Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Laddie Post 5: Chapters 14-18 (Final)

Chapter 14

Laddie decides to take up plowing for a week in an effort to prove to the Princess that he's a working man who's worthy of courtship. Laddie has a long (and a bit of a heated) conversation With Mr. Pryor about his daughter and eventually Mr. Pryor says that it would be okay if Laddie dated the Princess.

Chapter 15

Little Sister is convinced that the connection between Laddie and the Princess didn't work out. But then Little Sister sees the Princess and she reminds her of Sally when she was in love. So, clearly, the Princess and Laddie are in love! Little Sister is correct, and she talks to the Princess. Little Sister and the Princess engage in an awkward conversation that makes the Princess angry. But they work things out.

Chapter 16

Laddie comes home and announces that the Princess said yes when he asked her to marry him! Little Sister is very excited, but explains the bitter-sweet situation. Yes, it's good that Laddie's getting married, but he's also leaving, which makes Little Sister very sad. Later, Laddie gets Leon a horse! Laddie says he's going to pay for it by selling other horses for a man, and he says that he's going to enjoy it much more than plowing.

Chapter 17

Now it's finally Shelley's turn to get married! Little Sister goes out with her father and picks up the mail and sees a letter from Robert Paget, Shelley's lover. Little Sister delivers the letter to Shelley and she finds a bunch of other letters inside. Shelley is afraid to read the attached note inside, so Laddie reads it for her. Robert explains through the note that these were a bunch of "dead letters" that never got sent to Shelley. Later, Robert comes for a visit to get to know the family better, and plan the wedding. The two couples (Laddie and The Princess, and Shelley and Robert) consider doing a double wedding. Then we find out that The Princess and Robert are brother and sister! Turns out that Pamela Pryor's (The Princess) real name was Pamela Paget! What a mussy situation!

Chapter 18

Mr. Pryor had a stroke, but they fixed him. Then Shelley and Pamela married their beaus at the double wedding and everyone lived happily after. And Laddie didn't die. What the heck?

New Words

Mussy-just another word for messy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Laddie Post 4: Chapters 9-13

Chapter 9

Little Sister's family took in a man who needed a place to stay. On one Sunday morning, the family left for church but left Leon and the man (who they call Even So) at home. Lo and behold, when the family returned, Even So stole money! Of course, Little Sister's parents get suspicious of Leon. But Little Sister advocates in Leon's favor and says that he would never ever steal anything. Eventually, Leon managed to get the money back and everything turned out alright.

Chapter 10

Laddie presents himself to his family. He's wearing his nicest clothes, his hair is perfect, and Little Sister admires him. He plans to go to the Princess's house to visit. He says that if they don't let him in that he'll come home immediately. Because he doesn't come home soon, Laddie's dad assumes that they let him in. And they did. They even invite him for dinner because he stayed so long. When Laddie returned, his mom asked him what he ate. Laddie says he couldn't remember because he was focusing so much on being perfect. Later, Leon and Little Sister manage to lose a goose. At first, Little Sister doesn't think it's that big of a deal, but then she realizes that gooses are expensive. They manage to get the goose back.

Chapter 11

Christmas time! The first part of the chapter covers the preparation for Christmas. Every little detail is taken care of, and the family has a great Christmas. Next is the spelling bee. Laddie and the Princess are on opposing sides, and end up being the last two contestants remaining in the bee. They duke it our for a very long time until finally Laddie spells a word wrong. The Princess asks Little Sister if Laddie did indeed know how to spell the word, and Little Sister says that yes, he did! Hmm...

Chapter 12

Little Sister is sick. She decides that it would be fair to make her birds take the same amount of medicine that she had to take. She passes the time by playing dress up with her birds, or listening to the Princess tell stories. She says that she might just be pretending that Laddie is her favorite, and that if it came down to it, she would pick mother over anyone else while she was sick. Later, father made a machine that made dog-like noises that would scare the foxes (who were eating all their geese and roosters) away. Even though Little Sister knows that it's just a machine that's making the noises, she still gets scared. Little Sister wants to save the foxes because she knows that they have babies at home. She tries very hard, but doesn't succeed. A kerfuffle arises in the fox hunt. Later, it's Easter time! Little Sister's family's Easter egg hunt tradition is to allow the kids to sell whatever eggs they find. And they go hard-core with it. Leon stole all of Laddie's eggs, and according to the family's rules, that was fair because Laddie didn't hide his eggs well enough! The hunt goes for days at a time. Little Sister is determined to get Laddie's eggs back. Wen she finally finds Leon's hiding place, she tells Laddie about it, and he says that the eggs are now rightfully hers. So Little Sister steals Leon's eggs!

