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About the Pontes Books Blog

Salve! This inaugural blog post is really an introduction to things that are to come! Here at Pontes Books we are passionate about the Classics, but are even more passionate about making them understandable and relevant in a modern world. Though the primary purpose of our bridge and parallel versions of Classic novels is to help with understanding, what about relevance? Here’s where the blog comes in!

Each post will focus on one of four major categories, with a few wildcards thrown in every once in a while. Each chapter will have four dedicated posts before moving on to the next. Here are the categories:

Vocabulary

For each novel, we analyze all of the words in the original version. First, we track the number of times each word is used. Then we go through the words that are used ten or more times in the book and pull out the ones that fit into the following categories: tier 2 words, tier 3 words, and Classical words.

Tier 2: Words that are not used in every-day speech, but that will often be seen in other texts.

Tier 3: Words that are specific to that topic (e.g. words dealing with royal life in The Prince and the Pauper.

Classical words: These words a really like a combination of tier 2 and tier 3 words. They are generally specific to Classic texts only (tier 3), but can be seen across multiple Classic texts (tier 3).

Photo credit: https://prakovic.edublogs.org/2015/07/14/building-vocabulary-tier-by-tier/

Each vocabulary-related post will focus on one word from one of these categories (or a group of similar words). We will examine the basics like definition, part of speech, etc., but we will also dive into the etymology and also modern uses.

One caveat related to these posts is that not all Pontes Books versions may contain the words selected. Since the vocabulary has been simplified in most bridge versions of the book, certain vocabulary terms will not appear in those versions. If you are reading the Red, Orange, Purple, or Pink versions, you will be guaranteed to find the selected words.

Relevant Current Event

Though many of the events of Classic novels are certainly outdated, the themes and conflicts are universal and eternal. For each of these posts we will scour the internet for modern (or mostly modern) news articles that relate to some of the characters, events, and themes in the most recent novel.

Historical Tidbit

Many Classical authors include locations, names, events, etc. that were familiar to people at the time the books were written. However, now some of those references have become outdated and the general public are no longer familiar with them. This type of post will focus in on the relevant historical facts that help to understand the references and allusions that may go over our heads due to time.

Fun Fact

Last but not least, these posts will pull out random fun facts that can be related to the corresponding chapters. These could really come in many different shapes in forms and help to bring the FUN and increase your random knowledge for future trivia nights.

We’ll be right back!

We’re taking a brief two-week vacation! Blog posts and videos will return Wednesday, July 7th. See you soon!

If you have any questions, contact us at admin@pontesbooks.com.

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eighteen – Current Event

Many people exaggerate their traits for personal gain. Some do this for love, some for fame, some for success, and others for pity. For today’s Current Event we explore an example of someone who was a victim of this type of person to the most extreme degree…

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Keep reading or watch the video below to find out about this tragic story.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“‘Peace! Here comes one with a kindly face. Now will I fall down in a fit. When the stranger runs to me, set you up a wail, and fall upon your knees, seeming to weep; then cry out as all the devils of misery were in your belly, and say, ‘Oh, sir, it is my poor afflicted brother, and we be friendless; o’ God’s name cast through your merciful eyes one pitiful look upon a sick, forsaken, and most miserable wretch; bestow one little penny out of thy riches upon one smitten of God and ready to perish!’—and mind you, keep you on wailing, and abate not till we bilk him of his penny, else shall you rue it.’” (p. 113)

Here we see Hugo pretending to be sick/injured in order to gain pity (and money) from a stranger.

Munchausen Syndrome

  • Disorder where someone repeatedly and deliberately acts as if they have a physical or mental illness when they are not really sick
  • Considered a mental illness
  • Named for an 18th century Baron who was known for exaggerating stories about his own life
  • Munchausen by Proxy – when a caregiver makes up or causes an illness in a person under his/her care

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

  • Lived in Springfield, MO
  • Gypsy was in a wheelchair, had a feeding tube, carried an oxygen tube with her, as long as a number of other health disorders including leukemia (when she was a toddler)
  • Her mom took care of her and they were very close
  • As Gypsy grew up, her mom began to lie about her age
  • They received a lot of help from different organizations due to all Gypsy’s disorders
  • Gypsy started talking online, and began realizing her mom was lying about some of her conditions
  • In the end, she decided to get help to fight back, and it resulted in her mother’s death (and Gypsy’s imprisonment)

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References

https://www.biography.com/news/gypsy-rose-blanchard-mother-dee-dee-murder (Warning: Some explicit content)

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/michelledean/dee-dee-wanted-her-daughter-to-be-sick-gypsy-wanted-her-mom (Warning: Some explicit content)

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw180537#:~:text=Munchausen%20syndrome%20by%20proxy%20(MSBP,child%20abuse%20or%20elder%20abuse.

