Call of the Warriors

Type of Literature: Book

Old: Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)

New: Warriors Series (Into the Wild) by Erin Hunter (2003)

Call of the Wild follows the story of Buck, a domestic St. Bernard Scotch Shepherd, who collapses into the evil hands of Yukon sled dog trainers. Thrust into survival mode, Buck must confront vicious sled drivers and aggressive canines.

Rusty, a cat from Into the Wild (Warriors), leaves his owners and joins a clan of feral cats in the wild. However, given his lack of survival expertise, Firepaw (Rusty’s christened name in the clan) must battle cynical members, murderers, and cats from other clans in order to prove himself.

Protagonists as domestic pets

In Call, Buck dwells in a life of luxury in California. The spoiled canine has developed hunting skills but understands little about the cruelty of the Canadian territory.

Firepaw, in Warriors, leads an unfulfilled life as a housepet. He often ruminates about the mundaneness of his cat food and wonders if something greater exists.

Through violent means, they enter the wilderness

A seedy gardener with a gambling debt trades Buck to the sled dog trade. Although the large dog attempts to resist, a man in a red sweater beats him into submission with a club. From here on out, Buck receives a steep learning curve for the savagery of the Yukon wilderness.

Firepaw encounters a feral cat named Graypaw in his back yard. The two cats commence a fight, and Graypaw rips off Firepaw’s collar. When the housecat succeeds in the nasty squabble, the other cats in the clan invite Rusty to join their group.

An antagonist who wants to rip the protagonist to shreds

Buck encounters opposition for Alpha-dog early on. Spitz bullies him into submission on multiple occasions and steals his food. However, Buck challenges Spitz to a fight and kills him.

Tigerclaw, a hidden enemy within Firepaw’s clan, has murdered multiple cats in his rise to power. Yet, when the assassin discovers the protagonist knows about his nasty deeds, he conquests to kill Firepaw through any means.

One who ventures into the wild can return to domestic life again

On death row, a savior by the name of Thornton rescues Buck from his harsh sled drivers. He nurses the dying canine back to life, and the dog lives inside a cabin with his new owner.

Later in the Warriors series, some once-feral cats dwell in the domestic life for a while. Graypaw finds himself picked up by a pair of Twolegs (humans) and stays with them for a couple months.

Author’s thoughts

“Great starts . . . but terrible finishes.”

I had enjoyed both novels because I have a special pocket in my heart for animals. I think both authors encapsulated the dangers of wilderness well. Hunter had a bit more of a quixotic view of the wild, whereas London held a dismal opinion.

Here’s where the author’s went amiss in my opinion . . .

Both Warriors and Call of the Wild had great starts but terrible finishes for different reasons.

Warriors had a decent run, however, Hunter continued to grind out stories about cat fights for 36 more books. Firepaw has long deceased, yet books continue to surface. The stories have grown repetitive, and I can only handle so many cat disputes.

Call of the Wild ended morosely, but it didn’t need to. The plot climaxes when Buck nearly dies from pulling a sled for several days. If London killed him there, I would’ve understood and exclaimed, “That’s terrible, but plausible.”

Call of the Wild ended morosely, but it didn’t need to.

Instead, Thornton rescues Buck. Yet after a little ray of hope, the canine goes a bit crazy when he hears a wolf cry in the forest. He kills a moose, returns to camp, and discovers Thornton has been slain. Buck then continues to pursue and murder all of his late owner’s killers and howl.

Not exactly a book I would read to my children at night.

I didn’t expect a happy ending. But the death of Thornton seemed ex machina. I felt as if London said, “Rats. I wanted to make this ending sad, but the plot seems to venture toward a bright ending.” (pause, snaps fingers) “I know! I’ll just kill of Thornton.”

Lend Me an Earnest

Type of Literature: Play

Old: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1898)

New: Lend me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig (1986)

Lend Me a Tenor features a timid protagonist, Max Garber, trades places with the world-renowned tenor, Tito Merelli in an opera. The characters continue to confuse Max with Tito throughout the play.

The Importance of Being Earnest characters Algernon and Jack masquerade under the name of “Ernest.” However, this causes several characters to mistake Algernon for Jack (and vice versa).

Mistaken Love

In Tenor, Max’s girlfriend, Maggie, has a deep infatuation for Tito. However, when she flirts with the opera singer, it is Max disguised as Tito.

