Spiritual Themes of Les Mis

Today, I decided to focus on the various spiritual themes in Les Mis and where they are located in the musical. There will be some overlap between these themes so some scenes might repeat sometimes. SO THIS WILL BE A HEAVY SPOILER POST.

Love: in various ways 

Love for God:

1. First is shown in the bishop scene. The bishop clearly loves God. It is shown through how he shows forgiveness, compassion, and mercy on Jean Valjean. The bishop allows Jean Valjean to have a second chance at life.

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2. Another obvious scene is during “Bring Hime Home”. This is the scene where Jean Valjean is praying to God to make sure Marius survives the barricade. Jean Valjean went to the barricade to protect Marius because Cosette, his adopted daughter, loves Marius.

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Love for a Child:

1 Fantine’s selfless love for Cosette- She is a single mother was abandoned by Cosette’s biological father so she is left to care for Cosette by her self. At the time was dangerous to have an illegitimate child so she leaves Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers, but little does she know how horrible they will treat her child. After getting fired from Valjean’s factory, she literally sells her locket, her hair, and her body in order to care for her child. She is willing to die in order that Cosette has a better life. So she is selfless when it comes to Cosette.

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2. Valjean’s Love for Cosette- Valjean adopts Cosette after her mother dies. Even though Cosette is not Valjean’s biological father, Cosette makes such a huge impact on his life. It makes even more compassionate than before. She allows Valjean to be a kinder person and later because of how much she loves Cosette, he goes to the barricade to protect Marius, the love of her life. He is willing to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of Cosette’s.

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Romantic Love: Love Triangle

1. Cosette and Marius – These two make such an adorable couple. They are perfect for each other and help add hope to the story. They are meant for each because Cosette represents hope and light so these two need to be together.

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2.  Eponine and unrequited love- Eponine loves Marius, but he loves Cosette. But the way she responds to unrequited love is amazing. She will do anything for Marius to make sure he is safe and happy. That is why she makes sure Cosette and Marius end up together. That is why she screams at Valjean’s house to protect Marius even though it means standing up against her father. That is also why she takes a bullet for Marius at the barricade. She is willing to sacrifice everything even though Marius is the only good thing in her life and that to me takes a lot of strength. She falls in love with Marius because of the kindness he shows her.

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Love for Friends:

1. The love found between all the students is incredible. This love found these friends is so inspiring. They have such a brotherly love for each other. They are a group of college students who are a political group who are planning an uprising against France’s weak government. At the barricade, they eventually realize they will eventually lose and die, but yet they still fight.

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Love for the Law:

1. Javert-Love for the law is quite a weird one. Javer does have this love for the law. He strictly follows it. He believes “once a crminal always a criminal”. After Valjean broke parole, which is against the rules, Javert is determined to capture Valjean send him back to prison. But once love for the law is very odd.

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Hope: 

1. Fantine- Yes, I said there will be some overlap. Fantine has hope that her daughter, Cosette, will have a better life.

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2. Eponine- Marius is the light of her life. He is all she has in life. Her love for him is extremely strong and deep. He is the only person in her life that shows her kindness. Throughout the show, she is always true love towards Marius even if it means losing him forever.

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3. Cosette- She represents hope and light. As a child, she was terribly abused. But she still has hope she will be rescued and she eventually is by Jean Valjean. When she becomes a teenager, she falls. in love with Marius.

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4. Marius- His love for Cosette is hope.The love for each other brings hope to the story. If these two didn’t love each other, Marius would have died at the barricade.

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5. Enjolras, Marius and the students- These guys have hope for the rebellion. That is mostly shown in act I. Even in act II< they hold on that hope even when they realize they are going to die and lose. But they still have hope that others will eventually stand up against the weak government. They are so passionate about the cause that they are willing to die.

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Forgivness: 

1. The bishop scene- After Valjean steals the bishop’s steal, the is able to forgive Jean Valjean and shows him an incredible act of mercy. The bishop gives Jean a second chance at life.

