Feathery Ones, and River

Strutting along.

This was so calming, and I needed to breathe the peacefulness.

The river takes my breath away, each time I walk along the paths that are parallel to it.

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Bridge Over River

We build too many walls and not enough bridges. -Isaac Newton

Bridges are happy, because they do not judge those who come to them. -Mehmet Murat ildan

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.A. A. Milne

Thank you for visiting. I hope all is well with you.

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Review: Daniel Deronda

This is my third reading of this amazing novel. I first read it several years ago, and wrote a review of it on a few book sites, years back. My review remains the same, after my third reading. The only exception would be the fact that I admire the strength, fortitude, and courage Daniel illuminated within the story line. His journey towards becoming an authentic human, a man of morals and religious devotion, is compelling on so many levels.

I finished my third reading two hours ago. Most of my day was spent in prayer, reading The Book of Lamentations, due to Tisha B’Av, meditating, having prayerful moments, and reading.

The societal dynamics, social disparities and comparisons, assimilation and acceptance, bonding within the Jewish community, and the separation of social communities due to religion, are relevant concepts and factors within the structure of English ‘standards’ of the time period. ‘The Jewish Factor’ of a Jew being considered equal to English elitism reigns supreme within the pages.

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Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot is a novel that takes place during the Victorian time period. 

The era is important due to the social mores and standards of the time period. I kept that in mind while reading the novel. The two main characters blend within their lifestyles, ever aware of their standings within the societal realm. Daniel Deronda, has been a ward, since early childhood, of the wealthy Sir Hugo Mallinger. Daniel, along with others in Mallinger’s social network, believes that he is Mallinger’s illegitimate son. Daniel is a sensitive man, and often ponders on his birth, and whether his true heritage lends him to actually being a true English gentleman. During his travels and his wanderings he finds himself in the company of Jews. Within his involvement with the Jewish community, he feels a strong bond, feels comfortable within their realm, and feels a sense of commonality. 

Gwendolen Harleth is the other main character, and she is a self-absorbed individual. She thrives on manipulating others to suit her gain. She is proud of being able to control men with her feminine charms. A blink of her eyes causes men to be enamored of her. This is how she has maintained her standing within her social life. All that comes to an end all too soon, for her, as she is faced with the fact that her family is going bankrupt. 

This causes her to take a stance in order to support herself and family. She eventually gives in and marries a man named Henleigh Grandcourt. She feels that she managed to control him to her beckoning, but little does she know that the reverse situation is, in actuality, the truth. He has manipulated her. She becomes aware of this, and in the end, finds herself feeling extreme guilt over circumstances surrounding her husband. She befriends Daniel, with full display of gaining his attention, in her manipulative manner. He thinks of her constantly, yet, his heart is with Mirah. He tries to ease out of contact with Gwendolen in a sensitive manner.

Daniel Deronda is a brilliant novel, and the characters are all depicted vividly, with all of their flaws and attributes. Even the more minor characters are not so minor, truth be told. For instance, Mirah Lapidoth, a young woman on the brink of suicide is saved by Daniel just as she is about to jump into the Thames River. From there begins a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration. Mirah is Jewish, and therein lies Daniel’s initiation and into the Jewish community, its strong traditions, and also its secular offshoots. 

Mirah has run away from her father, and has ended up in London searching for her long lost mother and brother. Daniel’s sympathies has him striving to help her find them, and help her begin a new life. Throughout all of this, he finds himself falling for her, romantically.

Daniel is consumed by Judaism and its ideals, and feels completely comfortable in Jewish surroundings. He can not stay away from the Jewish section, and has cemented himself within the Jewish Quarter with his contacts. His comfort level is fostered by a man named Mordechai, a man of great vision. He practices Kabbalah, and his dreams take him to places others have not traveled. He instills in Daniel the fact that Jews need to have their own homeland, their “Promised Land”. He tries to encourage Daniel to take over his (Mordechai’s) efforts once he has died. He is a sickly man, a man with little time left in life. Daniel is influenced by him.

I enjoyed watching Daniel’s journey and growth, spiritually and emotionally. What he desires most in the beginning of his journey (his proper gentlemanly status) is proven to be what matters less, as his journey takes on new dimensions. He comes into his own, and his identity is cemented with a strong foundation.

The Jewish factors are quite prevalent within the pages of Daniel’s story. His curiosity regarding Judaism is never lost on the reader, and is enhanced through Eliot’s masterful writing and rendering of Judaism. His (Daniel’s) ever need for knowledge regarding Jewish life and traditions is evident, and written with conciseness and accuracy. 

Eliot certainly did her research, and considering the fact that Daniel Deronda was published in 1876, her research entailed a lot of physical work in gaining access to documents and records from libraries to public records, to consultations and so much more. The internet was not even a gleam in the eye of the writer of that era. Considering those factors, Daniel Deronda is a masterful historical novel, a novel that speaks of Judaism in every sense of it, from religious affiliations, to life styles, to food and culture, and so much more. The biblical symbolism is apparent, in my opinion. For instance, I could see an analogy between Daniel and Moses, as far as familial bonds within a family that is not blood-related. 

