Author Archive

January 10, 2010

Chapter 8

This chapter is an important chapter for the whole story. In this chapter Jean met Joe Harman. Jean and the other women were dressed like Malay women. Jean was wearing her long, black hair in a plait down her back, and she wore no shoes. The children’s clothes were all torn and their skins were burnt a deep brown by the sun.

Joe Harman and his friend didn’t believe that the women were British.

For me this was a typical incident of clash of cultures! The women identified by their clothes and not by their characters. In general the first impression is the most important impression. If the two Australian men didn’t believe the women they wouldn’t support then with food and medicine.

In the whole story there are many incident for clash of cultures.

On the one side there were the Malay people on the other side the British women. The Malay people couldn’t understand that the British women want to work for her food. They thought that British women are better people who can’t work. The British women showed them that this was not true.

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January 10, 2010

Nevil Shute Norway

He was born on the 17th January 1899 in London and died on 12th January 1969 in Melbourne. Shute was novelist and an aeronautical engineer. He was a well educated person who was interested in different themes like the World War and the various countries with different cultures. Shute’s father, Arthur Hamilton Norway, was the head of the post office in Dublin and his mother worked at home.

Shute was already a rising novelist when the Second World War  broke out.

Jean Paget: Main character

Jean Paget was born in Malaya in 1921. At that time Malaya was ruled by the British and many people from Britain, like Jean’s family, lived and worked in Malaya. Jean’s father was a manager of a rubber estate near Kuala Lumpur. The whole family lived on the rubber estate. Jean had one brother: Donald. He was three years older than Jean. Jean and her brother spoke two languages: English and Malay. When Donald was thirteen, he had to go to school in England. Jean went with him back to England. Both of them stayed with their grandparents near Southampton.

When Jean was thirteen, her father was killed in a car accident. After the education Jean and Donald went back to Malaya. It was their home.

Jean worked as a secretary. She went to parties and had fun. She liked her life.

Then in 1941 the Second World War began.

Jean had to leave the country but there wasn’t enough time anymore. The Japanese arrested her and many other women.

They had to go from village to village during the whole war. In this time, Jean got the leader of the group of women. She fought for food and medicine.

In this time Jean was responsible for the whole group. This fact made Jean to a very strong person who fought for her own interests!

January 10, 2010

During the War

The story tells about a young British woman who grew up in Malaya. After age of 10 years, Jean and her brother Donald went back to England. Both had to go to an English school. After her education Jean went back to Malaya and worked there as a secretary. In 1939 Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began. Jean didn’t change her plan because she thought that Malaya would be a safe place.

In Malaya she lived very well.

But in 1941 Japan entered the war. Jean had to leave Malaya before the Japanese came into the country.

Jean wanted to leave the country, it was too late. The Japanese arrested her and many other men and women. Now they were prisoners!

The men came into work camps, but the soldiers didn’t know what they had to do with the women. The soldiers told them, that there was a camp for women in the next village. The women had to walk to this village. But there wasn’t a camp for the women.

Also the women and Jean walked and walked every day.

During the walk, the women got help and support from other people. They brought them some food. Joe Harman was one of these persons. He brought chickens and pigs. Without these supports, all women had died.

But this kind of help wasn’t allowed and Joe was killed.

During the walk many women and children died, because they were ill or they didn’t have enough food.

During the whole Second World War Jean, the children and the women walked from village to village.

The women walked with a soldier, but he died. He was very ill. After this, the women stopped in a little village and worked there for their food.

After the War

In 1945 the Second World War was over. Jean and the other women, who were still alive, were free.

Jean went back to England and began to work as a secretary.

Her mother and her brother died in the war. Now she was alone. One day Jean got the message from a lawyer that her uncle is dead. He left much money to Jean. She was rich now. With this money Jean wanted to help these people who helped the women during the war. She flew back to Malaya and built a well and a wash house for the last village where the women lived.

