Adventures in a Master Degree. Beauty and the Beast Essay. Final Part

So the end of my first terms work, not too shabby and feeling more confident. xx


The Beast Within, Chapter Two

Vincent felt confident that this was a jest, a trick, as he just stepped forward once more, trying to impose a tone of menace in his voice and sound older than his twenty years.

“What trickery is this; what magic is this. You foul creature, what witchcraft made these?” to illustrate his point Vincent, grabbed one of the roses growing in a pot, noticing the colours were blue, “How did you create such things?”

“Through hard work and the study of plants”. Came the slightly defiant feminine reply, oh this was a trick alright, which caused Vincent to advance, determined to do what he had set out to do. Deliberately overlooking everything up until now.

“Then show me your face”. Vincent demanded as a sadistic thought occurred “Or I will kill all your children.”

The figure froze and seemed to sag slightly, even cloaked he could see its defeat, as the shimmery hands lifted up carefully, and pushed back the hood.

Revealing the most incredible face Vincent had ever seen.

It was a woman, along with her glowing skin, her hair was dark purple and fell long across her shoulders, and he noticed her long black dress under her cloak, but it was her eyes that blazed green, which he truly saw.

Vincent blinked and tried to understand, yet by this point, his mind was unable to function rationally.

“You’re the Beast”, he exclaimed, causing the woman to blink.

“I’m the what?” her voice though annoyed had a lyrical quality, which almost caused Vincent to sway. This had to be a trick, some demonic magic.

“The Beast, a hideous, monstrous Beast”, Vincent exclaimed, while the woman just looked confused.

“I’m a monster, I let some unconscious man into my home, and his first action is to come after my children” The Beast, woman shook her head. “I knew it; I just knew it. I know I shouldn’t have left that armour in your room” She claimed, more to herself.

Perhaps it was the idea of killing children which went against everything Vincent knew and caused him to immediately become defensive.

“I’m not here to kill your children…I just said I would”.

“Then why are you here, in the dead of winter. A time where no one comes to my Castle…or even through the Forest”. The woman demanded, angrily.

“I came at this time because it’s the one-time no one has ever attempted”. Was Vincent’s retort as the woman just rolled her eyes.

“Perhaps because no one is stupid enough to it in sub-zero temperatures, you fool”, she said sarcastically, causing Vincent to blink.

Aside for her exotic looks, she looked and spoke, like a human. However, she still wasn’t, he reminded himself once more, as she looked up again.

“So why are you here? Why come to the Forest, so late in the season?”

“I’m here to take the Beast’s head and…”

“Wait a second,” the woman stopped and just held up her hands.

“You called me the Beast, you think I’m a Beast?” she asked, undoubtedly trying to take in what Vincent had said, as Vincent, himself just nodded.

“I’m a Beast…and you came here to take my head…why on Earth would you or anyone want my head?’ the question sounded so absurd coming from the intended target, which caused Vincent to struggle for the answer.

“Because you kill the children, we leave for you. In your demonic sacrifices”.

The woman shook her head, “This is just too preposterous” she muttered to herself. “Demonic sacrifices, taking my head…calling me a monster”. Then from behind them was the door opening, causing both of them to turn their heads.

“Mama”, came the small and almost pitiful voice, which caused Vincent to blink. It was a girl aged about eight or nine, unlike the boy and his arm, this one had a significant mark on her face.

Without it, she might have been called pretty, instead of looking disfigured. The girls grey eyes settled on Vincent. Immediately, she looked puzzled while the woman never turned round, but made it clear to whom she was speaking to.

“Claudia, go upstairs with the others”. She said, to the little girl, who just ignored the request and race over to her “momma”, and pressed her face into the woman’s cloak causing the shimmery hand to brush through the little girls red hair.

“We’re scared mama; we’re afraid of the bad man”. The little girl muttered, gripping the woman’s cloak with all her might, while the powerful words from the little girl, finally made Vincent lower his sword.

“You’re not a monster”, these were words that Vincent had never imagined saying. In his most vivid dreams, he had always envisioned, cutting off the Beast’s head and marching it back to his people.

Instead of this, instead there was this young woman and these children, all the while the female just smiled softly and shook her head.

“No, I’ve never been a monster, nor Beast”, while she relaxed no doubt by Vincent’s fallen blade and just smiled still running her hand over Claudia’s head in a comforting manner.

“But these children…your sacrifices”.

“Oh my word, this is going nowhere”, the woman said to herself, just shaking her head, as she bent down to the child.

“Claudia, darling. Go back to sleep with your brothers and sisters, and I’ll speak to you in the morning.”

The little girl didn’t look too convinced, but did as her mother advised her, and swiftly disappeared through the door, not before giving Vincent an odd look, which he couldn’t decipher.

Which gave the two, their moment of silence, before the woman finally broke in with the most unique thing Vincent had ever heard.

“Due to the customs of your people…would you care for a cup of tea?”

The voice was so traditional and so strange for the situation, all Vincent could do was nod, realising how tired and hungry he really was.

“That would be…fine”. Vincent said smoothly, as the woman directed him to follow her, with a gesture.

A few minutes later, both of them still walking to, he assumed the kitchen, “I hope you don’t mind. I would have asked the children, but all of them safe asleep…well should be asleep. Your appearance made a lot of them curious, you know.”

Vincent just grunted to this, his sword was now back in its sheath. But he wasn’t totally relaxed by this turn of events; while out of the corner of his eye he was aware he could see more children, a myriad of different ages, all gazing over balconies and from behind doors.

Until the woman just spoke up, “We don’t get a lot of visitors, none really”. While she cleared her throat. “You know, then I saw you lying in the snow, I really thought you were dead”. The woman declared, smoothly, causing Vincent to almost stop. “You were the one that found me. Why didn’t you leave me to die?”

“Because I’m not evil, no matter what you may think” came her reply, until then both turned a corner, and into a large kitchen. Pots and pans were all stacked up, and gleaming bronze, and in the middle of the room was a large tea service, all setup, with steam pouring from the spout of the large pot.

“Ahh one of my children must have prepared it”, she stated cheerfully, sitting down with ease into one of the wooden chairs, gesturing Vincent to do the same.

All the while he, cautiously kept an eye on her, as she decanted the two cups and watched very carefully as she took a sip of the steaming liquid before he did the same.

The tea tasted delicious, and thirst quenching, while he drunk greedily, even though the woman had placed down her teacup and was studying him curiously.

“I can imagine you must have questions”, she said with a wry smile on her lips, as Vincent eventually placed down the cup with a small rattle against the china, yet chose his word very carefully.

“Where do the children come from?”, even though his first word should have been asking about this mysterious woman in front of him, with the shimmery skin and strange hair, but this question caused the woman to just tilt her head.

“They’ve been left at the entrance of my Forest for generations. I take them, bring them here. Some stay, some don’t. I never ask them to do either, it’s always was their choice”. She finished quickly before Vincent could ask more.

