the outsiders read-along: chapter 3

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So, in this chapter, the movie’s over and after some discussion, Marcia and Cherry decide to walk to Two-Bit’s house (with Two-Bit and Johnny and Ponyboy) to get Two-Bit’s car so he can drive them home.  Along the way, Ponyboy and Cherry get into some pretty deep discussions about the differences between greasers and Socs, as well as Ponyboy’s brothers.

And then Cherry and Marcia’s boyfriends show up and I’m just going to leave it there because if you haven’t read this chapter yet, I don’t feel like describing it in depth – just go read it!  And if you have, further summary is pointless.

Okay, that whole thing about Mickey Mouse is incredibly sad.  I don’t adore horses like I used to, but I can still empathize with Soda and can you imagine little ten-year-old Ponyboy saving up all the bits of money that came his way and Soda being so brave and Grown Up and never breathing a word about the whole thing to his parents?  IT’S SO SAD.  Another thing that’s sad is getting a glimpse of what the Curtis brothers’ parents were like (p. 48) because, yeah, they seem really great.

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From the previous chapter, but anyway.

Ponyboy is an excellent writer.  His monologues about the unfairness of greaser versus Soc on page 43 and the country/his family on page 48 are amazing.

And Two-Bit is hilarious. “Then pity the backseat.” (p. 45) He’s got so many great lines in this chapter, but he can also be really serious – like when he slaps Ponyboy for what he said about Johnny or when he tears up Marcia’s maybe phony phone number.

I read some post once where it was pointed out that after Darry slaps Ponyboy (wow, Pony’s getting slapped a lot in this chapter), he shouts “I didn’t mean to!” which is exactly the phrase that got him so angry at Ponyboy in the first place.  Wow.

Quotes I Like:

Two-Bit and Marcia weren’t even listening to us.  They were engaged in some wild conversation that made no sense to anyone but themselves. (p. 38-39)

But Johnny and I understood each other without saying anything. (p. 39)

Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren’t so different.  We saw the same sunset. (p. 41)

Discussion Questions!

I actually forgot about having to read this chapter/write this post until really late and I simply can’t come up with any discussion questions. *sigh*  But I’d still love to hear your thoughts on this chapter – just give me whatever cool, random observations you made while reading.

Okay, wait.  I just thought of one.

-What kind of thoughts do you think go through Johnny’s head when Ponyboy’s freaking out about Darry slapping him?  Because Johnny gets badly beaten by his parents a LOT and one slap probably seems like nothing to him.  But on the other hand, maybe he feels bad that Ponyboy had to experience that kind of abuse at all?  I honestly don’t know!

Eva

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the outsiders read-along: chapter 2

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In this chapter, everything starts to go downhill even if it may not look like it.  Dally takes Ponyboy and Johnny to the Nightly Double, a drive-in that shows four movies on the weekends (I don’t believe they stick around for all four, though).  While there, Ponyboy and Johnny end up making the acquaintance of two Soc girls – Cherry and Marcia.  Cherry and Ponyboy kind of hit it off right away and he ends up telling her what happened to Johnny a few weeks past (which is that a bunch of Socs beat him up and Johnny’s been extra scared and jumpy ever since and he’d started carrying around a six-inch switchblade).

In this chapter, you really start to get a sense of just how much the gang cares for Johnny.  Like how Dally didn’t do anything to him when he told Dally to leave Cherry alone.  Or how Two-Bit apologizes after inadvertently scaring Johnny.  Or just about everything Ponyboy tells Cherry about when Johnny got beat up.  I love how much the entire gang sticks up for each other, but especially Johnnycake.  And Johnny defending Cherry is an indication of the bravery he’ll show later in the book.

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Couple other things I dig in this chapter: how Cherry reacts to Ponyboy’s name (“That’s an original and lovely name” [p. 22]) and how Johnny “left hastily to get a Coke” (p. 21) when Dally started talking dirty to Cherry and Marcia.  MY PRECIOUS CHILD. (Johnny.  Not Dally.)

