Bring Him Home Analysis

Major Spoiler Alert:

“Bring Him Home” is a sung by Valjean at the barricades. As a bit of background, one of the main plot lines in Les Mis is the uprising arranged by college-age students. Marius, who loves Cosette, is one of the revolutionaries. A couple scenes back, Valjean has discovered that his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves Marius and because Valjean loves Cosette so much, he heads over to the barricades in order to protect Marius.

“Bring Him Home” is a prayer that Valjean sends to God in order to make sure that Marius survives the barricades. In “Drink With Me”, the song right before “Bring Him Home”, the students realize there is a high chance that most of them will be killed. After Eponine died, they realized just how outnumbered they really are and acknowledged the fact in “Drink With Me”. In “Bring Him Home”, Valjean brings up the fact that he would rather die than Marius because Marius is only a boy and still quite young and still has a future ahead of him. .

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This song can easily not be seemed that sad the first time around. But when seeing Les Mis a second time, this song becomes even sadder than what it appears. As a matter of fact, the rebellion ends up being a complete failure. Marius is the only survivor and with knowing that fact, it makes you realize during “Bring Hime Home” that the other students will not survive. As a matter of fact, Marius had to survive since he loves Cosette because Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light and if Marius didn’t survive, Cosette would not represent what she does in Les Mis. Valjean’s prayer at the barricades in a lot of ways is one of the places where spirituality shines through Les Mis even though the song is sadder than it appears and that is due to Valjean praying to God and throughout Les Mis, there is a love of God shown throughout.

Since it is Memorial Day, “Bring Him Home” can connect to the soldiers that families will hope survive even if they know there is a chance they might get killed. That sounds almost like Valjean’s situation. Valjean is getting older and he needs someone to continue caring and protecting Cosette.

What are your thoughts on “Bring Him Home”?

A Clearing in the Forest Review

Princess Adriana is about to leave the Kingdom of Ayrden on the Journey of her sixteenth year

If she is to ever to ascend the throne, Adriana must go-alone and unarmed-into the unknown. She’s been trained and gifted for the Journey, just like all the royals who preceded her-even the ones who never returned.

Adriana leaves Ayrden on Sultan, the black stallion gifted to her by her brother just the day at her birthday celebration. With bravery in her heart and hopes for a quick return, she soon encounters three paths: one of grass, one of gold, and one of gemstones. She chooses the pragmatic path of grass. Although it seems safe, and the landscape familiar, she quickly finds that she will have to overcome nearly  impossible challenges. Ultimately, an unexpected friendship changes not only Adriana, but the very kingdom that she someday hopes to rule. The question is, will the friendship turn into everlasting love?

Reading this fantasy book is an easy book to read. It was a nice read even though the journey could have been filled with even more challenges. The description of the plot made me hope the journey was more difficult than what I discovered. But as a matter of fact, the ending makes it appear as if this could easily become a series. So the ending left you off with a bit of a cliffhanger in a way.

                                                      Proclamation of Ayrden 

Be it known to all-

The Sovereigns of Ayrden

Shall not be deemed worthy to rule

By birthright alone.

Each royal descendant of Ayrden

Shall embark upon a Journey

During that descendant’s sixteenth year

Or forever give up any claim in the Throne.

Each descendant shall Journey forth

Alone and unarmed,

Carrying one day’s provision Only.

Upon a Sovereign’s death,

The Thorne shall pass to the eldest descendant

Who from his or her Journey hath returned.

If there be not such a one,

The deceased Sovereign’s eldest sibling.

Requisite Journey complete,

Shall assume the Throne.

This is an edict in perpetuity decreed by the

First King of Ayrden

Adriana, the main character, was given the gifts of fidelity, kindness, and courage to have with her when she left for her journey. She actually ended up heading on each of the different paths. On the first path, she came across her uncle, Kelak and he tied her up so she had to figure out how to escape. This took place in the land of Chehalem.

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The next path she took is the path of gold and she came across Corrigan and it took her a while until she realized he was a slave trader and had to leave before Corrigan noticed she was gone. The path where this situation took place was in the land of Shahar.

The last path, the path of gemstones, did not many challenges, but the land of Beryillos had a problem with the dragon, Zimley. So each of the different lands had something challenging Adriana had to face. I thought it was cool how while Zimley was still waiting to attack, they managed to stay protected by having their kingdom be an underground kingdom. One of the clothes that I loved that they wore were called chimangas.