“So you don’t…eat them?” Vincent finally said, which caused would be called a chuckle from the woman’s throat,

“No never, you don’t want them, so I did. I took them, took them into this Castle. Left over from the old King, oh many, many years ago” She smiled softly at the memory while Vincent began to feel hot inside.

“But the men, the others who have been here before”, he managed to say, while rubbing his neck. Why was he feeling so warm?

“Some enter, most leave…but those who get too close”. She stopped before trying to find the right words. “Well, I always put the world to rights”, she finished, her gaze never leaving his face.

In Vincent’s mind, he could feel his brain, slowly turning over and over, while his vision swam, what was in the tea? All the while the smile never left the woman’s face, and sliding to the ground. Vincent heart finally stopped, and his life left his body, permanently.

For a few minutes, all she did was sit there, until he had finished his death throw, and one of her children came into the room. It was Sean, one of her eldest who had seen it all before. Who leant over and just closed his eyes, with his fingers, the glassy stare unnerving the teenager slightly.

“In the Forest”, he whispered to his mother, who just lifted her hand to the boy’s birthmarks face, the reason he had been abandoned fifteen years earlier.

“Let the blizzard die down, darling. Before you go out, and wrap up warm”, she stated, and just leant back and drunk her tea.

Of course, she didn’t want to kill him. He was no older than some of her children, but he was all like the others at heart, in truth she may have given him a chance. But calling her a “Beast.”

How disrespectful


The end


Any comments, criticisms? Please let me know

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Adventures in a Masters Degree. Beauty and the Beast Essay. Part 3

So, this is the creative part of my critical essay. It’s not my best work since I had issues writing something original since the “Tale as old as Time” really is. A lot more I could have changed, but c’est la vie.

Yes, Vincent is named after the character Ron Perlman played in the awesome show. And it was mentioned in my write up that it’s similer to The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. Well The Tiger’s Bride story begins,

“My father lost me to The Beast at cards”

Yeah, I can’t figure it out either


The Beast Within

By Jodie Portugal


The moment Vincent entered the Forest, there was no fanfare or celebrations. Most by now were bored and indifferent of the young men, entering the sacred space.

To go in and not die, just stagger back after a few days, lost and bewildered, some with hair so grey from the shock of what they had seen, but of course never captured.

Stammering that they had seen something, but which they had chased, but, of course, came back to the start. One of the tricks of the Beast, to protect its lands and lair from invaders.

Now it was Vincent’s turn, even though his family tried to dissuade him, He would be killed, he would be crippled. But the desire to prove his manhood, against the ribbing of his friends, was too much for his ego.

He promised to cease the human scarifies and misery the Village had to endure, but his statements of grandeur were too often heard, by the youth so were just ignored.

Adjusting his backpack, containing all he would need, in case the stories of the fruit from the trees, being poisonous. Vincent finally ventured in. To find nothing.

Nothing out of the ordinary. It was just a natural Forest, whose trees smelled of soft pine, and the grass was green and lush. Turing around, he tried to survey the scene, expecting the darkness that had been installed in him, as a child. Yet, it was perfect, perhaps too perfect.

Maybe something was watching him in the shadows, of the trees he thought to himself, as he ventured deeper, almost not noticing the first drop of snow fall gently from the sky, too confident in his abilities to see the season changing.

Three days later, changed everything.

Vincent had never been so cold, he had passed by that point, as he drifted further into the Forest, or perhaps he was going back to the Village. He wasn’t sure, of anything anymore. All he knew what that he was freezing, and going to die, die all alone. “So stupid, so stupid”, was the mantra in his head.

He tried with one shaking hand, to brush the snow settling on his face, feeling like it was freezing his eyes. Attempting to focus, but the show had settled on all the trees, obscuring his vision, in a sea of whiteness, his track being instantly hidden by the blizzard. Feeling the coldness, seeping into every inch of his body.

Vincent eventually collapsed on the show, the ice stuck to his cheeks and hair. Feeling the darkness encroaching, he saw something out of the corner of his eye, stepping through the storm, something big…

His mind formed the words, and then he knew nothing.

It was the sound of cracking wood, which made him open his eyes, which tried to focus on the ornate ceiling, as they moved around his location. It was magnificent, with a fire sending warmth across the room.

Vincent attempted to take it all in, he was lying on a large bed, surrounded by furs, his armour and sword was lying next to a large ornate table, looking cleaner than when he first placed it on his body.

His tunic and trousers were put on a chair, from his vantage point, they also looked like they had been cleaned.

Vincent tried to understand, but, his mind was too troubled by these events for rational thought, as he slipped off the bed, and realised he was naked but clean. Every inch of his body had been washed while he was sleeping…but by whom? Who had found him? The room had no windows, so he was ignorant of his location, but he was safe, and that was something.

Dressing quickly, Vincent out of habit, took his sword, but left his armour behind, knowing that it would be disingenuous to his saviours, who every that may be.

With caution, he slipped from the room and realised he was standing in a Castle. Never having stood in one, in his entire life. He knew the images from storybooks.

The ceilings were high, with flying buttresses, a word he recalled, with tapestries on the walls featuring woodland scenes, hiding the marble walls. The most striking thing was in the distance echoing across the rooms, he heard the faint sound of a woman singing.

Finally, his protector, he had to find them and give them thanks. Stepping past a window he couldn’t see outside due to the snow stuck to the glass, courtesy of a blizzard still raging, reminding him once more that he had been saved from the clutches of death.

Stepping forwards, Vincent had the feeling of feeling uneasy, as if he was being watched as he followed the voice, out of habit, Vincent brushed his hand across the surfaces he came across. Still wondering if this was real or not, as he came to the door of a library, and where the voice apparently originated.

Approaching the door, which opened, Vincent was confronted with the sight of the biggest library he had ever seen, from the wall to the ceiling, it was crammed with books, with balcony and ladders in-between.

Yet, while his gaze wandered around the room, it settled on the large chair, in front on a roaring log fire, and the sight of the hooded figure, and something within just wavered, as he caught the wisp of bright purple hair.

That brief moment, that one hesitation was enough for Vince to draw his sword at the sight of the unnatural hair colour, as the person, thing whatever it was just tensed up.

The hood was obscuring the face, but as he stepped round carefully, Vincent realised what he was seeing, and instinctively, pulled his sword from the sheath,

Almost instantly, the thing rose to its feet, and Vincent noticed that it wasn’t tall, perhaps a few inches shorter than he was. The hood was now pulled so far down that the face was obscured. However, it was the cloak which now drew his attention.

The cloak resembled a mismatch of colours that he been put together and replaced over time, it resembled a rainbow across the body. Yet, Vincent could feel the fury emitting from the figure, as it, appeared to glance to the drawn sword.

“Reveal yourself; let me see your face”. Vincent didn’t mean to sound so defensive, even in the warm sanctuary of the room, all the whole the figure slowly figure raised its hands, causing Vincent to see the colour of the…oh my God.

Its hand resembled the hands of a human. But there was a shimmer across them, something green and unnatural. The hands poised at the edge of the hood, ready to remove it, heightened the tension, which felt almost unbearable.


