Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Gardens of Good and Evil: Part 2 #OurAuthorGang

Image altered from
Welcome back. See part 1 of this series here.

I don’t consider myself to be obsessive even with things I geek-out over. However, my love for all things Batman, Winnie the Pooh, Betty Boop, and Gardens does sometimes border on the line of obsessive. I mean, I have an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to images of gardens. The crazy thing is, I’m highly allergic to nature; still, I’ve never let that stop me from adoring it. I guess that’s why I’ve always been drawn to stories featuring gardens, whether magical or malevolent. I like being able to have the garden experience without all the sneezing and watery eyes. And, of course, I’ve found ways to sneak nature and gardens into my own writing. In this series, I’ll be writing about some of the most influential or creative stories featuring gardens that I’ve come across.

Today, I’ll be talking about the story that helped me grasp the concept of science fantasy as a genre and solidified my obsess- I mean, my interest in fictional gardens. I give to you, Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
I first encountered the story of Rappaccini's Daughter in a college English Lit course. Being the fiction and book lover that I am, I was taking the class for basic credits and simply because I thought it would be fun; BTW- it was. This story caught me off guard. Despite not being a huge fan of the style in which it is written, the overall plot and theme captivated me. The subtle blend of science fiction, with fantasy elements, into an otherwise classic literature medium, was surprisingly impactful. It reminded me of the first time I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Without giving too much of the story away, for those who don’t know, Rappaccini is more than a gardener, he’s a scientist dabbling in things some might consider taboo, and he brings his daughter along for the ride. Enter, Giovanni, the man who discovers the secrets of both Rappaccini’s garden and his daughter. If you don’t know anything about my Eternal Curse Series (currently undergoing a rewrite, but available to my email subscribers for free) you should understand that this story influenced me so much so that my main character is named Giovanni. 

Back in college, I was tasked with writing a critical and literary analysis of this story for a grade. I was very shocked and proud of myself to receive an ‘A+’ on the assignment, in which I did a comparison to the Fall of Man story in Genesis, which takes place in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on my old paper to see some of the points I made to earn my ‘A’, but I definitely know exactly where I’ve stowed it away. 

Since it’s been so long since I’ve read the story, and even though it’s left such an impression, I’ve decided to read it again. I’ve downloaded an ebook copy and plan to read it over my holiday break. I also found this nifty video for anyone interested in a free audio version of the story (FYI-I haven’t vetted this).

In any case, I’m comforted to know that this story has also impacted the lives of other writers as well. I’ve recently purchased the book, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, where Beatrice Rappaccini is said to make an appearance. I’m also looking forward to diving into that sometime soon.
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