Silas Marner by George Eliot

Silas Marner is a book by George Eliot about an outcast who finds redemption in a child. The story is simple yet beautiful, showing the depth of human kindness.

Silas, the protagonist, grows up in a small, church-centered town. He is a respected, virtuous citizen. However, one day, he is framed by a close friend for embezzlement and is cast out of the town. His trust in humanity bruised, he settles on the outskirts of Raveloe, a rural but prosperous village.

Years pass, and the quiet, reclusive weaver makes no effort to assimilate with the villagers. Hoarding gold, he saves up a good amount of money. Suddenly, tragedy strikes. A mysterious thief steals all of Silas’ accumulated earnings. Silas, distraught, mourns the loss of his fortune.

One day, a lost child wanders into Silas’ lonely cottage. He takes the child in and raises her as his own. Through her presence, Silas reconnects with humanity and becomes an upstanding member of society once again.

All in all, this book is a nice, quick read with a simple but entrancing plot. Hope you enjoy it!

-Joshua M, 7th grade

Silas Marner by George Eliot is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

 

The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Aside from the horror classics of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “The Call of Cthulhu” among one of Lovecraft’s most famous and known stories is “The Dunwich Horror”. The story is often criticized by scholars for being somewhat “formulaic” and for being the exception in Lovecraft’s ideas of an indifferent cosmos and humans being infinitely insignificant in the eyes of the universe.

Rather, the story is a classic battle between good and evil and is one of the few stories in which a hero is seen defeating the villain, although the triumph is ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Without spoiling too much, since I heavily encourage people, especially horror fans, to read the story, the tale is of the terror that is Wilbur Whateley and his family.

Born to the deformed albino Lavinia Whateley, they lived in Dunwich. Mainly isolating themselves from the rest of the world, Wilbur was obviously something else. Reaching maturity by the age of ten and being an eight foot, misshapen being who caused dogs around him to go into frenzies, Wilbur was being groomed by his grandfather, Old Whateley, in what many townsfolk presumed to be dark magic.

Progressively, their house increases in size as Old Whateley and Wilbur add more floors and enlarge it, to accommodate for… something. They shy away from people but routinely go to the top of Sentinel Hill to chant in odd hours before hiding away. It all goes downhill when Old Whateley dies, and Lavinia mysteriously disappears.

Overall, while the story is very in line with further rounding the Cthulhu Mythos as a whole, it is quite different from Lovecraft’s typical stories. This is more focused on humans and despite how little the great cosmos thinks of them, they were able to vanquish the horrible monstrosity, although the true threat still lurks in the dark periphery that humans are not allowed to glimpse into.

It feels real, Dunwich feels real, the terror of what characters go through feels real. It is the unspeakable terror that desecrates a small town. It lurks in the night but is preceding something far, far worse.

Nevertheless, humans prevented what would have been a global disaster, even if it may inevitably be temporary. While the story may not necessarily be about this triumph, but rather that we will never truly know the extent and power to which beings beyond us possess, and how many people are willing to give their devotion and whole life to it.

This is one of Lovecraft’s more accessible stories if you will. It is weird, yet grounded in his unconventional reality, and is an interesting mix of science fiction and horror. He gives vivid descriptions of the area and surroundings, immersing you into it, allowing you to visualize what types of horrors will befall this tiny outskirt village.

It is not like his typical stories, it has appeal for larger audiences, is weirder and almost surreal than his bone-chilling horror and is among his more popular works. He makes many exceptions to his rules and theories on this universe and mythos he has created, and although “The Dunwich Horror” bends that, it is done so to a great effect. A wonderful tale is created in the process, and his pantheon of horrors is expanded.

-Farrah M.

Th Dunwich Horror and other tales from H.P. Lovecraft are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel actually exceeded my expectations. I went into the movie thinking that it would be extremely hyper-feminized in a way where it would actually take away from the movie especially, because of all the controversy surrounded the main actor Brie Larson. However, this movie did represent feminism in a way that was not annoyed and seemingly forced unlike many other movies that have been coming out recently. Which was nice. It showed the empowerment of women but did not push the idea so much that it took away from the movie.

The movie was by no means amazing or anything revolutionary or new. But, it was a pretty good average superhero origin story. It had some good actions scenes mixed in with an okay story line. Though nothing was truly that originally or different from any other super hero movie that has come out. There was a pretty cool plot twist which, I am not going to ruin which did make it a little bit more interesting. But, many of the main concepts where just like any other movie, the main character gets in a battle, looses, so then she goes back and finds her roots and all of a sudden she is a lot stronger. It is nothing new.

Overall though, the movie was entertaining and it was nice to see a woman taking a lead role in a superhero movie and showing the empowerment of woman and what they can do. It was cool to see that women where being represented in action movies and not just romance movies. The actions scenes where also very well done and the music chosen for the movie was amazing.

This movie is a great one to see to just pass some time and have some fun with friends or family. It is enjoyable to watch and is relatively engaging. I would suggest this movie to anyone who just wants have to have a movie night with others.

-Ava G.

Places to Visit in San Diego during Spring Break

Recently, my school got out for spring break so my family and I decided to take a trip down to San Diego. For some reason, I thought it took at least four hours to get from Mission Viejo to San Diego but it only took 1 hour and 20 minutes (and that was with pretty bad traffic!)

Before we left, I looked up some places to visit that my family would enjoy and I was satisfied with what I found. Some fun places to visit are: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley, Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego, Old Town San Diego, USS Midway Museum, La Jolla Beach, and more!