All tension, in the room, broke abruptly as Vincent’s mind reeled by the tiny voice coming from being him. Turning his head, with his sword still gripped in his hand, so that his knuckles turned white.

There stood a boy, he was aged about four years, his arm hung twisted by this side, mangled and deformed. His face seemed familiar, though, as he looked to Vincent, and then to the figure. A look of total confusion and fear on his face,

The figure didn’t even look at Vincent. With a swish of the cloak, however, the boy was in its arms, as Vincent remembered the stories of his youth and took after the figure.

For a few minutes, both of them run through the Castle, Vincent had no idea where he was headed, but could see the figures, cloaked head, and initially felt week, yet was fuelled with adrenaline, at the sight before him.

It was the Beast, it had to be the Beast and that child…was it fattening him up for the sacrifice, he thought, as he slowed down suddenly. The boy said “Mama”.


Still continuing his pursuit, he turned into a door and was almost blinded by the light and heat.

He was standing in a room made of glass, panels all around him, which seemed to trap in the warmth of the room. It was like a garden inside, something he had never imagined up to now, as in the corner of the room. Vincent could see the Beast; it now had a second child by the hand, this time, a girl, and was pushing both the youngsters into what looked like a passage. “Get up the stair and wake the eldest. And get ready to run”. It…she, told the children, before slamming the ornate door tightly before turned to Vincent.

She…seemed to move side to side, trying to surmise the situation, before under the hooded cloak came the voice which had inspired fear for generations within the lands.

“Please, do not hurt my children”.


To be Concluded xx

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Adventures in a Masters Degree. Beauty and the Beast essay. Part 2

Well here we go, the second part of the critical essay, and following this, is my creative piece.


Beauty and the Beast part two, aka my Character assassination of a Disney Princess

Picking up exactly where I left off

Chapter two, The Beast is in a state of arrested development


Within this text, he is now the protagonist, and Belle until the end is regulated to the side-lines akin to Fairytale and Feminism p21, “woman, strive to “repossess” femininity and resurrect “maternal authority” in a world that allows children to mature.

By child, I am referring to the Beast, who if the prequel, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is taken as canon to the story, the Beast was ten or eleven when he was cursed as the flashback to his youth and transformation suggest.

With this in mind, as I explain further on. Belle’s presence is allowing the Beast to mature, but into the man she desires him to be. She may have sacrificed her life to save her father, yet as a guest in the Castle, she appears happy to manipulative the situation to her advantage.

The servants have their own agenda, and are pleased to engage Belle, and above all give her what she wants. Their entire future depends on keeping her happy, and they will do everything they can to manipulative this to their advantage, from giving the Beast advice, albeit the wrong kind at how to attract Belle, to cleaning up the Castle in Human Again, an abandoned song from the theatrical release, but animated and restored for the DVD release, juxtaposed with the servants, is Belle and Beast bonding over literature, namely Romeo and Juliet.

But with the focus on the servants, in pivotal scenes like this, and “Be our Guest” Deconstructing Disney P52-53, suggests that the performed routine (both song and service) has been well rehearsed…with Lumiere as Maurice Chevalier, the song runs through national stereotypes and culturally received images of France’ and being hospitable as their rank and employment states they have to be, their job is to make Belle comfortable,

Belle as a character, does appear to trust to Beast, is her that initiates the dance, it is Belle who  allows the Beast to place her hands on her body and, Belle due to her fascination with fairy tales is living her very own fairy-tale. Casting back to her original introduction song “Belle”, within these lyrics are her description of her favourite part, which occurs on two occasions.


Belle upon being given the book

Well, it’s my favourite!

Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise

At the town centre to the village children

Here’s where she meets Prince Charming

 But she won’t discover that it’s him ’til chapter three!

In Reading Ourselves: Towards a feminist theory of reading, p489 Ibid. For a woman, then books do not necessary spell salvation. In fact, a literary education may well cause her grave psychic damage: schizophrenia ‘is the bizarre but logical conclusion of our education”. When comparing this statement to Belle, and the villager’s reaction to her as being “odd” and “strange”, and we are meant to disagree with this declaration since Belle, up to this point is the protagonist.

With this in mind, even though Belle is, I am not suggesting suffering from mental illness. She does, however, wish to live in a fantasy world, in a Castle, and with the help of the servants who become her enablers.

The Beast gave her the library out of genuine kindness, to pay her back for restoring his humanity. However, Belle, even though she did stand up to the Beast after he was injured by the wolves, which did even out the status quo between the two, is now beginning to transform him, into the type of man she wants to be.

Belle’s arrival in the West Wing exposed the Beast and gave him the catalyst to change and to come to terms with who he is, as he lets Belle go, through the symbolic touching of her hair. He’s the one who’s matured and grown up as he recognises his mistake in seeing her as his redemption, and he has fallen in love with her.

However, Belle, from this point on more problematic,

The saving of her father and the second rejection of her wannabe suitor Gaston forces the issue of what choice Belle must make, but at the same time she is ignorant of her own presence, of making the Beast regain his humanity.

This line of dialogue makes this more visible.

Maurice: But the beast.  How did you escape?

Belle: I didn’t escape, Papa.  He let me go.

Maurice: That horrible beast?

Belle: But he’s different, now.  He’s changed somehow.

This one line, presents the choice, Belle must make, and that would mean recognising her own femininity and inner strength.  And admit the effect she had on the Beast, which would mean admitting falling in love with him, and breaking her own fairy-tale, and finally mature into an adult.

In conclusion

As a character, Belle does possess feminist traits, more suited to the modern day, then the eighteenth century, however, what differentiate her from being considered a feminist character, is due to her entitlement and inability to make choices for herself.

Everything she does, she is forced into, usually due to actions of a male within the story, be it her own father, Gaston or the Beast.

In a way, Belle is a feminist character, since she knows who she is, but never recognised her faults, never acknowledges her femininity, though she is aware of her attractiveness, yet sees it as a hindrance. Since that is all the villagers, apparently see.

Belle is given the opportunity to live in a fairy castle world that she feels she already knows, and readily accepts the world around her, being Enchanted. Yet never is once seen to question the reason why. Even if the glimpse of the Prince in his portrait in the West Wing, should have made her ask questions.

Expecting her father to be safe at home, not lost in the woods, reminded her of his existence, since after he is taken this is the first time she mentions him aside from her initial shock of losing him because she expects him to be at home.

Yes, she leaves the Castle, but the Beast makes the decision, even the actions of Chip, and the anthrophonic ten-year-old teacup, would have forced her to return to the Castle, even if Gaston and the mob hadn’t shown up. In effect, every real choice is taken away from her, but one. And that is her acknowledgment of her love for the Beast while the last petal falls from the Enchanted Rose.

Post-transformation, Belle who wanted “adventure in the great wide somewhere” now has to face up to the reality of her situation.

Belle is now a Princess and all that this entails, and now has to accept responsibility for her actions, which does require putting aside her dreams and learning what it is to run a Kingdom.

