|Reviews for O Captain, My Captain|
| keishiko chapter 6 . 5/24/2005
haha, dear leila-dono, if you think you're bad with reviews, see how long it's taken me to review this one... sorry! m(_ _)m
anyhow... a dark and difficult story. not that that's a bad thing-in fact, i admire your writing such a gritty, courageous piece. it's not easy writing about holocausts, and i can imagine it would be even harder to put in some of your own personal past. you've dared to plunge the reader into very intimate contact with the darker side of human nature.
that said, i especially admire how you've focused on these two people amid the rest of the chaos. in six well-written chapters you've illustrated them well, without either scrimping or going overboard on characterization or on a realistic description of their troubled context.
hehe. sorry to babble. i'm a bit groggy still. but all in all, brave, admirable work .
| Midnight chapter 1 . 4/28/2005
I also apologize for being so blunt (and i admire that you took the crticism with such poise as i am aware that i did not spare you any of my feelings). I guess you could say i wrote the review "in the heat of the moment" and completely unawares of your own opersonal situation. Looking back, there was obviously no conscious attempt at being inconsiderate, but as you said, even keeping intentions in mind, sometimes they "don't mean squat unless they do somwething".
However, even though intentions can only accomplish so much, they are very important in the field of writing. I know that in Judaism, there is a lot of grappling with the biblical text and rabbinic commentary and what they meant to mean and what they have come to mean/be understood as. Your slight oversight is not something I can't forgive, as i am guilty of that as well. In fact, i am guilty of it here. I had accused you without any knowledge of your own historical tragedy (and perhaps your own personal tragedy, if I have not misread) and thus bulldozed in without any idea of what i was trampling over. As a therapeutic means of expression, it is quite clear that I had severely misinterpreted this story.
I would suggest, however, to still take some of what i said into consideration. Obviously, something had to be missing/lacking in order for such a terribly misunderstanding such as mine to have occured (I'm not trying to shift the blame, sorry if I sound that way). Unfortunately, with such a sensitive topic, and with such little time, this was bound to happen. As you did not have enough time to fully elaborate on your intentions, they did not come thru clear. It is completely understandable and by no means your fault. I can only regret that i did not know that before i wrote that review.
I have also heard stories, and I know that there were many rightious people who saved lives during the holocaust. For instance, The Danish people are to be beyond revered for their astoundingly heroic efforts to evacuate and hide the Jews as a nation even while under Nazi control. Its just so amazing to read about those people, and its certainly something for me to strive for. I also know that its really easy to pin down anyone as "good" or "evil" and leave it at that, and I think one of the lessons of the holocaust should be that its impossible to draw the line (I've also seen the "Pianist" and know that German soldier is a good example of that point). How else can one explain how a highly civilized and advanced world was able to commit such crimes and/or watch in silence (save for those who didn't)? This is true for all of human history, the Holocaust has merely been one example in highlighting it (and if the genocide in rwanda and the current genocide in Darfur is any indication, it is unforntunately but most certainly not the last). Perhaps what in your short time you had been unable to do was to portray Aoshi, Saitou, Kenshin, Sano, etc. as not willing followers but secret rebels, which would have cleared up a lot of what was misundertsood. The fact that you realize that this is not a "completele vision", however, is very comforting. I wont pretend to try to understna d how difficult this must be for you to grapple with this aspect of human history as a means of coming to terms with your own-I have not lost all my family, and I have been very lucky to lead a relatively sheltered life (I cannot make any staement on your own at this point).
I also appreciate that (and i knowI'm being repetitive here) that you were able to respond to this review so maturely. I was kinda afraid after that it was a flame, and i've seen how some authors can get pretty nasty in response to flames (though i can understand why). Its just something I felt neded to be said, and I am so thankful that you were already prtty much aware of it. I'm not just saying this to suck up, mind you, but I also admire your honesty in responding to me and your ability to respond in such a manner in the first place given your own collective history. I do not know much about the Killing Fields in Cambodia, but it is something worthwhile for me to look up. I understand that not just the Jews, but all cultures, have their own 'holoaust', so to speak. I also think its a shame that -at least here in America (I don't know where you live)- we dont learn a lot about other cultures and histories of other parts of the world. I know many criticize the Jews for lingering on the Holocaust for so long, but I think that the problem is not that we are, but that we're one of the few incidences that people know about. As mentioned before, I myself am ignorant. I believe this is a major reason there are so many problems in our world. If people could understand others better, than perhaos we wouldn't have so many global conflicts. Ad i can honestly say that you have certainly expressed that trait of understanding which can only allow us to better our lives and the lives of others around us.