The majority of the novel seems to be mainly about Gwendolen, and about the upper crust of England. The reader is privy to her mind. Some readers could be put off by the title, but that should not deter them from reading the book. Gwendolen’s arrogance and self-absorption sets the stage for a more serious tone to come. The Jewish society is a separate one, although a social setting of its own, within the scheme of the whole of society and location. It is a totally different concept than the upper class of England. The two social aspects reinforce to the reader the disparity and separation of life style, and the superficial versus the genuine is illuminated. That, to me, was the beauty of the novel.

Once Daniel’s character takes root, it is clear that the story line of Gwendolen, has been written to lead up to the main point of the novel, the Jewish question, the Jewish factor, and the concept of Zionism. Yes, that is correct, Zionism

Imagine, Eliot, a woman of her time period, considering the varied Jewish theories, including the concept of Zionism, and not only that, writing it into the novel, Daniel Deronda. Imagine her debating, through her writing the Jewish question of identity and citizenship. She was a woman whose ideas and theories were spoken of within the pages of Daniel Deronda with precision and accuracy. She was a woman whose standards and ideals regarding the Jewish community were ahead of her time, so to speak, and it reflects in her writing. 

I was extremely absorbed within the almost 800 pages of Daniel Deronda. The length of the book had nothing to do with my desire to continue to read it through to the end. I found it fascinating, enthralling and compelling on so many levels. Eliot’s brilliance and perseverance in penning a novel filled with history, social opposites, ideals and mores, and with a few characters that matter to the reader, is astounding. Her respect for Judaism and its ideals and traditions is made quite clear. Her passion for truth and understanding is evident within the pages, especially within the last third of the novel. 

I applaud George Eliot for her strength and ability to portray individuals, not only at their worst, but at their best, and portray them with religious sensitivity.  Daniel Deronda, is an extremely ambitious novel, a brave one considering the era it was written, filled with historical brilliance through excellent writing. It is a moral story, filled with symbolism. It was controversial during its time period, and has been since then. There are several coincidences, and for me they were relevant, but some might see it differently. If the reader considers the era in which the novel was written, they can better begin to understand the societal context in relation to the time period.

I highly recommend George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda

Copyright Lorri M. No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my express written consent/permission. 


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Colors and Droplets!

Droplets on a green leaf.

I liked that the pollen showed up in the photo. the droplets is what I took the photo for.

More droplets and pollen against red-orange.

Shabbat Shalom to all who celebrate. I hope your Shabbat is filled with droplets of comfort and colors of joy. May everyone have a lovely weekend.

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Flowers and Books, Such Joy!

I took a four photos of two types of flowers, the hibiscus, and the sunflower.

The dark pink hibiscus, above, is from my neighbor’s garden. You can see the sprinkles of pollen on the petals.

I really liked the lacy look to this hibiscus. I love how delicate it looked, even though the flowers are very hardy. I also loved the various tones within the petals, ranging from almost white to stages of pink.

Look at this aging beauty! She is wrinkled, and her skin is coarser in spots. She has been a delight for the neighborhood bees and other insects. They have stripped her dry, so to speak.

These two captures are also from a neighbor’s garden, the lovely sunflower, who has been a feast for the bees. Her flavors have been enjoyed, as you can see.

Books recently read:

Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra. I give this book three stars out of five.

Day Hikes in Washington State, 90 Favorite Trails, Loops, and Summit Scrambles. I give this book five stars!

The Soul of a Woman. I give this book five stars.

Dubin’s Lives. I am in the process of reading this.

The Secret Book of Kings. I am currently reading this.

Thank you for visiting. Have a lovely day/evening. -Lorri

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Foods, Family, Fun

I realize I have been away for a few weeks. I dislike it when I haven’t posted in a while. My reasons were many, but mainly the fact that I had had family festivities, such as birthdays and other celebrations, and I was wrapped up in reading several books in which I ended up reviewing on various websites (not my websites).

Some of my time was spent in eating healthy. The dinner below consists of a baked yam, avocado, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. No salad topping was added. I did put a bit of butter on the yam. I must say, it was all delicious.

For another dinner I had rice, topped with a fried egg, with the yolk oozing over the rice (I love that). The plate also included lox, which I slightly sautéd, avocado, and asparagus. It was all tasty.

Here we go with the oats. I thought I would try overnight oats, meaning I would blend the steel cut oats with various ingredients, and put it all in a container, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, to soften. I had never tried this before, and one of my sons wrote a blog about it, and I just had to try it.

The photo above shows the oats in a container, with chopped walnuts, cut up dates, vanilla almond milk, and a dash of salt. I covered the container, and then…

I decided I wanted some dried cranberries in the mix.

I covered the container, and put it in the refrigerator, figuring I would leave it there for at least twelve hours so the oats could expand to an edible size.

Breakfast turned out to be absolutely scrumptious! the oats were perfect, the added ingredients were softened nicely, and the health benefits were ideal.

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I went out on my deck a little while ago, and took three photos of some plants I have on there. The petunias were showing off their colorful blouses, and I just had to capture them in full bloom.

Petunia prettiness.

Blue pots with fading lavender, and succulents.

Cordyline Indivisa.

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That is about it for now. I hope you have all been well. Take care of yourself, breathe, inhale and exhale.

Thank you for visiting.

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