Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Poem Discussion: "next to of course god america i" by e.e. cummings (Featuring Literary Enthusiast Kelsea Rowan)


During the Modernist era, literature was drastically altered. From 1914 to 1945, Modernist literature turned into something that was so unique that one would have a difficult time coming together with a pinpoint for its overall theme. Writers like T.S. Eliot were inspired by the past, but wrote for the present. At the same time, there were those, like e.e. cummings, that wrote in a way that was so unique that it created something extraordinary for its time. I will be discuss his untitled poem that we know as "next to of course god america i." In the event that a poem is untitled, it is usually routine to name the poem after its first line. Readers of Emily Dickinson are quite familiar with this.

However, I will not be discussing this alone. I am conducting my third collaboration with a favorite literary friend of mine. She is an intelligent librarian who is going to college for library science and for studies in LGBTQ literature. At the same time, she is an enthusiast for the work of e.e. cummings. If you watch Literary Gladiators, she will be on board during the upcoming season. I am speaking of Kelsea Rowan. Thank you for joining me!


Thank you for having me Josh! And for those kind words!


It is my pleasure.

Kelsea allegedly convinced me to do my senior thesis on e.e. cummings in one of my dreams. It turns out that I could have come up with a thesis for The Enormous Room, since the theme of the seminar was Literature & War. So I think about Kelsea when I think about cummings.

Anyway, let's talk about "next to of course god america i."


The association between myself and cummings is always flattering of course. "next to of course god america i" is a short but opinionated poem. This poem addresses the topic of patriotism in America, which can become a controversial topic at times and cummings makes it a point to fully exemplify the controversial bits of this patriotism in his poem. On the surface, the poem can be seen as a fun comment on patriotism, but a closer look will have one taken back by the true subject: the blind patriotism that the speaker is here to discuss sarcastically.

I wanted to begin with the style of the poem, how cummings uses the placement of the words to fully captures the hurried talk of someone who is blindly patriotic. cummings always has an apt command of words and can use them to their full potential in order to get his point across, so this poem is no exception.


I cannot agree with you more. This is of course a sarcastic rant about American patriotism. At the same time, it is almost reminiscent of Samuel Beckett with the way that it is executed. When I first heard it, I thought the poet WAS the overall speaker. When I read it, the poet is talking about the speaker and how he concludes that he "drank rapidly a glass of water" in that way that the simple action speaks wonders (line 14).

I am also aware about how the most important part about understanding cummings is not just the words he uses, but how and where he places them.


I didn't think of it initially but I can certainly see the Samuel Beckett element, it has the same dialogue to it that "Waiting for Godot" has! Nice catch there. While I can see the poem as one speaker or a speaker talking about another person, there are also many voices present. I believe that each segment (not necessarily lines) sounds almost like a different person who's contributing to this blind patriotism.


I would say it is quite reasonable. Not only in how they are from a different area of the country, but also a different generation. There is the pilgrim coming to America, the guy singing praises as if he is Sam the Eagle, the southerner, and the soldier. The speaker is mocking the fact that these people are engaging in these actions and yet they really do not contribute to anything.

I saw a bit of "Krapp's Last Tape "as well, where attention is paid to Krapp's actions... not just what he says, but also how he says it and then how he eats the banana now and then. There is definitely an element of absurdity.


I'm glad that you were able to almost come up with "names" for them, clever. I can see those voices there. Perhaps the speaker is a man (or woman!) mocking these "voices" and imitating them, which would explain the ending. The speaker got so heated and enthused in his imitations of them that at the end he must gulp down some water to catch his breath! This again goes back to the structure though, how there are no periods and each fragment runs into the next, leaving only the line breaks to signify, perhaps, the speaker catching his breath. This also contributes to making the people he is imitating seem stupid because they can only speak in short, incomplete sentences that at times don't even make sense. Especially the voice that can only say "by gorry by jingo by gee by gosh by gum" (line 8). Although this voice is stupid but is still important enough to include because his mindless babbling is all a part of that blind patriotism. Even though this voice cannot do anything, it is still patriotic and that is ultimately damaging to patriotism itself.