Of all the different characters, my favorite character is Adriana. She shows a lot of courage on her journey especially when she was in Chehalem because she faced the most challenges there. On her journey she stayed strong even if she was going into the unknown. In the land of Beryillos, I loved the characters of Elissa and Theo and they were some of the few people on Adriana’s journey that were nice to her was well and even Redbud from Chehalem. But I just really loved Theo and Elissa. In Beryillos, Theo and Elissa were the ones she spent the most time with and she realized that over time she was falling in love with Theo.

I cannot believe I read two books over the summer already. First Oliver Twist and that was the hardest book I read over the summer due to it being classic. Next, A Clearing in the Forest was read and was the easiest book so far and it was a fantasy. The next book I will read, which I will start today, it called The Hundred Story Home and that is a nonfiction book.

 

Parallels Between Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo

Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo are two of the most well-known authors. They have written some of my favorite classic books. But I cannot help, but see many parallels between their works, which might explain why I love both of these authors.

Dickens and Hugo tend to focus on the lower rungs of society. True, I read more Dickens books than Hugo, but it still is very obvious. The title, Les Misérables, means the downtrodden, the fugitives, and the outsiders. Les Misérables is home to the prostitute, Fantine, the criminals, the Thenardiers, the impoverished Eponine, daughter of the Thenardiers, and the orphan Cosette. Even though those are major characters, it does show impoverished citizens as well. Even in the case of the students, they fighting to stand up against the weak government since the government doesn’t care much about the poor.

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But in Dickens’, writing, two protagonists are actually poor. In Oliver Twist, Oliver is an orphan and was raised in poor conditions due to the poor conditions of the workhouses. And then later, after running away,  he comes across the two villains, Fagin and Bill Sikes, who hope to turn Oliver into a criminal. In Great Expectations as a matter of fact, Pip is also impoverished and he is the main character. While the main character in A Christmas Carol isn’t poor, the Cratchit family is very poor and that is difficult due to Tiny Tim being crippled. It is a bit hard to explain why Tale of Two Cities has the lower rungs of society.

So why do both authors tend to focus on criminals, the poor, prostitutes, orphans, and any person that would be on the lowest rungs of society? Well, when Dickens and Hugo wrote their books, both England and France were recovering from the most recent revolutions. England was recovering from the Revolutionary War and France was recovering from the French Revolution. In the time they wrote, they wrote in the style of Romanticism and one key aspect is the style liked to focus on the emotions. Both authors liked to focus on the them of redemption.

The reason why I am drawn to both Dickens and Hugo is because I have drawn to stories that focus on the lowest rungs of society due to a passion I have for helping that community. Dickens is much easier to read than Victor Hugo because Dickens doesn’t interrupt the plot with long history lessons. Hugo likes to constantly interrupt the plot with boring history lessons and that is the one downside to reading Victor Hugo. The next Hugo book I plan to read is Hunchback of Notre Dame and the next Dickens book I plan to read is Nicholas Nickleby.

Why do you think there are parallels between the two authors.

Experience of Loaves and Fishes

While some may know that I am a musical fanatic, there is another passion of mine that is equally important. I love to volunteer especially for those living in poverty. I grew up volunteering for that community. Later in high school when I did an dinner exercise at an outreach event, I realized that the vast majority of the world was living in poverty. Through that exercise, I learned that my main priority of volunteering was to help the poverty population. I also knew it was my calling to reach out to that community so in a way I developed a deep connection to the less fortunate.

Well today, I volunteered today with my dad at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry for low-income families. It was founded by my church and originally was just a closet. Now it is like this mini grocery store where families of different sizes would come grocery shopping with one of the volunteers. Today was an especially busy day. I had to help by unfolding flat paper bags. I had to open up zip lock bags for someone to put chicken in. I had to help restock at times when donations came in and this time, Loaves and Fishes was given a big donation. We even had this big batch of families come in at once. Well after the family member shopped, us volunteers had to help load the cars and bring back the shopping cart. Usually in Loaves and Fishes, all I do usually is just help the families shop and load the cars and bring back the carts.

But due to number of clients coming in and a huge donation, it made all of us do even more than we typically end up dong. I have never seen volunteering as a sacrifice. Well I am helping those in need, I still have given something in return. You can see the gratitude they have for us reaching out. It gives me a feeling of reward and pleasure. In a lot of ways, volunteering is a huge part of my spiritual journey. My spiritual journey is very important to me due to being gifted with a strong spirit.

Review of Oliver Twist

I am happy to say that I finished Oliver Twist yesterday. I started reading it on the 13th of May. Of all the classics I have read into between semesters, this book has taken me the shortest amount of time to read. On this post, I will try to review this book even thought it is difficult to come up with many reasons why I loved the book.

