Thoughts on Beowulf

Yeah, you read that right. You’re looking at the blog of someone who has actually read Beowulf. Swag swag.

The best Beowulf I could find

Hello world. Brimming with thoughts tonight as usual.

If you ever wondered what people in English Literature study, let me just say that a third of whatever it is we read, if they aren’t stories, are these long pieces of intellectual and theological discourse about life. Life. The meaning of life. How you should live it. How everyone should live it. And how people who don’t live like the one proposed in the piece is foolish because they aren’t living life. Of course that probably means that we are all fools because we all aren’t Henry David Thoreau.

Yes, if you can’t already tell, I have given up on Walden. For now. Ugh. Supposed to read the first two chapters for tomorrow. It’s not going to happen.

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Wisdom from The Wanderer

No man may indeed become wise before he has had his share of winters in this world’s kingdom.

The wise man must be patient, must never be too hot-hearted, nor too hasty of speech, nor too fearful, nor too glad, nor too greedy for wealth, nor ever too eager to boast before he has thought clearly.

A man must wait, when he speaks in boast, until he knows clearly, sure-minded, where the thoughts of his heart may turn.

Why I Won’t Say I’m In Love

Hmm, what do you think of when it comes to love? People all want it in some way or another, from other people, from themselves even. People want to give it too, to lavish their attentions and affections on someone or something. It’s absolutely human.

The customary Meg shot from Hercules belting out the famous tune “I Won’t Say I’m in love”

What about all the songs we sing today, even those we sing 20 years back? Almost all of them revolve around love. People in love, out of love, passionate, mad, bitter, honest, cold, sweet. Every kind of love, every kind of idea of what it is. Some people think it’s an illusion, a waste of time. Others spend a lifetime trying to find it.

I have an idea of what it is. It will never be cast in stone, I suppose, but I do have a notion of what I’d deem as perfect love, at least to me.

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And So It Begins

I’m perfectly happy getting to know people at a tea in a nice sit down setting with cards or Jenga, something like that.

University. I made it to university. Yay me.

Oh well, not really so much of me. Every major (and minor) accomplishment in my life is really by the grace of God. By myself, I would have failed A levels. Repeated, even. But by his mercy which I now know for sure exists since my whole life relies on it, I made it.

Now, to actually live a decent university life and not screw up too much. HA. Well, we all know that could never happen.

Today was actually the first day I met and properly make friends with the people I will be studying with for the next 4 yours of my life. I’m going to study English Literature and it sounds good so far. I’m actually technically a science student, taking up Bio and Chem in A levels. Well that worked out splendidly and by splendidly I really mean not-so-well (C and D respectively but hohoho NO U!) so I gave that up and switched to the arts, more accurately, English. English was something I excelled consistently and enjoyed very much anyway so I thought it’d be good to study something I actually care about and do for a living. Literature wasn’t what I did well in, though, in Sec 2. So I was a little bit antsy about taking an arts subject now. Hopefully, I had outgrown that somewhat.

I didn’t want to give myself too much pressure about not screwing up because if there was anything I learnt it’s that the more you pressure yourself, you get even more self-conscious and become a nervous wreck. And an idiot.

I didn’t go for any of the orientation camps and all that stuff because cheering and playing strange games with people I didn’t know with something like 3 hours of sleep at night just turns me off. I’m perfectly happy getting to know people at a tea in a nice sit down setting with cards or Jenga, something like that. It’s all the action games that get me. Isn’t the point of orientation getting to know people? Doing action games with daunting forfeits just scares me and it doesn’t really give you a chance to talk to know people anyway. Which kinda defeats the purpose of orientation. Also, lack of sleep makes me a grumpy person. I cannot make friends when I’m grumpy. So. That’s that in my humble opinion anyway.

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First Taste of the Bard’s Tempest

Today, I conquered The Tempest!¬†Well, not so much conquered The Tempest to the extent of knowing it in and out but rather, conquered the large reader’s block in my mind that Shakespeare was unreadable for the common soul and would be drab and boring. Far from it! I was duly enthralled by the Bard’s Tempest today, and for daring to take my first step towards Shakespeare, achievement unlocked!

I have to confess I did it with the help of the 2010 movie by Julie Taymor starring Helen Mirren and Felicity Jones. I thought I might die solely reading this oldish English and thus kill off any hopes of enjoying Shakespeare. Thanks to technology, there were plenty of audio-visual aids, many productions of The Tempest available for me. I picked the Helen Mirren one because I thought I needed a modern production of the play. Not modern in the sense where the actors were wearing suits and ties and set in a modern context but more of a modern production of something set in the olden days. Helen Mirren was a plus. Absolutely adored her voice acting in Monsters University. Yes, she stood out so much for me even just by voicing a character. I was so impressed.

I noted, of course, that for the movie, she would be portraying Prospero as Prospera, a gender switch from Shakespeare’s protagonist sorcerer. I did wonder if it would be ‘dangerous’ for me to understand the play first hand with a female Prospera. The first taste of anything was pretty important. I enjoyed it very much, though. Just have to keep at the back of my mind that Prospero is a dude whenever I’m referring to the play itself. The movie was slightly adapted from the play. Some dialogue from the play was cut and there were no other spirits (Iris, Ceres and Juno) and no other lords (Adrian and Francisco). Everything else was pretty much more or less the same.

I actually went through a children’s book on Shakespeare before diving straight into the play. I wanted to know the story, the plot, before anything else. I didn’t want to get lost in the middle of the oldish English. So with that set in my head, mostly trying not to mix Alonso and Antonio up, I went through the movie with the play in hand and watched and read.

The English did need some getting used to but when I got it, I just felt, wow. It’s like understanding a secret code, a different language you never thought you’d understand. It’s kind of empowering. Then after you get past that stage, you start paying attention to what they were saying, and feeling awesome all the while because you actually know what’s happening while everyone speaks in oldish English. There were moments when I start and stopped the movie to just read what had been said because I missed something or didn’t quite get something else. It’s easy to miss things because there can be so much said but said lightly as we speak today, carelessly, that I just miss something. And after the whole movie, your thoughts start to sound weird. They start to construct themselves using oldish English which is funny and ridiculous and I’m just glad they only do it in the privacy of my mind hohoho. It’s hilarious because every trivial thing will be made to sound like something of utmost importance.

This will not be an academic study on The Tempest. I am most unqualified to do so as of now. I only decided to do this whole Tempest thing because it will be covered in school later on. I’m glad I did it though. This whole post will really mostly on my reaction towards The Tempest movie.

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