Quotes I Like:

She gave him an incredulous look; and then she threw her Coke in his face.  “That might cool you off, greaser.  After you wash your mouth and learn to talk and act decent, I might cool off, too.” (p. 24) (you go, Cherry!)

When you’re a gang, you stick up for the members.  If you don’t stick up for them, stick together, make like brothers, it isn’t a gang anymore.  It’s a pack.  A snarling, distrustful pack…” (p. 26)

I don’t care too much for girls yet.  Soda says I’ll grow out of it.  He did. (p. 31) (LOL)

Discussion Questions!

~What kind of problems do you think the Socs face?

~Can you see why Cherry said “I kind of admire him” (p. 27) about Dally?

Until next time!

Eva

the outsiders read-along: chapter 1

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Welcome to The Outsiders read-along!  To be honest, I’m completely new to this, having never hosted a read-along before, so y’all will have to be patient with me.  And whether you’ve read and re-read The Outsiders several times (like me) or you’ve never, ever read it…welcome!  We’re going to have a lot of fun with this, I think. (But it will also probably break your heart, just to warn you.)

I’m planning on analyzing a chapter a week since the chapters are quite long and I have other things to do besides this read-along (as we all do).  I’ll try not to post spoilers for the book as a whole, but there will be spoilers for the individual chapters.  So if you’re new to The Outsiders, go ahead and read the first chapter before you come back to this post.

I’ll be using the 50th anniversary edition of the book (pictured above) throughout the read-along, so the page numbers I give might not always match up with whatever copy you use (unless you have the fiftieth anniversary edition as well!).  And be warned that this post will most likely be super long because it’s the first chapter and I have a lot to say.

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I honestly teared up reading the first line: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.  THIS WHOLE BOOK IS SO POWERFUL AND GOOD.

Anyway, with that first line we get introduced to the narrator/main character/most precious adorable smol cinnamon roll EVER, Ponyboy Curtis.  I rarely love main characters, but Ponyboy is one of the exceptions.  He’s simply the best, with his straightforward way of writing down what he thinks and how he loves books and sunsets and he cares so much about people.  He’s amazing.

So, Ponyboy is walking home from the movies (in the 1983 film adaption of the novel, which I recommend, the movie he goes to see is ‘The Hustler’ which makes sense, because Paul Newman) when he gets jumped by a bunch of rich guys.  Why?  He’s a greaser and the Socs (wealthy kids) hate greasers.  Luckily Ponyboy’s brothers and friends chase the Socs away and then they all come back and sit around and talk and that gives S.E. Hinton an excellent opportunity to describe everyone and bring their different characters out with dialogue and such.

Quick low-down on the gang:

  • Ponyboy – You know my opinion of him. 😉
  • Sodapop – Ponyboy’s brother.  AHHHHH.  The legit best.  Full of restlessness and laughter and unbelievably handsome.  And really understanding and cool.
  • Darry – Ponyboy’s brother.  Not going to give away spoilers, but there’s more to Darry than meets the eye.  Love him.  Can’t wait to turn twenty in September so we’ll be the same age.
  • Dally – Yeah, don’t get him and Darry confused like I did the first time I read the book.  They’re two completely different people.  Dally is dangerous and hates pretty much everything (with one notable exception that will break your heart later).
  • Steve – Doesn’t get much page time.  He’s best buddies with Soda and is really good at both stealing and fixing cars.  Ponyboy really doesn’t like him and he’s played by Tom Cruise in the movie.
  • Two-Bit – Hilarious guy who has some hidden depths.
  • JOHNNYCAKE – I can’t.  My heart is too full for words.  Just read: If you can picture a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers, you’ll have Johnny. (p. 11)  WAHHHH.

I made a few observations while reading through this chapter that I thought I’d share with you as well.  Okay, like how Ponyboy’s thinking about how he’d like to get to know “the girls who were bright-eyed and had their dresses a decent length and acted as if they’d like to spit on us if given the chance” (p. 15) and I’m happy to inform you that he does actually meet and start dating one of those in the sorta-sequel to The OutsidersThat was Then, This is Now.  Also, when Dally asks if anyone wants to come along to the Nightly Double next evening…NOOOO DON’T GO.  And Ponyboy is reading Great Expectations for school!  I love that book.

