Sherlock Holmes for Sale

These two commercials help illustrate just how standard the story of Sherlock Holmes is for every generation all over the world. It was actually fairly difficult to find the Red Bull commercial in english, since most of them I found were international commercials. I also found it interesting that with the “stimulation” of Red Bull, Watson became smarter than Holmes. The second video is from the 1990s, and shows how the Holmes-Watson relationship can even be adapted to babies.


Jane Eyre in Anime


While searching for something Jane Eyre related, I came across this fantastic trailer for a Jane Eyre Anime cartoon. The entire story is completely described in this trailer, with exact quotes from the novel. The characters even have British accents. As an extra bonus, Jane Eyre is a ballerina named Princess Tutu. Enjoy!

Imagination and Excitement in Jane Eyre

In Jane Eyre, Jane is often described as a solitary and strange creature. For Jane, imagination and solitude are often one and the same. As a child, Jane is frequently abused, both physically and mentally. She suffers from feelings of exclusion, loss, and unworthiness. In order to cope with such feelings, she retreats into herself. She secludes herself within her own thoughts, and develops her own stories and imaginings to keep herself occupied. In a certain sense, these help her to remain sane. They allow her to develop a life outside of the miserable one she leads, and to experience some small amount of happiness.

When Jane goes to school, she uses her imagination and her time of solitude as downtime after a day of learning. Similarly to the journal of Charlotte Bronte, Jane describes a school setting in which she needs time to herself in order to recuperate and recharge for the next day. Jane’s introverted qualities continue into adulthood. When she goes to work for Mr. Rochester, she is happy that it seems to be a nice home where she is respected. Even in a nice location though, Jane needs her alone time. She claims that even there, “the restlessness was in [her] nature” (114). She spends a certain part of her nights pacing the house, either thinking or imagining fantastic stories. She walks “backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot” (114). This behavior can be compared to a child, running around the house imagining fairytales and new friends. From the outside, such activities can seem strange. To Jane, however, they are not only normal, but also necessary.

It is interesting to read Jane’s narrative of what she imagines, and, as the reader to try to imagine this in our own minds. Jane describes how she allows her “minds eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it-and certainly they were many and glowing” (114). For Jane, these visions in her imagination are the exciting point of her life. They are where she can play out her dreams, her hopes, and her delights. She can open her “inward ear to a tale that was never ended-a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence” (114). In reality, Jane is a teacher. Her life is one filled with books, knowledge, and repetition. Although the mystery of Mr. Rochester provides some amount of excitement in her life, she finds that she needs more. She finds her life lacking in excitement, and says that people such as herself  “must have actions; and they will make it if they cannot find it” (114). Instead of creating news and actions for herself in reality, she does so in her head. She describes that she is not the only one in this position. She claims that “millions are in silent revolt against their lot” (115). She soon, however, gets more excitement than she bargained for.

Frankenstein Reads


As we discussed in class, the creature is very similar to a child in many respects. It follows, then, that his learning process would be parallel to that of a child’s. He spends the beginning of his life in pain at the fact that he has entered the world, and then proceeds to ignorance. Eventually, once he starts observing the DeLacey family, he begins to learn from them. He does this exactly as a child would do, by first mimicking their speech, and connecting the names of objects to things in the room. Once he understands, he then moves on to reading. He watches Felix read aloud, and while he is puzzled at first, he then discovers “that he uttered many of the same sounds when he read as when he talked” (117). For the creature, reading books is a key way of learning about the world. As he reads, there is opened before him “a wide field for wonder and delight” (123). For him, reading is a way to see and understand a world that he has not yet seen or experienced.

The way in which the creature learns from reading can be compared to the way Catherine Morland learns from reading in Northanger Abbey. They both use reading to explore a world that they are unfamiliar with in order to broaden their bases of knowledge. They are both passionate about their new knowledge, and they both hope to connect with people using the new facts they have learned. The creature states “these wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings” (124). Catherine is similarly inspired by the knowledge of gothic literature that she gains from reading Udolpho.

The knowledge that Catherine gleans from reading, however, is unfortunately much less practical than the knowledge the creature receives. While it is true that Catherine is described as average, while the creature is shown to be an extremely fast learner, Catherine’s choice of material is decidedly inferior to that of the creature. The creature chooses works that will show him the true state of the world, in order to advance his understanding of it. He praises a work by stating that through it he “obtained a cursory knowledge of history, and a view of the several empires at present existing in the world; it gave me an insight into the manners, governments, and religions of the different nations of the earth” (123). He wishes to truly understand the world he has brought into, so that in time he can help the world understand him. In contrast, Catherine reads for pleasure, and does not seek to understand any portion of the world that does not directly relate to her. She uses reading to supplement her imagination and take up her time. Jane Austen’s attitude towards Catherine is clearly one of mockery and humor. Catherine attempts to show herself as a serious reader, and through this Austen shows that she is a very nice, but very silly girl. Mary Shelley, however, shows an attitude of understanding and respect towards the creatures thirst for knowledge. The creature is obviously using reading for a positive use, and Shelley uses that to humanize him and perhaps even elicit pity from the reader.