Chapter 13

Little Sister tells us about how much she hates school. She says that it's all designed wrong. She says that school should be outside, and they should use nature for math and other subjects. She says she can't wait until school lets out. Little Sister, a bit of a noddy, gets in trouble with her teacher again. Later, Mr. Pryor comes over for a visit and has a long conversation with mother. Their conversation takes up the majority of the chapter and they talk about a variety of things. At one point, Mr. Pryor calls mother a "lady." She is taken aback by this because her definition of a lady is a perfect female. Mr. Pryor says that that's impossible, but mother says that a perfect woman is the only woman worthy of a "lady" title, and she's staunch about it.

New Words

Noddy - A silly or foolish person (esp. as a general term of abuse).
Staunch - Loyal and committed in attitude: "a staunch supporter of the antinuclear lobby"; "a staunch Catholic".

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Laddie Post 3: Chapters 4-8

Chapter 4

Little Sister witnessed her sister kissing a boy and came to the conclusion that the two were engaged. Little Sister felt the need to tell the whole world about it and Sally beat her up. Turned out that Sally was indeed engaged, however. Sally went shopping with her father for dresses knowing that he would probably buy more than her mother would.

Time for school! In fact, Little Sister's teacher moved in with her! Having lots of time to examine her teacher, Little Sister noticed that Miss Amelia was very bird-like. She hopped around and seemed to chirp. But the birdness wore off when Miss Amelia was around Little Sister's parents. Little Sister talks to Leon and says that she doesn't expect to have any fun at school. But Leon assures her that she'll get over it after a few days and that she'll be just fine. He even offers to help her with her homework.

Chapter 5

On her first day of school, Little Sister gets punished. Her teacher, Miss Amelia hit Little Sister when she pointed out that her teacher was wrong about something. Little Sister talked to Laddie about it and asked if what she did was wrong. Laddie said yes, and that she should have confronted her teacher in private instead of in front of the whole class so that Miss Amelia wouldn't be humiliated. That night, Little Sister's mom asked her what happened to her face. Leon, knowing what really happened, said that she must have run into something at recess. Miss Amelia just sat there very quietly.

Chapter 6

Little Sister apologized to Miss Amelia. To Little Sister's amazement, Miss Amelia accepted the apology! Later, Little Sister admires Sally's wedding dress and the gang prepares for the wedding. 

Chapter 7

Next is Sally and Peter's marriage. They get married at the house, and the entire first part of chapter 7 is about the cleaning and arrangement of the house. Every detail is set in place for the big day. Sally apologized to Little Sister for beating her. Little Sister forgave her instantly. A feast is served at the wedding, and Little Sister and Leon are enjoying the food and gamboling around so much that they didn't hear that they were being summoned to eat at the wedding party's table. All in all, the wedding went very well.

Chapter 8

Little Sister explains that getting her sister Shelley ready for school was pretty much the same amount of work as getting Sally ready for her wedding. Shelley needed new dresses and everything. Aside from that, Little Sister's mother lies sick in bed, and Little Sister is determined to catch a fish to cook for dinner. After much effort (and Laddie's help), she finally catches her fish. Later, Leon and Little Sister are playing and Leon wonders (out loud) what it would be like to die. He says he wishes he could be hanged and then come back to testify what it was like. Little Sister volunteers to do just that for him. So Leon and Little Sister set up a noose hanging from a tree and Little Sister wraps it around her neck and jumps off the top of a barrel. Luckily, this doesn't kill Little Sister. It does, however, cut off her air flow. After Little Sister managed to survive this, she's disappointed that Leon won't listen to her when she tries to tell him what it was like to be hanged. Clearly, Leon felt very bad about what happened.