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Quotes I like:

And nobody in our gang digs books and movies the way I do. (p. 2)

I’m usually pretty quiet around people, even the gang. (p. 12)

I rubbed my cheek where it had turned purple.  I had looked in the mirror, and it did make me look tough.  But Darry had made me put a Band-Aid on the cut. (p. 16) [I don’t know why, but this part always makes me crack up, the way Darry just makes him put a Band-Aid on the cut when he’s wanting to look all tough.]

“You in love with Sandy?  What’s it like?”
“Hhhmmm.”  He sighed happily.  “It’s real nice.”
(p. 18)

I lie to myself all the time.  But I never believe me. (p. 18)

Discussion Questions!

~Which character do you like the best so far?

~Do you believe Ponyboy’s gripes about Darry?  Why or why not?

~Ponyboy says that he lies to himself all the time (p. 18).  Do you think this makes him an unreliable narrator?

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Feel free to answer – or ignore – these discussion questions. 🙂  I’d really like to know what you thought of this first chapter, though!  Drop a comment, ask a question, or just fangirl/boy a bit in the comments.  And until next time…

Stay gold.

Eva

P.S. Happy Canada Day!

héctor rivera: my favorite character in Pixar’s Coco

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This poster bugs me because Héctor wouldn’t be able to walk on the Marigold Bridge right here.

I was late to the party for this year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon (unlike last year) but I thought I’d write the post I had in mind anyway.  I actually went back and forth a little, deciding who I’d write about (because while my list of fictional crushes is looooong there are only a few who I’m really obsessed with).  In the end, I decided to go with a fictional character I’ve known about for less than two weeks: Héctor from Pixar’s latest film, ‘Coco’.

SPOILER ALERT.

Who’d have thought I’d crush on Héctor?  I mean, he’s dead. (Though who am I kidding?  Pretty much all my favorite fictional characters are dead.)  He’s literally a skeleton.  He can be more than a little weird.  But here we are. (*wink*)

So, Lightning McQueen is still my favorite Pixar character.  Definitely.  But Héctor is close behind.  For a lot of different reasons.  Like how he actually was muy guapo.  And his singing voice.  (Gael García Bernal said that he wasn’t a professional singer and the director or whatever had to really coach him through the songs, but you could’ve fooled me!  He does a perfect job.)  And how he leads Miguel in the choreography for ‘Un Poco Loco’.  And just…SO MANY THINGS.  I could list tons of moments from the film that make me like Héctor a little more each time I see them.  Okay, fine, I’ll just list a few more: when he apologizes to Miguel after the talent show but Miguel doesn’t hear him, everything in the sinkhole, ALL of his interactions with Imelda (especially when he accompanies her on ‘La Llorana’ and “I’m the love of your life?”), and when he sings for Cheech.

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The main thing that I find fascinating about Héctor is how my perception of him changed so much over the course of the movie.

Because when you first see Héctor, he’s trying gain entrance to the Land of the Living by employing a Frida Kahlo disguise.  It doesn’t work and when Héctor tries to dash across the Marigold Bridge that doesn’t work either.  At this point, I thought Héctor would be a one-shot character, someone who was there to make add humour to the scene (and illustrate what happened when your photo isn’t on the ofrenda) and I didn’t expect to see him again.

Then I thought that Héctor was a con artist (which he kind of is at the beginning?).  I mean, he lied about getting front row tickets to Ernesto’s Sunrise Spectacular (though, to be honest, getting front row tickets wouldn’t have helped Miguel – he needed to be backstage).  He didn’t lie to Miguel about anything else, though!  Everything about Ernesto not being a great musician and all that was dead right (lol).  Oh, and I totally called that Héctor would turn out to be a musician himself because it was just obvious, am I right?

