Friday, February 18, 2011

A Blog Party Event from "A Maiden's Musings"

Hi everyone!! :)  There's a great blog party going on over at A Maiden's Musings.  It looked like fun, so I thought I'd participate.  I wasn't able to get the picture link to work, so I've added the above link if you want to participate in it yourself. :)  So, without further ado, here are my answers to the questions:

~ The Questions ~

Compiled by Miss Kellie & Miss Natasha

-What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

      A true heroine is a woman who desires to do the right thing, no matter how hard it may be.  When I was younger, I preferred the heroine who always seemed to make the right choices in every situation.  As I've gotten older and come face to face with many of my flaws, I appreciate the heroine who is not "perfect", but learns from her mistakes and is a better person because of what she's learned.  I also appreciate characters that I can look up to as role models for behavior, young women that portray Christ-like qualities in their lives.

-Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

      1.  Elinor Dashwood (from Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility") :
            I appreciate and admire Elinor for her self control and selfless behavior.  Throughout the novel, she is surrounded by hardship.  Her father dies when she is still a young woman.  She loses her home to uncaring, selfish relatives.  Her chance at happiness is ruined when she finds out the man she loves is engaged to a jealous, conniving woman.  She is constantly belittled, insulted and misunderstood.  Yet through it all, she remains calm and poised, the glue that holds her grieving family together.  I know for a fact that I would respond in a much less dignified manner to only half of what she endured.  I admire her for her selfless love for her mother and sisters, and her constant love for Edward, even when it seems they will never be together.  She admires him for standing by his promise, even though it means sacrificing her happiness.  In the end, thankfully, her patience and selflessness is rewarded. 
     2.  Marguerite St. Just (from Baroness Orczy's "The Scarlet Pimpernel"):
             The beautiful French wife of Sir Percival Blankney, Marguerite seems to have it all.  But a careless decision on her part leads to alienation from her beloved husband, blackmail, and betrayal.  Marguerite is a woman with definite flaws (especially in the book, less in the film and play versions of this story), yet once she realizes her mistakes, she does everything in her power to save the life of her noble husband.  I appreciate her determination and love for her husband, love that makes her willing to risk everything to save him, even if it means losing her life.  I've read the book by Baroness Orczy, seen the film version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour, and seen the Broadway play (though not in New York).  And while I can't fully recommend all of these for swearing and some sensuality, I greatly appreciated the story.  Each version is so different that they are hard to compare to each other.  But the same themes of bravery, loyalty, and sacrificial love are prevalent in each one.

     3.  Emma Woodhouse (from Jane Austen's "Emma"):
While Emma is not necessarily a heroine you can look up to for much of her book, I can definitely relate to her. :}  Emma has good enough intentions, but she is so caught up in her plans of marrying everyone off, that often she is clueless to what is really happening around her.  She also tends to need to vent (which, I must confess, is one of my shortcomings as well), much to the chagrin of Mr. Knightley.  She can be a bit proud, haughty and misguided in her actions and choice of friends.  Yet through various events in her life (and the helpful prodding of Mr. Knightley), Emma begins to see her flaws and realize the error of her ways.  Ultimately, her mistakes and the things she learns from them help her to grow into a kinder, more thoughtful woman.     

     4.  Coral Kendall (from Linda Chaikin's "Silk", "Under Eastern Stars", and "Kingscote"):
              Coral is the beautiful middle daughter of a wealthy English lord who owns a silk plantation in India.  In the books we see her grow from an unwell yet determined 16 year old girl to a strong young woman, with a passionate desire to reach the Untouchables of India with Christ's love.  While Coral's impetuous behavior often get her into sticky situations, especially when English and Indian cultures clash, she has a heart for the Lord and a desire to serve Him with her life.  She adopts a motherless Indian child and loves him as if he were her own son.  When Gem is kidnapped, she does everything in her power to save him, often risking her own safety to do so.  Throughout her search for her missing son and her mission to share Christ with the people of India, she shows an unswerving faith in God and a determination to do what she believes He has called her to do.  