In this village Jean founded that Joe Harman wasn’t dead and she searched him in Malaya and Australia. She went to the little village Alice where Joe was born. It was the most beautiful village Jean had ever been seen before. She hoped that Joe lives in a town like Alice. But that wasn’t true. Jean found him at Willstown. Six month later they got married. With help of her money Jean tried to build Willstown to a town like Alice.

Salman Rushdi

January 10, 2010

Salman Rushdi

Salman Rushdi was born and grew up in Bombay. By the age if 14 his father sent him to Great Britain. He studied History at Cambridge University.

His First Novel Grimus was hardly noticed by th public. In 1981 he published his second novel Midnight’s Children, which won the Booker Price. In 1983 followed his third novel Shame.

In 1988 he published The Satanic Verses, which caused great conroversy in the Islamic World because of the description of Muhammad’s life. In 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Kohemeini called out a fatwa, set a bounty on him and called the novel “blasphemous against Islam” . Salman Rushdi had to hide and live with police protection for years.

1990 he published Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which was an parable for his life in exile away from his family.

The Ground Beneath her Feet was published in 1999. In the same year he recieved a hornorarydoctor’s degree from the Free University of Berlin and the University of Liege.

Since spring 2007 he works as “Writer in Residence” at the emory Residence.

In June 2008 Salman Rushdi gained the knighthood by the Queen of England, which caused riots in the Islamic World.

Reading experiences and my conclusion

January 10, 2010

When I read the first pages of the book Angels and Demons of Dan Brown, the first impression I had, was that it is written in the same style as The Da Vinci Code. A woman and Langdon have to save the world from a secret order. Also the beginning with the murder is the same: the father of the woman was murdered and he is also the key to disclose the secret. Of course there are some differences and it isn’t totally written in the same style but nearly.

The short captures make it easier having fun to read  about 700 pages. The effect the short captures had on me was that the suspense grows and grows it has never been boring or godawful – I kept on reading all the time. That was very impressive. But you also have to be careful because sometimes you can get a little confused. I mean if there are many short captures there are many characters, too and so you have to be a little careful not to mix up. Dan Brown gives a very all-embracing picture of the setting and he goes in the very detail. Sometimes it is a bit too long and not really important in that part but all in all this doesn’t matter.

There are some inconsistencies in the book like Glick and Chintia chasing Langdon and Vittoria. Why don’t they notice them? Sometimes it seems like Brown omits something because first you don’t know what is going on and so on. But when you keep on reading it becomes clearer and clearer.

The most exciting part in Angels and Demons is from the kidnapping of Vittoria to the end. There it seems like with every page you turn the suspense rises more. It is incredible!

After the moment the camerlengo got mad the reader notice immediately that something is wrong! He knows the way down to the antimatter that good and the entire  atmosphere Brown describes. I think this part is the one Dan Brown has written best!

The last seconds of the countdown, when the antimatter explodes and everyone thinks that Langdon is dead this is the most evocative and most melancholic moment in the book. Again it is the atmosphere which Brown describes let me feeling  this.

In my opinion it is a masterpiece. I enjoyed reading the book and I think it was very interesting. I would recommend it on all people who like Dan Brown’s book and are interested in a mix of fiction and history like me. But you always have to be careful because not all the facts Dan Brown uses in his books are true and happened like that for sure. Well, it’s just a novel and not a history book! I think there are not many book where there is suspense from the beginning to the end and that in a such high level even that it can rise higher! Also the issues including the book are very interesting. For my entries especially the information about different aspects I had to do a little research but I think it is important and maybe useful to know something about this when I tell you all the time of it.

From my side there isn’t much to say any more because I think in my reading experiences and in my other posts comment enough, so there is just a goodbye and till tomorrow at school! If you have any questions, don’t feel afraid to ask. I know there are hard topics in the book! 🙂

Yours, Eileen

Angels and Demons

January 10, 2010

From the beginning to the end, the angels and demons appear in the text as a key note. Langdon and Vittoria go in the secret archive of the Vatican to search in Galileo’s Diagramma the clue to the first marker of the Path of Illumination. the Path of Illumination consists of the sign (Il segno), the markers and the altars of science. These show the way to the meeting point of the Illuminati – the Chruch of Illumination.  At page 5 they find that poem which is their guide to the first marker.