And this is where Belle’s ‘foreigner” status as mentioned earlier, is the more thought provoking when considered her entitled nature.

Belle’s, actions change the people around her, yet she truly learns nothing, and even in the Castle continues to look down on the people around her, since their job is to serve, and she is happy to dictate to them.

She may be the catalyst for change, and consider herself educated, yet, in reality, this enlightened Princess, is no different from Gaston, and only exists to bring the Beast out of the shadows.

However, this film, winner of two Academy Awards, and what really established Disney’s renaissance, confirms that is truly, a “Tale as old as Time.”


The End of the critical work, the creative original work will be up in a few days



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Adventures in a Masters Degree: An essay on Beauty and the Beast

So here we are for my second piece which I got 50% on, My first critical work for ten years. I know I should be disappointed with my 50%, but I’m not. I worked hard on this, I wrote what I wanted to write. There was so much more that I could have written and it was mentioned that I treat “Belle” as if she was a real person. In the context of a Disney film…she is a real person! Also I removed the bibliography and filmography . And yes I wrote an essay on Beauty and the Beast…well, write what you know!   It’s also several thousands words, so it will be put out in stages over the next few days

Representations of Feminism in the “Tale as old as Time”: The Placement of Women in Beauty and the Beast

By Jodie Portugal

Within this critical essay, I intend to discuss the issue of is Belle, from the Disney film Beauty and the Beast, and explore is she is a feminist character. Or does her very identity only truly exist to bring the titular Beast of the story to regain his humanity, and is she less character than a prop?


More tellingly, as a character through the various texts, I will be discussing, is the most interesting aspects, by bringing the Beast character, to the foreground. Is Belle one of the most marginalised Disney Characters of all times?


Beauty and the Beast came to fruition with its release in, but from the first idea to the release, in 1991 it spent decades languishing in the Disney Vaults, as stated in On Being Human in Beauty and the Beast “Interestingly Walt Disney had explored the project in 1937…and again in the 1950’s.” “On both occasions he (Disney) struggled with the more daunting aspects of the project: the fact of being only two main characters and the challenge of creating a beast that was at once “beastly” enough and sympatric.”

However, as I will attempt to prove by making the Beast a sympatric character, meant the sacrifice of the Beauty for the Beast.

In 1991, Beauty and the Beast, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise and drawing inspiration several sources, but chiefly the original tale from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published in 1740, the revised and more popular version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756. And La Belle et La Bette, by Jean Cocteau in 1947, introduced us to this new “Tale as Old as Time.”

The first indicator, that Belle is not the focus of this fairy story, is attained through the prologue, narrated by David Ogden Stier’s, and visually revealed through the stained glass windows.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. And as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there. Ashamed of his monstrous form, the beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?

By ending this monologue with a question, we quickly get our answer in the form of Belle, going through her village in her own words, of a poor provincial town. What marks Belle out in her titular song, is through the lyrics she describes the typical lives of the village and its inhabitants. Though the lines “Every morning, just the same/Since the morning that we came/ To this poor provincial town.”

In Deconstructing Disney, Welcoming Disney, Chapter 2. P50. Is it stated that “Belle herself, has been an unwelcome immigrant to rural France”. This is further indicated by her manner of dress since she is the only inhabitant of the village who wears blue. A design as mentioned in the commentary of the film, as a trait she shares with the Beast, who deliberately possesses blue eye.

However, a more interesting aspect occurs, as Belle appears apparently enlightened, by her ability to read, due to the fact she is heading to the Village to return a book she borrowed. It is more telling within this song that all of the other villagers are going about their day, raising families and going about their employment. However they are a community, where Belle seeing to attempt to educate them on wonders of reading, is simply ignored. They view her as ‘Strange’ ‘Different’ ‘odd’. However, they are a community, where’s she appears to have deliberately segregated herself from the town, by never seeking employment, or attempted to integrate herself.

Belle may be a ‘foreigner; yet publically appears not to mind. Behind closed doors, however, she laments this to her father, Maurice, an eccentric in the tradition of Disney fathers from Geppetto onwards. He never seems to mind what the Villagers think of him, yet Belle situation appears to bother her.

However, her own lament to in her lines of dialogue are “There’s no one I can really talk too”. Indicates that Belle, by being an immigrant to his community, and feeling enlightened due to the mere fact that she knows how to read, seems above these individuals, since during “Belle”, she never once asks anyone how they are.

Even though the people are openly friendly to her (to her face at least) behind her back, they view her as suspicious, but I suggest that is a failing in Belle’s part then theirs, due to her unwillingness to integrate herself within the townsfolk.

This is not down though to a suggestion of the villain of the film Gaston, who desires Belle, for the reason, she is the most beautiful girl town, hence unobtainable to him.

Further on, after Maurice has left the Village with his invention, and is subsequently locked up in the Beast’s castle, Belle has to endure a failed engagement from Gaston, which leads her to as the commentary described as her “I want song which contains the necessary lines

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere/I want it more than I can tell

And for once it might be grand to have someone understand/I want so much more than they’ve got planned

At this point, Belle is the fifth in the Disney Princess line, however that these two lines do is separate her from the others, who had a clear idea as when they wanted.

Snow White: Desired for her Prince to come, and succeeded when Florian revived her

Cinderella: Desired to go to the Ball, subsequently meeting Prince Charming, which was never her intention, but gave her she freedom, she was unable to claim for herself

Aurora from Sleeping Beauty: Her primary goal was to see Prince Phillip again, something that succeeded when he rescued her, after defeating Maleficent, breaking both her curse and winning her heart

Arial, a Mermaid, who held an interest in the human world and meeting Prince Eric, was her catalyst for wanting something more. Ariel does research on the items she finds in the sunken ships, albeit she does receive the wrong information, due to her only available source.

These Princesses’ all, knew what they wanted, Belle however only “knows, is that she desires. “Adventure in the Great wide somewhere”, yet is never seen working toward her goal.

In truth, Belle is not an enlightened woman, born before her time, due to her education. But an entitled woman, who believes she is better than the “little” people around her, because she has had the benefit of an education, but does nothing with it.

Employment for women in Eighteenth-Century France, the time frame of the film is subjective. However, we must take the year the original book was released in1740, and by the dress styles of the inhabitants.

Instead, she appears happy to sit at home reading fairy tales, even though she is in her tale teenage years, yet never works or want to work for all her goals.

Further on in the story, after she along with Phillipe, (the horse) finds the Beast Castle, and she offers her life in return for Maurice and agrees to stay there on a more permanent basis.

The film now directs the focus onto the Beast, who we had seen in shadows and silhouette when Maurice entered his Castle. Belle is his redemption and according to Welcome Disney p51. The Beast’s hospitality towards Belle is a gesture of misappropriation (he holds her prisoner, with the aim of using her to break the spell).