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eighteen – Fun Fact

What’s a fear that almost everyone has when they are younger? Even as many people grow up, this fear continues to linger to some extent. Today’s Fun Fact for Ch. 18 is…

FEAR OF THE DARK

Keep reading or watch the video more information about why people fear the dark.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“Then, just as he was on the point of losing himself wholly, he distinctly felt something touch him! He was broad awake in a moment, and gasping for breath. The cold horror of that mysterious touch in the dark almost made his heart stand still.” (p. 116)

This quote comes from a scene where Edward is trying to sleep in a dark barn. But all of a sudden something brushes up against him and he is both immediately awake and paralyzed with fear. It turns out to be nothing more than a calf, but it takes Edward a while to build up the courage to find out what it was that actually brushed up against him in the dark. I’m sure many people would have reacted the same way as Edward if they were in that situation. Today we explore why people fear the dark.

What is the fear of the dark?

  • Nyctophobia- extreme fear of night or darkness
    • Can cause intense symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Often starts in childhood
    • Normal part of development
  • Humans often fear dark because of its lack of visual stimuli
    • Inability to see what’s around you

An evolutionary explanation?

  • Researchers hypothesize this is an innate fear
  • Our ancestors were on the lookout for predators
    • Many predators hunted at night
    • Our poor eyesight made us vulnerable
  • Feeling of fear or foreboding
  • Essentially the fear of the unknown

Physical Symptoms

  • trouble breathing
  • racing heart rate
  • chest tightness or pain
  • shaking, trembling, or tingling sensations
  • lightheadedness or dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • hot or cold flashes
  • sweating

Emotional Symptoms

  • overwhelming feelings of anxiety or panic
  • an intense need to escape the situation
  • detachment from self or feeling “unreal”
  • losing control or feeling crazy
  • feeling like you may die or lose consciousness
  • feeling powerless over your fear

Emotional Symptoms

  • Leaving a dark bedroom to sleep in a lit room
  • Exposure therapy- Expose yourself to the dark repeatedly until it no longer causes feelings of panic
  • Cognitive therapy- helps replace feelings of anxiety with more positive/realistic thoughts
  • Relaxation treatment- deep breathing and exercise
  • Medication- not always appropriate

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References

https://www.healthline.com/health/nyctophobia

https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-the-evolutionary-reason-why-we-re-afraid-of-the-dark

https://medium.com/todays-story/the-darkness-in-my-heart-89c7e456e983

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eighteen – Vocabulary

There are some words that just automatically make a sentence feel fancy. A lot of those words have already been covered in previous blog posts because they show up in The Prince and the Pauper. Words like ‘thou’, and ‘knowest’ raise the status of a sentence or paragraph to a higher level. Today’s word has a similar power. Our vocab word for Chapter 18 is…

PRITHEE

See what I mean? So fancy. Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘prithee’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.

PRITHEE

DEFINITION

(exclamation) please
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

Used to express a wish or request
EXAMPLES

please
I beg you
NON-EXAMPLES

n/a

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: English
  • altered/weakened form of the phrase (I) pray thee

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: Prithee, take out the garbage before you go to work tomorrow.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “‘Thou’lt not beg!” exclaimed Hugo, eyeing the King with surprise. “Prithee, since when hast thou reformed?” (p. 112)
  • Other forms: none

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References

https://www.etymonline.com/word/prithee

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Seventeen – Fun Fact

You’ve seen this scene in countless movies: a character needs, for whatever reason, to change their identity. Maybe they are in witness protection. Maybe they are fleeing from something or someone dangerous. Maybe they have multiple identities in order to commit crimes. The most important step in the process for any of those examples is today’s Fun Fact for Ch. 16…

NAME CHANGES

Keep reading or watch the video more information about what it takes to change your name.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“‘I have done a murder, and may not tarry at home—neither shalt thou, seeing I need thy service. My name is changed, for wise reasons; it is Hobbs—John Hobbs; thine is Jack—charge thy memory accordingly. ‘” (p. 102)

This is a part of a speech by John Canty from when he is reunited with “Tom” (actually Edward). He reveals that in order to protect himself (and “Tom”) he has decided to change their names. If you recall, the reason they fled from Offal Court was because John Canty had murdered a priest.

How to Legally Change Your Name

  1. Fill out a name change form, an order to show cause for legally changing your name, and a decree to legally change your name.
  2. Take these forms to the court clerk and file them along with your state’s required filing fees.
  3. In most cases, a judge will review your forms and grant the name change.
  4. Some states require a more formal advertisement before you use your new name, which is done simply by posting a notice in the local newspaper.
  5. Use your new name.

Rules for a Legal Name Change

You can’t…

  • change your name to hide criminal liability
  • change your name to commit a crime
  • change your name to mislead
  • choose a name including numerals or punctuation
  • choose a name that intimidates, offends, is obscene, or is a racial slur

Can You Erase Your Identity?

  • Essentially….no
  • You can legally change your…
    • Name
    • Social Security number (in some circumstances)
  • Your original information will still be in the system
  • The government will do it for you if…
    • you are a victim of abuse
    • you are a victim of identity theft
  • Most online services to change identity are scams

Myths about Identity Change

  • Myth #1: You get a new set of documents
    • Old documents still exist; just get updated
  • Myth #2: You can start over with a clean slate
    • You lose your credit history, certifications, degrees, etc. if you change your SSN
  • Myth #3: Your name change is confidential
    • Most states require some form of official public notice

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References

https://nnedv.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Safety-Net-NNEDV_IdentityChange_MythsAndRealities.pdf

https://www.findlaw.com/family/marriage/how-to-legally-change-your-name.html

https://people.howstuffworks.com/how-can-i-erase-my-identity-and-start-over.htm

https://www.divorcemag.com/blog/getting-a-name-change

Animal Farm Book Release Day!

The big date is here! The Pontes Books versions of Animal Farm are now available!

How to find the books:

  • All of the books are available on Amazon (try seaching “Animal Farm Pontes Books”), but they don’t always show up initially in search results on Amazon. Eventually they will be added to our author page on Amazon, but they have not been added yet. The easiest way to get direct links to all the different versions is to visit our Products Page.

How do I know which book(s) to order? Check out the guide below for an explanation of the different versions. (Note: For Animal Farm, we did not make a blue or purple version.)

If you are still unsure about which book is right for you, below we offer a few examples of common scenarios in which someone might be choosing to order one or more Pontes version of Animal Farm. Use these scenarios to help guide your decision.

Scenario #1: A teacher is looking to purchase books for a whole class where students will be reading at least a portion of the story together in class. Students will be responsible for reading at least a portion of the story independently.
Recommended book(s): a combination of Red, Orange, and Pink
Rationale: When a portion of the book is read in class together, the students need to have a common text to read from. The Red, Orange, and Pink versions all have the original text by George Orwell included. Students with strong reading skills can be assigned the Red version, which does not contain any other bridge versions, only Orwell’s original words. Students who may need a little bit more support while reading a text as challenging as Orwell’s can be assigned the Orange or Pink versions, based on their own needs as a reader. These students can then flip over to the Bridge version when they are confused or if they are working to complete a reading assignment independently.

Scenario #2: A teacher is looking to purchase books for small, leveled, reading groups. The students will always be reading the stories either in their separate groups or independently.
Recommended book(s): a combination of Red, Yellow, and White
Rationale: Though the parallel text versions could work in this scenario as well, it may just be easier to assign students the “stand-alone” Bridge Versions. Orwell’s original language does not appear in the Yellow or White versions, but if the groups will always be reading separately, there is no need to necessarily have a text with the same wording among all students. It is still possible to have whole-class discussions about the story because all students will be reading the same content, just with tweaks to vocabulary, sentence structure, and length.