-Five of your favorite historical novels?

     1.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
     2.  "Emma" by Jane Austen
     3.  "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen
     4.  "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy (this one I can't fully recommend due to some swearing and possibly's been a while since I've read it!)
     5.  "The Heart of India Series" by Linda Chaikin (a trilogy...I like them all) :)

-Out of those five books who is your favorite character and why?

     Although I love many of the characters from the above books, I'd have to say that one of my favorites is Jace Buckley from "The Heart of India" series.  The books are set in India in the time period of the missionary William Carey.  Jace starts out as a strong-willed young man who guards his heart and feelings from others.  He is not interested in getting close to God or anyone else, due to many painful circumstances of his past.  Throughout the series, though, he slowly begins opening up to God and to the lovely Miss Coral Kendall.  I love the way this character is written.  I was completely in love with him when I read the books in high school. :)

-If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?

     I would most likely go to England, France, and Israel.  I'd start in England, where I would see some of the historical sites where Jane Austen lived and where her stories took place. Then I'd go to France, stop by the Paris Opera to see if I could find the Phantom of the Opera, ;) and then find a copy of "Beauty and the Beast" in French to add to my collection.  I'd finish with a trip to Israel, seeing all the places where my Lord walked and talked during His earthly ministry.   

 -What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

     The Regency Period (surprise, surprise!) :)

-You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

    Ooh, that's a toughie.  It would either be singing or a recitation.  I love doing both. :)

-If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

     I would most likely go as Emma Woodhouse or Catherine Morland, just because they remind me so much of myself.

-What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?

     I am in absolute bliss whenever I have a package of dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups all to myself.  But pretty much any other kind of chocolate is acceptable too! :)  It's the perfect mood mender. ;)

-Favorite author(s)?

     Jane Austen, Linda Chaikin, L.M. Montgomery, Jackina Stark, Lawana Blackwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Robin Jones Gunn

-As a small, imaginative, red-haired damsel might query; would you rather be divinely beautiful, dazzlingly clever, or angelically good? Why?

     That's another hard question.  Divinely beautiful is tempting, since my self-image has never been great, but that would bring on all sorts of unwanted problems.  I would never know if I had friends because they liked me or just because they liked my looks.  To be dazzlingly clever would get old.  I'd be bored if I was more clever than everyone else...I'd probably end up getting into mischief trying to amuse myself.  And angelically good?  Who wants to be around someone who never makes mistakes?  Talk about annoying!!  I think I'll just stick with being plain old me. :)

-In which century were most of the books you read written?

     The 19th century. :)

-In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…

     I'd have to say Mr. Knightley from "Emma".  Mr. Knightley is a man of strong character and firm convictions.  He shows love and compassion to others around him.  This is seen both in his asking Harriet to dance after she's been snubbed by Mr. Elton and in his concern for and generosity to Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax.  He loves Emma dearly, but is willing to risk that love to keep her accountable when she's made a mistake (such as when he scolds her for insulting Miss Bates).  I love both Jeremy Northam and Johnny Lee Miller's film portrayals of Mr. Knightley.  You see the tenderness he displays towards Emma, even when he has to confront her.  Although his confrontations are often firm and condescending, he is compelled to act out of a desire to help Emma become the woman she should be.  Mr. Knightely reminds me so much of my own dear husband, as I've mentioned before on this blog.  And sadly, Emma and I often have much in common, too.  :)  I guess at least that means my husband and I are a good match! :)

   I could go on about other heroes.  I admire Edward Ferrars from "Sense and Sensibility" for his willingness to sacrifice his own happiness in order to keep his word.  I admire Henry Tilney from "Northanger Abbey" for his fun, teasing nature and his steadfastness to Catherine in spite of many obstacles.  I love Sir Percy Blankney from "The Scarlet Pimpernel" for his willingness to risk his life to save the lives of innocent French aristocrats.  And I love the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of Raoul for his safe, warm love for Christene and desire to protect her (I'm probably one of the few that votes for Raoul rather than the Phantom, although I do have sympathy for the Phantom).  In the novel Raoul's a bit more of a spoiled rich boy. :}   

-Describe your ideal dwelling place.