In Earnest, characters Gwendolen and Cecily have deep affections for Algernon and Jack. However, because both of the men hide behind the name “Ernest,” Cecily and Gwendolen believe “Ernest” has proposed to both of them.

Overprotective Parents

Henry Saunders, Maggie’s father, attempts to whisk Maggie away from Tito. He commands the lovesick daughter to leave the room before the famous singer arrives.

Lady Bracknell, in Earnest, halts any prospects of Jack having a marriage with her daughter, Gwendolen. Due to Jack’s enigmatic origins, he will not elevate Gwendolen’s social status.

Farcical/Implausible Actions

During Tenor, Tito attempts to stab himself with a wine bottle. Maggie hides in Tito’s closet. When Max mistakenly thinks Tito dies after the singer took several tranquilizing drugs, Max attempts to cover up the “deceased” performer.

Cecily pretends Algernon has been writing her love letters for months. Jack, as a baby, was left in a handbag. Algernon, after Cecily unveils his true identity, nonchalantly eats muffins.

 

Gluttony

Tito takes an excess amount of tranquilizing pills. These cause him to pass out, rendering him nearly dead. In order to cover up his “death,” Max replaces the singer in the opera.

Algernon has a tendency to overeat wherever he goes. From cucumber sandwiches to muffins, Jack summarizes it best when he states, “Eating as usual, I see, Algy!”

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the Cave

 

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Type of Literature: Book

Old: The Republic by Plato (380 BC)

New: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1998 US, 1997 UK)

 

The Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone reveals a viewer’s deepest heart’s desire. However, when a character gazes at his or her reflection, the looking glass ensnares the onlooker.

The Cave in The Republic hosts a collection of prisoners. They watch a shadow puppet display on the wall. The captives believe the silhouettes on the wall (i.e. tree branches, cats, etc.) are the real deal. For example, if I held up a shadow puppet of a bunny, the prisoners will believe the shadow is an actual rabbit.

 

 

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1. They warn against mere appearances

In the mirror, Harry’s deceased parents flank his sides. However, when he whips around away from Erised, they disappear.

In the Cave, the prisoners believe the shadows on the wall comprise all of reality.

2. The appearances ensnare the viewer.

Harry slides out of bed late at night in order to gaze upon Erised. He avoids the advice of his best friend Ron to avoid encountering the enchanted object.

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I hardly need to explain how ensnare applies to prisoners in Plato’s Cave. Even though these captives find themselves shackled to chairs, they don’t appear to notice their entangled position. Instead, they watch the shadows on the wall and even attempt to play guessing games such as, “Which shadow will appear next?”

3. Someone must rescue the viewer from the appearances.

A savior by the name of Dumbledore informs Harry he plans to move Erised to another location. Thus, he frees Harry from the spellbound reflection

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

A freed man outside of the cave ventures forth to rescue a prisoner. After much tribulation and push-back from the dazed captive, the prisoner escapes from the cave. Thanks to the freed man, appearances no longer enslave the escapee.

4. The viewer will try to prevent the rescue plan.

Harry grows irritated with Ron when his best friend tries to deter him from visiting the mirror.

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When any freed man attempts to fish out a prisoner, the captive will likely resist. In fact, some hostages might jump to the extreme of murder in Plato’s Allegory.

 

 

https://simonandfinn.com/tag/platos-cave-cartoon/

The link above is a cute explanation of Plato’s allegory. It doesn’t have the full story, but it explains the illustration well.

Old is the new new . . .

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We live believing the lie: old can never mix with new (and vice versa).

            Whenever one generation encounters another, we have a tendency to thrust up our hands and remark, “They’ll never understand!”

            After all, how could an eight-year-old who plays fruit ninja ever know the feeling of mulch crusted in their fingernails after they planted a victory garden?

            And how could a senior citizen understand how student debt grabs the lungs of millennials with a pair of choking hands?

            It seems Solomon proclaimed in vain, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLT). Clearly the Old Testament king never encountered a selfie stick.

            So how can we reconcile the two vast worlds of old and new?

            One word: literature.

            From the eccentric illuminations of Plato to the magical world of Harry Potter, characters differ only by the year in which they were born. All works of literature share a new connection: nothing new.  

            I plan to prove this one blog post at a time.

http://www.chantalburns.com/blog-article/why-old-is-new-new/

I liked this well-written blog post by Chantal Burns.