IMWAYR: The Children of Men

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Image Source: Amazon

The Children of Men by PD James is quite the interesting premise to say the least. I have been reading it for about a week now and am having an great experience with it. The book is set in the near future in a dystopian world in which humans lose the ability to reproduce. I’m 134 pages in so far and this book has so far been very hard to put down.

 

I decided to read this book because I love the film and wanted to see what differences were made when it was adapted. So far, there hasn’t been anything drastic. But there have been some changes that seem pointless. They don’t take away from anything, but I am not sure why they made the change. Whatever changes were made must have been for good reason because the film was well received by critics. The book is very good, however the elements that made the film so enjoyable are not present in the book. Not at the books fault though; one of the best aspects about the film is the long takes with incredible amounts of detail. There isn’t really a book equivalent of not cutting the shot. The long takes aren’t the only appealing thing about the film, but they are their absence is most notable in the book.

 

Theo (the protagonist) in the book is way more fleshed out of a character in my opinion. The film’s take on Theo is way more “blank slate-y” and less unique. The film’s version of Theo seems like he was created to have the audience project themselves onto his character. Both characters were very likeable. I am not far enough into the book to discuss other characters without giving away spoilers. I found this quote from Theo to be quite telling of his character:

I don’t want anyone to look to me, not for protection, not for happiness, not for love, not for anything. (James 26)

 

I’ll wrap up this post on a different topic. A lot of crazy stuff has been happening in the world of politics and because of this I have discovered a book called Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I was planning on reading The Body by Stephen King next, but supposedly Brave New World is very similar to Orwell’s 1984which is an absolute classic book. So I picked up a copy of Brave New World and can’t wait to read it next.

 

Word Count: 409

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Review: The Trial by Franz Kafka

  • Book: The Trial
  • Author: Franz Kafka
  • Pages: 266
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Image Source: Goodreads

The Trial by Franz Kafka was published in 1925, one year after Kafka’s death. The history behind the book is just as interesting as the book itself. Kafka never actually finished The Trial and asked his dear friend Max Brod to destroy it along with all his other unfinished works. Thankfully, Brod went against his friend’s wishes and did his best to scrap together and finish the messy manuscript that has become The Trial.  A lot of interesting details regarding the history of the book are found in the publisher’s note in the beginning, which is followed by a translator’s note that is just as pleasurable to read. However, be warned the translator’s note does contain sizable spoilers. Check out this video by The School of Life on Kafka’s life and how it influenced his writing.

 

The story is about a modest individual named Josef K. who finds himself under arrest one morning for reasons he is not aware of. His arrest isn’t very normal either. He isn’t put in handcuffs or taken to jail, but he is simply “under arrest” and told there will be a trial to determine his guilt. The conversation K. has with the two men who place him under arrest give a warning of what is to expect from this story; it is utterly absurd. Frankly, I would not consider the following explanation of the premise to be a spoiler. But nevertheless, some people might consider the following to be spoilers. Read at your own risk! K. never finds out what it is he is on trial for. This is the main mechanic of the book. Everything K. does to try and help his trial is utterly useless and this is almost always attributed to the fact he has no idea why he is on trial. I don’t think wild goose chase is the right way to describe the circumstances, but it more feels like his trial is a futile battle. Spoiler territory has ended.

 

I enjoyed The Trial immensely. I was initially turned off by the writing style, which is plentiful with run-on thoughts that never seem to end. The dialogue isn’t broken down with indentations either, so it can be a little tricky to follow at points. And on top of it all the book is a translation from German to English, which according the translator is not the easiest translation to make. However, almost unintentionally, the style of writing embellishes the absurd tone of the book and makes it very easy to get sucked in to the story. The story is very susceptible to interpretation and I find it best to read the text before being influenced by other people’s interpretations. Skip to the next paragraph if you do not want to be influenced. My favorite way of looking at The Trial is as a critique of the modern way of life. It is no secret the ultimate criticism is of societal judgement, but it goes further when considering the way K. deals with his trial. Everything about K.’s life falls apart when he is arrested even though other than being “on trial” nothing about his life has changed. He isn’t held anywhere, he voluntarily goes to all of the inquiries and hearings, and all his choices to fight the accusation are on his on behalf. Nothing is preventing K. from leaving town and avoiding it all together. But he stays in vanity and fights it because he is selfish and wants to keep his life equally as comfortable as it was before the accusation.

