Reading Notes A: How Manx Cats Lost Their Tails

This is the story providing a reason for why Manx cats don't have tails. According to this story, during the time of Noah's Ark, the Manx cat was out hunting. She dilly-dallied too long and was late to make it on to the ark. She ran back just in time and barely made it, and the ark's door shut closed on her tail. She nearly drowned and lost her tail but she survived. That is why cats hate water and the Manx do not have tails.


Reading Notes:La Fontaine, Part A

Foolish Animals, By Jean de La Fontaine.  Translated by W.T. Larned.  I am glad I noticed this author on the list of European works. I am a French major, so I am familiar with some of Fontaine's original work. I googled the original version of this fable, to refresh my memory. Having read the original helps me better appreciate this translation. Larned did a good job of preserving the story content and creating new rhymes in English. I think he is inspiring.  The original poem in French is so much fun to read out loud, and Larned kept that aspect of it. The English version is fun too.  I enjoyed all of the poems but decided to focus on the first one, The Hare and the Tortoise. In the poem the hare challenges the tortoise to a race knowing he will win, however, he plays around too much and the tortoise ends up beating him. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race. 

Lab, Week 14

Advice to Writers: Interviews
For this lab, I chose to read three interviews with different writers off of the advice to writers website. I love getting advice from other writers. I find it very encouraging. 
The first interview I read was of Mitchel Zuckoff a professor of journalism and author of two books. My favorite piece of advice from him was "Write Scared. That is, push yourself beyond what you think is possible or safe, to the outer limits of your research and your ability, to the point where it feels exciting and a little scary. When it works, it’s exhilarating for you and for the reader. "

Next I read the interview of Lori Gottlieb, a journalist for The Atlantic. She is also a pyschotherapist. My favorite part of this interview is when she talks about writer's block. "I was like the gambler who kisses her spouse goodbye in the morning and then goes to the casino instead of the office. My casino was Facebook. Eventually, I mustered the courage to tell my edito…

Reading Notes: Brothers Grimm (Hunt) Part B

Bearskin, by The Grimm Brothers This classic European story is about a poor soldier who has nothing in life after the war ends who must obey the commands of the devil in order to receive money. The devil tells the soldier he cannot bathe himself for seven years and must always wear the devil's coat but in return, he will always have gold and if he survives the seven years he will be forever rich and free to do as he pleases. He becomes so ugly from never washing that people think he is a monster but he is able to bribe people with gold for a place to sleep and eat. Once, he helps a poor family and in return is promised his choice of the daughters as a wife. Two out of three refuse to marry him because of his looks but the third doesn't mind because she knows he is a good person. He leaves and returns to her after the seven years have passed and they live happily ever after. The moral of the story is don't judge a person by their looks (but can you really blame them?)

Reading Notes: Brothers Grimm (Hunt), Part A

Hansel and Grethel, By Brothers Grimm This classic story is one that probably everyone in this class has heard of before. It's about two children trying to survive and make their way home after being abandoned in the woods. They come across a witch who captures them and tries to cook and eat them, but they trick her and escape after trapping her in her own oven.  There are quite a few popular tv tropes that come from Hansel and Grethel. One of these is the trail of breadcrumbs trope where the characters leave objects behind them as they go on a journey in order to be able to find their way back home in the end. In Hansel and Grethel they leave behind breadcrumbs but this trope can manifest itself in other ways as well.  Some other tropes that appear in/originate from this story are those of the wicked witch, the gingerbread house, and the rule of three.

Week 13 Story: Tom, King O' the Cats

The King o' the Cats: By Joseph Jacobs This is the story of King O' the Cats from his perspective. My name is King Tom. I am the King O' the Cats. I have not always been king, however. Once upon a time, I was known merely as Old Tom. These were back in the days when I lived with a human family. My family's name was Marlow. Nights with the Marlow family were usually quite peaceful, and the night I became king started off like all others. It was a calm evening. Mrs. Marlow and I were dozing by the fire, waiting for Mr. Marlow to come home from work. All of a sudden, Mr. Marlow came running in, appearing nervous and agitated. Naps interrupted, Mrs. Marlow and I sat up.  "Why, what is it, my dear?" The Mrs. asked her husband.  "You'll never believe it, but I must tell you! I cannot keep it to myself! I have had the oddest occurrence and I simply don't know what to think." Mrs. Marlow and I looked at him. "Well, do go on my dear. What happen…

Extra Credit Reading Week 15: Hans Christian Anderson Part B

The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Anderson This classic story varies a lot from its Disney version but remains a great (though admittedly long) bedtime story. The plot is mostly the same as the Disney movie. In this original version, Princess Ariel rescues the prince when his ship wrecks. She becomes obsessed with him and humans. She seeks out a witch to help her become human. The witch tells her it will bring her great pain and suffering, but it is possible.  "Your tail will then disappear and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly, but at every step you take, it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you.” Not only will Ariel have to …