Looking Back: The Reason I Deferred University

If my life had turned out the way I had planned, right now I would be sitting on a beach in Okinawa, watching the sunset, reflecting on my life with my hypothetical children Sakura and Midori.

By this point, I would have climbed Mount Fuji and watched the sun rise from the summit, and had many adventures I could look back over. Well, if you’ve got a fantasy, you can’t be half-assed over it. In this scenario, I have perfect vision and gravity defying breasts too.

Instead, I’m in Middlesex, living not the “life less ordinary,” but the life I never wanted.

Until this point, I have never been honest but now I am going to be, and I don’t care about the consequences. I’m stressed and hate what my life’s turned into. Because sometimes I feel so trapped.

How the hell, do you break free from this trap?

Welcome to the working class Mantra. “You have a job, so it doesn’t matter if your happy or not. You have a job”. I read once that class system was tied into Protestantism. In the Church of England, if you have a job and work hard, you’ll go to heaven.

So if I don’t have a job, I’ll go to hell?

Well, some days I feel like I’m at my destination

We say within my class “As long as you’re working,” yeah as long as you sit there with a degree doing as working class job. Because you wanted to better yourself, and often wonder if the Master’s you had to defer is going to help after it’s over. The Heavens will open, red carpets will unfold, blessing from the Pope and all that

In this blog, I’ve discussed self-publishing, life in general and oh yeah learning to walk again.

I’ve never once said what I do for a living (no, I am not a spy) Just that I have a job, one which I’ve held for ten years and one which caused me to reflect on my life and go back to university.

I still can’t believe I did that some days

The moment you have an epiphany, which doesn’t give you the answers. The only thing I did know was the phrase “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Incidentally, this isn’t a comment about where I work. Most days I love my job, I am lucky to work alongside many awesome people. It’s just that I look into my future and do not want it to be my future. There is an excellent reason for this, which I will get into in a later post

Typical story, dissatisfied with life so makes the change and goes exploring. Oh sorry, you need a budget for that. Middle class vs. working class dreams and all that.

On thing I learned early, pursuing goals is for the rich folk! Just google “Follow your Bliss,” and you come up with some Eat Pray Love Bullshit, in which a fantastic holiday of having an orgasm over pasta in Italy, whine like an annoying bitch in India and then fall in love…and then fall in love with someone else.

I saw the film, felt nothing for Liz and her insipid whining about needing a “champion” and feeling so hard done by and “Oh my publisher paid for this, so I have to write about something. Let me inspire you” rhetoric.

I am sick of the stories about how someone “Quit the daily grind, and now works in India in an Ashram, and has a beautiful house…and now buy my bestselling book”. because it’s easy to find enlightenment when you don’t have to worry about the bills

Then again, if you google anything relating to stress or health issues. You get bullet points and some asshole plugging their book. “Yes, I can help you beat stress for $19.99, plus Tax.”

Everyone is trying to force their own path on someone.

Strange the path led me to university. Well, back to university but then I had to fit it around working four days a week.

I am at University for two days a week, there is the writing, there is the reading, there is the critiquing. The latter I did on the X26 to Kingston because time was not my hands.

I had to write, come out of my comfort zone and experiment with new styles of writing, read a lot of textbooks, write some more, critique other people’s work. Feel upset that my work wasn’t good enough, suck it up and remember why I was doing it (even though I didn’t have a clue some days). Navigate the world of the mature student. Produce more work, produce more work. Feel good that I passed my first term, be upset because I knew I could have got a better grade if a had more time. Rinse and repeat for the second term.

In six months I only had one day off a week

Eventually, something had to give, and that something was my sanity.

Stressed, exhausted, burned out and I know I wasn’t producing good enough work because I wasn’t producing anything, which wasn’t gibberish.

If I was pretentious, I could say, “My muse had abandoned me, my creativity was lost like tears in the rain. My creative well had dried up, or my Inner Goddess was sitting forlornly with a pen in her hand and an empty notebook in the other.”

Thank God, I am not pretentious.

In April when my tutor suggested that I defer and start back again in January 2017 to give myself a break, in truth I didn’t want to. I wanted to get this done and get my degree, but I needed to defer and take a break and remember how much fun I found writing.

It has taken me six months to get to the point I can write again. Other stuff got in the way. But I’m writing again, and it’s fun, no matter what I’m writing. To quote my tutor, “I owe my own words again.”

However, ending the post on a cliff hanger. One of the reasons I’m doing this.

Is because the day my dad found that all they could do was keep him “comfortable,” he said to me

“Get out of that job, Jodie. You’re a fucking jobsworth.”

He was wrong about the “jobsworth” bit, but not about the rest.

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Looking Back: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

It’s amazing what defines a moment in your life. Be it a friend coming into your work to tell you in a hushed tone “The World Trade Centre, had been bombed,” to going home and seeing exactly what h…

Source: Looking Back: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

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Looking Back: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

It’s amazing what defines a moment in your life.

Be it a friend coming into your work to tell you in a hushed tone “The World Trade Centre, had been bombed,” to going home and seeing exactly what happened.