From Santi’s earthly tomb with demon’s hole (–> is in Chigi-Chapel)

‘cross Rome the mystic elements ( –> earth, air, fire, water) unfold

The path of light ( –> the Path of Illumination) is laid, the sacred test

Let angels guide you on your lofty quest

Angels should guide them – they do.  At every altar of science it is an angel who is the next marker. Even at the Fountain of the Four Rivers it is a dove – the alternate symbol of an angel. The angel guides them to the Illuminati, so it could be that the angel is kind of symbol for the Illuminati – pureness.

When you link the title to the course of the story you can say that in the end the angels guide to the demon. If Langdon and Vittoria haven’t  followed the Path of Illumination, they wouldn’t have found out that the camerlengo is the one who pulls the strings. For Langdon and Vittoria the end of the Path of Illumination is not the Church of Illumination but the Sistine Chapel where all becomes clear what happened and why.

Demon is for the camerlengo science. Science can creat miracle but also demon things like weapons. Vetresca thinks that religion isn’t demon in any way.  But I think the following passage can explain the camerlengo’s opinion better than I ever could.

“But the demons of the past were demons of fire and abomination … they were enemies we could fight  – enemies who inspired fear. Yet Satan is shrewd. As time passed, he cast off his diabolical countenance for a new face … the face of pure reason. Transparent and insidious, but soulless all the same.” … ” Tell me, Mr. Kohler! How can the church condemn that which makes logical sense to our minds! How can we decry that which is now the very foundation of our society! Each time the church raises its voice in warning, you shout back, calling us ignorant. Paranoid. Controlling! And so your evil grows. Shrouded in a veil of self-righteous intellectualism. It spreads like a cancer. Sanctified by the miracles of its own technology. Defying itself! Until we no longer suspect you are anything but pure goodness. Science has come to save us from our sickness, hunger and pain! Behold science – the new God of endless miracles, omnipotent and benevolent! Ignore the weapons and the chaos. Forget the fractured loneliness and endless peril. Science is here ! But I have seen Satan’s face lurking…I have seen the peril …”

But the fact is that Vetra proofed with the demon the existence of god, religion and demon science get closer together. I think that with the stigma of the Illuminati Diamond the conflict ends. The Illuminati and the Church bridged the gap and are unified in demon so the camerlengo embodies demon with all his sins and bitterness.

Conflict: religion vs science

January 10, 2010

In Angel and Demons the conflict between religion and science is the key issue. Dan Brown wants to show in his book that science and religion cannot be tie together but that the wish of being possible is great. Dan Brown portrays that there have been many people who want bridge the gap between science and religion but that it mostly ended up in a greater one than before. I think that Dan Brown wishes too that religion and science would be tie together somehow because he grows up without any conflict of religion and science.

P. 360 ff the church explains why they believe in god although there would be reasons to doubt.  It’s a conversation between the camlerengo and a Swiss Guard boy.

” I don’t understand this omnipotent-benelovment thing.” ….” I understand the concept but there seems to be a contradiction”

“Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man’ s starvation, war, sickness…”

“Exactly! Terrible things happen in this world. Human tradegy seems to proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If he loves us and has the power to change our situation, he would prevent our pain, wouldn’t he?”

“Do you have children Lieutenant?” – “No, signore!”

“Imagine you had an eight-year-old son … would you love him?” – “Of course”

“Would you do everything to prevent pain in his life?” – “Of course”

“Would you let him skateboard?” – “Sure, I’d let him skateboard, but I’d tell him to be careful.”

” So as this child’s father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?”

“I would run behind him and mollycoddle him if that’s what you mean.”

“But what if he fell and skinned his knee?” – “He would learn to be more careful.”

