Archive for the Dan Brown Category

Gender Roles in Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”

Posted in Books, Dan Brown, Essay, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 8 December, 2008 by Nicola

Can writers write of traditional gender roles, or does recent political correctness render this impossible?  This article studies Dan Brown‘s attempt at defying gender roles, but falling into the same old traps.

Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle give a typical literary gender representation in their analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper (1892).  They write that ‘the man is active, “practical”, dominant, unemotional… the woman, appears to be passive, non-practical, subordinate, emotional.  The opposition between the man and the woman is underscored by the insistent stress on the man’s actions, qualities and characteristics and the corresponding absence of information regarding the woman.’   This is written about a short story written over a century ago, but this representation is present in literary works from every literary period and continues to this day in many forms, such as the male and female representation in romance novels, in action films, in pop music, etc.  In Victorian times, it was controversial to represent women as independent and active, such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; in contemporary culture, due to feminist movements, it is now the opposite.  In Literature, if it is not controversial to adhere to conventional gender stereotypes, especially regarding women, it is at least frowned upon.  Critics expect deeper characterisation as opposed to plot, although mainstream audiences are less concerned with such issues.  Continue reading


Shockingly Terrible Books

Posted in Books, Dan Brown, G. P. Taylor, Lists, Personal Musings, Samuel Richardson, Stephenie Meyer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 8 December, 2008 by Nicola

Needless to say, I read a lot, and I have a few rules to reading.  One is to always finish a book you have started.  If it is bad, at least give yourself knowledge of the whole thing to write a better negative review of it.  People deserve to know the truth; I’ll take on the pain, so others do not have to!  Another rule is to read every hyped up book.  Why?  If it is popular, I consider that there must be a reason.  And I’m nosey.  I must investigate.  A more infrequent rule is to pick up a book simply on the strength of its cover every now and again.  Armed with these rules, you just know that the only natural course, is the course to some very bad books.   I list some of my worst experiences here.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (2006-2008)

If you read my book reviews, you’ll know that I reviewed the first book of this series, Twilight, and that I gave it quite a fair review.  It’s enjoyable, I said, but very poor writing with a structure that resembles what China would be like if it were an anarchist establishment.  I smiled at it, gave Meyer a patronising pat on the head, and let the bad literature go.  I just let it go.  As I got further and further into the series, however, my good nature was pushed to its limits and I lost my patience with possibly the worst writer to ever be published.  I thought that, perhaps, she has the mental age of a twelve year old and was called “the fat kid” one too many times during gym class.  There are so many things wrong with this series that I don’t even know how to start.  If you can imagine every bad thing a writer can do to their novel you will pretty much have summed up Stephenie Meyer.  I’m just going to take a deep breath, and list things until I get bored: Continue reading