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2. Valjean forgiving Javert- Javert is Valjean’s enemy but is able to forgive Javert. At the barricade, Valjean lets Javert go and end up forgiving Javert and this takes Javert by surprise.

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Compassion: 

1. Valjean showing compassion to Fantine-This happens in two ways. First shows compassion to Fantine by intervening to protect Fantine from being arrested. Then as Fantine is dying, she is still concerned about Cosette and Valjean promises to raise Cosette as his own and this gives Fantine peace and comfort as he is dying. Valjean stays with Fantine as she his dying.

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2. Marius showing compassion to Eponine- This is mainly shown at “A Little Fall of Rain”, Eponine’s death scene. After Marius realizes that Eponine is shot and is dying, this totally devastates Marius, but he still decides to be with her and comfort her while she is dying. Eponine is dying because she takes a bullet for Marius. Marius totally cares for Eponine and he holds her until she dies. It it hard on Marius, but he shows comfort to Eponine.

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3. Valjean and Cosette- Valjean is able to show compassion to Cosette. He is able to rescue her from the Thearndeirs. When realizing that Cosette is being terribly abused by the Thearndiers, he is thankful that he rescues Cosette. He promised he would raise Cosette after her mother dies. Not only does he keep his promise, but he rescues Cosette from a life of abuse.

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Sacrifice: 

1. Fantine- Like I said, themes seem to overlap each other. Fantine is willing to sacrifice everything including her life in order to care for Cosette. She is such a selfless mother willing to die to make sure her child gets a better life than she had.

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2. Eponine- She risks everything for Marius. Even though he is the only good thing in her life, she is willing to make sure that Marius ends up with Cosette. Everything she does it out of love for Marius. Her love for Marius shows that she has a spark of goodness left in her and that shows she is kind of different from her parents. She is willing to sacrifice her life so that he will survive the barricade.

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3. Students- Due to how passionate these students are, they are willing to die for the cause they strongly believe in. They are college students and they all die for this upswing. Enjolras, the leader of the group, is the most passionate  about this cause, which makes his death very heartbreaking. The students also are willing to die even if they know they are going to lose.

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4. Jean Valjean- He is willing to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of Cosette’s. When he finds out that she is in love with Marius, he goes to the barricades in order to protect Marius to make sure he comes out alive. When Marius gets seriously injured and falls unconscious, he carries Marius through the sewers and makes him strive the barricades. Another scene he shows sacrifice is when he turns himself in when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean and he can’t bear to see an innocent man get sent to prison because Valjean knows what is like.

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Humanity: From worst to best

1.Thenardiers- They represent the very worst of society. They only care about themselves and money. The first scene you realize they are quite abusive is when you see how they treat Cosette. Then during Master of the House, you realize they are in fact pick pockets. After Cosette gets rescued by Jean Valjean, they start using abuse on Eponine, their daughter. They raise her to be a thief and criminal and they fall into extreme poverty. AT such a young age, they kicked Gavroche, their song out of the house. Then with both Eponine and Gavroche die at the barricades, the Theanrdiers don’t even care. They do not love both of their children.

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2. Javert-He is this obsessive policeman who has a very shady view on the world. He views the world in black and right and believe that no one can change. He is further up in humanity than the Thenardiers. He always tries to do good even if it may not be the right thing to do.

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3. Eponine- She is a young girl who doesn’t have a lot of good things happen in her life. She lives with parents who abuse her and teach her the ways of being a criminal and forces her to participate in their schemes. The entire family falls in to extreme poverty. She falls in love with Marius, but that loves falls unrequited. She falls in love til him because of the kindness she shows her. I think the reason why she has s park of goodness in her is mainly because of Marius. Her love for Marius is quite strong and deep and constantly shows true love towards him. She eventually takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms.

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4. Students- they are a group of college students who are planning an uprising against France’s weak government.

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5. Fantine- She is a selfless mother who does anything in order to provide for Cosette. Even during her death, she is still concerned about Cosette, but Valjean agrees to raise Cosette as his own.

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6. Cosette- She represents hope and light. After Valjean rescues her, she lives a very sheltered life, but i don’t blame that because Valjean is always on the run from Javert. But Valjean gave her a better life. She is such a sweet person and she falls in love with Marius and their love help provide hope to this tragic tale.

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7. Marius- He is such a nice, sweet, and a little awkward law student. who is capable of an arming amount of bravery and compassion. His bravery comes from being willing to be part of the rebellion. His compassion is mainly shown through how much he cares about Eponine. When Eponine is dying, he ends up staying with her and comforting her and holding her while she dies even though this devastates Marius. He is the only survivor from the barricade and eventually realizes that Valjean is the reason he is alive and ends up thanking Valjean.

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8.   Jean Valjean- He starts out as being a harsh, hateful, and angry man and it doesn’t seem like he will become a better person. But then he meets the bishop who teaches him the ways of the Lord. The bishop shows him compassion and forgiveness and mercy by allowing him a place to sleep and food to eat and forgives Valjean after stealing his silver.  These actions gives Valjean a second chance at life and is determined to become a better person. It is why he rescues Fantine from being arrested, why he turns himself in when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean. He even promises Fantine that he will raise Cosette.

All of his actions he does after the bishop scene he does out of the example the bishop teaches him. He shows compassion to a number of people. He rescues Marius from the barricade. He raises Cosette. So you see as the show continues he continue to becomes a better person.

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9. The Bishop- Even though the bishop plays such a small role in the musical, his role is crucial. If he didn’t show compassion and forgiveness, to Valjean, there really wouldn’t be a story. Valjean would have stayed a hateful and angry and harsh man if it wasn’t for the actions the bishop does. He shows compassion by allowing Valjean a place to sleep and food to eat and is able to forgive Valjean.

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So you see , Les Mis deals with various levels of humanity. You have the the very worst and the very best and those in between.

Redemption: 

,1. Jean Valjean- Valjean goes on a path to redemption after the mercy shown to him from the bishop. By the end, he become a very saintlike and compassionate person despite his years in prison.

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Because Les Mis deals with so many areas of these spiritual themes, it makes Les Mis so much more than just a tragedy. It has this beautiful underlying spirituality, which is what I am able to relate to. It is why this tale is so inspirational. It is why it is not too depressing and why I am not sick and tried of it.

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Les Mis Collection (Part 2)

Earlier in Christmas Break, I wrote a Les Mis post about my Les Mis collection. Well, a couple weeks after, I realized I left part of my collection off so I am doing a new post. I will still talk about the things I already explained and will bring up the stuff I never included.

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This picture gives a general idea of my love for Les Mis. I have three tickets from the community college production (2013), the West End production (2015) and the current touring US production (2017), which was seen in Greenville. So have happened to see 3 productions ever two years. The community college production was seen 3 times due to going once with family and twice as an usher, which is why my total number of times I have seen Les Mis is 5 times. In relationship to those productions, I have the three playbills and what surprised me in London is that I had to buy the playbill, which doesn’t happen in the United States. My London playbill was signed by Adam Bayjou, my Valjean, and he was an understudy and he made me forget I was watching an understudy so that says something about how brilliant he was. I have a filer for the community college production and a filer for the London production.

As some know, I went to Les Mis party last year where I dressed up as Eponine, my favorite female character in the musical. Well, my first Les Mis party was in 2015 where I was surprised and my mom hid it by saying that one of her closest friends, who is also a big Les Mis fan just wanted to see the movie with me. So in my 2015 party, I was not able to dress up as a character, but I was called Eponine all night long just because I sang “On My Own” during Karoke. One of the people who attended knew a friend happened to know one of the Valjean’s and so she got in contact with that former Valjean and he signed a souvenir program and I did not see that part of my collection coming.

Obviously as any Les Mis fan, you would have the soundtrack. It took a lot of debating over which one I wanted. My mother eventually bought me one of the soundtracks and it ended up being the original broadway cast. Even with the soundtrack alone, I am reduced to tears. As a big Les Mis fan myself, I own the unabridged book, which I actually finished in less than one summer and that book is my favorite of the classics. The last of that picture is the page to screen book. It talks about how it made its journey to London stage to its creation of the school edition all the way to the musical movie. It has pictures and several facts in relationship to Les Mis.

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My first Les Mis bit of my collection was the movie. The movie was the first full experience of Les Mis. My first viewing, I couldn’t tell if I loved that movie or not. I was a bit shocked and confused as it is a tragic musical, a musical theatre genre I really had no clue existed so I didn’t know how to respond to Les Mis. Despite the confusion, I started researching the musical until I decided to give the movie a 2nd chance and I was able to calm down and get more out of it. I watch the movie each time I come home for break and I am not tired of it yet. I also own the 25th anniversary concert DVD. I watch that version less than the movie because it is longer so it is hard to find time to watch something of 3 hours. So these two are my easiest access to Les Mis if I am in the mood to watch it.

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I got the gray T-shirt at the Queen’s Theatre when I saw it in the West End. The red shirt is quite special. Some of my friends at Gardner Webb made that shirt for me for a birthday present. Literally the shirt says “keep calm and talk about Les Mis”. It appears as if those two friends know me quite well. It is unique in the fact that a) college friends it for me and b) no one else can own it.

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This poster is hung above my bed in Charlotte. This is yet another souvenir I got at the Queen’s Theatre. The only posters that belong on my wall in my room are musicals that hold an important part of my life.

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These two paintings do deserve a part in my collection as well. In my first semester of college, one of the RAs of my floor made these two paintings for me. Those two are hung in my dorm room. Even though the French flag is not in the right order, I still love the painting.

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Last time, I did this post, I cannot believe I forgot about my Les Mis piano book. In 2014, I was going through a rough time in my life and to get through that, my piano teacher taught me the Les Mis songs on the piano. Because I knew the songs so well, I was able to add emotion into the songs. I knew when the songs got louder or got softer. The colored pencils were found as a stocking stuffed. They have words on them like “one gray more”, “do you hear the purple sing”, “blue4601” and other things like those.

I will leave with pictures from when I saw Les Mis and when I dressed up as Eponine along with a painting I made at Pinterest night, which has Eponine on it.

 

‘So based upon my collection and the number of times I have seen the stage production, the movie and the 25th anniversary concert DVD combined shows just how big of a Les Mis fan I am. It also is shown through the number of times I listened to the soundtrack. So I have listened to those songs so many times and not yet tired of them and shows just how amazing of a musical Les Mis. Despite the number of times, I still get emotional listening or seeing it, which has led me to tear up, get goosebumps, and laugh along with something else that I can’t describe and that sort of feeling is something that rarely happen in a musical world.

 

Where is Home?

Where we live is home…Home our feet may live. But not our hearts

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What is home? Obviously where we live is home. Charlotte is where I live and it is home to me. I grew up here so it is quite a special place. I love living in Charlotte for many ways. The greenways are a wonderful place to go to to take a walk because it is like a hike in a way and you are around nature. It was one of these greenways where I was inspired to write a story about Fairy Frogs. Since I live in a big city, touring productions always come here and as a musical fan, I am glad to live in a city where touring productions come. Shows I have seen in Charlotte and loved are Mamma Mia, Wicked, Newsies, Sound of Music, Pippin, and Rent.

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But where you live doesn’t always have to be the only home. It is where your hearts lie.Another home to me is Ponte Vedra, Florida. I grew up spending Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Summer in Ponte Vedra. My grandmother has a condo down there. We would go to the beach, spend time at the outdoor mall or sometimes visit  St. Augustine.

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Gardner Webb is home and even though you don’t spend much time living at your college, but it can feel like home. Gardner Webb is the school I was meant to be at and it is home. Calling Gardner Webb home is how much it means to me. The community, the staff, the activities, the friends are things that make Gardner Webb home.