Scenario #3: A parent is looking to purchase a book for their child, who will be reading Animal Farm for a class in the near future.
Recommended book(s): Red, Orange, or Pink
Rationale: If your child will be reading the book as a class, then they will likely be reading Orwell’s original unabridged version. If your child is a strong reader, then purchasing the Red version would be best because it will match what all other students will be reading from. If your child could use a little bit of support while reading a text this complicated, choose the Orange or Pink versions based on their needs. They will still have the original version inside their book, but will have a Bridge version to allow them to read the story at a level closer to their own ability. Your child could pre-read the bridge version ahead of time to prepare for reading the original in class, could read it after reading the original version in class, or could simply refer to it when confusion arises.

Scenario #4: A child or adult is looking to purchase the book to read for the first time for independent reading, unrelated to any assignment for school.
Recommended book(s): Any option!
Rationale: This is entirely up to you! The whole purpose of creating seven different versions so that each individual reader could find one that is the right fit. Decide whether you want to have a parallel text version, or whether to have a book that only contains one version, and then pick which one is best for you!

If you are still unsure, reach out to us at admin@pontesbooks.com.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Seventeen – Historical Tidbit

Chapter 16’s Historical Tidbit is a fun one! Did you ever make up a code (written or spoken) in order to be able to say whatever you wanted without getting in trouble? Today’s Historical Tidbit is about….

COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn about this secret way of speaking!

In Chapter 17, Edward is among John Canty (John Hobbs) and his group of thieves. In order to entertain themselves, they begin singing a song in a sort of code:

“‘Bien Darkman’s then, Bouse Mort and Ken,
The bien Coves bings awast,
On Chates to trine by Rome Coves dine
For his long lib at last.
Bing’d out bien Morts and toure, and toure,
Bing out of the Rome vile bine,
And toure the Cove that cloy’d your duds,
Upon the Chates to trine.‘

Conversation followed; not in the thieves’ dialect of the song, for that was only used in talk when unfriendly ears might be listening.” (p. 104)

Although I am not exactly sure what type of code Mark Twain is using for this part (maybe it is one he made up completely) a more well-known code commonly used by thieves is Cockney Rhyming Slang, which is what we’ll zoom in on today.

What is Cockney Rhyming Slang?

  • A form of slang
  • Prevalent in the UK, Ireland, and Australia
  • Especially used in the criminal underworld
  • Involves replacing a common word with a phrase of two or more words
    • Last word rhymes with the original word
    • Often times, the rhyming word is dropped

Examples

  • Army and navy” (gravy) — As gravy was plentiful at mealtimes in both services.
  • “Basin of gravy” (baby) — Suggestive of the softness of the foods on which babies are fed.
  • “Bees and honey” (money) — As bees are the epitome of work, work produces money, the possession of which is sweet.

More Examples

  • Bread = bread and honey = money
  • Daisies = daisy roots = boots
  • Mutton = Mutt and Jeff = deaf = named after Mutt and Jeff , two early 20th century comic strip characters
  • Rosie = Rosie Lee = tea e.g. “Have a cup of Rosie” 
  • Sky = sky rocket = pocket


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References

https://blog.korumlegal.com/legal-hierarchy-and-accessibility

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_precedence_in_England_and_Wales

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_address_in_the_United_Kingdom

https://tudors.fandom.com/wiki/Lord_Chancellor#:~:text=Lord%20Chancellor%20(more%20formally%2C%20Lord,President%20of%20the%20Privy%20Council.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Seventeen – Vocabulary

Today’s vocabulary word is one that we use often. But if someone asked you to define it, I’m not sure that you’d be able to rattle off a definition right away. It’s one of those weird words with a vague meaning where it is sometimes easier to give example sentences than it is to give a straight definition. Today our vocab word for Chapter 17 is…

GRACIOUS

Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘gracious’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.

GRACIOUS

DEFINITION

(adj) behaving in a pleasant, polite, calm way
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

Also can be used in a religious context (divine grace)
EXAMPLES

being humble
praising others
saying “thank you”
NON-EXAMPLES

“one-upping” someone else
talking over someone else

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • “gratia” favor (merciful, benevolent)

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: Our gracious hosts treated us to a wide variety of snacks and treats during our time at their house.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “Be gracious to us, O sweet King!”…“Cheer us and warm us with thy gracious rays, O flaming sun of sovereignty!” (p. 109)
  • Other forms: graciously (adv.), graciousness (n.)

