Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: ​Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant

Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant is a touching story about two French fishermen who make an attempt to come back to their hobby (catching fish) during the war with Prussia.

Two main characters indulge in nostalgic memories about the peaceful life they had before the war. The story represents the best qualities of two friends: they are honest, sincere and love their fatherland. The story is realistic and tragic, without a happy ending.

Here is the link to the text of the story (page 24 in the file):

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Movie review: Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick

The movie "Barry Lyndon" by Stanley Kubrick represents a genre of epic historical costume drama surrounding Europe in the 18th century. The plot is based on a free interpretation of the novel written by a classic author of British literature, William Makepeace Thackeray.

The movie starts with the scene of a duel where Barry's father is killed. At the beginning of the movie, a young Irishman, Barry Lyndon, falls in love with his cousin. He was shy and honest. With youthful confidence, he defers his honor calling for a duel with a captain of the British army who made efforts to establish a romantic relationship with Barry's girl. They had the duel after which Lyndon had to leave his homeplace.

Barry Lyndon experienced many adventures during his life. He was robbed, served in the army as a simple soldier along with lower-class people. He was a hero during the war in Europe, a wastrel in high society, a gambler, husband and father. The plot is really interesting as it captures the attention of the viewers, as Kubrick portrays the time and lives of these people in a realistic manner. He is able to capture the emotions and complexities of the time.

Stanley Kubrick very cleverly makes use of the paintings of that period as a reference for both costume and make up for the characters in the film. He is also able to encapsulate the trails and tribulations of the time period.

This movie is less famous than other Kubrick's works like “The Shining” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, but it should definitely be classified as a masterpiece. It is highly recommended to watch.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Ant and the Grasshopper by William Somerset Maugham Review

William Somerset Maugham began the short story "The Ant and the Grasshopper" by using the same name in the fable of La Fontaine. According to this fable, the ant worked hard during the summer preparing shelter and food for the winter. The grasshopper, however, was singing the whole summer and when the winter came, he asked the ant for food, to which the ant answered: "You sang. Why, then go and dance."

The author described in the story the life of two brothers: George and Tom. Tom was a careless person. He spent his life at parties and gambling, borrowed money without aim to return it. Society did not approve of his lifestyle. Though he was forty–six he looked as young as thirty–five. George was only a year older than his carefree brother and he looked sixty. He always did what was to be done, worked hard, saved money for his retirement.

What happened in the story and the author's opinion about the moral of the fable in real circumstances ... readers will know about it after reading this funny short story.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Saturday, June 8, 2019

​Airport by Pauline Kaldas Review

The short story "Airport" by Pauline Kaldas described the time before the meeting of two people who were going to marry but they had never met before.

The first character, the young man Samir, went to an American airport to meet his fiancé who flew in from Egypt. A few years ago Samir came to the USA after he won a green card lottery. The second character, Hoda, was a girl who planned her future life in the US.

Thanks to the writer's skill readers can feel the atmosphere of expectation of uncertainty in the story. The main characters focused on their thoughts, doubts and they see life around them as a parallel reality. Let's look at the first paragraph as an example:

"He paced the airport waiting room, his steps marking a path in the carpet between the rows of seats. At first those sitting down looked up at this man who could not hold his feet still like the rest of them and curb his agitation. After a while, some returned to their own thoughts or families. A few kept their gaze on his coming and going, perhaps to ease their own turmoil. Even after he left, a few repeated his path with their eyes as if permanently held by the ghost of his movement."

The story is short. It doesn't have an outcome. The readers know that these two people are ready to overcome possible difficulties. The main characters suffered being alone at the beginning of the narration but they had a hope to find their happiness. The happy ending wasn't described by the author but it likely will come.

This a link for pdf-file where the text of the story can be found on page 116:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sunday Along The Moscow River, Russia (June the 2st, 2019)

The photos below were taken on June 2, 2019 along The Moscow River in the part of the city which is located close to the centre of Moscow.

This is the view of The Moscow River from the Vorobyevskaya Embankment. The skyscrapers of the Moscow-city district are behind the trees.

These fountains are especially popular during hot days. Children and adults like running inside this structure and play with water.

This is the view from the Park Museon toward Moscow Kremlin. One tower of Kremlin is slightly visible far ahead. The tremendously big sculpture on the right represents the most respectable Russian Tsar Peter the Great.

This day in Gorky Park was the “Arena of Heroes” competition. The brave girl, Katerina, is on the way to a successful finish. The crowd around endorsed her by applauding.

Riding on bicycles has become a very popular activity in Moscow.

This picture represents the beauty of the city’s landschaft. People enjoy walking along the river.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson Review

The short story "The Possibility of Evil" by Shirley Jackson takes place in a small town in the USA, where all people have known each other for many years. The welcoming phrase "how are you" is a real question for them. It seems that each citizen wants to help others.

The main character, the old lady, Miss Adela Strangeworth, has lived in the town since it was founded. She likes roses in her garden and displays a nice attitude toward her neighbors. What happens next? Shirley Jackson is a master of unexpected endings. Readers may know the plot and appreciate the moral of the story after reading. The intrigue of the ending is kept up to the end of the story.

This is the link to the text of the story: