Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Short Story #202: A Resumed Identity by Ambrose Bierce

Title: A Resumed Identity

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceA man stands overlooking a field in the early morning trying to see everything there is despite the poor light.  Soon, he sees a large battalion of soldiers making their way down the road but for some strange reason, he cannot hear them at all.  He attributes this to some strange element of the winds and proceeds to run off and warn his battalion.  As he moves away, he looks back and sees nothing but continues to seek out his battalion.  Along the road, he encounters a doctor whom through conversation realizes that the man is quite confused since the war had ended years ago.  The man is confused by this and flees.  He eventually finds his way through the woods and finds a marking that identifies the sight of the battle and the buried bodies of his comrades.  It has been raining and near one of the graves, the puddle is filled enough that he can see his reflection.  He crawls into the grave and dies again.

Reflection

Like Chickamauga, this has a chilling effect overall--more so than many of the horror stories in this collection.  The two most haunting parts are the beginning as the day begins and the silence is so prominent and at the end when the soldier climbs into the grave.    

Short Story #202 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/21/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Top 101 Films Part 4 (of 10)

I skipped posting last week because i was busy, but I am back herein with the next selections in my top 101 films.  Here's the running list of previous entries:

Fat Girl (2001)

DVD Cover - Fat Girl
There's something I about French films that I love.  They often has some surreal element to them or have some element that runs over the viewer like a ton bricks.  Fat Girl is no different in this regard.  It's a film about the female body, the uses, presentation of, and understanding of it along with how one navigates through a world when one's female body is not the socially-acceptable norm.  The film follows two sisters and how their different bodies (one considered attractive and the other not) leads to different outcomes in their experiences with their parents, with society, and with each other.  However, be warned that this is a hard movie to watch particularly the end of it.  One cannot watch it without feeling uncomfortable, which is probably why I appreciate the film.  Like others on this list, they offer an opportunity to confront something many of us would not be able to understand or experience otherwise.  You can view the trailer for this film on Youtube.


Fight Club (1999)

DVD Cover - Fight Club
A major reason I like this film is that it is a modern day Jekyll and Hyde tale that must go by another name in order to have the same effect.  I also find it to be an adaptation that captures and in some ways, improves upon the text because of the ways it can misdirect the viewer and challenge their conceptions of storytelling.  The social critique embedded in the novel in terms of masculinity, capitalism, and identity is fascinating and resonant and compares interestingly to the film American Beauty, a contemporary to the film that grapples with the same themes and challenges.  You can view the trailer for this film on Youtube.




Final Fantasy: Advent Children (2005)

DVD Cover - Final Fantasy Advents Children
Final Fantasy VII was and remains a great game that I enjoyed and have returned to replay over the years.  It's a video role-playing game at its finest with what were at the time great special effects and fascinating (though overly complicated) plot that pulled me in for countless hours of play.  The movie is a great adjunct to that tale as it provides closure and further exposure into the fantastic world of the game.  The animation coupled with the intense soundtrack brought me back into the game play of my mind and restored the rich essence of the game's world.  All that being said, I would note that this is a personal favorite and probably not as nearly exciting and interesting to others who have not played any of the Final Fantasy games.  The film can be enjoyed on its own but is less likely to be as engaging.  You can view the the film for free on Youtube.



Frankenstein (1910)


Many might argue whether this is even a film.  After all, it is barely 10 minutes.  But I'm a big fan of adaptations and seeing how authors' works are turned into director's visions.  I'm particularly fascinated with an early attempt to adapt Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as it is such a classic text for me and my studies.  The 1910 adaptation clearly cannot come even close to fully adapting the text but it does some rather interesting things around story-telling and early cinematography.  In terms of content, the final scene where Victor confronts the monster that he has created provides a much more complex consideration than what we see in the Karloff version mentioned below.   You can view the film for free on Archive.org.



Frankenstein (1931)

DVD Cover - Frankenstein 1931As an adaptation, the film gets so much wrong, it's hard to view it as a serious adaptation of Shelley's work.  However, it does provide the canonical point of reference for all visual renderings of Frankenstein since its inception.  As early as the 1940s, even comic adaptations took their lead from Karloff.  So while I knock it for its failure to live up to the novel, it has merit for its longevity and influence upon the Frankenstein mythology.  Additionally, there are some fascinating elements to this film when you slow it down and try to take it in the detail.  When you have an opportunity, it's best to listen to a good commentary on this film (David Skal does one that highlights all sorts of fascinating elements).  I also give the nod to Frankenstein as it was one of the films that set off the monster-horror explosion of the last 80 years, of which I am grateful.  You can view the film for free on Vimeo (with Spanish subtitles).


Freaks (1932)

DVD Cover - Freaks
Todd Browning's infamous film that followed on the heels of Dracula is a complicated film that both problematically and positively presents people of various physical ailments and ultimately proved too exploitative for many people's tastes.  The film follows a carnival of "freaks" and how they are undermined by normal human people.  It's a challenging film to watch at time and while the plot is not particularly spectacular, it does not need to be since so much of the focus is on showing bodies than engaging minds.  Again, the film does provide some positive presence to the "freaks", one never feels quite settled in with all of it.  You can view the film for free on Archive.org.



The Fly (1986)

DVD Cover - The Fly
I've seen the original and I've even read the short story that it is based upon but neither of them really do as well with a variety of questions and thoughts about the limits of science than this version.  Jeff Goldblum is fantastic as the eccentric scientist and Geena Davis has great chemistry with him.  Though I found certain elements disappointing (e.g. Davis's character needing saving by the misogynistic male), the film as a whole both deviates and holds to the original short story wherein the lover is compelled to kill the man who went too far.  The film is also fascinating in terms of studying and thinking about bodies, what we do with them and how we are both a part of and apart from our bodies (or at least think so at times).  There's much in this film that connects to District 9 which is also on the list.  You can view the trailer for this film on Youtube.


Grease (1978)

It's one of the few musicals within this best list.  I am a fan of musicals though I lean more towards the rock and roll and high-energy musicals such as Rent, Moulin Rouge, and Across the Universe than some of the more traditional ones.  Beyond its nostalgic grasp at the 1950s from the later 1970s  (reminding me of The Outsiders in many capacities), it mixture of music, standard high school love story, and other amusing side plots (Beauty school dropout!), it regularly amuses and delights the viewer.  It captures a variety of essential cultural elements from drive-in theaters to drag races to US masculinity to teenage sexuality.  You can view the trailer for this film on Youtube.


Haiku Tunnel (2001)

DVD Cover - Haiku Tunnel
I'm a big fan of Office Space but I still don't think it holds a candle to Josh Kornbluth's masterful comedy about life in law office as a temp.  Kornbluth's comedy comes in the form of capturing the strange idiosyncrasies of lawyers, naming conventions, and the routine of office life and human interaction which contrasts with his complete inability to navigate.  Coupled with this, Kornbluth is more your average American than anyone in Office Space.  He's physically represent the American average which adds much more the viewing experience.  Finally, his mimicry and energetic eruptions during asides to the viewing audience are often hysterical and spot on.  You can view the trailer for this film on Youtube.




Your turn!  What are some of your favorite films and why?  Post them in the comments!



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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Short Story #201: A Lady from Red Horse by Ambrose Bierce

Title: A Lady from Red Horse

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceThe story is a series of correspondence from Mary Jane to her friend Irene.  She explains that she has found a man that is amazingly beautiful and compelling where she is currently staying and she finds herself almost incapable of pursuing him.  Meanwhile, a childhood friend, Raynor, has appeared and is causing trouble.  Mary Anne explains that Raynor and she were part of a trio as kids and that the third had died a while aback.  Additionally, since she had come into fortune, it was often a strain (but one she tried to overcome) to continue their friendship.  As the beautiful stranger continues to court her, she doesn't know what to make of it until finally, the lover reveals that he is the childhood friend and in fact, he had not died but was just wounded.  

Reflection

 It's a bit of stretch to put this into the horror tales as it feels more like a romance than it does horror.  It's only the chance that the childhood friend had been reported as dead that adds any supernatural element ot the tale.  