However, it is only after Belle, after being entertained by the additionally cursed anthropomorphic servants of the Castle, who have their own invested interest in Belle succeeding, after she breaks away from the Servants to explore the West Wing

Belle will not willingly to integrate herself within the Village, and her transgression in the West Wing, where she openly defies the Beast’s only request. Indicates that she will not attempt to integrate herself into this household. But instead of facing up to her responsibilities, and waiting for the Beast to calm down, His subsequent rage, inappropriate, but his anger was due to Belle’s attempt to touch the Enchanted Rose, and obliterate the only thing that can break the curse, under the circumstances was understandable,

With the moment, due to said anger, Belle runs off into the night, which leads to the Beast rescue of her from the wolves. At this point, the Beast is revealing more of his humanity, but once again, he shows a vested interested in Belle’s safety because she is the one that can break his curse.

However, at this juncture, the pair come to an understanding, and begin respecting each other, with the Beast slowly rediscovering his humanity through her actions, but at no point are these two characters presented as equals. With the Beast being more social and humanised which is reflected by his manner of dress, and his more defined manners and speech.

Yet to compare with the original text, and Beauty and the Beast, Enduring Elements p134. “The Beast as a beast is still the dominating power of the story, and the Beauty (Belle) must come to terms with it”. It has to be noted that Belle at this point becomes more placid and her reward for this action is the gift of the library from the Beast. By doing what he has told her to do, she is rewarded for it, aside from giving the Beast the impetus to change.

However, in Deconstructing Disney welcoming Disneyp53, Belle returns after the Beast saves her for wolves, and potentially complicated sexuality of the Beast projected onto the wolves as beast’s”, Belle’s dresses change, she no longer resembles a peasant girl from a rural village. Symbolising her maturity, yet even though Belle, is assisting with the Beast’s personal transformation, it doesn’t change the fact that Belle is transforming someone who had been stuck in a world of arrested development since he was ten!

To be continued


Halfway through, I wonder what people think?  

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My Critical Work: The Wise and Wild Child. Chapter 3

So here it is, the final chapter. My other essay will be up in a few days xx

It’s also short, it’s only 5000 words after all

Chapter Three

All was silence, as Sophia still on the ground tried to take in what was happening.

While and the three figures ghosts, Sprits…whatever they were, were all currently standing at the table and took a step closer to her.

Sophia pressed herself into the wall, hoping she could disappear, or they would disappear, and out of the corner of her eye could see her things still lying on the ground, almost parallel to her body, as unmoved from the moment she had dropped them.

Sophia eyes darted over, then and could see just behind them the three Kokatu’s statues and knew who the other two resembled, yet all of them were coloured blue, which made them look so unnatural. Then the Guardian stepped forwards, sending a jolt of fear into Sophia’s spine. He wasn’t tall; he seemed about five foot but wearing interlocking iron-plated armour.

Sophia had seen some early versions in Museums, which resembled what he wore, yet under he appeared to be wearing a long leather tunic. She would have asked him, more about that. But from the look on his face, he didn’t seem the type to enjoy casual conversations, as he was the first to speak to Sophia.

“So this is the girl? She reassembles a peasant”. His voice, which Sophia translated in her head sounded stern and rough, apparently not impressed at the sight before him. Something which caused the Entertainer, to move also, he was also clad in a simple tunic, but there was something that resembled a flute hanging on his waist with a leather cord.

He looked in his twenties and just gave her a smirk, which manages to break through Sophia’s fear and made her feel, infuriated while the Caregiver just lifted a perfect blue hand.

“She knows our traditions, and knows our ways and she was the one who restored us”, the Guardian said smoothly before the Guardian broke in aggressively.

“She knows nothing; she is a child”.

Sophia having the benefit of learning Korean from an early age, and practicing it daily since the writing had changed over the years, but the language mostly hadn’t just felt indignant, which was replacing her fear.

“Now I’m not I’m almost thirteen.”

It wasn’t exactly a surprise to find out that even though Sophia said it seem older, she instead sounded like a child and cringed inwardly. But she saw how she could speak their language, caused surprise to filter across their faces, which made them seem more human.

To Sophia’s surprise since she had been tormented the night before, now felt strangely calm, as the Guardian smiled at her once more, even though the Guardian had more to say.

“A peasant child”, he sneered as his gaze fell across her body, which perhaps was not intended to make her uncomfortable, yet succeeded in doing so. Ok, she was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but they were appropriate no matter what anyone said.

(5000 word count)

“She is neither peasant nor child”, the Caregiver’s tone, was an apparent attempt to chastise the Guardian, who only scoffed but stepped back, as the only female in the group looked over to Sophia, who had taken the moment to get to her slightly shaking feet. An act that gave her a moment of confidence, yet she still remained at the wall as the Caregiver said to Sophia,  “Tell us your name, young one and where you are from?”

“Sophia, Sophia Chu”, he said after a moment’s hesitation and the Guardian just blinked.

“Excuse me!”

Even with the circumstances, since this was out of habit, Sophia just signed since matter where she went she always had to explain that. To friends, strangers and now apparently…whatever was in front of her.

“My dad’s Korean but my mom and I are American, it’s a country far away and it’s why I can understand you”. She explained, it was also where Sophia really wanted to be at that present moment in time, but she kept that to herself.

Upon hearing this simple statement, it was the Guardian who was the first to speak.

“So a peasant child, born on distant shore”, and it seemed that even though the comment was directed at Sophia, it was directed at the Caregiver who just responded calmly.

“Yet she was the one who entered our enclave, she was the one who presented us truly. Perhaps she is the one we seek”. Her smile was genuine, which was something Sophia appreciated, as she tried to process what the Guardian was saying, as the Entertainer finally opened his mouth,

“So she is the one we seek…how perfect”, the voice matched the age, which was slightly comical, as he threw the Guardian a look, which caused Sophia to pick up on some tension between the two, as Sophia finally cleared her throat, making all of their gazes fall upon her.

“Look, I don’t know who you are; I really want to get my stuff. I really shouldn’t be here.” Sophia managed to get out while all the figures just stared, and naturally just ignored her request.

“Yet you are here and perhaps you are her”, this came from the Entertainer, even though it had only been a few minutes, the words he had spoken were so cryptic, it managed to rile Sophia, who finally in all of this realised there was one thing she had forgotten to ask.

“Who are you?” Sophia finally managed to say, as the Guardian just grinned, an act that made him look a good decade younger. “Finally the peasant, asks something sensible. Let us tell you everything”.

“No,” said the Entertainer, “It’s been too long, and she may not understand our ways. Being born on distant shores may have made her ignorant”. He finished with a chuckle, which even though Sophia had somehow remained calm somehow, but now felt a small moment of dread, as the Entertainer continued.

“Let us show you. Let us see if this wild child, is as wise as she appears”. There was more to the words he was saying, Sophia was sure of this, yet she didn’t have the time to question it, as the world around her suddenly began to shift.



So here is it, in the entirety. Looking at it now, I can see the things I could have changed. But it’s still my work and I’m still very proud of it xx


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My Critical Work: The Wise and Wild Child. Chapter 2

And here it is, the second chapter.