I'm not familiar with "Krapp's Last Tape," but I agree on the absurdity, yet again.


cummings is known for his short, lower-cased sentences without the punctuation. This only capitalizes what he is known best for in this particular poem. The "by gosh by gum" part mentioned in the eighth line is supposed to be a bit of mockery, but perhaps it is a part of the speaker's language. The person who speaks this particular bit is definitely male, because he is referred to as "he" in the last line. If you are talking about the many voices that are contributors to his rant, they can be representatives of different genders. I still feel that this is all one person babbling about the same thing, but with an inability stay on one topic for too long.


I can see the one speaker who has an inability to stay on topic but I can also see a man imitating multiple voices, not necessarily being those voices himself. I think this is what makes this poem so great, the different ways to take it and all the voices that can be present.


I would find it more believable that this is one man imitating multiple voices, for it only builds onto the great sarcasm that is being conveyed about his feelings about America. I agree that this poem is remarkable in the way that it points out the ironies of what many see as being strengths about America. I would say that this is quite a way to exercise the first amendment!


Yeah that point of view really amplifies the sarcasm. Yes, what a better way to use the first amendment to its fullest than to criticize not only Americans but what makes America, America: the blind patriotism of its citizens. This is an important poem in that it addresses a very important issue, patriotism is no problem but it should certainly be informed and even a patriotism that can admit its own faults. The patriotism in this poem certainly cannot admit its own faults. This lack of fault is fully realized in the poem by the lines "who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter / they did not stop to think they died instead" (lines 11-12).


That last part of the poem really brings about the irony about those dying for their cause and how "the voice of liberty be mute" by those that are making the loudest statement about patriotism (line 13). At the same time, the ones that speak for patriotism are the outspoken patriots. That's it, nothing extraordinary, no crucial experience, just the idea of being outspoken.

An intense political debate can definitely come out of this poem. Two people can realize that there is a problem, but there is a good chance that one is going to have a different solution than the other.

As for the first amendment, as much as cummings criticizes the angle that it is being used to promote blind patriotism, the first amendment allowed cummings to write this poem without too much of a struggle from authorities.


I'm trying to understand what you're saying about the last bit. It sounds as if you agree that patriotism is all about being outspoken but not about what is being said? Which is the current state of things as cummings writes his poem. It's a battle of who can be the loudest, not who has the most important or intelligent thing to say.

I'm not sure an intense political debate can come out of this poem, except the line that lightly criticizes fighting in war. Other than that, I believe any party can agree that bind patriotism is not conducive to anything. The only debate I can see arising is with someone who believes that anything these voices are saying has merit. I believe that what really drives the point of the poem home is the reference to the national anthem and how it highlights that being patriotic involves so much more than just knowing the words to some song that is supposed to exemplify American patriotism.

I can agree that the criticism of the first amendment is easily flipped back onto cummings and this transcends the poem. This is still present today, in a world where everyone is criticizing everyone for using their right to the first amendment with the notion that their use of it is better but now it is just more widespread.


The last bit of the rant flips on the idea that the people that truly know the most about patriotism are the ones that do not have the opportunity to speak about it, for they are the ones dying in war. This leaves everything else to figure out whether or not one of them can be louder than the other. The debate would come in when both sides are trying to figure out what truly defines patriotism. Knowing the words to the national anthem or to another patriotic song only garners so much intelligence per se, but that's the same thing as knowing your country because you know the capital of your home state or that George Washington was the first president of the United States (for the record, one should know this). This does not automatically mean that you are the cookie cutout American patriot.

The way the first amendment is being looked at today can get outrageous sometimes. Politics has become about whether or not you support the blue team or the red team in a game where all of the participants are breaking the rules.