Short Story #201 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/21/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Short Story #200: The Suitable Surroundings by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Suitable Surroundings

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceA boy lost in the woods at night stumbles upon the old abandoned Breede house where he sees a light emanating from the a window.  He slowly approaches the window and looks in to see a man staring at the window with a candle in front of him on a table.  The boy believes the man might be dead and starts to move, but the supposed deadman reels back in fear and blows out the candle.  The boy runs home.  The story moves to earlier in the day when a writer named Colston rebuffs an acquaintance named Marsh for reading Colston's story in the wrong conditions.  Colston insists that if Marsh is to read his ghost story, he should read it in the right atmosphere, not on a trolley car in the morning as Marsh had been doing.  Colston is clearly offended and accuses Marsh of not being brave enough to read it in the right setting.  Marsh takes him up on this challenge and Colston hands him another story he has on him to read in Breede's house at midnight.  The narrative jumps to the following day wherein the boy is bringing several men to the Breede house to reveal the body that he has found.  The men don't believe him but when they get there, they find a body and it is Marsh.  Upon his body is the supposed story by Colston.  However, it is not a story but a suicide note that Colston wrote after having felt guilty about not speaking up with Breede (the old owner of the house) had committed suicide several years ago.  An addendum piece reports that Colston was apprehended while trying to commit suicide and had been admitted into an insane asylum.

Reflection

I liked this story much more than some of the other Bierce I had been reading.  It had a good amount of moving parts and elements to the story and kept the reader guessing through the entire story.  It was interesting to see Bierce's belief about the nature of relationship between author and reader too:  

"The right to the reader's undivided attention. To deny him this is immoral. To make him share your attention with the rattle of a street car, the moving panorama of the crowds on the sidewalks, and the buildings beyond--with any of the thousands of distractions which make our customary environment--is to treat him with gross injustice. By God, it is infamous!"

Short Story #200 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/19/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Short Story #199: An Adventure in Brownville by Ambrose Bierce

Title: An Adventure in Brownville

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceThe story begins with the narrator explaining how he resides in Brownville, which is a vacation spot but one of the last resort.  He teaches at the school there but regularly encounters visitors.  While walking a path in the woods one day, he hears a man and woman talking and the woman saying that she believes the man will kill her.  Silence ensues and the narrator looks to locate the people he has been listening to but it is night now.  Finally, he sees their bodies in the dark and goes to the woman's rescue and they disappear.  The next day, he discovers there are a pair of sisters that staying at the hotel, the older one who sounds exactly like the woman he had heard.  They are chaperoned by a man who also sounds like the man the narrator heard.  Almost a month passes and the older sister is found dead in her room with her sister.  The report is heart trouble but the sister initially accuses the chaperon.  At this point, the narrator begins to keep an eye on the younger sister and the man and eventually, gets her alone after hearing her tell the chaperon that he is going to kill her just like he did to her sister.  The narrator tries to convince the young woman to say something to the police but she refuses and tells the narrator that she will lie if he tries to tell them.  She then becomes friendly with him and a bit flirtatious.  They meet the following day and they find themselves wandering until atop a cliff.  The chaperon appears at this point and begins talking with them.  The young woman gets an odd look in her eyes and flings herself off the cliffs.  When they get to the body, the chaperon tells the narrator to wait with the body while he gets help and that he was relieved there was a witness to the insane woman's death.

Reflection

The story has an intriguing and curious drive to it but the end of the story doesn't quite give a clear sense of meaning.  However, I think the failure is mine in part as a major piece of the story has the chaperon regularly singing and whistling music from Rigolletto, an opera that upon reading a summary of, has some similar qualities to.

Short Story #199 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/19/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Short Story #198: A Baffled Ambuscade by Ambrose Bierce

Title: A Baffled Ambuscade

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceIn an area where Confederate and Federal troops have camps fairly close to each other, there are regular encounters and small battles between the two.  On one night, a squadron of Federal troops was making its way down a dark road.  When they come to the three sentries they sent ahead to only find out that there's two of them, the major inquires about the missing cavalry.  The two explain that the third went riding forward into the darkness.  The consensus is that he ran forward because he was scared.  The squadron continues to move forward but as the road gets darker, the major stops the squadron and goes on ahead.  Further down the road, he sees a dark figure and it's only moonlight that reveals it is the missing cavalryman.  The cavalry's horse is dead and he is standing still over it.  He signals to the major to return.  The major listens and waits for the cavalryman to return.  As morning breaks, the squadron moves forward and finds the cavalryman dead by a  bullet on top of his horse.  When they examine the area behind him, they find that there was Confederate soldiers had been there laying wait until recently.  