Catherine Goes Dating

“Catherine, he is definitely looking at you.” “He is not, he is merely glancing around the room and pausing at certain people. He briefly stopped to look at me, that’s all.” Catherine’s friends had decided to take pity on her and take her out. Now that they were out with her, however, they pitied themselves. Everyone Catherine had ever met liked her tolerably well. She had the advantages of being pretty, sweet, fairly smart, a little funny, and not knowing anything about anything. This made up for the fact that she was only slightly funny, as her naive statements brought humor to almost any situation. A Saturday night party was no exception.

Putting Catherine in a situation with boys was even more entertaining. It appeared that while other girls were learning what was acceptable to say to boys and what wasn’t, Catherine was reading romance novels and wondering why her life hadn’t become one yet. By this point in time, other girls had figured out how to “play it cool” around boys. Catherine’s view of male-female interaction looked and sounded a bit more like a Taylor Swift song. So, when her friends told her this particular boy was staring at her, it was unclear whether she would be completely oblivious or run and declare her undying love.

After some intense last minute coaching, Catherine’s friends sent her over. As they watched, Catherine appeared to be smiling and giggling for the better part of an hour. Upon her return, they eagerly demanded to know what had transpired. She replied that their conversation had gone very well. She told her friends all about how they had discussed the book she reading. He explained to her what it was actually about, why she liked it, why her grammar was slightly incorrect, and what she should actually think about the book. “I really like him guys”, Catherine said, “it seems like he is very knowledgeable and he is SO nice”. Once her friends had convinced her not to run over and explain the exact intensity of her feelings for him, Catherine went home quite happy.

The next day, Catherine waited for what her friends explained was the obligatory text message. Once it arrived, she sat down for a discussion about how to reply. “Well I think I should add a smiley face, and at least two exclamation points, perhaps a wink?” Although her friends attempted to explain that this was too much for one text message, Catherine remained unconvinced. No one had ever explained to her that in a text message, the punctuation and addition of smiley faces was of immense importance. She could not simply say what she wanted to say. It must be phrased in a witty, yet humorous manner. Her message could not be too blunt, nor could it be too vague. It had to be to the point, but not completely so. Catherine was still confused. She did not understand why she could not simply say exactly what she thought and felt, and then defer to his judgment on everything. In the novels she had read, women just wrote what they felt, fell in love, and lived happily ever after.

Thankfully, Catherine’s friends lived in the real world. They managed to take her phone, and send each perfectly worded message on their own. It worked out well for Catherine that the boy she liked was interested in her precisely because she agreed with whatever he said. And so, they married and lived together in perfect happiness.

A Walk of Chauvinism


Throughout the first half of Northanger Abbey, I found that the part of the novel that best represented textual sociality was when Catherine goes on a walk with Mr. and Miss Tilney. During the walk (pages 72-75), Catherine and Mr. Tilney discuss his opinion on novels. It appears that unlike Mr. Thorpe, Mr. Tilney finds novels totally acceptable. Furthermore, he even enjoys them and has even read Catherine’s new favorite book, The Mysteries of Udolpho. After Mr. Tilney spends some time making fun of Catherine’s grammar, she states that she does not enjoy reading history books. Catherine is surprised to find that Miss Tilney enjoys them, and questions why anyone would even bother to write one. After discussing the difficulty of learning to read, Catherine proceeds to agree with everything Mr. Tilney says.

While discussing these texts, a few different relationships are being formed. Catherine is attempting to form a friendship with Miss Tilney. It almost appears as if she is trying to impress her (and Mr. Tilney) by having enough knowledge of literature to dislike certain genres. Miss Tilney argues that she is “fond of history-and [is] very well contented to take the false with the true” (74). Catherine merely shows surprise that she likes it, and that there are “so many instances within [her] small circle of friends” of history-lovers (75). Here, Catherine shows herself to be a bit uneducated. It is unclear whether this episode helps her succeed in making better friends with Miss Tilney.

Catherine is also trying to form a romantic relationship with Mr. Tilney. She bonds with him over a shared love of novels, of a certain type. She is also surprised when he tells her he reads novels, as “they are not clever enough for [him]-gentlemen read better books” (72). After he tells her that only the stupid cannot take pleasure in a novel, she immediately agrees with him on this and on all other counts. If any kind of a relationship does form, it will be one in which he is the dominant party.