     I would love a cozy cottage by the sea.  There would be a long front porch where my husband and I could sit on warm enough evenings.  On misty days, I'd bundle up and walk the beach, collecting sea shells and making up stories in my head, later to be transferred to the page.  Of course, I'd have a room to write in, with plenty of space for my Beauty and the Beast collection and my dolls. ;) 

-Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?

     I'm sure I have in the past, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.

-In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...

     One villain that really stands out to me is Chauvelin from "The Scarlet Pimpernel".  He is so cold, calculating and unfeeling in his pursuit of the Scarlet Pimpernel.  He will destroy anything or anyone who stands in his way.  His dealings with Marguerite are extremely lustful and manipulative.  To put it in the modern vernacular, he's just downright creepy.  In all three versions of this story that I've read/seen, Chauvelin is completely despicable.

-Three favorite Non-fiction books?

    1. "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot.  (The story of the 5 missionary men, including the missionary pilot Nate Saint and Elisabeth's husband Jim Elliot, who were killed by the Auca Indians while trying to reach them with the gospel.  It's an amazing book that really makes you reconsider your priorities.)

    2.  "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn.  (This is a great book for married women, from a Christian perspective, that helps you understand your husband's thought processes and actions a little more.)
    3.  "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman.  (A humorous but uplifting look at Christian motherhood, full of godly encouragement to lovingly lead your children in a way that honors the Lord.) 

-Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

    Hmm, I would either blog, or do a doll photo shoot, or work on my story.  Of course, I could also watch a romantic movie while eating some low fat ice cream, or maybe read a book with the girls and then play outside with them.   And after all that, I might consider catching up on some scrapbooking...I'm horribly behind!! :}

-Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.

     I must confess, I've never given a "dream hat" much thought.  I know this is quite unromantic, but I prefer either baseball caps or a nice newsboy cap.  :}

-Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

     One of the first significant events that comes to mind is my younger brother's wedding.  It was such a joy to watch him get married to the woman he's loved for years.  I'm so thankful for my wonderful new sister! :)  Another significant event was getting involved in my local Christian writer's group again.  It really inspired me to get back into my writing and ultimately led me to starting this blog.  I'm sure there are other significant events, but these are the two that stick in my mind right now.

-Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

  I Corinthians 1:26-31
     "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." 

   This passage is such a blessing to me, because it reminds me that God can use me for His glory even when I mess up, or have a bad day, or don't feel "good enough" to be used of Him.  God uses us despite our flaws and weaknesses.  It's a good thing, too, because like all human beings, I'm hopelessly flawed! :)

   -And lastly, as I am a rather businesslike hostess, may I ask you your views regarding those adorable little items - namely pin back and mirror back buttons? 1). Where would you choose to display a button badge to best showcase your unique style? 2). What image and/or sentiment would most make you smile were it inscribed on your very own compact mirror?

     1.  The button badge would probably go on my purse or my jacket. :)

     2.  I would love to see an image of any Jane Austen heroine, especially Lizzy Bennett, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Morland, or Elinor Dashwood.  I'd also love a button with Psalm 19:14 printed on it:  "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Wow, that took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it was lots of fun. :)  Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did! :)


Kellie said...

Thank you for joining!

I certainly did enjoy reading your entry - especially your definition of a true heroine. Lovely.
Yes, I am planning on creating some Jane Austen heroine button/mirror designs, and The scripture verse is actually one I had on my design list, as well! Excellent taste! =)


beast'sbelle said...