Spoilers ahead:

In this book, Dickens does a good job in grabbing you in just about three pages. Once I only read like that many pages, I started to fall in love with the story and Oliver. The entire book I was very fond of Oliver. He was actually my favorite character in the entire book. In my opinion, it is important to love the protagonist in order to get the most out of any piece of literature. Oliver was born an orphan and raised in a workhouse, which has poor conditions.

I love the spirit and goodness and innocence that Oliver shows even when people mistreat him at times, he always stays a good person. Even when he is in the hands of Fagin and Sikes, he does not turn to their criminal ways because of the goodness he has. I do love some of the characters that treat Oliver fairly such as Mr. Brownlow and Rose Maylie.

When it comes to the book, I just didn’t like Fagin or Sikes. They are two of the villains in the piece. While I don’t like the two characters, they provide conflict to Oliver’s journey and that is important. Oliver encounters Fagin first and did not understand he was training kids to be pickpockets at first. He did not figure that out until he saw the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates steal a handkerchief from a gentleman, who turns out to be Mr. Brownlow. Oliver just wouldn’t let Fagin or Sikes corrupt him at all.

I find Sikes to even be more evil than Fagin is. True he is also a villain like Fagin, but he is quite abusive. He does work for Fagin and later hated the fact that he killed Nancy. He only did that because Nancy gave away Fagin and Sike’s latest scheme of trying to recapture Oliver for the second time. The first round, Oliver was staying with Mr. Brownlow. It was Fagin’s goal to recapture him the first time. But the second time was when Oliver was staying with Rose Maylie and her family. When Oliver was staying with both of him, he was recovering from sickness and just did not want to be sent back to both Fagin and Sikes. Later in the story, there is another villain involved, who is Monks, who did plan with both Fagin and Sikes to recapture Oliver the second time.

I actually enjoyed Nancy more than both Fagin and Sikes. I found it hard to like her at first. But when she gave away Monks, Fagin, and Sike’s schemes to recapture Oliver, I loved her at that moment even though she knows that if she gave them away, she could possibly be killed and that was an act of courage right there.

This has to be the easiest Dickens book I ever read. He always makes you want to know what it going to happen next. Whenever he was with Mr. Brownlow and Rose, I always hoped that he wouldn’t be sent back to misery. I am so glad at the end that both Sikes and Fagin did die. I also am glad that Oliver got adopted by Mr. Brownlow, so Oliver’s journey did lead him to salvation. Now I am wondering should I watch the musical adaption? I honestly watched the musical live in middle school, but I have no recollections of seeing it.

If you like Oliver Twist, why did you love it?

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Are Songs the Only Reason to Love a Musical?

Some people are convinced that the only reason why I love musicals are the songs. But it isn’t just the songs that have to leave an Impression on me. True, songs are the very center of musicals, but I don’t love musicals just for the songs. Musicals are also a world of dance and spectacle and I look forward to those moments just as much as the songs.

Just loving the songs honestly does not say much. In order to fully love the songs, there are other aspects of a musical you must fall in love with as well. After all, the songs strengthen characters and plot. I also love a musical due to the characters and storylines they have. The main emotions happen through the songs and have to complement the characters. The emotions have to make sense with the plot the musical is trying to tell. You can fall in love with the songs, but it can hard to appreciate the emotions if you have a hard time appreciating character and plot. You also need to love the songs in order to get something out of the emotions the characters are feeling.

The negative emotions are emotions you have to grow into. The positive emotions you quickly fall in love with. The negative emotions do become enjoyed right away, but you still need to grow into them. You can easily skip tiny details of negative emotions you didn’t even notice before.

Some wonderful musical characters include Belle, Beast, Jack Kelly, Crutchie, Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Enjolras, Gavroche, Annie, Maria (Sound of Music) and the Von Trapp children among many others. Wonderful plot include the plots of Music Man, Sound of Music, Annie, Wicked, Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, and Newsies among many others.

Honestly the songs are key to falling in love with many aspects of musicals. They are key to the emotions that characters deal with. The most complex plots almost always have a score that consists of both positive and negative emotions. I always love discovering what a musical is capable of and some things I have discovered have quite surprising and unexpected.

Do you love musicals for more than just the songs?

What Are Some Special Trips of Mine?

I have had such a fortunate life. Now, I want to share some of the best trips about my life and will share a bit of what makes them special.

