An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Amazon.com: An American Tragedy (Signet Classics) (9780451531551 ...

The novel is divided into three volumes. The story is based on a real criminal case in New York, and the hero Clyde Griffiths is also based on a real person. Clyde grew up in a poor religious family and preached on the streets for a living. Young and frivolous Clyde worked as a waiter in a luxury hotel in Kansas City, because of bad friends, all day long indulges in alcohol. In order to avoid trouble, Clyde went to New York to seek refuge with his uncle and fell in love with Roberta Alden, a poor and virtuous workwoman. Later, Clyde met the beautiful daughter of Sandra Finchley, which was enough to lift him out of poverty and into the world of high society. Before long, Roberta became pregnant and even asked to marry Clyde in secret. Poor women workers or rich women? In desperation, Clyde conceived the idea of murdering Roberta. Unexpectedly the matter does not carry out according to his wish and Roberta dies accidentally.

Clyde was subsequently brought to justice. There was an election in the United States, and the attorney general put pressure on investigators to prove Clyde was the murderer. Clyde was still condemned to the electric chair after his assistant fabricated evidence and his lawyer made a lot of money. God could not save him, and his parents still decried worldly materialism and praised God’s mercy. Is it the American dream or the American tragedy? This novel will give you the answer. The novel deeply shows the live view of the American people in the early 20th century that money is the most important, desire is inflated and the general sense of disillusionment. The novel An American Tragedy not only reveals the serious consequences of the hyperinflation of egoism but also reveals the corrosive and toxic effect of the money-oriented American lifestyle on human crime.

-Coreen C.

Hamilton: An American Musical

Mostly everyone has heard of the musical that has swept theatre geeks off their feet when it first came out in 2015. Yes, I’m talking about Hamilton. If you don’t love it, you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it… you’ve come to the right blog.

Hamilton: An American Musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who has had experience in writing a musical with In The Heights. He co-wrote the songs from Disney’s Moana. But, Lin-Manuel Miranda is most popular for writing Hamilton.

Hamilton is a perfect combination of spunky, fast-moving rap, and slow, sweet, and sad melodies. I’ve listened to the music over and over, until it’s been ingrained into my memory, like the true geek I am. Unfortunately, this means I have physically lost the power to cry over ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’. Now, listening to the soundtrack on YouTube and watching the musical are two very different things. I had the privilege to go see it at Segerstrom Theater. I think when we entered the waiting room to buy tickets online, it was the most stressful 43 minutes of my theatre life. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve had to wait a week to get my part in multiple musicals. When I was watching Hamilton, it was different from listening, partially because it wasn’t the original cast (I wish it was!), and of course they sounded different. But, watching the actors pour their souls into the life of a man who lived centuries ago.

If you were to ask me who my favorite character was, or who stole the show, I wouldn’t say Angelica, Eliza, or even Peggy (although she was amazing). King George was a showstopper. Though he stood in one place for the remainder of his songs, something about him, singing about death, completely calm, just made everyone laugh. In the beginning, he stood calmly, but in the second half of the show, King George, just like in real life, started to go mad. His eyes were wild, and his laugh maniacal. He completely stole the show, in my opinion.

Hamilton: An American Musical, is something me and my theater friends bond over. Before rehearsals, we could be heard singing Farmers Refuted, or Cabinet Battle #1. Hamilton is the perfect mix for anyone, whether you like rap, or slow, sweet songs, it has it all.

-Sophia D.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Image result for the grapes of wrathThis is a story about Tom Joad and his family immigrating to California. Their homeland in Oklahoma is being cultivated by tractors from the bank and the police officers beat them to hell more often than breathing.

In this miserable and harsh trip, their grandparents died, and Tom’s sister’s husband ran away. His brother wasn’t able to move with them so he stopped at a desert in the middle of the trip. The government camp provided hot water and the protection away from the deputies. But other times, people are treated akin to pigs, but without the slosh their owner pour in the mange every day. The people craved for slosh but found none.

To me it’s really inscrutable why people separate from their family, it’s like the fear will devour you into the black hole in the galaxy and the entire world fades away from your fingertips. And the bank in this novel sounds brutal to me, just because they want to expand some business land, the people and tenants living there are forced to leave their beating hearts on the land and left with their inane corpse. Ma is the person that resonated with my emotions and logic because she was like the leaves of the family tree. Sometimes, when autumn comes she turns yellow and shrivels a little, but her greenness brushes the entire forest with freshness and was the food and shelter to a lot of people when spring emerges. Without the oxygen, we won’t survive. The animals and the oxygen is the buttress of the inveterate root to keep stretching. And that’s Ma.

-April L.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library