books or music (or both) to that list. But, no matter how popular a piece of entertainment is, we all experience things differently and our favorite stories become part of our identities for unique reasons. Each viewer or reader brings with them separate tastes, and different people can prefer different aspects of the same film or novel. What affects us the most varies from person to person. The Harry Potter series is a massive fandom, but I root my personal connection to it in its use of love. In her Harry Potter novels, J. K. Rowling develops and demonstrates the theme of love in all its forms as a force with power that her characters can use to combat evil. Continue reading

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Love Can Be a Revolution: Doctor Zhivago

Recreating history has always been a draw for every storytelling medium but this is particularly true of cinema. The events of the past can be inherently dramatic, and nothing encapsulates conflict like a revolution. When a group of people stand up against a powerful government or oppressive regime to achieve better lives, their story can evoke emotions in unique ways. When a piece of fiction uses such a situation as a backdrop for a successful narrative like a love story, the result can be special. Doctor Zhivago is a perfect example. Its scope and intimacy illustrates parallels between history and emotion. Continue reading

Remaking Romance: Tristan and Isolde

A common complaint lodged against Hollywood is that it has no new stories. This is understandable, but it neglects to consider that certain narratives are timeless. They can appear with different external details but will always keep that impact on audiences which can be lasting. A story that is particularly effective at this is the romantic tragedy, and one such tale is about Tristan and Isolde. The different versions of Tristan and Isolde shows how reinterpretation can manifest itself across various mediums. Continue reading

The Amazing Amazon: Wonder Woman

Let’s say ten years ago you asked someone to name a superhero. You were likely to hear that person say Batman or Superman or maybe Spider-Man. Now, you might hear Iron Man or Captain America as well. But ask anyone at any point in time to name a female superhero and you will get one answer: Wonder Woman. Also known as Diana Prince, she is a vital part of the DC Comics pantheon and is still the most high-profile female comic book hero. The appeal of Wonder Woman is vast and has a deep and lasting cultural impact. Continue reading

More than Mammy: The Life of Hattie McDaniel

The situation for African-American actors in Hollywood is a constant topic of discussion in the industry, and for good reason because it needs improvement. (Remember the #OscarsSoWhite controversy a couple years back?) Black History Month seems like the perfect time to look back at the past for a source of inspiration that black actors working today can utilize going forward. The first African-American Oscar nominee and winner was Hattie McDaniel for 1939’s Gone With the Wind. She won for Best Supporting Actress. Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award win is an undeniable example of why she is a fascinating pioneer. Continue reading

Back to the… Present?

NOV / DEC 2017: BY RACHEL SEXTON

Time travel is a well-used and familiar trope of science-fiction narratives. It is such a useful plot device that the concept of time travel has appeared in stories with no other science-fiction elements in them. Often, the characters operate under the rule that any changes to the past will have a detrimental effect on the present. One exception to this is also one of the most successful and beloved films of all time. The Back to the Future trilogy allows its protagonists to not only change but improve the past, present, and future within the story. Continue reading

A Madding Crowd of Suitors

HALLOWEEN 2017: BY RACHEL SEXTON

The years of history known as the Victorian era offer readers a plethora of literary possibilities to choose from and enjoy. Many impressive and essential efforts from authors of both genders from England and America have endured through the years. This period was before the world made much progress towards women’s equality, however, and one author couldn’t help but be a product of his times. Thomas Hardy wrote novels that remain in the public consciousness despite their often downbeat endings. One of Hardy’s happiest endings is in his fourth novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. In it, the three suitors represent patriarchal archetypes to guide women in their choices regarding the opposite sex. Continue reading

Small and Mighty: Golda Meir

SEPT / OCT: BY RACHEL SEXTON

Even now, in the 21st century, the sight of a woman occupying a nation’s highest political office is rare. The examples of such women throughout history is a low number. Their names (Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi) should be familiar to everyone, and it’s sad the United States has not yet added a name to that list. (Hopefully someday soon!) They all contributed something important to the world, and Golda Meir was one of them. Golda Meir left a legacy in a male-dominated field just as complicated and inspiring as any man’s. Continue reading

Destiny at High Noon

JULY / AUG 2017: BY RACHEL SEXTON

More than any other genre of film, the aspect that defines the Western the most is setting. It’s right there in the name—western. The open, often arid vistas of the western United States in the mid- and late-1800s provided the backdrop for a distinctly American type of story, where men instilled justice and order in a lawless land. Many films have filled in this genre and made a lasting impression. One is High Noon. Every element reflects the story’s themes of time, loyalty, and cowardice. Continue reading

Magic in a Bottle: Aladdin and the One Thousand and One Nights

MAY / JUNE 2017: BY RACHEL SEXTON

Stories all come from somewhere. Our beloved fairytales originated in the oral storytelling tradition that thrived for centuries before the written word. Though the Grimm brothers have gained the most notoriety and familiarity for writing these tales down, hundreds of years earlier, various authors collected together stories from the Asian and Arabic world into One Thousand and One Nights. Also called Arabian Nights, this extensive work is full of well-known tales such as Aladdin. The film versions of Aladdin show how One Thousand and One Nights contains examples of classic fairytale themes. Continue reading