This was an incredibly refreshing discussion, and I am really glad to discuss this with someone other than a jew. I go to a private school so you could say we're retty sheltered, and its really nice to be able to talk about things with people with other perspectives and their own similar pasts. I sincerely hope you will forgive me for accusing you so quickly without any idea of your own collective history, as I should have realized that everyone has their own burdens. Once again, thank you.
| Leila Winters chapter 1 . 4/26/2005
Midnight - No, thank you for your review. It really means a lot for me to have constructive criticism without a person resorting to flaming. I honestly appreciate your feelings on the matter and do apologize if it seemed completely insensitive. Those were obviously not my intentions, but intentions don't mean squat unless they do something.
I wrote this fic for a contest a year and a half ago and was pressed for time and I regret to say that I did not get to give the care and attention the subject matter deserved. I really should be more conscientious because I know very well how any kind of writing or messages in a public forum carry weight, and one needs to be sure that what they are trying to say gets said and not misunderstood, misrepresented, or even should be aware of the blatant/undertonal views that are being expressed (and how the public will view them).
But I also have to admit that the story was a bit of therapy for me. For me, being able to write about a camp connected with my family's history being wiped out by the Killing Fields in Cambodia. And at the same time, also deal with a sexual attack years ago on my person through my fic. The way I skim the horror, the violence and the awful truth in my story most likely reflects my unwillingness to write that far and have others read it and see what lies within my soul. And it was wrong of me. I am realizing that now. I should not have been afraid to say what needed to be said in my fic because it is important for others to understand.
Yet...also, a glimmer of hope for me. I know romance in such an environment is virtually unthinkable, but I wanted to focus on the tender moments one can have, creating a world away from hate. I see Kenshin, Saitou, Aoshi and Sano all secretly working against the system, something I'm sure did not come out clearly since I did not take the time to develope their personal stories with their interactions with their respective loved ones (Kaoru, Tokio) or even each other. And it's silly to think about it this way, some of it was inspired by the dumbest things imaginable: a "Miracles" book which tells "real life stories" of experiences that defy explanation. One of them is of a girl who used to give a boy in a Nazi concentration camp an apple every day through the barbed wire fence that separated them. Twenty years later, they met again and got married. Also, "The Pianist" with the german soldier who gives his coat and food to a man gone into hiding. But there should really be no excuse as to why I chose the premise of my fic. I just did.
I hope to someday return to this fic, and go past the rating regulations to illustrate what should have been written in the first place. You may or may not have liked it better, but that is not really important. What is important is that this story is yet incomplete and is lacking what it needs to complete the vision.
Thank you for thinking critically (and helping ME to think critically) about my story. I have been evaluating my messages and themes as of late and I do want change to occur. Thank you again, you were not harsh at all, but speaking the truth and it means a lot that you are able to state your feelings on the matter.
| midnight chapter 1 . 4/26/2005
I suppose its a shame that this will be the first unfavorable review that you've gotten since the conception of this story, and I suppose its even more of a shame that i have rarely given unfavorable reviews. However, I felt that given the story's premise, it was necessary that I take the time to inform you of my opinion.
I will not comment on the story's style or characterizations as that is not what i am criticizing. It should be somewhat comforting that you are at least aware that your story parallels somewhat what transpired in the concentration camps during the holocaust, but perhaps that makes this only more disappointing. I know that they are artistic liberties, and that i cannot be certain of your intentions-however, I found it offensive that you chose to paralle so closely what happened during the holocaust and barely come short of not making a mockery of it. First, I was shocked anyone would use such a premise so...causally, especially for a romance fic (I can assure you that romance was the last thing on the minds of the people in the camps). Second, i was shocked that you had to audacity to have kaoru make light of the situation, saying not all the officers were bad. I will admit that even in the canon series the 'good guys' had been 'bad guys' at one point or another and had killed before (i.e. kenshin and aoshi), and that making them seem humna and kind despite it does not pose a problem as all humans make and have made mistakes. But to pretend that they could kill with the random violence that the Nazis had done and at the SAME time remain 'good' in the eyes of the victims is just...Ican't even say it. There were those in the holocaust who were forced to perform heinous crimes and tried their best to secretly rebel against the Nazis. But the way in which you presented this fic did not give me the impression that any of the hitokiri were forced - merely willingly ignorant and uncaring. After all, the Nazis were not unkind to theor families, and may have even seemed 'normal' to a certain extent (which just goes to show you everyone has that evil potential)-they merely saw their captives-the real-life parallel to your 'unborns'-as 'subhuman' (if yhou need furhter proof, I'm sure there are several sources which note how the Nazis prized their dogs and maintained them on a much higher level than their prisoners).