“So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child’s pain you would choose to show your love by letting him learn his own lessons?”

….

But on the other side there is the character Maximilian Kohler  in the book whose life was destroyed by faith. His parents didn’t want the doctors giving him medicine because they thought it is against god’s will. They only prayed that their son will get better soon, but they didn’t see that he struggle for his own life. If a doctor hadn’t give him an injection secretly he would have died. But in the end he got paralysed because his parents refused the doctors to give Kohler medicine. During he was having a temperature he doubted the existence of god and since he has known that he is paralysed he hates god, the church and religion! He loves science and thinks that only science is the real thing and that only science can proof everything which exists on earth. That that all hasn’t created god but science! 

On the way from the helicopter landed in Vatican City to the camerlengo’s office he says:

” What truth do these people possess? What proof, damn it! A book of ancient fables? Promises of miracles to come? Science creates miracles every day! …Tonight I may die at the hands of religion,… . But it will not be the first time”

 

So the conflict between religion and science that one we already know: who proofs what and how the existence of  creatures can be explained. The church explains that god acts like any human but we don’t see him – he is in our heart and science says we can remake everything what you say god has been done. So the matter is that the church can’t proof the existence of god and what he has done, but science can proof everything. This conflict exist not only in the book it exist also in our everyday life.

 

Leonardo Vertra and his daughter Vittoria are the typical persons who don’t say that bridging the gap between religion and science isn’t impossible. They both believe in god and are passionated scientists. Leonardo Vetra explained Vittoria that the fact that you can’t see god isn’t the answer at the question if god exist. He explained this to her by explaining it in “sciencists’ language”.  This is a symbol that the union of religion and science is possible.

“Father, why do you bother to pray? God cannot answer you.”

“My daughter the sceptic. So you don’t believe God speaks to man? Let me put it in your language.” … “As you probably know, Vittoria, human beings normally use a very small percentage of their brain power. However, if you put them in emotionally charged situations – like physical trauma, extreme joy or fear, deep meditation – all of a sudden their neurons start firing like crazy, resulting in massively enhanced mental clarity.”

“So what? Just because you think clearly doesn’t mean you talk to God.”

“Aha! And yet remarkable solutions to seemingly impossible problems often occur in these moments of clarity. It’s what gurus call higher consciousness. Biologists call it altered states. Psychologists call it super-sentience. And Christians call it answered prayer. Sometimes, divine revelation simply means adjusting your  brain to hear what your heart already knows.”

Also the creation of anitmatter is an important part of the try bridging the gap between science and religion. Vetra proofed the big-bang and consequently the existence of the church’s god. Antimatter would have mad it possible to connect science and religion because now it is proofed that the bible is real and the stories too – everything the church telling the people would be proofed and therefore true.

But the camerlengo doesn’t see the progress, so he destroy the plans of the Pope and Vetra. He think it is dangerous and total nonsense! He thinks that science is devil and that only the words of the chruch are true. He thinks that the existence of god mustn’t be proofed because god is a creation and a part of the people’s heart.

So the opposite of religion and science are adhere in the book although everything  it would be possible to live in peace side by side. Dan Brown shows us all possibilities of the confilct and a possible solution, too, but he shows also that it is only a wish bridging the gap and that  there would be never real peace because the gap is too big.  

In general

January 9, 2010

The plot

The plot is in general about the try of the Illuminati to destroy the Catholic church. Actually they don’t want to destroy the church, CERN and the Pope want to converge science and religion. More issues of the book are conspiracy, betrayal, conclave and gained rules of the Vatican.

The plot takes place at only one day and in the present.

There are different settings of the plot: Switzerland (CERN), Italy (Rome) and especially Vatican City.

Narration style

In spite of the 668 pages there is nearly every time suspense, so that you keep on reading automatically. The suspense arises out of the many and also short captures and the parallel  settings.  So you read more and more because you want to know what is happening next at this special setting.