How it relates to cummings is that there are so many ideas that "define" patriotism, when there is so much more to its meaning and execution.


Oh wow, I thought I had gotten that last bit but making the connection between the silence and those who are dying in war did not come to mind and I really enjoy that connection. But I do further understand what you were getting at now. At least with this poem we can begin to understand what cummings defines as patriotism and it is NOT knowing the words to the anthem or the first president of the states but something much more than that. I'm not sure if I can pull it from this particular poem, although I'm sure I could if I spent some time on it.

Ah yes, politics has become another great American sport!


Indeed. Politics has become nothing more than a great sport and there are so many lives at stake.

I definitely plan to read this poem time and time again. I probably read it about ten times before we had our discussion and I will probably read it a few more times so that I could come up with a conclusion. What I am seeing right now is that it is a poem about how a lot of people like to "talk a good game" and build themselves us as being patriots, when patriotism is so much more. It is also a satire about how this is the foundation America is built on.


It is certainly an easy poem to get through, understanding it is another ball game though. There's many layers here. I can see how the poem satirizes the foundation America is built on with the reference to the "land of the pilgrims'" (line 2) and the "centuries come and go" (line 4) line which adds to this blind patriotism transcending time.


Not only are these references overdone, but in a way they are not too accurate. The pilgrims did come over to America, but that is not where it all began.

What would you say about this poem overall? I do agree that it caught my attention quickly with its nature and its style and I would suggest checking out cummings' poetry and definitely include this in the equation.


I believe that he isn't alluding to when the continent of America began but when the idea of America itself began. The idea of it, the America "with a capital A" where all the overzealous patriotism began not necessarily just a few steps on soil or the forming of a continent.

I would say that I was pleasantly surprised by this poem and liked that with each read, as well as each step in our discussion, I was able to find something new about it. This is what I love about all of cummings' poetry though, they're often short and seem nonsensical but there are always a great number of layers to get through. I can never stop recommending cummings' poetry to others, even if you only get stuck on the oddities it is still enjoyable. It is not always about getting through to the "true meaning" because with cummings one can just enjoy the art of it.


The America named for Amerigo Vespucci began in the late 15th century upon what cummings argues is the beginning of this overzealous patriotism. The continent itself began as part of the greater land that was broken like every other continent and then inhabited by various indigenous groups for thousands of years. Of course, the latter information is just what has been historically concluded.

As for this poem, I cannot agree more that not only does the message become stronger, but I do get much more out of these works through other individuals that are willing to talk about them. I may very well pick up an e.e. cummings collection if I can find it at a reasonable price. I would not mind a $15-$20 collection, as long as I am getting a great bulk of his poetry and not a skinny collection of selected works. Nevertheless, it is about time I place cummings with the others, for his work is so fascinating!


Personally, my mom was lovely enough to get my cummings' collected works as a Christmas present a few years ago. It's hefty but I do enjoy it very much. She says that it wasn't too pricey. I'm glad you have become a fan of cummings' though, he is truly a great poet and will always hold a special place in my heart.


Kelsea, I want to thank you for taking the time to discuss this poem with me. You have brought a lot to my attention and I am positive that you brought a lot to the readers attention about such a magnificent poet and his work that has most definitely stood the test of time.


Thanks for having me Josh, it has been a pleasure as always and I'm glad that one of our literary discussions will finally be put to good use! Thank you for providing a new look at the poem for me, it has truly given me more to appreciate about it.


It is my pleasure. I am sure that this experience can be shared by those that read it. I strongly encourage all of you to check this out and see what you get out of it.

Kelsea will make her debut to Literary Gladiators on the episode being released on Friday, July 17th.