Before it’s read…and hopefully liked, and a massive kudos to those who have been reading it and sharing it, I really do appreciate it. I thought I’d better explain about who these people are. They are all real people. I am lucky in life to know a fantastic family in America, who I met in Italy six year ago, who pretty much adopted me on the spot after I went up to them and asked them if I wanted to take a group picture of them all, they invited me to explore the ruins with them, and that was it. It was like magic, since a solo traveller staying in Pompeii and a family who were just in Pompeii for the day, and were staying in Rome. Stuff like this doesn’t just happen.

So to Jennifer, Jimmy, the real Julie and Morgan (sorry in the story when I write it, you get a mention later) and to the real Sophia. I love you all and thank you for always inspiring me xxx

The Wise and Wild Child

Chapter 2


Sophia went back to the Hotel, fully expecting her sister to be there. Knowing what she had done, and be ready to unleash total fury on her little sister. Instead, she went back with a note on the front desk, telling her that Julie may be busy with Ballard for a while and that she might see her at dinner.

That might turned into never as Sophia once again was alone in the Hotel, after showering the grime and grit off her body, watching the sand and blood disappear down the drain.  Noticing the purple bruises that were appearing on her back courtesy of the mirror in the bathroom, which she hoped would fade quickly.

There were scrapes down her skin, from where she had been slammed into the rocks, which wouldn’t disappear as fast.  Sophia all alone just stood on the balcony overlooking the sea less beach and just stared at the cave for hours.

The day before, it looked inviting, but now every time she looked at it just gave her that twist in her stomach, in some way wishing her sister was there since she had hardly seen Julie all week. Her skills as a temporary parent now proved to be debatable at best, as she mentally just strived for comfort and for once ordering room service didn’t help.

The tasty dish of Bulgogi. The grilled marinated beef she had come to love in her weeks on the Island. Hence, it was what she typically ordered, seemed to taste of nothing, but she ate it anyway.

Once again her only real human contact was the Waiter who removed the dish from her room, who gave her his usual sympathetic smile, which Sophia returned out of politeness, but felt tormented inside.

Sophia knew she had to go in and get her backpack, and knew that her sister would kill her if she found out what she had done. But then again, after seeing, whatever that was. She had seen something…right?

Something in that cave had said “Anyoung hashimnikka.” Something had actually said “Hello” to her in formal Korean, but how? Was Sophia’s inner thought of the evening, as she went over everything that had happened that day.

Feeling concerned that her mind was playing tricks on her, and hoping it was Sophia felt exhausted and raw from the events of the day. Eventually, she tumbled into bed and wrapped the fresh sheets around her body. Feeling that sleep would evade her, due to the pain she felt, but instead perhaps lulled by the full moon and the cool breeze, she slept instantly.


“Sophia, get up. It’s midday already”.

Sophia just groaned, her body in pain, and she opened her eyes and shut them again due to sunlight streaming through the window. Wondering if she remained still enough, would her sister just get bored and disappear?

“Sophia, I’m telling you to get up now”.

Once again her sister sounded so much like her mom, for a moment it could almost be in the next room, even though she felt confident that Julie would not be happy being told this.

“Get up already, you’re wasting the day”. The familiar voice, now sounding more aggressive.

“Alright, I’m up. I’m up” Sophia grumbled, pulling herself from the bed, her legs protesting this action as she finally stood up and Julie stepped into the room.

Due to the heat, her sisters had pulled her brunette hair into a ponytail, but strands had become loose and were coiling around her head, making Julie look more dishevelled. Julie was wearing a black T-Shirt and jeans, which ensured she looked younger than a woman in her late twenties.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” Sophia asked her sister while trying not to show how much pain she was currently hiding, and hoping that her sister didn’t notice her grazed knees under her nightie.

“I came back to change my top, and you’re still in bed”, the tone felt accusing, which Sophia didn’t blame. She knew her sister spent her days completely stressed running the excavation for The Ballard Institute. The reason why Julie had been summoned to the Island was having some severe logistic issues. Even though her sister hadn’t gone into the reason why.

“Why are you sleeping so late anyone, you sick or something?”

Her sister wore the look of concern on her face, as Sophia just shook her head.

“No, must have had heatstroke or something”. Sophia said quickly while Julie made a move to leave.

“Well if you’re going out, remember to take your water, and be back for dinner and have something to eat before you go. You missed breakfast and lunch”. Her words so rapid, all Sophia could only nod, and with a click of the door Julie had gone.

Still standing, Sophia just looked at the bed, just wishing to dive back into the sheets and sleep longer, though relieved her sister hadn’t mentioned or even noticed her missing torch, which meant she didn’t need it that day.

But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t need it later and stepping to the balcony she felt the heat wash over her and let her gaze fall to the cave. Sill there, like a jagged cut in the cliff overlooking the beach.

Sophia knew she had to get her stuff back, even though the torch belonged to sisters, but the backpack had her name on the label, making it clear who it belonged too.

Quickly making up her mind, even though she didn’t grab anything to eat due to her stomach feeling like it was twisting in knots.

Sophia dressed quickly but did grab a bottle of water from the fridge in the living space in the main room before leaving the Hotel, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible as she walked down to the beach.

Like the day before, with no one in sight, Sophia felt like there could be.  Constantly looking over her shoulder and across the beach in case someone should appear until she came to the mouth of the cave.

This time, she didn’t have a torch, but held her iPhone in the air, to get some extra light, and once again this time, with a lot more hesitation she stepped past the rock pool, which had almost destroyed her ankle the day earlier.

She looked up to the stalactites, still hanging perfectly in the air, and recalled her steps perfectly, as is nothing was different from the day before.

The fact that this felt so familiar didn’t stop the hesitation in her stomach, and still moving through the cave, she stepped over to the stone wall. Still clad in the ancient carvings, and run her hands over the smooth warmth, but just kept walking until the perfect gap in the rock appeared in sight.

There laid her bag and torch. All she had to do was go in and grab it. Get back to the beach and deny anything had ever happened. She vowed to herself and braced her body for the run, even though it was something she hated at school, Sophia knew she was fast and got ready to run.

Pausing to grab a breath, Sophia willed herself, and raced into the cave, she remembered exactly where she had left her things. All Sophia had to do was grab them and run, not look at anything, nor acknowledge a ghostly figure standing in the room which she had done her best to forget since yesterday.

That was that she intended to do. Instead, the ground gave way and Sophia, now of habit just crashed to the cold stone floor, and immediately moved over to the wall

Instead of one figure, now stood three.


To be concluded

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Adventures in a Master Degree: My Critical Work. The Wise and Wild Child. Part 1

Right, I promised myself that I would post my University work on my blog. Because this is making me feel like a better writer and to show that doing a Master’s Degree is possible. So for this I got a 58%, which I am very proud of.

Writers Workshop: Term One

It’s in three Chapters, I’ll be posting the rest over the next few days and I hope you enjoy it

The Wise and Wild Child

by Jodie Portugal

Chapter One

Even though the beach was deserted. Sophia couldn’t resist looking around one more time.

At the height of August, the smooth sand and gently warm breeze, would have ensured the miles and miles of coastline, should have been filled with people.