 

An excerpt that is particularly telling of what The Trial conveys is when K. is speaking with the priest. They are talking of a story about a doorkeeper and a man from the country. The man wants entry into Law and the doorkeeper prevents him.

“The man has only just arrived at the Law, the doorkeeper is already there. He has been appointed to his post by the Law, to doubt his dignity is to doubt the Law itself.” “I don’t agree with that opinion,” said K., shaking his head, “for if you accept it, you have to consider everything the doorkeeper says as true. But you’ve already proved conclusively that that’s not possible.” “No,” said the priest, “you don’t have to consider everything true, you just have to consider it necessary.” “A depressing opinion,” said K. “Lies are made into a universal system.” (Kafka 223)

 

The Trial is a great work of literature that I would recommend to anyone interested in a new experience. Kafka is an impressively unique writer with a brain worth picking. It isn’t certain why he never finished the book despite starting it in 1914, but I’m glad Brod decided not to destroy it as Kafka wished.

 

Word Count: 795

10 Random Facts About Me

1. My desired profession is screenwriting. I have been passionate about film for years and have been making silly home-movies since I was 11 years old. I currently wait tables for a living, so my joke is I plan to be a failing screenwriter/professional server until I retire.

 

2. I just changed majors from Computer Science to English. This is quite the 180 degree change. Last semester I decided to pursue a career in writing despite having taken so many STEM courses. I like to imagine I’ll be one of few English majors with credit in Calculus I, II, and III.

 

3. I love music. This is not a unique fact, but it is true none the less. I got a record player set-up and started buying vinyl a few years ago solely as a method of supporting the artist and getting a cool physical thing in return. In the age of Spotify its hard to justify purchasing MP3s.

 

4. I enjoy photography just as much as videography. While I enjoy traditional forms of art, digital art has always been what peaks my interest the most. It seems the possibilities are endless. I started making movies at a very young age and moved to photography once I finally saved up for my first DSLR. The main photo and the photo below I took a couple weeks ago on a day I was free of work. What I like about photography is to anyone else but myself the photo is not all too interesting. However, I remember standing there and taking it. There is a whole day attached to that photo that is pleasing for me to think about when looking at it.

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Photo by Joe Dickerson

 

5. My favorite filmmakers are Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Brothers. There are many films that I would consider favorites, but there aren’t many other films by the key filmmakers of those favorites I enjoy. For example, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation is in my top 3 favorite films but there isn’t much else she has made that I like nearly as much as Lost in Translation. Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Brothers have a steady stream of films that I love to watch.

 

6. Synecdoche, New York is my favorite film. Truthfully, my “favorite film” changes all the time. But there is one that has always been a top 3 for me and that is Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. It is a highly interpretable film with infinite amounts of content under the surface. A recent favorite of mine is Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Menwhich is an adaptation I plan to read for this class sometime. Check out the opening scene, which is an impressive long take that is topped later on in the film.

 

7. I love to bike everywhere. Exercising is boring and time consuming, so why not combine transportation and exercising into one activity? Its genius! On top of the exercise, it is really nice to bike on a scenic route and just enjoy the scenery. Plus, it saves gas money and is better for the environment than driving. Whats not to love about biking?

 

8. I eat a vegan diet. I went vegan about a year and a half ago and would recommend everyone to try it. Cruelty-free, good for the environment, and good for your health. Its a real triple threat.

 

9. I spent a semester at UNF. My first semester out of high school was at the University of North Florida and I did not like it at all. I’ve lived in Gainesville my whole life and Jacksonville was not a good switch for me. Even though I wanted to branch out, I decided UF was the school for me so I came back and started on my AA immediately.

 

10. Chess is my favorite board game. I don’t know for sure if chess is considered a board game, but it is my favorite game that is played on a board. Me and my roommate play to decide who does the dishes which is an even heavier bet than money.

 

Word count: 669