Thursday, June 18, 2015

Poem Discussion: "Self-Portrait, Nude With Steering Wheel" by Paul Durcan

When it comes to short stories and poems, especially with poems, I have realized that in order to discuss them as thoroughly and as efficiently as I am possibly able, I am not able to guarantee that I will spoil important information. In many cases, I may have to mention the twist or the ending, for it would take away from what I am trying to say if I did not. It is much easier with a book or novel, for I am able to discuss the structure of the work and not have to disclose any crucial information. When I film episodes of Literary Gladiators, all of our episodes are discussions, so I cannot guarantee what myself and others are going to say. With that being said, I have made the decision to alter the way that I present what I am writing.

1. All of my posts about poems and short stories will be in the form of discussions, for this will provide me with the opportunity to disclose information if need be. In addition, anything that says "discussion" will be subject to spoilers.

2. If I consider something a "review," you have my word that unless alerted, there was be no spoilers.

3. To sum up: Discussion = subject to spoiler. Review = spoiler free.

Now to my discussion. During my last semester in college, I had the opportunity to take an Irish Literature class. I thoroughly enjoyed the material and had the opportunity to learn more about Irish authors, playwrights, and poets. Perhaps the one that I was least familiar with, yet the one I grew to love the most after taking this class was Paul Durcan. Durcan is a contemporary Irish poet who writes about a wide range of topics, many of which are in free verse (which to me is what I would write if I wrote poetry). The poem that stuck out the most, after reading it in class, at the Open Mic Night held that spring, and in my Senior Seminar class, was his self-deprecating "Self-Portrait, Nude with Steering Wheel." The work is about a hopeless man-child, yet it is immensely hysterical to the point that readers are going to look at it and either feel shocked, amazed, or both.

The speaker begins by mentioning that he is 45 years old. No name, no background information, we just know that he's 45 and we assume that he is a he, because Durcan is a he, and that he is speaking to a female subject. We have absolutely no idea the gender of either person. He begins by negatively counting off everything he is not good at and admitting that he is given more credit than he truly deserves. For instance, he begins by saying that, he does not "know how to drive a car- and you tell me I am cultured" (L 2-3). More notably, he admits to being a "backseat driver" and yet he is "not an egotist" (L 8-9). Perhaps the person he is speaking to is sugar coating their thoughts or remains very accepting of a hopeless person like the speaker. At the same time, the speaker may be overthinking their situation.

Perhaps the fifth part stands as the most shocking section when he mentions that "45 years getting in and out of cars/And I do not know where the dipstick is/And you tell me I am a superb lover" (L 13-15). If there is any section that reads innuendo, this is the one. I, for one, see the entry and exiting of cars as the entry and exiting from relationships and of the multiple one night stands that this individual has participated in throughout his life. Also, there are not many more ways to get more phallic than with the term "dipstick." After looking at this line, perhaps it would only be logical to look at each section of the poem and point out which of these analogies is actually a sexual reference. The inability to distinguish different parts of the car may be attached to the inability to distinguish the situation at hand before actually making a move. In addition, the description of being a passenger with his hands "folded primly in my lap" causes the speaker's character to regress drastically (L 11). By the end of the poem, the speaker is in the most hopeless situation, without a car, just leaving a taxi, nude, and holding a steering wheel. The portrait is merely ridiculous and does nothing to the speaker's character except develop a question as to whether or not this speaker is sober.

This poem can be as much about operating a car as it is about operating oneself in their sex life. There is no gender provided, but it is very likely that using the car analogy and then placing a cloud over the situation and taking this all away from the speaker tells us that this is a man that is telling us about his situation. This poem is not filthy in its language, but it likely filled with hidden innuendos that are awaiting the opportunity to be uncovered. It comes off as immensely hysterical and is meant to be viewed in a hopeless manner, just as the subject's situation happens to be at the moment. You can find this and so many other spectacular poems, such as "Margaret, Are You Grieving?" and "Mary Magdalene at Sunday Mass in Castlebar," in this collection known as Daddy, Daddy. Paul Durcan captures the idea of the many thoughts and ideas that can be equipped to being an Irishman. In this case, one could argue that the speaker had too much whiskey, but there is no evidence that this is possibly the case. Durcan's writing has also been about religion, church, the world view, and a list that keeps going on and on.

