Happy Monday Meta-Post!

October 19, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Sometimes I go into the WordPress dashboard and take a look at the ways people find this blog. A lot of readers stumble on this page through search engines…usually through bizarre, amusing, or homework-related searches.

In an effort to give the people what they’re looking for, I’m using today’s post to reach out to our Searchers! Below is a list of our most recent search terms, and my personal response to each of them:

“Does Isabel finally leave her husband in Portrait of a Lady?”

Ah, either an impatient reader or one who did not do his or her reading for that day’s class! I’m a little surprised this person didn’t just check Sparknotes, and I’m more than a little tempted to just make something up..but yes, Isabel does leave her husband at some point in the novel. Naturally, though, that’s not the end of the story.

“Frankenstein quotations human or monster”

How appropriate for Halloween! Again, this sounds like an essay question where the student is meant to decide whether Frankenstein’s monster can be considered human and then back up his or her opinion with quotes from the text. I don’t have specific quotes for you, but most scholars agree that Victor Frankenstein and his monster show characteristics of both humanity and monstrosity. Try looking at the scene after Dr. Frankenstein’s wedding, and also the scene where Dr. Frankenstein destroys his incomplete female monster.

“How did Dracula become immortal?”

Again with the Halloween theme! According to Bram Stoker’s novel, Count Dracula was a student of necromancy and what J. K. Rowling would call the “Dark Arts” at a school literally run by the Devil before using these skills to make himself immortal. The process is not explicitly stated within the novel, but Dracula does not appear to have been infected by another vampire as he infects others, rather having gained immortality through his own actions.

This method of vampiric immortality is not supported by folklore, however, and for more information on traditional vampires and their regional variants, please click here.

“Fairytale princess Oscar Wilde”

Hmm! Oddly enough, Wilde only has one princess in his fairy tales. She is referred to only as the “Infanta,” the 12-year-old princess of Spain whose birthday celebration is the focus of “The Birthday of the Infanta” in Wilde’s A House of Pomegranates collection. Her main characteristics are beauty and cruelty, and she breaks the heart of a little boy with a hunchback who dances at her party. Wilde has a few princes in his tales, but no other princesses.

“Prince fairytale sword”

Not sure what to do with this one, besides avoid the requisite phallus joke. Though all joking aside, normally in fairy tales (even modern ones), a sword or other weapon of that type represents masculinity. This is why Arthur can take on an adult role as King once he pulls the sword from the stone, essentially coming of age, and why Mrs. Coulter breaking the Subtle Knife in Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass is such a big deal.

“Arya porn Paolini

SEE? I’m not crazy! Someone else has noticed that Arya is far too good-looking and far too one-dimensional to not be the literary equivalent of a porn star. Thank you, Googler — though, um, you’re looking for porn on YA fantasy characters? Squick.

Any other questions?

Feel free to submit them! Though I’ve used search terms this time around, I’d love to answer reader questions if you have any…except if they are about fictional elf porno. That’s really not my area of expertise.


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays, News. Tags: , , , , , , .

Fairy Tale Friday: Myth vs. Fairy Tales Old Masters, New World by Cynthia Saltzman

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