Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Happy Prince And Other Stories by Oscar Wilde

We've been reading Oscar Wilde's works for our homeschool literature , particularly The Happy Prince and Other Stories.  The book pictured above contains 9 stories. The first story, The Happy Prince, is the most famous. The story: A golden statue of a prince sits high above the city. Everyone looks up at it and thinks that it seems so happy. A swallow meets the statue ,which is of the late "Happy Prince". The statue houses the soul of the original prince, who in reality has never experienced true happiness. He explains to the swallow that he is very sad, as he can look down and see the suffering of the people. He never understood their suffering before. The statue convinces the swallow to help him by picking of his golden cover and taking pieces of gold to the poor. I won't ruin the ending for you, by
but I can assure you it is (very,very) sad, yet strangely beautiful.

My other favorite story from the book was The Remarkable Rocket. It is a wonderful example of personification, as Wilde does an amazing job making a group of firecrackers seem real. In the story, a bunch of fireworks are chosen to be set off for an enormous celebration of the prince's wedding. The smaller firecrackers are happily visiting amongst themselves when a large firecracker arrives. He brags about himself, what a great noise he will make when he is shot off, etc. When the time comes for him to be shot into the air, things don't go as planned. What make this story so enjoyable is the attention to detail Wilde puts into all his stories. He does not use so many words that it seems like overkill, but he uses just enough so you can picture it in your mind's eye. Below is an animated video from YouTube that follows the story EXACTLY. We enjoyed it very much.

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