Title: Mansfield Park
by: Jane Austen
Fanny Price is the dearest female protagonist in this story & her aunt Bertram becomes quite fond of her and even dependent on her. Her uncle, Sir Thomas, grows fond of her as well until she rejects a suitor whom he thinks is quite fitting for her. He sends Fanny back to her family for a visit, but it ends up being a torturous visit to a family whom she hasn't seen or been around for almost 10 years.
Her family had too many kids & her father hardly took notice of her, so she got to grow up with her cousins at Mansfield Park. She becomes closest with her cousin Edmund, who is always careful & loving towards her from the very beginning. Even though she has female cousins (Julia & Maria) she is closest to Edmund.
Henry & Mary Crawford enter the scene when they come to visit one summer, and they bring with them all the airs of the theater & convince the eldest, Tom, to arrange for them to perform a play (in Sir Thomas' absence.) Henry pursues Fanny's engaged cousin (the future Mrs. Rushworth) & earns the title of soundrel as he continues to flirt with her despite her engagement (and later, he disregards her marriage too and convinces her to run away with him.) After Mrs. Rushworth got married, however, Henry decides he wants a challenge & pursues Fanny, who shows no interest in him whatsoever. Poor Fanny feels strange & does not return his love or attention & she is right & determined to refuse him, since he ends up running away with her cousin in the end. There is another love story, too, in between Mary Crawford & the beloved Edmund, but Mary mocks Edward once he studies at the parsonage and then after the scandal between her brother & Edmund's married sister, she feels they need to end their connection entirely. This then prompts Edmund to get over her & learn who he truly loves, and has loved, all along. It was quite the story!
"That you seemed almost as fearful of notice & praise as other women were of neglect."
"You will think me rhapsodising; but when I am out of doors, especially when I am sitting out of doors, I am very apt to get into this sort of wondering strain. One cannot fix one's eye on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy."
"Never met with a girl who looked so grave on me! I must try to get the better of this. Her looks say, 'I will not like you, I am determined not to like you,' & I say she shall.'
Foolish fellow! And so this is her attraction after all! This it is, her not caring about you, which gives her a soft skin & makes her so much taller & produces all these charms & graces."
'It was a love which, operating on an active, sanguine spirit, of more warmth than delicacy, made her affection appear of greater consequence because it was withheld & determine him to have the glory of forcing her to love him."
My Rating: 4 stars/5
Title: Black Like Me
by: John Howard Griffin
A memoir set back in the 1950's about a Caucasian journalist named John Howard Griffin who decided to change his skin pigmentation (by darkening it) and live as a black man in the deep south (New Orleans, Alabama, Georgia) for almost 2 months. His experiment was to see how people would treat him, even people who knew him, but didn't know he'd undergone this experiment. He became close to and worked with other black men, got forced to use other restrooms, soda fountains, etc. right along with his fellow black men.
He would sometimes see signs like this hanging around:
DESEGREGATE THE BUSES WITH THESE 7 POINTS:
1. Pray for guidance.
2.Be courteous & friendly.
3. Be neat & clean.
4. Avoid loud talk.
5. Do not argue.
6. Report incidents immediately.
7. Overcome evil with good
Griffin learned quickly of how evil racism was; how the hate and prejudice ran deep for the race more than for an individual, even when he switched back to his life as a white man. He was rejected by most of his community and he was considered an exclusive lover of blacks and a hater of whites. But he had undergone the change because he wanted to better things for black people, and felt a study in racism of a country that vehemently denied it would be the best way to bring attention to the issues in the United States. Sadly, his family was bullied and mistreated as a result of his work and they had to move away from Texas, but it was inspiring how dedicated he was to living a life in another man's shoes, and how he continued to answer questions and appear at councils to try to unify communities after his experiment concluded.
*"The transformation was total & shocking. I was imprisoned in the flesh of an utter stranger, an unsympathetic one with who I felt no kinship. All traces of the John Griffin I had been were wiped from existence."
*"The laughter had to be gross or it would turn to sobs and to sob would be to realize and to realize would be to despair."
*"My deepest shock came with the gradual realization that this was not a matter of 'inconvenience' but rather a total change in living."
*"This attitude cropped up often. Many otherwise decent men & women could find no other solution. They are willing to degrade themselves to their basest levels to prevent the traditional laborer from rising in status or, to put it bluntly from 'winning,' even though what he wins has been rightfully his from the moment he was born into the human race."
*"Night coming tenderly
Black like me."
*"One can scarcely conceive the full horror of it unless one is a parent who takes a close look at his children and then asks himself how he would feel if a group of men should come to his door & tell him they had decided--- for reasons of convenience to them-- that his children's lives would henceforth be restricted, their world smaller, their educational opportunities less, their future mutilated."
*"Let us be peaceful, but the only way to do this is first to assure justice; by keeping peaceful in this instance, we end up consenting to the destruction of all peace--for so long as we condone injustice by a small but powerful group, we condone the destruction of all social stability, all real peace, & all trust in man's good intentions toward his fellow man."
4/5 (mainly because it was such heavy material and used a fair amount of language.)