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So home doesn’t always have to be the place you are from. Home is where the heart is. Charlotte may be where I am from, but Florida and Gardner Webb are also home. By the time I graduate from Gardner Webb, I would have been there for 3 1/2 years and yes, that is a short time, but it will always be home to me. I spent even more time at Florida and that place is a second home.

What do you think home is? Do you feel like home goes beyond where you are from and where your mainly live? What are places that are home to you?

It all started with a book…

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It all started when Kathy Izard was moved to read the book, Same Kind of Different as Me, a book about the relationship between Denver Moore, a former homeless man, and Rob Hall. After reading the book, she got in contact with them and they agreed to talk at Urban Ministry Center, a place where the homeless can get fed and participate in several programs. After the talk, Denver Moore was given a tour of the Center and the last thing he asked Kathy Izard was “Where are the Beds?” because he was like so you do all of this stuff for the homeless, but you throw them out in the streets at night. He than asked Kathy Izard “What are you going to do about it?”

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Because of that one book and that one question, Kathy Izard eventually decided to create Moore Place, an apartment building that houses the homeless and is only two blocks away from a grocery store. Her book, Hundred Story Home, is about her building this building. Moore Place is located in the North of Charlotte and besides housing the homeless, programs are provided and there are social workers there and there is a nurse’s place as well. So Moore place is more than just a building that houses the homeless. Having a home is one of the first steps in stopping chronic homelessness. If they don’t have a home, there is no way you can put an address on a job application. It is not that they don’t want to find a job, but its the fact that they are worrying about where to get their next meal.

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Yesterday, I got to visit Moore Place, a possible place to work or volunteer. I told Moore Place about my theatre program idea. The lady who gave me the tour of Moore Place asked me more about my theatre program. That led me to a lot of thinking. Maybe it could start out with just listening to the soundtrack or watching the movie musicals or have classes that talk about a musical character. Than after,  have them discuss what they have just witnessed in order to understand theatre better. Even though I am a musical theatre person, I want to also introduce them to plays. So starting this program will be much harder than I thought. But it still seems like a good idea. I think the homeless should be introduced to theatre because it might be able to help them find meaning in their life. I want to eventually want to take them to the theatre.

2017 Year in Review

Yes, today is 2018 and Happy New Year, but I think today I shall write about last year.

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2017 was a tough, but wonderful year. I don’t remember some things that happened month after month, but will do the best I can.

January- all I remember about this month is my birthday. I don’t remember anything else. Part of 2017 consisted of being in St. Louis visiting my grandma over New Year’s.

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February- I remember two things about this month. I was house manger of my school’s production of Little Shop of Horrors and got to see a production of it. Plus, every year at my school around Valentine’s day, we are able to make a stuffed animal and I made a rainbow dog named rainbow.

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The bunny in this picture is Beatrice Rose, my stuffed animal I made at school in February of 2015. Rainbow is the dog next to her.

March- I have no clue what happened in March. Spring Break might have happened in March, but I just don’t remember.

April- this was when Gardner Webb’s Easter egg hunt happened. Each student is limited to just on egg. In both 2015 and 2016, I never managed to find one. But this year when I was looking at the prizes prior to the Easter egg hunt, I was eyeing this gigantic stuffed bunny. This year right when I saw the email that said it started, I immediately got dressed and started looking. The prize you are given is based off the number in the Easter egg. I actually found an egg this year and because I was the first one to redeem my egg, they gave me the gigantic bunny so they did not base my prize off of the number. I ended up naming the stuffed animal Chester.

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The last school production of the semester was in April. I was house manger of Full Moon over Montmartre, the school production and got to watch one production, but I found the show to be quite boring.

May- what happened this month was the Les Mis party. Since I knew the party was coming, but not surprised like 2016, I got to dress up as a character and I decided to dress up as Eponine.

