Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Scarlet Pimpernel

One of the purposes of this blog is, in theory, for me to not only post my thoughts on the books I read, but also to explore some of the the thoughts those books bring up. I've noticed that occasionally a book will mention something that makes me curious, something I'd like to learn about just for the sake of learning something new. However, although there is a growing list of things to look up, I haven't been very good at following through on it. I'm going to attempt to change that. On that note...

As a teenager I remember having a bit of a fondness for the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I'm not sure why, but it was one of my favorites, (along with the musical Guys and Dolls). I was recently reminded of this when my mom showed me a picture of a Scarlet Pimpernel flower she was thinking of drawing for her art class....it is a very pretty flower. I remember in the play and novel that the elusive Pimpernel would draw this flower when he left messages for his men, and I remember wondering "Why that flower?". Well, in looking a few things up, the best I came up with was from Wikipedia..
This common European plant is generally considered a weed and is an indicator of light soils.

But even so, did the writer know that? I honestly doubt it considering the play was written in 1903. None the less, I think it fits well enough. If I remember the story right, (it's only been about 15 years since I've read it), the English did consider "The Pimpernel" to be a weed, not realizing he was one of their own who was masquerading as a slow-witted and deficient individual. They couldn't see what he really was.

For those that don't know about it, here's a short little trailer I found. The first 30 seconds are a bit long, but otherwise.. (and I particularly like the poem).


seana said...

My dad was a fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel when he was a boy, but I haven't gotten around to it, though I did see an episode or two of a TV version with Richard E. Grant, which seemed fun.

I also just realized that Lauren Willig's very popular The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is kind of a modern day takeoff on this.

Glenna said...

Oh, thanks for the tip. I'll have to check out Ms. Willig's books.

seana said...

Yeah, I'm kind of interested in her books now too.