I would highly suggest picking up a copy of Daddy, Daddy if you have not had the ability to do so. It is a bit of a challenge to find, but I will leave you with a link to the collection that can be found on Amazon. The copy I own is published by the Black Staff Press and this particular poem, "Self-Portrait, Nude with Steering Wheel," can be found on pages 17 and 18. These poems are relatively light in the way that they are not complex, so making your way through the collection should not be too much of a task. By all means, though, check out this highlighted poem.

Daddy, Daddy by Paul Durcan

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster

In 2013, I read both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which were written by Lewis Carroll and told of the unexpected journeys Alice made to Wonderland and the many abnormal, but perfectly normal sights she saw and experiences she endured. Almost one hundred years later, Norton Juster wrote what it almost closer to these adventures that to any other work of literature with The Phantom Tollbooth. Surprisingly, Juster possesses the ability to break away from the master absurdism created by Carroll and instead allowing central character Milo to participate in a new world with more organized conflicts, but at the same time defining the organization of these conflicts remains immensely debatable. The Phantom Tollbooth questions the thought process of humanity and prioritizes its need to address what the common individual ignores and places it at the forefront, creating a world that works against what most people see as logic in favor of what they see as being logical.

The novel begins with Milo becoming bored with life and seeing purposelessness in the world around him. On one afternoon, a tollbooth appears in his bedroom. Upon entry, he goes in, pays the fee, and is in a car that is driving through a completely different universe. He is teamed up by a dog that functions as a clock by the name of Tock when visiting the Doldrums. Here, people possess no purpose in life and spend their days napping and loafing around, since thinking and actually making a purpose out of life are prohibited. Tock serves as their watchdog and guides Milo to his next destination and beyond. Milo pays a visit to Dictionopolis, a country that is dominated by words, and meets five tall gentlemen that all say the same thing in a different way, the Spelling Bee, that spells at least one thing that he says, the Humbug, who is the Spelling Bee's rival, King Azaz, among so many others. Dictionopolis is at conflict with Digitopolis, which is the country dominated by numbers and ruled by the Mathemagician. A major conflict has occurred that has left the two countries to the point that they have become bitter enemies. This is aggravated and ultimately sealed with the imprisonment of Rhyme and Reason, two princesses, in the Castle in the Air. Milo is sent on a mission, with Tock and the Humbug, to rescue these princesses in order to restore hope for their world. Milo makes his way through Digitopolis, where he meets the Mathemagician, Alec Bings, Chroma the Great (the conductor of the color symphony), Dr. Dischord, among others. As Milo makes his way through these lands on his mission, he learns plenty in what develops its moral to what Juster expects to come out of this work.

I really enjoyed the story of Milo's adventures and the different cast of characters that came about throughout the novel. I thought those that Milo came across in the places he went were a hysterical, absurdist batch of characters. In essence, they possess a face value, but one should not jump to conclusions when making an attempt to figure out the rest of their making. For instance, Officer Shrift holds an interest in putting people in prison and locking them away for millions of years. What conclusion would you make about Officer Shrift? The answer could be found as you read through the text. There is also the predicament of eating when you are full and eating until you are hungry and the process of eating your words. The Phantom Tollbooth goes to great measures in being the best absurdist work that it could possibly be, much of which is in the style of Lewis Carroll.