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Héctor is SUCH a good friend.  Singing Cheech’s favorite song and coaching Miguel before and during his ‘Un Poco Loco’ performance, etc.  He’s also a great father (I’m getting emotional just thinking about him and Coco and all that).  And another thing I like about Héctor is that he doesn’t care about fame and fortune anymore (#characterdevelopmentforthewin), he just wants to see his daughter again.  I mean, he tells Ernesto that he doesn’t care anymore if Ernesto is the one who the world remembers, just as long as Ernesto lets Miguel take Héctor’s photo back.  What a change from the young, foolish, pretty selfish guy who left his wife and little girl to do his own thing.

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He and Imelda are one of my favorite Pixar couples – they have issues to work through, but they do work through them and Héctor loves Imelda no matter what, no matter if she ever loves him again or not.  In the end, when they’re dancing together to Miguel’s guitar playing…many tears are shed, let me tell you.

So, overall, Héctor is an amazing character and I love ‘Coco’ – it’s one of the best Pixar films ever made, in my opinion.  Definitely better than ‘Finding Dory’, so it gives me hope that Pixar’s glory days will make a comeback. 😉

Who’s your favorite character in ‘Coco’?  And what’s your favorite song?  And will you ever recover from the feels this movie gave you?

Eva

announcing ‘the outsiders’ read-along!

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I first read The Outsiders in the summer of 2016 and I’ve loved it ever since.  I borrowed it from the library (this gorgeous edition) and read it and grew so attached that I took it with me on the family vacay (something I never do with library books because they could get Lost or Damaged).  Then I found and bought my own copy at a thrift store and then I spent a million bucks on the brand-new, 50th anniversary edition.  And watched the movie.  And loved the characters and themes so much that The Outsiders quickly become my favorite book of all time, a title previously held by Gone With the Wind (and I adore how there’s a connection between the two).

So now I want to share that love with you, my love for The Outsiders (book and characters).  And what better way to do that than with a read-along, where I (and you!) go chapter by chapter through the book, discussing and thinking and fangirling the whole way through? (And, yes, this read-along is inspired by those read-alongs.)

I’m thinking I’ll do a chapter a week, as the chapters are pretty long and each one is filled with so much plot and character stuff.  If anyone wants to write a guest post for this read-along – character sketch, movie review, what The Outsiders means to you – email me at evaschon1793@gmail.com and we’ll talk.  I’m super excited for this and I hope you are as well!  Whether you’ve read The Outsiders several times or have never read it, there’ll be something in this read-along for you.  Hope to see you there!

Eva

william holden as major kendall in ‘the horse soldiers’ (1959)

This blog post is part of the Third Golden Boy Blogathon: A William Holden Centenary Celebration.

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‘The Horse Soldiers’ (1959) is a John Wayne film, but from the very first time I watched it, my attention was focused on another actor: William Holden as the compassionate, brave, and wonderful Major Henry Kendall.  It’s the one Holden role where I love and appreciate him wholeheartedly, and while I wasn’t quick enough to put ‘The Horse Soldiers’ down for last year’s blogathon, I was this year (obviously).

So.  To set the stage.  ‘The Horse Soldiers’ is a movie about some sort of suicide mission that John Wayne’s character, Colonel Marlowe, has to undertake along with a bunch of his men.  I’m not sure of all the details, but suffice to say that it’s Dangerous and Serious.  While Marlowe and his brother officers discuss the ins and outs of said mission, a quiet, unassuming man walks into camp and asks to be directed to the officers’ meeting.

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Just a few moments after joining the officers, Kendall already has a problem (a big problem) because Colonel Marlowe clearly has it in for him.  It’s nothing personal, really.  You see, Kendall is a surgeon.  And Marlowe hates surgeons, hates the entire medical profession, for reasons that aren’t explained until much later but you can kind of guess it’s something to do with his family because…what else?  Anyway, yeah, Kendall’s in a big situation because Marlowe outranks him and, y’know, he’s played by John Wayne who can be truly terrifying in a bad mood.  Kendall, however, doesn’t back down (he’s to accompany Marlowe & Company on their trek) and basically gives as good as he gets.  (In a later scene, when Marlowe states gruffly that any wounded will be left to the clemency of the enemy, Kendall inquiries “Including yourself?” with a little smile on his face.)