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May- August- I grouped these together to talk about all the books I read over the summer. I ended up reading nine books in one summer and that is a lot of books. I read Oliver Twist (5/5), Clearing in the Forest (4.5/5), 2 Land of Stories Books (both 5/5), Queen of the Tearing (3/5), Five Little Pigs (3.5/5), 150 Years of Musical Theatre (5/5), Hundred Story Home (5/5) and Same Kind of Different as Me (5/5).

 

June- something my family does every year is going to a weekly Sunday Symphony in the Pops. Each year outside, we go to this outdoor symphony and each week there is a different. Earlier in the day, we lay out a tarp to reserve the spot. My family and friends spend time at this yearly event and everyone brings food and we have dinner like picnic style.

One of the symphonies is also dedicated to Fourth of July. Songs that represents America are played at that one and one of them honors solider and the songs each play each of the division’s hymn and when the veterans hear their hymn, they have to stand up and it is a wonderful thing to watch. At the end of that entire symphony, there are fireworks.

 

Another June memory was hearing my church’s choir sing at Duke Chapel. Hearing them sing at Duke Chapel reminded me of the time they sang at Bristol Cathedral.

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July- my family went on vacation to Ponte Vedra, FL.

 

What also happened in July was a day visit to Asheville. First stop was having lunch at Moose Cafe. What we do in Asheville is walk around and one of the stops usually involves getting ice cream at Kilwin’s. One place I love going is Malaprops. One section I love stopping at is the “mystery” book section. It is so much fun because the books are wrapped up in brown paper and adjective are written on it and we have to select the book based off of the wrappings and it is a lot of fun discovering the book we have picked and we are not allowed to open it till leaving the store.

 

August- that was the month I entered my last year at Gardner Webb. I made the move from dorms to suites, which ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. August also consisted of going to a wedding.

September- I think September was when my school did a production of  Real Inspector Hound and I was house manger of that show. At the end of the month, I got to watch Rent with mom and dad. I have loved Rent since Fall of 2012, but never got to see Rent live. So I finally got my opportunity. I ended up buying a poster and t-shirt. We sat in the Mezzanine towards the center and those were perfect seats. The production was amazing, but the only complaint I have is that the couple next to us were talking the entire time and even though they were whispering, they were still taking and that was annoying. But other than that, I loved the show and became a bigger fan of Rent and it was so good that I was an emotional wreck.

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October- This is Halloween month. There was Pumpkin painting this month, and painted it Gardner-Webb themed. There was Octoberfest and of course Halloween and dressing up. For Octoberfest, I was dressed up as Rizzo from Grease since our club choose to do a Grease theme, which was our club’s homecoming theme in September, but I am not exactly sure if homecoming was in September or not. For Halloween, I was Eponine, my 2nd time this year and I was dressed up as her about 3 to about 10, so that was a long time to stay in my costume. I cannot believe I went to the Gathering dressed up as Eponine. This time as Eponine, I made myself look a bit dirtier and it was fun dressing up as her.

 

November- I ended up seeing Les Mis in Greenville with my school and I also participated in Pinterest Night. That same week, I went to the Big E, which was closed off starting at 11 and I saw Murder on the Orient Express, which started at 11:30, but think I fell asleep during part of it. Since it was November, I also celebrated Thanksgiving with family and I met family members I had no idea existed. I also was house manager of my school’s production of God of Carnage

This was my first time seeing Les Mis on tour, but 5th time seeing the stage production and 2nd time seeing it with a professional company. Just like Rent, I was an emotional wreck. It had this incredibly powerful cast with wonderful advanced staging, which gave Les Mis a fresh complexity. I had an understudy as Eponine during this production. I love  this 25th anniversary production and it allowed things to flow smoothly and some scenes were improved upon from the West End production. The production and the cast had a lot to live to after seeing the West End production in 2015, but this cast and production lived up to it in its own way and so did the cast in their own way.

 

December- the first half of December was not that exciting as it was time for finals. However, Winter Formal was during that time and I literally came looking at Glinda. The dress I wore reminded me of her “Popular” dress so my suite mates made me look like her during that  particular scene. In December, I got to decorate a Gingerbread house and visit Santa.