My criticism can be directed toward the strength of his sidekicks and the pacing of the novel. I thought Tock was a likeable character and the Humbug was meant to serve as the comic relief, but there was only so much depth to their characters. We get a decent idea of their purpose, but it is almost as if they are only there so that Milo is not going on this journey alone. I felt that in a way, this novel could have been written so that Milo spent more time alone on this journey and the finished product would be just as good. Alice moved from place to place alone on her expedition and she still had quite the adventure. Perhaps Juster did not want to copy off this idea and seek too many similarities. As for the pacing, it is almost as if the moments of action and intensity just zipped by in order to provide greater background to the individuals Milo met on his journey. I feel that both could have been done in order to build to the novel. Fortunately, the fact that it is a children's novel, suited for the 8-12 age range and not much younger, allows the text to take a more bumpy flow. To those in the right age range, they will be satisfied with the content and not worry about the details of the piece. As for the age, which I just briefly mentioned, those that are younger than eight will likely become confused with the material and the way that it is worded. I guess using a familiar, but difficult word like "vegetable" is reasonable when the Spelling Bee asked Milo to think of a difficult word for him to spell. My newsletter editor back in high school likes to stump people with the word "supersede" when he puts together games for his Critical Thinking class. Doing this is a clever strategy in drawing the community younger than eight into the rest of the story. The question is whether or not it will hold their interest.

The Phantom Tollbooth is an adventure very absurd, but at the same time backed up by a magnificent argument. Milo comes across different types of creatures and individuals that make no sense to the common individual, but possess an ability to convey that the same can be said about the common individual. Its message, while not outdoing Lewis Carroll in its use of absurdism, makes a case in why its readers are going to have a heyday in their minds as this shakes and stretches it like a piece of Silly Putty. To those that are eager to read something new or like the material at hand should really check this out. The audience that comes into this novel will truly get something out of it!

Verdict: 8/10

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book Review: "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

I have heard many great things about John Steinbeck and his works. I now know exactly why he has stood the test of time after reading East of Eden. This was not the first novel of his I began, since I did begin reading The Grapes of Wrath three years ago, but was unable to go too far due to the tedious structure that made up the novel's start. I do plan to get back to it, though. As for East of Eden, which was one of Steinbeck's later novels (published in 1952), it was truly what Steinbeck deemed as the story he had to tell. It took me time to get through this novel, but on the basis that I wanted to enjoy the novel as the great, juicy steak of literature that it truly is. In order to appreciate this novel, an understanding of what you are reading is essential and taking the time to indulge in what is being presented is key. This is how I approached the novel and an appreciation was definitely what I got out of it.

The novel mentions that it follows two families: the Trasks and the Hamiltons. In all honesty, the heart of the novel lies in the story of the Trasks. While the Hamiltons (especially Sam) play an important role in the direction that this novel heads, they remain the supporting cast next to the two generations of sibling rivalry that intentionally resemble that of Cain and Abel. Even the letters of the names match up to the sons and their demeanors. We have Cain as the angry brother who cracked and killed his brother Abel, while Abel was the darling and the one that garnered the most positive attention. The Trasks consist of Charles and Adam, Charles being the more aggressive brother. While Adam develops his own faults, such as a sense of neglect and the decision to fall for a manipulative woman turned prostitute (born Cathy, but was Kate by the time of her escape), he is seen as the brother to which we garner sympathy while garnering sympathy from those around him. This psychological strategy is developed from the aggressive practices Charles engaged when they were younger. Eventually, the relationship between Charles and Adam becomes wishy-washy in the way that Charles inherits the farm, but Adam comes back and forth to stay. Eventually, Adam moves out to California with Cathy, to whom Charles disapproves.

Adam and Cathy have two twin boys. Before they realize who their parents are, Cathy leaves, and it is not until later that they pick up names, with the help of Lee, who is Adam's Chinese servant. They are eventually named Caleb and Aaron, known as Cal and Aron for short. Just like the older generation, Cal is the misfit, while Aron is the favored one. This becomes clearer as they become older, especially when they decide to take two different paths to where they want to go. Cal wants to earn the money back for his father, while Aron wants to go to college. According to the story of Cain and Abel, which is brought up, Cain offers God his harvest while Abel offers him his slayed sheep. God approves of Abel's offering over Cain's, creates a jealousy similar to the disapproval of the money Cal made to help his father. The sequence of events, though, are different from how they occur in the bible and are meant to describe the Book of Genesis as if it were to happen to America.