New Words

gambol (pg. 98) - Run or jump about playfully.

calico (used around half a dozen times throughout chapters 4-8) - Printed cotton fabric.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Laddie Post 2: Chapters 1-3

For the first time in my life I'm reading a book with an unnamed protagonist. She's referred to as Little Sister. I think we can safely assume her name is Gene (after Gene Stratton-Porter, the author) because the entire story follows the true story of the author. Little Sister, a young girl (maybe 7 or 8), is the youngest of 12 children. Her favorite brother, Laddie, is probably 16 or 17 years old. According to a Little Sister, Laddie does everything well. Laddie is probably Little Sister's favorite because he seems to be the only one who loves her. There had been a four year gap between Little Sister and her next older sibling. The family wasn't ready for another kid, and everyone cried when Little Sister was born. Except for Laddie, who rejoiced. For a girl who must feel very unwanted and accidental, Little Sister keeps her head up high and makes the most of her life and enjoys studying the world around her. Laddie tells her that she has to deliver a letter deep into the woods to the Princess. When she arrives, she finds the Princess (who is actually Mr. Pryor's daughter) and gives her the letter. The Princess, in turn, gives Little Sister a letter to give to Laddie. It's made pretty obvious at this point in the story that Laddie has a crush on this girl. Mr. Pryor is an atheist that offended Little Sister's father by proclaiming that there's no such thing as God. The next character we meet is Leon (Little Sister's brother). Leon is a charming and witty boy. He recites his memory verses in front of the whole congregation. But his verses are completely out of context and he looks at specific members of the church in the eye when he says each verse. But in the end it turns out okay and people weren't too terribly offended. Later, Little Sister enacts a church service with her birds. A pretty interesting form of make-belief. After that she overhears her father talking that Little Sister should spend more time outside because she doesn't belong in the house.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Laddie Post 1: About the Author

Warning: This mini-biography might contain spoilers for Laddie, A True Blue Story. I’m not actually sure because at the time I’m writing this I’ve only read a few pages of the book, but from what I can tell it seems as if the author based the story on her real life story.

The next book (and final for the 2012-13 school year) my class is reading is Laddie, A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter. Born Geneva Grace Stratton, Gene Stratton-Porter was born August 17, 1863 in Indiana. Gene’s passion was nature. She loved being outside and examining the flowers and other plants. She was the youngest in the family and had 11 brothers and sisters. When Gene was just 8 years old, her favorite brother Laddie (coincidence? I think not!), drowned, leaving the family devastated. 

I don’t know about you, but Gene Stratton-Porter was feeling 22. In fact, she was 22 when she married Charles Porter. She began writing after her marriage, rather spontaneously when she started studying nature more in depth. Her books received more and more praise with each publication. She published 12 novels, 8 of which were made into movies. She even founded the Gene Stratton-Porter Film Company. She died when she was just 61 from injuries from a car accident. 

“For every bad man and woman I have ever known, I have met . . . an overwhelming number of thoroughly clean and decent people who still believe in God and cherish high ideals, and it is upon the lives of these people that I base what I write. To contend that this does not produce a picture true to life is idiocy. It does. It produces a picture true to ideal life; to the best that good men and good women can do at level best.”
- Gene Stratton-Porter 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Magnificant Obsession Post 7 (Final)

In this last post I'm going to cover the ending (the final four chapters) in just a few sentences, and then give my opinion of the book as a whole.

Helen Hudson went to Europe. She was involved in a train accident. Bobby Merrick performed eye surgery on Helen because the accident made her blind. Helen didn't know who did the surgery until she recognized Bobby's voice. They she was very agitated because Bobby hid it from her. But after Helen could see again, she and Bobby were married and they lived happily ever after.

Magnificent Obsession didn't have much of a definable plot. It went all over the place, which I guess can be a good thing. One good thing is that the characters were very defined. At first it was hard to keep track of all the different characters, but then it got easier. The book uses too many metaphors and similes. It's nice when authors do this to enhance the writing, but Lloyd Douglas writes nearly everything in metaphors and similes which makes the book very hard to understand. As a whole, Magnificent Obsession was relatively entertaining, but very bland at points. Would not recommend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Magnificent Obsession Post 6: Chapters 16-18

Contrite - feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming - pg. 262
Veal - the flesh of a young calf - pg. 271
Twaddle - silly idle talk - pg.  282

Chapters 16-18

Helen goes to Bobby to tell him that she everything she's ever had is actually Bobby's. The conversation they had was far from twaddle. She says that she plans to return all the money to Bobby. But he says that he's already used it all up. Bobby then tells Helen that he loves her which came as a shock to Helen. 

Next, the gang went to a fancy dinner, then to the theatre. Now, we meet a new character: Dr McLaren. McLaren invites Bobby to church, and he accepts. McLaren is the pastor of Grace Church. McLaren and Merrick have differing views on religion, and they engage in a debate.