If there were an ocean, she would have spent her days getting a suntan and swimming every day. But there wasn’t an ocean or any people especially anyone who was her age, which she could have been spending her days with.

Everyone had left for the mainland, leaving only the people who wouldn’t go, the few Hotels that refused to close and the reason she was standing there

Instead, she stood all alone and knew she shouldn’t be standing there at the mouth of the cave. The only thing to stand out against the smooth coastline, like a jagged cut in the landscape.

The first time she had seen the cave, she had asked the locals at the hotel if she could explore it.

Yet she got the same reply each time. It was too sacred for “foreigners” like her to enter, but that seemed all they were willing to tell her. Neglecting to tell her the reason why. Even thought she had visited several historical sites and Shrines while stuck on the Island.

She had seen more Jonggo Bell Towers, stood in more Iljumen entrances and spoke to more Priest, then she could remember. Each one telling her “How amazing it was that her Korean could be so perfect” and never looking deeper at her face, to notice the reason why.

After three weeks stuck there, while her sister Julie completed her assignment doing…whatever The Ballard Institute actually did.

Sophia had learned that her sister did live up to her reputation of being efficient and organised and that Sophia, herself had become extremely bored.

So after exploring every inch of the Island, Sophia had come to the decision right in front of her. Now all she had to do was enter, fully aware that Julie could get into a lot of trouble if she did.

Looking around, she could just turn back and that would be it, no one would be the wiser. Yet standing at the cave entrance, it looked so inviting, it almost compelled her.

Taking one more look around she turned back to the mouth of the cave, the wind suddenly causing a strand of her blonde hair, to fly out which she tucked behind her ear.

Switching on the torch she had acquired from Julie that morning, and by acquired took it from her backpack after her sister had left for work.  Sophia finally stepped inside.

Compared to the oppressive heat of the day, the cave felt cold, the only sound was water dripping in the distance somewhere, which gave off an odd echo.

Taking a few steps forward, she lifted her torch to shine deeper into the back of the cave which seemed to stretch out for miles. Sophia took a step forward, all the while trying to ignore the heart beating rapidly in her chest.

Venturing further, her left calf caught against a rock, which caused Sophia to winch.  In hindsight she should have thought better than wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, she had not to successfully cut into shorts, along with her thankfully old pair of trainers.

A thought which turned to be correct, when her foot skidded on a smooth rock, and almost sent her flying into the rock wall, causing the torch to slip from her hand, which bounced twice on the ground, but thankfully didn’t break.

For a second, Sophia just stood there, with the pain thundering in her left foot, which thankfully passed. She took a moment to look up at the cave ceiling, aware at how high the sound of water dripping was at this point. Retrieving her torch from the ground, she cast her light and gaze into the air and drew a breath.

There, at least, a hundred feet up were stalactites hanging from the ceiling like rust coloured icicles, looking at if they could fall at any moment, and crush her skull.

Something she knew was unlikely, since they had existed for thousands of years, and hadn’t been disturbed by her arrival.

The sight of them, however, made her uncomfortable, so testing her foot on the ground, Sophia noted the ache subsiding, which gave her the motivation to carry on.

For several minutes, the only sounds were her footsteps on the ground, and that continuous dripping water, until she glanced over to the stone wall and stopped. Noticing expertly, intricate carvings cut deeply into the stone wall, which looked familiar to her.

Stepping over to the cold stone, she ran her fingers over the carving, cut apparently by hands, in what resembled old Korean.

Recalling the time her dad had sat her down, with a book in his hands and had decided to teach her about her ancestors, and about the Hanja language, so old it more resembled the ancient Chinese it originated from.

Sophia smiled to herself, knowing that her dad would be proud of her for retaining the information, and made the decision to at least get a photograph.

Stepping back, Sophia reached into her pocket for iPhone noticing she had come so far into the darkness there was no reception, and holding it up; she activated the camera and pressed down.

The light bounced across the wall, capturing the digital image. All of a sudden, the air felt disturbed by a sudden wind, that came out of nowhere with a howl, at it slammed into her, and seemed to pull her further along. The immediate pressure causing Sophia to almost drop both her iPhone and torch, which thankfully stayed in her grip.

Until finally the wind died down, and Sophia adjusted her long hair which had been pulled askew by the sudden force, noticing that she had begun to shiver from the sudden drop in temperature.

Sophia knew, that this should have been the moment she should had just turned round and gone back to the safety of the beach, and forgot all about this. Just return to the Hotel, and that would be it.

“Yeah, that’s it. Just go back”. She said aloud, noticing the echo her voice produced on the rock

Willing herself to remain calm, Sophia thrust her iPhone in her pocket and placed a hand on the rock wall containing the characters to steady herself. Feeling comforted by the warmth she felt. Then she stopped suddenly. The rocks were warm!

Sophia couldn’t explain this, as she felt the heat slipping through her fingers. Perhaps there was a way to explain this, something scientific. Even though she was terrible at science hence didn’t understand how this was happening and wasn’t exactly in a position to question why.

But looking at the symbols, even though she didn’t completely understand the meaning, her curiosity was fired. She had to go on, to see what else awaited her, and she turned and just kept on walking, holding her torch high, her iPhone now safely back in her pocket.

For several minutes, she just walked further, the sounds of the dripping water felt far behind, but she preserved, her hand running over the warm rock like it was a guide.

She had no explanation for it, and within her was the trepidation she still felt. Yet still overridden by her curiosity. Now coming to understand why this cave was so sacred because this wasn’t normal by any stretch of the imagination.

Travelling deeper into the mountain. However, Sophia was beginning to feel confident and more relaxed.

Which was the moment her torch suddenly extinguished.

Immediately, Sophia slapped her hand against it, in a bid to reignite it, but still nothing.

Alone in the cave her panic, which she had been managing to quash with her stupidity in doing this in the first place, begun to rise. Her hands curled around her iPhone in her pocket, which illuminated her face, but it showed no reception. Of course, it had no reception. She had known it had no reception. Why had she even checked?

Sophia, looked behind, to the encroaching darkness, where she had come from and briefly wondered if she could go back successfully. Yet she knew it was futile.

All alone in the darkness, she closed her eyes and willed herself to calm down, counting back in her hand which her mom had taught her to do.

“Ten, night, eight…”

Reaching the final number, and feeling slightly less panicked, Sophia willed her eyes to open. To find the cave drenched in a blue light all around her.

It looked like it was coming from somewhere, as the light, which seemed to start in the distance far in front to her, yet when she turned, stretched all the way back.

The soft blue light that reminded her of the colour of the sea clearly illuminated her way back to safety, but there she just stood trying to make sense of all this and failing. Nothing about this made sense, the light… the carving on the wall, which she couldn’t understand.

“What is going on” she wondered out loud, placing her hand on the carving to find the unnatural heat, in a bid for reassurance which succeeded.

Sophia knew that the sensible thing would be to turn round and just return to the beach, but turning behind her, she just walked forward for a few steps. Her very present fear, now replaced by her natural curiosity. Her dead torch, still in her hand but she didn’t place it back in her backpack, feeling more secure just holding it.