  1. New York- In the picture below, it is in the year 2006 and I was 12 at the time. That trip consisted of just mom and me. That was a huge part of why the trip was meaningful to me. During this trip, my mom took me to see Wicked on Broadway. I don’t have many vivid memories of seeing Wicked, but I do remember that the song, Popular, was my favorite song from the musical. While I don’t have vivid memories of seeing Wicked, the impact clearly shows. Wicked sparked my love for musicals and it how I started to understand complexity in musical. It also was the beginning of understanding emotions as well and Elphaba became such a meaningful musical character in my life.

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2. Next up is Alaska. This was a trip that I went on in the year, 2011. I went with my extended family. We went through a group called Tauck Bridges. We got to explore nature a lot of times. It consisted of several hikes and a “glacier and whale” tour. I got to meet husky dogs. I even went panning for gold. This trip was basically a cruise, but instead of traveling by cruise trip, we traveled by bus.

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3. Costa Rica happened in 2014. I studied abroad for two weeks. Costa Rica like Alaska is another beautiful place to visit. I ended up staying with a host mom. The place we stayed at was Atenas. One special part was when we visited Monteverde.

Monteverde is a rain forest preserve. We hiked a lot when we were there. When we hiked the first time, it was fun being out in nature. The second round, I went on the canopy tour and at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but I decided to go on the canopy tour. The canopy tour is a zip-line above the canopy. Sometimes I got stuck in the middle, which was scary at times and a guide had to come get back and sometimes I had to go down with one.

We spent some time in the capitol of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. One time we spent the day exploring the place. Another day, we went to see a play, which was hard to understand since it was all in Spanish. But I was able to pick up on the fact that the show was comedy. Another thing we all did was visit a coffee plantation. Everything we did in Costa Rica was culture related.

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4. The same year, 2014, I went on another special trip. In December, I went on a plane by myself to spend a week with my grandma in St. Louis. That was one special trip and one very special part was seeing Annie. Annie was my favorite musical before seeing Wicked. I think I loved Annie so much as a kid due to Annie’s optimism and her relationship to Sandy.

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5. The most recent special trip I went on was England. Our church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral so England was a pilgrimage. The fact that the trip was a pilgrimage was a big reason why the trip was so meaningful. That year was 2015 in July and the pilgrimage began on the 31st. But the best part of the trip had nothing to do with the pilgrimage, but connected in some way.

The day before on July 30th, mom gave me a special treat. She actually took me to see Les Mis in London on the West End. It was my dream to see Les Mis in London. It was where the show truly began. At this performance, I had an understudy as Valjean. The cast I saw was brilliant and so was Adam Bayjou. I always get nervous when I hear I have understudies, but Adam has been the best Valjean I ever saw. In this cast, I finally felt for Javert due to how Jeremy Secomb portrayed him. The revolve was very effective and it helped with time change and was quite useful at the barricade. This production did make me cry and laugh and feel several emotions like I expected. Mom and I sat nine rows back from the stage.

Literally after hearing one note at this performance, I knew it was more than expected and I was speechless after both act I and act II and was one of the first ones to stand up at the end. That was how good the cast was. The entire cast was brilliant from ensemble to leads. Mom took me to the stage door afterwards and I met Adam and he signed my playbill. I think things came full circle with Les Mis because the West End is London’s version of Broadway. It came full circle because I saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom. Due to loving Wicked and Les Mis equally, it was quite fitting I saw one on Broadway and one in the West End.

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Les Mis was in a lot of ways connected to the pilgrimage. Les Mis is Valjean’s spiritual journey and the Bristol Pilgrimage was my spiritual journey. We went to three castles, which were Berkeley, Windsor, and Chepstow. We visited TinTern Abbey, Stonehenge. I saw ten church services at four different places. We saw them at WestMinster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbuy Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

At the last service at Bristol Cathedral, I truly knew how transforming the trip was. It was during the anthem and I actually cried and that that reaction was how I knew how transforming the trip was. Stonehenge was the mountain-top moment of the pilgrimage. But the best part of the pilgrimage was not one of the places we visited. it  It was actually the fellowship that was formed between all 72 pilgrims.

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So all of these trips were quite special. All of these trips had some sort of impact on my life. New York was impactful due to seeing Wicked on Broadway and I think that was a big reason why it has been the most meaningful musical of my life growing up. One trip was the best extended family trip I ever been on and was inedible spending time in nature. One trip made me learn about culture in Costa Rica and made me see nature in a new perspective especially due to a canopy tour. The last one was important to my spiritual journey and my journey with Les Mis.

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