Hi Kellie! Thanks for reading my post. :) And thanks for hosting this blog event. What a great idea! It was lots of fun figuring out my answers. :)

Yay! Can't wait to see the new button designs. :D

Natasha Marie said...

I loved reading your answers to the questions!

Finally, someone else who appreciates Raoul!! He was a bit silly in the book, but I did like him in the 2005 movie.

Chauvelin is an excellent pick for most dastardly villain!=) He is quite creepy.


beast'sbelle said...

Hi Tasha!! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad to find another Raoul fan!! I loved Patrick Wilson's Raoul in the movie. I kept hearing comments about him being boring or wimpy, but I didn't think he was that way at all (although I wouldn't have minded if he'd had a haircut, personally). And because I was so disappointed at Gerard Butler's less than satisfactory singing pipes and over-sensual acting, it made Raoul stand out to me even more.

Okay, I totally have to go off on a tangent here. When I saw the play, to me what attracted Christene to the Phantom was his beautiful singing voice. With a voice like that, how could you not think there might be some goodness to him? When Gerard sang, he sounded angry and lustful. Not attractive at all, at least to me.

Why must we always go after the dangerous when we have the option of the caring, safe love of someone who puts our needs first? That's why we have so many broken homes and abusive marriages today, in my humble opinion. Quite honestly, that's why I have a hard time with the Twilight books. I know they're just stories, but I think it's easy for us as women to get swept up into the stories we read and then look for someone like the character we fell in love with in real life. We need to be sure we're evaluating the character of our...characters. :}

Maybe I'm over-thinking this. Then again, when I read a story, I live it. I become the character and experience the story with them. So I have to be really cautious that I evaluate the feelings and emotions that the story makes me feel, and evaluate them in light of the truths of God's Word. Only then can I be balanced in my perspective.

Wow, that was a really long comment. But I had to get it off my chest. And at least it's on my own blog, so the blog author won't get annoyed. :)

Natasha Marie said...

I agree - Raoul needs a haircut. lol.
And I agree with you about the Phantom and why Christine was drawn to him, although I haven't seen the play. I've read the book though, and that's what I got from the book.

I definitely will not be watching the movie again for many reason, but mainly because of the Phantom's character. He was not like that in the book, and I was quite shocked when I watched the movie. Raoul was the only good thing in it, really, which is rather funny because I didn't like him in the book:)

I actually wrote a post about the Phantom vs. Raoul on my blog a few days ago. You can read it here if you'd like to:)

I think it's good to analyze the characters in the books we read and the movies we watch. Let's face it, we women are emotional, so it's good to think it through and put everything in perspective through God's Word. I live the story when I read, too, so I know exactly what you're saying:)
Sorry for the long comment;)


Hana - Marmota said...

This is really an interesting and fun idea from Kellie!
And I think our opinions on true heroines are more or less the same, although I wrote it much shorter...

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Hana-Marmota...thanks for commenting! I'm not surprised if you had shorter entries...I do tend to be a bit long-winded. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Tasha...sorry I didn't notice your responding comment until now. Don't worry about the long comment. I leave long comments on everyone's blogs! :}

I read your post and really enjoyed it. I even commented, and I'd love to figure out how to grab your "Team Raoul" button. As I mentioned in the comment on your post, I'm not sure how to grab blog buttons when they don't have the code underneath them. Can you help? Thanks for commenting again, and for following, too! :)

Natasha Marie said...

I responded to your comment on my blog on how to grab the Team Raoul button, and I see you have it on your sidebar now. Awesome! So glad that that worked out for you and that you like the button:)
Same here - thanks for commenting on my blog and for following me!


beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for checking back, Tasha. :) I'm glad your blog had a Google friend connect option for following. You have a great blog! :) Thanks for all the info on the buttons, too.

Alexandra said...

I've read The Scarlet Pimpernel book recently and it has the swearing, but not the sensual content. :-)

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for the info, Alexandra. It's been a while since I've read it, so I couldn't remember! :)