Out of the corner of her eye, just in the distance, she could see where the light seemed to begin and was perhaps the place it originated from. Deciding to continue on her path, almost stumbling over some stones which looked like they had been ripped from their original location, lying scattered on the ground.

Until she came to a smooth cut in the rock, made by hand, which seemed to have been made with care and attention. It did appear clear that this was where the light, whatever it was had originated from. So looking around out of habit, she pressed her way inside.

There was coldness in the room caused by the stones, which had been ornately carved into a chamber, with a high ceiling, which was laced with the strong small of salt.

Sophia looked up and too that the light seemed to come from a place above, which she knew was impossible so far up into the mountain.

Looking around see the light reflect from the rock, producing tiny crystals that glittered across the room, Sophia finally understand what she was standing in, and why the cave was so scared.

“It’s a Shine”, Sophia said to herself. In her time on the Islands, she had seen several, as part of her education when sister Julie had the rare opportunity to spend time with her, but those were nothing like this.

The Shrines on the Islands and there were so many, were filled with colour and ornate decoration. But the only indication of any real effort was the stone table in the centre of the room.

This came up her waist, and stood grander that anything had had ever seen. With graceful cravings in its surface, more expertly made then the cave wall.

Sophia brushed he hands over the serpent-like figures, from Korean mythology, marvelling at their detail, and smoothness. There were some words cut into the legs and table, but Sophia, even though she could speak and read Korean couldn’t understand this.

However, this looked ancient and all she could do was marvel at the detail. Knowing that Julie would be excited to see this, even if that could never happen.

Moving around the table, nearer to the wall, it was then she saw the four objects lying on the ground. Sophia stepped over, and kneeled down on the floor, shrugging off her backpack, and leaving it next to the table, along with her torch.

All were intact, but one which lay shattered into fragments. Like an intense burst of wind had knocked them over. And thinking back over the past few minutes that seemed a possibility. But one lay shattered and scattered across it the stone floor. Its original features were sadly unrecognisable.

Recognising that since this was a Shrine, these objects were gone from the correct place. Sophia picked the intact three up and put them carefully on the table, taking the time to remember what they were.

All of them, she remembered including the one that lay shattered were Kkoktu Statues, each one, at least, half a metre high. Typically used for funerals to protect the dead in the afterlife.

The painted colours had faded, but Sophia could still see that they were meant to be as she picked up the first one, and studied it carefully.  It looked like a Guardian standing fierce and armed with a sword tucked into its expertly carved belt. It looked just like a warrior, Sophia thought and from the mean look in its eyes, it looked poised and ready for a battle, which never came.

Placing him back in upright position, which made a scraping sound when the wood moved against the stone, Sophia then turned her attention to the Entertainer.

In a perfect contrast, he was dressed as an acrobat. His role, since he looked distinctly male, was made with the intention to comfort both the living and the dead in the afterlife. A phrase she had learned from her guidebook.

Placing him upright, Sophia the picked up the Caregiver, this resembled a woman, her face looking maternal and middle aged. Her role provided care and attention as if the deceased were still living, and placing her on the table. Sophia stepped back and realised that something was wrong.

“The Guardians before the Caregiver, the Entertainer after the Guardian,” she said out loud. There were marks on the table indicating where they once stood, as Sophia adjusted them to their rightful places, or as close too.

Stepping back to admire her handiwork, impressed she had remembered so much about Korean funeral rites, she pulled her iPhone from her pocket to at least take a picture.  Sophia lined it up perfect and pressed the shutter down.

Less than a second later, the world exploded into a brilliant light, which spent Sophia slamming into the stone wall, and crashing to the ground.

Looking up, she could only watch in fear as in front of the table, something begun to appear out of nowhere while Sophia tried to move back, but only found the cold stone wall.

Slowly the figure appeared, out of nothingness, in front of her. And all Sophia could do sit in horror, while…whatever it was, begun to solidify and resemble something human.

Sophia’s eyes darted over it, and she could make out the traditional Hanbok garment that was appearing as if it were real and it seemed to be transforming into a human.

Then Sophia begun to realise, that’s exactly what it was, as the face solidified and immediately started to resemble the face of a middle-aged woman.

Sophia eyes darted over, trying to take it all in, and noticed the resemblance to the Kkoktu statue still resting on the table. The Caregiver now resembling a human, yet her colouring was blue like the ocean. Who just looked down at her and just smiled serenity at Sophia, saying the only thing one could possibly say under the circumstances.

“Anyoung hashimnikka.”

The two words, so traditional, so formal and so unnatural, all Sophia could do was scramble to her feet and run.

Diving for the exit, she raced from the Shrine, and just run frantically.

Her heart thumping so hard, everything seemed to slow down, and she stumbled through the cave. Several times skidding on the damp, smooth rocks, and almost fell until the harsh light of the day finally appeared in sight.

Sophia dug her heels in harder, as the warmth of the sun grew closer and burst back into the daylight, and immediately fell onto the sand.

Until this moment, she hadn’t noticed that her knees had been grazed until she felt the dry sand sticking to them, and she just lay there on the sand, struggling to catch her ragged breath.

“Oh god, oh god, oh god” she kept repeating to herself. Had that just happened …what had just happened? What was that? Her mind in turmoil, when the phone vibrated in her pocket, she almost jumped with the shock, as she pulled out her iPhone to see a very familiar number.

“Hi Julie”, Sophia said to her sister trying to remain calm and failing, realising how out of breath her voice sounded. Oh god, calm down Sophia, she willed in her head. Since her sister noticed the agitation in her voice and was immediately concerned.

“I’ve been calling for hours, where were you?” Her sister’s tone reminding her of their mother’s voice.

“Well…well, I went for a walk and forgot the time” Noticing she had been in the cave for two hours…two hours. How could she in there for two hours? She had only gone in a few minutes earlier. How on earth did that become two hours?

“Forgot the time…why have you not been answering your phone?”

Sophia finally saw that her notification had come through now she had reception. Hence, she had seven missed called from her sister.

“Sorry…my phone. I turned it off…trying to save the battery”. The moment she said the words, she immediately cringed. Sophia wasn’t a natural liar and felt certain sure it showed.

“You sound out of breath, where have you been?”

“Well, I…it’s just hot and I got dehydrated,” Sophia said, her lie becoming a bit easier this time.  “Right, remember to drink some water…did you take your water bottle today?” Julie asked.

“Yeah, I did…I got some in my back…oh no”, Sophia breathed as her sister took on her authorial tone once more, “What was that?” Julie asked while Sophia thought quickly.

“Yeah, I got some water; I’ll be back at the hotel soon”. Sophia finished quickly before disconnecting the call, pacing her iPhone on the sand and just put her head in her hands. Her torch that was really Julie’s torch and the backpack…

Glancing back at the cave still scared, still forbidden and currently leaning next to the legs of a table of a Shrine that she shouldn’t have gone into were her things.


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