Lee was the character I felt held some of the greatest importance in this particular novel. His role as a servant from another country is usually viewed in a way to which none of his details would be necessary and that his role in anyone's lives would be superfluous. In actuality, he was the one that kept everything together to those he was serving and was the chief caretaker to Cal and Aron. He raised them the way HE knew, so the two boys actually took up Lee's influence and even went to the extent of dressing in the attire Lee selected. Lee was also a wise source when the boys, particularly Cal, needed someone to turn to. Even Abra, who met Cal and Aron during a visit and eventually formed a relationship with Aron, saw something special and fatherly in Lee. We get the idea that the closer one is to the situation involving the Trask family, the more they are aware of how brilliant, yet calm Lee happens to be. Those who are less acquainted see Lee just by his nationality, which includes Sheriff Horace Quinn and how he refers to Lee as "Ching Chong." I would say that among anyone, Lee is the character that gives this novel the drive that it needs.

What makes this novel spectacular is how character driven it truly is. Steinbeck makes sure that each of the character's, regardless of their role, were developed so that we had an idea about why they were featured in the first place. He does the same with setting, spending chapters talking about the scenery and the historical situation, such as the action that is occurring during World War I. Fortunately, those chapters are brief and only go into as much detail as necessary. Everything is leveled out perfectly, which contributes to the great argument as to why Steinbeck is a great American author of the 20th century. I, for one, would argue that Steinbeck is a great 20th century author from America.

I am now thinking about reading the Book of Genesis after the multiple references that were made. I am immensely curious to figure out the exact similarities that were drawn in both texts and am really thinking about what having knowledge of the Book of Genesis would do when reading this text. I have a general idea of the stories from this first work of the bible, but to have a clear and fluent understanding would really give me an idea of anything and everything that is presented to me in this novel. This did nothing to alter my opinion of this novel, though, because the elements that came about were enough to satisfy me and highly suggest that people check out this novel.

If you want to begin reading the works of John Steinbeck, this would be an ideal place to start. It is 602 pages long in the Penguin Classics edition that I read, but if you have the patience of one that enjoys reading literary fiction, there should be no issue in grasping the material. The Grapes of Wrath may be something you would need to graduate to. I do plan on reading some of his other shorter novels, such as Of Mice & Men, but I am looking at a collection of his shorter novels to which I will read instead of an individual copy. As for the new Steinbeck reader, start with East of Eden and you will be an enthusiast for life!

Verdict: 10/10

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Literary Gladiators: Episode 29- Works From Our Childhood

We wrap up the second season of Literary Gladiators with twenty-three spectacular episodes. Perhaps the most spectacular was our grand finale, where the four of us discuss works from our childhood. When I mean the four of us, I refer to Larry, Breanna, Charlie, and myself. I did my best to make sure that the finale was the last thing we filmed, so that there was as much authenticity as we could possibly give it. In reality, the very last thing we filmed for the second season was the Christmas episode, which was meant to create a kind of authenticity in itself.

The fact that we are able to discuss the importance of reading and pair it with a discussion about books from our very own childhood made this one of our greatest discussions to date. This discussion ran for thirty-one minutes in what was our longest episode, beating out our discussion of Hamlet by five minutes. While it is around the eight-minute mark that we begin talking about those special books, I can honestly say that watching the entire episode is truly worth your time! I feel that, personally, this was the one episode that brought out the most of what I had to say.

The second season may be over, but the third season is fast approaching. Throughout the summer, we will be uploading thirteen episodes on what we will try to make a Friday affair. If everything works out, our hope is to have new episodes up every Friday, while posting extras once or twice a week. There will be a batch of these extras that we plan to upload throughout the summer in order to fulfill you with those literary desires that you came to our channel for in the first place.

I will leave you with the 29th episode and the finale for season two. Hope you enjoy and keep reading!

Episode 29- Works From Our Childhood