I hang on to those last few hours of ignorance, from the quiet bus home to the muted atmosphere. No one wanted to say it out loud, no one wanted to admit it was gone. By saying it, it was real, and the world would never be the same.

Then again, the world has always been the same. There is no real chance of optimism when someone is always going to try to blow you up, to be the ones who take an ideology and twist it until it no longer resembles the actual message.

2001, may have been a new Millennium, but a fresh chance of making it right was never going to happen.

It’s strange to describe to the younger generations, the ones who grew up after the Twin Towers fell, that the internet on phones, was just a mere concept. There was no Facebook, no one in New York filmed it on their iPhones and uploaded it to social media. New York and the world got it in real time, and we were all confronted with the new reality.

Fifteen years ago, I was working in a toyshop and preparing to go back to University to do my BA. Today, I’m working at Heathrow and preparing to go back to do my Masters.

Looking back, I can feel the cynicism that managed to creep in, after suddenly witnessing how the world changed.

One thing I did notice was the almost lack of survivor’s stories. Who were these people that survived? What happen to them? How did they get out?

The documentary, The 9/11 Faker, in which Tania Head who was soon unmasked as Alicia Esteve Head, and whose claims of being in the Twin Towers were proved to be a deception. Did provide one grain of truth, the actual survivors of the Twin Towers felt like they were forgotten.

As if walking out of a collapsing building and watching your friends pass away in front of you, was something which could quickly be dismissed.

And they were forgotten as if they were like the dust of the Tower and could be swept away. The media, being the media focused on the more desperate, the Miracle of Stairwell B. The optimism in the rubble or the ones who had died in their offices, on a typical work day.

The more tragic your story, the more the media lapped it up. Cynical, yes. Wrong, yes. But people needed a figurehead, and these individuals were cast in the role as victims and sadly it’s a role they’ve never got over. Mentally their still standing in their offices on a sunny September day, and almost nothing will change that.

In the last few years, though, that has changed. People are coming forward, telling their stories and making it clear that their voices will not be silenced. The exceptional documentary, 9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor, make it clear who were the heroes and there was so many.

In a world of fraudsters, there were so many people who just stood up to help, just because they could. The firefighters who died in the rubble, individuals like Frank De Martini, Pablo Ortiz and Mak Hanna who just did what they did. Heroics was the last thing on their minds, all they wanted to do was help and some paid the price with their lives.

For the rest, it was one day in their lives which they will carry for all of their lives, all the while the world watched it happen.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like. No interview or documentary can do it justice. How was it for the ones trapped about the impact points, waving out of the imploded windows for help which never came?

How desperate do you have to be, how hot does the exploding jet fuel make the walls feel, before you make the decision to jump from over a hundred floors, and to at least take control of your own death. With their deaths being labelled “blunt force trauma”.

Because no one that day set out, to jump from their place of work. No one ever expected to make the choice to stay or jump, when the outcome would always be the same.

How was it on Windows on the World on the top of the North Tower? Knowing that you’re trapped, and you don’t know the reason why?

Then again, why did this really happen? Though conspiracy theories naturally came up with the answer, because the stark reality is too hard to bare.

Thousands of people didn’t come home that day, that’s the reality. Widows, widowers, and single parents were made that day. It’s against nature to bury a child, and it’s against nature to watch it unfold on television.

In a way, it was the first media tragedy, with the moment of impact all cameras turned onto the Twin Towers. As if it was a disaster movie unfolding in real time.

Fifteen years on, has anything really changed? These documentaries keep it alive for now. Maintain the harshness and brutality of it all. But what in twenty years, or thirty, at what point will it be romanticised and satirised as tragic events always are?

Fifteen years on, and looking back we entered a “Brave New World” of cynicism and insecurity, of children born on that date to only have a few days of peace and heartbreak before Bush declared “The War on Terror.” To have inherited the world, they never asked for.

However, nothing that will ever change is this. On September 11th, 2001, four planes were hijacked.  United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field. American Airlines Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon and American Airlines Flight 11 impacted with the North Tower of the World Trade Centre and United Airlines Flight 175 flew into South Tower of the World Trade Centre in New York City.

At ten o‘clock in the morning on September 11th, 2001, the world was radically different.










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Finding Clarity, when I went for the Goody Bag

This is an interesting one to write about. You know how when something you think will happen, becomes the direct opposite of what actually happens?

Let me start that again.

I’ve been off my own blog for a while because I have been going through some drama. Which I will write about, when I feel I’m able too.

Let’s just say, it’s a bad time, with a load of transition to get through.

However, nothing that will change about me, is that I love goody bags.

Perhaps it was from the birthday parties, I went to when I was little, or it’s nice to get something when you leave an event.

End of the day I like goody bags, especially from the high-end places I could never afford to go to unless there’s a lottery win in my future.

So, after looking on Eventbrite and seeing the “Women’s Transformation Seminar with Aveda, Covent Garden” on the 1st September. I was more focused on the goody bag and £15 off something in the shop, which after spending £15 on a ticket, I thought was a good deal.