Since Mr. Tilney controls the conversation, and frequently talks down to Catherine (although not necessarily in a mean way), it seems that there are no rules for him.  He teases both his sister and Catherine equally, and it seems that it is completely acceptable. The relationship between Mr. Tilney and his sister seems to have more egalitarian rules. For instance, she is allowed to tell him that he is “very impertinent” and he will take it (73). The same rules, however, do not apply to Catherine. She is allowed to cry out at his teasing, but not to put him in his place. When he makes fun of her use of the word “nice”, she can say, “it is a nice book, and why should I not call it so?” (74). She can question him, but she must still submit to his teasing.

The relationship between Catherine and Mr. Tilney certainly seems to be gendered. She is clearly a subordinate, and he has no qualms about pointing this out. Later in the walk he states: “I have no patience with such of my sex as disdain to let themselves sometimes down to the comprehension of yours” (77). Although he claims he has a high opinion of women, it is clear that he does not. He claims “nature has given them so much, that they never find it necessary to use more than half” (79). Furthermore, Jane Austen herself clearly outlines the gendered relationship. She states, “a good-looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man” (76). Since they are moving towards the formation of a romantic relationship, it is understandable that it is gendered. The power in the relationship, however, is completely skewed towards Mr. Tilney. Through her narration, Jane Austen shows that she is against this.


The Symptoms of Friendship


Of all the poetry that we read by Katherine Philips, the poem that stuck out to me the most was “To My Excellent Lucasia, On Our Friendship”. I found it so touching that Orinda (or Katherine Philips) would write a poem to her friend, simply to let her know that she appreciated her friendship. By modern standards, it is a small gesture of friendship (although a poem is no easy thing to write), but it is more meaningful than any gift you would buy someone today. Another reason this poem is special is that it does not appear that Katherine Philips wrote it for a special occasion. It seems that she wrote it just because, to celebrate their friendship.

I have a few best friends, but I don’t feel confident that I would write them a poem celebrating our friendship just because the spirit of friendship moved me. For me, this poem is more of a comparison to my relationship with my sister. When Orinda says “I am not thine, but thee” (l.4), it is a perfect illustration of our relationship. We’re even more than sisters; we’re basically the same person. We look the same; our voices sound the same on the phone, and we laugh at the same jokes. It’s not enough to say that we’re sisters, or that Lucasia and Orinda are friends. By their friendship, Lucasia and Orinda are one person, bound together by similarities, common interests, and shared past experiences.

Another line that I found to be key in the poem was “This carcass breathed, and walked, and slept” (l.5). The entire poem revolves around the idea that Orinda was not a complete person until she became friends with Lucasia. Until she had someone she could share her daily occurrences with, both the major events of her life and the minor moments, she was only a physical being. Now that she is a part of this friendship, she is also a spiritual being. In the case of my sister and I, I was literally not a complete person until she began taking care of me. She is eight years older than me, so she was responsible for feeding me, dressing me, and babysitting me. She was the one making sure I listened to the right music, and wore the right clothes. Without her influence, I would not be the person I am today.

A true friend, then, according to Orinda is one “which now inspires, cures and supplies/And guides my darkened breast” (l.13-14). Friendship is to a large degree is about support. Each individual needs a support system, whether it consists of family or friends. That support system gets you through difficult times, it is with you during good times to share your life, or occasionally, to giggle about it. For me, this line ideally describes how my sister is my inspiration. She has achieved so much; she gives me life advice, career advice, advice on how to deal with my parents, etc. Without the little tips she gives me, my life would be fundamentally different.

Orinda tells Lucasia, “I’ve all the world in thee.”  (l.20). Their friendship is her world. She does not mean this in a creepy obsessive way, but in a way where their friendship is her base. Lucasia is who she writes letters to when something entertaining occurs in her life. Similarly, my sister is the one I text on the way to class with news of my day. The type of friendship Katherine Philips is describing is one in which you could not imagine life without this person. The goal of the poem, then, as I see it is to express to someone how necessary he or she is to your life and happiness. It is a nice thing to express, especially because in such a relationship this feeling often goes without saying.

Inspiration from Disney movies



While thinking about what the name of my blog should be, I found myself staring at my bookshelf for inspiration. I am not the most creative person, so it was a little difficult for me to create a name out of thin air. But as I was staring at my bookshelf, I found myself thinking I would like to have more books here at Duke. The majority of my books, including my favorites, are at home on a larger bookshelf. As I was thinking this, I pictured the library from my favorite Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. As a child, part of the reason I loved this movie was the library. I always dreamed of having a library as large and beautiful as Belle’s in my house. To remember the scene better, I looked up some videos of it on YouTube. The name for my blog, blog and the beast, was just a result of all these thoughts.

Although this is a bit more personal than Mr. Spectator, I thought it would be a better way of engaging the rest of the class as readers. While I enjoyed the Mr. Spectator stories, I found him difficult to relate to because he was so detached. The Foucault reading got me thinking about how I would relate to this blog as an author of it. As an author, I did not want to be detached from my work as Mr. Spectator was from his. I wanted the work on my blog to be an accurate representation of myself, and I feel like my love of Disney movies is a first step in that direction.

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