It is the omniscient narrator. The language is not easy but when you keep on reading you will  understand everything. Although there are some facts and history it isn’t boring because of the fiction and action Dan Brown create. But I have to say also that the facts Dan Brown uses and pretends being true are mostly untrue. So you have to be careful what you believe and what you deny.

Main Characters

Robert Langdon

Robert Langdon is a professor of art history/symbology at  Harvard University. He always wears his Micky-Mouse watch which glows by darkness. The watch has a calming effect on him and he has it from  his childhood.

Vittoria Vetra

She is physicist and marine biologist of CERN. She is the adoptive daughter of Leonardo Vetra.

Leonardo Vetra

He is particle physicist of CERN, was a priest and still believe in god. He and his daughter create the antimatter, which should be the energy source of the future.  His life dream was always to bridge religion and science.

Maximilian Kohler

He is the director of CERN and he hates the church because it is why he has been paralysed since childhood. His parents who believed in god, didn’t want that the doctors give him medicine. If  a doctor hadn’t give him an injection secretly he would have died. Regrettably Langdon and Vittoria thought that he is “Janus” and so he died because he wanted to reveal the truth.

Carlo Ventresca (the camerlengo)

He was growing up by his mother Maria. He growed up in a very catholic way and loves his mother. At a bomb attack his mother died and he was the only who survived. Then the future Pope take him and cares about him. He has very conservative viewings on the world and so it comes that he has an argument with the Pope because the Pope has told him that he has a child. This was the catalyst of his illegal way of life. At the end it becomes clear that he is “Janus”.

My opinion

January 9, 2010

I think the book has to sides. One emotional and one objective side.
That is what it makes so hard to read the book. Not only the 1008 pages, also the fact that you have the feeling that you are reading his calendar.

My Life is really two books. The first and better half, narrates Clinton’s roller-coaster political apprenticeship up to the triumphant presidential campaign of 1992.

But then the second book.Much of Clinton’s writing about the White House years comes from a card-index, a scissors-and-paste job:  health care, welfare reform etc.  What else do we discover? He adores mango ice cream..:D

All in all, it would be worth the money if he would describe his life until the presidential campaign and the Lewinsky scandal. The rest could be erased, burnt or something else, but for me, it was not worth reading it.

Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

Presidency 1993-2001 (Lewinsky affair)

January 9, 2010

First of all I have to mention, that a huge part of the actions he did during his presidency are described objective by him. Without any emotions, for example when he travels to some country he says, that these meetings are nice and he feels comfortable, but thats it.

He handles his presidency very objective in his book, which is a bit demotivating reading the book. That is the reason why I skipped or browsed some of the chapters. It also was a point, where I thought about stop reading the book, but I knew there was one case which is very interesting. It’s the Lewinsky affair.

When Lewinsky was transferred to the pentagon, Clinton was asked several questions about their “relationship”. The question wheter they had a “sexual connection” he answered with no. Later that day he met her and felt bad about that. It was clear to him, what he was doing but not why he was doing it.

The affair between Bill and Monica took place in 1995 when Lewinsky was an intern in the White House. He didn’t mention her earlier in the book, so we don’t get to know what attracted him to Monica.
However, as the affair got public, he denied everything. He stonewalled himself and so the affair got bigger and bigger.

But then came the time of acceptance and the time to explain everything. One morning he told Hilary and Chelsea. Both of them had believed Bill before.
After the case got public, and the Republican held the majority in both houses, it was clear. They wanted to impeach Bill Clinton.

He felt humiliated. Finally, again some emotions in his book. It really got a bit boring until the Lewinsky scandal 😉
As a reader you have the feeling after Hilary “forgave” him, at least a bit, Bill felt lighter. But still there was the load on his back because of the impeachement, which wasn’t because of the affair itself, it was beacuse at first he lied about the case under oath. In the end the impeachment failed.

In the last period, after the affair, he tells again about what bills he signed, and where he flew to, to go on vacation.

With the end of the presidency, the book ended also.