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References

https://www.etymonline.com/word/gracious

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Sixteen – Fun Fact

Have you seen the movie Frozen? If so, do you have an image in your mind where Elsa removes her gloves in order to hold onto two objects while she is being crowned queen? Maybe you’re aware of what is happening there, maybe you’re not. Although that movie does not take place in England, a similar scene would play out at a British coronation ceremony. And those objects she is holding relate to today’s Fun Fact. Today our Fun Fact for Ch. 16 focuses on…

THE CROWN JEWELS

Keep reading or watch the video more information about these strange objects that are often a part of official royal ceremonies.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“…next comes the Chancellor, between two, one of which carries the royal sceptre, the other the Sword of State in a red scabbard, studded with golden fleurs-de-lis, the point upwards…” (p. 98)

As a part of the preparation for a royal banquet, the narrator mentions a royal sceptre and sword. These are two common examples of what we refer to as objects in the Royal Jewels collection.

Royal Jewels

St Edward’s Crown

  • Most sacred of all the crowns
  • Only used in moments of crowning
  • Made for the coronation of Charles II
  • The stones/gems weren’t permanently added until 1911 (they were just rented and returned after the coronation originally)

Sovereign’s Orb

  • Contains many original gemstones
  • Symbolizes the Christian world
  • Cross mounted on a globe
  • Placed in monarch’s right hand before being placed on the altar

Jewelled Sword of Offering

  • Australia (indigenous) – widows wear white mourning caps called ‘kopis’ made from plaster (1 week – 6 months)
  • Eastern Asia – white mourning clothes represent purity and rebirth
  • Cambodia (Buddhism) – family of someone who dies wear white in mourning
  • France – deuil blanc meaning “white mourning”

The Sovereign’s Sceptre and Rod

  • Monarch receives them in each hand before crowning
  • Symbolizes the monarch’s pastoral care for his or her people
  • Scepter with cross Used at every coronation since Charles II

The Imperial State Crown

  • One of the newer items
  • Contains historic jewels
  • The crown the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation
  • Contains 2,868 diamonds

Fun Facts

  • The oldest item is from the 12th century (Coronation Spoon)
  • 23,578 precious stones make up the Crown Jewels
  • 140 objects are embedded by the Crown Jewels
  • They’ve been stolen

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References

https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/england/london/articles/11-things-didnt-know-united-kingdoms-crown-jewels/

https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/Trails/the-crown-jewels

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/the-crown-jewels/#gs.1j4frp

https://www.rct.uk/collection/31726/the-jewelled-sword-of-offering

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Sixteen – Historical Tidbit

In Chapter 16 of The Prince and the Pauper, we hear about a number of titles that were used in Tudor England. At the time, the hierarchy of society was incredibly important to how society functioned. Though these titles don’t hold quite as much weight today, they still exist. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about….

ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn about the historical context of this phrase!

In Chapter 16, Tom takes place in a banquet which includes many official royal individuals and traditions. Among those individuals are are many people with important titles, as seen by the quote below:

““First come Gentlemen, Barons, Earls, Knights of the Garter, all richly dressed and bareheaded; next comes the Chancellor, between two, one of which carries the royal sceptre, the other the Sword of State in a red scabbard, studded with golden fleurs-de-lis, the point upwards; next comes the King himself…”” (p. 98)

What is the structure of Tudor England.

Tudor England followed a hierarchical system. This means that it really depended on some people having a higher title, and therefore more power, than other poeple. The king was at the top of this structure. They also believed that your position in life was determined by God. Most people just accepted their position in life without question.

The levels of hiererarchy can be broken down into seven different catergories:

Some Specific Titles

  1. King
  2. Queen
  3. Prince/Princess
  4. Duke/Duchess
  5. Marquess
  6. Earl
  7. Baron
  8. Baronet
  9. Knight
  10. Chancellor (academic title)


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References

https://blog.korumlegal.com/legal-hierarchy-and-accessibility

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_precedence_in_England_and_Wales

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_address_in_the_United_Kingdom

https://tudors.fandom.com/wiki/Lord_Chancellor#:~:text=Lord%20Chancellor%20(more%20formally%2C%20Lord,President%20of%20the%20Privy%20Council.