For the San Diego Zoo, adult tickets (ages 12+) are $56 and child tickets are $46 for 1 day-passes. Prices for the San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley are $42 for adults (12+) and $25 for kids ages (4-12). Tickets for children under 4 years old are free!.

For Balboa Park, the One-Day Explorer Pass allows you to visit up to 5 of any museum in the park. For adults (ages 13+), the cost is $46 and for children (ages 3-12), the cost is $27. Just visiting for the day? Choose the One-Day Explorer Pass, which allows you to go to as many as five of the park’s participating museums. The cost is $46 for adults (ages 13+) and $27 for children (ages 3-12). 

Most of the tourist spots in San Diego do not require admission to get it like Downtown and Old Town San Diego, but some locations do.

Overall, I loved visiting the wonderful city of San Diego and I cannot wait to go back! I hope that this article was helpful to those who would like to visit San Diego one day!

-Phoebe L.

Recalled to Life

A Tale of Two Cities is a historical novel written by Charles Dickens. The story happened in England and France since 1775 which occurs during a period of social unrest and turbulence.

The forces that lead to the French revolution, clash with a group of people in England and lead to their fates irreversibly intertwined. The novel focuses on the resurrection through the setting of the French revolution. Thereinto, “Recalled to life” , the most significant part in each book, presents a prominent tale of resurrection. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens examines the theme of resurrection through the character of Dr. Alexandre Manette and the event of rescuing Charles Darnay.

Dickens elaborates resurrection with the character of Dr. Manette, who stayed in Bastille and suffered the mental pressure for 18 years. In Chapter 2 Book 1 of A Tale of Two Cities, Mr. Lorry gives a message to Jerry which Jerry will transfer to his bank. “Jarvis Lorry states, Jerry, say that my answer was, ‘RECALLED TO LIFE’”(Dickens 14). Jerry Cruncher, the messenger, gets confused about this blazing strange answer. Jarvis Lorry’s answer reveals a surprising piece of information regarding Dr. Manette. In fact, Dr. Manette reappears in public which nobody knows whether he lived or died in the past because of such a long time. His eighteen-year imprisonment has constituted a sorts of death which makes “Recalled to life” indicates that Mr. Lorry brings him back to life from the “death”.

-Xiaoyu Z.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

The year is 2044.  The Earth is in ruins and people are starving, all because of the energy crisis and human neglect.  Humanity’s escape from all that is the incredible virtual reality game called OASIS. It was created by the genius video game creator James Halliday who, when he died, set up a contest to find the Easter egg he’s hidden in the grand OASIS. Whoever finds it will get Halliday’s inheritance, which is an enormous sum of money.

This story follows Wade, an introverted, awkward boy who has grown up with the OASIS. His parents died while he was young, so he’s forced to live with his cruel aunt in a precarious tower of trailers.  He spends his days finishing up his last year of high school and mostly researching every 80s TV show, comic, movie, and book for clues on how to find Halliday’s egg.

When Wade begins to progress in the hunt for the egg and find the first key, he receives a lot of attention and soon becomes targeted by the IOI, another game company who wants to win the contest so they can steal the OASIS and change it. Wade must find the egg before someone else or the IOI can to save himself and possibly the world.

I really enjoyed this book!  It’s so interesting because of its futuristic, sci-fi genre and many, many references to games, books, TV shows, and movies. This is a unique, fascinating book that will have you turning its pages rapidly till the end!

-Kaitlyn S.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Authors We Love: H.P. Lovecraft

Although many people do not know Howard Philips Lovecraft, what many people do know is his works. His stories precede him and are a staple in pop culture.

Born on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft was born the only child to Winfield Scott Lovecraft and Sarah Susie Philips Lovecraft. Throughout his childhood Lovecraft was shown to be remarkable and intelligent, being able to read and write at the age of 3.

Lovecraft did not begin to write actual stories until the early 1900s, with his first short story “The Alchemist” being published in 1916. Soon after, “The Tomb” and “Dagon” were published. “Dagon” is considered to be the first of Lovecraft’s works that would eventually be grouped in a collection called The Cthulhu Mythos, coined by a close friend, August Derleth.

This mythos, meant to encompass Lovecraft’s stories which focused on the terrifying unknown and the capricious nature of the universe, includes a pantheon of terrible god-like beings called The Great Old Ones. This is partially inspired by the Greek pantheon, albeit a twisted, nightmarish vision of gods that watch over the universe and earth.

Stories such as “The Call of Cthulhu”, “At The Mountains of Madness”, “The Dunwich Horror”, and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” are the most popular of Lovecraft’s. He is also considered the pioneer of cosmic horror, a subgenre which emphasizes the insignificance of human’s actions because in the grand scheme of the universe we are nothing but playthings to horrors that lurk just beyond our solar system.

Other items from Lovecraft’s stories, such as the fictional city of Arkham, the nefarious Necronomicon, and even the great Cthulhu himself have been referenced in pop culture despite many people not knowing the true origins from which these staples come from.

Lovecraft’s stories as a whole are extremely well written and do a good job of sucking the reader in and keeping hold of them until they finish the story. Although the dialogue occasionally comes off as somewhat stilted and unnatural they are nonetheless excellent, terrifying stories. They are unsettling and they leave the reader with a looming sense of dread unlike any other.

The idea of an uncaring universe, with beings that we cannot even begin to comprehend existing just outside of our peripheral vision, brings out that instinctual, deep fear of the unknown, and the fear of being all alone.

The works of H. P. Lovecraft are available at the Mission Viejo Library.