Reflection

So as you can see, I'm shifting into some of Bierce's war stories.  His overall war works are anti-war but there are pieces like this that are something else altogether.  I'm not sure if I fully get the experience of the tale.  Is it suggesting that the cavalryman was brave because he went ahead and not a coward as expressed or that there is a bit of bravery and cowardice in all soldiers?  

Short Story #198 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/18/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Short Story #197: A Diagnosis of Death by Ambrose Bierce

Title: A Diagnosis of Death

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceHawver proceeds to tell his doctor friend, Frayley about an experience in which he believes helps to argue that there is something more to the supernatural than the scientific world tends to believe.  He explains that he took board in a room that used to be inhabited by a doctor.  On a side note, he explains that the doctor could predict the death of a patient when it was within eighteen months.  However, Hawver comes back to the story to explain while in the home one day, the doctor appeared out of nowhere, gestured at him and proceeded through the home and disappeared.  Hawver tries to argue to Frayley that this is proof of the ways in which people leave impressions because Hawver believes the doctor is still alive.  However, Frayley replies that he knew the doctor and he had died well before the incident of which Hawver speaks.  He also explains that the gesture used was the gesture the doctor used when foretelling someone's death.  The following morning, Hawver is found dead.  

Reflection

Another typical tale of the supernatural for Bierce, although the piece that the doctor was already dead was a nice curve ball in that Hawver presents the doctor as being alive.  Hawver's death at the end while required is done too quickly to fully reflect upon.  

Short Story #197 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 717/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Most Recent Reads - June, 2014

Overall, June was a great month for reading though I didn't complete any physical books.  I read 32 books in total and that's not that bad, bringing my year's total up to 146 for 2014.  I'll take it!  I was pretty busy with lots of projects and working through several different anthologies, so that's to be expected.  But I still found some great reads this month that I'm talking about here.


It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd


Image book cover: It's Complicated The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd from http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/download-a-free-copy-of-danah-boyds-book-its-complicated-the-social-lives-of-networked-teens.html
Last month, I talked about iRules as an essential text for any parent or anyone who works with youth and looks to mentor them with social media.  Well, Boyd's book is a counterpart iRules.  Where iRules provides a first-hand account that explores how a parent can navigate challenging conversations with youth, Boyd's text provides a much wider and research-oriented context from teens' points of view about what they are doing and why.   Boyd does well in swimming through the misinformation, the fear-speak, and the generational differences to help understand what is really going on.  It's a solid read for anyone who wants to better understand that our youth are not lost and destined fro disaster.  By the way, you can find this book for free (legally!) at this website!


A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

Image book cover: A More Beautiful Question-The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger from http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/3DCover2AMoreBeautifulQuestionShadow.png
It's not about knowing the answers, it's about being able to ask questions.  That's the message of Berger's text and he provides a great range of ideas about how to get to asking great questions.  I appreciate this book a lot, especially since I have as a tag line on my emails, "I wish I had all the answers; better yet, I wish I knew all the questions to ask."  This book helped with thinking about questions to ask but also about ways of encouraging questions in teaching and learning that could produce solid outcomes for students.  It's a versatile book that provides a lot of different ways to think about asking questions for learning, for working, and for living.



Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Becky Pettit 

Image book cover: Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Becky Pettit from https://www.russellsage.org/publications/invisible-men
The book is a fascinating look at the element of incarceration among African Americans (particularly male) and how because of demographics gathering such as the census and polling work, has left a wide gap about the nature of racial progress over the last 60 years.  The result is a stark difference in perception between what is reported to have occured in terms of racial progress and how things really are.  Pettit traces connects these changes to the rise of the prison industrial complex and its explosion since the 1970s and 1980s.  The disproportionate amount of African Americans in prison has left them unaccounted in a variety of other data for different reasons and thus, hide the actual disparities.  The result is political action and choices that do not necessarily make up for the continued problems created through historically institutional racism.    