And it was Covent Garden, and I love Covent Garden. Having spent many hours of my student days, just looking at stuff and the simple fact that it is full of eccentrics and no one can afford to live there.

To put this in comparison, the Disney Store is next to the Opera House. I have never been in the Opera House.

The moment I got it there, since there was only ticketed for ten people because the Aveda store there is tiny, yes it was one of those “The amount of times I walked past it and never saw it until now” type of situation. Also, I got a glass of prosecco and some healthy nibbles, so it was all good.

Even though I didn’t feel good.

The first thing, after the rest of these incredibly dressed professional women and me, were all seated and relaxed. We were introduced to Scott, given a questionnaire and how best to describe him is though the event page.

“Scott Warden from Aveda will be giving a talk about how to find your unique Ayurvedic constitution.

Scott is a holistic therapist who has studied and qualified in various disciplines including Ayurveda, reflexology, and massage. He has also studied and practised Reiki for many years and is a master in the Usui-Tibetan discipline.”

Scott, I am going to give his dues. He is funny, informative and knows his stuff. Looking back, though, I have to confess I really didn’t have a clue what he was talking about! It was about the Universes, Infinity, and the elements.


Next up was Samantha Hadfield.


A woman who introduced herself by proving she’s got more guts then I have, for having the strength to change her life, follow her passion and is now working in Covent Garden doing what she loves.

And whose job was to get us to open up to each other which for the first task meant we had to write something that’s on our mind, and we can’t tell anyone. It was all done anonymously and what I wrote…it’s anonymous for a reason.

After that, it was all read out, and mine wasn’t related to my looks. I never really care what I look like, but it was so fascinating to find out that so many women there who did.

Let me put it this way, having just come from work, and enduring the tube in rush hour. On a muggy September day, I was wearing jeans, a hoodie and looked like something the sea had coughed up! Yet these women who weren’t wearing trainers, had issues about how they looked?

Yes, I wasn’t going to let that go, and decided to tell them right away I thought they were stunning, in which I hoped they believed me.

After that, we discussed out deep dark secrets, and I expanded on mine…never had much to hide after all. I was honest; I told them at how I feel my life is, how I’ve been feeling over the past few months and how I really need to change it.

The simple fact that I restart university in a few months does for some reason not give me comfort even though I know it should be, combined with the fact that I’m approaching thirty-seven, and my life should not have turned out like this.

Yes, from that above confession I do need to change it all.

One other thing Sam did, was give us pink wristbands with the name of her company, and the statement “Keep going and remember why you started”, which I guess is a good lesson to remember and advised us to change bands, when we’re feeling stressed to transfer the negativity. I’m going to need more than just one band!

After that we spoke about what was on our mind, one of the number wanted to start her own business, the rest wanted a change. Yes, we were into the pursuit of happiness terrority, it’s just making the leap to do it.

The simple fact that I have to do it, and rid myself of the toxic things around me, is at least something.

It was weird in hindsight that I felt so comfortable talking with these strangers, no one would judge me for who I am and what I’m going through. Sometimes I am sick of people telling me to get over it…like it’s that simple.

What Sam did, though was tell us to set ourselves goals, and gave us a timeline to stick to them, to give ourselves something to aim for.

So with a plan to write three things about ourselves in a 1 week, 30 days, 90 days, 6 months and 1 year and I have to try to stick to them.

Here is my one-year goal.

September 2017

Finish Degree

New Job

Get to Japan

I have to try to stick to them; I have to get myself sorted out and get my Degree.

Listening to all these women, however, did get me thinking. We are all in the same boat, we all want something to move forward with our lives, suffering through similar dramas and issues.  Why this is never mentioned at the end?

Success stories make it look so easy when discussed. Pick up any magazine, all you read is.

“I had a dream, I followed it, and all my dreams came true.”

Forgetting the part, “I had wealthy parents, I came from a posh background, I went to private school and never thought about the part where I could fail.”

I never put much stock in those, history is full of people trying to make out they were more desperate than they were, as part of some Cinderella fantasy.

For the dreamers with no connections, it’s harder and easier to fail, but that’s why we have our passion. Proving someone wrong is the best Schadenfreude there is. Especially when those people openly want you to fail, so you will be just as miserable and unfulfilled as them.

So, in hindsight, Sam was excellent. She spoke to all of us at the end and asked me how I was feeling. In truth, I felt “Good, raw but good.”

Best thing really to take away from it all; however, Sam is wonderful and even though I am sure I will not be able to afford her services. I am personally recommending her to everyone.

And if anyone is wondering, in the Aveda goody bag I acquired.

Free twenty-minute facial

Hand Relief 40ml, which smells amazing

Thickening tonics styling spray 10ml

Style hair smoother.

I also brought courtesy of the £15 off voucher the Stress Fix Body Lotion and joined the Aveda Club, which meant I also got the beautifying composition oil for free. I also checked the RRP for the oil, it was £24.00. A pretty good night I’d say.

Mentally, this being the first thing I have written in six months. After going to the event and meeting Sam, I feel better. I know I have a long road ahead, but I am getting better.


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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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