I apologize if I was 'harsh' in this review (which i was). I knoiw that as a jew, i am personally affected by the holocaus and perhaps have more of a sensitivity to it that others. Butn i also would like to think that it not just the holocaust, but any genocide, that is as equAlly important and unforgivable. I reviewed this not to damage your integrity as a person or as a writer, but merely to show you that you should be wary of your topic and potential audience. The ignorantly callous way the premise was delivered was far too casual and in my opinion compeletly inappropriate. I noticed that you mentioned that "there will be sections in the future which may get a bit...controversial." What you have failed to realize is that you were controversial from the start. Perhaps next time you chose to copy from history you shall be more sensitive to your subject.
| Risika-chan chapter 6 . 1/28/2005
Wow...That was a great fanfic... I'd have to say one of the best I've ever read... I'd say more...but I'm really not too good on complimenting people on things... ;
| silverhelix chapter 6 . 11/1/2004
Excellent! and i dont use the term lightly. i am afterall, a heartless flamer if something really pisses me off. This story was well worth my time. Just like your other AoshixMegumi fic Wandering Fingertips. Absolutely great. I especially liked how cool Saitou was (as he always is)and how possessive Aoshi got near the end. Couldve done with a bit more details on the sex, though. I mean, you gave it an R rating anyway, shouldn't have wasted it. But a sequel is always an option, isnt it. You have my appreciation for this story and my support for your future ones.
| sekihoutai chapter 6 . 5/18/2004
Really enjoyed this story, as all of your other stories. Meh, great ending...it just gives this feeling to it...you know. Mwahaha, awesome work.
| ChiisaiKo chapter 1 . 4/5/2004
Holy Crap! What an interesting tale. I can't wait to read more. Wow. Such imaginative writing. Very vivid imagery too. I certainly like what I see so far!
| Shimizu Hitomi chapter 6 . 11/25/2003
Lovely, clean ending. Well, you left a lot of loose ends, but not really in a way that makes the fic feel as if it was too rushed. The only thing I felt was not tied up that well was the issue of Soujirou, but even that wasn't so bad.
There's a lot of things you leave unexplained... but I prefer it that way, I think. Because it's still relatively easy to figure out, and anyways the feeling of not understanding much of what's going on really adds to the mood of the story.
I loved the way you portrayed Tokio (slipping notes under the door) and Saitou (You never really know what's going on in that head of his!). And now that I've finally realized how fitting your title is... It's really amazing.
The scenes between Aoshi and Megumi were very well done, especially the implied stuff early in this chapter. The way they both reacted to it, reluctant yet accepting, was very realistic.
One line I thought was rather awkward, though, was the one right after Aoshi storms out: "'Okay...somebody's packin' a lot of heat.'" Maybe it's just me... but I thought that was kinda random... Well, considering what's she's just been through, I mean. Then again, it could be her way of coping... Well, that line just kind of stood out. I think it would have been more effective if you'd just ended the scene with AOshi storming out.
Another thing you could have left out, imo, was here:
"Leaning forward, he whispered in Kanryuu's ear, similarly to how it was done to him previously."
The "similarly to how it was done to him previously" was unnecessary, I think. We readers could probably make the connection by ourselves. _~
Anyway, I think I've already mentioned this, but I love the style in which you've written this. The scenes are short, even abrupt, and don't have a very connected feeling, though they _do_ happen chronologically. But it all just adds to the story, I think. Awesome story! Good luck on your future stuff! _
| Candace chapter 6 . 11/25/2003
All I can say is WOW. Amazing.
| spanglemaker chapter 6 . 11/25/2003
Woohoo! Bravo. :
The chapter ended a bit abruptly (I would've liked to see what happened to Kaoru and the rest of them), but seeing as you were pressed for time (right?), you did a good job of resolving things nevertheless, and that's the important thing.
I also like how there wasn't a lot of mushiness between Aoshi and Megumi. And you handled that "scene" well. I recognized the Tori Amos song. ;p
Hope you keep on writing great stuff!
| mij chapter 5 . 11/24/2003
Oh no! Poor Megumi!
Next chapter is the conclusion? Hm. I hope that there's a way of ending this on a better note, then, if not a happy one. It's so...tragic. :( But well-written, don't worry. You've developed the story rather well IMO.
Hope we see that next chapter real soon! ;p
| eriesalia chapter 5 . 11/24/2003
You already know how much I like this story, right?
Random comment: Aoshi smokes? The doctor should beat him silly for that!
| Cookie chapter 4 . 11/24/2003
I've just read the whole thing, and,, you have a new fan :))
please update soon!
| de aequitate chapter 4 . 11/24/2003
Great job-to tired at the moment to elaborate