 

But the second half was Christmas Break. I ended up seeing the Man Who Invented Christmas, read two classics, and of course celebrated Christmas. The classics I read were Hunchback of Notre Dame and A Christmas Carol.

 

 

 

Outside of the two classics, a good church family friend gave me six classics since she was downsizing her book collection. So I have a lot of classics to read, but these books were be read after reading Nicholas Nickleby this coming summer and right after that book will be David Copperfield. After David Copperfield is when I will start reading these books.

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I went to two parties in December. One was when we were at a Christmas party at a friend’s house and it was the usual batch that we tend to be with at Christmas dinner. The second December party was for New Year’s.

Honorable Mentions:

Glow Zumba- I have no idea what month this happened in.

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Going to late night trips to Cook Out to get a milkshake

Trips to FATZ and a Mexican restaurant with friends

I had a wonderful 2017, but cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store.

Just spending time with college friends

How was your 2017?

A Christmas Carol Book Review

As a bit of background, I have grown up up with a Christmas Carol through the movie adaption, which was the George Scott version. So A Christmas Carol was my first introduction to Charles Dickens and was my first classics I ever loved. But in those times growing up, I have once read the book, which seems quite surprising. An interesting thing about this version of the book is that it is complete with pictures.

As expected I loved the book and was an easy book to read after Hunchback of Notre Dame due to how sort it was. It was a fast read. As I was reading, I could start to visualize  scenes from the movie. Each chapter is focused on a particular spirit. It still is the ghost of Christmas Future that creeps me out the most. These ghosts really looked like the same ghost in the movie. I just love this story how this spirits help make Scrooge a better version. He used to very greedy and called Christmas a “humbug” and never really celebrated it. The Ghost of Christmas Past showed how he got to be the man he eventually become. He had a tough childhood and eventually the love of his life left all because of how much he seemed to love about money. The Ghost of Christmas Present taught him about the spirit of Christmas and showed that even the poor celebrate Christmas and are still happy on this wonderful day. The Ghost of Christmas Future taught him of what will happen in the future, but those events can be changed if Scrooge changes his ways. I think Scrooge in some ways is a complex character on on Christmas Day, Scrooge became a much happier fan and felt compassionate towards the poor and towards Mr. Cratchit’s family. He started helping them in any way he can and raised Mr. Cratchit’s family.

I love Mr. Cratchit’s family. Despite being poor, they still are happy. Tiny Tim, who is a cripple, has this incredible spirit and one of his most famous lines is “God Bless Us, Every One”. Mr. Cratchit has such an incredible bond with Tim. Even this family is huge and poor, they still have a wonderful bond with each other. But if Scrooge didn’t change his ways, Tiny Tim would have died. But Scrooge did, which is part of why he raised Mr. Cratchit’s salary in the end.

Fred, Scrooge’s Nephew, always invites his Uncle year of year to have dinner with him, but Scrooge always died. Fred actually loves his Uncle despite how greedy his Uncle is. But in the end, Scrooge finally came to dinner.

So A Christmas Carol really shows the spirit of Christmas. No matter how poor you are or no matter how rich you are, Christmas is worth celebrating. No wonder A Christmas Carol is so well loved. It teaches us to think of those in need and gives us an idea of where we came from and we see that through Ghost of Christmas Past, which shows Scrooge how he became what he is. We are the way we are because of the past. We learn what Christmas really means and yes it is about the birth of Jesus, but it is also about family and it defiantly not a “humbug” like Scrooge once said. Through the spirits, he really learned what Christmas is really about and how it isn’t a “humbug”.

“God, Bless Us Everyone”- Tiny Tim, Charles Dickens

Hunchback of Notre Dame vs. Les Misérables

Now that I have read both of Victor Hugo’s masterpieces, I decided to compare and contrast them. I was led to read Les Misérables because of my love for the musical.

