on Wednesday, October 31, 2012
13 February 1795

Dearest reader,

I will be gone by the time you read this. After I write I shall hide this diary in the floorboards. No one will find it in my lifetime. That may not be a very good estimate of time, however. I don't know how long I shall live. To be perfectly honest, I could be writing to no one. This diary could easily be lost in a fire, or used for tinder, or it may disintegrate before anyone ever pulls up the rotting floorboards of our home. But write I must. These thoughts build up inside of me, rattling against the inside of my skull, pounding through my veins. Traitorous thoughts. Dangerous thoughts. Revolutionary thoughts.

No one must know how I feel about the revolution. Such views are treason, against the king, and the entire royal family. Against Papa. Papa is a baron. I shall not name him for fear of these writings being found too soon, for fear of my safety, and his.

Papa detests the revolution. He calls the peasants and common-folk greedy bastards. He says they deserve what they get.

If Papa was forced to state favor for any of the revolutionaries, though, it would be Robespierre. He thinks he is a traitor, but a driven one. His ends are detestable, but his means are admirable. Whenever his says this it makes me nauseous.

I don't agree with Papa. I never understood how he could watch as people starved, and died of illness, or lack of food. How he could deny them the simple things he takes for granted on a daily basis. How he cared more about how his meat was cooked than whether others has meat at all.

At night, I write constitutions for a new republic by candlelight, when everyone else in the manor is asleep. I draft up laws distributing food equally for all the people in France, providing healing whenever it was needed. I envisioned a France where people could be actors and painters and musicians and architects, or whatever they enjoyed. A France free of poverty and disease, of famine and hardship.

I know I am idealistic. Even if the revolutionaries accomplished something besides condemning every nobleman they could find to death by guillotine and gorging themselves with rich food.

Each night I burn what I write - all my constitutions and laws and visions gone in ashes and smoke. The parchment crumbles in my hands like broken, flaky dreams. Each time I am tempted to set fire to my fancy dresses, my canopied bed, the artwork on our walls.

I never do. I go to sleep with sooty fingers and dream useless, blackened dreams.


Marvella Beaudette
on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the surface, Homer’s Odysseus seems like an ideal hero. He is brave, and strong, and as handsome as the gods. He is clever as well, as he easily tricks the Cyclops Polyphemus, and he can think on his feet, as is proved by the elaborate story he tells Eumaeus. Odysseus is adored by almost everyone; Circe, Calypso, and Nausicaa all fall in love with him almost instantly, and Athena goes out of her way to get him home safely. The only character in the Odyssey that doesn’t like Odysseus seems to be Poseidon, and his dislike was spurred by Odysseus’s blinding of his son, Polyphemus, and act which, to be fair, Odysseus only did in order it save his live and those of his crew.

Upon studying his character further, however, Odysseus is not as heroic as he might seem at a first glance. He is self centered and moody, and he is twice unfaithful to his wife, first with Circe, then with Calypso. He obviously thinks very highly of himself, and while he claims to have remorse over the deaths of the majority of his crew, he doesn’t shed many tears over it. He thinks nothing of pillaging unprotected towns after the sacking of Troy, and seems to be showered with riches wherever he goes. Additionally, no one in the story seems aware of Odysseus’s flaws. Odysseus is painted as a virtuous character in the eyes of all but the reader, and because of this, he seems egotistical and is easy to resent.

By the standards of his time, Odysseus is the epitome of a hero, but to a modern reader, he falls short of the praise he is given within the poem.