Dear Evan Hansen: Side Characters and Representation

Dear Evan Hansen Side Characters and Representation

I recently got to see the musical Dear Evan Hansen, which was pretty cool. I didn’t know much about it (I’d listened to most of the soundtrack once, but that was it), so it was fun to watch the story unfold. There was a lot about it that I really enjoyed, but one thing in particular stood out to me from a storytelling aspect.

Much of the musical deals with loneliness, depression, and suicide, and many of the characters feel like no one would notice if they disappear. There can be lots of stereotypes around these topics, which makes it easy to generalize about complex issues. Dear Evan Hansen avoids stereotyping by portraying different characters dealing with the same issue in different ways. This happens most notably with Alana, a side character.

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Pan’s Labyrinth: Movie Tastes

Pans Labyrinth Movie Tastes

Do you ever read or watch something that just sits right in your psyche? It’s as if you could sum up your tastes in stories with that one thing. I watched Pan’s Labyrinth a couple weeks ago, but still find myself thinking of it like that. It’s a very ‘Justice’ film.

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Avengers Endgame: The Importance of Choice

Avengers Endgame the Importance of Choice

Part of the journey is the end

After drying my tears (and boy, there were tears), I realized why Avengers 4: Endgame was deeply satisfying. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that this is the last we’ll see some characters. But it was still a great movie, because for each of their departures, the characters deliberately made a choice to leave.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

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A Tale Dark and Grimm: Tackling Big Themes

A Tale Dark and Grimm Tackling Big Themes

Despite what the storybooks told you, Hansel and Gretel were actually a prince and princess. Also, their encounter with cannibal witch wasn’t their fairy tale adventure, and it certainly wasn’t their last. The stories you read as a child may have left out some important details, but A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz is here to tell you the real story.

While the bloody details behind the nine interconnected fairy tales are promised (and delivered) by the enthusiastic narrator, this book goes beyond its funny, compelling narrative and looks at a few themes in great depth, themes you wouldn’t expect to find in a children’s book.

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King of Scars: Expectations and Pleasing Your (Entire) Audience

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King of Scars is the first of a highly anticipated duology by Leigh Bardugo. It’s the latest installment in her Grishverse, which started with the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and includes the Six of Crows duology and the Language of Thorns collection. King of Scars centers on Nikolai, the king of Ravka (and the absolute best part of the first trilogy), and his general Zoya.

With such high expectations from everyone, I wasn’t too surprised that some people were disappointed. But what did surprise me was what people actually disliked. Often, the parts people complained about on Goodreads were my favorite parts of the story. And I thought certain areas that many seemed to love were the weakest parts.

When a book is as highly anticipated as King of Scars, people have their own expectations of where it will go. Because of this, reactions to how the story actually unfolds will be mixed, no matter how well it’s written. In the end, it’s impossible to please everyone, so you have to focus on writing the story you want.

Contains major spoilers for King of Scars and minor spoilers for Six of Crows.

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Things Fall Apart: Perspective in a Reader

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Growing up, I never thought I would be the type of person to hate a book just because I read it for school. Then I took a truly awful English class (if such a thing can exist), and read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Things Fall Apart shows how colonization in Nigeria made ‘things fall apart,’ especially for a particularly brash Ibo man Okonkwo. This book is popular on high school required reading lists, which means there are a lot of negative reviews complaining about it on sites like Goodreads. Mine was one of them—for a while.

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