Legends, myths, and folktales.
These stories are the product of millennia of oral tradition, crafted not only to reflect but also to forge the perspectives of a group. The whispers in the dark and the nighttime stories. The warnings and the introspection of human nature. Because, from soil-colored drawings to bestselling fantasy novels, stories have always been part of us.
Readers familiar with horror surely recognize the ghost story as a pillar of the genre. Dating back to Biblical times (ever heard of the Holy Ghost?), the idea of ghosts continues to capture our curiosity. Whether they exist or not remains up for debate, adding to their mystery and stimulating our imaginations. Horror writers tap into this to craft different versions of ghosts, be it literal specters or metaphorical apparitions.
This month’s theme for JUVEN has been history. Aside from being a long-standing horror tradition, ghosts represent history in a more metaphorical sense, too. They’re manifestations of a tragic past and trauma. A ghost in literature often embodies either trauma of a character or a collective trauma within a certain location.
tw: mentions of oppression, stoning, su*cide, and forced labor.
From lesbian period dramas, or the odd transmedicalist, slightly transphobic period drama, to biopics about men that did SOMETHING in the past and happened to be gay, we can see a pattern of how queer people are presented in historical fiction: sad & yearning.
Which, to some extent, is true. The past, has had a very convoluted relationship with what we now know as queer identities or identities that deviate from the norm (in part because of colonization, but that’s another story), however that doesn’t mean that queer joy did not exist before the 21th century.
It is not secret that Hollywood favors queer pain over queer happiness, going so far as to re-write real life events: The Children’s Hour (1961), in which a girl makes allegations against her teachers of “homosexual activity” leaving the teachers to make a lawsuit of slander. In the movie the two teachers lose the case, and even one of them kills herself, whereas in the real-life case the movie is based on, the two teachers win their suit and no-one dies, although it did severely damage their reputation.
The truth is, the second-person narrator is confusing. This literary resource is rarely used when compared to its first and third-person peers. The less it is used, the less exploration of it we find, and this can present a challenge for writers. After all, we fear what we do not understand.
Personally, knowing the devices I use can be the key to turning obstacles into opportunities to grow as a writer. It forms a foundation and it gives me confidence in my work. It makes that blank page a bit less scary. Sort of like jumping from an airplane with a parachute. The adrenaline and expectations remain, but at least I am not falling to my death (dramatic, I know). So, in an attempt to motivate young writers out there to use this unique resource, I will explain the two main types of the second-person narrator, together with how can we use them and how to recognize them.
By Elena Juarez
A new dawn. A new dusk. A new season. A new man. A Change of Seasons written by Khurram Elahi is a good example of a character driven novel where one man’s descent into absolute insanity is the main focus. John Winters, a seemingly ordinary man, undergoes a multitude of life-altering events that bring forth a chilling dive into madness.
I used to overlook memoirs when shopping for books or perusing the library. In doing this, I foolishly neglected myself a bounty of beautiful books. Memoirs offer insightful glances into the lives of the authors, providing perspectives we readers might not get in our everyday lives. I grew particularly fond of graphic memoirs, a memoir written as a graphic novel. Thanks to the mechanics of comics, graphic memoirs allow the authors to tell their stories in a unique manner.
When reading a book, the reader will visualize the events with their own imagination. This results in multiple interpretations of the same event – each reader will perceive a description in a slightly different way based on their own experiences. Graphic memoirs avoid this thanks to their usage of images. With a picture, you’re ensuring that your audience at least sees the same thing on the page. This way, the author can depict the events of the narrative with greater efficacy and accuracy.
From Jane Austen’s Emma using the upper class regency dating conventions to craft the rom-com to Taika Waiti’s JoJo Rabbit (the script off of the novel) using the unconventional setting of WW2 Germany to create a satirical coming-of-age comedy, history has proved to be a sand-box for comedians.
Every act that the homo sapiens sapiens since they learnt how to write has been a convoluted mess - well, probably not all the time- while paying attention to history class I can’t help but ask the humans in the past “What were you thinking?”
I think there is a beauty, joy, -most likely just a sliver-lining- in the ironic craziness that is our past. Therefore I present to you 3 prompts for a next set of comedies that would not use the internet, or gen z, as a punch line.
A very common trope in historical fiction is to have real people feature as characters in your fictional works, either as cameos, side characters or protagonists. The accuracy of the depictions in these works is on a wide spectrum of historical accuracy. On one side you have those who remain incredibly faithful to the accounts of what these people were like, while other authors delve fully into the realm of fictionalization.
TW: mentions blood, death, and repression.
The last decade has seen an improvement in promoting diversity in the book industry. It does have a long way to go to be great, but it is an improvement nonetheless. But why are classrooms still so focused on western-centered literature? I’m writing this today to tell you the story of a group of friends from beautiful Latin American countries, who have impacted literature in ways you might not even be aware of.
The Latin American Boom started at the beginning of the sixties and continued throughout the seventies. This decade dyed Latin America’s cobbled stones red. Cuba, 1959. Castro, the infamous dictator, rose to power. His regime would oppress whoever opposed him. Ecuador, 1965. Troops marched into universities, subduing students and workers. Mexico 1968. Students protested on the verge of the Olympic Games, all attacked by the army. The phrase «Dos de octubre no se olvida» (October second is unforgettable) is still whispered among Mexican citizens. Brasil, 1969. Death penalty was approved for whoever dared stand against the government. Chile. Venezuela. Dominican Republic. Bolivia. All countries where people, specifically, students and workers who demanded change, were brutally silenced. All while the United States slithered around the continent, supporting whoever they found most convenient (Cinema 23).
El Boom Latinoamericano emerged in this context.
Over the course of his playwriting career, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 10 of which were history plays. The histories recounted actual events, each documenting the reign of an English king. Compared to some of Shakespeare’s other works, they might not seem as attention grabbing. They’re not nearly as infamous as his tragedies or comedies, but that doesn’t mean you should skip over them.
While the histories may not be produced as often as his other plays, they shouldn’t be lost to – well, history. The histories still contribute quite a lot to literature and our culture. Here’s some reasons to give the histories a chance.