For other best picks over the last year, check out previous monthly reviews:


AUDIOBOOKS
  • Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet by Julian Assange et al
  • A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
  • Foucault: A Very Short Introduction by Gary Gutting
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson
  • It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
  • The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
  • Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo 
  • Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Pettit Becky
  • Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian
  • Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield
  • The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World by Trevor Cox


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Star Wars:  Twilight by John Ostrander
  • Star Wars:  Outlander by John Ostrander
  • The Victories Volume 2: Transhuman by Michael Avon Oeming, 
  • Star Wars: Emissaries to Malastare by Timothy Truman
  • Last Stand on Jabiim (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #3) by Haden Blackman
  • Victories and Sacrifices (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #2) by Haden Blackman
  • Marvel Knights: X-Men: Haunted by Brahm Revel
  • Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Osamu Tezuka: The Mysterious Underground Men by Osamu Tezuka
  • Star Wars: Dark Times, Vol. 7: A Spark Remains by Randy Stradley
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin by Tim Siedell
  • Invincible Volume 19: The War at Home by Robert Kirkman
  • Batman, Vol. 4: Zero Year - Secret City by Scott Snyder
  • Aquaman, Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
  • X-Men, Vol. 2: Muertas by Brian Wood
  • Justice League, Vol. 4: The Grid by Geoff Johns
  • Star Wars: Legacy II, Vol. 1: Prisoner of the Floating World by Corinna Sara Bechko
  • Swamp Thing, Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Green Kingdom by Scott Snyder
  • Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis Wiebe
  • Star Wars, Volume 2: From the Ruins of Alderaan by Brian Wood
  • Garth Ennis' Red Team Volume 1 by Garth Ennis
  • Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth Vol. 1 by Ken Kristensen
  • Berserk, Vol. 01 by Kentaro 


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Short Story #196: The Man Out of the Nose by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Man Out of the Nose

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceThe story introduces a nameless man who leaves his home (which looks like a face with the door as a nose--hence the title), walks a bit, checks the time, and proceeds to walk a bit more.  When he reaches a certain spot, he stares continuously at a window in the building until the building is out of sight.  He returns home where a woman is waiting for him.  All of this happens repeatedly day after day.  The story then goes on to tell the story of the Hardshaws, a wealthy couple who at times entertained another family, the Barwells.  Mr. Bradshaw grows quite fond of Mrs. Barwell and the two have an affair.  While sneaking off the grounds of the Barwell's one day, Hardshaw was apprehended by the police and believed to be a thief, especially when a picture of Mrs. Barwell is found upon him.  Trying to hide his shame, he avoids telling who he is.  Eventually, his wife does discover and visits him in the jail.  Still wishing to avoid scandal, he goes to trial with his court-appointed lawyer and must serve three years.  Upon leaving prison, his wife is still faithful and the two move away for some time.  They return to the area with much less wealth than when they left.  One day while out for a walk, Hardshaw sees Mrs. Barwell in a window and is stopped in his tracks having not seen her for so long.  She too is startled by seeing him and in her excitement falls out of the window to her death.  Hardshaw spends some time in an insane asylum and when returned to his ever-faithful wife, sets to the pattern explained at the beginning.  

Reflection

I found this to be a more interesting and complex tale than many of the previous ones.  I take some issue with the unfaithful female having to die but not Hardshaw, but there is something to be said of the living hell in which he exists.  

Short Story #196 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/16/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Short Story #195: Beyond the Wall by Ambrose Bierce

Title: Beyond the Wall

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceA man visits his strange friend when visiting in San Francisco.  They have dinner up in the tower within the house.  As they are eating, there is a knocking on the wall that disturbs the narrator.  The friend tells him to explore it and showing him that there is indeed only the outside behind the wall from which he had heard the hearing.  The friend explains that he has heard this knocking before and that he was happy the narrator also witnessed it.  He then goes into a tale about his earlier days.  He was exiting his apartment when we found a young beautiful woman.  He soon falls for this woman and finds reasons to visit her.  He also soon discovers that they share an adjacent wall.  However, he never entirely moves forward with pursuing the young woman because they are not of equal class.  However, he begins to knock on the wall and she reciprocates.  This continues for a time but then she stops knocking for some time.  He grows disappointed and event resentful for when he does hear a knocking some time later, he chooses to ignore it.  The next morning, he discovers that the woman had been bedridden with illness and in her last night on earth demanded to have her bed moved to the other side so she could knock on the wall.  The man finishes the story and the narrator wishes him good night, though he (the man) dies by the morning.  

Reflection

There is something great about the title in the context of this story--so many things are "beyond the wall."  The romantic note of this story is interesting because you don't see as much with the other stories in this collection of stories.  You see a lot of comeuppance, which this story is to some degree, but also some elements of love and what's beyond the wall.  

Short Story #195 out of 365
Rating: 2  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/12/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.