Tangents:

With Les Misérables, I disliked reading them more than reading them in Hunchback of Notre Dame. In Hunchback of Notre Dame, they were much shorter and more interesting to read because they mostly were about architecture. With Les Misérables, those tangents were much more political and even longer. But with both, I understand that these tangents helped you understand the setting better.

Plot:

As expected, both of the books had a tragic, but beautiful plot. Both of these plots focused on the lowest of society. They represented things such as gypsies, criminals, disabled, and the improvised so they had a similar representation when it comes to the lowest rung. Both of these plots may be tragic, but they are beautiful. They each focused on love. Hunchback of Notre Dame had a much bigger focus on romantic love than Les Misérables. Hunchback of Notre Dame’s entire plot dealt with a love square of sorts since three men loved the same women. But with Les Misérables, it represented so many areas of love such as love for God, love for a child/parents, romantic love in the form of a love triangle, love for the country, and love for friends. So Les Misérables focused on more areas of love. I actually loved Les Misérables’ plot more than Hunchback of Notre Dame’s plot.

Characters:

I strongly disliked the antagonist, Frollo, in Hunchback of Notre because he was so evil and so dark and he responded to his unrequited love in very phantomesque ways. As far as Les Misérables’ antagonist, Javert, I loved him much more. At least Javert wasn’t exactly evil or morally twisted because he kept on trying to the right thing even if he saw the world in black and white. But Les Misérables’ does have two major characters who are quite despicable, who are the Thenardiers. Both of the tales had a character who dealt with unrequited love in a selfless kind of way, who were Quasimodo and Eponine. For me it was very hard to figure out who Hunchback of Notre Dame’s protagonist was, but I want to say it was Quasimodo and what was interesting about him is that he was disabled due to being both deaf and have a hunchback. Being deaf did leave at a disadvantage such as when the mob tried to rescue Esmeralda, he thought they were trying to cause harm to Esmeralda so he attacked them not understanding their actual intentions, but he still acted selflessly for his love for Esmeralda. Les Misérables’ protagonist, Jean Valjean, goes on such an incredible journey from this harsh and hateful man to this compassionate and saint-like man and his journey is wonderful to watch.

Ratings;

Hunchback of Notre Dame: 7/10

I gave this a 7/10 because I struggled with understanding the plot. It felt forever till I picked up on the plot and I already was halfway done with the book when it finally picked off. It spent about fifty page or so on Pierre, who is quite a minor character. Also as excepted, you were given background information about some of the characters for some time so it took a while to understand what was going on. It is hard for me to fully describe why I loved this plot.

Les Misérables: 12/10

Okay, why on earth would a book give me a 12/10 rating. Even though like Hunchback of Notre Dame, it felt forever till the plot kicked off, the story was exceptional. This heartbreaking storyline has this beautiful underlying spirituality. It is this beautiful story of how this ex-convict was given a second chance, which led him to redemption. Jean Valjean after being encountered with the bishop, he began to have this strong spirit and helped those in need. He saved Fantine from being arrested and agreed to raise her daughter, he rescued Marius, and he turned himself in when an innocent man was accused of being him and so on. The story overall made up for those incredibly long tangents. It has many more characters I love than in Hunchback of Notre Dame. I loved how selflessly Fantine was towards her daughter, which is why she had to do what she had to do after being fired and she trusted Valjean enough to raise Cosette. The passion the students have for France, especially in the case of Enjolras, is wonderful and I just love how they take in Gavroche, who is Eponine’s little brother.

Eponine, the Thenardiers’ daughter, is not fully like her parents and showed true love towards Marius and her love for him made her become a better person and even though she led him to the barricades to die with him, she still saved his life and she got to die happy because Marius was there. I love what Cosette represents in the overall story and that is hope. She had hope when she was a child that she would be rescued from her life of abuse and later her love for Marius brings hope to the story. As far as Marius goes, he is so complex and is capable of so much compassion. Les Misérables represents all aspects of society and the story is so human.

What do you think? Have you read both or one of these books? Of the two, which one do you like more and why?