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Ever since Doc2 became my favorite character on Combat!, amazing doctors, surgeons, and nurses have cropped up throughout fiction and I’ve liked/loved each and every one.  John Watson, Julia Hoffman, Tiberius Lucius Justinianus…the list goes on and on and Kendall is definitely high on it.  There’s something about how doctors put the needs of others before their own and are so courageous and awesome and skilled. (I understand not all doctors/nurses/other medical personnel are so perfect.  But still.)

Anyway, to return to the story, the troop (is it a troop or some other military body?) sets out to a rousing chorus of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’ which makes me snicker.  Because, you know, that whole scene in ‘Stalag 17’.  It cracks me up. (Not the bit in ‘Stalag 17’, which is actually chill-worthy and NOT in a good way.  Just…the connection.  And I just over-explained that wayyy too much.)  ANYWAY.  They march along (or ride along, because they’re horse soldiers) and when they stop for rest, a soldier comes up to Kendall and informs him that there’s a woman giving birth in a nearby cabin and the family would like a doctor’s help.  Of course Kendall goes to help them and ends up delivering a healthy baby, just before Marlowe orders Kendall to never help civilians again during his tenure as an army surgeon and places him under officer’s arrest.

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“You’re an officer in the Union army, under oath,” Marlowe says.  “I took an older oath before that one,” Kendall answers. (Awesome dialogue is awesome.  And awesome characters are even better!)

Stuff happens and the troop ends up at the home of Miss Hannah Hunter, a Southern belle who loathes Yankees but does an admirable acting job, what with inviting Marlowe and his officers (including Kendall) to dine with her.  Everyone’s rather besotted with her, expect Marlowe and Kendall, but it’s Kendall who’s actually suspicious of Hannah – Marlowe is just grumpy overall.  Those suspicions turn out to be on point and the troop ends up having to take Hannah and her maid along with them.

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This post is getting long, so I’ll just list a few more things that make Kendall that much more awesome.

~He doesn’t fall in love with Hannah, so there isn’t a stupid love triangle.  And he does end up respecting her a lot as she changes and matures.  Which is awesome.  They work well together, as doctor and nurse.

~Kendall has a friend in the Confederate army who’s really cool and he still acknowledges/talks to his friend even though Marlowe looks askance at fraternizing with the enemy.

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~He works so hard to keep the troop healthy and together and it’s horrible when that one soldier has to have an amputation because he didn’t listen to what Kendall told him. (Even worse when the same soldier dies soon after.)

~Kendall puts up with a LOT from Marlowe before he finally snaps.  And it’s rather frightening in an epic way when he does break. (Marlowe was a total jerk in the scene when it happens, by the way.)

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~And, finally, the thing that made me truly love Kendall the very first time I watched ‘The Horse Soldiers’: he stays behind with the wounded men when Marlowe and what remains of the troop escape to freedom.  Kendall could have gotten away and left the wounded to the Confederate army, but he stayed behind to do all he could for the men in his care.  “Medicine’s where you find it,” he says to Marlowe.  “Even in Andersonville.”

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William Holden portrayed Major Kendall with a warmth, seriousness, and steadiness that I don’t another actor could have pulled off in such a perfect way (Glenn Ford may have managed it, but maybe not).  It’s the one of the only truly likable roles I’ve seen Holden play and one that I’m sure will remain my favorite of all his films.

Eva

the Good Cop, Bad Cop Blogathon – wrap-up!

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First of all, a hearty thanks to everyone who participated in this blogathon.  Though I haven’t yet read/commented on all of your posts, I can tell that people had a lot of fun with this and I’ve already discovered a couple movies I’d like to watch (I hope you have, too).  I’m already rolling around ideas for another blogathon next year, but for Old West law enforcement (as I believe a couple people expressed interest in that).

And secondly, here’s the list of blog posts written for the blogathon!  If you haven’t written your post or submitted the link to it yet, do so when you can and I’ll add you to the list.

Enjoy the entries!

Eva